Help?!? Classic style or premature senior citizen?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by oriente, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. oriente

    oriente Member

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    Hi all,

    Sorry to bother you with a somewhat trivial, inconsequential post, but any feedback or opinions from fellow style forum members is greatly appreciated. I'll get to the point eventually, I promise, so please bear with me. Here goes...

    My job doesn't require me to dress in anything approaching stylish clothing; indeed if there is a "uniform" in the creative industry which I work, it's a vintage tracksuit top, jeans and old-skool trainers or timberland boots! As a former athlete, I spent most of my teens and 20's in this type of gear. Now that I'm married, a father and in my thirties (still, just!..), I no longer wish to dress in this manner.

    I have taken steps to address it, but every time I wear what I consider classic tailoring (flannels, medium spread or button-down collared shirt, a fitted v-neck jumper, and goodyear-welted leather soled shoes) to work I receive sarcastic comments. My attempt at sartorial elegance has made me a misfit! By the way, at 6'9" tall and 230lbs, most of the clothes I have are either tailor-made or significantly altered, so I'm keen to wear what I have and can't really afford to follow fashion and change my look (in terms of cut and fit) every season. Am I dressing older than my age before time?

    Is anyone else faced with this dilemma? If so, how did you deal with it? Did you buckle and return to the "youthful" way of dressing, or stick to your guns and continue to be conspicuous by your individuality? Any feedback or advice gratefully received. Many thanks, people. All the best.

    Kind regards,

    Oriente.
     
  2. Parker

    Parker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    How about slowly introducing your new clothes? Over time, no one will probably even notice. I'm in a very casual industry, but wear "senior citizen" clothes all the time. People have just become used to me as the guy who dresses up.

    You could also just wear what you like and work on your sarcastic retorts. "Nice track jacket, bro. I had one like that when I was in junior high."

    Obviously, I'm not so good at retorts, but you get the gist.
     
  3. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

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    How old are you, and specifically in what industry do you work?
     
  4. oriente

    oriente Member

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    Sound advice, indeed. I suppose a gradual introduction will look more like an evolution than a sudden sartorial epiphany (which in truth, is what it was!) In the meantime, I'll work on those witticisms!
     
  5. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

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    Sound advice, indeed. I suppose a gradual introduction will look more like an evolution than a sudden sartorial epiphany (which in truth, is what it was!) In the meantime, I'll work on those witticisms!

    Either that, or just wear what you want, when you want, commenters be dammed.
     
  6. FlaneurNYC

    FlaneurNYC Senior member

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    I understand your dilemma.

    I changed my dress to classic mens for a while some years back when I was an art director working in television and one of my bosses said "I liked your old clothes better." Meaning trendy, seasonal, streetwear-influenced, punk-rock clothes mixed with vintage. Studded belts and chunky boots with designer jeans and too-small shirts.

    I kept at it for a while, but gradually ended up going back in to my old habits and have only relatively recently returned to dressing for myself instead of what is expected of me. For some reason people expect you to dress all "creative" if you're a creative.

    Well, I think it's much harder and more creative to dress like a stylish adult than to throw on a pile of ill-fitting, loud garments that all scream together, "I'm cool and creative!"

    Cool? Meh. Maybe in 1974. Or when you're a teen/young adult. But once you've seen the same "cool" things come around 2 or 3 times you realize that dressing "cool" has limits, too.

    Also, living in the East Village, I see the 45 year olds with the chucks, the ironic T-shirt and skin-tight jeans and realize that it just makes them appear silly and desperate to look young, not cool.
     
  7. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

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    I understand your dilemma.

    I changed my dress to classic mens for a while some years back when I was a somewhat high-profile art director working in television and one of my bosses said "I liked your old clothes better." Meaning trendy, seasonal, streetwear-influenced, punk-rock clothes mixed with vintage. Studded belts and chunky boots with designer jeans and too-small shirts.

    I kept at it for a while, but gradually ended up going back in to my old habits and have only relatively recently returned to dressing for myself instead of what is expected of me. For some reason people expect you to dress all "creative" if you're a creative.

    Well, I think it's much harder and more creative to dress like a stylish adult than to throw on a pile of ill-fitting, loud garments that all scream together, "I'm cool and creative!"

    Cool? Meh. Maybe in 1974. Or when you're a teen/young adult. But once you've seen the same "cool" things come around 2 or 3 times you realize that dressing "cool" has limits, too.

    Also, living in the East Village, I see the 45 year olds with the chucks, the ironic T-shirt and skin-tight jeans and realize that it just makes them appear silly and desperate to look young, not cool.


    Kudos. Everything you said is true.

    There are few things sadder than a middle-aged man in true religion jeans, studded belt, too-tight graphic tee, and Mark Nason boots.

    Dress for yourself, critics be dammed.
     
  8. oriente

    oriente Member

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    Wise words, people. I think that the anecdote relayed by flaneurNYC about seeing trends come around multiple times was one of the factors in my "conversion"; I was a kid in the 80's when the shades that Kanye West is currently wearing were all the rage...that was 25 years ago!! I have no desire, or wouldn't have the nerve, to rock them again now. The same goes for "fashion" items.
     
  9. ManofKent

    ManofKent Senior member

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    How about slowly introducing your new clothes? Over time, no one will probably even notice. I'm in a very casual industry, but wear "senior citizen" clothes all the time. People have just become used to me as the guy who dresses up.
    ...


    +1
     
  10. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    Double edged sword.... but I agree with the gradual introduction of new gear.

    You gotta man up an wear what you want. I am always the best dressed in any work situation, managers, cio's, you name it. I was uncomfortable at first but I got used to it to the point that people didnt notice it the way they used to because they didnt sense my discomfort.

    Kinda circular, but I hope you get it.

    This kinda reminds me of an IT admin friend of mine. Like 10 years ago he was working at this law firm. He bought this 3 piece suit for a wedding and was complaining that he couldnt wear it anywhere and it cost so much, bla bla bla.

    Anyway, he insisted on wearing it to work, and did. He was laughed out of the building. The perception was he was trying to be a lawyer. The reason I mention this is you need to be careful how you management perceives it.
     
  11. Parker

    Parker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I kept at it for a while, but gradually ended up going back in to my old habits and have only relatively recently returned to dressing for myself instead of what is expected of me. For some reason people expect you to dress all "creative" if you're a creative.

    Well, I think it's much harder and more creative to dress like a stylish adult than to throw on a pile of ill-fitting, loud garments that all scream together, "I'm cool and creative!"


    I'm in a similar creative field (advertising/design) and there's definitely an expectation to look "cool and creative". At some point I realized I never really looked that cool or felt comfortable in trendier stuff, so I just went back to classic clothing which I'd worn since high school. I still observe dressing for occasion and don't wear a suit to a meeting where everyone is going to be in tees and sneakers. So, often I try to do what bmulford calls "tailored casual" which he does very well and is harder than it looks.
     
  12. pejsek

    pejsek Senior member

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    When all the Memphis hippies were going crazy dropping acid and dreaming up increasingly outlandish street theater pieces, William Eggleston always drove a big sedan and wore severe suits. Guess who looked like the rebel.

    Anyway, I agree that it can be important to tailor your appearance to your work environment. I would also very gently suggest that early thirties and married isn't that young and that, if anything, trying to hold onto your youth is likely more embarrassing than embracing a somewhat more mature look

    OTOH, even at my age I like to think I can still rock the Yohji on occasion.
     
  13. Cornellian

    Cornellian Senior member

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    Interesting conversation. I've gotten similar flack for dressing "classically." But not by my colleagues, but by my friends. As a 30-year-old homo, I'm expected to dress a certain way; tight jeans, hipster shoes, t-shirts, and dress shirts that leave about 1" of fabric around the body. Case in point, I went shopping with a frieind of mine the other day, and he asked for my opinion on a sweater. I thought it fit well in the shoulders (hit at the right place), and wasn't too bulky in the body. In fact, many here would consider it trim fitting. He said it was "too big." I couldn't believe it. Anyway, my homo friends do make fun of my dress calling me the "junior senator."

    For what it's worth, I get waaaaaaaaaay more positive comments on my clothing from women than gay men. I just don't fit the mold.
     
  14. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    A bespoke navy hopsack suit would seem to be the perfect compromise.

    A little bit country. A little bit rock 'n roll.


    - B
     
  15. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    For what it's worth, I get waaaaaaaaaay more positive comments on my clothing from women than gay men. I just don't fit the mold.

    Positive comments from gay women would then be the mother lode.


    - B
     

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