Adam Lovejoy writes from Paris: Let’s get one thing straight: before men hit forty they can wear pretty much anything they want and not be afraid of looking like total idiots. Especially as men’s fashion over the past several decades has been proving that it likes its followers to look like retards. But it’s one thing when you come across as an idiot when you’re in your twenties and thirties and it’s a totally different matter when you get older.
So, with this in mind we present a few suggestions for men of a mature disposition, so to speak, with some younger males hopefully picking up a thing or two as well.
The first thing to keep in mind is not to be seen as trying too hard to impress people around by your wardrobe, even if you’re a keen sharp dresser and like to be seen as, well, a keen sharp dresser. I know, I know, it’s not easy, but following every whim of designers, who are mostly close to their feminine side, is not a good idea and makes you look, well, stupid to be honest. Not to mention that that when you hit 40, what you wear becomes less relevant compared to what you are and what you say.
And here’s a rule for all lads over forty that should be set in stone: never, I stress, never, wear trainers (running shoes, if you’re an American) as casual wear. You will look like an idiot, make no mistake about it. Especially as there’s plenty of great looking casual leather footwear on offer that doesn’t make your feet smell like some cheese that went bad. No man over 40 has ever managed to look proper in running shoes.
Which brings me to blue jeans, for no specific reason other than that so many men over 40 seem to wearing them with trainers. Boy oh boy does that make a mature guy look like a degenerate. It’s a disaster by any standards. It’s like saying: ‘I’m a bloody fool and not afraid to show it.’ You might just as well go about wearing those shortened trousers that so many simpletons like so much.
And then there are the basic rules for a man over forty who likes to look smart:
1. Never wear a dark suit with brown or grey shoes. A dark suit only goes with black shoes.
2. Avoid wearing striped ties with a striped shirt, if you don’t want to resemble a farmer or a junior banker.
3. Don’t wear striped suits with striped shirts. They just don’t go together. But barely noticeable stripes are a different matter.
4. Never wear bright coloured suits in the autumn and winter. You will always look out of place and risk being taken for a wanker.
5. Always wear a wide tie as narrow ties simply don’t work for men of any age. Ties should be of one colour, preferably in different shades of blue or brown. Although red and yellow ties of certain shades can be great on some occasions.
6. Don’t overdo it with flashy colours. It just doesn’t work for men over 40. In fact, it doesn’t work for anyone, apart from off work drug dealers and self-made millionaires who have no taste.
7. Start wearing jackets on most occasions once you reach forty. They will make you look sportier, even when that belly starts to show. But never, I stress, never button up on all buttons: in the case of a two-button jacket you button up only on the top one and in the case of three buttons use the one in the middle.
8. If you are colour blind, stick to conservative blue, brown or grey with the shirts and ties, if you are wearing suits, adding the colour scream to the overall appearance.
9. Stay away from three button suits. They make most men, even young ones, look like pimps or waiters. No offence to pimps, of course. Two button suits make men look slimmer.
10. Always wear comfortable underwear that is not too tight. Tight underwear might produce the same effect as constant cycling does to males. A bad effect.
11. Men who reach forty and wear their hair long look odd. And the ones who dye their hair look odd as well. And that’s enough said about hair.
12. And lastly something outside fashion altogether: Avoid driving sports cars when you reach forty. People will instinctively suspect you of having erectile problems or a small penis – or both.