Get it right and you are the cool, calm and collected man who everyone in the office aspires to be. Get the hair wrong, and you are the bloke others enjoy smirking about.
Corporate women can pretty much get away with any hair style, as long as their roots aren't showing, yet men who work in a conservative environment have to be more cautious.
But according to leading hair stylists, this does not mean being dull - not this season, anyway.
The latest men's styles are groomed and sharp. They have an early 20th-century feel - short back and sides, but with length through the top.
"It's inspired by the 50s, a bit Mad Men, but also Prohibition-era gangster - very Boardwalk Empire," says hairdresser Jo Smith.
"It's not floppy like the 80s 'curtains', it's more James Dean."
Or Michael Douglas circa Wall Street? Smith agrees. "It's a powerful look . . . If you've still got your hair, this will be working it to your best advantage."
Neil Cleminson, who cuts many corporate coiffures at his Blunt Salon in Melbourne, says this is the biggest look coming out of the top salons in Britain.
"It's being sported by hosts of celebs like David Beckham."
Cleminson says there's versions for the two types of corporate man. "Those who embrace the conservativeness and those who want to bring their own personal flair and independence to their look."
For the not-so-extreme man, who still wants to look modern, the style is very short, with a No 2 shave on the sides and some length on top.
For the more fashion-forward, says Cleminson, it's "a scissor-cut with about one-inch long on the side, but neat around the ears and hairline and also with some more length on top".
Stavros Tavrou, owner of Rakis on Collins, says there is also a trend to texturise this "very clean, structured, tidy style".
"The male can then wear it corporate and stylised for work and on the weekend he adds some product to give more texture and keep it loose," says Tavrou.
"The beauty of this is that he can keep his work image during the day and on the weekend shake it up by being more relaxed in the way it's styled."
Confused? Take to the salon a picture or the name of a celebrity with the hair style. Or google it on your iPhone.Then your stylish can tell you if it is possible.
Smith says the style "looks easy, but it's not".
"You don't just shave the sides off. You've got to work with the head-shape, otherwise you can make the head look wide or long or just odd."
Clemlinson says men who are going grey should leave their hair-colour initially if they have a young-looking face.
But if you aren't blessed with a youthful face, this could work against you, he says.
Subtle colour can help, depending on your hair. "If you are naturally blond with a bit of grey, leave it; it is hardly noticeable.
"If you have darker hair, go for a semi-permanent base-colour that is slightly lighter than your own and add some ash to this. Do not let it completely process as this will give your hair a very solid, unnatural look. Rather, wash it off for a more translucent look that will look far more natural."
Cleminson says that by adding colour, "you will add some shine to the hair as well and help it look a lot healthier".
"Remember guys, we know we are in an age where we primp and preen our hair and skin - it just shouldn't look that obvious!"
Especially with those sniggering subordinates about.
- The Age
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