Also, take the opportunity to upgrade not only the items in your wardrobe but also the wardrobe itself. Buy a wardrobe that’s big enough to store all your things so they don’t crumple up against each other and, if you haven’t done so already, invest in wooden coat hangers, fabric suit bags and plastic boxes for your shoes.
2) Don’t assume you need a bigger size (but DO adjust your fits)
We spoke to international style icon and good-looking man Johannes Huebl, 44, about dressing in your forties: “You should have a good idea of certain fits and styles that suits you and your body type. Tailoring will always be an exact and age-appropriate choice, as well as alterations on off-the-peg options.”
So, if there’s a few pieces you haven’t worn in a while due to fit reasons, just go back and get them slightly adjusted. Usually, this will only mean that the seams of your suits need letting out ever so slightly (a minor alteration that can make all the difference), or that you need to choose a straight leg selvedge rather than a slim fit (no bootcut, please).
You don’t have to completely re-haul your wardrobe, just a few tweaks will have your suits looking as sharp on you as they were in your 20s and 30s.
3) Approach sportswear with caution
Sportswear is dominating menswear right now – and while injecting a dose of it into your wardrobe can freshen up your downtime attire, investing in this look too heavily in your 40s can end up giving off a bit of a PE teacher vibe. If you want to do it right, eschew the baseball hats and backpacks and invest in cool designer trainers from the likes of Valentino, Lanvin or Mr Hare in pared-down colours, worn with a loopback or cashmere jumper and indigo jeans on the weekend.
4) Perfect your wrist action
You might have one or two watches in your repertoire, but now’s the time to take it to the next level. If you haven’t done so already, your 40th birthday is a great time to treat yourself to your first high-end watch – and by that, we mean the sort that you can pass down to your son one day. Also invest in jewellery that complements it, whatever you’re into – whether that be a ring or a small stack of bracelets that you can wear on your downtime which feature subtle stones or highly-polished beads and metals.
5) Settle on your haircut
No more mohawks – the days of experimenting are behind you. When it comes to your haircut, decide on what works best for your hair type and face shape, and find a barber who gets it right every time. That’s one less thing to worry about.
6) Don’t try too hard
Yes, the irony is very much not lost on us here. That being said, there is a tendency with men around this age to burn up in a flaming fashion wreckage, more commonly known as a mid-life crisis. The ‘I’ve still got it’ ethos, tips the balance too far and you end up looking like a very bright, mismatched plea for help. So be expressive, get savvy with your colour matches, but don’t dig out the mad garms you wore in your twenties trying to relive the good old days. Get older, get wiser, get cooler.
Items you should buy in your 40s
One of the more comfortable and chic pieces to enter your wardrobe is the loafer. You can be a cool dad comfortably navigating the yacht’s deck off the coast of Mallorca, or a sexy divorcee sauntering the pubs and restaurants of Soho in the summer. These are dream settings for you and your loafers; set this newfound forties power free.
You’ve spent most of your life so far in jeans, and while we’re not suggesting phrasing them out of your wardrobe completely, it’s worth investing in some grown-up alternatives. While corduroy is a young man’s material these days (in your 40s it can get a bit GCSE Geography teacher), get a wide array of trim chinos in your repertoire. Beige and navy blue are great starter colours, but it’s also worth investing in a couple of colours that will match nicely with a blue blazer or grey jumper on the weekend, such as dark red or forest green.
A true man of the world looks on point whatever mode of transport he’s taking – and a key starting point for this is getting your luggage game up to scratch. It’s time to finally get rid of that beaten-up bag you bought during your gap year, find a quality luggage maker that produces a shape you like and invest in a slick set that looks just as good together as it does apart. A good start would be a wheelie, cabin-sized carry-on, a larger suitcase for a week away and a smart tote bag for hand luggage. Extras include a leather suit-carrier or a mid-size wheeled weekend bag.
You could get away with heavily-logoed boxer shorts in your 20s, but now it’s time to upgrade your after-hours attire. If you’re more traditional go for matching pyjamas, or for something sleeker buy yourself a selection of soft, white T-shirts in both long and short sleeves and wear with light lounge trousers or thigh-length shorts. And make sure you have a decent dressing gown for the morning after (one in towelling or jersey for the winter and one in cotton for the summer). We’d also recommend investing in a decent, premium tracksuit for lazy days and Sunday morning corner shops dashes.
You already started using your anti-ageing moisturiser in your 30s, now’s the time to throw an eye cream into your grooming routine to ensure any bags or crow’s feet don’t take root. A helpful hint if you’re new to eye cream: dab it on until it is absorbed, don’t rub it in like you would with a moisturiser.
There is a definite correlation between your age and the number of black tie events you will be invited to, just as that number starts to grow throughout your forties and fifties, it is economically wise to invest in your own. Plus, a bespoke tuxedo will look much better than a hired one, since it is measured exactly to you.
First published on gq-magazine.co.uk
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