There comes a time when a man must put away hoodie sweaters and faded rock band t-shirts to move to a more mature look. You can get away with wearing those things in college, but when you reach adulthood that is when you need to start thinking about looking a little more professional if you want people to take you seriously. Here’s a rough guide on how to dress your age post-college, and into your 40s.
In Your 20s
When most men finish post secondary education they look into their closets to see a large collection of plaid shirts, baggy sweaters, and faded jeans. Some of us may only have one suit which was a hand-me-down from our fathers. If this sounds like your wardrobe, it’s time to go shopping.
You’ll want to have at least one tailored suit in either grey or navy blue for job interviews. You want to get it tailored so it fits properly and you look your best. Don’t worry too much about expensive extras like pimp-ass watches, and cufflinks. Go for a good pair of wingtip shoes that match your belt instead. For formal occasions, you’ll want to have a black suit. And yes, you’ll want to get that tailored to fit as well.
For casual attire, you can’t go wrong with blazers, button down shirts, plain T-shirts, V-necks, and polos. Stay away from big logos. You are not a walking advertisement.
In your 30s
At this stage in a man’s life he has come along in his career and is beginning to distinguish himself from his peers. This is true, not only in matters of work, but also holds over to your attire. Your 30s are the time when you should be defining your look even more, and perhaps spicing it up with those pricey extras we cautioned you about in your 20s.
In your 30s, you’ll be making more money than you did in your twenties. You might also be in a position of management now and have to project that image of success and strength that an older man should have. Step up your work attire with a nice watch, pocket squares, and other add-ons. This is also a good time to invest in higher quality clothing too since you can afford to spend a bit more.
For casual attire, don’t fall into the trap that so many other men do in their 30s, and this is of falling into the dreaded “dad look.” A complete lack of style is what happens to some men as they let themselves go a bit once they’ve started to settle down. Don’t be that guy! Keep it fresh and exciting.
In your 40s
By this time, your style is fully developed and settled. In your 40s, you want to continue to diversify on your personal look and invest in more high quality suits and accessories. You want to stick with the same look, but at the same time don’t be afraid to refresh every so often. It’s possible that you might even develop an affectation for collecting things like watches. If so, then have at it. A tuxedo for formal soirees should also be in your wardrobe.
For more casual affairs, a cardigan is always a good choice for the mature, daper gentleman. You might consider this instead of wearing a blazer. When it comes to pants, go with slim fitting, dark jeans.
Whatever you do, don’t start wearing baseball caps and rock band t-shirts again. This signals “mid life crisis,” and that is never an attractive look for everyone. A man can look good well into old age as long as he takes care of himself, and his sense of style.
Chris Riddell is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers art, business, and urban life for various fine publications. Also a poet and aspiring novelist, he’s busting his butt trying to get his name into a few literary magazines these days. He encourages you to check out his website for a look at what he’s been working on lately.
Photo courtesy of Lansmusett Gavleborg.