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I run the gamut as far as style goes, and I feel like I easily stay on top of fashion trends for the 8-5 corporate world. However, three nights a week I play bass for a rock band. I stay on top of those trends even more than the business trends, I wear slim jeans, usually with Chuck Taylor all stars, and I’m a big fan of slubbed v-neck tees. But I’m running into a problem…. I’m getting older and my hair is receding. I think wearing a hat on stage would mask it, but which one? Fedoras seem way too cheesy. I have a few different colors of the Irish style driver cap. Any suggestions? Or should I just rock the recede? I keep my hair short and textured, but I’m definitely losing it up front. Any advice to help me pull off the rock star look and not the “old guy in a band grasping at his youth” look would be awesome.
I’ve written about hair loss a couple times, but it’s been awhile, so I’m glad your question gives me the opportunity to revisit it. Let’s talk about hat choices, in the event that you want to cover it up–nothing wrong with that, and then let’s talk about the image of the aging rocker, in the event that you want to show your balding head to the world–nothing wrong with that either.
First, hat choices. You mention fedoras. I don’t think they look cheesy on everyone, but it’s great that you know they look cheesy on you. Guys, Chris is following one of the main tenets of style, which is that not every look is for every person. Skinny jeans, leather pants, rings, aviator sunglasses–don’t force it. Looking stylishly dumb is the same as looking dumb. Confucius says. For those who do NOT look lame in a fedora (Chris, earmuff it), I like this style in the color grey, and this version in the black. Stay away from white fedoras–you’ll end up looking like a pimp. Um, an actual pimp, not like, “dude, you look pimp.”
Another choice you mention, Chris, is the Irish drivers cap. I’d also call this a newsboy cap, and I think it looks good on a wide variety of people. This one is great in all three color combinations, as is this more compact version. Another option would be a knit or skull cap. Yeah, I know, they’re the darling of hipster fashion, but that doesn’t mean we have to dismiss them out of hand. Some people look really good with a close-fitting knit cap. Chris, since you’ll be wearing yours on stage under lights, you might consider that knit caps are likely to hold in heat more than other styles. Other options: the army cap, the cowboy hat, the mink fur Russian hat (I kid, I kid). Readers, I hope you’ll throw out other suggestions I haven’t covered.
Bruce Springsteen then. Lots of hair.
Now on to the dicey part of your question. How to avoid looking like the “old guy in a band grasping at his youth.” Hmmm, well, you’re right that that’s an “image” in popular culture: the man of a certain age rocking out with his friends as a means of escape from his stressful job, his nagging wife, and his needy children. Whether or not that’s actually what’s happening when guys play in a band, I have no idea being neither male nor possessing anything close to musical prowess (but thanks for dropping all the dough on guitar and piano lessons, Dad!). But I do think that image is the result of a youth-driven culture. Yes, I’m playing armchair sociologist, again. The perception that aging, and showing your age (as you would if you showed your thinning hair), while doing something perceived to be a young person’s pastime is in some way pathetic coming directly from a young person’s perspective. That is, an 18 year old might think you look lame. Then again, that’s an 18 year old! He thinks he still has a chance to be a famous rockstar; he thinks he’ll never wear a suit for work; he thinks he’d rather die than schedule trips to Home Depot on the weekend (actually, that last one, I’ll give him). All of this is to say that you don’t have to buy into this image. You WILL look like an aging guy playing in a band, that’s a given. But it doesn’t have to be bad, pathetic, or “grasping”. Hair loss is ultimately about your attitude. If you feel self-conscious about your thinning hair and need a confidence booster, wear a hat. If you think a hat looks more conspicuous and you really aren’t that bothered by your thinning hair, leave it off. If you have gigs three nights a week, your band must be pretty bad ass, so I suspect the audience is concentrating more on your sound than your hair follicles.
Bruce Springsteen now. Less hair, more forehead. Hard to see him in a fedora.
Maybe you did write to me for hat suggestions, Chris, or maybe you’re really asking, can I continue to do what I like to do even though I’m getting older, and my body is showing signs of it. The answer is yes, of course you can.
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