Wearing the Ironic Beard

Hipsters have made everything ironic fashionable and have found a way to make everything ironic. And after cornering the market on shaggy hair and handlebar moustaches, they have made claim to the ironic beard.

What is the ironic beard?

Think of a clean-cut man dressed in tailored clothing – now add an unruly beard. Celebrities who have made this famous include comedian Zach Galifianakis of The Hangover:
Zach Galifianakis ironic beard.

And actor Joaquin Phoenix during his rogue-actor-turned-rapper phase:

What the ironic beard is NOT

The key to the ironic beard is that you are combining the conventional with the unexpected. What makes the beards of Galifianakis and Phoenix work is that both men are soft-spoken, mild-mannered, and well-dressed – yet sport a tangle of unruly facial hair.

It is not just the type or the length of beard that matters, but rather the combination of the beard and the man.

Some examples of beards that may seem to fall into this category, but upon closer inspection of the wearer do not, include:

ZZ Top. Their beards were earnest. And cheesy. Fabulous 80s hard rock cheese.
ZZ Top beards style.

Mel Gibson. His beard was just as crazy as he was. Nothing unexpected there.

How to wear your own ironic beard

First, you need to abandon your trimmers. An ironic beard does not care what others think of it, nor does it care about staying neatly within the lines. If certain tufts curl out of place like tiny little offshoots of a tree trunk, all the better. This beard is not orderly. It is not tidy.

Next, grow it long and proud. But not too long. The key to an ironic beard is the same as the shaggy haircut: It must be carefully crafted to assume an air of carelessness. Once your beard reaches a certain length – usually about halfway down your neck – you should trim it haphazardly to keep it in line without rounding off the edges too neatly. Hack away at random spots for a general shortening while still maintaining your careful air of rebellion.

Finally, remember that your beard is a part of an overall look. To really get the full effect, you should pair your beard with a button-up shirt – buttoned up all the way to the top button. Perhaps, you could pair that with a sweater vest. Or you could pull on a pithy graphic tee. To really add the finishing touches, we would also suggest slicking down your hair for a glossed over look. Think Weezer cross with Grizzly Adams and you’ve got it!

About the Author:
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online universities, and what online degrees mean in an increasingly technological world. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


  1. Eli R
  2. Jacob Robert
    • Beardy McBeardyton

Leave a Reply