Victorian London - Clothing & Fashions - Beards and Moustaches

Clean-shaven faces were uncommon; a pair of "mutton-chop" whiskers was de riguer; but a "pair of mustachios," as they were called, was never seen, save on a cavalry officer, a dancing-master, or a "snob," and the cultivation of a beard was wholly confined to foreigners.*  

*In 1850, when Albert Smith had just returned from his Nile trip and his month at Constantinople, with a flowing beard, he was a candidate for the Garrick Club. It was unofficially notified to him from the committee that his beard was most objectionable. A. S. distinctly refused to be terrorised into shaving, but declared he would have no objection to modify the hirsute adornment after his election. The "beard movement," as it was called, by which we got rid of the imperative necessity for the appalling razor, did not take place until after the Crimean War. It was immensely assisted by an article in Household Words, entitled " Why Shave?"

Edmund Yates, His Recollections and Experiences, 1885
[chapter on 1836-1847]


THE MOUSTACHE MOVEMENT

"MY EYE, TOM. WHAT A 'ORRID BORE IT MUST BE FOR THE HORFICER SWELLS, NOW WE'VE TOOK TO WEARIN' OUR MOOSTARSHERS. THE GALS CAN'T TELL HUS FROM THEM, NOW!"

Punch, Jan.-Jun.1854


A CAUTION DURING THE APPROACHING FESTIVE SEASON
TO YOUNG GENTLEMEN WHO WEAR SHARP-POINTED MOUSTACHES
Pretty Cousin. "WHAT A TIRESOME GREAT AWKWARD BOY YOU ARE ! JUST SEE HOW YOU HAVE SCRATCHED MY CHIN!"
[Young Gentleman apologises amply.

Punch, December 22, 1855


"DE GUSTIBUS, &c."
DINGLE. "That style of Whisker seems to me to give a Wild Beast sort of expression."
   
DANGLE. "Course it does. Exactly what I'm Going in for!"

Punch, November 3, 1860