BEARDED: Aren Willingham

Aren dresses the way he wants, despite his favourite accessory. Whether he is feeling trashy, or like a more-modern Tom Sawyer, his wardrobe reads like a costume designer’s theme closet. Some people may scoff at the idea of having “too much fun” with fashion, but Aren explores his inner fisherman with his once cowboy beard and 7 years worth of experience

Name: Aren Willingham

Occupation: Currently I work at Urban Outfitters but I occasionally tour with bands running sound, merch, etc

City: Detroit , MI

Are you a grower or a show-er? Are you the type of guy who has always had a beard, or is your growth a response to a trend?

I’ve had a beard for over seven years! I’ve shaved twice , both times were a mistake! I usually grow a thicker beard from sept-march and keep it trimmed during the warmer months.

Do you keep it neat and clean, or is a little unkempt more your style?

It all depends if I’m having a beard off with friends, but usually I keep it neat and clean even if it’s long.

Does your beard ever factor in to the clothes you choose to wear? Do you like to frame it as your statement, rather than wear bold patterns, graphics and colours to distract from it?

I wear what I beard rarely gets in the way of whatever I wear. In fact I’d say it compliments my outfits. It’s my greatest accessory.

Does facial hair suit everyone? If you weren’t fully bearded, would you sport a ‘stache?

I would say a “full beard” looks good on just about every man. It makes a man look about as manly as possible! But like people, there are all kinds of facial hair and all kinds of faces! Personally I do not look good with just a stache, but I believe a good mustache is so much more work than a beard and I give props to anyone who can rock it!

How would you classify your style?

Oh shoot, I’d say my style lately ranges from classy fisherman to trendy white trash! I’ve always believed that “classic never goes of style,” so I usually find classic looks and make a modern play on them.

What do you think about bearded, less-standardized models on the runways of Yohji Yamamoto, Vivienne Westwood, Walter Van Beirendonck? Can high fashion be showcased in this way?

Oh it so can! There are so many designers who use unconventional Whigs and make-up to take fashion into the unreal/surreal. But full bearded models on the runway can def be a classy looking gimmick to keep the crowd intrigued! But good luck finding enough models committed enough to grow their beards out long enough without losing jobs in the process.

Name one item you will never part with from your wardrobe

I have a “on the road again” flying j t shirt I got from an old girlfriend’s mom when I was in high school ! And it’s my pride and joy!

Any advice to those gents out there who may want to achieve a beard like yours?

You guys can do it, just cowboy up after that first week or so. It will be itchy but it goes away after day 9! After the first month there is a terrible in between time where you just look like you have chubby chipmunk cheeks but give it a few wks and it’ll be brutal in no time!


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