Dating back to 100 B.C, the mutton chop is much more than a cut of meat. Rather, it’s a once-fashionable facial hair style that was a political statement, a business trend, and a must-have for high-class citizens. The mutton chop facial hair style gave way to a new styling of facial hair and even led the way towards coining the term “sideburns”.
Mutton chops still exist today but are significantly less prominent that they’ve been, historically. Mutton chops are worn by few. When they’re grown, however, they are quite impressive. The traditional style of mutton chops has them worn with full facial hair styled in a curved manner on both sides of the face extending into a mustache, which bridges the two sections of facial hair together.
The chin and surrounding bottoms of the two sides of the face are shaved completely, adding a stylistic twist that was sure to raise eyebrows. It’ll probably still raise eyebrows today; mutton chops are seldom seen anymore! Here’s a look at some of the history behind the style and evolution of it, as well as some tips regarding the successful growth of this once-trendy style.
A common misconception with the history of mutton chops is that they were first brought to light by the civil war general Ambrose Burnside. While General Burnside certainly helped bring this extravagant style of facial hair on to the map, he certainly wasn’t the first figure in the United States or World History to don a magnificent pair of chops. In fact, the first pair of visible chops on a historical figure can be traced back much further than the American Civil War. Paintings of
Alexander The Great dating back to 100 B.C show him dawning a magnificent pair of mutton chops. This proves that it has traditionally been a stylistic approach to facial hair coveted by many high-class individuals.
General Ambrose Burnside, a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War brought them to the table in the United States. Although he wasn’t a great general on the field, he was a prominent politician and businessman. The mutton chops he wore become something significant after he served in the war and made political traction in Post-Civil War United States.
Soon after, presidents, businessmen, and other political figures donned mutton chops, some significantly more snazzy than others. This was the initial movement that spurred the widespread wear of the trendy chops. Today, they clearly aren’t as common as they used to be.
With this being said, that doesn’t mean they can’t be worn successfully by folks today! Here are some tips regarding the successful growing and maintenance of mutton chops!
Growing the Chops
The steps to growing this complex and sometimes wild facial hair style aren’t really that complex and wild! It’s quite simple.
- Grow your beard out as much as possible. Try and set goals for yourself! The itch and irritation may be too much to handle at first, which is why a lot of people decide to shave it. If you stick with it, the remaining steps will be infinitely easier!
- Leave plenty of room to work with on your face. This means that if you have goals or boundaries for your mutton chops, always leave facial hair a little beyond those boundaries. If you don’t, you’ll end up with the top half of your chops looking woefully scruffy. It may seem enticing to shave precisely down to where you want them to grow out to, but hold off on doing this for the majority of your beard’s growth period.
- Gradually trim your chops, but don’t have the surrounding areas too much! Let them grow wild! After they’ve grown into your face for a period of time you’ll be able to maintain them much more successfully.
- Find the tools necessary to sculpt and maintain your chops. You’ll need beard oil, beard shampoo, and a trimmer. The trimmer will be for sculpting and maintaining the chops to your desired length. The beard shampoo will be primarily used for itchiness. Sadly, itchiness is inevitable when it comes to growing beards of any length. The finally component to your mutton kit is beard oil. Beard oil is excellent for any type of beard. It’s great for a variety of purposes. The first purpose is for beard growth. The second reason you should consider using beard oil is for added softening of your hair. There’s also evidence that maintenance of your beard with beard oil can prevent beard dandruff, an issue that is, unfortunately, present in a lot of men with beards.
The previous four steps are simple and easy to execute. The main issue you might have with successfully growing a pair of menacing mutton chops is the ability to be patient. With any brand of exotic facial hair design comes a brand of perseverance that not many men possess. The stellar few separate themselves and show it, with facial hair designs like mutton chops.
Eventually, the chop style did fade. It did, however, lead the way towards a style of facial hair that is still common today: sideburns. Sideburns got their name from the guy we mentioned earlier,
General Ambrose Burnside. Folks coined the term “sideburn” from the reversal of his name. As funny as it sounds, mutton chops are essentially a brand of sideburns. They’re sometimes elongated, designed, and grown to be a little more flamboyant than traditional sideburns, but they’re sideburns nonetheless. Today the chop is not very common.
It was at one point, however, and we have many figures in the history of both our world and facial hair to thank for that.
They’re sometimes elongated, designed, and grown to be a little more flamboyant than traditional sideburns, but they’re sideburns nonetheless. Today the chop is not very common. It was at one point, however, and we have many figures in the history of both our world and facial hair to thank for that.
Long live the mutton chops!
Here are some Mutton Chops Styles…