A 70s mustache is a distinctive style of facial hair popularized in the 1970s by musicians, actors and other celebrities. Notable proponents of the 70s mustache include Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, and George Harrison. The 70s mustache is a heavy, sometimes curved mustache, full but usually kept neatly trimmed. Long regarded as a fashion faux pas, this type of mustache began to make a comeback in the early years of the 21st century.
The 70s mustache developed from the facial hairstyles of earlier generations. In the 1940s, the most common type of mustache was a thin, tightly trimmed line along the upper lip. Movie stars such as Errol Flynn gave this mustache an air of sophistication. In the 1950s, however, the clean-shaven look predominated.
In the 1960s, full beards and mustaches once again became common among young men, especially within the "hippie" counterculture, in which long hair and full beards were common among men. The 70s mustache derived from this look. Whereas the hippie mustache was shaggy and natural, however, the 1970s variation was somewhat tidier. It also often accompanied a clean-shaven or stubbly chin.
The 70s mustache, therefore, was a symbol of masculinity. Along with the characteristic hairy chest of the 70s male sex symbol, it represented a natural, virile image. The trimming of the mustache suggested a greater concern with style than the untrimmed 1960s version did. Actor Burt Reynolds epitomized this vision of 70s masculinity by posing naked for an issue of the US magazine Cosmopolitan in 1972.
The fashion for full mustaches, although most commonly associated with the 1970s, actually persisted well into the 1980s. Tom Selleck, one of the icons of the mustache, developed his characteristic facial hair in the 1970s, but became most famous for wearing it during his run on the television series Magnum, PI, which ran from 1980 to 1988. Similarly, actor Sam Elliott wore his full 70s mustache well into the 1980s and beyond, eventually developing it into his well-known cowboy-style horseshoe mustache.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, however, mustaches once again fell out of favor. The clean-shaven look predominated in mainstream society, with the only really acceptable form of facial hair for young men being a neatly-trimmed goatee. In the 2000s, however, the 70s mustache once again returned to limited prominence. Its initial rise in popularity was associated with the hipster subculture's ironic embrace of fashion choices mocked by mainstream society, but it also benefited from being showcased in television programs such as My Name Is Earl.