How to get the ‘Boardwalk Empire’ men’s haircut

Share via
Los Angeles Times

If you’re thinking about trying out the latest trend in men’s hairstyles, here are a few pointers from the experts on how to do the ‘do.

What should I ask for? Some folks refer to it as an undercut. Others call it the Jimmy, the Darmody or the Michael Pitt. J.P. Mastey, who owns the Baxter Finley Barber & Shop, says requests even include “the haircut like the young guy with the limp on that old-timey HBO series.” Although most barbers and stylists will probably know what you’re talking about, Supercuts senior artistic director Melanie Ash offers a concise description: “Ask for a cut that’s shorter through the sides, clippered up all the way, disconnected and left with length through the top.” Or take in a photo of the style.

How do I take care of it? The experts agree that using some sort of hair product is key, especially if the hair on top of the head is left as long — and swept back as dramatically — as that of Pitt’s character. The cut’s creator, Francesca Paris, uses American Crew’s Grooming Cream to keep Jimmy Darmody’s hair in place.


How often should I come back? The rate at which hair grows varies from person to person (and even season to season, according to Mastey), but most men make a return clip trip every three to four weeks. A guy opting for the more extreme version of the Darmody — with the sides clipped quite short — should expect to darken the doorstep of his barbershop about every two weeks.

What if I don’t have the head (or hair) to carry it off? Michael Pitt could carry off the Darmody coif because it was specifically designed for him based on the men’s hairstyles in vogue in the 1920s. But if your noggin doesn’t make you a natural, a skilled stylist can still help you achieve a Prohibition-era vibe.

“I can taper up the sides to give it a 1920s look, part it on the side and put a little bit of product in it,” Mastey says. “You’re going to look like maybe you could be a character on ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ but it just won’t be Jimmy Darmody.” Even being completely bald isn’t a barrier.

“I’ve been designing wigs for Yourhairx, a company that makes wigs for people who have alopecia or been through chemotherapy,” said Paris, whose former husband, Joseph Paris, founded the company. “I’ve designed a couple wigs where I cut them really close on the side and have them long on the top.”