Discussions of fashion sunglasses almost always turn to glamorous models like the Hadid sisters. Rarely do we speak of fashion sunglasses in the same breath as bearded men. And yet, beards have become quite a quandary for people who try to match facial hair and face shape with sunglasses. The beard has thrown a monkey wrench into the classic relationship between the shape of one's face and the style of sunglasses he wears.
Things have been especially troubling over the last 10 years as a result of the no-holds-barred approach to male facial hair. Thanks to a number of athletes who began embracing excruciatingly long beards at the start of the decade, we now have a full-court press on beards, mustaches, and goatees; so much so that there is a plethora of online charts you can look at to determine exactly what kind of facial hair you have.
As for sunglasses, those of us in the business are trying to keep up with the various forms of male beards and how they impact what sunglasses actually look like. It is no longer a matter of just buying a few different varieties of sunglasses in bulk. As a retailer, you now have to be prepared to work with men sporting beards in all shapes and sizes.
The General Beard Rule
The industry has had to come up with some basic guidelines to accommodate the beard phenomenon. As a general rule, you start with the assumption that the beard a man wears contributes to the overall profile the face. So a man with a smaller, round face would suddenly have an elongated face if he wore a long beard that extended below the chin by a few inches.
Another general rule is to pay attention to how well the beard is groomed. Yes, short beards can look unkempt while long beards can be groomed meticulously. How well a man keeps his facial hair partly determines the overall look once sunglasses are added.
Beard Specific Rules
General rules relating to beards and sunglasses are pretty easy to follow. It is when you get into specific kinds of beards the things get a little sticky. Here are some of the rules:
- Generic Beards – A generic beard is one that is not so full as to denote Santa Claus but not so small and sharply defined as to look like it was penciled in. These sorts of beards tend to make the face look more round. Sunglasses with angular frames are the way to go.
- Full Beards – A full beard is one that extends below the chin long enough to hang; it sometimes involves the neck as well. These kinds of beards are best addressed with ovals, teardrops, and aviators. The longer the beard, the more pronounced the oval-shape should be.
- Shaped Beards – The shaped beard is one that is meticulously shaped with a razor to create thin, clean lines all the way around. Experts say that sunglasses with thicker, rounder frames are best for complementing the overall look of this man's face.
- Five O’clock Shadow – Finally is the five o'clock shadow. Here it does not really make any difference. Why? Because this sort of beard makes a man looked unkempt anyway, so does it really matter the style of sunglasses he chooses? We think not.
Someday the fetish with facial hair is going to fade away. Until then, those of us who sell eyewear, whether that means sunglasses in bulk or individual pairs at retail, are going to have to accommodate for different beard styles.