It's Official: The Side Part Is Here to Stay

In praise of the hairstyle that keeps coming back.

America Ferrera
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I vividly remember the horror with which I received the news that the side part was dead. At the beginning of TikTok's popularity in 2020 and 2021, Gen Z near-unanimously announced that side parts were for old people, that they looked "cheugy" (remember that word?), and that the middle part was the way to go. And while I love a middle part—particularly with long hair hanging loose on either side à la Cher in the 1970s—side parts are uniquely glamorous and dramatic, and to do away with them completely is to deprive oneself of a key way of enhancing your down 'do.

When I think of side parts, I don't think of the emo-inspired looks of the early aughts and 2010s, which had countless wearers flicking hair out of their faces or letting it swoop melodramatically in front of one eye. Instead, I think of the Old Hollywood glamour of the side part, which took off in the 1950s and 1960s as a defining characteristic of updos and down 'dos alike.

Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe

Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe bringing the drama with their deep side parts.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The style is great for adding volume to hair types one and two, or for revitalizing bounce in curly or wavy hair that's gone without a wash for an extra day or so. Pro tip: I like to get my hair cut for a middle part so that when I style my side part later on, I have a few extra layers on one side that resemble curtain bangs. The asymmetry that the side part brings to the table is a great way of making an otherwise boring look infinitely more interesting, and it's one of the quickest methods of doing so.

Over the last year or so, there's been hopeful chatter about the look coming back, but the middle part continued to dominate red carpets and runways. Now, side part devotees can rejoice, because a slew of celebrities have been rocking the side part at public engagements, ushering in the news that the side part is officially, undoubtedly back. Kate Beckinsale, for instance, chose a deep side part when she got her new blonde bob (featuring exposed brown roots—another early 2000s trend that's been making a strong comeback). Blake Lively also wore her long hair in a side part in her most recent look, and Gabrielle Union and America Ferrera have also been spotted sporting the side part, whether their hair is styled up or down. Even Gen Z It Girl Sydney Sweeney has been styling her hair in a dramatic, nostalgic side part throughout her Anyone But You tour.

Black Lively

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While I'm all for looking into trends for new ideas on how to style my hair, makeup, or outfits, I'm not fond of the idea that certain styles can simply be deemed "out" based on the opinions of a few people on the internet. The practice effectively shames people out of wearing what makes them feel comfortable and beautiful. And while I'm over the moon that the side part is back on trend and seems to be here to stay, I hope we've learned one valuable lesson from the three year side part controversy:

Let people wear what they want to wear.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.