Dressing your age is the coolest thing you can do as you get older

I am finally handing in my green cap and tights because, after years of dabbling with the Peter Pan side of style, it's well and truly time in my forties to stop snorting the fashion fairy dust and come down to earth.

I have walked for gay rights, supported women's rights but I can no longer advocate the right for men, who should know better, to dress like a member of 5 Seconds of Summer or Justin Bieber.

The allure of youth

There used to be a sense of dapper defiance about being able to pull off sprayed-on Cheap Monday jeans an ironic bicep-gripping band t-shirt and re-issued sneakers in styles I owned decades ago but the thrill, along with the need to down tequila shots at two am, then hold back girlfriends' ponytails at 3am, has gone.

We all know that 60 is the new 50, 50 is the new 30 but 40 should never be the new 14.

Your younger years are a time for experimenting and being far too easily influenced into wearing the latest trends by advertising and sales assistants in dark noisy stores who tell you that your shoulders look 'hot' in that shirt.

To continue dressing with youthful abandon when students offer you seats on crowded trains is a sign of defeat.

Growth spurt

In your more mature years you should know which silhouettes suit your figure, whether it's valiantly clinging to buff brilliance or spreading to dadbod-like doughy comfort. There's no point in embracing the boxy Hawaiian shirt trend if it turns you into a Club Med events organiser instead of Harry Styles.

You should also have picked up some pointers about quality.

You can buy nearly 10 fast fashion slogan sweaters for the price of a single grey cashmere jumper but the extra investment is worth it when what you're wearing doesn't look like landfill after two wears.


Embracing a mature approach to dressing doesn't mean that you can't tackle trends. There's a perception that dressing your age means alternating between suits during the week and jeans or chinos with crew neck jumpers on the weekend.

Juxtaposition is the spice

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

It's pretty much David Beckham's modus operandi when he's not pocketing cheques to wear a sports logo. Take a look at the soccer star promoting his label Kent & Curwen alongside 28 year-old club kid designer Charles Jeffrey in June.

With a pleat and punchy shoes Beckham manages to add style to the Sunday breakfast dad uniform while his younger companion pushes boundaries in striped sport socks, a denim smock and shorts. Having endured his own litany of style mishaps in his youth Beckham exudes a "been there done that" ease in his effortless ensemble.

The men to mimic

But don't think you can't spread your wings and wardrobe little further.

Jeff Goldblum at 65 is a man who can still deliver preppy pep in the latest Prada shirt, but knows that tailored trousers with polished loafers rather than slashed denim and scuffed sneakers is more suitable for late blooming leading man.

Dressing your age is not giving up, it's knowing thyself. Youth is overrated and staring at youths at a certain point is downright creepy.

Be your own man and encourage Peter Pan to put on some pants.