We are in that time of year when the months take on new personas. Currently we are "moshing" our way through Rocktober and soon (very soon in fact) we will be entering Movember.
Movember being that time when gentlemen wager each other on their ability to grow and maintain facial hair. This is in many ways safer than duelling and more socially acceptable than penis measuring. However, in practice, the month becomes less of a show of manliness and more of an awful symbol of the kind of gentleman who drives a Subaru and complains that he can't buy Tui in jugs.
Rather than choose the style of moustache to suit their face shape, like you would do for a hair cut, many just opt for the style known commonly (though incorrectly) as the handlebar. The "handlebar" as most people know it – grown across the top lip and then down the sides of the mouth to the chin with out connecting at the bottom – is actually known as the horseshoe, which makes much more sense.
However, not every man suits a horseshoe. In the same manner not everyone could wear their hair in a Mohican-style due to the shape of their heads. I have at least one friend whose moustache looked significantly better once he removed the vertical portion and wore a "painter's brush" instead. On the other hand, Mike Roseingrave, whose photographs often grace this column, has a horseshoe moustache but suits it very well.
I have a fear that men's grooming has fallen by the wayside with the invention of seven-bladed vibrating mega-razors and the decline in fashion of the moustache. In my current demographic group I may be one of only a small handful that have chosen to wear a moustache without a shred of irony.
John Key recently said that while he supported the charitable side of Movember that he couldn't grow one because he wasn't able to in his current job. This wilfully ignores our heritage from William Fox through George Grey to Richard Seddon. In fact Key has the opportunity to be our first moustachioed PM since William Massey. But sadly I don't believe it will happen.
Moustaches are now seen as humorous additions to the face. But serious wearers still exist.
After much experimentation I have discovered that a chevron-style with a small amount of stubble is the best option for me. Well actually my face is most suited to a horseshoe that attaches to the sideburns via the jaw line, but that makes me look like the sort of gentleman who has a wardrobe full of Megadeth t-shirts.
And it's not just the admiration of your peers that you will receive for wearing a good moustache for your face. The ladies, and certain gentlemen, find a well-groomed moustache irresistible. In fact a well-groomed man from top to toe is hard not to find attractive, by those on the look out.
And now the movement for well-dressed and groomed men is gathering momentum:
It just doesn't seem fair. Women put so much more effort into their appearance. When we go out we blow dry our hair, we put on makeup, we wear pretty clothes and to top that off there's heels. And men put on a David Bowie tee shirt and jeans and, to quote Cher Horowitz, "We're supposed to swoon?"
Even the Suicide Girls want you to dress better (some NSFW ads and stuff).
Flair means making a statement with your clothes. This is often difficult with a suit, as it is designed in a single color scheme. You will need a splash of color to set it off. A pocket square, a tie, a vest, and your socks are the regions that can be utilized. Do this with some class. Donald Duck should never be on a tie…
Polo shirts have a place in this world. Popped collars do not.
I love that quote. I was recently walking with Amy with the collar of my jacket raised to protect my neck from the wind and remarked how the, so-called, "pop-collar douchebags" make such a situation slightly embarrassing; when I noticed that a group of them were walking only a metre or so in front of us. Still they needed to know.
The most urbane and well-dressed man I know, Tom Beard, has organised a number of Chaps' Nights (think Lads' Night but with martinis and cravats) in Wellington. And recently I discovered there is a parallel phenomenon in Auckland (though without the gender specifics). These nights are amazing when you realise that people out on a Saturday night will gawp at you in amazement, simply because you are dressed nicely and are wearing a hat. Ok and maybe a walking stick, a great coat, a waistcoat, and other accoutrements.
But please, if you are taking up a challenge next month, don't just grow a "funny" moustache for a "bit of a laugh" that you and "the wife" will want you to remove on the first of December. Grow something that will actually look good on you, that you might want to keep beyond the 30th and ignore all of the comments from those with a stock standard horseshoe that doesn't suit them. Shaving isn't what makes a man, its how he does it.