Finding the right style as you age is the eternal dilemma for many a man, with a host of frankly bizarre fashion choices suddenly becoming an accepted short hand for ‘middle aged dad’. It’s a surprisingly easy situation to remedy however, provided you follow these thirty choice tips.
1. Don’t tuck your shirt in over your belly
The classic sign of “the dad”, above and beyond all other *ahem* sartorial choices, the tucked in shirt – be it club, polo, or t-shirt – is the classic sign of the man who left the mirror behind. It might feel like it’s cradling your belly snugly, but just remember that it looks like that too.
2. Embrace the bald head.
For certain gents, balding is an undeniable fact. Having a comb over or growing the sides out might feel like you’re compensating, but it’s just highlighting the grim reality of your genetic make-up. Embrace the smooth style of a closely shaven dome, and add ten cool points to your total instantly.
3. But don’t make up for that with a George Michael Style goatee
There’s always something a little quaint about bold men who rock the big facial hair, coming off as larger than life only when the personality and achievements can back the beard. But at least there’s something natural about that look; in contrast, a well-manicured goatee is just comical. Less Bronson, more Dr. Robotnik.
4. Don’t wear tan loafers with blue jeans…
The second most recognised sign of the common species of “dad.”
5. …and definitely don’t wear a t-shirt under a blazer
The third most recognised sign (also doubles as the go-to look for washed up Children’s TV presenters). You’re better than that.
6. Swap out the thematic ties for classic designs
Ties are actually pretty cool, so don’t ruin that by slathering a pattern of Christmas puddings, Mr. Men, or Simpsons characters across your torso. Nobody wants to look like they were styled by a greetings card manufacturer. Checkered patterns, paisley, even plain prints – it’s all good.
7. Back away from the novelty cufflinks
Similarly, there’s nothing funky about cuffs adorned with bullets, bulls-eyes or smiley faces. It all stinks of someone intimidated by their formal wear, fighting against it rather than just carrying it like a true gent. And fathers are gentlemen. “Dads” are just slobs.
8. Avoid the corduroy
There’s a limited age range that can pull off the cord pants and jackets, and they’re busy going to indie gigs and generally having the time of their twenty-something lives. It’s time to put it away.
9. Don’t have wet look hair gel
N*Sync split up a long, long time ago, and Justin Timberlake has never spiked his hair since. Why are you?
10. Trust in something other than your Day of the Week Socks
It must be so reassuring to stare at your feet and see that today is, in fact, Wednesday. Bless you. Do people nod a little too much when you make valid contributions to conversations? Good for you!
11. Don’t wear trainers with a suit
Michael Douglas probably could have down with them in Falling Down, but that’s really not the sort of character you want to evoke in your smarter attire.
12. Make sure your trousers cover your ankles, not your diaphragm
Did you fall from the sky and land in your slacks on the way down?
13. Don’t wear ear studs
This one acts as the traditional nemesis of point no. 2. You’ve nailed everything else, and you look like a true man, not just a “dad.” And then your flash of gaudy yellow gold in the sunlight just brings the whole house of cards crashing down.
14. You are not Larry King, you cannot pull off suspenders
But if you were Larry King, you’d own them.
15. You might need glasses, but you don’t need Transitions
Technology is a wonderful thing, but some innovations have their time in the sun, as it were, only to fade away. When the weather’s fine, bring out the real sunglasses.
16. You are not a brand horse
If someone can count more than one brand motif on your outfit, you’re failing. You’re more than just an advertisement, you’re a human being!
17. You are not a cowboy, either
Sometimes flannel shirts are great. Pitching them with a wide brim hat and a brass belt buckle is taking things to their tragic extreme however.
18. You are an older gent, embrace the heritage wrist watch
When you were younger, wearing some sort of Swiss timepiece probably didn’t fit into your ideas of yourself as a cutting edge, fun guy, and that’s fine. But you’re a dignified adult man now, and carrying off a well-crafted watch is just plain sophisticated.
19. Slogan t-shirts definitely aren’t hip or hilarious
Whoever comes up with those designs definitely doesn’t wear them at the end of the working day. Really, that says it all.
20. Double Denim is an icon of the ‘70s. We’re in the 2010s.
But hey, if it’s your bag, fine. Your Yoko Ono is right around the corner.
21. But don’t fear the dark denim. Rather, fear the baby blue.
Rich, dark blue denim can be worn with aplomb by men of any age, so stick with it as it’s really a faultless choice. Distressed pale blue, however, is barely better than beige slacks.
22. The older you get, the harder it is to “over” dress.
The great thing about aging is that a well-tailored suit becomes more and more refined on your figure. So what if you can’t pull off the college hood sweater anymore? You’ve joined the Silver Fox Club!
23. Buy trousers that fit your waist without having to be cinched with an industrial-grade belt.
Nobody wants to look like they just got hit with a shrink ray on the way to work.
24. Keep the white socks on the tennis courts.
White socks are almost always sports socks, and the secret really is in the name. Honestly, how many of your shoes actually suit an accompanying splash of bright white?
25. For that matter, just don’t wear Jesus sandals.
If you thought about your great brown leather sandals at the end of point 24, you should now think about throwing them out.
26. The dot-com bubble burst. So did short sleeve shirts.
It’s interesting to note that, in office-based shows, the bumbling, comedic character can almost always be identified by their lack of long sleeves.
27. Remember how Y-Fronts are hilarious…?
They are! But your dress sense shouldn’t be. Boxers are the only answer.
28. …and that lounge wear should stay in the lounge?
This crime becomes all the more heinous when you, a grown man, head out to the shops to pick up some milk wearing your lounge wear and a pair of the latest “trend” gimmick shoes. What would your grandfather have said?
29. Lan yard? Bum bag? Phone clip? 90s Apple employee?
While you’re at it, why not just throw in a Palm PC? It’s almost retro! Almost.
30. There is never a good day for a mankini