Never mind the hot dresses and thigh flashes, writes Kiran Branch. At the BAFTAs, it was all about the beards

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When the silver screen’s A-list elite crossed the pond and descended upon London's Royal Opera House en masse for Sunday's BAFTAs, we were expecting to be wowed by the fashion choices of the femme fatales of Tinseltown.

The starlets didn't exactly disappoint but unfortunately their couture Chanel and Roland Mouret gowns were of no match for the show-stealing feast for the eyes that was the leading men of la-la land and their rather beautiful beards.

Yes, last night was all about stylish facial hair and the dashing men sporting it. The long list of gents bringing back the facial fuzz included Joaquin Phoenix, Sam Mendes and Javier Bardem but for us it was George Clooney, Hugh Jackman and Ben Affleck who got tens across the board.

Their beards effortlessly added a certain rugged appeal to the suave sophistication of their sartorial elegance. If ever there was an endorsement for a move away from the ultra groomed, eyebrow-tweezing and heavily waxed metrosexual man this would be it. In fact, this is it.

We're clearly not alone in our disdain for the 'TOWIE look', as Kelly Simpkin, Head of Grooming at Nicky Clarke, comments: "There's a definite trend of men rejecting the super-groomed look. The look of the moment takes on lots of different forms, everything from four day stubble to full on heavy beards. It's more about it not being clean shaven or an absolutely perfect one day stubble."

Kelly shares her top tips for facial hair that adds oodles of gravitas. "Men need to remember to trim their beards regularly to a) keep it in shape and to b) avoid it getting bushy. Also, a dry, frizzy, dull beard is not a good look, so do maintain your beard by washing it with a good facial wash or even shampoo. Follow by combing conditioner through the hairs to give a soft feel and create a healthy shine."

So there we have it, the long and short of it; Justin Timberlake may have been performing at the Grammys on Sunday night but Clooney was bringing sexy back in Covent Garden. Finally, men that look like men are back en vogue.