Home Fashion The History of the Patrick Bateman Haircut and its Association with Wall...

The History of the Patrick Bateman Haircut and its Association with Wall Street

The History of the Patrick Bateman Haircut and its Association with Wall Street
CSE93, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Patrick Bateman is one of the most iconic fictional villains created by author Bret Easton Ellis and cemented in pop culture memory by the veteran actor Christian Bale in American Psycho. Everything about the legendary character caught the public’s imagination, especially his hyper-focus on curating every external detail about himself down to his business cards. One of the things that made a massive impression on audiences was Bateman’s hairstyle. His slicked-back style with a side part perfectly complemented the tailored suits and boosted his charismatic personality.

Bateman’s hairstyle took the US by storm in the 80s, triggering a hype train as audiences believed the look exuded power and confidence. Wall Street bankers and financial industry workers were particularly taken by this look as it became a standard for the decade. The style is characterized by short to medium-length hair on top, combed straight back, and styled with a high-shine or matte finish pomade or gel. During COVID’s disruption of work, given its clean look, the hairstyle saw a resurgence in popularity as workers returned to offices.

It gained popularity also because it is an easy look to achieve at home

Beyond its pop culture appeal, the Patrick Bateman haircut gained popularity because you can nail the look at home by focusing on a few key details. It is a misconception that you must go to a salon. However, if experimenting is not your thing, a professional stylist can do it for you. To achieve this look at home, follow the basic guidelines below:

  • Your hair should be of reasonable length and density. The hair on top should be at least three inches long to allow for the slicked-back style, while the sides and back should be shorter for contrast.
  • Apply pomade or wax to towel-dried hair, working it through from the roots to the ends. 
  • Create a careful side part with a fine-toothed comb. The part should be on the left side of the head. 
  • Comb the hair back on both sides, smoothing it down. The goal is to achieve a sleek, slicked-back look emphasizing the side part. 
  • Use some more pomade or wax to smooth down any flyaways or frizz and create a polished finish. But don’t overdo it.
  • Check your work in a mirror from different angles to ensure it looks balanced and symmetrical.

The suit plays a big role in augmenting the hairstyle

Various designer labels created the vintage 80s suits Bateman wore in the movie. They’re primarily double-breasted, pinstriped ‘power suits‘ like those in the character’s position might wear. The most important thing to make Bateman stand out was to get the details of his accessories right, like complementary ties, glasses, watches, and shoes. While the hairstyle became a staple of the Manhatten Financial District after the movie launched, costume designers took inspiration from Wall Street workers when developing the character’s dressing style. This is why the fictional character made such a big impression on individuals.

While you may not have access to high-end designer suits, consider pairing the hairstyle with complementary outfits when you’re trying to achieve this look for a business meeting or a formal event. The hair won’t in itself salvage a poorly dressed individual. This doesn’t mean that you always have to be dressed formally. Musicians and artists have also embraced the look while pairing it with outfits that speak to their community/tribe. The bottom line is that you should pay equal attention to your dress to go with the hairstyle.

Consult a stylist if you’re not confident about a DIY approach

Although the hairstyle seems easy to achieve, some may need help properly parting hair or balancing the look. Furthermore, the texture and density can also impact the styling approach. You must use high-quality wax or pomade to attain the look, as low-quality products can damage your hair quality. If all of this seems overwhelming, consult a professional stylist for recommendations. They might even direct you to high-quality apparel that would pair perfectly with your freshly styled hair.

Featured Image CSE93, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons