Sideburn designs are traditionally chosen to reflect a man’s personality, sense of style, and taste in fashion. They also reflect current tendencies and what is on trend at that moment in time, just like hairstyles. However, you mustn’t forget that sideburn designs have to take into account the shape of your face so that they can maximize your appeal and good looks.
With all this in mind, we have searched far and wide across the Internet and put together a compendium of 45 sideburn designs that never went out of fashion.
1. The Mutton Chops
Let’s begin with the most famous of all sideburn designs, the mutton chops. The reason why they are called thusly is simply because they resemble a cut of lamb meat. The Urban Dictionary calls them ‘possibly the best thing to happen to the side of the head since ears.’
2. Beautiful Sideburn Designs
Typically, sideburns should frame your face and contour it in such a way as to slim it down and be a natural continuation of your haircut. They also have to be an organic link between your haircut and your facial hair.
3. 60s and 70s Sideburn Designs
Those really were the times for men and their hair, weren’t they? It simply feels like men could express themselves with such good haircuts like this elevated bowl with a side part and overly-long and frizzy sideburns.
4. Short Sideburns and a Beard
If you wear a beard, it’s a good idea to keep your sideburns to a minimum. Trim them down as much as possible because the facial hair is the star of the show now, taking center stage and contouring your face.
5. The Chris Evans
Here is actor Chris Evans and his Captain America persona. His haircut and sideburn designs basically imply that he is a good guy, clean cut and very easy to trust. The sideburns have been chopped severely and roughly down the middle on a horizontal axis.
6. Sideburns and Five O’clock Shadow
If you typically wear a stubble or a five ‘clock shadow type of beard, you can pair them both with medium sized sideburn designs. It will make you look casual and elegant at the same time, a look that you can wear both at the office and later for a drink after hours.
7. Mutton Chops Connected by a Moustache
Other sideburn designs, especially some more retro ones include the two mutton chops on either side of your face connecting in the middle via a very well-groomed mustache. But be careful. If you also add a beard, it’s no longer mutton chops.
8. The Richard Armitage
Here’s the king of the dwarves himself, Thorin Oakenshield or Richard Armitage sporting a pair of sideburns with just a hint of mutton chops in the middle of the cheeks. It makes him look like he just got off the carriage with Mister Darcy.
9. Sideburns and the Cradle Beard
If you haven’t heard about a cradle beard, this is it. It’s when your sideburn designs descend down onto the edges of your face and continue into a goatee. That’s called a cradle beard. It unifies sideburns, beard, and goatee. One line of hair to rule them all!
10. The Heavy Mutton Chops
This is the version in which you allow the mutton chops to grow at will down the sides of the face and on the neck if you want a neck beard. However, you shave the middle portion, leaving your mouth and chin completely free of any hair.
11. The Will Smith
Actor Will Smith is the perfect example of thin sideburn designs. He wears his naturally curly hair in a short crop. Plus, he has a round skinny face, which means he would not benefit from a heavy set of sideburns. Therefore, he opted for the thin ones.
12. The Origin of Sideburns
Just in case you were wondering, the correct name is not sideburns but burnsides. It comes from general Ambrose Burnside, who fought in the Civil War and who was famous because he wore large mutton chops connected through his bushy moustache. Apparently, he was the first. Therefore, they named the hair growing on the side of the face burnsides. In time, the word switched to sideburns. Now you know!
13. The Zayn Malik
Although not a general in the Civil War himself as the man who started the sideburn trend, singer Zayn Malik is a proud wearer of sideburn designs. Here he is with a pair of faded ones, as part of his blonde undercut.
14. The Elvis Sideburn Designs
Elvis had, probably, some of the most famous sideburns of all time. Every Elvis impersonator today knows that, if you want to get the look right, you must first grow a fantastic pair of chops or buy a wig that can do the trick.
15. Edgy Sideburn Designs
This is a variation of the classic mutton chop. Although, seeing how skinny they are, we might as well call them mutton bones. They are most appropriate for men with a delicate facial structure or with an oval face shape.
16. The Clint Eastwood
If there’s a cool guy you should copy a hairstyle with sideburn designs from, that’s Clint Eastwood when he was young. He used to be a heartbreaker and so can you. Tell your stylist you want the Clint and he’ll know what to do.
17. Long Sideburn Designs
Sideburn designs can also be a solution if you have a receding hairline. Try an Elvis haircut and some long sideburns and you can shift the focus off the receding or thinning hair. A nonconventional hair color can help with that as well.
18. Wispy Sideburn Designs
If you have an undercut hairstyle, then the best idea is to go for a wispy or nonexistent type of sideburn. You want to blend in the sideburns to the shaved style of the haircut and create a nice continuum all around.
19. The Jude Law
Jude Law’s long, narrow, and straight sideburns along with his pencil moustache make him look like a detective in the 19th century. He did play Dr. Watson in a revival of Sherlock Holmes and now we know why. Because he looked the part.
20. Overgrown Sideburn Designs
If you’re into it or if you’re trying to win a competition, you can always go for the longest mutton chops challenge. This is what happens when you grow them out and groom them in such a way so that they grow outwards and parallel to your jawbone instead of downward.
21. The David Beckham
Here’s a throwback picture of a very young David Beckham, in his twenties, sporting yet another variation of the overly long sideburn designs. His go all the down to his jawbone in a straight line starting from the temple and stop there, without being connected to anything.
22. Stylish Sideburn Designs
Literal sideburn designs have been inspired by hair designs. Just like you can get different geometrical patterns in your hair, for example, you can get them on your face as well. Provided you have enough facial pilosity, of course.
23. The Keanu Reeves
When Keanu Reeves grows out his beard and sideburns, why does it always seem like he is time traveling from another period or that he might be reprising his role as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Cool look, though.
24. Caesar Haircut with Sideburn Designs
If you’re in love with the classic Caesar haircut and you’re intent upon getting one, you should know that the best sideburns for it are long, thin, and straight. It doesn’t really matter what type of face you have.
25. The Benedict Cumberbatch
Another British Hollywood hottie who always looks more at home in an 1800s period drama than in a 2000s environment is Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s partially due to the long, grizzly sideburns he’s wearing here, and the ginger hair color.
26. The Matthew McFadyen
Our list is full of contenders for the role of Mr. Darcy thanks to these gentlemen’s choice of sideburn designs. If you want to copy their looks, you will need a pair of thickly set sideburns and medium-sized haircuts.
27. Hunger Games Sideburn Designs
We’re sure you all recognize this particular facial hair and sideburn design from the franchise The Hunger Games. It’s whimsical and part of a young adult fantasy story, but hard-core fans can definitely get behind this idea.
28. The Adam Scott
What we love most about Adam Scott’s hairstyle is that not only is his hairstyle fluffy and spiky, but his sideburns are like that as well. He actually took the time to arrange his sideburns into fluffy spikes. What a guy!
29. The Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson and his boyish buzz cut are showing us what type of sideburn designs we should chose when wearing this hairstyle. Go for minimal here because the haircut is a minimalist one as well.
30. The Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you were looking for truly timeless sideburn designs, look no further. Here’s national treasure Ralph Waldo Emerson sporting a fantastic and what we have reason to believe was a highly attractive in his age set of vertical mutton chops. See how they continue down his neck. We really have no idea where they stop. Possibly nowhere. There really is no limit to mutton chops, is there?
31. Business Style Sideburn Designs
As we know very well, it’s all fun and games until you have to go to the office and face the dreadful dress code. If that’s the case for you as well, we suggest you lose the vertical mutton chops and go for a slick and serious looking pair of medium-sized minimalist sideburn designs.
32. Heavy Sideburn Designs
Building on the above, if you don’t have a dress code at the office or an office at all, you can always try the bohemian artist look. That’s the one where it seems like your haircut, eyebrows, sideburns, beard, and neck beard are trying to fuse together and create a mass. But it just ‘seems’ like that. In reality, you and your stylist are keeping it under control twice a month with careful trimming.
33. The David Tennant
The Doctor really has a sick sideburn game and we’re loving it! Pun intended. His sideburns are heavy and thick, and he pairs them with his signature spiky and short hairstyle. We love how he looks, and we would really like to copy it.
34. Geometric Sideburn Designs
Another version of the classic mutton chops has you forcing your beard into beautiful geometric patterns. Evidently, you can choose your favorite. This is the traditional boomerang one, which is highly reminiscent of its grandfather, the mutton chop.
35. The Robert Redford
Keeping in line with the idea that there simply is no limit to the male imagination when it comes to mutton chops, here’s Robert Redford with yet another variation. They complete his heartthrob 70s look which we all know and love. For more ideas on blonde hair for men, here’s an article we wrote.
36. The Jimmy Page
Guitar legend Jimmy Page gives us a peek at that sweet 70s rocker hairstyle. The man who founded Led Zeppelin has his place in history and so does this haircut along with its heavy mutton chops. And we have a Whole Lotta Love for this look.
37. Pencil Sideburn Designs
At the opposite side of the spectrum size-wise are pencil sideburns. They are technically mere shadows on your skin. The downside to them is that they require a lot of maintenance. This means that you have to keep visiting your barber for a trim.
38. Geometric Sideburn Designs
The most modern sideburn styles are all about clean cuts and geometric designs. However, just like any other modern style, this one will need a lot of taking care of as well. When your hair starts growing back, you need to take a quick trip to the stylist for another shave.
39. The Burt Reynolds
Mr. Reynolds pioneered the pointy mutton chops, once again proving that men have always had an intense love affair with these sideburn designs. His mutton chops ended halfway across the length of the jaw bone in a pointy end, effectively elongating it and slimming his otherwise round and plump face.
40. The Zachary Quinto
It’s not easy to replace a legend, but Zachary Quinto tried to do just that. Here’s he is off camera and out of his Spock persona with a very 50s, retro Elvis look. He’s sporting a bold and gelled quiff that masks his receding hairline as well as a pair of short and thick sideburns.
41. Baby Sideburn Designs
The barely visible sideburns are called baby sideburns. They are the ones you don’t really want but must have otherwise your face would simply look weird. The typically end in a V right next to your ear and are accompanied by very modern haircuts.
42. The Will Farrell
Given the fact that he has naturally curly hair which he wears in a very organic fashion, Will Farrell’s sideburns take the same route. The actor barely seems to put any product in his hair, which makes his sideburns look fluffy. We also love the fact that he’s slowly going white, starting with his temples.
43. Sideburns for Angular Faces
If you happen to have a deeply angular and elongated face such as this one, don’t go for thick sideburns. Stick to the minimal, long and thin ones. They go better with your type of face, contouring it and keeping the focus on the upper and medium parts of your face, not your pronounced and pointy chin.
44. Cropped Sideburn Designs
You can also choose to ditch sideburns altogether, if that’s what you want. We kept this idea for last, as an alternative in case nothing else satisfies you, which we don’t really think will happen. However, make sure you have the right facial bone structure to pull this off before cropping your sideburns.
In the end, you can choose whichever sideburn designs you like, as long as they match your hairstyle and your face type. As you can well see, mutton chops are still a favorite among men everywhere and are still standing proud next to the newer models such as pencil sideburns, baby or cropped sideburns. Let us know in the comment section below which style inspired you more.
July 2019: We updated the styles in this article.