JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

The trouble with stubble

Date

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

George can get away with it - you probably can't

George can get away with it - you probably can't

Party season's here again and summer's around the corner. A time, perhaps, when it's OK to turn up for work looking a little bit less groomed than usual? A time when a man's shaving routines can take a backseat to more important ways for a man to spend his morning? (Like sleeping off his hangover or finding his way home.)

No time to shave today, I'm going for the rugged look. The five o'clock shadow at 7.55am look. Big mistake? Quite probably.

It's got to look like it's meant to be there. 

Time was when we were a land of straitlaced, hat-wearing types, where, as one olden-days style dictator put it "it must be stated that all men are well shaved, helped by the efficiency of modern razors, electric or otherwise".

But Australia's a relaxed kind of a place now, where you can wear jeans to work on a Friday, forget about at least one of the shirt, suit, tie and shiny shoes combo and maybe get away with going to work with a couple of days' growth now and again.

So is the unshaven-at-the-office look OK these days? And does it matter what sort of work you do?

"It depends what it looks like,'' says Nicola Barnard, a Melbourne-based image consultant.

''If it's quite even and well-groomed then it may be fine but if it's a bit patchy don't bother. It's got to look like it's meant to be there.''

Barnard says that whether the five-o'clock shadow is OK also depends on the culture of the organisation you work for. Mainstream, corporate and conservative - no. Funky, fashionable and creative - yes.

A recent survey into attitudes toward facial hair - carried out for Nivea - confirms this. The survey found that 48 per cent of Australian men think it is unacceptable for chefs to have facial hair, 37 per cent think police should be clean-shaven and 31 per cent say bankers needed a smooth chin. It's OK for designers (only 13 per cent against) and sportsmen (15 per cent) to sport some stubble.

The survey also found that 40 per cent of  Australian men in full-time work and 42 per cent of those earning more than $100K think they need to  shave Monday to Friday, while letting their facial hair grow on the weekend.

So if you're in the sort of job where you should be shaving every day - ie. the corporate world - then you should keep on shaving every day, even if things seem to get less formal as summer approaches.

More relaxed types - advertising executives, cricketers and journalists - have it easier, thank goodness. But even in less uptight environments, it's better if it looks intended, rather than being just the product of laziness or too much pre-Christmas fun.

No matter what line you're in, it's possibly not the best idea in the world to turn up at the office with a face that screams "I really can't be bothered with anything today".

What about you? Is your work the sort of place where you're shunned if unshaven? Or is it somewhere that welcomes a wide cross-section of facial hair types?

40 comments so far

  • In my experience, the "the five o'clock shadow at 7.55am look" works better for men than it does women.

    Commenter
    Verbal Kint
    Date and time
    November 21, 2012, 5:36PM
    • Very much agreed, Verbal Kint. However, I don't care whether you're an executive or the kid with the mail cart. If you have been partying hard, make an effort and shave. Invest in a quality portable electric job and keep it with your kit. If you've had a hard night, make sure you have a shower and remove the bum fluff from your face. Clean your teeth and pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary.
      Turning up to work hung over or from a night on the tiles during the week at any time of the year is not acceptable. Save the mucking around for your own time.

      Commenter
      Robyn
      Date and time
      November 24, 2012, 12:44PM
    • Not fair. A woman today has every right to look like a man. Penny who?

      Commenter
      siegie
      Date and time
      November 24, 2012, 4:22PM
    • Misogynist!

      Commenter
      J.G.
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      November 25, 2012, 2:44AM
    • @Robyn - That's presumptuous. So in your little world, and unshaven man with a five o'clock shadow can only possible mean a night out on the turps the evening previous? Do you hire your staff based on what they look like and less based on their capability do you? Since when does an unshaven face equate to lower productivity or a lesser skill set? What a load of rubbish.

      Commenter
      RC
      Date and time
      November 26, 2012, 2:28PM
  • I hate shaving, and only do it two or three times a week. Regular shaving needs to go the way of the neck tie.

    Commenter
    Scruffy
    Date and time
    November 24, 2012, 6:29AM
    • Agreed.

      Add to that during the end of Spring for whatever reason my skin seems to decide it's 16 again and ANY shaving seems to aggravate it.

      I think as long as cheeks and lower neck are kept shaved and neat there's no issue with letting the rest of the beard grow a bit longer. That said, I have a fairly thick beard, for blond guys this might not work so well!

      Commenter
      DMB
      Date and time
      November 26, 2012, 2:54PM
  • I work in an industry that dictates the strict grooming standards of its staff. And recently they brought in some stubbled torn jean 'grooming experts' to help us with our grooming. When asked if I had any questions or needed some advice I told the "expert" to bugger off till you learn how to shave and wear clothes that dont have holes in them, designer or not. If you want to look like a teenager who has just stated going through puberty and hasnt got the hang of shaving yet, fine! But dont turn up for work with a half grown poor excuse for laziness. Its like an adult male in their 30's riding on a skateboard, it doesnt work! Grow it on your holidays away from the work place. I love beards but there is a time and place for the unkempt half a$$ed scruffy look.

    Commenter
    anon
    Date and time
    November 24, 2012, 8:25AM
    • whats a matter with a male in there 30"s skateboarding!!!!!!

      Commenter
      tylerdurden667
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      November 25, 2012, 7:00AM
  • With the no shave look, throw in the new look haircuts - hair gelled, non washed look (sorry styled) and you have the complete picture of the scruffy "new male". Oh and don't forget the non pressed clothes look, and oh, those new shoes that turn up at the end after few outings, plus the latest fashion - the leather computer bag.

    What an image!!!!

    Commenter
    Tc
    Date and time
    November 24, 2012, 9:50AM

    More comments

    Make a comment

    You are logged in as [Logout]

    All information entered below may be published.

    Error: Please enter your screen name.

    Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Please enter your comment.

    Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

    Post to

    You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

    Thank you

    Your comment has been submitted for approval.

    Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

    Advertisement
    Featured advertisers
    Executive Style newsletter signup

    Executive Style newsletter signup The latest news delivered to your inbox twice-weekly.

    Sign up now

    Advertisement