Monday, May 15, 2006

First beards, now mustaches return

For some, they never went away

By Mekeisha Madden Toby
The Detroit News

Someone alert the makers of Lucky Tiger mustache wax. The fashion din says men's hairy upper lips are hot again.

"I'm getting a lot of mustache questions because somebody said they're back," said actor Tom Selleck.

For some, the question isn't whether they're back, but whether they ever went away.

"Were mustaches ever cold?" asks Tom Conlon, senior editor at FHM. The men's magazine recently honored talking-head Geraldo Rivera with an award for his iconic "dead hamster" 'stache.

"They were lukewarm for a little while, but like all fashion, mustaches are cyclical."

Surely, the underground Internet interest in faux-cool action hero Chuck Norris and talks of a "Magnum P.I." movie also have influenced the furry-mouth fury.

And while Rivera, Selleck and Norris are among those celebrities who laid the groundwork with their facial shrubbery, mustachios younger than 40 are especially cool dudes right now--or at least that's what trend watchers are saying.

"Geraldo and Tom Selleck are like those guys who never stopped wearing bell bottoms," Conlon said. "Now you have young guys looking at them and saying, `That looks pretty cool.'"

Actors such as Jason Lee, 36, who fronts a full-bodied cookie-duster for his leading role on the NBC sitcom "My Name is Earl," can be blamed or credited--depending on how you feel about the walrus look--for bringing these nouveaux mustaches home for a new generation of men.

Josh Hartnett, 27, star of the flick "Lucky Number Slevin," also has been spotted sporting a narrow Errol Flynn version.

"Guys don't have very many ways to express themselves," said Stan Williams, fashion and grooming director at Maxim magazine. "Facial hair is equated with masculinity, and men's fashion is very masculine right now. They also make younger guys look older."

As for Selleck, he may not be sure whether the buzz on the return of the 'stache is on point--"I don't know," he said, "I don't rate mustaches"--but he does consider his own disposable, fashionable or not.

"I'm kinda sick of looking at myself," he said. "I have one at the moment, but I'll prostitute myself and shave it off in an instant if somebody wants me to work on something good."

Easy elimination is what makes this trend a practical one to try, Williams says.

"Mustaches are great because you can try it and if it doesn't work out, you can always shave it off," he said.

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