Citing Jake Gyllenhal, Ewan MacGregor, and Donald Glover as pioneers, GQ believes the look first came into favor with successful, stylish men who just happened to be between projects (see also: the rise and fall of the Colbeard).
So who is he, exactly? The Dandy Wildman is a man who cares about his appearance—but not too much. He walks a fine line, preferring sport coats to untucked flannels, but swapping in texturizer for pomade. The length of his hair—well past side part but not quite man bun—does not appear to be an accident. Rugged but not unruly, D.W. gets his hands dirty, but also appreciates a long, hot shower and a clean shirt.
Not surprisingly, it all comes down to the beard: The backbone of the Dandy Wildman’s look, it should be present, yet kempt, flattering your face shape instead of obscuring it (like Charlie Hunnam, pictured above). Turns out that unless you're this guy, "everything in moderation" is a pretty good rule to live by.