Editor Note: A Saturday update? What is wrong with me?! Anyway Based on all the comments below I think I probably need to come back to this subject and explain a few things. Mark is in his thirties and wrote this article with the Title: “Fashion can be bought, style one must possess”. I changed this on purpose to get people interested in the article and promote a debate (plus it has benefits in search engines: the geek in me :) ). What we have had is quite a brilliant reaction from the plus 30 crowd and they all have extremely valid points. I have updated the article in my section but it really deserves it’s own topic totally. One that I have noted in my scrapbook of ideas to write about. Please enjoy the article and get involved with your own personal opinions below.
Fashion can be bought, style one must possess.
As I flanneured through the city this week I observed with despair the near ubiquity of errors certain men are making in their fashion choices. This article does not concern those skinny little creatures working in high street retailing, the ones who seem to think a pair of jeans whose crotch is somewhere below knee level is cool and edgy and fight with their girlfriends over who will use the straighteners first.
No, I am talking about chaps who have already slipped crossed the horizon of being thirty and are now caught in the hinterland of clinging to ‘cool’ and worried about dressing like dad.
The error they are making is to mix the two rather than elevate their choices into one all encompassing style, selecting only those pieces from the capriciousness of fashion that fit this new style. I believe if men could absorb this simple lesson, then I dream of a world which would be a much more beautiful place in which to live. Hell, crime might fall, manners may begin to come back. We might even turn off the TV and read books. Something resembling civilization might return.
So what, I hear you ask, should the 30 something male dress like?
Well here are 6 KEY basic tips that are just the start of our journey:
- Forget fashion and get a style.
- Streamline your wardrobe. Go through it and give to charity anything you have not worn for six months. There will be a good reason for this.
- Look at your body shape. Unless you’re lucky, your thirties are when you’ll start waging a constant war with your body, so dress accordingly.
- Thinks shirts instead of t-shirts, shoes instead of trainers. Go for classic knitwear, invest in a blazer. Jeans are still ok, just go for the darkest indigo and for god’s sake pull them up and wear a belt.
- Invest in a quality suit, if you can afford it go bespoke, but made to measure is ok and still superior to off the peg. More on this in my upcoming articles.
- Start looking at where you purchase your clothes from; think A.P.C not All Saints, Dries Van Noten – not Topman.
Yes, there is much more to say, and this article contains just a snippet of all you’ll ever need to know to look better than almost every man on the street. Follow my advice and do your part to save civilization.
A.P.C and Dunhill 09-10
Great examples of the look we would aim for from these two great designers latest look books:
I think Mark has really touched on a strong topic here within men’s fashion. As we grow older I think we should do so with some grace and not fight that horrible feeling of trying to cling to your youth. You SHOULD dress differently at 30+ [This was totally my error to put a specific age] than you do in your early twenties. There is nothing worse when I see older “gentlemen” in a bar or at the gym rocking baggy distressed jeans with a bright graphic t-shirt! Trying to be ‘cool’ or wearing what all the young guys are wearing is exactly what makes you come across as try hard and incongruent. It actually makes you look like a total train-wreck.
I know when I start to hit my thirties and beyond I will swap out some of my pieces and substitute them with smart classic items that FIT (key). This might mean chinos and polo shirts, or it might be a leaning toward casual shirts and great knitwear. I am not sure how I want to progress my style because I am not there yet, but believe me I will be looking towards our personal BEST DRESSED MALE 2009 Tom Ford for inspiration. Now that is how to look great on a daily basis without all the ‘on trend’ items. See the comments on the article we wrote about him and how he is revered by ALL ages as being one of the most stylish men on the planet.
So please guys, if you haven’t already… grow up. It sounds harsh but you will thank me for it. You do not have to be a boring clone of everyone else out there, you can still add personal touches and flair to your outfits (through colours, patterns or accessories etc.) and OWN your looks… but let’s do it with some class.
UPDATE: Wow I really went for this huh. There have been some AMAZING and inspiring comments below which really emphasise the points I have always tried to make in my previous articles. Having a personal style is truly that… unique to YOU. You do not want to be anyone else and everyone’s personal upbringing, friends, situation, budget, environment, surroundings, personal role models etc will all play a part in the look they are going for. Mark has obviously started to adopt a more mature style and is now going for a more refined and probably classy look. He made this decision to do so within his thirties but it could also come later for other’s as they are not quite ready. There should of been no age associated with this [my fault] because transforming yourself before you are ready is also going have you feeling uncomfortable and less confident.
This article is a question of style instead of fashion/clothes and the Key point is to develop a personal style that is congruent with exactly who you are and where you are in your life. Everyone should grow old with class and dignity and it is about finding that balance about when to let go of the same styles you were wearing in your youth. Hopefully each year your personal taste will develop and you will start to look for ways to progress anyway so it will not be an issue.
For instance since I started this site in 2007 on a personal note my style has gone from really quite youthful and edgy to now a more edgy relaxed formal look. I wear casual shirts a lot more, I utilise a lot more casual shoes/boots in outfits, and I love using trousers/chinos in my day time looks which I never would of considered before. I still keep it ME and add the edginess through accessories, layering, colours and even cut/fit (drop crotch, carrot, tucking in jeans, rolling jean hems etc). I know within 2 years I will of progressed again and my style will be developed even further. Each year I become more and more confident, I know who I am and what I like and dislike. In the end it makes my personal STYLE become more defined and then finding clothes and putting outfits together which project this becomes easy.
Here are some of the greatest quotes I have seen from readers below. Witness01 always hitting the mark on the head:
in your thirties”… Y’know, I don’t think it’s that simple
of course I agree that guys should always dress in a way that is enhancing, as we mature – so should our style and our class, as we become more refined
older guys dressing like much younger guys is creepy and wrong
The rules are so different for each individual that all you can really say is “You’re getting older, do so with dignity…and use it as an opportunity to evolve your style and sophistication”.
There is no such thing as an outfit that is right for a 30-something year old. We need to dispel that myth. There are only outfits, styles, items that are right for *you*.
I do like the idea of buying less more expensive additions to my wardrobe that will stand the test of time.
its a controversial topic i feel and men go through the “change” at slightly different times, depending on how old they look and there personality.
its more about finding and developing your own style and for that you need to be true to yourself be confident and honest with yourself
Everything above really sums it all up. There are no rules to fashion and EVERYONE is different. There are some really great points to take away from the article (for and against) and I love the fact we have promoted some fire and debate between the readers. So let’s keep it going!
Personal Clothing Picks