Image: Howick AW14
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Casual Style For Dummies
How often do you sift through pictures from your past? Coming face to face with a younger version of yourself can bring all sorts of feelings to the surface. One of them is nostalgia – don’t you ever wonder what happened to the cool you in those photos?
The answers are varied: “he got married”, “he got a proper job”, “he got tired/complacent”. They’re all valid, but you don’t have to make them your destiny. Becoming that nonchalant, easy-going guy again – who looked great with minimal thought or effort – is feasible (it will just take a little more effort than before).
From t-shirts to denim, here are ten easy style tips for maturer men (although they can be applied to all ages) that will help you dress cool and casual without appearing dorky, dated or age-inappropriate – ideal for those that have lost their mojo…
1. Embrace What You Learned From Experience
As we grow older and wiser our style should improve. You probably wear a suit better than you did ten years ago. You know how to accessorise and, even if you’re not cutting-edge, there are some acquired personal quirks that identify you as an individual. Don’t lose them for the sake of cool.
If you have a classic timepiece you’re proud of, it shouldn’t be replaced with a funky rubber statement version (or iWatch) that all the kids are wearing. If you look great in navy, deep red and charcoal, don’t go neon because you saw it in that high street shop you haven’t shopped at since 1998.
This is a major douche warning: there’s nothing more pathetic than a fashion victim with Peter Pan syndrome. Acquired style stays.
For more information on this subject, take a read through our guide to choosing signature pieces.
Steve McQueen proved that classic signature pieces never lose their cool factor
2. Jeans Are The Epitome Of Cool At Any Age
Many of us end up in chinos for comfort reasons, or just because they are ‘dressier’ (rubbish, by the way). Nonetheless, a fitted pair of jeans will always give your look an edge that other legwear just isn’t capable of.
Go as trim as your build can take, and don’t be afraid of styles that are hot right now. There are plenty of options out there, so you’re sure to find a pair that isn’t dad-ish but also complies with the fact that you’re past your early twenties glory. Steer clear of comfort fits, highly distressed washes, rips, prominent branding and unnecessary detailing and you’ll be just fine.
The denim challenge: try to go a week chino-free, replacing yours with a well-fitting pair of jeans. Combine them with everything from tees and leather bombers to Oxford shirts and blazers. Watch for the reactions around you and let us know if there’s been any improvement in your cool factor.
He By Mango Straight-fit Dark Bob Jeans
Indigo & Maine Jimmy Slim Selvedge Jeans In Blue Rinse
Indigo & Maine Jimmy Slim Jeans In Indigo
Reiss Hawbury Washed Denim Jeans Blue
Loro Piana Cotton And Cashmere-lined Denim Jeans
Frame Denim Lhomme Placid Slim-fit Jeans
3. Basics T-shirts: Yay Or Nay?
You learned that leaving home in a shirt – or anything with a collar for that matter – is advisable, and after a certain age you shouldn’t dream of doing otherwise.
Well, what about a bit of rebellion, just like in the old days? Try swapping your crisply collared shirt for a basic t-shirt, whether it be long- or short-sleeved. They work extremely well under a blazer/coat, or solo with a pair of jeans (see above).
After age twenty-five, however, your t-shirt should fit perfectly. Not too big, and never too tight. If you feel your shape doesn’t take a thin-fabric tee gracefully anymore, alternatives include crew/v-neck cotton knits and heavy jersey Henley tops.
Extra Tip: We’re all victims of gravity after some time, so if you feel your neck is beginning to go turkey-like, a loosely tied lightweight scarf will help detract attention from it. This is also the reason why after a certain age, gents look their best in collared tops.
Basics T-Shirts Lookbook
Next Premium Essentials Crew Neck T-shirt
Gap Essential Crewneck T-shirt
Uniqlo Men Packaged Dry Colour V Neck Short Sleeve T-shirt
Reiss Dayton Basic V-neck T-shirt Navy
River Island White Crew Neck T-shirt
J.crew Flagstone Slim-fit Slub Cotton-jersey T-shirt
Reiss Donnie Pure Cotton Crew-neck Jumper Black
Asos V-neck Jumper In Cotton
He By Mango Textured Henley T-shirt
4. Go Wild On The Shoe Front
If there’s one item that will hardly ever make you look ridiculous when you shop at youth-focused shops, it’s footwear.
You can embrace the minimal white/black trainers we’re seeing everywhere right now, brightly coloured running styles or even splurge on a designer fashion shoe – the good thing about the latter is that no matter how much cooler the twenty-somethings around you are, you can actually afford high-priced kicks.
Wear trainers with confidence and ditch the loafers while the look is as hot as it is now.
Feeling brave? Why not try trainers to the office on dress-down Friday?
Minimal Trainers Lookbook
Reiss Chainey Leather Lace Pumps Black
He By Mango Camo-print Sneakers
Saucony Shadow 5000 In Grey And Blue
Ami Mens Suede And Mesh Sneakers
Saucony X Play Cloths Strange Fruit Grey Shadow 5000 Sneakers
Adidas Originals Gazelle Og Trainers
Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top Sneakers
Dolce & Gabbana Suede And Leather-panelled Sneakers
Valentino Camouflage-printed Leather And Canvas Sneakers
5. Wear Your Basics In An Unexpected Way
Creativity and free-spirited choices may have been pushed aside as the years went by, but looking at your all-time favourites with different eyes is an important step towards regaining your cool.
Sweatshirts worn as t-shirts, with nothing underneath, denim shirts worn as jackets, a leather biker instead of your blazer, or even just a bold coloured pair of socks… look back into the taboos you broke in the past to inspire new ones.
We’d love to hear how you style yourself out of the box in the comments section below.
Creative Layering & Juxtapositions Lookbook
6. Don’t Try To Relive The Past
Golden rule: if you rocked a look/trend the first time it came around, stay away from it the second time.
Don’t replicate what you did in your youth, but adopt new ideas. A middle-aged bloke in retro clothing just seems stuck in the past. From the fourth decade of our lives on, we’ve done enough throwbacks.
Only break this rule if you feel you do vintage with remarkable skill. You know who you are.
7. Pay Attention To Fit
It goes without saying, but everything you wear should fit properly.
When we’re lean teenagers and even a bin-bag hangs smoothly from our bodies, fit doesn’t matter quite as much as many make out. With time, however, purchasing the right size, choosing the correct cut and hitting the tailor for final alterations is essential.
I know this isn’t the cool, carefree guy you were hoping to meet again, but a slightly older gent cannot pull off the ‘sloppy kid’ forever. Sorry.
Good Fit Lookbook
8. Consider Every Detail
OK, so you bought the jeans, made peace with t-shirts and finished it off with a classic pea coat. Trainers are now firmly on your feet – but what on earth are those crooked gold-rim glasses doing on your face?
Another terrible habit of the over twenty-something crowd is sticking with functional accessories that play a major role in our overall aesthetic, ignoring what they look like. This includes bags, glasses, shades, socks, hats and even belts.
None of these should escape your sharpened eye. Hard work, isn’t it? Keep in mind those often forgotten details.
9. Leave Up To Three Items At Home
What did you wear last time you went out? Remember? Now, what if you had left the belt, jumper and socks behind? Sockless feet with your loafers, a relaxed beltless look and the ease of nothing but your shirt and a jacket.
Sometimes losing a couple of items can help you appear less stuffy. Give it a go.
Sockless, Tieless & Beltless Lookbook
10. Some Pieces Work At All Ages
There’s a list of items that are evergreen, and work no matter what age you are.
We are just a few: minimal trainers (Converse, Supergas and Common Projects are all-time favourites), denim jackets (can’t go wrong with a classic Levi’s trucker), Ray-Ban and Persol shades (see Steve McQueen above), Clarks Originals desert boots, slim- or straight-cut jeans, a plain white tee, chambray shirts and, of course, the leather jacket.
Any ever-cool item you’d like to add to this list?
Levis Denim Jacket Regular Fit Trucker Stonewash
Reclaimed Vintage Leather Biker Jacket
He By Mango Slim-fit Chambray Shirt
Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Polo Shirt
Burberry London Cotton-gabardine Trench Coat
Persol Steve Mcqueen Folding Acetate Sunglasses
Sunspel Crew Neck Cotton T-shirt
A.p.c. Petit Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Denim Jeans
Band Of Outsiders Leather Bomber Jacket
Converse Allstar Low Leather White Mono Leather
Topman Clarks Original Brown Desert Boots
Gucci Horsebit Full-grain Leather Loafers
Now we want to hear from you. What did the younger you rock best, and what is your plan to revisit it? Anything you’d love to be able to wear with confidence again?
Let us know in the comments section below…