You know what they say: History repeats itself. But unlike your ex who resurfaces like clockwork each December, some relics of the past are a pleasant—if not shocking—surprise when they come back from the dead. Flip phones and scrunchies are a perfect example. However, in a strange turn of events, a trend once reserved strictly for awkward family photos and ’80s rock bands is having a resurgence among it-girls. The mullet is officially back. And against all odds, it’s honestly not terrible.
As with most highly polarizing trends, the look first made its unanticipated revival on the runway (you can thank Gucci and YSL, specifically) and has been popping up in high-fashion campaigns for a few seasons. But a quick scroll through Instagram proves it’s now catching wind with celebrities and influencers.
Miley Cyrus, for example, recently debuted a short, wispy version courtesy of hairstylist Sally Hershberger. However, unlike her dad Billy Ray—who once rocked an extremely ’80s business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back cut—her look is a bit more polished, if you can say that about a mullet. It’s a “modern mullet,” as Hershberger calls it; more ’70s shag, less Achy Breaky Heart.
All of this begs the question, though: Why is the mullet returning? Is that seriously something we as a society are ready for?
Well, yes, says Laurie Heaps, the mastermind behind Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira’s new mullet. But maybe only if you remember Billy Ray Cyrus’ biggest hit being anything other than Old Town Road. According to Heaps, the trend is set to gain steam in the new decade particularly among free-spirited, individualistic Gen Z-ers. “Twenty-twenty is going to be the year of experimentation—but as with all trends, they fade and then come back stronger with new generations,” she says. “We’re feeling freer, breaking norms, and going against the grain. The look is bold and strong—it’s kind of a renaissance of female empowerment. As women feel freer to express themselves, styles like the mullet are re-emerging.”
Despite famous people’s ability to make this risky cut appear decidedly cool on the internet, taking the plunge IRL might seem like a stretch. But a little fringe goes a long way, and you can channel the vibe without venturing into full-blown mullet mode. Everyone from Kaia Gerber to Dakota Johnson has tried a shaggy cut, and Hershberger (creator of Meg Ryan’s iconic choppy look and so many more) doesn’t see it slowing down. “I definitely think we’re going to see more texture and choppiness this year—and the style can work for any hair type,” she says. “If you want to get the shagginess without getting a mullet haircut, just leave the sides longer.”
If you’re still slightly shook at the thought of getting a mullet, just remember: It’s 2020, the year after millions pledged to storm Area 51 and an egg dethroned Kylie Jenner on Instagram—so really, anything’s possible. If an unabashed mullet is what we need to cope with the uniformly absurd news cycle, I say hop (or chop?) to it.
Erin Parker is a commerce writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @erinhaveadream.