There is a rumor out there that men don’t care much about style and we hate to shop. If that is true, then I am an exception, sort of.
I care about style but I am not very stylish. My style history is a huge embarrassment. I wore dress pants on a camping trip once, for example. Another time at a dressy event in high school, I was whispering some catty comment about a classmate because he was wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie. I was wearing a patterned suit with a patterned shirt and a patterned tie, most of which barely went together. Another classmate pointed that out to me and I shut up. Funny how the two suits I currently own are both black, I always wear a solid color shirt with them, usually white or light blue, and my ties always are color-coordinated with the shirt in some way.
Shopping? Well, I like to shop … in a focused know-what-I-want-go-in-get-it-and-leave sort of way. If I am overwhelmed with choices or indecision, I leave and try it again some other time. I am not afraid to spend a little extra for something of good quality but I have limits in my head. I am not going to spend $75 on a casual shirt, for example, no matter how much I like it.
My point? I’m looking for a new look.
My current ‘look’ is such that I could be an ad model for Eddie Bauer or Dockers. I like their clothes but I might finally have to admit that I am stuck in a style, color and brand rut. I also like Van Heusen dress shirts and Reebok shoes. Most of my dress and casual-Friday shirts are spread collar and I have quite the collection of polo shirts. And I have several pairs of cargo pants and shorts. I think I hear 1998 asking me to send their style back.
Here are some of my challenges: I like that style; it’s easy and comfortable. Very few of my coworkers are over 50 like I am, so I don’t dress like they do. My work place is very casual, but there is a ‘political’ advantage to dress more like a manager or a sales person, even though I am neither. If I dressed like the 22 to 35-year-olds that dominate my floor in the building I would look really stupid. Honestly, some of them look stupid in those clothes but they are right on target for their age group’s style.
A few years ago I did finally start buying brighter colors, for shirts anyway. Hell, any color goes with khaki, right? Therein lies the problem … half of my pants wardrobe is khaki. Most of the rest is light brown, olive or taupe. Eddie Bauer. I also now buy flat front pants instead of pleated; style articles and my own observation tells me that’s all correct.
So I have three basic wardrobe needs … work, dress up activities and play. I’ve got the dress up clothing covered … a black suit is a black suit. I don’t wear suits much anyway. Work should be the equivalent of ‘casual Friday’, not in the real business sense of that phrase, but in the fairly casual workplace sense. Does that make sense? A more stylish version of the Dockers/Eddie Bauer look. For play … jeans, shorts, t-shirts, polo shirts, camp shirts.
I guess I really have to exit the khaki parade. I happen to like the jeans-and-sport jacket look and some of my early 40s co-workers dress like that. But I can’t decide what sport jacket works with that look … I know enough to know it’s not the same jacket as the one you’d wear with dark dress slacks in a more formal office.
Do boomer-age men even think about this stuff? Am I over-thinking it? Probably. Is there an age-appropriate clothing style for men? Again, probably. Am I going to dress like someone who is my real age? Hell no! Will I dress like a 22-year-old? Again, hell no!
Guess I’ll publish this now and start surfing clothing web sites. I’m five minutes from a mall; maybe I’ll dare to go there this weekend. To be continued.