In part one of our article on how to dress in your thirties, we realised there is a continuously decreasing gap between your thirties and twenties. Fashion, fitness and grooming routines are becoming essential for the everyday male in this day and age, keeping them looking their youthful best for as long as possible. However, we also realised that moving to a slightly more maturer wardrobe can work wonders for your personal style – setting trends rather than following them and creating your individual take on what is currently in.
With this in mind, today we are going to looks at those trademarks that make your personal style unique. These are the finishing touches and integral parts of your everyday style that set you apart from the guy next to you – they can’t be copied because they should be an extension of your personality. We will also look at a couple of guys who get it very right within their thirties, and try to pinpoint some items that you should be ridding your wardrobe of once and for all.
As we arrive at our thirties, it’s time to check that the sartorial arsenal is in order. There are certain things that the fashion conscious male should own and by the time we are at our mid-thirties, we should ensure that we have a few of these essentials. This includes items and/or characteristics that people associate with you automatically, which are the marks of your individual style. We should continue to add to these through life; however here are some key items that I personally think should become one of your trademarks at the mid-thirty mark:
By this time, the boy is now a fully independent male and hopefully has some more financial freedom. A watch will always be a man’s best accessory; something a man should be proud to wear each day and as such, be associated with. Buy the watch for you – it’s a very personal thing – and invest in the best if you would like it to last you into the far future.
Obviously the type of watch you buy will be limited by your budget. If you do have financial freedom, then why not invest in something truly special like the IWC’s, Baume & Mercier’s or Breitling’s of the world? There are so many unique luxury watch manufacturers to choose from and each offer different specialities and ideals that they abide by. Find the brand that fits in with your personal ethos and then invest in the best you can possibly afford comfortably. These watches are items that will potentially last forever, being able to be passed down through the family as part of your legacy – providing both future sentimental and current fashionable value.
If you cannot afford to spend thousands of pounds on a luxury watch, then try picking up a classic designer dress watch. This is a style that is refined and perfect for any situation, plus it will never date if you invest in a black/brown leather strap or stainless steel bracelet. Cheaper luxury watch brands such as Tissot provide great value, whilst the Hugo Boss’ and D&G’s of the world also provide great looking timepieces at a much lower cost. Just remember that designer watches will always favour great style over the actual substance (i.e. the mechanisms and movements).
The final option is to opt for an unusual or slightly more fashion forward take on your timepiece. We are talking about interesting designs, striking colour combinations or simple touches that make your watch more of a statement. Uniform Wares are releasing some amazing watches each and every month at the moment, whilst brands like T.W Steel offer huge oversized versions that are bound to become a focal point – and therefore instantly recognisable as part of ‘your style’.
Grooming giant, Pankhurst London, says that when we hit 30, hair experiments should be a thing of the past and that we should know what cut looks best. I’m not going to argue with the chaps at Pankhurst and neither should you. Be sure to know what works for you and ask a barber for advice if in doubt.
Something a lot of men find hard to come to terms with in their thirties is loss of hair. A receding hairline or male pattern baldness can become a major strain on your self-confidence and affect your whole look because of it. Unfortunately there is no magic cure – apart from finding hairstyles that suit your ever changing hairline, or coming to terms with the fact and embracing a shaved head.
The acceptance of the fact and being completely comfortable with who you are is something that will always have you looking the very best you can be. Easier said than done I am truly aware – but if you master it then it will make the world of difference to how you look on a daily basis.
Generally the most common advice from experts is to keep your hair short and structured, as texture can actually enhance the problem and highlight thinning hair. Ask your hair stylist for advice about which cuts will suit your particular situation and NEVER try to cover it up through comb overs and the like.
Once you know in your mind that you are fighting a losing battle, shave it short and concentrate on upgrading everything else about your personal style; hit the gym and get the body you always wanted; experiment with facial hair if you know it looks good on you; generally put all the effort it took worrying about your hair before into dressing well and developing your signature style/trademarks.
I’m a firm believer that a man should find a scent that will always work for him. This could take some time but it will be worth the search. Finding the scent that works for you means that it should be an extension of yourself and personality, and something that can be associated with you by others. This doesn’t necessarily mean one scent – different fragrances correspond to different seasons and times of the day. However, keeping to a limited few will help keep some continuity and familiarity.
Add fragrance to neck and wrist – not behind the ear, this is a myth and could actually make you smell worse – and if the fragrance can still be smelt after 10 minutes, enough has been applied. Fragrances that are used often will become familiar to your nose and won’t smell so strong after a while. Remember however that this isn’t true for people smelling you, so resist liberally spraying to avoid being over pungent.
Developing a signature style that is YOU is so important. You should already know how you like to dress and the image you want to portray, but look to refine this through other trademarks that specifically relate to your personality. The above were general suggestions that all males should have down by their mid-thirties, and now we move onto specifics.
This could be through anything you can imagine, but generally comes down to accessories or choice of prints. If you dress in a smart and refined way most days, then how about an elegant accessory such as a silk scarf or neckerchief? You could develop quite a collection that can then be incorporated into both smart and casual looks in a variety of colours and prints – they will not only give your outfit the shot of life it needs, but people you interact with regularly will sub-consciously realise that they are part of who you are.
It doesn’t have to be so obvious either, the key is in the details here. You might look for bold or patterned linings within your suit jackets and outerwear, you might prefer bowties to ties, you could have a penchant for a rare pattern such as polka dots (shirts, socks and pocket squares) or is could be as simple as wearing a vintage piece of jewellery or a particular pin badge each and every day.
Just remember that you don’t want to go overboard or try and force it – this is NOT a gimmick. These should be the little touches that reflect your personality and take your looks to the next level, rather than making your outfits seem conceited and over worked.
The hat deserves its own section as it is an item that can become both a signature and trademark of your personal style. We were initially going to include it within the trademarks section above as something all men should have down by the mid-thirties – but a hat doesn’t suit every head shape or personal style.
However, if you are willing to experiment and find the find hat for you – no; beanies, trappers and the like DON’T count – then it can take your looks to the next level. The reason for this is that most men shy away from head wear – they either don’t have the patience to find something that works for them, or just don’t feel comfortable in one.
Usually it can be traced to an issue of confidence. Many men would never have a problem wearing a beanie because they are widely accepted and every guy has probably worn one in his lifetime. However, a flat cap, trilby/fedora or a pork pie hat is a completely different story. They are still very rare and unique, which means that you are bound to get people noticing you if you are wearing one. If you can embrace this and welcome the attention, then it shows an innate sense of confidence that has always been a real man’s most attractive quality.
The two styles I would recommend are the flat cap and trilby/fedora. These are both the easiest to wear and can be integrated into a variety of looks, as shown below:
Just remember that you need to be aware of your head shape, personal style and size when purchasing something that is such a statement. Everything should be carefully considered from cut to material and colour. Try a variety on and don’t be afraid to spend time searching and trying on multiple versions in order to find THE perfect hat that represents you fully.
Much has been said about Mr Gosling this year, and for someone who has just moved into his thirties he gets his style spot on. Notice how in the above images he has taken into account a lot of the principles we have been trying to instil over this two part series:
If you want to read a comprehensive breakdown of the man of the moment then make sure you check out our Ryan Gosling Style Icon article.
Fashion journalist Angelo Flaccavento is known for his trademark beard-bowtie-glasses combination and is a great example of something all late thirty year-olds should consider; the uniform. Flaccavento shows that wearing the same thing can make you look your best.
However, note how varied this uniformed look is. Colours change, trousers change to shorts, accessories are added. When you get older, consider a uniform – something timeless that can be adapted to weather or mood. Even if you do accept a uniform, remember that you aren’t chained to it, variation is allowed and needed.
So now we come on to some items that we should be looking to avoid as we progress through our thirties. Of course, this will all be dependant on your body type, youthfulness, personal style and the like, so don’t take any of the examples personally. These are just generalised suggestions that will work for most men.
Don’t Wear These – Bold And Brash Trainers:
Keep trainers in the wardrobe, but they will need updating from those you wore at 20. White trainers are still an option (probably not when we get the other side of 50) but invest in a good leather pair with minimal branding and detailing. These will suit being dressed up or down and allows the rest of your outfit to do the talking.
If you want to come away from trainers completely then loafers are a great choice; refined, comfortable, stylish and relaxed. There is also now a wide variety of styles in a plethora of colours and materials:
Don’t Wear These – Novelty Slogan/Childish Graphic/Large Logo T-Shirts:
Large logo t-shirts and the typical ‘Bang Tidy’ like slogan tees are quite obviously not suitable for any self-respecting male no matter what their age. However, as we get old we need to also start thinking about the graphic tees we adorn ourselves with. Prints of naked girls, wild cluttered images and generally skeleton/rocker t-shirts at some point have to be let go – it is up to you when.
The main alternatives to a graphic t-shirt would be more grown-up prints, photoprint tees or the timeless Breton t-shirt. The Breton stripe tee has been a favourite throughout generations – think of iconic pictures of both James Dean and Picasso – and make a great alternative to your current graphic collection. Other prints such as Aztec and/or Navajo should also be considered, but just remember to keep the colour schemes a lot more subtle and muted instead of brash and in your face.
Don’t Wear These – Ripped, Extreme Faded or Distressed Denim Jeans:
When we get older we should invest in a less worn pair of jeans; raw denim being the least worn, a three-year wash the most. When we are younger we tend to experiment with everything and think as much detailing as possible is best. In fact, it is quite the opposite and can cause conflict within your own outfit. Extremely faded, bleached, distress or ripped jeans should be retired as we move through our thirties, instead opting for dark washes in slim/straight cuts.
People have asked about skinny jeans, but I see no problem with the cut so long as you can still pull them off – realistically! Of course, there is not much difference moving from a skinny to slim cut these days, so you have a ready made alternative when the time comes to retire them.
Don’t Wear These – Drop Crotch, Cuffed Jeans, Gimmick Fits
Our days of experimenting with silhouettes and crazy new cuts are over. We should instead be looked to keep everything tailored and fitted, no matter whether we are dressing for casual or formal events. Drop crotch trousers, twisted cuts and cuffed trouser hems are just a few that spring to mind – and should be left to the youngsters.
If you are looking for something that stands out, then try experimenting with colours or materials instead to give you that differential. Slim fit cords or wool trousers are perfect for adding texture to your looks, whilst chinos in rich blues, greens and burgundy would help create a real statement bottom half without the need to try so hard in order to be different.
Don’t Wear These: Extreme Scoop T-Shirts:
There comes a point when a man needs to mature and dress more like a grown up. I don’t care if you have the body of an Adonis at 40, there is no excuse for having your freshly waxed pecs on show. The problem I have with the extreme scoop t-shirts is that there is no subtlety to them whatsoever. It is time to upgrade with some well considered premium basics.
If you are looking for something that still gives you that same framing, then try a standard v-neck or Henley button up. The v-neck will still give you a powerful frame that showcases your wide chest, whilst the Henley can have one (or two MAX) buttons undone in order to give you that same effect.
So that brings to an end our series on how to dress in your thirties. We hope you have enjoyed it, and feel a lot more confident as you move towards or through this golden age.
But now it is time for your opinion:
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