Most of us here are hitting our 30’s and some even their 40’s so we asked “Ask Men” how should we be dressing, this is what found:
Being a 30-something is the stylistic equivalent of purgatory. Somewhere between college and kids, men have managed to mistranslate the rigorous responsibilities of adulthood into a wardrobe devoid of any flavor. Before you know it, your collection of what was once kick-ass clothing boils down to nothing more than Barack Obama jeans, tees that come in triple value packs, and a single Men’s Warehouse-size suit reserved for weddings and funerals.
Luckily, there’s hope. You’re mature enough to know the fundamentals (or at least be a quick study for a brush-up) yet young enough to benefit from a whole host of intermediate-level advice.
Have A Competitive Edge
Somehow, after years of experimenting, you’ve arrived at a disappointing mix of OK men’s jeans, crusty polos and a nondescript suit. Needless to say, a man’s 30s can mark the start of style suicide. Recall the R&D stage from your 20s? Now it’s just time to refine it — not completely remove it. You’re still young (even if you’re pushing the big four-oh), so despite the fact that you may have settled in on a clean-cut, corporate look, remember that venturing outside the box once in a while with vintage finds like a tee or vintage watch is more than just acceptable — it’s essential.
Invest In Special Items
The devil is in the details this decade, and chances are your closet is aching for some spice. With a foundation of basics that’s rock-solid (given that you renovate from time to time), you’re ready to pile on the pricey stuff — like that $1,000 briefcase. But before you let the sticker shock set in or the floodgates open on your bank account, remember that it only takes a few pieces to pump up your wardrobe. That is, after all, why they’re special.
Develop A Signature Style
The time is ripe for developing a unique identity with your clothing. And it’s not always about dishing out the dough (though that doesn’t hurt). If nothing else, a few more years of experience should have taught you that cash can’t buy taste. Maybe it’s monogrammed shirts, suit jackets with patterned linings or an inherited piece of jewelry you’ve decided to dig up. Pick your poison, because these are the details that make you you.
Distinguish Your Duds
You have versatility down to a science. The blue blazer that does double duty at the office and after-hours has become your all-purpose uniform. What’s next? Developing distinct wardrobes for work, play and every occasion in between. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t mix and match for maximum utility. Heck, splitting up a suit is old news. But the danger in your 30s is this: blending every aspect of life into a single, styleless mess. Instead, begin defining separate wardrobes based on your needs, and keep a handful of crossover pieces to bridge the gaps.
You’re no longer entry-level. In fact, you’re probably someone’s boss now — with a salary to match. But the chunky shoes and cheap belts of your younger years are the quickest way to diminish this newfound status. An upgrade may cost a pretty penny, but now you can finally afford it, right? Italian-made leather goods (bonus points for Goodyear welted shoes) are a safe bet. And a reversible belt in black and brown should be as much about luxury as it is about built-in practicality.
By this point, we shouldn’t have to tell you what’s wrong with renting a tux alongside prom-bound partygoers. The real focus here is on the trimmings. Too much bling would have been annoyingly precocious just a few years ago. Now, it runs the risk of making you look like a grade-A asshole. Strike the balance with well-placed accoutrements — a pocket square, sterling silver cufflinks and a fine dress watch are all you need.
OK, so you’re no longer barhopping with the boys all weekend in the city. Maybe there’s marriage and a minivan in play. But that doesn’t mean you have to get sucked into adopting suburban style, too. Resist the washed-out, oversize dad jeans and stick with anything in a dark wash. Pleats and frat boy cargo shorts, or any combination thereof, can be treacherous territory.
Car coat? Check. Down ski jacket? Done. Your 30s are for introducing pricier pieces, like a leather motorcycle jacket and a cashmere sweater. As always, pay attention to fit — the biggest concern at any age. Then, all that’s left is reserving your ski hats for the slopes and buying a few fine-brimmed fedoras and newsboys for the streets.
Welcome To Your 30s
During the in-between decade it can be easy to fall, well, in between. But with these tips, you’ll easily avoid the style slip-ups that resign most men to the mind-numbing middle.