Mustaches: Hot or not?
July 27, 2008 11:46 AM   Subscribe

What is the popular public opinion on mustaches?

I'm seriously thinking about growing a mustache. I'm 35 and straight. My dad's had a mustache all his life for the simple reason that, like me, he has a "hang dog" expression. This means that people always mistakenly think I'm unhappy, or upset. A mustache neatly disguises this.

The trouble is that unlike, say, the 1970s, mustaches aren't popular. They might even be indicative of a personality type when appearing on young non-gay men... Or am I wrong?

Guys (of my age or younger) -- what have been your experiences of growing mustaches? Girls -- What are your opinions on mustaches on young(er) men?
posted by deeper red to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (56 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have generally found them odd on guys who aren't my father, unless accompanied by a beard or goatee. But then my boyfriend had to grow a little William Powell mustache a few months back for an acting gig, and I was surprised by how much I adored it.
posted by scody at 11:53 AM on July 27, 2008

33 y/o American female here. A mustache alone seems kind of retro to me and not in a good way. I think a goatee looks good, though, unless you have pudgy cheeks, in which case I think a full beard looks better. I don't know what "personality type" you're referring to. I wouldn't think a guy was gay based only on a mustache. I would assume he'd be less likely to work in a white-collar profession, which is neither a negative or positive for me, just an assumption.
posted by desjardins at 11:54 AM on July 27, 2008

I've haven't seen a moustache in modern times that didn't read as either pedophile, hardass redneck, uncouth slob, or gay tweaker. Are you unable to grow a goatee?
posted by bunnytricks at 11:57 AM on July 27, 2008

Grow one. If you hate it, it'll take just a second to shave it off. No big deal.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:57 AM on July 27, 2008

A well-groomed mustache does indicate something about a man nowadays - it indicates, "I am secure in my self-identity".

Seriously, a finely dressed fellow who happens to sport a 'stache would be hard to confuse with a "hardass redneck, uncouth slob, or gay tweaker."

And BOP is right. If you don't like it, it'll take a few seconds to shave it off.
posted by muddgirl at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2008

I think it has a hipster appeal, which is either a positive or a massive negative depending on your point of view.

If I were a guy, I'd have one in a heartbeat, and I find them terribly attractive on the right person, as long as they're not bushy. I'm a beard fan too but find goatees and any other partial chin fluff repulsive. Seconding the advice to grow one.
posted by carbide at 12:03 PM on July 27, 2008

32 year old guy here. Just about every year around November I grow a beard and then get tired of it and shave it off. In the past, I tried to trim it down to a mustache, but the women that I know REALLY find mustaches to be off-putting. You can usually get away with a beard, but I have only known two men in my life who have been able to pull off mustaches and they are older.
posted by Macduff at 12:04 PM on July 27, 2008

31-year-old beardo, and I think that a moustache, just like every other kind of facial hair, is one of those things where you pretty much have to judge on a case-by-case basis. Post some pictures, or, better yet, ask some trusted friends what they think.
posted by box at 12:13 PM on July 27, 2008

Agreed on the hipster appeal; some of my favorite mustaches are the nontraditional ones. Get creative and try new things. Google some interesting styles... I found this handy guide.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 12:13 PM on July 27, 2008

A well-groomed mustache does indicate something about a man nowadays - it indicates, "I am secure in my self-identity".

This. In my experience, there is no shortage of people with strongly negative knee-jerk reactions to moustaches on young men. Those people have no taste and their opinions should be discounted.

Goatees are for assholes though.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:21 PM on July 27, 2008

As a young lady who appreciates attractive gentleman, I generally find mustaches to be more comedy than come-on. However, I do appreciate the hipster appeal; I know a scene kid with a totally goofy little mustache that cracked me up at first but has grown on me with time.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:24 PM on July 27, 2008

Grow it and see how it looks. Some guys look really good with a mustache, and some look like they have a ferret taped to their lip. The only way to know for sure is to grow one, although if you mostly look like your father and you like how he looks with his, that's a pretty good sign that yours will look good, too.

Some women (and of course men, if you are gay) have very strong feelings about facial hair on men (whether 'staches, beards, goatees, sideburns, or anything else) -- if you are in a relationship now, consult her, not us. If you are single now, there are some women who will not kiss you if you have facial hair, but there are others who will like it. You can't please everyone, but if you are comfortable in your own skin then that will show.

Mustaches have a bunch of connotations, both positive and negative -- gay culture and that whole hyper-masculine cowboy thing; policemen and firemen who are not allowed any other facial hair under departmental regulations; all those 1970s album covers with guys with big shaggy facial hair.

A lot depends on how tightly barbered and clean-cut your mustache is, and how you dress otherwise. Even people who don't like mustaches on principal will sometimes like a really exuberant big droopy job; conversely, it's really hard to pull off one of those extra-short Clark Gable-style mustaches (or worse, one of those ones shaved in on the sides until it starts reminding people of a certain dictator).

So yeah, it's only hair, and unless you have a partner who is strongly opposed, all you have to lose by trying it out is your dignity.
posted by Forktine at 12:24 PM on July 27, 2008

I'm a 31-year-old American guy, and I tend to agree with bunnytricks. It's definitely a blue-collar and/or stuck-in-the-70s and/or creepy-douchebag thing. (Nothing against blue-collar folks, but that might not be the vibe you're going for.)

(Some friends and I were working our way through some old Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes a while ago. A running joke emerged, wherein Riker was a dude in a Camaro, listening to Bad Company cassettes and trying to pick up 15-year-old girls in the Dairy Queen parking lot. Maybe you had to be there, but the point is this: if a mustache can do that to a guy who is second-in-command of a fucking starship and used to bump uglies with Marina Sirtis, imagine what it will do to you.)

Then there's the ironic/hipster mustache, which says "ha ha, look at me, I'm a creepy blue-collar douchebag who's stuck in the 70s". (At 35, you wouldn't be able to pull this off, though—which is fortunate, because it's a bad idea at any age.)

It seems there are some women out there who like them, but the consensus among my circle of female friends is overwhelmingly anti-stache. Like, one-hand-on-the-mace anti-stache.

Don't do it.
posted by greenie2600 at 12:25 PM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

The only person whose opinion really matters regarding facial hair is the person who is kissing your face.
posted by nax at 12:27 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I usually dislike them, but (when well-groomed) they can look good on some people. You might be one of those people! Grow one and ask the opinion of some (preferably lady) friends who aren't afraid to be honest, and abide by what they say.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:28 PM on July 27, 2008

Certainly there is little downside to trying it out, but I'm confused by the posters who think it indicates security in one's self-identity. There's nothing shameful about wanting to conceal how your face looks, but if you were truly secure in your self-identity — and of course none of us are completely, I guess — wouldn't you just ignore the people who think you're miserable or upset when you're not?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:30 PM on July 27, 2008

but the consensus among my circle of female friends is overwhelmingly anti-stache. Like, one-hand-on-the-mace anti-stache.

The funny thing is, women and (and gay men, to some extent) will swear up and down that they hate mustaches until they fall in love with a dude who sports one. Just like any other physical characteristic, it usually turns out to be rather unimportant.
posted by muddgirl at 12:35 PM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Certainly there is little downside to trying it out, but I'm confused by the posters who think it indicates security in one's self-identity.

I made this comment because it's clear that there are cultural connotations to mustaches, no matter who wears one. I believe that a man who wears facial hair (especially if it flatters his face) despite the associated connotations, is a man who knows himself.

It's like women and hats. There's this whole "Kentucky Derby" thing with big hats nowadays. It seems a bit ridiculous, and upper class, etc. etc. Yet, I recently met a woman who can really wear a big hat. There was nothing pretentious about it - she just looked good.
posted by muddgirl at 12:39 PM on July 27, 2008

it indicates, "I am secure in my self-identity".

It's just the opposite. It means "Please notice me. I'm special".

Goatees scream "look how cool I am."
posted by Zambrano at 12:40 PM on July 27, 2008

A well-groomed mustache does indicate something about a man nowadays - it indicates, "I am secure in my self-identity".

So might failing to groom said 'stache, or doing so with a plumber's helper; any of these may also indicate that the person doesn't have a frigging clue. Also, the question remains, what else does it say?

The only person whose opinion really matters regarding facial hair is the person who is kissing your face.

This fails to explain a substantial part of clothing and beauty behavior by those in relationships. Besides, we don't know whether he is in one.

The only safe thing to say is that wearing a mustache will make one stand out more, so maybe it's a remedy for being too much like everyone else.

P.S. I hear the term "porn star mustache" flung around, and not sure whether that's a very specific form or perhaps a broad signal of danger (or delight).
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:44 PM on July 27, 2008

Speaking from the wisdom of a 33-year-old guy who has experimented with many different styles of facial hair, I agree with those above who say "try and see if you like it." Most types of facial hair grow on you after awhile (har har).

I have found, however, there is something about mustaches in particular though that are a real take it or leave it reaction. And, as noted, if you don't like it, it comes off easily and you and your friends can all have a good laugh about it later on.

Ultimately though, you ought be the judge of wether you like rocking the 'stache or not. I typically don't (and the best girlfriend in the world is thankful for that).

Though the first time I did grow one, I felt as if I were indoctrinated into a super cool club.
posted by tip120 at 12:57 PM on July 27, 2008

As a lady, I don't care for mustaches. I tend to think they look either greasy child molester-y or painfully ironic hipster douchey.

That said, I didn't used to be a fan of facial hair at all even a little period. Then my dear boy grew goatee. It really, really helps to balance his face, making his nose look less dominant and his jaw more defined (so I must admit, it kind of hurts my feelings to think that people would see his handsome facial accoutrement and think it screams "look how cool I am" Ah, well.) . He's a whole new, foxier man with the facial hair than without it. So I guess my point is, give it a go. You might get lucky and have one of those faces that looks more attractive and balanced with one. Or you might look like Jason Giambi. Shudder.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:01 PM on July 27, 2008

There is a hipster (I am not meaning this word as an insult) fad for mustaches going around right now. Part of the reason that these young 20something guys can kind of get away with these big retro mustaches is that they're still young & pretty enough that it's obvious that the mustache is just a fun thing. And hey, they're still pretty.

At 35, you're risking confusion -- aiming for hipster or not? But your motivations are quite different, so maybe you're one of those guys who can get away with mustaches.

Have you seen your dad without a mustache? Do you truly agree that he looks better with one? I do know a fair number of guys with beards or mustaches who seem to have taken some insensitive remark about their lip or chin or facial expression, etc. too much to heart when they were younger, and have politely covered the offending aspect of their face with hair ever since, even if it's not really the most flattering look.

So, hey, if you want to try rocking the mustache, grow one. If you hate it or the women you know hate it and you don't want them to hate your face, shave it off. It's just whiskers.
posted by desuetude at 1:10 PM on July 27, 2008

Hmm, when I think 'stache, I think highway trooper, not gay tweaker.

A labmate of mine grew out a mustache (a big beefy Daniel-Day Lewis ala Gangs... and ...Blood) and it looked fine on him.

It'll depend on your face. Baby face? No 'stache.
posted by porpoise at 1:11 PM on July 27, 2008

I think it's worth mentioning that a friend, age 25, has a housemate, age 23, has some over-lip hair she calls his molestache. Sorry.
posted by mdonley at 1:18 PM on July 27, 2008

As a woman around your age, I think a neat beard is more acceptable to me than just a mustache. Some guys do look better with facial hair, and some do not. I'd say grow out a beard first, and wait for the mustache to fully develop.
posted by hooray at 1:18 PM on July 27, 2008

This is front page news in Sweden today (with before and after pictures): news anchor Rikard Palm on SVT "Rapport" came back from his summer holiday with a new mustache. Between the 18.00 and the 19.30 news, he shaved off his mustache, after several complaints from viewers.

"-- It is probably not a good idea to have mustache when you are over 45, says Rikard Palm."

The President of the The Swedish Mustache Club hopes Rikard Palm grows a new mustache.

Have you considered stubble or a short beard?
posted by iviken at 1:23 PM on July 27, 2008

They look best with muttonchops, but at least here in hardass redneck country they are reasonably common and don't seem to upset people too much. I have no idea where this association between pedophilia and moustaches comes from but it makes absolutely no sense to me.
posted by TedW at 1:28 PM on July 27, 2008

Give it a try. Some people look better with facial hair. Just keep it clean and well groomed. My husband grew a beard, at my suggestion, after he started having skin problems caused by shaving. He looks really good with a beard. Some of his co-workers, who had never seen him without one, kept urging him to shave it off. He did. They didn't say a negative word when he grew it back, and he is happily bearded today.
posted by gudrun at 1:29 PM on July 27, 2008

Nth the idea of the beard/goatee versus the 'stache, and playing around to find out what looks good on you (and projects what you'd like to project).

While it shouldn't matter, I have to agree -- it does. I've known guys who upped their attractiveness level amazingly by growing a beard, and I've seen guys who completely changed how they looked by varying their facial hair.

My ex-boyfriend grew a beard -- he looked awesome. He shaved it down to a goatee -- he looked awesome. He shaved it down to a moustache -- he looked so ridiculous that we rolled around laughing, took tons of pictures, and dressed him up in costumes to match. I still have the picture on my cellphone, and I look at it every time I need to chuckle.

Maybe start off with a nice, neat beard and evolve from there?
posted by Gianna at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2008

If we are here not to do what you and I wanna do, and go forever crazy with it, why the hell we are even here?

Ignore the naysayers. A mustache still has the potential for awesome. I'm 19 and trying to grow one. I'll probably fall flat on my face, but at least I'll get some great pictures to show my kids when I'm old and boring (kidding! i'm only kidding!).
posted by theiconoclast31 at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2008

My gut reaction to 'staches is always that they're unsanitary. Right or wrong, in my mind, they have the potential to catch all sorts of gross things coming in and out of the nose and mouth, and the whole thing just gives me the shivers.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2008

This is an easy one.

Are you a porn star in the 70s? Are you a police officer with mirrored shades? Are you kaiser of a 19th century middle European nation? If you answered YES to any of these questions, go ahead and grow the 'stache. If your answer to all three question was NO, don't do it.

Exception: If you are growing a full beard, the moustache is part and parcel.
posted by Justinian at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree with porpoise, 'staches make me think 'cop' more than gay these days. I can only think of one gay man I know with one and it makes him look like a cop.
posted by octothorpe at 2:23 PM on July 27, 2008

This is what you do...grow the mustache....go to the barbershop and trim it well.....Do you look good? If yes...keep the mustache...otherwise do not keep it......

Go to a bar to test it out? having the full goatee will probably help you...but u know what despite all of the responses here...if you can make it work for you nobody will notice that u have a mustache...they will just notice that this is part of you.....
posted by The1andonly at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2008

Both my Dad and my motorcycle mechanic have handlebar mustaches, and they both keep them very nicely groomed.

If I could grow one of these I'd do it in a heartbeat.

To me, this kind of a mustache says I take life lightly and am a fun person.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:44 PM on July 27, 2008

I've grown a full beard out several times and always end up shaving it off for the reasons of sanitation listed above. Plus (and maybe this is just me), the skin under the beard and 'stache tended to dry out and flake in a hurry. You can see where this is going. Out come the clippers and razor. Then a few years pass and I think "maybe this time will be different".

I think the last time I did it, the final straw was looking down into my food and seeing a stray beard hair on the edge of the plate. I didn't even finish eating - it was straight to the bathroom sink to shave. What's been funny is losing the beard and keeping the stache long enough to just see what it looks like. On me, pretty bad, and it doesn't matter if I did a Fu Manchu or brought it all the way up to near-Hitler shortness.

YMMV, of course. The bummer is waiting for it to come in - you have to go through that scuzzy intermediate phase. My wife tends to prefer me clean-shaven but tolerates my semi-regular forays into mountain man territory.
posted by jquinby at 2:50 PM on July 27, 2008

I think there are (and for that matter were, even in the 70s) very few men who look better with a mustache. Freddy Mercury. Tom Selleck. Maybe Burt Reynolds. For those men, it makes them look more masculine.

For everyone else it looks horrid. Perhaps you're an exception. I know when I grew a mo experimentally, it looked like Magnum, but not in a good way.

Tip: Grow a full beard. Then shave back to the mustache. The growing-in phase of a beard looks a lot better than the growing-in phase of a mo.
posted by rodgerd at 2:55 PM on July 27, 2008

(I will add to the list of mos that look good: David Niven, maybe James Hetfield)
posted by rodgerd at 2:56 PM on July 27, 2008

in my mind, they have the potential to catch all sorts of gross things coming in and out of the nose and mouth, and the whole thing just gives me the shivers.

The person I like to kiss (who I encouraged to grow facial hair because I like it generally) just shaved off the 'stache/soul patch part of the beard. I was surprised because 1) it looks quite handsome (I dated another guy with a similar beard once and it just sent the wrong message somehow) and 2) the lack of moustache made it crystal clear how much the moustache had been the prickly less-than-awesome part of the previous facial hair arrangement.

So, I'm not totally sure how this plays into your grooming choices and I don't personally think that moustaches are unsanitary, but it's smoother kissing without one and this is me speaking as a facial hair fan. Around here if you have a moustache you are a fireman, period.
posted by jessamyn at 3:07 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Depends on what kind of chin you have. I went for the moustache/goatee combo for a while, then shaved off the goatee once the moustache got to the desired mass, and I looked ridiculous (whereas all four of my brothers look great with a moustache). So I shaved the lot and grew the moustache/goatee combo back and then ditched the moustache part and now, for better or for worse, the missus says I look like James Hetfield (whereas I'd prefer to look like Jason Newstead).

Anyway, yes, it's all in the chin my friend. This might sound dumb but see if you can secure a fake moustache from a costume or novelty shop and wear it around the house for a while, see how it suits.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:53 PM on July 27, 2008

Wait... or were you talking about these types of moustaches?

If you're follicularly able, go for it!
posted by porpoise at 3:53 PM on July 27, 2008

If you decide to do it, just go ahead and start dreaming up comebacks now. You'll need something cute to say to people who are genuinely curious about why you grew a 'stache, sardonic for those who tease you about it, and succinctly subject-changing for those who want to go on and on about it. For some reason, people get REALLY TORQUED UP about other people's hair/facial hair choices, even when it doesn't affect them at all.
posted by desuetude at 4:02 PM on July 27, 2008

Tip: Grow a full beard. Then shave back to the mustache. The growing-in phase of a beard looks a lot better than the growing-in phase of a mo.

Also, before you shave, can't you more easily visualize the result of having just a mustache by covering the beard?

Ah, hell. Why not clip an old sweater, apply the clippings to your lip, and see how it looks?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:13 PM on July 27, 2008

I'm 23, live in a college town, and wear a mustache. I am not a hipster by anyone's standards that I know. If I had asked anyone before I'd done it I am almost certain that female response would have been 100% negative, but everyone seems to like it. It's not large, bushy, or eccentric. It's just long enough that it looks solid.

Don't bother to think of "comebacks." Why would you have to justify your facial hair to anyone? My answer is, "why not?"

No goatees. They make you look fat and simply aren't in style.

That being said, I think I'm gonna shave the stache, but only because I recently switched to an old-fashioned safety razor and it's so much better that I want more shaving real-estate.
posted by cmoj at 4:56 PM on July 27, 2008

I say just try it out. Really, as BitterOldPunk said, it only takes a few seconds to get rid of if you don't like the way it looks. I'm 28, now, and I've had one since I was 15, and it looks damned fine on me. Without it, I look like I'm 15 again.

Plus, you can do fun things with a mustache. Right now, I've grown the ends out so that I can sculpt an impressive, Dali-esque handlebar-type situation.

Beards, on the other hand ... it's tough to wear a beard well.
And I've been putting off shaving it for oh-so-long ... blech.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:25 PM on July 27, 2008

Are you at all swarthy? Most of the guys I see around here with 'staches are North African or Middle Eastern. Under some circs I suppose this might get the wrong sort of attention, depending where you live and who you deal with.
posted by zadcat at 5:26 PM on July 27, 2008

A mustache at your age (as opposed to on a 20-something) has the potential to prematurely age your appearance.

They're also creepy. We still call them "molester mustaches" in these parts (because they only belong on cops, gay guys....or really, really creepy hetero dudes who are not cops). In addition to some of the class or sexual orientation stereotypes, there's these (unflattering) connotations as well:

--You're still thinking it looks as awesome on you as it did in 1985, and you're still hitting on girls half your age (you know, like the same girls you were dating in 1985, when you were still in your 20s);

--You're a biker (Harley, not recumbent) and you brag about the purpose and function of the 'stache--in nasty, crude terms--in the bedroom;

--Wilford Brimley is your idea of a masculine icon

Don't do it, man. If anything, I think it would give you more of a hang-dog expression. Go for the full beard.
posted by availablelight at 5:30 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I had a cowboy-style (Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men) with the under-lip for the last three months or so, but I got rid of it a couple weeks back because (a) it made me look older, and I'm old enough that I hate that; (b) it itched. Do not underestimate the damnable itching, particularly if your hair is at all curly and therefore prone to curve and tickle. I plan to grow it again when my hair turns grey, Sam Elliott or Donald Sutherland style. It does make for a certain dourness of expression, but I'm OK with that. :)

Disregard the wanker chorus. They have an astonishing variety of opinions on what they think is and isn't "creepy"--one of their favorite words, do a search for it some time--and they present all of those opinions as though they were objective, unquestionable, universal fact. Whether your mustache looks good to other people is going to greatly depend on those other peoples' preferences which vary widely, your own basic facial structure, and your specific style of mustache. Without a photo, no-one can really tell you with any fair assessment of whether or not they will like it, let alone what "most people" will think.

That said, it will probably look pretty scrappy for at least a month or two. (Unless you're one of those men who shave in the morning and have five-o'clock shadow by lunchtime.) The upper hairs have to grow down to cover the lower hairs to make a full mustache; unless your hair is really dark, or really thick, your lip will still be visible through it. Because hairs grow at an uneven rate, you'll want to get a small pair of scissors to keep it trimmed. Finally, a fine-toothed comb will help keep it neat and clean.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:31 PM on July 27, 2008

I just came here to predict that mustaches are going to come way, way back this decade, due in large part to the character played by Grant Show on Swingtown. That mustache (which is real, btw, and not done through the makeup or props department) is so badass that it could seduce someone from three blocks away.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:00 PM on July 27, 2008

Late to the game, but..

23 y/o female. I am crazy about full beards. I would expect way more upkeep from someone with just a mustache, mostly because it gets out of control very easily and will interfere with makeouts. I can give a full beard guy a break because, well, it's a full beard.

Mustaches really remind me of my 50-year-old uncle disco dancing to "Love Train" at his brother's wedding. Though I guess I'd want to strike up a conversation with a guy with a waxed mustache. All handlebar-like and whatnot.
posted by giraffe at 7:05 PM on July 27, 2008

What do you care what other people think? To hell with them. Do what you want.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:42 PM on July 27, 2008

Take a look at this chap and tell me that is not one cool timeless guy enhanced by facial hair. Try it, if you don't like it at least you can shave it all off in a matter of minutes.
posted by saturnine at 6:00 AM on July 28, 2008

I´m female, and I don´t generally hold nor hear negative opinions toward mustaches. In some ways I like them, as I have a bit of mild face blindness and having a mustache makes a man much more memorable and thus easier for me to find attractive, although I don´t consciously select for this and in fact have never considered this factor before today.

It is true that many women, perhaps many women that you know, don´t like mustaches.

Are you single?

There are probably women you encounter, perhaps in the pool of women you know or perhaps not, who would feel more attracted to you with a mustache. Even if this a small number of women, they will likely be different women than you would otherwise meet. If you are surrounded by mustache-less men, there will be a segment of the female population who is much more attracted to you than other men present.

Additionally, you may find that women who are attracted to you with the ´stach have different qualities than women who are attracted to you without the ´stach.

I suggest you try out several different shapes of mustache and observe the results. Pay attention to how the mustache fits in with clothing styles, some mustaches that look dapper, handsome, or ruggedly masculine with some clothing styles look silly with others. Select a mustache that fits in with the way you generally present yourself.

Prevalence of mustaches also seems to bear some relation to ethnicity, as well as affecting how the mustache is perceived. If you have a ¨type¨ of a particular ethnicity that you wish to appeal to, take this into account, although you should still rely on experimental verification.
posted by yohko at 10:26 AM on July 28, 2008

The Sparks have good advice.

Grow out the full beard, then trim down. I happen to not look good with just a moustache (my hair actually grows in kind of weird thin archipelagos from my top lip down, and without the cheek hair to kind of camouflage that, it looks weird), but plenty of dudes I know do. I'd advise you to err on the side of robustness, as a trimmed moustache can look overly fussy, but that might just be a personal preference (I know my dad looked far sillier without the beard to balance the lip scrub).

Likely, it'll take about a month to get a full mountain-man beard going, and you can grab a trimmer and move down from that pretty easily.

Other advice: While you're growing the beard in, make sure to trim the neck. "Neckbeard" is a term of mockery for a reason—the only reason to grow one is religious mandate. From there, try trimming back the lower cheeks, on the off chance that you're one of those few guys who can really rock a Chester A. Arthur look. If things are looking particularly good, feel free to take that excess chin hair off and roll with the biggest sideburn/moustache combo you can achieve. Otherwise, the safer choice is to retreat to a goatee, realize that it looks stupid (like the vast, vast, vast majority of goatees), then go down to the moustache. Be careful around the trails, as accidentally clipping them can drastically curtail your facial choices.

Then, ideally using a moustache trimmer attachment, move down to just the moustache you'd like. Further advice—like many haircuts, the day of, and sometimes day after, a trim from beard to moustache, is characterized by poofy hair. You may want to wait a day or too before you decide whether or not you're going to keep it, once you can be more sure of what it will look like day to day.
posted by klangklangston at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2008

I grew what I called a "Doyle" (think Dwight Yoakam in "Slingblade") for a theme party. The first day people laughed, the second day people smiled, but when I cut it off people were genuinely disappointed.

Mustaches are like hats, the secret is to wear them like you're supposed to be wearing one, then it looks great.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:58 AM on July 28, 2008

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