Today, for unclear reasons, the Wall Street Journal ran a helpful, timely piece pondering why, exactly, beards are such a thing. It's a good question, I guess! They have been a prevalent facial styling trend for several years now, with no signs of slowing down.
So, why is that? Well, according to the WSJ, it's because of the recession:
"In the space of a month, a city previously filled with energized, well-suited, clean-shaven men became a ghetto of sleep-deprived, scuff-shoed, wrinkle-suited, unshaven shadows shuffling through the streets in a haze of shock and disbelief [...]Fed chairman Ben Bernanke—who became a totem of hope, or at least the last bastion against the threat of another Great Depression—was bearded. The villain of the piece, Bernie Madoff, was not; appearing at all times clean-shaven and bespoke-suited. Suddenly looking less like a successful banker and more like a man who was up to a challenge on the mean streets wasn't only preferable, it was practically mandatory."
Hmm, I don't know about that. Partially because like all fast-and-loose trend speculation, it's based on minimal anecdotal evidence that ties super conveniently into a pre-determined narrative. But also, because most major trends don't tend to originate from Wall Street banker types. No one thinks those guys are cool. That said, beards are a very big deal these days, and it's worth asking why. After some exhaustive, in-depth research, we've come up with seven possible explanations, none of which have to do with the global economy.