You just turned 30. Which means you’re a proper grown-up now. Work’s going alright; you can finally afford not to live on a diet consisting solely of pot noodles, but you’re certainly no baller. And while your mum no longer cuts the crusts off of your fish finger sandwiches, you’re not quite ready to retire to the drawing room with your Labrador Cecil in the evening, clutching The Daily Telegraph and sporting your favourite smoking jacket.
But how to walk the tightrope that is post-twenties dressing without looking like an over-the-hill has-been, or worse – a textbook case of early mid-life crisis?
Rather than domineeringly telling you exactly what to wear now that you’re approaching proper manhood, let’s run down some of the items that you categorically shouldn’t be wearing. Even if you do feel young at heart.
1. Chunky Skate Shoes
To any skating enthusiast that came of age in the early noughties, owning this beast of a sneaker was crucial to mastering ollies and kickflips in your quest to trump Tony Hawk. Now? Not so much.
Sure, back then they were painfully cool, but then again, so were sneakers with teeny-tiny wheels on. Remember them? Yep. Rest in peace. The fundamental design flaw inherent to this type of shoe is that they look as awkward and clunky with skinny jeans as they do with a relaxed trouser.
Since the heady heyday of Jackass and Limp Bizkit, skate-inspired styles have gone mainstream. And while some can work, others need to be bailed on.
Chunky footwear and low-slung baggy jeans? Out. Streamlined, minimal silhouettes in premium materials? In. Vans Old Skool/Era CA and Converse Jack Purcells are fuss-free designs that complement drainpipes and ankle-swingers alike, while retaining some half-pipe credibility.
If, on the other hand, you’re ready to take a step up now that you have a little more disposable income, the likes of Common Projects and ETQ Amsterdam offer skater-esque silhouettes (complete with thick rubber sole) in luxe leathers and suedes that will instantly upgrade your everyday looks.
- Vans Old Skool Winter Trainers
- Lacoste Straightset Trainers
- Adidas Originals Stan Smith White & Black Trainers
- Reiss 1971 Don Patent Leather Trainers Slate
- Etq. Low Top 1 Sneaker
- Topman Converse Black Leather Trainers
- Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
- Nike All Court 2 Leather Sneakers
- Jack Purcell Trainers White
2. Baggy Beanies
At some point circa 2005, beanies went from Usher-tight to oversized. It was a look that David Beckham himself wholeheartedly embraced and, as with most trends Golden Balls gets behind, it blew right up. Soon, any metrosexual worth his Swarovski ear stud and deep V-neck tee was opting for preposterously oversized headwear to top it all off.
“A slouchy beanie makes every outfit instantly sloppier,” says Brooke Philips, senior stylist at leading personal shopping site Thread.com. And she’s right – now that you’ve hit the big 3-0, there’s no room for this student halls brand of slovenliness.
It’s not the beanie itself that’s the problem. It’s the baggy. Much more age-appropriate is a beanie that fits. “A snug-fitting cable or waffle-knit beanie does the same job,” says Philips. “It’s also warmer, more comfortable and looks sharper than a beanie with a lot of flop.”
Thom Browne offers particularly luxurious styles knitted from a mohair-blend for extra warmth, but you’ll find less spendy options at Selected Homme or high street favourites like Topman and Mango.
- Gant Rugger Ribbed Beanie
- Acne Studios Nils Beanie
- He By Mango Wool-blend Beanie
- M&s Collection Ribbed Beanie Hat
- J.crew Melange Knitted Beanie
- Thom Browne Camel Beanie
- Selected Homme Cable Knit Beanie
- Reiss Nake Cable Knit Beanie Hat Navy
- Topman Khaki And Black Mini Ribbed Roll Beanie
3. Novelty Knick Knacks
‘Humorous’ underwear is almost a rite of passage for many men. When you’re a teenager, it’s the go-to gift for relatives intent on finding skivvies that’ll give you a chuckle. But we’re still not laughing.
Hopefully you’ll have had the sense to leave trunks that proudly declare your societal status as a ‘Beer Monster’ or baggy boxer shorts that come emblazoned with the warning ‘In Case Of Emergency, Pull Down’ far, far behind you. At mum and dad’s. Along with those saucy Max Power posters.
Underwear should cover your buttocks, not make you the butt of jokes. “[Plain] boxer briefs combine the best of both worlds, [they’re] suited to most body types and hold everything in place without drawing too much attention,” says Olie Arnold, Deputy Style Director at Mr Porter.
As for colours, we’d suggest steering dark for, er, ‘sanitary’ reasons, as well as saving yourself the almightily boring task of washing white and dark undies separately. Japanese masters of basics Uniqlo guarantee unbeatable value for money, but for superior quality and comfort, look to Derek Rose or Schiesser.
- Gant Solid Trunks Pack Of 3 Atlantic Blue
- David Gandy For Autograph 2 Pack Stretch Supima Cotton Hipsters
- H&m 3-pack Boxer Shorts
- Schiesser Karl Heinz Cotton Boxer Shorts
- Calvin Klein Underwear Stretch-cotton Boxer Briefs
- Derek Rose Ethan Stretch-micro Modal Boxer Briefs
- Calvin Klein Button Fly Boxer Trunks
- Sunspel Egyptian Cotton Low Waist Trunks
- Uniqlo Men Supima Cotton Trunks
4. University Merch
Let’s face it, you aren’t Head Boy anymore. Head of Sales, Head of Marketing or Head Shelf Stacker maybe, but not Head Boy.
So, slip off that university hoody, take it outside, read its last rites and bury it. Deep, deep in the ground. The only person that cares you went to Oxford is your mum.
Let’s not be hasty, there’s no need to banish jersey entirely just yet. Compete with the big boys in a simple sweatshirt, sans logos. A crew neck boasts more versatility than a hoody from a styling point of view; grey, navy or black sweatshirts can be made casual Friday-appropriate with a white button-down and slim tailored trouser, or pub-appropriate with a white tee and pair of slim jeans.
Again, Uniqlo is tough to trump on budget jersey basics, but Albam, Acne Studios and A.P.C. take this wardrobe mainstay to a more premium level. A plain, well-fitted hoodie still has its place though: “Where you went to uni should no longer define you,” says Philips. “However, a plain, fitted hoodie is still a stylish weekend choice when teamed with slim jeans.”
- Acne Studios Flinton Crew Sweat
- Uniqlo Men Sweat Long Sleeve Shirt
- Reiss Cart Seam Detail Sweatshirt Indigo
- James Perse Supima Cotton-jersey Raglan Sweatshirt
- Topman Washed Black Sweatshirt
- A.p.c. Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
- River Island Dark Grey Stitched Sleeve Hoodie
- Uniqlo Men Sweat Full-zip Hoodie
- Eleven Paris Bamako Hoodie
5. Cliché Band T-Shirts
This is a potentially divisive one for any proud musos, so we’ll clarify what we mean exactly: repping that niche Krautrock band you saw in Ghent is all well and good (in fact, we applaud your dedication to the cause); but insisting on wearing that tired, misshapen Green Day T-shirt you splurged far too much uni loan money on at Reading in 2004 is the mark of a man trapped forever in a state of adolescence.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not condemning the band tee entirely. But we do have a few caveats when it comes to wearing one: think about both what you’re wearing it with and the occasion you’re wearing it for before dusting off that trusty Ramones or Sonic Youth tee.
“Two rules should be considered,” says Arnold. “Firstly, keep it simple, and secondly, keep it casual. A slim jean and Converse with your favourite tee are perfect wears for a lazy weekend or spot of Sunday lunch.”
Probably the worst thing you can do with a band tee is try to dress it up: throwing brogues and/or a blazer into the mix will instantly transform you from ultra-cool to ultra-supply-teacher. Not so rock ‘n’ roll.
Turning 30 needn’t mean joint bank accounts, mortgages and desperately convincing yourself staying in is the new going out. But it does mean smartening your act up a little.
What would you toss as you bid farewell to your twenties? Any tips on how to best dress your age?
Drop your thoughts below.