The short back and sides is quite probably the best-known classic British hair style, particularly favoured for young boys as it was supremely easy for mother to maintain with appropriately brusque combings just after breakfast. It was especially common prior to the 1960s; following this popular influences such as The Beatles made it more acceptable for males to sport longer styles of hair, and the desire for a short back and sides decreased accordingly. This trend for longer hair continued through the 70s, eventually giving way to shorter styles through the eighties, including an increased trend for shaved hair styles.
The short back and sides ought to be awarded something in recognition of clear speech. In a world of bangs, ringlets and devilocks it's a refreshing change to come across a hairstyle with a plain, descriptive name. Upon requesting a short back and sides, one could expect the fringe to be trimmed to a respectable level, and the sides and back of the neck to be cropped to a rather severe length, usually with a razor of some description. Sideburns were optional, but usually extended to around the middle of the ear.
The short back and sides also forms a basis for some more outlandish styles. The Eton flop (or 'floppie'), for example, would feature a short back and sides with a long sweep of hair dangling in the eyes.