Is It Time to “Fear The Beard”?

Time to Fear the Beard?

You’ve got to go back to the days of Studio 54 to find a moment in time when facial hair was as prominent and popular. You had the “Wolverine style” side burns, “Judas Priest” moustaches, and of course the full beards. It was the wild West and almost anything was acceptable. Then the pendulum swung all the way to the other side in the 80’s when being clean cut and shaven was only accmansbeard1eptable protocol, but in a congressional style compromise those who insisted on having something were given a reprieve as Don Johnson, George Michael, Kurt Cobain, and Patrick Dempsey kept razor stubble hip through the next two decades. Then in the zeros came and with it the revival of some old trends including the full grown beard. Much like the saturation that we saw in the 70’s, it’s now ubiquitous which usually means in the world of fashion and protocol it’s run may finally be over. So how much longer can you sport your beard before you’re turning heads for the wrong reason?

 Well, one thing that I’ve learned over time is that fashion is similar to the stock market, it very difficult to predict and nearly impossible to time. One day you were still ok to go with a half Windsor tie-knot, the week after that you looked like someone who had to borrow his dad’s suit and tie for a special occasion. It may seem like time lapse photography but it still was a bit of a pain to change habit and make it look right. This will be far simpler, one day someone will just ask you if you were running late and didn’t have time to “clean up”. In all fairness those with scruff have had a substantial run, and a good one, I mean beards have been acceptable in all occasions and in all professions. Athletes, attorneys, even doctors have been cut more than a little slack when it comes to the length of their facial hair and the acceptable etiquette that comes with it. So when does the shelf life expire? Well we’ve begun to see some of the signs and more often than not it’s not the general public that makes the decision on the death of a trend but the real people pulling the strings behind the curtain, advertisers.

Recently sponsors of the NHL have requested that some of the decisions makers “strongly suggest”, which is all they can really due under the current labor agreement, that some of the star players go from “Grizzly Adams” to Wayne Gretzky, or at least Henrick Lundquist. Why? Because they are impossible to market when they’re not on the ice because no one recognizes them off of it. It’s the same reason only a finite amount of pro football players are big endorsement properties even though they far outnumber all the sports, due to the fact that no one can see who they are with their helmets on. The NBA has always had this advantage and they use it with deadly accuracy due to the infinite number of close-ups available, it’s free advertising for Kia every time Blake Griffin or LeBron James play. At the end of the day that will be what changes the tide of the facial forest and it’s inevitable. If you can’t sell anything then what is the point of the show? This is why we see the trend changing and the only question is does it come at the pace that the glaciers are melting or will you be asked the question by your colleagues next week about waking up late?

But while it’s still here, if you going to do it, here are some that are rockin’ the beard right.

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