The old adage, "if it's not broken, don't fix it" doesn't always ring true, particularly when it comes to the way you dress. We are all creatures of habit and the more we mature, unfortunately, the more challenging it is to evolve beyond our creature comfort zones.
For nearly two decades now I've seen the patterns and learned to identify the glue that causes us to get stuck. Here are my red flags and tips for looking current and age-appropriate, learned through working with post50 men from all paths of life.
How do you know if you are stuck in a time warp?
- You are wearing the same jeans you wore ten years ago.
- It has been more than five years since you've modified your hairstyle or changed hair products.
- You can't remember when you changed the silhouette of your jacket. For example, more current jackets for men are slightly shorter and have side vents. If you are wearing jackets with no vents you may be a decade behind.
- Your shoes have square toes.
- The frames of your glasses (sun, readers or and prescription) haven't been updated in five years.
Tips for Looking Current
There are solutions that can be easily found, and here are some tips for looking current:
- Jeans are important, so go to a denim store or department store and get a modern pair of jeans. Levi's are always a good option, but styles, shapes and washes change. When in doubt, go with darker blue denim, and the less embellishments, the better.
- Unless you go to a barbershop and keep your hair short, neat and trim, tell your hair stylist that you'd like to freshen up your look.
- Colors that are easily identifiable from a particular era can also date your look. As we mature, our hair often turns grey (or we lose it) and our skin pigmentation fades. Wearing colors that you wore in our 30s and 40s can wash you out in your 50s and beyond. Go for colors that are more saturated or slightly darker hues than you may have worn before. For example, charcoal grey instead of pale chalk grey. Blues and darker browns as opposed to khaki or rust or golden tones. Think eggplant or navy over camel or beige.
- Instead of wearing the square-toe shoes that were your "going out" shoes, treat yourself to updated shoes or boots that can be worn with jeans and a modern blazer.
- Update your glasses. Even reading glasses shouldn't be neglected.
- Update your comfy clothes! Many of my clients will bargain with me to keep some of their pieces that are "comfortable"... I'm talking about old t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, lopsided topsiders, and clothes that are post college, pre mid-life crisis and circa 1987, - all the things you hold onto for working out or working in the yard. They may be comfortable, but are they really flattering?
Even when you think you'll wear them just around the house, you inevitably end up needing to run to the store or out for something and looking much less than optimal - dated or stuck in a time warp. I am not suggesting that you always get dressed up or sacrifice comfort, but definitely edit and upgrade your comfy casuals. You can even "demote" things you may have thought of as "step-up", like that nice sweater that is a little too stretched out can now be demoted to "around-the-house casual".
At Visual Therapy we believe that how you dress should be a direct reflection of how you feel inside. Updating and keeping your look current is a great first step and a tangible action to looking and feeling your very best. Think of yourself as a brand and think of your clothes as tools used to help to define that brand.
It's important to get inspired: take a look at the Visual Therapy blog and see my Inspiration for Fall in a Men's Style blog post.