I'm a 30-year-old man but I still dress like a student
Dear RosemaryI’m turn 30 next birthday and work as a graphic designer in a young agency in the southeast. I tend to dip in and out of various trends but have no real “look”. My wardrobe is a mish-mash of stuff I’ve picked up over the years.
Because I work indoors and don’t do a lot of moving around, my clothes tend to stay in pretty good shape for a long time, so I’ve had some stuff for ages. I feel as if I still dress like a student and I’d love a bit of advice as to what I could do to push me towards a more grown-up but not stuffy look, maybe some advice on what would suit my job but could cross over into home life too. (I have a 20-month-old son and I just got married.)
Some days I wear a hoody and jeans, tomorrow a slim-fit polo and skinny jeans, the day after a shirt and chinos. The only constant seems to be my Converse Chuck Taylors, which I have in black, white and sand.
Steve, by email
Steve, take heart: you’re not the only graphic designer whose job allows them to be perhaps more casual than they’d like.
First, and here is a harsh lesson that all men – and women – would do well to learn: hoodies are not acceptable dress once you have left the confines of college. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing them in an “ironic” way or if your life and job leave room for you to be supercasual. You are a grown-up, and hoodies are for sports, Sundays and sick days – with no exceptions.
Hoodies aside, your dress options sound quite nice, and there is no reason you should have to hem yourself in with one specific “look”. It can be quite freeing to dress like a shirt’n’slacks man one day and in skinny jeans and a graphic T-shirt the next.
Be sure to always wear the right size. Many men imagine themselves larger than they are (steady on, we’re talking about shirts) and wear items that pucker at the chest and gape at the shoulders, or trousers that gather at the ankles. Avail of the assistance of the sales people looking to liberate you from your money, and get measured.
When it comes to jeans, going for a more tailored style (but not, please, with brown shoes) can make a big difference. Try Scotch Soda (above) at larger Avoca stores – they have a true-blue denim jean that is gorgeous and falls somewhere between casual and dressy. For T-shirts, try Topman and Zara for more fitted and less slovenly shapes.