We were having a discussion in the office this afternoon regarding why, in 2016, do some Corporate environment's expect the clean shaven look to be the standard imagery of acceptability today? It's interesting because a beard as we all know, doesn't detract from ones ability, nor does it stop one from doing well or performing to their highest capabilities. Its clean and hygienic when the right grooming methods are used, just checkout our previous blog ( How to Grow a Beard 101).
Now don't get me wrong, some beards fall into certain classifications and I'm told a line may have to be drawn at times, but like most things history repeats itself. Take the Afro hairstyle of the early seventies, if you were born in that era, that hairstyle was standard procedure for some men and women . The same applies to the quiff hairstyle, if you were Biker of the 50s and 60s, again it was a fashion statement or 'Tribal' in todays language.
Funny enough the beard has an interesting love hate relationship in English history. Stemming from the Kings Knights, valiant and bold who wore there beards as a symbol of honour and virility, commonplace for the noblemen in those days.
However during the Renaissance the hatred of beards was set upon by none other than Henry VIII, who went as far as taxing the wearing of the beloved hairy handsome growth we wear with pride on our faces. It was seen as extremely hypocritical seeing as he wore one all his adult life. Following Henry, Queen Elizabeth and Peter the Great of Russia, continued the enforcement of the beard tax due to a disliking and falling in line with European counterparts respectively.
The 1850s marked a re-awakening of the beards again, this was adopted by the likes of Napoleon III of France and cultural figures such as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx and Giuseppe Verde. In America, Abraham Lincoln set a trend as the post Civil War beard wearing president and his predecessors followed suit.
Fast forwarding to the present day, so what is the real problem with wearing your manly fuzz to the office? What does is represent? After a quick brainstorm this is what we came up with. Rebel, Anti-establishment, Unique, Trendy, Hipster, Maturity, Dominance , Aggression. Are any of these right ??? What we did find that rang true, is some of the best thinkers, business leaders and innovators of our time don the beloved beard.
Undoubtedly there was a rebel in the late Steve Jobs, and most definitely in Sir Richard Branson. Tuning into 'The Apprentice' every week you'll see Lord Sugar in all his dominance laid bare. Not such a familiar name in the UK, public's mouth is the former CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison, oozing a trendy maturity as well as meaning business.
So what does all this mean? What is commonplace here? Does it even matter?
Just one thing to be exact, to be bearded is to be Boss.