When you watch the men’s runway shows in Paris, Milan, New York or Los Angeles, you probably don’t see a lot of 40-year-old men strutting down the runway. That doesn’t mean that you can’t look exceptionally good as a man that is 40 years or older.
The problem is that you can’t dress like a 20-year-old when you’re 40! You have a grown man’s life, a grown man’s job and a grown man’s responsibilities, so going out in the same clothes a guy who could be your son wears isn’t an ideal option.
What are you supposed to wear when you’re 40 and over? Use our fashion advice for men over 40 to help you out.
Don’t buy off the rack.
When it comes to fashion advice for men over 40, the biggest factor in whether or not a suit looks good is the fit. For guys that likely aren’t as svelte as they were in their 20s, that means buying something made-to-measure or custom.
Custom suits are your best bet if you truly want the right fit that flatters your body. Having perfectly cut pieces is the best fashion advice for men over 40 you’re going to get – even if it isn’t completely glamorous.
Do invest in fine suits.
Fine suits set the distinguished gentleman who has success in his career apart from the guys just getting started. If you work in a corporate office or a competitive environment, the suits you wear to work matter.
If you don’t already have at least a few very high-quality suits, stock your wardrobe with black, navy and charcoal. From there, you can add suits in more unique or seasonal colors like brown, olive, midnight blue and even khaki for the summer months.
Once you have those three main pieces in your closet, you’ll likely find that you don’t need much else.
Don’t wear sports apparel.
Many men who reach a certain point in their careers wear fine clothing to work every single day. If you’re one of them, you probably don’t really know what to wear when you’re not at the office. That’s why so many guys fall back on their golf or tennis attire – even when they’re not on the course or the court.
Your workout wear doesn’t make you look sporty though – it makes you look like you don’t know what to put on outside of the office. It’s a common problem, but if you take one piece of fashion advice for men over 40 outside of the office, this should be it.
The same rule applies to your running shoes. Unless you’re just going to the corner market for milk, put on some real shoes. Even comfortable loafers and boat shoes are more stylish than the shoes you wore to the gym in the morning.
Do purchase quality casual wear.
Your golf shorts aren’t appropriate for off the course, but what are you supposed to wear when a suit, blazer or slacks just don’t seem appropriate? The answer is that you need to purchase some quality casual wear.
When we talk about quality casual wear, we mean items like fitted chinos, khakis and straight-front slacks. You can dress those up or down depending on your top, and they’re ideal for pretty much year round wear.
When you do buy denim, make sure you buy something of decent quality. Raw denim and selvedge denim are your best bet. Just make sure they’re a fit that works for your body type – not just the ultra-slim fit cut the 20 year olds are wearing.
A lot of men try to take their fashion game to the next level with a host of accessories. There’s nothing wrong with cufflinks, watches, tie bars, pocket squares or lapel flowers, but many men, especially men trying to compensate for a weak wardrobe, tend to overdo it.
When you’re looking to step up your look, pick a few signature pieces. If you really love shirts with French cuffs, make cufflinks part of your signature style. If you love a splash of color, wear a pocket square every time you put on a blazer.
The bottom line is that you don’t need more than two accessories. Fashion advice for men over 40 – and even for guys in their 20s and 30s – dictates that you’ll just look like you’re trying too hard if you add a third.
Do buy two watches.
Accessories can help complete a look and make you stand out from the rest of the crowd, but as we just discussed, you can’t wear too many of them at one time. One accessory that you should always make room for, though, is the classic men’s watch.
Many men have a hard time deciding which watch to buy, especially when they’re spending a lot of money on something that will last them a whole lifetime. The answer is that you should probably spend less and buy two watches.
For the best overall wardrobe, you’ll want a watch with a brown leather band and a black leather band. These can be dressed up or down as needed and you’ll always have one ready for any suit or look.
Add a watch with a metal band for more casual looks, but don’t spend as much if you can’t afford to do so.
Do “Spring Clean” Your Closets
At some point during your early 40s, it’s a good idea to spend an entire morning or afternoon going through every single item in your wardrobe, especially if you’re the type of person who finds it difficult to part with possessions. Throw out every piece of clothing you used to wear that just doesn’t suit the styles and colors you’re interested in these days. Of course, if some of those pieces are still in excellent shape, you can donate them to charity.
When you get rid of clothes, you won’t be tempted to throw on something that no longer looks great on you for old times’ sake or because everything else happens to be in the wash or needs to be ironed.
Try to make a list of every article of clothing that you’ve gotten rid of. Then, when you’re finished with this cleaning project, you can head to a store and replace all of those items with clothing that is more current.
Don’t Wear the Same Things All the Time
As a rule of thumb, you should have more than three pairs of dress shoes, even if they all look alike, as well as two or three pairs each of sneakers, loafers and sandals. If you wear shoes too often, the sweat along with the wear and tear will alter their shape and make them look battered in a short period of time.
For similar reasons, it’s important to own several dress shirts, several jackets and several pairs of dress pants. Always update your wardrobe when you can.
Do Watch Out for Details
When you were younger, it’s likely that your supervisors, colleagues and others were willing to cut you some slack when it came to the subtle aspects of your wardrobe. To put it a different way, you probably got away with scuffed shoes, wrinkled pants, pinholes in your shirt and similar problems. Some folks might have assumed that you were sleeping on an air mattress, dining on instant noodles each night and generally hanging in there as best you could.
Well, those days are over, my friend. As you grow older and more distinguished, it’s less likely people will let these fashion faux pas slide. Therefore, you must be diligent with your outfits. Make sure that you’ve carefully ironed everything and have your shirts professionally pressed and your shoes expertly shined from time to time.
Your neckties and pocket squares ought to be color-coordinated and those ties should boast killer knots. Extras like monogrammed handkerchiefs and gold cufflinks can make a difference, too. Consider every inch of your wardrobe and try to figure out what you could do to enhance each area.
Don’t Shy Away from Advice
No matter your age or familiarity with clothing, you can surely benefit from the advice of others. Many men just don’t feel comfortable choosing their outfits for one reason or another. If you’re one of them, you can simply head to a high-quality menswear store and ask to speak to a professional tailor or other expert. There’s no doubt that these employees have plenty of fashion advice to share for men over 40. You’ll end up with an armful of shirts, pants and other items that will flatter your body and complement your look.
You could visit your friends and family members who have a sharp eye for style and ask them for some fashion advice for men over 40. They’ll probably be flattered that you consulted them and they may introduce you to certain looks and labels that will quickly become some of your favorites.
In many cases, it takes a village to make a man look his finest.
Do Consider the Whole Picture
Keep in mind that you could be doing everything right in the fashion department, yet your style could still be somewhat unimpressive. That’s because other factors influence your overall presentation.
Consider your haircut. If you’re sporting an epic comb-over or massive quantities of gel, people might get so distracted by your hair that they’ll fail to even notice your clothes. Similarly, no one will appreciate your sartorial choices if you’re wearing enough cologne to scare away Bigfoot. When it comes to your hair and your cologne, be tasteful.
If you were to look for common threads (no pun intended) among these pieces of fashion advice for men over 40, you might settle on two words: ease and authority. At this stage of life, you’ve definitely accumulated wisdom from a wide variety of experiences and you’ve hopefully achieved many of your personal and professional goals. A relaxed and consistent fashion style can reflect your success. It will show the world that you know who you are and what you’re capable of.