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Hitler and His Impact on Fashion

Hitler's father Alois Hitler was an example of men's fashions prior to World War I when he sported a typical full moustache (pictured on the right).

Everyone knows Hitler by his dorky greasy hair, parted on the side, but mostly by the little moustache we've all come to think of as denoting someone of an evil nature.

But what we don't know is that before World War I, Adolf Hitler himself wore a full moustache as was fashionable at the time, possibly following the example of his father.

Adolf Hitler with his
original moustache

It was only during the first world war when he was a private, that Adolf Hitler trimmed his moustache to the recognisable one we know today, after he was commanded to do so by a Superior Officer. The logic behind the smaller moustache was that it would enable him to more easily fit on a gas mask should there be an attack. The smaller moustache become popular with the lower classes, perhaps as a rebellion to those in the upper classes who favoured the fuller moustache.

Hitler in the early 1920s

Hitler's moustache, more commonly known as the toothbrush moustache, has remained a controversial fashion piece, though there are some who still prefer the symmetry and neatness of the style, eg the former Ecuadorian President Abdalá Bucaram wore one in more recent times.

Charlie Chaplin became famous for his mimicry of Hitler and he continued to wear the shorter style on camera. The Irish writer James Joyce also started wearing the style in the 1920s and continued to do so until his death.

Ultimately Hitler's impact on fashion is that we are unlikely to ever see the toothbrush moustache gain a resurgence in fashion history, because too many people associate the look with Hitler and with evil.

In a way we can be thankful that Hitler didn't continue wearing the more full moustache as was favoured during World War I, because if he had, today we might have come to associate the fuller moustache with Hitler rather than the smaller, toothbrush style. 

The impact on fashion during the 1960s and 70s would have been that hippy guys would have had to aspire to either enormous handlebar moustaches, a pencil moustache or the toothbrush moustache, all of which would have looked just plain silly with a full beard and/or a hippy headband.

tags:fashion, mustache,fuller,Chaplin,