November has become one of the more popular months in recent years, and not because of turkey or Black Friday. After an entire month of working to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research in October, men across America have boldly stepped up to the mirror to bring awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. Thus was born the Movember (that’s mustache + November) movement.
Beginning on November first, manly men everywhere begin with a clean face and grow all month. Some guys go all out and don’t shave the face or neck for the entire month, upping the ante by going full “No-Shave November,” and wind up somewhere between baby-faced and ZZ Top.
Men who work in an office more often go for a more controlled mustache. The American Mustache Institute (yes, that’s a real organization) recognizes 13 different styles of mustaches. Here’s a breakdown and famous manly men who have had them.
Few men are manlier than Tom Selleck, and women of all ages will agree to that statement. Wide and thick, this mustache is the ultimate upper-lip display of testosterone. Even though it fell out of favor once the 80s were over, this style still automatically turns you into a BAMF.
Narrow but waxed to long points that curve up, the Dali is making a comeback among the hipster crowd. My bus-tour guide in Chicago was sporting one last spring. I definitely would not recommend this style if you work in a corporation and interact with anyone of importance. The ridiculous factor far outweighs the novelty factor needed to pull this off.
Not to be confused with a Handlebar mustache, the English is cleanly divided at the philtrum (that’s the vertical groove in the middle of the upper lip for you amateurs out there) and the long whiskers are pulled to either side. This one also seems like it would be distracting and get in the way when you’re on the phone. It also makes you look like a 1920s movie villain.
Equally as famous, though not as common as the Chevron, the Handlebar mustache is thick and bushy and uses styling wax to achieve the distinctive curl. It looks less out of place on men over 50, but the classic novelty might just allow you to get away with it at the office depending on how strict your dress code is.
This style involves upper lip whiskers grown very long to drape down around the sides of the mouth. This one is commonly confused with The Horseshoe because it’s rarely as long as that of our pirate friend here. The difference is that the area past the corners of the mouth are shaved. Unless you plan on pillaging some scurvy curs, this one looks pretty ridiculous for everyday wear and you’d be hard pressed to achieve it in a month.
Often confused for the Fu Manchu or Handlebar, this goatee without the chin whiskers is a favorite among country singers and bikers. Manly men like Hulk and Tim McGraw have sported this style for decades. If you can grow it, you can probably get away with it.
This is General Ambrose Burnside, of the Union Army. His Imperial lip sweater is the reason we now have the term “sideburns.” Burnside was a manly man who helped keep this great nation together in a time of great division. You and I will probably never be as manly as General Burnside, but growing an Imperial could bring us close.
Trimmed to be flat on top and angled out on the sides, it’s shaped just like its namesake. This style of mustache is easy to grow, however, I can tell you from experience that terms associated with this style these days might include “creeper” and “porno-stache”. It’s thicker than The Pencil style, but not necessarily as classy. Tread carefully.
The Painter’s Brush
Classy, refined, controlled. This style is thick but short and spans the width of the mouth. Chances are if you grow all month without trimming your lip décor, you’ll overgrow this style, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rock it for a week or two.
Thin, short, and closely trimmed, the Pencil is also a style that you will bypass if you choose to grow all month without grooming your mouthbrow. This style is relatively uncommon these days, but as far as I’m concerned, if you’re dressing in a suit and tie every day, there’s no reason you can’t champion its comeback.
Though Hitler singlehandedly brought about the demise of this style, it wasn’t really taken seriously to begin with. Charlie Chaplin, the greatest comedian of the silent film age, is proof of that. Interestingly, rumor has it that a young Walt Disney grew a Toothbrush in the mid-1920s to look older. That may have contributed to the claims that Ol’ Walt was vehemently anti-Semitic.
If your five-o’clock-shadow shows up by noon, there’s a good chance you’ll achieve something like the Walrus and wind up looking like Teddy Roosevelt, Sam Elliot, Wilford Brimley, Andy Reid or Frank Zappa. Just make sure to be careful when eating and wipe your mouth after you’re finished. Few things will repel the ladies faster than facial hair that’s clearly covered in your last meal.
Donate to Movember and help in the fight against prostate and testicular cancer.