Ah, facial hair! Once considered to be the definitive symbol of masculinity, then seemingly eschewed for many years, and now making a strong comeback, facial hair has had an illustrious – and often hilarious – history. Here are some of the most popular facial hair trends from the past:
1. The Neckbeard – The Neckbeard is a rather odd growth of hair that exists only in the area underneath the chin and extending to the beginning of the neck…or where the beginning of the neck should be. It has long been seen as the “portly” gentleman’s means of delineating the chin from the neck, due to said portliness. The exception to this description would be one Mr. Abraham Lincoln, who often wore this look simply because he felt it made him look “distinguished”. The Neckbeard has been called the “comb-over” of facial hair.
2. The Chin Curtain – Made popular during the Civil War era when virtually all men wore some type of facial hair, this style features a full mustache grown long and downward at the corners so as to blend with a beard which extends from the sideburns, but with the chin area being clean-shaven, creating a “frame” of sorts for the mouth and chin. Think Metallica’s James Hetfield before the buzz haircut.
3. The Handlebar Mustache – The early 1900s saw men opting for the clean-shaven look once more. However, President William Howard Taft proudly wore a unique look: a thick, long mustache with the ends twisted a bit and curled upward, resembling handlebars. Thus the trend became quite popular during this time.
4. Mutton Chops – The origin of the Mutton Chop has never been accurately pinpointed, though the style was mostly worn by members of the upper class. Mutton Chops are basically the sideburns described in the aforementioned Chin Curtain style, gone wild. Sideburns which extend to the chin where the mouth begins and which are grown outrageously long and bushy, the Mutton Chop style is seen in modern times often on Amish gentlemen, where it is expected to remain.
5. The Goatee – The Goatee became popular in the 1950s after being seen on the Beatnik types and jazz/blues performers of the day. The facial hair is grown exclusively on the chin and can be worn closely trimmed or (most often) long and twisted into a point which is sometimes given a bit of a curl at the end, á la The Devil.
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