Flip through the folios of the high fashion world and continue to tell yourself that you’re not looking at a bunch of lumberjacks in dress suits. The scruff man is no longer the gruff man, and it’s entirely acceptable to show off your stubble no matter what industry or event you partake in.
Since the dawn of time, the beard has been a symbol of power (ancient Egypt), royalty (ancient Iran), wisdom (ancient India and Macedonia), and virility (ancient Greece). It wasn’t until Alexander the Great commanded his army to shave their beards as a defensive tactic in hand-to-hand combat that a bald chin became somewhat commonplace. Through the middle ages and the Renaissance, beards were as badass as they’ve ever been, with elaborate designs and exceedingly long lengths. Historically speaking, we’ve been a bearded bunch for many more years than not.
The early 20th century saw a gradual decline in the amount of stashburns and chin curtains. A clean shave was a sign of the corporate commandant. On the flipside, you had those radical hippy-dippy types whose long manes, straggly beards and ‘damn the man’ attitudes were symbols of opposition to the razor cut conservativeness of the average office worker.
Today, we’re seeing a strong resurgence in the amount of acceptable facial hair. Eccentric formations and long-chinned cuts are certainly not the norm, but fashion icons, famous faces, and the average fellow are sharing in the sensation of going unshaven.
Certainly, there are degrees of length and look that are deemed acceptable depending on your profession. But, save for building a career as a military man, you’re pretty safe to walk out your door with but a few tailored swipes of the razor.
“In the past four years, I’ve seen a dramatic shift,” says Anka Miron, owner of Mankind Grooming Studio for Men. “Grooming wasn’t a topic to be discussed among friends, but now everyone has become very proud of their open-minded approach to shaping their mustache or trimming their beards.”
Whether you’re into the signature stubble of Colin Farrell, the goatee stylings of Johnny Depp or Robert Downey, Jr., or the full facial furriness of George Clooney, a man’s beard is as much an expression of himself as the type of underwear he sports.
“More and more men are relaxed about trying new things,” Anka continues. “Nothing is uncommon. Facial hair is funky, it’s different, it’s classy – it’s not virgin anymore.”