Not all dudes are created equal, this is something I’ve been keenly aware of for years. Some guys are natural athletes, others are born leaders or possess IQs capable of taking them into any profession of their choosing. I, on the other hand, can grow a beard. It may not seem like much, but as I get older and more of my friends experiment with their facial hair, I have come to the conclusion that my full man mane is one of my most unique and apparent gifts.
Similarly, as someone who has now had a beard for the better part of a decade, I’ve realized that there are certain styles and looks that bearded men are simply the best suited for. To those of you out there who suffer from patchy facial hair or the sinister neck beard, my condolences, but I’m sure you know this to be true. Every man might not be fashion-conscious, but every guy has their own style, and for those of us with beards, there are certain things that we can get away with that our baby-faced brethren simply cannot.
1. The Man Bun
Photo courtesy of Tommy Cairns
Unless you’re Harry Styles, and we’re guessing you aren’t, you’re not pulling off the man bun with a smooth mug. Although there are exceptions to every rule, it should go without saying that very few men are pulling off this increasingly popular hairstyle with clean faces. The reason being is that the man bun requires complimentary facial hair for two specific reasons: to offer manly contrast to a hairstyle most people today think of as “feminine” and to help distribute some of the attention away from your longer-than-average locks.
Two of the most prominent proponents of the man bun in 2014 inhabit opposite ends of the fussiness scale when it comes to their pulled back looks. Jared Leto, who unofficially kicked off the man bun trend at the Golden Globes earlier this year, rocks a thoroughly groomed bun with a well-trimmed beard. Conversely, Leonardo DiCaprio has been spotted on boats and beaches across the world this year with his tarnished hair pulled back in a simple pony tail, accompanied by a scraggly, pirate beard. Moral of the story: if the man bun was good enough for samurais, it’s definitely good enough for you.
2. Casually Dressing Up
Photo courtesy of Tommy Cairns
One of the perks of having a beard is the immediate casual vibe you put off simply by showing your face. Similarly, for those of you who might not enjoy dressing up very often, having a beard allows you to still feel rugged and free while wearing a suit or strutting around at a more formal affair. On the flip side, for those of you who do like looking snazzy sometimes simply for the hell of it, your beard allows you to wear your favorite suit or throw on your vintage wingtips without appearing overly fussy or conservative.
Next time you’re checking out a bar opening with your buddies or attending a dinner party, throw on a suit (tie optional) and walk the line between well-dressed rogue and casual gentleman, you’ll definitely turn a few heads in the process.
3. Turning Your Face Into a Work of Art
Photo Source WillltBeard
Sure, face paint has its time and place, but real men turn their faces into mobile art galleries for the entire world to enjoy! Okay, that might be a little over the top, but that doesn’t mean that those of us with beards shouldn’t take advantage of the unique abilities our man manes allot us.
Although there are some looks that even I can’t say I support, I always enjoy seeing a man embrace the artist within and when he decides to share his work with the Internet, it’s even better. By no means do I recommend just any beardsman sticking lit sparklers into his beard like our friend at WillItBeard, but this guy’s a professional, damn it, and if that doesn’t make you feel patriotic, than I just don’t know what will.
4. Getting Lumberjacked
Photos Courtesy of Tommy Cairns
There’s a new trend being discussed and dissected on the internet; the lumbersexual, maybe you’ve heard of it. In short, this is a label used to describe the influx of men who wear outdoor gear, don flannel regularly, and act like they know their way around a hatchet. Oh, and they have beards of course. As someone who wears a lot of plaid and Patagonia, who dreams of one day living in the woods, and who carries a knife recreationally, along with always having a beard, I’ve faced a number of questions from people regarding my feelings toward this new term. However, from what I’ve seen firsthand since the “lumbersexual” was born, most guys wish they could, at least in theory, pull this look off.
I don’t mean every man wishes he looked like Paul Bunyan exactly, but most guys would like to be capable of growing a thick, full beard and project the facade to possible mates that if they happened to get stranded in Yellowstone for a weekend, they would feel comfortable ensuring your comfort and survival amongst the elements. Simply put, although “lumbersexual” might be a silly, albeit strangely accurate, term for this new breed of pseudo-outdoorsmen patrolling your local coffee shops and dive bars, the only guys who can get away with it are the ones that have the one thing that can’t be purchased or learned: a beard.