An unlikely bit-player in one of summer’s cinematic dramas has been the humble moustache. Or, to be more precise, the face-furniture attached to actor Henry Cavill. This became an issue because extensive reshoots for Justice League overlapped with the filming of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, for which Cavill had been required to grow a moustache (which he was then contractually prohibited from shaving). The realities of stunt-work meant that Cavill couldn’t wear a falsie for M:I, so Warner Bros took the hit and removed the offending ‘tache from his reshoot scenes using CGI (the results of this have not entirely impressed fans).
But with such a high profile role celebrating the elaborate nose-warmer, are we due to see a renaissance in top-lip grooming this season? With the hipster beard possibly reaching the end of its lifecycle, this could be the next follicular frontier. But if we’re going to reclaim the muzzy from 1980s footballers, Latin American dictators and retired Northern Irish paramilitaries, which moustache style should you be going for? Well, in descending order…
The closest to a naturally grown-out shape, the Chevron is a deceptively tricky style to pull off unless your name is Tom Selleck or Ron Swanson. It can balance out big facial features and conveys a certain old-school, ‘eighties dad’, anti-fashion power, but you need a decent thickness of hair and growth to avoid looking like a schoolboy who’s trying to buy a pint.
It works best as part of a generally macho look, so try and put some gym-bulk on before growing this, and perhaps pair it with a heavy, unreconstructed scent for maximum alpha-male impact.
The least showy, but the most easily executed of these styles – a classic workmanlike moustache, paired with a lightly developing beard. A look that suggests you did have a well kept Chevron, but a week or so of fighting crime, defending your property and generally being rugged has let it slip a little. Less eye-catching than a clean-shaven face as there’s a reduced contrast in the skin-and-hair tones, but you do need a decently even stubble growth to make this work.
This moustache style suits dark colouring better as lighter hair can make you look a just scruffy rather than ‘relaxed.’ This is Henry Cavill’s moustache in Mission: Impossible, so expect to see it appearing on your high street imminently (albeit on men who don’t look quite as heroic as Cavill).
The pencil was originally conceived as an elegant, minimalist reaction to the overbearing facial hair of the Victorians. Popularised by Hollywood idols, it only later became shorthand for the more furtive gentleman – and to this day, it does conjure up images of chaps conning lonely widows out of their savings or selling hooky nylons to London’s women during World War II.
This isn’t to say it can’t be revived in a modern context though (take a bow, Jamie Foxx), but be warned that it will require almost daily shaving to maintain its clean lines. If you’ve got small features, it can work well. However, if paired with a scruffier look or long hair, there’s a real risk of getting into ‘amateur sorcerer’ territory (Jack White is a prime offender).
An extremely strong personal statement. Associated with Hulk Hogan, Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, 80s leather ‘clones’ like the guy from the Village People, and amphetamine-addled bass-wielding metal god Lemmy from Motorhead, this is an absolutely no-half-measures moustache style.
Not advised for anyone with a long narrow face as it will give you a certain equine aspect, and it needs to be considered as part of a complete outfit: it will go perfectly with head-to-toe biker leathers or broken-in double denim. Not such a good fit with something you picked up in TK Maxx to wear to the football.
A tricky case to call: on its own merits, a fine moustache style that demonstrates real commitment to growth, grooming and upkeep. But it has unquestionably suffered from association with retro-bores who have tainted it with the whiff of ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ posters, ear-bleeding, irony-laden electro-swing music and Blitz-revival club nights.
It’s adaptable to most face shapes, so if you are going to try out the Handlebar, either contrast it with a simple workwear-inspired outfit, or go for something smart, preppy and Ivy League (or, like it’s most famous exponent, Rollie Fingers, a baseball kit). In short, if your moustache is shouting for attention, then your outfit shouldn’t be.
The absolute big daddy of facefuzz, best exemplified by actor Sam Elliott. A shaggy, grown out, big-beast, perfect for the larger gentleman, anyone with a huge nose or a wide face. It can make you look prematurely old, so think carefully about committing to this style. Be prepared for some gentle ribbing from your less fashion-forward peers, along the lines of ‘Careful you don’t get harpooned, you big fat bastard.’
Also, check that your significant other isn’t going to dump you rather than be seen with someone who looks like they spend a lot of their free time playing Magic: The Gathering and watching The Discovery Channel.
The Anchor Beard
Perhaps the worst facial hair style ever devised — and one that even the patron saint of male grooming, David Beckham, has fallen victim to — a combination of a pointed beard that traces the jawline and peaks in a sort of below-lip soul-patch, sitting below a disembodied moustache.
A statement which hints at long hours arguing on Youtube comment threads about Pick-Up Artistry, in-depth re-watchings of The Matrix, and ownership of at least one sword (or ‘mastery of the blade’ as this kind of helmet would doubtless term it).