No one wants to look like Grandpa Merv with his pants around his armpits and his plaid golf shirt buttoned up to the top. And yet, men make dozens of little fashion mistakes that “date” their look and make them seem older than they are. The dangers range from dressing like a rest-home resident to looking like an idiot for trying to hard to embrace a style clearly meant for much younger men. What’s a guy to do to find age appropriate attire?
Though it may pain your wife/girlfriend/sister/mom/best friend to hear it, resist the urge to let a lady pick out your entire wardrobe. Explain that it’s not that you don’t trust her opinion; you just want to develop your own personal fashion sense. Then, make your way to a men’s store that is not affiliated with selling its own brand. A location like Men’s Wearhouse represents many brands, and, though they do have an interest in selling their own product, their representatives are trained to teach you about what styles are best for you. And, if you haven’t been to a Men’s Wearhouse in a while, they’ve gone way beyond suits. Jeans, tropical-style button downs, sweaters, leather jackets, footwear… they can give you some man-based insight into how to look fashion savvy.
In general, should you choose to go it on your own, there are still a few rules you can follow.
1. Try to keep within 5-10 years of your age for style recommendations. That 22 year old guy may be able to rock the plaid skater short and Vans sneakers look… even the 30-year old guy can get away with it. Try it at 45 and older and you just look like someone who raided their son’s closet.
2. Men’s magazines like GQ, Esquire and Playboy offer timeless style advice that crosses generation gaps. Maxim, Blender and FHM on the other hand, do not.
3. Start at the bottom: if you wear old dude shoes, it’s a dead giveaway. No matter how comfortable they are, leave the tasseled loafers where they belong – in the back of the closet.
4. Neatness counts, but so does being noticeably tousled. Tucking your shirt in tightly all the way is a classic old guy move. It’s entirely acceptable to go untucked with non-dress shirts. It’s even okay to leave polo shirts hanging out completely as long as they’re the right size and don’t come below your hip bones.