If you are like me and you’re on the good side of fifty – that is, the plus side- you might need to check your style. The older we get the more likely we are to get stuck in a fashion rut. Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we can’t make a statement with our style decisions.
Aging With Style: Some Basics
Looking like we still care – and we do care, right? – means making some clean clear decisions about how we want to look.
- Older men like us are best off choosing one general look and sticking to it. For example, if you feel good in a blazer and jeans, then don’t ditch that style just because you’re getting older.
- Styles stay; fashions fade. Instead of chasing trends, men our age can rely on a crisp white shirt, a pair of good fitting jeans, and a sleek pair of shoes. Add a slim-cut navy blazer if the occasion calls for it. That’s easy style that has always looked good, and always will. Like us!
- If you’re in the mood, a subtly patterned tie is always appropriate for older men, and it will pull your look together.
- Finally, we never wear white running shoes, unless we’re out running. And even then, consider some black or dark gray running shoes.
Start With Your Shoes
Women, and probably everyone else, often look at a man’s shoes first. That puts a lot of pressure on our shoe choices, but there’s a reliable answer – the cap-toe. I like this shoe because it’s dressy, but it doesn’t sport the wing-tip stitching that, to my eye, has a rather aged and formal look. I also like the lace-up suede sneakers for a more dressy casual look. There are a lot of affordable options out there for shoes that are very good looking, so let them start with your shoes when they size you up…you’ll be ready.
The Navy Blazer – A Style Necessity
Those of us with a good, sharp navy blazer in the closet will understand – it’s a style necessity. While it’s not the only suite coat you need, and of course it’s also not an actual suit, your navy blazer goes with everything and fits almost every situation. Wear it with a pastel shirt with very dark jeans or grey dress slacks. This look is inexpensive and always guarantees style. Consider updating your old faithful navy blazer. Over the past 5 – 10 years, blazers and sport coats have gotten trim and slim. While you might not want the short, slim fit, make sure that your navy blazer is not baggy and too big. I like the Ralph Lauren Navy Blazer. It’s a good modern blazer without being too slim and short.
A Good Fitting Fashion Jean –Not Just Any Jean
A dark pair of jeans and a mid-wash casual jean is a bona-fide menswear staple. Wear lighter shade jeans in the spring and summer and darker jeans in the fall and winter. If you don’t have a good fitting fashion jean…it’s time. I like the Charisma by 34 Heritage for their comfort and impeccable style. They don’t stretch out in the waist or sag in the seat, and the color never fades. They are the perfect cotton jean with just the right amount of stretch. 34 Heritage has a great selection of style and colors for every season.
Banishing Bare Ankles
It’s difficult to tell what a decade will be remembered for trend-wise without the benefit of a little hindsight. Still, if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the 2010’s going down in history as an age of exposed ankles. Don’t do it…. not a good look for us older guys. We look like we just got out of bed and ran out the door! But in 2020, thank goodness, there has been a shift back toward longer pants and proper socks.
To Pleat Or Not To Pleat…..
To pleat or not to pleat, that is the question. Some people love them, while others hate them. And the people that hate them can’t fathom how or why others could love them. In the 80’s and 90’s everything was pleated. Pleated pants meant dressy. Almost all suits came with pleated pants. Then in the 2000’s, surplus was out and skinny was in. Slim silhouettes were the shape of choice, and it was those flat front pants and slimmed down legs that lead into the modern “no break” hem.
So, who had it right? They both had it right. Choose pleated dress pants if you want comfort and flexibility. It’s the better choice for the guy with a little more “junk in the trunk”. You can still be dapper and be comfortable at the same time. Flat front pants prioritize style over function. They are less forgiving and are the most flattering on slimmer and average body types.
If you’re a bigger guy with a few extra pounds and still want the slim, flat front pant, go up a size and take up the waist so they fit better though the seat and thighs. This way you get the look you want with the comfort you need.
Style Don’ts for Older Men
- Skinny Jeans: Even if your skinny, you should avoid them. We’re older, and older men just look silly wearing these things. We are NOT the singer for Green Day.
- Logo/Graphic T-shirts: After age fifty, anything emblazoned across our chest looks desperate – especially “funny” threadless designs. Wear what ever t-shirt you want when you’re at home, lounging on the beach or working out……But out in public, stick with a plain tee.
- Hoodies: Bad for Bill Bellchick, bad for all of us. Unless your fishing and need the hoodie to protect your neck from the sun…..don’t wear one.
- Blue Jeans and Running Shoes: If your going running, wear runners. If your going to work or out on the town, wear grown-up shoes.
Quality, Not Quantity
It has been said, and I agree, that the most important thing about style for men past the age of fifty is quality and neatness. That’s not to say that you need to spend an entire paycheck on a rack of Italian silk ties, but it does mean finding a few good ties and throwing down a few extra bucks for quality neckwear.
In general, your best policy is to buy a few very high-qualify items and pair them in a variety of ways. Its always possible if you think about it and, more importantly care about it, to find ways to look better. We’re not rich, be we’re maybe not as poor as we were when we were younger. It’s perfectly acceptable to spend a little extra style money to look good no matter our age.
There are various quotes in this article from a variety of resources including “GreenMind Guides” @ Bellatory.com and “GQ Trends”, and “Age to Gentleman” @ www.agetogentleman.com/men’s-fashion-trends/.