Real People: Style For Older Men

February 1, 2017

Real People: Style for Older Men

I love this line from Steve Martin: “as the face gets worse, the clothes have to get better.” Neither he nor David Evans has much trouble in the good looks department, but they’re great if you need inspiration for how you can dress as you get older.

David Evans is the writer behind Grey Fox, a style blog aimed at men over the age of forty. As a semi-retired teacher and lawyer, he started his site five years ago as a way of exploring his own sense of style. Today, he’s amassed quite the following. That’s thanks in part to his sharp sense of dress, but also because he has a relatable view on clothing. In a field where so many style influencers look like they’re dressing up for Instagram posts, David writes about things that fit into almost city environment.

Some of David’s site is about tailoring. In the first photo above, shot by Jonathan Pryce, you can see him in a grey, glen check, double-breasted suit, which he handsomely wears with a dark tie and black dress shoes (not an uncommon sight in London, where David lives). At the same time, a lot of what David writes about is more causal.

“I’m in casualwear a lot when I’m at home. With a dog who sheds hair at every opportunity, I’m not going to strut around the house in my best suits,” says David. “The essentials of fit here are just as important as they are for tailored clothing. A lot of men think they can relax when it comes to selecting casualwear, but it’s actually hard to dress well casually since there are so many options.”

David’s sense of casualwear isn’t your usual Barbour jacket with jeans. He’s often willing to embrace daring and unusual items, such as chunky turtlenecks and bold patterns (including the rare patterned trouser). as well as less traditional combinations, such as the denim shirt paired with a grey suit. For walks out in the countryside with his dog, David sports a vintage, belted field coat from Grenfell – complete with shooting pockets and a dashing, upturned collar – along with dark denim and boots (not often you see older men wearing jeans well). And even when he is in a waxed cotton coat, David layers in a channel-quilted vest for an unexpected and stylish touch.

In fact, David says some of the things he relies on most include jeans, English-made brogues, and quality knitwear. When he needs to dress up, “a tweed jacket can pull it all together.” See above for how David wears a sport coat with denim, a casual, striped button-up, and some suede derbies.

On how he’s found his sense of style, David says he’s just been willing to experiment:

“I think this is just a symptom of the blog’s theme, which is a search
for style. I often try things that I instinctively feel uncomfortable
about – such as these baggy, full-cut jeans from E. Tautz – and find that they work. Sometimes they don’t,
which is fine, but I think we all need to push the boundaries from time
to time to see if we’re ready to move on with our tastes. If
you like a brightly colored or patterned piece, try it with something
less loud to tone it down. A checked pair of trousers will work with a grey
roll-neck jumper, while trying to match it with an orange Harrington
jacket may be too adventurous for you.”

As for his thoughts on how older men can dress well, David says:

“All of the standard advice about fit applies even more
acutely to the older man. His body may not be the svelte shape it was
in his youth, so poor fitting clothes tend to look worse as you age.
Unless you’re very keen to develop your own eccentric style, I’d suggest you think about classic shapes and designs. Experimenting with
skinny fits and t-shirts is more likely to end in tears as you age. Such
styles can be made to work, but an acute sense of style and confidence
is needed to make it work well.

Classic cuts and styles work because they’re rooted in decades of
development. Focus on understated elegance, rather than
trying to recapture a lost youth by trying to dress as you did in your
twenties. A man looks much cooler dressing his age, following style
rather than chasing fashion. The first is about dressing for yourself
and your personality, the second is about following how others dress.
Since the first is about you, it works best.”

You can check out more of David at Grey Fox. He’s also on Instagram.

(photos via Jonathan Daniel Pryce and David Evans)