A Primer on the Beard

Ernest Hemingway sporting a sweater and beard.


Many of history’s greatest men have sported beards, and many others are portrayed as such whether they did or not. There is no more manly fashion choice than to wear a beard. I’m here to help you choose a beard style and wear it without looking unkempt. 

Choosing a Style

Your choice of beard is highly personal, so more than anything you need to choose a beard that you’re comfortable wearing. Just like any other fashion choice, every style of beard sends its own message.

Full Beard 

The full beard is the simplest style of beard. If you maintain most of the growth the you have a full beard, whether it’s kept short or allowed to grow long. To most people a full beard carries the same significance as wearing a beard in general, only to a greater extent. This is what I wear, at least in winter. 

Goatee

“Buffalo Bill” Cody sporting a long goatee.


A goatee is beard isolated to the chin and lower lip, worn with or without a mustache. It’s a little bit more artistic than the full beard but not too much so for most men. It also make an excellent summer beard for men who prefer full beards. 

Soul Patch

Named for its early popularity among jazz musicians, the soul patch is a beard that’s isolated to the lower lip. Unless you’re a serious artist, avoid the soul patch. 

Moustaches Alone and Other Beard Styles 

There are a number of other beard styles, as well as the option to have just a moustache, but most men can’t pull it off. If you can go for it, it’ll be distinctive, but if you aren’t sure assume you can’t. 

Wearing a Beard 

When you wear a beard you have more grooming to do. You’ll want to trim and comb your beard frequently, probably every morning, although you certainly don’t need to keep it short. As well, you’ll need to shave just as frequently as if you had no beard, but only enough to keep the edges defined.

You also need to be aware that beards can collect food, beverages, and condensation. So, you need to pay particular attention to hygiene. 


Now you’re ready to try a beard on for proverbial size. Try the styles I talked about and maybe a few others you can think of, particularly ones you see in your own culture. When you find the right one, you’ll look more manly than anyone else around. 

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