Whether you made your bundle and quit work early or you’ve taken your leave at the traditional age, retired style doesn’t have to mean a track suit and cane. Here’s how to take years off your non-working appearance.
Let’s start at the top: If you still have hair:
Do: Flaunt it, with a relatively short crop, and consider using a shampoo that brings out the best shades in your salt-and-pepper locks.
Don’t: Try to mask your age with over-the-counter hair dye, which is tricky to get just right and tends to look fake anyway, especially when your roots start showing.
If not, don’t obsess about it.
Do: Relax. Approximately 40% of all men undergo some hair loss by the age of 40, and that percentage has been driven way up by our current shave-it-bald-in-your-twenties generation. A clean-shaven head is not recommended, though, for an older man. To see how it’s done just right, check out Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s close cropped scalp on a re-run of Star Trek: Next Generation,and remember most women still find this guy seriously sexy.
Don’t: Grow your side hair long to compensate for any upper losses — this actually draws more attention to your baldness and also makes you appear a little sad.
Hair or not, pay attention to the style of your hat.
Do: Choose a moderately brimmed, small-weave straw for the summer, a wider-brimmed fedora in felted fur for wintertime. A nice, non-golfing driver’s cap makes for a good back-up option.
Don’t: Wear a cloth bucket hat any time of the year — nothing says “old guy” quite like this unfortunate furnishing.
Your shirt says a lot about you.
Do: Acquire quality knit tops and woven cloth shirts. If you need a reminder that you’re not at the office anymore, wear the latter open-necked, without a tie. Try selecting colors that are outside of your normal comfort zone; we guarantee you’ll be glad you did.
Don’t: For the love of all that’s holy, don’t wear a white undershirt with your open-collared shirt. If you feel you must wear a tee underneath, make it taupe, black, anything but white.
Do: Choose knits and wovens with finished hems that can be worn outside the pants for a relaxed look (and can help cover a slight paunch).
Don’t: Go all short-sleeved on us. Some polos are nice to have around, but longsleeved shirts and knits are much more versatile, and work well with today’s layered ensembles.
Your jacket says even more.
Do: Buy a well-tailored, up-to-date dark navy blazer with plain horn buttons. And stick a folded handkerchief into its breast pocket, just to show those younger guys you know a thing or two about style.
Don’t: Hang onto a jacket left over from your office days. It’s old and tired, which means that you’ll look old and tired too.
Pants are never beneath your notice.
Do: Pair your blazer, shirts, and knits with dark dress denims for most casual and casual-dress occasions.
Don’t: Believe that khakis are your only style choice. There are plenty of easy, comfortable trouser options out there with a tad more panache. Treat yourself to a few.
Let’s end at the bottom: Take a good, hard look at your feet.
Do: Maintain at least one good pair of dress shoes for formal occasions, and keep your casual slip-ons and sneakers neatly spruced up. The latter may be canvas, but make the rest leather – it breathes better, shapes naturally to your lower appendages, and looks mahvellous.
Don’t: Opt for synthetic shoes or footwear that’s too obviously orthopaedic (try using insole inserts instead). And trust us, black work socks do not look cool worn with running shoes – ever.
Article: Aged to Perfection, by Leslie C. Smith
As featured in The Foursome Attire Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2011