When it comes to beard stubble, when does scruffy and untidy become rugged and attractive?

There’s a chance we can blame the unshaven look on casual Fridays, but most of it probably goes back to the mid-’80s with Don Johnson and “Miami Vice.” There was a certain rakish appeal that apparently enticed women that was counter to the clean-shaven, well-groomed man.

In Hollywood today, how many times do we see big stars on the red carpet wearing tuxedos and stubble? It’s been in vogue for years and has even caused a shaving shift among those who market tools for keeping our hairs in place. Norelco and Conair once sold a beard trimmer for $30. Now those companies offer a stubble trimmer for 60 bucks. It’s a classic marketing idea. Sell something that cuts less but costs twice as much.

Face fads

Over the years, facial hair has grown on us … or on some of us. We’ve seen sideburns that morphed into mutton chops. Chin whiskers that evolved into something just below the lower lip called a soul patch. Even the mustache grew to various lengths and texture to reshape a man’s face.

Stubble, though … now that’s an altogether different wild hair on the grooming graph. The idea with stubble is to evoke an attitude. To somehow give the impression that even though you didn’t bother to shave the last three days, you’re still on top of things and above all — stylin’. To achieve proper stubble, one has to still clean up the neck area and cheek line. Looking cool and casual can require extra attention. Sometimes, it takes time to make it look like you didn’t spend any time on yourself, this time.

Some guys can pull it off. Others just look like they forgot to do something.

Relaxed fit

It’s another part of our world that’s changing. What once was scruffy, to some, now, might be sexy. The workplace is no longer always a buttoned-down, starched-shirt world. Jeans are allowed and comfortable jeans are preferred. Many company work areas are open spaces with cubicles that invite give-and-take.

In turning the other cheek, though, depending on the work environment, some corporate guys might have to save the stubble look for weekends. It’s a delicate dance, this attempt to juggle what works and what doesn’t. It’s not the same for everybody, either. Some guys can grow stubble before lunch.

So give the next guy who looks like he’s going for “a look” the benefit of the doubt. He might have spent the better part of the month trying to look casually rugged. Don’t ask him if his razor’s broken. Don’t accuse him of forgetting to shave. If you like the stubble, tell him. If you don’t like it, it’ll probably crush him if you say, “my Aunt Mary has more hair on her face.”

Styles come and styles go. If, in fact, the boys on “Miami Vice” are responsible for this one. It’s been a good, long run. Every guy wants to be a manly man. Maybe some stubble will add maturity or virility. It might even make the guy feel that he looks like Brad Pitt. In truth, his look may just be “the pits.”

Either way, clean or stubbly, most guys are just doing what they do hoping for a simple compliment or passing approval. None will ever admit that achieving the “look” was something that required a great deal of effort or forethought.

I’m just sayin’ ….