Fashion or Lifestyle Choice – Are Beards Still in?
In 2014, a variety of mainstream media sources claimed that the beard trend was reaching its peak. From their opinions, you’d think that beards would have reached the height of their popularity and gradually declined.
Years on from that however, the beard trend doesn’t seem to have subsided. Step out of your house, walk down the street and it won’t be long before you run into a bearded man. Go to a bar downtown on a Friday night and now, if you’re clean-shaven, you’re probably the one who stands out. So, are beards still in? I think so. Whether they’re still a fashion statement so much as a way of life now, however, is debatable. Let’s take a closer look.
Why Are Beards Even Popular?
If you want to find out about the history of the man-beard’s popularity, you’ve got to gaze 200 years into the past. In the 1850’s, beards largely stopped being adopted by the renegades and rapscallions of the 19th century, leaving room for society’s pronounced figures to carve their own hairy path.
In his book ‘Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair’, Christopher Oldstone-Moore argues that the popularity of beards at any given time in history is relative to the amount of competition males think they face. For example, in the 1800’s London, the marriage market was very much tilted in favor of women. This gave men a pretty hard time finding a wife.
So, what did they do? Apparently, they grew beards. Other research has shown that, although women don’t necessarily find men with beards more attractive, they definitely do find them more masculine and dominant. Studies have found that these are two key traits that come into play when attracting the ladies.
Are beards popular because of the sheer amount of competition in the 21st century. Have reality TV and Instagram culture left men thinking they need to up their game? History certainly seems to point in the direction of this answer. Then again, it could be because we value that extra 20 minutes in bed each morning, or just think they’re real cool.
Will Beards Stay Popular?
Many speculative news articles hailed 2016 as the year that kills the beard, but hey, we’ve sailed through that one. While they may have been a fashion or a means of diverting from the accepted norm several years ago, beards are now a way of life. With the sheer number of beard grooming suppliers that are cropping up all over the world, being a bearded male puts you straight into the middle of a niche - and really loyal - culture.
With a whole market now built around it and the beard product consumer cycle turning and turning, beards are definitely in. It’s likely that they’ll even stay popular for a long time.
It depends on your motivation for growing a beard, but if they fall out of fashion, are you really going to get rid of yours? For one, I know I grew my beard because I like it, and also because I have the jaw strength of a premature goldfish. Facial hair around my jawline helps to pronounce it and, honestly, it makes me feel good about myself. I don’t plan on getting rid of mine any time soon.
If yours makes you feel good, too, why let the opinions of others affect that? You shold probably just keep it.
Will Styles Change?
Yes, of course styles are going to change. Just as fashion has driven our clothing choices, the celebrity world will no doubt bear down its influence and throw out some new beard styles. Change isn’t always a bad thing, though. In fact, 2016 produced some pretty interesting beard styles that are well-worth checking out.
If you’re bored of your beard and you’re concerned you’re falling out of fashion, it might be time to mix it up. Take a look at our article on this season’s hottest beard styles. Who knows, you might find something to rekindle your love for facial hair.
If you’ve yet to grow a beard and are just window-shopping whether it’s still in or not, take a look at our definitive beard-growing guide. Follow it and you’ll have a bushy face-mane in no time.