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The fine line between dressing like an old man and a sharp GQ/Esquire guy.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Reevolving, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    So, I met some friends at a local bar recently.
    I wore navy Mabitex houndstooth pants, a white Oxford, a blue blazer (no tie), and bluchers.
    Yes, I was dressed better than anyone in this casual sports bar.

    A good friend, female 32, said I was dressing like an old man. (This is not some tacky Jersey Shore type either, but an educated professional)
    For example, she could not get over the padded shoulders that protrude a bit when propping your elbows up on a bar stool.

    To be clear, I am not trying to dress like a 20-something.
    In fact, I dove into the SF realm in order to age gracefully.
    However, I am NOT trying to age myself prematurely either!

    The next day, I gave this some thought. I think there is merit to this.
    There is a very fine line b/w dressing like an old man and looking "GQ/Esquire" sharp (for lack of a better term).
    As you know, one subtle item can swing the entire vibe of an outfit. So, what is the tipping point?

    For one, I think a light blazer vs. dark blazer is a huge differentiator.
    Rarely do I see young 20s "GQ" models wearing loud checked "vintage golf pant" blazers. (Evidenced by Uniqlo, H&M, etc)
    It's always dark jeans, white oxford (or T), and dark blazer.
    To that end, I think I'll avoid any blazer that is not grey or navy.
    Even tweed I have given away or stopped wearing.
    If there is a pattern, it has to be DARK and SUBTLE.
    I have been doing this from the start, but now it's "official".

    Next, I also think choice of pants is a huge determinant.
    Wearing dress slacks (even if slim fit) gives off a very different vibe than dark jeans.
    Stiff and formal vs. hip and casual. 40s vs 20s?
    For now, I love wearing slacks, but also realize it's best to sport jeans if I am on a date with a 20-something female.

    Choice of tie. First, I rarely ties in social settings, as much as I'd like to (overdressed, trying to hard, out of place, etc)
    It's just too over the top, and only at certain venues would it fly (fundraiser vs. local happy hour)
    But, if I do wear a tie, it is something with texture or character (Drake's Shatung, square knits, grenadines, purples, etc)
    ie: I'm avoiding generic "corporate drone" ties.

    These are 3 measures I have decided to take.
    Has anyone else in their 20s and 30s also struggled with this fine line?
     
  2. hooya2

    hooya2 Senior member

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    wear something shiny.
     
  3. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    So, I met some friends at a local bar recently.
    I wore navy Mabitex houndstooth pants, a white Oxford, a blue blazer (no tie), and bluchers.
    Yes, I was dressed better than anyone in this casual sports bar.


    Sounds like you overdressed for the occasion. If you're in your 20's, take the opportunity to dress casually.

    Just apply the same principles to casual clothes as you would to tailored clothing - fit and quality.
     
  4. jrsmiles

    jrsmiles Active Member

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    You were at a bar. Visit the streetwear forum.
     
  5. acecow

    acecow Senior member

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    I "struggle" with this a bit... Nonetheless, I enjoy my clothes so much, I really don't care what others think. I've stated this in some thread a while ago: I think that changing my style has affected my life in numerous ways, more than I could have imagined, but one thing that haven't changed was my relationship with women. I haven't been getting more or less attention from girls. I don't think they pay a lot of attention to clothes as long as you behave and carry yourself in a certain way. Of course, one has to avoid looking comical, so a tie is rarely a good idea. I have so many ties that I'd love to wear... and never do. But nobody is going to give you shit for slim-fitting slacks/jackets and nice-looking shoes. If they do, you are doing it wrong or lack confidence.
     
  6. hooya2

    hooya2 Senior member

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  7. OttoSkadelig

    OttoSkadelig Senior member

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    i avoid this problem in a very simple way: when i'm not at work, or at some sort of semi-formal social event, i am a 100% SW&D guy.

    while i take incredible care over how i dress for work and in other professional and formal / semi-formal situations, i view my suits, sportcoats, and finer clothes as functional tools for the occasion. i don't think they are particularly "me" outside of that context. left to my own devices i'll wear a pair of dark jeans and a casual jacket any day over slacks with 2" cuffs and a gun club sportcoat. i just happen to find the latter look fussy and, to be honest, a bit asexual, and the reality is that many others do as well. most importantly, at a very visceral level, it is completely not "me".

    so -- my "style" personae are very distinct and compartmentalized, and for most of my waking hours i'm not really an MC type of person.

    don't let MC brainwash you and turn you into something you're not, RE. harness it as a tool to make you dress better -- when you wear MC-type clothing. and that is a conscious choice you should make independently of what you see in WAYWRN. let others wear the pink chinos.
     
  8. texas_jack

    texas_jack Senior member

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    Unless you're interested in her, who cares what she thinks.
     
  9. WhateverYouLike

    WhateverYouLike Senior member

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    Post a picture. I'm guessing shitty fitting clothes.
     
  10. acecow

    acecow Senior member

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    Post a picture. I'm guessing shitty fitting clothes.

    I'd say it looks a little "old" to me too. [​IMG] No offense, you asked for our opinion.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    Ace, absolutely no offense taken.
    This is all a work in progress and a constantly evolving target.
    Actually, that last picture is what I was wearing.

    Otto, I do partly associate myself with MC. I have been a preppy guy since my college days (albeit, with horribly ill-fitting outfits)
    I'd say my motivation for overhauling my wardrobe is more social than professional.
    Looking asexual is the exact opposite of why I decided to take it to the next level.
    I'd rather be overdressed than be generically dressed in "streetwear"
    For me, the question is "How do I avoid looking like a boring old man?"
    Is the answer simply "Get a pair of jeans?" Seems like a step backwards (less distinct)
     
  12. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    The next day, I gave this some thought. I think there is merit to this.
    There is a very fine line b/w dressing like an old man and looking "GQ/Esquire" sharp (for lack of a better term).
    As you know, one subtle item can swing the entire vibe of an outfit. So, what is the tipping point?

    For one, I think a light blazer vs. dark blazer is a huge differentiator.
    Rarely do I see young 20s "GQ" models wearing loud checked "vintage golf pant" blazers. (Evidenced by Uniqlo, H&M, etc)


    The devil is in the details and your personality/demeanor/body type is also part of it. I remember seeing skinny model types in Nolita wearing all sorts of loud checks and etc. looking edgy and hip just as if they walked off the catwalk. I knew I wouldn't be able to get away with what they were doing just because I have their body type, looks and demeanor.

    I think you are over generalizing about what to wear and what not to wear. Style is very individualistic and you have to learn what works for you. What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa.

    BTW, what passes for hip and young depends on your social circle.
     
  13. hooya2

    hooya2 Senior member

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    post a picture buddy
     
  14. OttoSkadelig

    OttoSkadelig Senior member

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    Otto, I do partly associate myself with MC. I have been a preppy guy since my college days.
    But looking asexual is the exact opposite of why I decided to take it to the next level.
    Frankly, my motivation for overhauling my wardrobe is more social than professional.
    I will never go back to "SW&D". I'd rather be overdressed than be generically dressed.


    SW&D does not mean generic... you can be very sharp if you don't buy mall clothes.

    your choice, of course.

    the most critical thing if you do the full-on MC thing all the time is perfect fit. a sharp fit overlaid with a bit of swagger can turn even the most grandad's-sofa-plaid sportcoat into something hip. and the same item with a bad cut will look tragic.

    the MC universe is a lot more unforgiving than SW&D when it comes to cut -- there is a thin line between quirky coolness and the deep pit of failure.
     
  15. WhateverYouLike

    WhateverYouLike Senior member

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    The jacket is what pushes it into old-man territory, IMO. It just looks very dated. And is ridiculously long. It's hitting like mid-thigh. Shoulders are really heavy as well.

    SW&D is not generic or asexual. It just seems that way sometimes because of the people wearing it [​IMG]
     
  16. acecow

    acecow Senior member

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    If I were doing this look (and I am, by no means, an example you should follow, but still...) I'd wear slimmer-cut pants or pants with a little more "form"; a slimmer blazer/top; definitely, different shoes as these seem too heavy and business-like. Also, I rarely wear white shirts when going smart casual.
     
  17. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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  18. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    It looks 'office' to me. Everything is conventional and fairly formal. Fairly generous fit on everything, the tie is a mighty big no no for dressing young, especially one that wide. If you must, a knit or a skinny tie.

    And you need casual elements in there. Jeans perhaps. Slim chinos or cords. Less structure on the jacket, or a slimmer fit, which I'm not sure you're built for. More casual fabrics. Tweed would have been much better. Perhaps a ringer tee instead of the normal dress shirt. A more casual dress shirt even. An oxford with a button down collar. Not a fan of the shoes for a young and casual look either.

    Or perhaps ditch the sportcoat altogether. If you put a nice brown leather jacket on with that top outfit, it looks a million times better. Slim and simple. Skip the bomber, unless you can find one cut closer to the original military style, which were cut for guys who maxed out in their low 20's, grew up in the depression and worked out regularly. Most of the ones you find these days are cut for guys who only get exercise when they carry 30 packs of beer from the store to their car.

    Basically, only use the MC stuff as pieces in a streetwear type look. Just not the looks they talk about on streetwear. You'll want to stay far, far away from sagging pants and "creative fits".
     
  19. hooya2

    hooya2 Senior member

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    ohhh were those actually his pics? he looks in his 60's

    "Yes, I was dressed better than anyone in this casual sports bar."

    ..... bravo
     
  20. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    Otto, yea, good point. I'm not trying to be THAT hip. As you can see above, I'm fairly basic and conservative. No lime green suit (cut thin) for me. The more I think about it, the more I think it's the pants. Slacks vs. jeans really swing it. Recall, I was in a sports bar, so the slacks might have clashed. The same outfit may have been fine in a quieter wine bar.

    Poorsod, I 100% agree about your personal vibe. I don't have an old man vibe. I am very comfortable while dressed up. My body language is not stiff. That is why her remarks held more credence. She is picking up on something blatant, despite my relaxed/casual demeanor.
     

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