Thank you Maria at Housekeeping.com for making this post available to Soho Accessories readers.
For adults under the impression that mustachioed movie stars enjoyed their heyday in the ‘70s, the seemingly overnight appearance of so much highly stylized facial hair is baffling. The mustache trend isn’t restricted to the faces of men, either. From candles shaped like handlebar mustaches to greeting cards and any novelty you can imagine, there’s very little that can’t be emblazoned with a mock-up mustache. When walking down the street feels more like a trip down a dusty alley in the Wild West, the curiosity can be overwhelming. How, after so many years of languishing on the stylish shelf, is this particular trend beginning to proliferate again? To determine the answer to that hairy question, it’s necessary to first understand the trend itself.
Growing a mustache isn’t always an option. When you’re just not blessed with the ability to grow flowing upper-lip locks, missing out on such a hot trend isn’t necessarily a given, thanks to the inventor of the fingerstache. What began as an actual practice and evolved into an online photo-based meme, the fingerstache was the brainchild of Columbus, Ohio tattooist Giovani. Women and sparsely-fringed men have been able to maximize their trend-following potential by resorting to the fingerstache, in which the side of the index finger is mocked up as a mustache to be stretched across the upper lip. Most people go for the humble ink marker fingerstache variety of faux facial hair, but the truly daring have been known to have the meme permanently emblazoned on their phalanges through the indelible art of tattooing.
Breast cancer awareness is promoted through the wearing of all things pink, but until recently there was no such gimmick for the very serious conditions threatening men’s health. If you seem to find a proliferation of facial hair during the month of November, what you’re actually witnessing is activism in action through the growth and maintenance of a mustache. The seemingly silly trend has sparked a new level of awareness surrounding what’s certainly no laughing matter, the tendency of men to neglect their health. With a focus on testicular and prostate cancer screening and encouragement for men everywhere to get educated about their health, Movember is partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Before you laugh off a particularly healthy specimen of a mustache as little more than a passing trend, realize that it may actually be a visible sign of something much more.
The Etsy Takeover
One surefire way to determine the reach of a trend is to peruse the listings on Etsy. The haven of ultra-hip crafters with a do-it-yourself ethic, the self-starting artists who make up this worldwide marketplace seem to have their collective finger on the very pulse of what’s hot. Proof that the mustache has reached a cultural saturation point is the sheer volume of mustache-adorned objects available through Etsy. One search brings up more than 41,000 results, with everything from party invitations to fingernail art bearing the trendy symbol.Social Media Mustaches
There’s no denying the fact that the mustache has reached its peak of mainstream appeal when quickly scrolling through your newsfeed leaves you with the impression that all of your friends have been replaced by the Monopoly mascot. From the fingerstache to the real thing, crumb catchers are ubiquitous in the realm of social networking. Arguably the first facial hair trend to go viral, both online and in real life, the mustache is definitely a part of today’s social media landscape in very real and somewhat puzzling ways.
Understanding the Hipster Ripple Effect To understand what lies behind the mustache love that’s so common these days, it’s essential to first understand the hipster ripple effect. These counter-culture gurus have, over the years, adopted a variety of ironic fashion choices. Intended to be odd rather than attractive, they eventually reach mainstream fashion and, as such, are immediately abandoned by the very hipsters that started the trend. Much like a pebble dropped into a pond causes far-reaching ripples, hipsters lie at the epicenter of the mustache boom and are quickly beginning to abandon their high-maintenance facial hair as the rest of the world adopts the look.
From Burt Reynolds to the modern hipster and beyond, the mustache is an interesting blip on the style radar. With time, it will fade as other trends before it, a fact that’s unfortunate for those who have chosen to tattoo it on an index finger or emblazon it upon their wedding invitations at the peak of the craze.