Ask A Woman: Style for every age.
If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: email@example.com .
I’m 56 years old, have stayed in shape, and taken good care of my skin. So while I’m in my mid 50s, I’ve done pretty well with keeping my appearance looking a bit younger than my actual age.
That said, I’d like to dress fashionably, yet don’t want to seem like the older guy who’s “trying too hard.”
Any advice? What can I take risks on? What should I stick with? I usually lean toward Brooks Brothers and Hugo Boss.
Thanks for writing in. If you don’t mind my saying, it’s nice to get emails from our more seasoned readers. Hopefully that trend continues.
When you’re thinking about changing up your look, it’s helpful to find someone else whose style you want to emulate. This can be a character in your favorite TV show, a celebrity, a co-worker, a friend–anyone you see with some regularity who you find yourself admiring. It’s much easier to cultivate style using an inspiring person as a jumping off point, rather than having a sort of vague notion of how you want to look. This is also a good time to check in with yourself about that “trying too hard” concern. If your style ideal is 23 years old, then you need to steer towards someone more age appropriate.
At 56 years old, the guys in your style wheelhouse are going to be ages 45-60. Ish. So for famous peeps we’re looking at Robert Downey Jr., Simon Baker, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Foxx, Hugh Jackman, THE Clooney, most of the male leads on Mad Men, and so on. Besides considering what you like, aesthetically, think about what fits your lifestyle. You may love the bold suit/shirt/tie combos you see on ESPN or Fox Sports, but if you have very little opportunity to wear suits in your real life, it doesn’t make sense to build a wardrobe around that look.
Emulating one of Andy Garcia’s looks.
Let’s say you dig Andy Garcia’s look. He’s the right age (58); he’s a stone cold fox; he’s got a good eye. Just an example, and maybe it’s not what you’ll end up gravitating towards (he seems to favor more flash/color than the Hugo Boss & Brooks Brothers set), but let’s run with it. Looking at some pics, you’ll notice he has a European vibe that looks effortless and bridges the gap between formal and casual wear. At the center of this look are blazers and scarves. That’s where you start. Grab a picture from the Interwebs and copy the elements. Let’s say this look is your favorite. I’ve created a version of it above, tweaking for my preferences. I like a darker brown when it comes to corduroy blazers so I picked this Uniqlo corduroy sportcoat, paired with a slightly contrasting plaid scarf (if you want something more tone on tone, like Mr. Garcia is sporting, this would be a good option). To top it off, some tortoiseshell shades in a rectangle shape–perfectly round is really hard to pull off for most people.
As far as taking risks goes, you can do so with anything that turns you on, but the key is to limit the risk (again, this addresses “trying to hard”). You don’t want to compose your style entirely of risks. Mixing man-cardis with suspenders with skinny jeans with accents of bright pink with wildly patterned ties is a mistake. Pick one thing, maybe two, that you’re interested in playing with, and have at it. Bonus if it’s an accessory, which can be easily and economically swapped in and out of ensembles and wardrobes. Good luck, and have fun!
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email–style, etiquette, relationships–I answer it all: firstname.lastname@example.org