It’s a hairdo with a split-personality, one that offers the wearer the ability to transform from orthodox to outrageous in the blink of an eye. Today, there are websites devoted to poking fun at the oft-maligned mullet, but lest we forget, this “business in the front, party in the back” look was a must-have hairstyle in the 80s.

The mullet goes by many names – Hockey Hair, mud-flap, sho-lo, bi-level (to name but a few), and the concept is quite simple. Long hair in the back, closely cropped in the front. It is a contradiction of extremes, an outlandishly androgynous style that originated in the early 70s, thanks to a handful of glam rockers that unleashed the mullet on an unsuspecting populace.

For men, it provided the best of both worlds, a neatly trimmed appearance from the front, and long locks of flowing, rockstar hair that could be tamed in a ponytail when one needed to be more conservative – or unfurl with reckless abandon when the mood turned rebellious.

For women, it provided an edgy look that was decidedly more fierce than feminine. Joan Jett sported a fine mullet, adopting a persona that stood out from her peers, a rebellious visionary amongst her feather-winged counterparts.

There were no shortage of celebrities to emulate back in the day, from David Bowie to David Hasslehoff, from Chuck Norris to Andre Agassi, Mel Gibson to Michael Bolton. Teenagers across America followed in their footsteps, often accentuating the style with tight jeans, muscle-tees and a lone earring. Country music stars and NASCAR drivers were also quick to embrace the look, and it didn’t take long for their loyal fans to follow.

While a mullet isn’t exactly what one might consider mainstream these days, that doesn’t mean it has completely fallen out of favor. Whereever engines rev for a big race, or an 80s tribute band serenades a crowd of nostalgic fans, the mullet still proudly rears its head – unafraid of being judged, unwilling to give way to the latest fashion trend de jour. Mock all you want, but the mullet is here to stay.

If you once proudly wore a mullet, or if you still wear one, we’d love to hear your thoughts and recollections of this 80s fashion in our comments section below.

One Response to “Mullets”

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  1. Jane says:

    If you were anyone “cool” back in the 80’s…you had that haircut. Don’t remember it ever being called “a mullet” back then ever. Curious where that term came from? To be totally cool, you also had to have a tank top “Bundeswehr” from Germany…not sure if the spelling is correct. My husband had one..he looked pretty cute!

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