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You’re a man of maturity. The grey hairs are well-established, you’re secure in your job, you have a family and a large circle of friends. Yet alongside the trappings and privileges of age, complacency has set in. You don’t bother quite so much as you used to with your clothes and appearance. Slippers and cardigan are, metaphorically at least, if not in reality, now part of your sartorial vocabulary.
Why is this? As a younger man you considered yourself a bit of a dandy, wore nice clothes and dressed up well to go out on dates or to work meetings. Why are you no longer bothered? The answer may be that your life has settled into an established pattern. You no longer have to find a partner, lover, wife; you’ve got that secure job - there’s no further need to compete or even be attractive to others. Without such incentives you become complacent.
I was in just this position when I reached my forties. I wore cargo trousers, fleeces and walking shoes. Look around any high street and you’ll see men looking similar; their appearance is no longer of interest to them. Slowly, as I entered my fifties, the realisation dawned that being dressed daily like a rambler wasn’t the height of sartorial sophistication and I began to ponder the alternatives. I decided to embark on a search for style.
Quite why I sought a change, I’m not sure. I was a lawyer until my mid-forties and a teacher from my early fifties and had no fashion or menswear background. My mother was keen on clothes and my father and grandfather dressed well, wearing tailored suits and hand-made shoes. Maybe these influences remained dormant, waiting for the unknown trigger which started the chain of events which led to my becoming a style blogger in my fifties.
My blog, www.greyfoxblog.com describes my search for a more stylish life. I wanted to dress better and show myself in as good a light as possible. I’m not talking about trying to keep up with fashions: style is about projecting your personality; fashion is about wearing what people tell you to wear because it’s trending. As you age, self-confidence and a greater sense of self-worth can be harnessed to enable you to show the world who you are through the image you present.
You may at this point be thinking that this is all about vanity, or that it’s somehow not masculine to think about how you look. Just consider this: humans make an assessment of others within a few seconds of meeting. That initial judgement is very hard to later shift. Just like any other mammal, man relies on appearance to decide if others are reliable, friendly, trustworthy or simply good mating material. If you make no effort you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in this human jungle.
You can enhance aspects of your personality through your appearance. We do this all the time. By wearing a smart suit to a job interview, or a well-cut shirt and jeans to a date we are trying to give messages about ourselves: show that we would make an ideal employee or a perfect lover.
I’m not a fashion or clothes expert, I’m a guy who set out to find style and unexpectedly discovered all sorts of benefits. As I improved my wardrobe and looked after myself better, the compliments began to trickle in. The perceptions of friends, colleagues and family change and, if you’re in the dating game, you’ll find that being well-dressed gives you a distinct edge.
Advice on the elements of style are for another day, but look for clothes that fit properly, are well-made and classic in design. You’ll find that your life will change for the better as you develop confidence and self-respect.
David Evans started Grey Fox in December 2011. For men over forty, it can be hard to decide what to wear and how to dress. This fashion and style blog is my response.