A Gallery of Formal Short Haircuts

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A Short Caesar

Zoe Kravitz
  Ilya S. Savenok / Contributor / Getty Images

Now, in the age of social media, every moment is a photo op. But formal events, like proms and weddings, are places where you'll be photographed more than ever—and unlike a drunken Insta story, those pictures will be around for a lifetime. When choosing a hairstyle for a formal occasion, you want to keep it groomed and classic. Trust us: you won't want that Faux Hawk to turn up in photos 20 years from now.

In this gallery, you'll find several great options for people looking for a short haircut that's perfect for a formal occasion, along with notes on each style. To get the haircut you want print the photo or save it to your phone and take it with you to your barber or stylist.

For those who prefer a shorter, more natural style, the Caesar will work well for even the most formal of occasions.

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Slick and Parted

Scarlett Johansson
  Mark Sagliocco / Contributor / Getty Images

This style takes the classic taper and makes it more formal with a neat side part.

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Medium Length Style

Model at Todd Snyder FW19
  Slaven Vlasic / Stringer / Getty Images

This medium layer cut is given a neater look with a side part. This is a good option for people who want to look neat with just a little product.

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Neat with a Dry Look

Chris Pine
 Jean Baptiste Lacroix / Stringer / Getty Images

This is a good option for someone with short-to-medium hair who doesn't want to look like he's got too much product in his hair. Tousling it off to one side adds a formal flair.

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A Side Part with Pomade

Ruby Rose at a gala
 John Sciulli / Stringer / Getty Images

This haircut is made more formal with a heavy application of pomade and a neat side part. Be careful with this one as it may come off as looking "nerdy" on the wrong person.

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Pomaded and Parted

Bill Skarsgard at Hulu Upfront
 John Lamparski / Stringer / Getty Images

This is another formal option for someone with medium-short hair. Pomade adds shine and control.

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Controlled Style

Colin Jost at the 2019 Emmys
  Dan MacMedan / Contributor / Getty Images

To achieve this style, apply styling gel to damp hair and comb into place. Allow the style to dry and comb through. A light application of spray will set the style.

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Short and Neat

Hu Bing
  Kirstin Sinclair / Contributor / Getty Images

This style can work well in formal settings, but a dab of pomade adds some texture and separation.

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Close and Clean

David Beckham at his statue unveiling
    Meg Oliphant / Stringer / Getty Images

This style, while cut very short on the sides and back, works for formal events because of the well groomed top.

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Short & Formal

Jensen Ackles at the Supernatural 300th episode premiere
  Phillip Chin / Contributor / Getty Images

This style is a gelled up classic Ivy League—it's short, but neat enough to be considered formal.

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Short & Natural

Jared Haibon
  Paul Archuleta / Contributor / Getty Images

This style is a bit more casual, but still a timeless haircut that will look good in photos 20 years from now.

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Long & Neat

Kristen Stewart at Cannes
  Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Staff / Getty Images

This style slicks back the long hair, while proving long hair can still look good in formal settings.