I am in the middle of a very short cocktail hour but I thought I would write a few words that would remind me tomorrow to carry on with the subject title – in just how does a man dress his age w/o making a fool of himself?
First, you have to dress to your particular lifestyle. Then do so simply. And I can’t stress enough – do so with with an understated elegance. And true simplicity is an elegance in and of itself.
And find yourself a uniform – something you’re comfortable with. Gomez Addams once said, ‘A man might own 14 suits of clothes. But out of that fourteen, I guarantee he has a favorite. As for me I have 14 copies of my favorite suit of clothes.’
I read or heard that years ago and it stuck with me.
Think about it. We’re not women subject to fashion trends. Nor do we feel like we have to constantly mix our wardrobes up. So find that favorite suit of clothes and wear it proudly everyday like a uniform.
And a uniform sense of dress takes all the guess work out of what to wear everyday.
Me? I live in a pretty consistent climate of perfect. So it’s cargo shorts, a t-shirt (pocket), handmade leather sandals, and a Panama hat. That’s every single day. On a chilly morning in December or January I might throw on a cashmere sweater and wear a darker, more heat absorbing Panama hat. But that’s it.
Colors? T-shirts are one of two colors: white or navy blue. My cargo shorts are khaki colored. I also own a couple of nice pair of Tommy Bahama’s shorts; one pair in an off white linen, and the other in a field green.
Mixing? Navy blue t-shirts go with anything. But reserved for cool or the rare sunless days, or evening. The white t-shirts work with everything but the Tony Bahama off white shorts.
My cashmere sweaters are in one color only. Navy blue. Two are pullovers and two are cardigans. Simple.
Jewelry? Let me tell you what someone got in reply to a GQ magazine fashion column request as to what kind of bracelet he should buy for himself. The columnist wryly replied that any bracelet for a man was fine as long as it was attached to a Rolex watch.
That’s all a man needs. He doesn’t need a neck chain. And he only needs a ring if he’s married. A single good watch will do.
Me? I wear my 36 mm diameter stainless steel Rolex when I am in the states or traveling abroad. In Mexico I wear a 36 mm diameter stainless steel Seiko.
Why Rolex? Why stainless? Why 36 mm?
Rolex, simply because Rolex produces the standard by which all other mechanical movement watches are measured and their designs are timeless.
Note: I didn’t buy a Rolex 25 years ago to impress anyone. I bought it because it is an man made object that speaks to the very nature of quality much like the Model 1911-A1 .45 Colt ACP – also in stainless BTW – pistol I used to own. Mechanical marvels – both. Sparse, classic designs – both.
And stainless because it is a true marriage of form and function. And 36 mm because that size is best suited to my wrist.
Back to clothes. For those of you living in less hospitable climates I recommend chinos, cords, or blue jeans with a simple oxford button down shirt in the same simple colors mentioned above. Shoes? A couple three pair of high quality leather shoes or boots. Coat? Wool in either camel, navy, or black.
Bag? Leather. Never synthetic. Buy a bag that you can pass onto your son or daughter when you decide to either retire or downsize. Twenty-five years ago I went with a couple of iconic Coach bags that my daughter now owns.
Me? I make – or have made – custom leather bags here in Mexico made out of the finest leather I can find over in the nearby Mexican leather capital of Leon. If you take care of a well made leather bag (or belt) it will outlive you for sure.
PS – My buddy, Behan’s grandfather years ago once said, “Buy the best you can afford and cry only once.” Great advice if you ask me.
PPS – My greatest confirmation to these fashion proclamations came ten years ago ago or so when I was walking up Connecticut Ave. in NW Washington, DC in the DuPont Circle neighborhood where I lived at the time. I was wearing a nice mid-length charcoal gray wool coat and a pair of rich gold colored corduroy slacks made by Tommy Bahama. I think I was wearing a pair of dark brown Italian boots with a cockroach stomping pointy style toe. A fellow a few years younger than me walked by, looked me up and down, and said,” Man. You look like a million bucks.”I gave him a heart felt thanks for such a kind compliment especially coming from w/i a neighborhood where it’s typically envious and greedy young citizenry don’t dispense compliments at all.