This morning, images surfaced of Adam Brody walking around the Los Angeles set of CHiPs in his signature skinny jeans, button-down shirt, mop of curly brown hair—and one new and surprisingly divisive mustache. As the photographs of the former O.C. heartthrob circulated through the Vogue.com office, an inter-cubicle debate took hold. “I find a mustache off-putting,” said Fashion News Editor Alessandra Codinha, who led the conversation in the anti-whiskers camp. (The subject of beards, however, didn’t raise an eyebrow—save for that of Executive Fashion Editor Jorden Bickham, who called facial hair in general “the ultimate laziness. If I’m expected to shave . . .” she said, trailing off with an implication that equality of the sexes should not stop at grooming rituals.)
But mustaches on their own stirred quite the discussion. The look’s costumey and retro quality incited analogies like “the acid-wash jeans of the face” and comparisons to “a used-car salesman from a Coen brothers movie,” dads, and Saddam Hussein. “I did date a ’70s-loving bike messenger with one in my 20s and he was admittedly really cute,” remembered Beauty Director Catherine Piercy. “But I couldn’t quite take him seriously because I somehow always heard the sound of fake audience sitcom laughter when he entered the room.”
However, the mustache’s throwback element is exactly what intrigues the mustache’s in-office supporters. “It’s embracing a trend from another era without wearing bell-bottoms or Cuban heeled boots, which look bad on men,” said Vogue.com Fashion News Writer Steff Yotka. “It’s hard to pull off [a mustache], so when any contemporary man does, it’s amazingly sexy.” Nearby, Accessories Editor Brooke Ely Danielson chimed in: “I like them in Movember, for what they stand for.” But no one raised the pro-mustache flag higher than Fashion News Writer Liana Satenstein, who promptly responded, “Thick, thin, medium—I love a dude with a mustache. It’s so hot.”
Personal preferences aside, there was a universal understanding that a mustache either works or it doesn’t. “It’s like red lipstick for a woman,” explained Beauty Assistant Jenna Rennert. “You can either pull it off or you can’t.” According to Russell Manley, owner of Brooklyn’s Ludlow Blunt barbershop, there are no hard-and-fast rules for why one mustache might play and another doesn’t. It has little to do with face shape and more to do with the amount of hair you’re able to grow and the way you carry yourself. What’s more, “You have to grow it to know,” explains Manley. He assures that within two weeks you’ll have a gut reaction to whether it looks “cool or creepy”—and if you don’t, your significant other and friends will. One mustache everyone could get on board with? Tom Selleck’s. I, for one, wouldn’t want to see him without it.
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