Monday, 31 March 2008

Bearded Confusion

Do you remember this chap from the sartorialist? Are we witnessing the comeback of the beard? Are razor sales about to plummet? If you can't be bothered to read the below post, I'll tell you...the answer is no...for the lazy readers out there, my conclusion is that the fashion of beards (like most fashions) is cyclical. Read on if you want to see and read about beards...


The reason for this post is that I came across two articles this weekend where the author declared the comeback of the beard! I wouldn't go as far as calling the emergence of a few celebrities sporting facial hair, alongside a small increase on the streets of London choosing to put down their razor. I also have to add that the week before in the Observer (I think) one columnist discussed the return of the freshly shaven look and went into great detail on how best to shave (more on this point later in the week!) so I am pretty confused to be honest...I don't know if I'm coming and going (whichever it is as I can't grow a beard myself so I will always be pretty clean shaven).. regardless of which particular razor standpoint is making a Rocky style comeback right this second I want to talk about beards with you now.

A bearded George Clooney one of a growing number of celebrities flirting with facial hair.

I can see Leitch's point where he says "Stubble was for pouting, knitwear-sporting continentals, while an unfettered facial flourishing was for ecological protestors and other antisocial elements" as in recent years facial hair has been up against it. How different from the Victorian era, when beards - a mark of wisdom, gravitas, moral rigour, imperial paternalism, you name it - were de rigueur in England. The emergence of a number of celebrities opting to grow bards has reassured the general public that it is again fine to put down that razor. No longer is the beard an object of feminine disgust, masculine ridicule and universal suspicion. That said in some circles full beards have been seen as an emblem of masculinity, an advertisement of one's importance, competence or integrity. Sir William Golding without his beard looked like an awkward chemistry teacher; with it, he was King Lear. An aged Sean Connery without facial hair would still be a good-looking man, but his pointy white chin makes him regal, noble, a grizzled knight worthy of respect.


This is the beard Bond would have grown had he retired from the service. Neat and tidy but not obsessively so, it has charm, maturity and manliness written all over it.
Facial hair comes in and out of fashion. It’s cyclical. Most men at some point in their life flirt with it. I am still waiting for my last push of puberty before I can ever dream about the possibility of growing a beard. In the meantime I will stay confused but will enjoy looking into the the wonderfully inspiring and slightly weird world of beard:

World Beard Championships, Beard Community, 10 Most inspiring beards of all time,
all about beards

2 comments:

Thomas said...

It is a defining sorrow in my life that I cannot grow a beard...I desperately want one, but alas...experiments in this regard have proven...er...ill-fated.

That Sartorialist picture still fills my heart with pureset joy.

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Connery's beard, as well as Daniel Craig's, have inspired me to give my own whiskers another shot. My beard is eerily similar to Daniel Craig's, too! :o

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