Mustaches are turning up in lots of places other than faces.
Curlicued facial-hair silhouettes evocative of the Pringles can man are printed on pencils, pillows and pint glasses. Waxed whiskers adorn infant onesies and the covers of stylish greeting cards surrounded by hearts.
And in the case of best friends Clover Cooper and Rayane Thorburn, facial fuzz lines their index fingers. In permanent ink.
"We got the tattoos as a joke for her birthday," says Cooper, a hair stylist in St. Joseph. She and Thorburn are 33. "It did not feel good getting it on this part of the body, that's for sure. But they're worth it because they amuse us. When we're together, we're the biggest nerds, holding our mustachioed fingers above our lips, giggling and laughing our heads off."
Mustache tattoos have become a recent trend, even appealing to those in the corporate world because they're concealed between fingers. Some get two fingers tattooed — one on each hand — for a larger mustache, say a handsome handlebar. Thorburn, a design planner for the gift presentation department at Hallmark, likes how her mustache tattoo can be her secret.
"When someone is having a bad day, I just show them my mustache," Thorburn said. "Luckily, everyone gets a kick out of it."
After Thorburn got her tattoo, she (and we) noticed how they started appearing everywhere.
Fashion: T-shirts, undies, handkerchiefs, socks, tote bags and purses. There are even necklaces with mustache charms women can hold above the upper lip (cuter than growing a real one). And there are winter hats with attached knitted mustaches that fit cheekily above lips.
Home decor: Paper weights, towels, coffee mugs, posters and wooden wall hooks.
Cars: Ornaments for front grilles and rear bumpers.
Why are old-school mustaches suddenly so en vogue? They offer an antidote to this depressing economy, that's for sure, and trend watchers say you'll find lots of humorous decor in 2010. And mustaches have become big as crafting is catching on. Check out Etsy.com, the online marketplace of handmade goods, where more than 1,800 items showcase the 'stache.
"I think people in their 20s and 30s always thought of mustaches as a joke, and nobody had one because their dads, porn stars and Magnum P.I. had them," said Derek Fagerstrom, co-owner of the Curiosity Shoppe and gallery in San Francisco, which also has an online shop of crafts and curios. "Mustaches are iconic of a bygone era, and people smile at their retro vibe."
But now Fagerstrom is seeing interest peak with mustache parties and competitions to raise money for charity. Some young guys are sporting the real deals. Girls just want to have fun with the fake ones.
"Plain and simple, there's a transformation that takes place when you adhere one above your lip," said Marisa Bode, a member of the Kansas City Fake Mustache Club.
Yes, you read that right. Kansas City, Mo., and a handful of other cities worldwide have fake mustache clubs. To join the KC club, potential members create a "mustache name" (Bode's is Lady Shuttlecock) and e-mail pictures of themselves sporting a fake mustache. Enthusiasts keep a stash of 'staches for newcomers.
"Not too long ago, fake mustaches were hard to find," Bode said. "They're lots of places now," including U.S. Toy and gumball machines at movie theaters.
Bode, who is planning nuptial festivities with a fellow Kansas City Fake Mustache Club member, considered fake mustaches for the wedding. For playful portraits, some newlyweds take a group shot of the wedding party and guests in fake mustaches. And don't be surprised to find black licorice mustaches at the candy table at the reception.
Bode knows this much: Their wedding bands, made by Bond Jewels of Kansas City, are inset with silver mustaches so detailed you can see the carefully coiffed hairs.
A stash of mustache stuff — plus a Match the 'Stache quiz:
Pack of 10 cards, $18, www.cafepress.com
Available in sizes 6-12, 12-18 and 18-24 months, $20, www. handsome howard.com
$15 (straws not included), Bon Bon Atelier, 314 Westport Road, 816-756-0855
Tin of 25, $7, www.urbanoutfitters.com
Brown corduroy pillow by Caitlin Krantz, $42, www.krantz
V-neck T, $16, www.cafepress.com/kcfmc
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MUSTACHES BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
Check out the American Mustache Institute, based in St. Louis, home of the world's largest mustache: the Arch. www.americanmustacheinstitute.org
To find out about the next Kansas City Fake Mustache Club event — typically a concert or a gathering at a bar where everyone wears a fake mustache — go to www.kansascityfakemustacheclub.com or call or text the hot line at 816-398-8886 .
(c) 2010, The Kansas City Star.
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.