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How men can look better as they get older

Carlton Boyce / 26 January 2017 ( 28 August 2018 )

Because there’s no law that says we must inevitably look worse as we get older…

A handsome older man

Men have a distinct, albeit unfair, advantage in that we are seen to get wiser and more distinguished as we get older. Possibly even sexier too; if you lined up George Clooney alongside the likes of Zayn Malik my guess is that most women over the age of thirty would go for the silver fox every time…

And if life only guarantees you two things, then neither the laws of physics, chemistry or biology mean that we must inevitably look worse as we get older. Different, maybe, but worse is strictly optional.

Tone it down

If age confers wisdom, then you’re now old enough to understand that the time to wear bright and contrasting colours is probably behind you. I might be partial to a flash of colour in my suit linings but other than that I take my cues from men like Bill Nighy and Colin Firth and stick to toning, rather than contrasting, colours and palettes.

Of course, a bright scarf or handkerchief can raise your look from the funereal to the elegant, but remember that in doing so you’re moving one step closer to Coco the Clown. The trick is to know when to stop.

Don’t: Red trousers might be an upper-class staple but can you imagine Prince Philip, perhaps the poshest man in Britain, wearing a pair?

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Ditch the T-shirt

If you’re lucky enough to still have a flat stomach then a T-shirt will still work for you but the rest of us are probably better off with a polo shirt. A slim-fitting one can be more forgiving than you might imagine too, especially if you don’t tuck it in.

Different brands will have different cuts, so it’s worth taking time to find one that suits you. And because you’re not worried about having the very latest release, why not save yourself 50% or more by Googling one you like the look of and then buying online from an outlet or discount store?

Don’t: Sports discount superstore will often offer polo shirts for a tenner or less but they’re false economy: the cut will be iffy and the quality will suffer, which means you just won’t wear it. You’ll get more use out of one decent shirt for £30-40 than from buying three or four cheaper ones.

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Get a haircut

A good haircut is worth its weight in gold, so why not ask your barber for advice on what he/she thinks will suit you? After thirty years’ of shyness, I finally plucked up the courage to take a few shots of haircuts I liked to mine and she’s done a wonderful job of steering me towards something that’s age-appropriate but much funkier than I might otherwise have chosen.

Don’t: Don’t dye your hair. We’ll all notice and you’re then tied into weekly touch-ups to stop your roots showing.

Grey hair no problem

Pull yourself out of that rut

I tend to be ridiculously loyal, sticking to the same bank and clothing brand for decades – and you don’t need me to tell you that neither is a good idea, do you?

In the same way as your shape changes, your favourite clothing brands will alter their cut and quality too, so what suited you twenty years ago might not be your best option now.

You could schlep around a big city trying on different stuff or you could make an appointment with a personal shopper instead. There’s no obligation, and even if you have to pay for their time, I can almost guarantee you’ll save money and end up with clothes from a designer or brand that you wouldn’t have considered wearing before.

Don’t: Don’t be a slave to a label. A Versace belt, complete with diamanté-encrusted buckle, just isn’t going to work, no matter how expensive or fashionable it might be.

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Slim it down

If I could give you just one tip it would be this: try a pair of slim-leg trousers. Nothing will refresh your wardrobe more quickly or more cheaply, rejuvenating your look for minimal outlay.

While we should always be careful not to ape the young too closely as we get older, slim-fit jeans and trousers are the one look that works for everyone. Whether it’s a casual pub outing with an untucked shirt or a more formal event with a blazer or tweed jacket, a good pair of trousers with a slimmish leg will take years off you and turn you from frumpy and grumpy to sleek and sexy for under fifty quid.

Don’t: Slim-fit trousers look fabulous, but don’t be tempted to roll them up to expose your ankles.

Finally, remember the following: "God is in the details, so now invest in the best quality accessories that you can afford. They will literally last a lifetime. Also remember that feet don't get fat and a watch will always speak volumes." Wise words from Robert Johnston, GQ Style Director.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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