As men, we’ve gotten much better at many things over the years. We’ve fine-tuned our appearance, improved our grooming skills and overall, we’re just looking better. Still, no matter what cosmetic treatments we get, we actually do get older, and no matter how much our faces or even hair may lie, our style still says a lot about our age. While there is no steadfast rule against wearing anything at any age, we shouldn’t mimic our celebrities, who are mostly on a constant spree of looking as youthful as possible. You can’t blame them, when they are required to act opposite women half their age. Dressing age appropriately would mean they would have to frolick with their daughters and, dare I say it, granddaughters! So, in the name of good style, I’m offering my list of what not to wear after hitting 40.
EAT MY SHORTS
I live at the beach – shorts are my life, but there is no way I’ll ever travel, go to a dinner or event wearing them. Our knees show off our age no matter how lean they may be. Additionally, we just aren’t taken as seriously. So unless you are a beach bum like me, or are the sporty type, the shorts must go.
THE T’S AND TIES THAT DON’T BIND
So you were the jokester in college, or thought the only way you’ll make your look formal was by putting on a tie — of the hideous kind. Novelty T-shirts and ties just don’t age well. They look out of place the older we get, because rather than folks laughing with us, they are laughing at us. If everyone there isn’t in on the joke, these simply don’t work.
There comes a time when flip-flops just need to stop. There are other easy, convenient footwear options that take a millisecond to take off and put on as well, so why indulge in a style that makes everyone notice the condition of your feet and screams of immaturity? Again, unless you live at the beach — no excuses, it’s got to go.
It’s the layer we love when travelling – almost like a blanket that lets us cover our head. But the hoodie hasn’t evolved in style, and no matter how cool a techie look it might be, it’s simply not one that works as we age, and in particular as our body shape changes. If you are sporting a hoodie and backpack and anyone is actually taking you seriously, it would amaze me. Try to get a free upgrade on your next flight with this look and see what happens.
BYE BYE BACKPACK
Backpacks have become a common form of luggage for the day-to-day traveller and even for longer trips, but no matter how luxurious or convenient the bag actually is — they just don’t age well. Why carry around something that 4-year olds also use to go to school? Unless your bag is literally filled with school books, the backpack has to go.
NO SKINNY JEANS
There’s no its or buts about this one. If you are over 40 and still think skinny jeans work for you, please look at yourself in the mirror. Are you trying to look like you, or a younger version of yourself? Just say no.
If any piece of clothing you own is made of mesh, throw it out. Honestly, I never understood this fabric style for any age, but the older we get, it just expands and gets worse. You can be the fittest guy around, but mesh simply isn’t going to win you any praise, no matter what.
PUBLIC PAJAMA JAM
Nothing irks me more than lazy men who think casual means pajamas — and then actually sport the look in public. Pajamas stay indoors, and unless you want to look like you’ve run away from somewhere or are lost, the look will not find you any respect, anywhere outside your home.
Let’s face it — the older we get, no matter how fit we are, how firm we are, how disciplined we are, our bodies change (as they should). We may not fluctuate sizes, but our body changes form. And beyond that, our clothes also age. So every day, we must check ourselves in the mirror and make sure that what we are wearing actually fits us. If we aren’t spending money every year on new clothes at a new size, we should at least invest in wearing clothes that actually fit us and look good on us. At the end of the day, style is about confidence, but it’s also about looking and feeling our age, without reservation. We age for a reason, and using clothing to tell a story other than our own is simply cheating ourselves out of our own life experiences. At the end of the day, shouldn’t we enjoy the luxuries that life provides with aging? We all deserve to command respect, our thoughts to be valued, our efforts to be appreciated – and no matter what anyone will say to the contrary, our style does shape opinions, and so it’s important we make sure we are in charge of the message.