With “alt-right” leaders in the White House and the movement growing in popularity, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Hitler moustache is making a comeback. Also known as the toothbrush mustache, the style has been out of fashion for decades due to its association with the mass-murdering Nazi madman, but now it’s being rehabilitated.
“It’s been more than 65 years since World War II ended. The general feeling is that it’s time to put the past behind us,” points out Oscar Huytwill, founder of a male grooming website. “The toothbrush mustache is not only acceptable again, it’s the fastest growing trend since the soul patch. Hip young trendsetters and image-conscious executives alike are sporting what is fast becoming the chic look for 2017.”
The toothbrush moustache was born in the U.S. in the late 19th century and later spread to Germany. Silent film legend Charlie Chaplin was one of its most famous wearers, adopting the style around 1914. Hitler, a huge Chaplin fan, decided to trade in his flowing Kaiser moustache for the look, which the Fuhrer felt would make him appear to the people to be an “everyman,” just like the beloved Little Tramp. Following the despised dictator’s defeat in 1945, the facial hairstyle plummeted from popularity around the world.
Over the years, a handful of celebrities have trotted out the toothbrush mustache, but it’s rarely been well-received. Musician Ron Mael of the rock band Sparks maintained one in the ’70s and ’80s. In 2010, basketball great Michael Jordan appeared in a Hanes underwear commercial with a Hitler moustache and fans were aghast.
“I don’t know what the hell he was thinking and I don’t know what Hanes was thinking,” his friend, fellow basketball star Charles Barkley said at the time. “I mean it’s just stupid, it’s just bad, plain and simple.” Jordan quickly ditched the look. But now, it’s taking America by storm.
“You don’t have to be a neo-Nazi, white nationalist or alt-right to wear a toothbrush moustache,” Huytwill said. “The fashion statement you’re making is really that you are someone who changes with the times. Just as the caveman beard was emblematic of the Stone Age and the porn stache was iconic in the 1970s, the rebooted Hitler mustache perfectly captures the spirit of 2017.”
Chip Bolwren, a 27-year-old, up-and-coming Manhattan marketing exec, says that wearing the postage stamp-shaped whiskers communicates the message that he’s not bound by “old school political correctness,” and is in step with the in crowd.
“I’ve received nothing but compliments from my boss, coworkers and clients,” he revealed. “My girlfriend didn’t like it at first, and that might possibly have something to do with the fact that she’s Jewish, but I know that in time she’ll get used to it.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth