Sunday, November 02, 2008

Men: How to Avoid "Ram Dressed as Lamb" Syndrome

Despite the overwhelming response (thanks Jo) in favour of my menstrual whinge on the unfairness of fashion restrictions imposed on women of a certain age (=mine [36] and over) I've decided to take a different tack.

Instead I'm evening the score by providing a few helpful hints to the ageing fellas so they too can avoid age-inappropriate fashion faux pas or what I like to call "ram dressed as lamb" syndrome.

1. Hair
If your hair is longer than Dame Judi Dench's ask yourself the following questions:
a) Am I hiding a bald patch? Cos the answer is likely that you're not - you're highlighting it - and a short back and sides would stop everyone else's internal debate ("doesn't he realise we realise?")
b) Have I had this hairstyle for longer than a year? If yes, you may be hanging on to a fashion statement that doesn't bear repeating.
c) Am I a celebrity? If yes, continue at that length for as long as work offers continue to pile in. When your sales curve starts to flatten, however, get Denched.

2. Sportswear
That is, clothes and shoes designed for a specific sport - not necessarily designed by a sports shoe manufacturer - should only be worn when participating in the appropriate sport. Think board shorts. Think cycling shorts. Think again. I would also like to add that no man over the age of twenty should ever wear any shoe that resembles a hoof.

3. Band t-shirts
At a gig, under a shirt, acceptable. In bed on a cold night, gardening - even out the front - all fine. In the office, however, you may as well announce that you compulsively masturbate in the disabled toilets, you look so much like a teenager with an ageing disease. Give these guys a couple of years ...

Of course, rules are made to be broken - consider them merely a guide to when you may be jumping the shark, style-wise. In fact, this train of thought started at my own wilful wearing of footless tights, application of liquid eyeliner and insistence on keeping my hair long, when all of these things have been deemed by magazines and fashion pundits in recent months to be the exclusive domain of the younger, fitter bird.

But only when it's part of your act or you're extremely comfortable with your alternative life choices should you wilfully cast them asunder. For example, Russell Brand the comedian looks like a love god who smells of fine white musk (albeit with a line in auditory slip ups). Russell Brand the accountant looks like he reeks of rollies and his favourite author is Terry Pratchett. Nothing wrong with a bit of Golden Virginia and Discworld, but I'm guessing it may not be the look most would go for.

Instead of "What Would Jesus do?" (remember he was only 33 when he died so he escapes rule number 1.), think "Would Jimmy Saville, Peter Stringfellow, or Steve Tyler possibly wear or look like this, even on a day off?" If you so much as waiver in your answer, postpone the meeting, tell your date you'll be late and start again.


lloydshep said...

Ah. Yes. Good advice. I'll leave the British Sea Power t-shirt at home then. And get my hair cut.

helen said...

I thank you for tackling this delicate issue. Please follow-up with guidance on when it's appropriate to wear an elasticated waist pair of trousers.

Oh and the fashion minefield that are slip-on shoes.

And when, and whether, it's ever appropriate to wear chinos.

mattlocke said...

After the age of 30, a man's wardrobe should consist of:

10% well cut suits
20% fine knit v-neck jumpers
20% well made shirts
30% plain white t-shirts
20% dark trousers. flat-front or cords, never 3/4 length

boring, but true. its the only way to be sure that younger men (and women) aren't laughing at you in the street. But if you know about tailoring and have a good eye, it can still look good.

Sadly, i have neither.

I always followed the maxim - "don't dress for the job you have, dress for the one you want". But I don't think wearing an astronaut suit is allowed past the age of 6...

Louise Brown said...

Glad to be of assistance.

- Elasticated waisted trousers may have a place in the lives of men over 68 but only if they have a "condition" that makes an easy fit pant expedicious (yes, I know that's not a word but you get the gist)

- Minimalist slip-on shoes are acceptable but, unless under 28 and Italian, only with appropriate hosiery

- Chinos - men never, but will probably be back in for ladies next Spring/Summer if this season's MC Hammer trousers are anything to go by

Ditch the fine knits, I can see you in silver platform gravity boots. Trust me on this one.

Tom Dolan said...

I'm concerned about the hair one - I can't really change mine as it's the only way that people know me. Without it who'd spot me (or Alan Davies) across a crowded room?

Do I get a special exemption?

Louise Brown said...

Ah yes. I'd actually been considering how curlies might need an exception to the Dench guideline.

I am prepared to give on this one, but please let Weird Al Yankovic be a lesson to you lest you get carried away with your bouncing locks.

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