This week’s look back at favorite posts from my 15th Anniversay of FocusOnStyle online takes a look at age-appropriate fashion for guys over 50. Mens’ style– like women’s– shouldn’t have an expiration date, and looking vital, modern, and well, hot, as an approaching boomer and beyond is something that should be accessible for everyone with a little know-how.
Have a read at this very favorite post from 2006. The advice is timeless, although the handsome examples are bit older, yet still just as fetching.. — S.H.
Age Appropriate Fashion Tips for Middle-Aged Men Men’s style tips for looking fashionably hot after 50
Dear Sharon: I’m a middle-aged man on the cusp of 50 and it doesn’t take a fashion genius to see that many styles are meant for men half my age or younger.
While I have no desire to pretend that I’m still 25, I’m not ready to dress like my grandfather, either.
Can you give me some middle-aged men’s fashion advice on how to dress in an age-appropriate way without looking like a boring old fart… er, fellow? (50 Reasons to Stay Hot–Oak Park, IL)
>> MORE: Men’s Style
Dear 50 Reasons: I sorry to say that I really don’t get this great subdivide of clothing being considered for either the very young or for the wizened and bewildered. So many readers, men and women, write in bemoaning that fashion is for the young and they feel over-the-hill at even 30 years of age. Others find some need to search out “specialty’ shops geared to the over 35 set. While there are those who woefully feel that they peaked at 25. Tell your Men’s Fashion Don’ts
Forget the blasted year you were born! Remember to stay as vital as you can for the day you are living, right now. Life is not about a number. Of course there are clothes for young people, but style is about the shape you are in and what works best to keep up a modern, cultivate look that’s all your own.
Rumor has it that 50 is the new 30, and frankly, 30 is just about the age where most people start getting what life is about. So, if you were a good boy and kept up your appearances by staying relatively fit, remembered to use your moisturizer, and most import, kept a fresh and open attitude to the world around you, by now, you should look pretty darn hot. And, if you keep up the good work, you will continue to look like a hottie by the time you are a grandpa. However, if you’ve sloughed off on your manly grooming, there’s no better time than the present to start taking care of your appearance.
So mucho kudos to you for not wanting looking like a “boring, old fart,” because farty style can happen at age once you start to falling into the scary side of safeness—when you are afraid to move forward and try something new.
In case some poor soul isn’t clued in to what is the dreaded zone of perpetual ennui for men’s style. For me, it’s the lackluster uniform of all time: Pastel polo shirt tucked into khaki pleated pants carefully cinched with a brown woven leather belt. Fellas, can you please dress out of the box for just one day? You actually may look more interesting.
That said, what is a man of 50 to wear?
Don’t dwell on being a new member to the AARP carrying club. Think of other men hovering on one side or the other of the cusp of 50: Tom Hanks, Andy Garcia, Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Kevin Costner, Dennis Leary, and Billy Idol. Bet you still think of these guys as looking pretty vital. They are also pretty true to their own style– just adapted it to stay with the times, to be modern.
By the time you’re half way to 100, you should have been able to gather the style momentum to figure out your own personal style. Getting older means learning from your past fashion mistakes, like being the guy in the Speedo who was not built like Mark Spitz, and forging ahead in a more streamlined and easy manner. Give up the idea of long hair when you barely have 3-hairs on the top. Look in the mirror and be real about what you have to work with—at any age!
As we mature, fashion needs to be less fussy and more sleek and sophisticated, but not fuddy-duddy.
Top quality men’s fashion designer have clothing that is designed for style not your date of birth. Sure, there are some pieces in every collection that are cut for the very young, but that is such a small part of an overall designer line. Think more about Hugo Boss than being at a fashion loss. Buy fewer pieces, but better pieces each season. If you can’t afford clothing from the big guns in men’s fashion, get inspired by their design and find less expensive versions of similar styles. Look like you’ve made it rather than your hopelessly still trying to figure it all out.
Most important, stay modern and avoid the traps of wearing the same clothing that dates you for years and years.
GUYS, did you get something out of this post? TWEET this to your buddies.
SHOP IT: We pulled some modern classic pieces for a stylish guy over 50 to think about:
-Original Publish Date: June 27, 2006