We're calling it: the crew cut is the perfect short haircut for men this summer. It's the go-to for shower and go, whether you're off to the beach, the bar or the best table at your favourite restaurant. The only decision is which crew to go for? There are more than a few choices, but fear not: our handy guide is here to help you decide which is right for you. All of the best men's crew cuts have the same basic elements: with the sides generally clipped to a taper of varying subtlety and a short scissored top that offers a level side profile. Beyond that, the choice is mostly down to your individual preference. Looking sharp has never been so easy.

5 of the best men's crew cuts

Classic crew cut

If in doubt, this is the one to go for, particularly if you're new to short hair. Remember that its history is a no-nonsense one: first used – reputedly – by American university rowing crews so that no-one's fringe would fall over their faces, which isn't ideal in competition. Every good barber will know how to execute the classic crew properly, with clippers to the side and scissors to the top, with the length of hair graduated so that in side view it looks level, and the hair at the top stands on end. Make sure you get a side view in the barber’s mirror before you leave the chair and don't hesitate to ask for a little extra cutting or clipping to get the look that’s right for you. One of the most popular men's crew cuts – and for good reason.

Taper fade crew cut

More dramatic than the classic crew and, done well, a very confident and supremely stylish look. The top remains the same - scissored to the same apparent level length. What's different here is the treatment to the sides of the head. The tapered clippering is more intense, so that around the ears there's skin revealed. Conceptually, the idea is that the hair appears simply to fade away, making an already sharp look, still sharper. There's no doubt that this works wonders for a suited and booted look, and it'll grow out well, too. For maximum effect though, you'll be wanting at least a fortnightly visit to the barber's.

Textured crew cut

Here, products are the key. This is a crew cut that's more casual than the rest and the idea is that there's a matte finish. Hair will look naturally full with products in place so the textured crew is ideal if you're thinning a little, or even a lot. Cut is fairly standard, perhaps with a buzz cut fade to the sides for a more contemporary finish. Make sure – if your barber's doing it for you – that you know what products they're using and how they use them. It really shouldn't be anything more complicated than running the right preparations through your hair after showering.

Side swept crew cut

Deceptively simple: just brush the hair on top to the side, with the potential of using hair products, where necessary, to style into place. The key, though, is the length of the hair on the top, which you'll need to leave longer than in a classic crew to make this cut work at its best. The choices from here on are up to you: there's the option of simply brushing across the front or the whole of the top, making this one of the most versatile of crew cuts, allowing for both naturally messy or textured styling. The appeal is the contrast between heavily tapered clippered sides and the much longer swept hair on the top.

Ivy League crew cut

A longer cut that takes the crew back to its beginnings, at American Ivy League universities such as Princeton, Yale or Harvard. The overall look, then, is distinctly preppy and smart: you don't want any messiness here. The main distinguishing feature of the Ivy League crew is that there's enough hair on top for a decent side parting, so overall it's longer all round without losing the key crew cut feature of hair on the top seeming the same length when viewed from the side. One easy way to get the look is simply to allow a classic crew cut to grow out. If the initial classic crew was done well enough, there's the Ivy League crew, done for you.

Maybe a buzz cut is more your style?