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As a younger man with an interest in classic and traditional menswear, how do I avoid looking dated or much older than I am?

Ddubs

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I've recently taken a much greater interest in classic and menswear and have started incorporating this into personal style and everyday clothing. I'm about to hit my mid twenties, so I feel I'm at risk of looking dated or out of touch and presenting myself much older than I actually am. I still want to a youthful element to how I dress, but I'm not sure how to go about it.
 

mossrockss

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To answer this, it's a little bit dependent on what style you like. If you love the American Ivy sack suit from the mid-century and want to pursue that style… that's going to make you look old. But if you like just a generally nice tailored look, there are some options.
I've tried doing this and answering this question for about 10 years (I'm in my mid 30s), and my answer has been:
Aim for a classic, international style of clothing. I don't know what country you live in, but for me, there are hallmarks of certain eras of clothing in the USA that date you automatically. For example, it's easy to spot a 1970s silhouette, or a 1990s look, based on proportion, fit, design, etc. But I've aimed for something like a Neapolitan style of dressing, where the fit is classic. And I've combined it with more casualwear in fits that are flattering to my body, but not adherent to any specific trend (skinny fit, triple pleated, ghurka, whatever). That sort of disrupts peoples' ability to place you mentally in a category because it's not what they're used to. There are still trends in international clothing (right now things are getting super wide, for instance), but avoiding the big trends of 20 years ago makes a big difference.
I've also just focused on really choosing clothing that's flattering to me specifically. My body type, my style, my vibe. When you chase trends it looks bad quickly, and worse, if you chase a trend but then stick with that, within 10 years it dates you to that time period.
In some ways, dressing in classic tailored clothing will make you look older than you are and for someone in his mid 20s that's not a bad thing necessarily, but of course your goal is not to look old-fashioned.
 

Josephprice

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It's mostly an attitude and internal state issue rather than a set of style guidelines - I am now 50 years old and had a similar problem aged 19years old.

Size up suit jackets and wear a think hoody underneath in fall and winter seasons

Fitted linen shirts rolled up with biceps out in summer

The above are technically answers to your question

But I believe what matters most is simply rocking it and loving it - I drsss quite dandy now and with a lot of bright colours - all "rule breaking" and I am overweight by around 25 pounds but I feel great and confident and THAT pulls it off.

Hope this helps
Joseph
 

Despos

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To answer this, it's a little bit dependent on what style you like. If you love the American Ivy sack suit from the mid-century and want to pursue that style… that's going to make you look old. But if you like just a generally nice tailored look, there are some options.
I've tried doing this and answering this question for about 10 years (I'm in my mid 30s), and my answer has been:
Aim for a classic, international style of clothing. I don't know what country you live in, but for me, there are hallmarks of certain eras of clothing in the USA that date you automatically. For example, it's easy to spot a 1970s silhouette, or a 1990s look, based on proportion, fit, design, etc. But I've aimed for something like a Neapolitan style of dressing, where the fit is classic. And I've combined it with more casualwear in fits that are flattering to my body, but not adherent to any specific trend (skinny fit, triple pleated, ghurka, whatever). That sort of disrupts peoples' ability to place you mentally in a category because it's not what they're used to. There are still trends in international clothing (right now things are getting super wide, for instance), but avoiding the big trends of 20 years ago makes a big difference.
I've also just focused on really choosing clothing that's flattering to me specifically. My body type, my style, my vibe. When you chase trends it looks bad quickly, and worse, if you chase a trend but then stick with that, within 10 years it dates you to that time period.
In some ways, dressing in classic tailored clothing will make you look older than you are and for someone in his mid 20s that's not a bad thing necessarily, but of course your goal is not to look old-fashioned.
This is a very good reply.
Find your style. It’s has to resonate with your body type and as much with your personality. If your style is true to you and you own it, it makes questioning how you appear irrelevant.
 

Clouseau

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I am not sure @mossrockss is a good example as I really thought he was more in his late forties when I saw his pictures 🤭. (No kidding)

Try SW&D, BTW it is actually much more challenging to achieve a great look in SWD than in CM.
 

mossrockss

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I am not sure @mossrockss is a good example as I really thought he was more in his late forties when I saw his pictures 🤭. (No kidding)

Try SW&D, BTW it is actually much more challenging to achieve a great look in SWD than in CM.
LOL you've mentioned this before.
I guess this goes to prove much of this has to do with where someone is from, and also how tricky it is to manage how others perceive you in the abstract. It can be very culturally relative, so what a Frenchman (presumably?) in Paris judging by a few pics on the internet thinks compared to the people someone runs into in their day to day life might be very different simply because of different backgrounds (not to mention potential generational differences).
 

mhip

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LOL you've mentioned this before.
I guess this goes to prove much of this has to do with where someone is from, and also how tricky it is to manage how others perceive you in the abstract. It can be very culturally relative, so what a Frenchman (presumably?) in Paris judging by a few pics on the internet thinks compared to the people someone runs into in their day to day life might be very different simply because of different backgrounds (not to mention potential generational differences).
Reminds me of watching Conan's new show last week.
He's in Norway, and he's talking to a local about clothes, and the guy told Conan he was too old to dress like he was dressed.
He was in a suede trucker/shearling collar, slacks and I think low-pro leather sneakers.
He made a sad face and started taking off the jacket, gave it to the guy and said "think you can sell it?"
The guy goes "is that Tom Ford? Yes I think I can sell it"...
 

Clouseau

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LOL you've mentioned this before.
I guess this goes to prove much of this has to do with where someone is from, and also how tricky it is to manage how others perceive you in the abstract. It can be very culturally relative, so what a Frenchman (presumably?) in Paris judging by a few pics on the internet thinks compared to the people someone runs into in their day to day life might be very different simply because of different backgrounds (not to mention potential generational differences).
It doesn’t mean I don’t like your looks/fits (on the contrary) but that @Ddubs questioning is legitimate: quite difficult to look young in traditional menswear nowadays…

French indeed, Monsieur.
 

mossrockss

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It doesn’t mean I don’t like your looks (on the contrary) but that @Ddubs questioning is legitimate: difficult to look young in traditional menswear nowadays…

French indeed, Monsieur.
Yeah and no offense taken, but in my personal experience here in the South and Midwest of the USA where I've lived the last 10 years, while I surely looked older than my age 10 years ago, I don't think anybody would've pegged me at late 40s, even now. Makes me curious to poll some youths I know, though, and see what they think… But, I remember being 15 and thinking 40 was super old, so not sure how useful that data would even be.
 

jeremygo

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I think having style rolemodels who are young(ish) can really help here. The Armoury guys, Menswear Musings (mossrocks above), The Anthology guys, etc. all dress really well merging tailoring with less formal pieces like denim, polos, tees, etc. It's never a good idea to spend more time on social media... but it can really help here to follow some of those guys.

Again attitude/vibe/setting can really impact here as well. I think a vintage Brooks sack jacket can look great on a young creative guy in Brooklyn whose shopping in a bookstore or grabbing coffee (maybe this is me projecting), but would probably look bizarre on a young hypebeast-y guy going to work on Wall Street.
 

philosophe

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Mossorcks gives great advice. It's really important to find clothing that flatters your build and fits your personality. If you proceed slowly, trying one thing at the time to see how you feel in it, you'll find what feels good. The biggest danger is quick shopping--take time to figure out what's right for you.
 

mossrockss

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I think having style rolemodels who are young(ish) can really help here. The Armoury guys, Menswear Musings (mossrocks above), The Anthology guys, etc. all dress really well merging tailoring with less formal pieces like denim, polos, tees, etc. It's never a good idea to spend more time on social media... but it can really help here to follow some of those guys.

Again attitude/vibe/setting can really impact here as well. I think a vintage Brooks sack jacket can look great on a young creative guy in Brooklyn whose shopping in a bookstore or grabbing coffee (maybe this is me projecting), but would probably look bizarre on a young hypebeast-y guy going to work on Wall Street.
appreciated.

so, one of my things has been to sort of develop a style I could keep wearing for a long time and refine. I feel I've done that. Here's me 10 years ago, age 27:

IMG_4029.jpeg


And like 6 months" ago, age 36:
IMG_2255.jpeg
 

acconrad

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Yeah and no offense taken, but in my personal experience here in the South and Midwest of the USA where I've lived the last 10 years, while I surely looked older than my age 10 years ago, I don't think anybody would've pegged me at late 40s, even now. Makes me curious to poll some youths I know, though, and see what they think… But, I remember being 15 and thinking 40 was super old, so not sure how useful that data would even be.
Randomly jumping in here only to say that I still think you're accomplishing the mission of dressing age appropriate. I thought you were older than me (late 30s) and so I figured early 40s, but I also thought that you looked age-appropriate, albeit I don't know anyone in my late 30s/early 40s who wears blazers anymore outside of like formal events, golf clubs, etc.

I mean whether anyone here wants to admit it or not a blazer is pretty much an anachronism in today's climate for day-to-day wear. If you like it but don't want to stand out your best option is an overshirt that has some kind of semblance of a blazer (like a teba, safari, or trucker). Stuff from like PWVC or Drakes. Everything else is still pretty acceptable: OCBDS, jeans, khakis, fatigues, polos, knitwear. But the days of blazers, ties, and dress shoes are over outside of formal events. I think the most #menswear daring I get these days are cordovan loafers.
 

Ddubs

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T
To answer this, it's a little bit dependent on what style you like. If you love the American Ivy sack suit from the mid-century and want to pursue that style… that's going to make you look old. But if you like just a generally nice tailored look, there are some options.
I've tried doing this and answering this question for about 10 years (I'm in my mid 30s), and my answer has been:
Aim for a classic, international style of clothing. I don't know what country you live in, but for me, there are hallmarks of certain eras of clothing in the USA that date you automatically. For example, it's easy to spot a 1970s silhouette, or a 1990s look, based on proportion, fit, design, etc. But I've aimed for something like a Neapolitan style of dressing, where the fit is classic. And I've combined it with more casualwear in fits that are flattering to my body, but not adherent to any specific trend (skinny fit, triple pleated, ghurka, whatever). That sort of disrupts peoples' ability to place you mentally in a category because it's not what they're used to. There are still trends in international clothing (right now things are getting super wide, for instance), but avoiding the big trends of 20 years ago makes a big difference.
I've also just focused on really choosing clothing that's flattering to me specifically. My body type, my style, my vibe. When you chase trends it looks bad quickly, and worse, if you chase a trend but then stick with that, within 10 years it dates you to that time period.
In some ways, dressing in classic tailored clothing will make you look older than you are and for someone in his mid 20s that's not a bad thing necessarily, but of course your goal is not to look old-fashioned.
Thank you, really appreciate this response. It's certainly given me a lot to think about.

I have a few follow up responses and queries, and I hope you can excuse my lack of knowledge as someone who's relatively new to classic menswear. I'm not entirely brushed up on the terminology, nor do I have it completely dialled down on things such as era specific silouette or details, so please bear with me.

Living in the UK, I'd say I've taken inspiration from items such as tweed, Barbour jackets, big overcoats and aran/Shetland knits, as examples. I think I've also taken onboard some Japanese ideas, think Yukio Akamine, probably because before I started thinking more about classic menswear my wardrobe centred around Japanese Americana. I may also have some Italian stylistic choices regarding formalwear (in terms of fit) as I think combined with a more 'rugged' or 'Grandad' British aesthetic, it can give an outfit a bit more of a ' fashion forward' (I hate to use that term these days) approach, if you will. But again, these are only surface level musings and I couldn't really delve into my ideas much deeper than that yet or explain what constitutes traditional aspects of styles from the places mentioned. I definitely have much to educate myself on in terms of silouette, proportions, designs, era specific details etc. I'm also very interested if certain colours or patterns are more aging and if some colours i.e. red don't really have a place in classic mensear. I've read a few articles that have mentioned this, but haven't found anything too in depth.

At the moment, I'm trying to incooporate pieces that I already have and know I like into a more formal aesthetic. Things such as raw denim, chinos, pleated and flat front tailored pants, button-up shirts, aran/cable knits, shetlands, cardigans, waxed jackets, denim and suede jackets, overcoats (mainly balmacaans) loafers, boots. Most of this I think would be a bit more casual (correct me if I'm wrong) and comes from my past inspirations mainly from military surplus and some workwear. I think some kind of sports coat is next on the list of things I'd like to try, but I'm refraining from going full suit/tailoring for the time being at risk of being too drastic or doing too much too soon.

Regarding body type and vibe, I see the phrase 'dress for your body type' thrown around a lot, and I struggle to grasp what it means as it is almost never explained in depth. I know my proportions, and I believe I have a pretty good grasp on my vibe/personality, but what do I do with that information? To give you an idea, I'm a shorter guy at 5.5 with a lean and athletic build. I've always been seen as someone who dresses a bit more smartly and well put together than most (not like a full suit and tailoring however). I have a few ideas purely from experimentation. For example, I try to stick to straight leg or slightly tapered higher waisted pants usually without a break and combine this with some sort of short to medium jackets (overcoats and sweaters in winter) with a tucked in t-shirt or shirt. I think that might flatter my body type. It certainly makes me look and feel my best in my opinion, but I couldn't tell you if it actually suits my body type. There also seems to be a growing train of thought that you should just wear what you like regardless of height and body type if you're confident enough, so messages seem mixed.

To also give you an idea of what I've been reading to educate myself, I've been delving into articles from the likes of dieworkwear, Ethan Newton, Ethan Wong, the chaps from The Armoury, permanent style and someone just recommended the article you lniked (by yourself!) to me.

Sorry for the essay, and I hope it wasn't a rambly mess that didn't even correspond to your points, and P.S thanks for providing reference pictures. You're style is great and really suits you!
 
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Ddubs

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This is a very good reply.
Find your style. It’s has to resonate with your body type and as much with your personality. If your style is true to you and you own it, it makes questioning how you appear irrelevant.
Cheers for the reply! And, I agree mossrockss made some very good points.

I just responded to them on the point of dressing for you body type and personality, as it has always been something that has mystified me.

I see the phrase 'dress for your body type' thrown around a lot, and I struggle to grasp what it means as I almost never see it explained in depth. I know my proportions, and I believe I have a pretty good grasp on my vibe/personality, but what do I do with that information? I'm a shorter guy at 5.5 with a lean and athletic build. I've also always been seen as someone who dresses a bit more smartly and well put together than most (not like a full suit and tailoring however). I have a few ideas purely from experimentation. For example, I try to stick to straight leg or slightly tapered higher waisted pants usually without a break and combine this with some sort of short to medium jackets (overcoats and sweaters in winter) with a tucked in t-shirt or shirt. I think that might flatter my body type. It certainly makes me look and feel my best in my opinion, but I couldn't tell you if it actually suits my body type. There also seems to be a growing train of thought that you should just wear what you like regardless of height and body type if you're confident enough, so messages seem mixed.
 

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