I may be blowing wind here, but I like to think that my little corner of the internet fills a gap. I began this blog years ago at the suggestion of some good friends who were pleased with the blossoming menswear style blog boom, but disappointed that nothing at the time addressed stylish men of meager means. In time, I've come to realize through emails and meeting people that I also tend to appeal to younger men in need of basic and unpretentious help (yikes, that was probably pretentious) as well as older men looking to keep things fresh without dressing like kids.
Reader Mark writes:
You said in your post "I'm not 22 years old and rail thin". That brings up a question:
What are good looks for heavier guys in their late 40s-early 50s? I don't want to appear to "try" to be dressing too young, yet I'm not really antique in age either!
A good question, to be sure. Hope I'm up to the task. What follows may not be so much direct advice on "looks" as it is on knowing your history, knowing whats going on, knowing what suits you, keeping it classic and simple, and combining all that...I hope.
In the photo above, a 75 year old Astaire gives his relatively staid jacket and tie ensemble just the right pinch of insouciance in his choice of aviator sunglasses, a favorite of youth today. The lesson here is opt for items which will always be classic and also "cool", in this case the glasses. Military men wear them, bikers wear them, rock stars wear them, hipsters wear them, even a confident 75 year old wears them. In each case they are "cool". In the old guys case, they are a sign that he is cool, and has been for some time. And yet, they don't diminish the classic-ness of his overall look, and they are anything but inappropriate.
This photo, like the one above, is a still from 1974s The Towering Inferno. Sure, it's dated. The tie is huge, the lapels are too. But that's the point. Being older doesn't necessarily mean you have to avoid trends like the plague, you just have to play them carefully. Astaire's tux is very 1974, yet because it is also relatively classic, he manages to be of the moment without looking like he's dressing like a kid. Despite the wideness of the elements, there are no ruffles on the shirt front, not frilly cuffs, no extra velvet, and no silly colors. Similarly today an older man may opt to lean towards the currently trendy leaner cuts while keeping his fabrics and patterns classic.
The point I guess is to stick with classic pieces in classic cuts and always insist on quality. At the same time, keep an eye on trends and choose selectively those aspects which will keep you looking fresh without looking like a mid-life crisis. And never wear anything that doesn't fit well. Young skinny 22 year olds can wear all the short pants and too tight jackets they want. They'll still look foolish, but we'll collectively chalk that up to youth and gullibility and hope they grow out of it. Older (and heavier) men do not enjoy such leniency.
Of course, it helps to have been this cool in your youth:
Thank you Mark for opening this can of worms. I hope we catch some big fish.