The Van Dyke beard style is a simple and stylish type of facial hair currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. This style is named for seventeenth century Flemish artist Anthony Van Dyke who sported the look.
The Van Dyke beard was popular throughout Europe in the seventeenth century, but faded as French styles came into fashion. Anthony Van Dyke not only wore this style of beard, but many of his portrait subjects did as well, including King Charles I of England. For this reason the beard is sometimes referred to as the “Charlie”.
The Van Dyke became a sort of symbol for many royalists in Great Britain who continued to wear the style even after it had gone out of courtly fashion, vowing to do so until the king once again sported facial hair of this particular style. For this reason, it was also sometimes called a “vow beard.”
The Van Dyke beard waxed and waned in popularity through the centuries, at times worn with pride, at other times disparaged. It regained popularity in the United States in the nineteenth century, but was also portrayed by a popular Chicago columnist as being indicative of a man who was “selfish, sinister, and pompous as a peacock.” The style, nevertheless, did seem to appeal to a wide variety of individuals, from the royalty of the United Kingdom to Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. General Custer sported a Van Dyke from time to time, as did another famous military man, Col. Sanders.
How to Grow a Van Dyke Beard Style
A Van Dyke beard is a combination of a goatee with a mustache. To achieve a classic look, it is important to ensure that the cheeks are clean shaven, completely free of facial hair, and the beard is trimmed precisely. Always take special care with maintaining a smooth and precise line on the goatee, although the shape is open to personal interpretation.