In the 1990s and 2000s, the preferred facial hair for men was what is often erroneously misnamed a goatee. The move was away from the full beard to a beard and mustache combination that frames the lips. Most men who say they have grown a goatee are actually sporting a Van Dyke. In addition to the very popular Van Dyke, other variations on the goatee style are also often referred to generically as a goatee.
To grow a true goatee, you only grow beard on your lower lip that is roughly the same width as your mouth. A standard goatee has no mustache at all and consists only of this wide berth of hair on the chin. If the growth of hair does not cover the full width of the mouth, it is usually not considered an official goatee.
Chin Strip and Soul Patch
The popular vernacular for a goatee that does not cover the full width of the chin is split between a chin strip and soul patch. Though easy to confuse, it is simple to spot the difference between these two as well as differentiate them from the goatee. The chin strip is like a very narrow goatee that is grown straight from the bottom of the lip to the chin. The soul patch is a chin strip that is not grown all the way down to the chin.
The beard type that is most likely to be mistakenly termed a goatee is a Van Dyke. A Van Dyke is often referred to as a goatee with mustache, but the mustache and goatee must be connected in order for it to qualify as a Van Dyke. Certain variations on a Van Dyke have been given names like extended goatee, but these variations are only differentiated from a standard Van Dyke by nature of the shape of the lower area of growth. In essence, any goatee connected to a mustache is a Van Dyke.
Chin Strip and Mustache
The chin strip and mustache was most popular during the days of the Wild West. If you look at those old portrait images of cowboys and outlaws you will see plenty of thin goatees and an unconnected mustache. This kind of goatee lends the wearer a certain flair that differentiates them from the owners of a Van Dyke, especially when the mustache is worn as a handlebar.
- worry image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com