Beards - no longer weird?
Beards are no longer weird; they haven’t been weird for a while – so long, in fact, that it’s hard to remember a time clean-shaven was not just the norm but de rigeur. And woebetide any man turning up to a heavyweight job interview with even a trace of stubble…
Even though entertainment icons like David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling have been major influencers in making facial hair cool, no one could have predicted just how popular the beard would become again: from politicians to pop stars, from footballers to financiers, from postmen to post-rockers, the beard is back.
Fortunately, the world of male fashion hasn’t been too slow to notice this. Whether it’s the catalogue or the cat walk, you’ll find plenty of models sporting more than just the cat’s whiskers.
But when it comes to a suit, what goes with hirsute? Here a few suggestions to tailor your approach…
"V" is for Victory
Whether your beard is rounded or pointed, a sharply tailored, single-breasted suit with long V lapels is the most empathetic style for a bearded man. The low cut lapels enable you to show plenty of tie – important if your beard is long. With dinner jackets, however, shawl collars add a striking frame to your facial decoration.
The Wonders of Waistcoats
Don’t underestimate the wonder of a waistcoat. Whether or not you are going for a retro style, a waistcoat adds strength to your look, particularly when the jacket is removed.
Keep the colour combinations plain and simple. Patterns can work, but it’s all too easy to over tweed and look twee. A subtle Prince of Wales Check should work fine; but your best bet is a strong and simple cloth in black, navy, dark grey or chocolate (with no more than a hint of pinstripe) with a lighter, plain shirt and dark tie to contrast.
Talking of Ties...
And talking of ties, think broad and think big. Skinny ties look weak next to a beard, and you’ll need something with enough width to tie a substantial knot, preferably a full Windsor.
But to get knotted neatly you’ll need to collar the right shirt – one with a lot more spread than your standard point collar.
That said, if you’re going for a period or steampunk look, then a wing-tip or imperial collar with a bootlace tie will top it off convincingly. Or perhaps even a banded collar and no tie at all…
Don't be afraid to experiment!
Don’t be afraid to experiment. In the end there are no hard and fast rules, but your guiding principle should be this: go with a combination that complements your beard, and plays to its strengths, rather than one that makes it look like an unfortunate oversight at the bottom of your face.