(In photo: Sharon Bartram)
As a retired ‘big city’ lawyer my frugal grandfather sported a paisley ascot and shiny black dress shoes with well-worn dress pants every day and saw little reason to purchase new clothes, reasoning that if this attire was good enough for the courtroom, surely his herd of twenty cattle wouldn’t mind.
With a clean shave and Aqua Velva rounding out his farmhouse ensemble I wouldn’t call his look ‘typical’, but I would say that he had much in common with many other older men in that he maintained the ‘go with what you know’ approach to wardrobe and style in later life.
For men ‘of a certain age’, keeping up appearances by updating their wardrobe and personal style is not just a mood elevator, it can bolster confidence and actually make you look like you’ve lost a pound or two without even working up a sweat.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with sticking to your comfort zone, on a daily basis, the following guide might be just the thing to consult if you have a hankering to change things up a bit or even just tuck away in the sock drawer for future reference:
FIT IS VITAL
The brutal truth is baggy or oversized outfits can make you appear older. Instead, opt for well-tailored garments that flatter your body shape. “Despite the fact that many older men feel self-conscious wearing slim-fitting trousers, they can actually make you look slimmer,” advised Sharon Bartram, owner of 27th Century Boutique on Reid Street.
Before you head out (or are dragged out) to go shopping, take a good look at what you already have in your closet and then try to purchase an item that will co-ordinate with or extend their use.
“Particularly if you have an event to go to and you need to work within a budget, I ask men to think about what dress pants they already own and then help them pick out a new dress shirt to go with them,” Ms Bartram explained.
If possible, it is best to keep your eye out for a few timeless pieces that will never go out of style and then try to purchase them on sale when there is not an urgent use for them – that way you can choose things you actually like without overspending.
Items like a well-fitted blazer, tailored trousers, a quality pair of jeans and a couple of dress shirts will serve as the foundation for any man’s wardrobe, and not leave you scrambling when that invite to your granddaughter’s graduation comes along.
Even though chunky gold chains and ID tags might have been ‘de rigueur’ in your disco dancing days, they are perhaps less essential in this modern era. But, a stylish watch might be worth the investment. As is the case with a classic leather wallet, belt, cotton pocket square, or sun-protecting hat, all of which can be found at Flatts Menswear.
Originally purchased in 1979 by her beloved father Mickey Adderley, daughter Jennifer Lindo is continuing the family tradition of outfitting the island’s men with quality clothes for work or recreation. “At the moment we are the only supplier of Big and Tall items in Bermuda,” said Ms Lindo, “and we also stock a great range of sportswear and work clothes”.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
When it comes to updating your wardrobe both women agree that styles do change and it’s important to keep an open mind when you head out shopping. “A lot of men are used to wearing the same thing for a long time and they come in looking to replace an item with something that is exactly identical,” explained Ms Lindo. “That can be a little challenging when the item is 20 years old, and the original supplier has gone out of business!”
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Older men also tend to prefer not to try things on in the store because they just want to get their errand over with as quickly as possible, but that frequently just wastes time in the long run said Ms Lindo. “It’s very important to try things on before making a purchase to ensure you are actually buying the correct size.” Whenever possible it is also best to come to the shop in person instead of sending someone else to choose for you.
“Not only do older men tend to wear a different size than they once did, but the way clothes are sized and labeled has also changed,” said Ms Bartram. “I can’t tell you how often people wind up having to make a second trip to the store to exchange sizes because they insisted on purchasing the size they used to wear years ago.”
A FEW SIMPLE SKIN STEPS
When it comes to skin care however, older men tend to fall into one of two categories – those who get that it is important and those who don’t. Nevertheless, taking care of your skin becomes increasingly important as you age.
Andrea Fubler, owner of Salt + Cedar on Front Street, which carries a whole range of products specially formulated for men recommends the following simple steps:
Consistency is key when it comes to daily skincare – developing a daily routine and sticking to it will achieve the best results.
Recognise that men’s skin tends to be thicker and oilier than women’s skin, and products specifically formulated for a man will work better.
If you are only going to do one thing, make sure you wear sunscreen whenever you go out. It is essential to protect against UV rays and slow aging from sun damage.
Applying moisturiser to your face at night is another easy step as it will soak in properly while you sleep.
Using an all-over body wash formulated for hair, face and body is a great way to treat yourself and still keep things simple.
Even making sure that you are staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can improve the appearance of your skin.