Top 10 Mutton Chop Styles for a Cool Retro Look

Some facial hair trends are perfect because they’re so unique that they never go out of style. In fact, the men who choose these styles know these looks are uniquely different, and that’s the appeal. The imperial beard style that’s been around since the early 19th century. It’s also known as mutton chops, and it’s one of the more uncommon facial hair styles.

Mutton chops are defined by their unique mustache and beard combination that typically has long sideburns that connect to facial hair. However, the chin remains free from hair. The World Beard Championships also call this imperial beard style a “Kaiser” beard.

There are many ways to rock this style of beard. Some popular mutton chops have been worn by a few celebrities in the past, like Elvis Presley, and movie characters like the Blues Brothers.

Mutton Chops Beard

What is Mutton Chops?

In simple terms, facial hair that starts at the mustache and connects to your jawline beard and sideburns to create the chops. These beards have very sparse to no hair on the chin and with more hair displayed on the cheeks and upper jawline.

The history of the imperial beard begins in the 19th century with men in the military during the American Civil War. General Ambrose Burnside often wore this look, giving rise to the term “Burnside Whiskers” or “Side Whiskers.”

Ambrose Burnside Mutton Chops
Vintage Ambrose Burnside Mutton Chops

Today, they’re a defining facial hair trend that many men have worn with great success.  Especially if you have longer sideburns or want to try the Wolverine beard – it’s a cool look.

Style Terms

Here’s a quick list of mutton shape jargon and terms:

  • Muttonchops
  • Chops beard
  • Chops sideburns
  • Lamb chops beard
  • Imperial beard
  • Wolverine beard

How to Grow Chops

All you have to do to get this style is to stop shaving most of your facial hair besides the chin. This style requires pretty long hair as well. You’ll want to grow out your mustache, cheeks, jawline, and sideburns to achieve this look.

Mutton Chops Style
Classic Mutton Chops Style. Image courtesy of Men’s Hairstyles.

Most men take pride in wearing this style bushy and long, but I suggest trimming the hair on your neckline and sides, especially if you have to look professional. Although, some beardsmen get away with this look when it’s maintained as a short beard style.

Read our complete guide – How to Grow a Mustache

See our Complete Style Guide to Sideburns

The definitive part of this beard that’s unique is the missing chin hair.

Traditional mutton chops styles have a shaved clean chin, but newer trends show a slight soul patch or stubble is appropriate in this area, too.

How to Trim Mutton Chops

Not all men wear the mutton chop look bushy and untamed. In fact, you can use an electric beard trimmer to keep your chops tidy and create neat lines that work even in a professional atmosphere.

Look at how this man creates the mutton chops look after growing out his beard:

How to trim Mutton beard with trimmer and razor blade

Top 10 Mutton Chops Beard Styles

Do you want to shave mutton chops to get this unique look? From neat and tidy to bushy and wild, these beard styles may require some shaving and grooming upkeep to maintain the iconic look. Here are our top picks for mutton chops:

1. Friendly Mutton Chops

Traditional Mutton Chops
Traditional Mutton Chops. Image courtesy of Men’s Hairstyles

2. Neat and Clean Mutton Chops

Neat and Clean Mutton Chops
Clean Mutton Chops with thin strips. Image courtesy of

3. Bushy, Long Mutton Chops

Bushy Mutton Chops
Bushy Mutton Chops with a wild and unkept look.

4. Thick Chops

Thick Style Mutton Chops
Thick Style Chops have a timeless look. Image courtesy of

5. Wolverine Mutton Chops

Wolverine Mutton Chops
See more of the Wolverine Beard Style. Image courtesy of

6. lamb chops beard

Stubble Lamb Chops Beard
Stubble Lamb Chops Beard

See our Ultimate Beard without Mustache Style Guide

7. pork chop sideburns

Pork Chop Sideburns
Thick pork chop sideburns are just wild. Image courtesy of

8. Elvis Presley Sideburn Chops

Elvis Presley Mutton Chop Sideburns
Image courtesy of

9. Blues Brothers Sideburn Chops

Blues Brothers Mutton Chops
Blues Brothers Sideburn Chops. Image courtesy of

10. Full Sideburns and Mutton Chops

Full Mutton Chops
WOW are those Chops real? Image courtesy of ABCNews

Are Mutton Chops for me?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether it looks good or not, according to other people. Most guys have tried the regular mutton chops look at one time or another because it’s a rare beard style that gets attention.

John Lennon Mutton Chops
John Lennon. Image courtesy of WikiCommons.

You create a certain vibe with this look that other men admire because it’s so unique and fun to grow at the same time. Even John Lennon tried mutton chops at one point.

Fit your face shape

Chops work best for round or oval shaped faces needing only low to medium hair growth. They also work well with long or thin shaped faces, but you’d need to let your beard hair grow much longer to look proportional.

So what are you waiting for? This beard style has been around since the 1800s and harks back to a simpler yet more fun time for facial hair. Is it time to try out the mutton chops sideburns look?

By Eric Melillo

I'm the co-owner of B&B. I live in Guilford, Connecticut and I've been obsessed with bald & beard styles & trends for over 20 years..