Kings of Vintage: beards, moustaches and all that’s inbetween Is a moustache a must-have for the vintage man in your life? Are you in love with his ‘lamb chops’, or smitten with his beloved beard? Growing facial hair for us guys can be a bit like joining a club, where a manly sense of classic style is essential. With even ol’ Willy Shakespeare voicing the importance of facial hair, growing a beard or moustache can be an appealing yet daunting prospect for many of us guys. Undeterred, George Walker looks for some vintage inspiration from those that have faced up to the follicle. William Shakespeare once said: “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.” But can I even grow a beard? I couldn’t tell you. So worried am I that the sprouting of facial hair might reveal a patchy growth of lacklustre beardy-ness that I’ve all but given up, which seems a shame. So, is it worth giving into the taunts of good ol’ Willy Shakespeare with an action plan to find your perfect facial hair style? Matt Lodder thinks so. Matt (pictured) is a real vintage enthusiast who describes his style as “1940s gas station attendant on a date.” I bumped into Matt on my travels into the world of men’s retro facial hair (a world of bizarre beard competitions, impeccable grooming standards and gentlemanly style.) Matt told me he originally grew his moustache for Movember, a worldwide charity event for men’s health for which individuals sign up for a month of full-on moustache cultivation. Months later, Matt’s moustache is still going strong. Matt says: “I had had some abortive attempts at growing a moustache in the past, but had never gotten past the irritating three- or four-week stage where moustaches just look terrible on everyone – too long to look neat but too short to do anything with, and inevitably still a little patchy. Growing for Movember – and being sponsored for charity – helped give me the impetus to grow through that phase and get some body and shape.” For keeping your ‘tache in tip-top shape Matt advises using a wax, being particularly fond of Mr. Wax moustache grooming products which are made in London from such ingredients as rum and tea-tree oil. As for grooming tips, Matt tells me: “Comb your ‘tache in the style you prefer even while it’s short, this “trains” the hair and makes more outre styles easier to pull off. To be honest, though, I’m still somewhat of a novice, only having been working on this since November!” I think one of the things that most appeals to me about growing retro-inspired facial hair is the slow process of cultivating a retro-inspired beard. As Matt tells me, the satisfaction of training your moustache into a neat style is an almost forgotten art for younger men. Many men’s fashion magazines have tried to bring the moustache and rugged beards back into fashion over recent months, perhaps hoping to hark back to a firm image of masculinity in uncertain economic times. In fact, just think of how the moustache began – in the armed forces the bigger moustache you had, the higher ranking you were. And this attention to high grooming standards also seems to go hand-in-hand with a confident style of gentlemanly dress. If you don’t dress smart, you end up being at the wrong side of the ‘trustworthiness facial hair scale’. Or in – layman’s terms – you look like a pervert. As Matt says : “Funnily enough, having a moustache has made me more focused on making an effort with what I wear on a day-to-day basis. You just can’t go out in trainers and a T-shirt if you have a handlebar moustache!” Photo credit: Hayley Louisa Brown at Hayleylouisabrown.co.uk Style Tip No.1: Get a good barber The traditional barber has had a bit of a renaissance of late, with men wanting to get back to the time when a trip to the barber was a calming and pampering ritual. One of the best known barbers in the UK is Murdock. Although founded in 2006 by Brendan Murdock, the barbers shops in London’s Shoreditch, Mayfair and iconic department store Liberty really do ooze vintage sophistication. Prices start from £32.50 for ‘The Traditional English Wet Shave’ to the £80 ‘Luxury Full Service’ which includes a haircut, wet shave and a shoe shine! That’s right, a shoe shine.Is it too early to write a Christmas list?… Style Tip No. 2: What suits one face, won’t suit all Just like with a haircut, certain facial hair styles suit certain guys better. A trim moustache usually looks best on those with an oval face, a full beard can give definition to those with rounder faces and handle-bar moustaches suit you guys with a more square shaped face. Of course these are only guidelines, and we come in all shapes an sizes – the main thing is to feel comfortable with the trim you’ve gone for. As shown by the Beatles, there are many retro-looking facial hair styles that can accompany any vintage-loving man wanting some beardy magic. Style Tip No.3: Get the right equipment Enough of electric razors and those disposable razors – if you’re going to do facial hair the vintage way, you need the proper kit. There are lots of place you can still buy traditional shaving kits, including the classic razor, premium brush sets and ultra-moisturising shaving soap bowls. At Traditionalshaving.co.uk they currently have this luxurious set (pictured) for £54.95. Pricey, but think how much an electric shaver and all those disposable heads cost. Sweeney Todd eat-your-heart-out!