The Rise and Fall of the Lumbersexual - Daily Grind

The Rise and Fall of the Lumbersexual

From the lush green forests of Portland, Oregon to the hot, dry oil fields of Midland, Texas and everywhere in between, the rise and fall of the Lumbersexual was seen coast to coast. Beginning in 2014 blog after blog featured the new term until it's inevitable decline in 2018.

What is a Lumbersexual?

The term "Lumbersexual" or as I like to call it "Lumberjack Chic" has been used over the years to describe a man whose style, wardrobe, and overall appearance is reminiscent of the rugged stereotype of the lumberjack, but more groomed. These men may look rugged at first glance but you'd be hard pressed to find a callus or speck of beardruff in the bunch.

The Rise and Fall of the Lumbersexual Poster

The term took off as a positive in the fashion scene but quickly took on a more negative meaning when people began using it as a term to describe men who wanted to embrace the lumberjack aesthetic (plenty of plaid, flannel, denim, and work boots) but never chopped down a tree in their life. In simpler terms,

Hipster + Lumberjack + Metrosexual = Lumbersexual.

My neighbor is a lumberjack & he told me that he's cut down over 12,000 trees.
When I asked how he managed to keep count, he replied, "I keep a log"

What is a Hipster?

Wikipedia describes the current term "hipster" as an often used pejorative for someone who is seen as pretentious or overly concerned with appearing trendy.

It's always easy to spot a hipster by their stereotypical fashion choices which include vintage clothes, alternative fashion, or a mixture of different fashions, often including skinny jeans, plaid shirts, knit beanies, often sporting a well groomed beard or a deliberate attention-grabbing moustache, and thick-rimmed glasses.

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This subculture of men and women usually in their 20's and 30's can often be found in your local coffee shop, record store, Subaru dealership or any indie / alternative rock concert.

Hipster men's fashion

What is a Lumberjack?

Wikipedia defines Lumberjacks as mostly North American workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees. The term usually refers to loggers in the era when trees were cut using hand tools and dragged by oxen to rivers.

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A true male lumberjack is as rugged and masculine as you can get. Working long hours in rough terrain and often awful weather, these men were hardened by this extremely dangerous job. It's no surprise men and even women from Odessa, Texas to Manhattan, New York want to replicate this classic look.

Vintage photo of lumberjacks in black and white

What is a Metrosexual?

Oxford Language defines the term "metrosexual" as a young, urban, well groomed, heterosexual male with an interest in fashion, appearance, and a refined sense of taste.

Metrosexual style - Men's fashion

Why couldn’t the carpenter and the lumberjack get along? They saw things differently.

The Difference Between a Lumbersexual and a Hipster

As mentioned above, Lumbersexuals tend to be more rugged and outdoorsy, but they also have a certain level of sophistication. They are usually bearded, wear flannel and jeans, and enjoy the great outdoors. Hipsters are more traditionally urbanites who enjoy indie music, vintage clothes, and an artisanal coffee. They often have beards as well but they tend to be less rugged than a lumbersexual.

The Rise and Fall of the Lumbersexual male model

What do Lumbersexuals and Hipsters have in common?

Typically both have well groomed beards, wear skinny jeans and plaid, drink craft beer, and enjoy bourbon-flavored syrup and beard oil.

What's a lumberjacks favorite dating service? Tinder.

Where did the term Lumbersexual come from?

If you ask me, Tim the Tool Man Taylor's right hand man Al Borland started the trend in 1991 but most people would tell you the rise of the Lumbersexual began In 2014 when well known media sites like Jezebel, Gawker, GearJunkie, The Guardian, Time, and BuzzFeed all wrote articles on the subject making the term an instant hit and the term was widely used until 2018 when the fad began to fade away. But as most trends do, this one is slowly making a comeback in 2022 and we are here for it.

The Original Lumbersexual

Key Characteristics of the Lumbersexual

Unlike most articles on this topic, here at The Daily Grind we like to keep things positive. We support all men's fashion and style choices here so if you're interested in the Lumbersexual aesthetic just follow these 14 rules.

    1. You must be sporting facial hair. A full beard or mustache will do.
    2. A checkered plaid flannel shirt is a must. Typically red.
    3. Get yourself some tight denim jeans & overalls.
    4. You'll need a good pair of work boots preferably made of leather.
    5. Use a cedar scented beard balm & beard oil to style your facial hair & keep it healthy.
    6. Channel a masculine yet sophisticated vibe.  
    7. Always carry a pocket knife.
    8. Find yourself a cologne that smells like cedar & leather.
    9. Be independent and think for yourself.
    10. Only drink craft beer or PBR
    11. Get a black or brown leather belt
    12. Only use pine scented soap or body wash.
    13. Get yourself a classic analogue watch with leather wristband.
    14. Find a epic designer axe to display on your wall.

The Rise and Fall of the Lumbersexual Axe

What's a lumberjacks drink of choice on the east coast? A Boston Logger.

The Rise and Fall of the Lumbersexual

In conclusion: like most fads, this one ended as quick as it began but found it's way back in 2022. Is it here to stay this time around? Only time will tell. With the rise in popularity of facial hair and beard care products over the last few years I would say there's never been a better time to go Lumberjack Chic.

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Just remember, the OG lumberjack culture that inspired the Lumbersexual came from an era that put an emphasis on masculinity, fearlessness and a strong resistance to modernization and for good reason. To be a lumberjack meant sacrificing your body, working for very little pay in very dangerous, life threatening situations where the hours were long and conditions brutal while living in primitive housing; like broken down cabins in the woods and makeshift tents.

Three lumberjacks in 1900 stand next to a large fir log which has been cut using a sawing machine in Sedro-Woolley, Washington

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These hardened men and women worked long grueling hours in the mountains and outdoors in weather including fierce rainstorms, blinding blizzards and scorching heat. So should you choose this rugged persona at least try to get your hands dirty. No need to go cutting down trees but chopping wood could be a great start.

I hope you found this article helpful. If so, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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Author: Lance Reis

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