I walked into my nearby Old Navy clothing store about a month ago, during high school graduation season, just to see if they had anything I liked — they did. Too bad they didn’t have my size or I would have bought several in different colors. Add to my disappointment the greeting I got from the service assistant: “Excuse me, sir. Are you looking for a graduation gift for a grandson or daughter?” And thus we fall straight into the crux of the issue – why is it unfathomable that I would wear something from Old Navy?
Do those of us “older generation” dudes wear “old man” clothes because we like the poor styling, drab colors and wonky fit? No. We wear that crap because those are the duds many clothing manufactures make for us. Want proof? Look at the styles and choices in the young men’s section at any clothing store, then look at the old men’s line. See a difference? Yes you do. Why? Apparently, there’s a rule that says that older gentlemen are forbidden from dressing in the same “it” styles that their son’s are wearing. This rule doesn’t seem to follow over to the women’s side of the house…though I’ve seen many mothers at the mall who should stop trying to look like their daughters — like, right this minute!
A search of an internet source I trust (AskMen.com) found several excellent tips for men over-40 and how they should dress. These all make perfect sense, and in none of the following tips did I sense that being over 40 meant you had to give up on dressing with style. I just wished the fashion industry believed this more deeply as well. Of course, if you’re 40 and still have the physique of an 18-year old, finding stylish fashion isn’t an issue.
Quickly, here are the highlights from AskMen.com:
- Avoid fashion fads. (This makes perfect sense to me! I think anyone wearing a pork-pie hat looks foolish!)
- Leave the past behind. (No problem — have you seen what we used to wear in the ’70’s and ’80’s? Ghastly.)
- Don’t mistake business attire for stylish attire. (Where I work, weekend casual passes for business attire anyway.)
- Keep it simple. (This is the rule that keeps us from trying to look like our kids.)
- Keep it clean. (A dapper appearance and clean-shaven face exude confidence.)
- Embrace your age. (You’re at an age of enlightenment, so dress like it.)
For more in-depth recommendations, the entire article is available at: AskMen.com: Over-40 fashion for men
Okay…so maybe I don’t want to shop at Old Navy. I can live with that. But while I can’t seem to find what I want IN the store, I CAN successfully find stylish clothing online! What I really want from my in-store experience is a service staff who think I could shop there if the mood suited me.
In the meantime I’ll embrace the wisdom from AskMen.com and take another look at my JC Penny online catalog. They have a nice looking selection of cargo shorts that would look pretty sharp this summer…and in my size too!