Mutton chop beards are one of the oldest and most versatile beard styles to date, and you’d be shocked by how many ways you can rock this look. Whether you prefer minimalism or a fully-bearded look, you’ll have no problem finding a style that works for you.
What Are Mutton Chops?
Mutton chop beards are easy to recognize by the long, full sideburns that run down the cheeks. These sideburns may or may not have a connection to your hairline, chin, or mouth. Over the last two centuries, these styles have come and gone in popularity.
Still, now and then, famous figures such as Elvis Presley and the Wolverine have given rise to a comeback. Mutton chops are a great way to rock a unique look that lets you stand out from a sea of otherwise simple beards and neatly trimmed sideburns.
There are a few requirements facial hair should meet to fall into the mutton chop category, although exceptions can be made in each case. In general, facial hair should:
- Run down the side of your face and cheeks
- Meet at or above your upper lip
- Not appear on your chin
There aren’t many parameters for growing a solid set of mutton chops. However, unless you already have a healthy beard that’s grown for a month or more, you won’t be able to achieve a mutton chop beard quickly.
30 Mutton Chops Ideas to Try in 2022
Here are some fun options if you want to try your hand at mutton chops. There are classic cuts and modern twists to choose from, so you won’t have trouble finding one that works perfectly for you.
1. Friendly Mutton Chops
Called “friendly” because the two sides join together over the top lip, the friendly mutton chop is the closest to the classic look. It calls for a slightly more trimmed look instead of the bushier look of older styles.
2. Sharp Angles
This example takes the classic chop and gives it a sleek and discreet look. Instead of letting your facial hair grow in thick, simply trim it up after a few days’ worth of growth has come in. Then, give yourself a sharp, angular cut that’ll do great things for your cheekbones.
3. Keep It Low
You can scrap the idea of sideburns if you’d rather keep your beard hair on your chin. This style gives you thick growth on your lower cheeks and upper lip, which leaves just a bit of scruff on and beneath your chin.
4. Un-friendly Mutton Chops
If a perfect mustache makes a set of chops friendly, then the absence of one is precisely the opposite. You can grow your sideburns in as you usually would for mutton chops, but instead of neatly trimming your mustache, simply remove it entirely.
5. The Disconnect
If you love the idea of mutton chops but aren’t crazy about having so much hair on your face, a disconnected style will be perfect. It includes the classic chop shape on the sides and perfectly-shaped mustache, but with a patch of bare skin in between.
6. Let It Grow
If you want your beard to grow wild and free, consider a full and fluffy style for your mutton chops. This one will keep you warm in the winter and help you stand out no matter where you go. It’s also perfect if you like to idly twirl your mustache while you think.
7. Neat and Clean
If the friendly mutton chop style is too long, but you still love the shape, try out a thinned-down version. This style maintains the classic shape but without the thickness of some of the other types. As an extra touch, you can add a goatee on your chin.
8. Chops With a Patch
Undecided on whether you want to go full-chop or keep your current beard? Then this style will be perfect. Not only can you have the bold shape of the mutton chops, but you can keep a bit of the soul patch on your chin, too.
9. Smooth Lines
This neatly-trimmed, short version is excellent if you have full cheeks or don’t want to have too much hair on your face. It keeps with the classic style but provides narrower patches of hair on the cheeks. It’s also perfect if you want to be a bit daring.
10. Nearly There
Not quite committed to a full beard of any sort? No biggie. Give a short style a try. At barely more than stubble-length, it’s an excellent choice for easing your way into the waters for something bigger.
If you want to check all of the stand-out boxes, then a bushy mutton chop beard combined with a flowing mullet is just what you need. Just be forewarned: this style will take some time to achieve due to how long your hair and sideburns will need to grow.
If bold is your middle name, then long, curly mutton chops will suit you perfectly. Simply keep your upper lip and chin clean-shaven, and let your sideburns grow. Once they get long, use a comb to fluff them up.
13. Get Connected
Although the classic mutton chops don’t connect under your chin, you can try a connected variation if you want a bit more coverage on your chin. It’s a great way to have the best of both worlds.
For this style, simply trim up the hair around your jaw as you usually would for mutton chops. Then, shave off everything on your chin, above your lip, and on the inner sides of the chops. The result will be this unique J-shape that will make you stand out no matter where you go.
15. Be Subtle
This chop style will be a great choice if you have a narrow face or want to add some definition to your jaw. It won’t overwhelm your face, but it’ll highlight just the right features to make you look both distinguished and handsome.
16. Go Retro
This style’s thin, angular shape has a distinctly 70s look that never seems to go out of style. It works great on all face shapes, but it’s ideal if you want more definition on your jaw.
To achieve this look, all you have to do is thin down your chops on the sides to outer edges, but leave the mustache as you usually would.
17. Neat and Messy Sideburns
A neat yet messy style offers scruffy sideburns that still manage to have a great shape, giving them a more effortless look. Simply grow out your chops in the standard fashion, then angle the lower part to your liking.
18. Bushy ‘Burns
If you want to avoid a lot of facial hair but can’t seem to resist the idea of mutton chops, this bushy sideburn style similar to what Teddy Roosevelt used to wear will be perfect. It’s simple to maintain and doesn’t require a lot of effort to grow.
19. Combine With a Goatee
Can’t seem to part with your goatee? Not to worry. Trim up some fun, mutton-style sideburns, then add in a slick goatee for some added fun.
20. Smooth and Straighten
If sleek is your goal, then you should consider a smooth, straight style. It combines slicked hair with the smoothness of a well-groomed beard. You’ll need to work some product in for this one, but it’ll be worth it.
Mutton chops usually follow the shape of your hairline, but sometimes your beard will have a mind of its own. If that’s the case, just go with the flow and let your chops grow in a bit patchy.
22. Channel the King
Looking for something fun? Take a page from the book of every Elvis impersonator out there by pairing your mutton chops with a perfectly coiffed hairstyle. You’ll need a lot of product for your hair in this one, but the results will be great.
23. Almost There
This style offers a well-shaped mustache and sideburns with mutton chops that almost connect under the chin. The result is a slightly unfinished look that’s sure to turn heads.
24. Long on the Chin
If you’re going for a connected look, you can choose one that offers a bit more length on the chin. It’s simple to grow, too. All you have to do is change up your trimmer sizes to keep your sideburns on the shorter side while the hair on your jaw and chin stays long.
25. Long and Short
This option is a bit more subtle than the others, but still packs a bold statement. It’s perfect if you want to let your mustache be the stand-out part of your facial hair. Simply keep your sideburns trimmed relatively short, and let your mustache stay long.
26. Go Long
Growing a pair of mutton chops will be a nice added touch if you have chin-length hair. You don’t have to do much in terms of upkeep, and the chops will look great peeking out from behind your hair.
If you’re going thin on top, why not add a bit of fluff to your beard? A pair of fluffy mutton chops that blend seamlessly into your hairline will give you a fun, distinguished look.
28. Chops With a Bouffant
A thick, perfect bouffant should be paired with an equally distinguished beard. You can give this style a try by narrowing your sideburns and shaping up your beard so it follows your jawline and meets under your chin.
29. Around the Chin
This style is a bit of a variant of the mutton chops. It takes the classic handlebar mustache and wraps it around the lower jaw, leaving your chin cleanly shaven.
30. Live in Color
And for some extra fun, why not add a dash of color to your facial hair? The style shown here gives you cleanly-styled chops, with a mostly-bare chin and a thin mustache on top.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few things to consider when deciding if mutton chops are the style change you need.
How long should I let my facial hair grow if I want to grow mutton chops?
It’s best to let your hair grow for a good 1-2 months before trimming up your mutton chops. However, if you’re going for one of the sleeker styles mentioned above, you can start trimming and shaping much sooner.
What tools do I need to create mutton chops?
If you already have a beard or mustache, you probably have the right tools at hand. A fixed-length comb with various attachments will be all you need. If you want a clean-shaven look, simply use your razor.
Are mutton chops popular?
Yes. Mutton chops, along with beards, in general, have made a huge comeback in recent years. Although, it’s probably safe to say they never truly went out of style.
Who invented the mutton chops?
Mutton chops gained popularity in the 19th century when Union General Ambrose Burnside grew a full and hearty beard that covered his cheeks and met at his mustache. General Burnside’s style evolved into the modern sideburn and Mutton Chop styles.
What’s the difference between sideburns and mutton chops?
The main difference between sideburns and mutton chops is that sideburns run down the side of the face. In contrast, mutton chops typically run across the cheek, too. But as you can see from the examples listed here, there are many variations for both.
What’s Your Favorite Style of Mutton Chops?
Mutton chops may not be for everyone, but there’s enough variety that it’s unlikely you won’t be able to find a style that suits your personality. And at the end of the day, it’s just facial hair. So if you grow out your chops and decide they aren’t for you, all you have to do is shave them off and try something new.