Can a trim, well-groomed "perpetual shadow" be considered professional?

My office is fairly casual. It's a wide mix of programmers, project managers, executives, and so we get all kinds of dress and there isn't really any formal dress code. There is an expectation if you're meeting clients, sure, but other than that you generally wear what is appropriate for your position. 

At work I will generally go business / business-casual, occasionally sliding down to a dressed up casual (dressy jeans with nice shoes, polo or untucked button-down, v-neck sweater, etc). And I wear a well-groomed perpetual shadow. My facial hair grows in really well, it's very even and not at all patchy, and it looks good. I think I look more erudite with the stubble. And it's not a problem at all when I am just in the office. 

My question is - I go on site visits to my clients a lot, and while I feel like the younger, more fashion-forward population wouldn't see the facial hair as an unprofessional thing, it may look that way to people from older generations. I don't really have a good feeling for how this is seen by those people. I know that generally it seems like if you don't have a "beard," then being clean-shaven means you're looking sharp, well-dressed, and formal. But when I am completely clean shaven I look like a child at 32. 

Anyone have any thoughts on this? 

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Yes. Before I went full beard, that was my standard for many years (at my wife's preference). I work both onsite and at clients in financial/legal/marketing consulting, and sit on professional and civic boards. No issues whatsoever. Appropriate attire is a much bigger deal to these audiences than facial hair. 

What is your line of work? If it's more creative in nature, then clients probably expect more individualism when it comes to style. If it's more traditional/conservative, then the clients are going to expect the employees to reflect that.

It also depends on where you are in the country and what is accepted in general. I currently live in a place where men sport all kinds of facial hair and varying lengths of hair even in professional settings; prior to this, I lived in a place where having facial hair or hair that touched your collar was frowned upon in offices/professional settings.

I've been using this for a while and no issues.  As long as it looks like you put some effort into it, it's fine.  When you let it crawl down the neck and get messy, that's not good, but you seem to have it under control.

Thanks for the replies. I work for a software company, but my clients come in all types - I have faith-based non-profit clients and I have progressive liberal association clients. So I guess there's really no one-size fits all. 

Generally I feel like / agree with the idea that as long as it shows that I am putting effort in (which it does) and not just being lazy and "not shaving," then I'm good. 

It's less an issue of being bearded, and more an issue of being groomed.

 

Make it look intentional, like you did it on purpose, and it shouldn't be a problem.  Be sure to trim a neckline, and keep it neat.  The "older generation" is quite open to all sorts of styles, but especially in a business environment they want you to look as if you put in some effort...it shows respect for them, and for yourself and your skills.

 

So rock that stubble beard.

It depends. If I had never dealt with you before and was meeting you for the first time, I would probably suspect that you had over-slept and that you were unprepared. From that point on it would be on you to overcome that impression.

Yeah I shave it every day (it grows fast) with an electric razor, then take a regular razor to my neck and upper cheeks. So it is always clean and always just a short, even stubble. 

A clean, shaped "perpetual shadow," in my opinion, shows effort in grooming.

 

Though, I may be biased. I had a thin, jawline beard that I trimmed w/ a #3 guard, and trimmed my mustache w/ a #1 guard up until recently.

 

Clean, shaped, and trimmed.

Set your trimmer to 1/8th inch and keep the beard very tight and be done with it.

Keep it neat and slightly longer then "did not shave today" and it becomes your style.  Don't keep it neat or have the "did not shave today" look and you are a slob on first impressions.

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