Finding Your Style
Friday, 19 September 2008 06:48
Written by Shayne Stephens
To many, this is the most depressing thing in the world. They end up finding solace in the loving arms of a cosmetic surgeon, a mail-order bride, a Bowflex, or behind the wheel of a ridiculously expensive convertible, hair plugs blowing in the wind. Others, however, seem to take everything in stride. Though they still rock the Japanese denim and stylish kicks on weekends, they’re seemingly less tortured by the increasing presence of collared shirts, khaki pants and blazers in their closets, which allows them to not only look good in whatever situation life throws at them, but also feel comfortable and confident in their own skin…unlike, say, George Stroumboulopoulos who, although a great interviewer, is now well into his 30s, a bit portly, and still clinging to punk rock tight, black Ts, cuffed sleeves and sneakers–that doesn’t do anything but age him. Thirty may be the new 20, but don’t use the buffer to look like an idiot.
How, then, is one to make the scary transition from the fickle trend-chasing of youth to the sophisticated, settled swagger of midlife style? Does it require a closet overhaul? Does it mean simply giving up all personality and settling into a life of boring, double-breasted conservatism? I asked fashion stylist and designer Bronwen Connolly to give us a little advice when it comes to this ever-touchy subject.
“Fashion-forward is almost always exclusively for people under 30, because it’s trendy and trends are for kids,” she offers. “The 30s, then, are really for men to develop their own personal style. And honestly, it takes some courage to be able to say ‘I can’t wear those shoes anymore,’ or ‘these jeans don’t really fit’.”
To simplify, Connolley likes to break things down into two main camps:business and casual.
The business camp, she explains, is much less flexible, thanks to the obvious limitations that accompany having to wear a suit every day. In this camp, growing up means purchasing a good suit that fits you properly and stepping away from the black suits of youth. “Black suits are not flattering to aging men,” she explains. Midnight blue or something somewhere between charcoal and brown are great suit colours. Your shirts and ties are then your chance to express yourself.”
The casual camp, Connelly says, revolves around jeans. Finding a really good jean store where the staff is knowledgeable and can fit you properly is imperative. She suggests looking for a jean that is modern in its wash and cut of the leg, but not too trendy. From there, new jeans in hand, a day of visiting local boutiques is required. “I tell my clients–usually I go with them–to check out places that carry the smaller lines,” she offers.
While maybe not with a bandanna or a hat cocked sideways, accessorizing, too, is important. In the land of grown-ups, a quality belt, for instance, is a non-negotiable…as are good shoes. “Whatever you do, make sure your shoes are good,” stresses Connelly. “Look for shoes that are current in a way that they aren’t dated, but avoid the toe shape of the moment, because it will only look stupid.
All in all, growing up might not be so bad. Just pay attention to fit, add a bit of colour and if that seems a bit too daunting a task, book a consultation with a stylist whose sole job is to help you create a style template.