In this men’s sartorial guide, we give you tips on how to maintain a stylish edge even as you age into your 40s. Though less room to experiment than the previous decades, you don’t have to give up and don those dad cargos and t-shirts just yet. In fact, your 40s might be the best time for your look – mature, sharp, and yes, even cool. Here’s how to dress with distinction without looking like you’re trying too hard.
Your Style Foundation
By the time your 40s roll around, you should hopefully have a solid foundation of wardrobe essentials, having amassed quality and timeless pieces that can work with the rest of your clothes. These pieces should be classic yet versatile: think light and patterned dress shirts, chinos and trousers, and of course, well-tailored suits and ties. For a more refined look, you want to keep it simple and pared back.
Loud patterns and colors may have worked for you once, but now you should have found what really suits you. Elements like skin tone, height, and build should all be carefully considered now that you’ve got the basics down.
Courtesy of www.mrdraper.com
Just like you
r thirties, you want to lean towards more formal casualwear and more casual formalwear (decent loungewear, varieties of blazers, etc.) This will up the sophistication factor on any look you’re going for and bring a ton of options into your repertoire, whether you’re stepping out on the weekend to grab some groceries or leading a meeting at work. Here are some staples to stock up on:
You can’t go wrong with dark wash or black denim, the sexier alternative to the light wash dad jeans. Find a brand and a cut that looks good on your body type (Levi’s is classic) and get a few trusty pairs in varying shades that can be a go-to for a smart casual look.
Few items accentuate your silhouette like dark denim! Courtesy of www.petermanningnyc.com
Choosing knitwear over t-shirts to pair with your jeans is an easy way to sharpen up your style and give you that mature gravitas you’re looking for. Have an array of knits in grey and warm neutrals in varying weaves that you can pluck from your closet with ease in the fall and winter, plus some jewel tones like burgundy or deep green if you want to add some color.
Strutting sweaters in neutral colors is a great way to elevate your style game! Courtesy of www.llbean.com
The pinnacle of smart and business casual, blazers add a level of polish to your outfit, and can both dress up or dress down your look for errands or the office. Because they’re just so versatile, now is the time to expand your collection.
That one navy blazer in your closet is standard, but they come in many more sophisticated colors and fabrics. Grab some wool blazers for the fall, and branch out with some colors in a lighter fabric for the spring.
Sports Jackets will absolutely enhance your look as you progress your style game into your 40’s! Featuring The Dark Knot’s Domaso Grenadine Brown Silk Tie!
Trousers and dress pants
Mid-grey wool, brown, navy, and black are all great bets when it comes to your pants. Keep it neutral here so you have more room to add some color on top, where the focal point should be.
It’s hard to go wrong with a pair of grey woolen dress pants. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
By now you should have a collection of dress shirts for different occasions. Stock up on your favorite options and pay extra attention to the fit.
Well fitted dress shirts should be a cornerstone of every aspiring dapper gentleman’s wardrobe! Courtesy of www.poshmark.com
To avoid that aged and frumpier look, opt out of chunky sneakers and instead go for a more minimal, sleek design. White leather sneakers, suede chukka boots, chelsea boots, brown leather loafers, and lace-up brogues are all great options depending on the occasion.
Well fitted, sleek brogues can add the perfect finishing touch to an ensemble. Courtesy of www.sparrods.com
Pay Attention To Fit
As much as it hurts to hear, you’re not in your twenties anymore – unless you’re hitting the gym every day, you may find that some of your clothes just don’t fit like they used to anymore. Now more than ever you need to pay attention to the fit of what you’re wearing; nothing commands little respect like sloppily fitting pants or suit jackets that either dwarf you or fit too snugly in unflattering areas.
Well fitted clothes are absolutely imperative for your wardrobe game in your 40s! Courtesy of www.petermanningnyc.com
Get your items tailored to fit the body you have, and focus on the proportions to maximize the stylish wear of your pieces (your tailor should be able to help you with that). Continue to replenish your staples as they either start to not fit or become too worn out, and look for masterfully constructed garments that suit your build.
Editing Your Closet
Find things you don’t wear anymore and give them away; conversely, find things you wear a little too much and get duplicates – maybe in some different colors, fabrics, etc. As you likely have more money to spend on your wardrobe than your twenties, feel free to make some upgrades. Splurge on some bespoke pieces if you’re so inclined, and gravitate towards more high quality fabrics.
A well curated closet goes a long way. Courtesy of www.livspace.com
Brights and pastels might make you look a bit washed out as you ease into middle age, so focus your closet around neutrals that compliment your skin tone. You can still play around with color, but do so sparingly so you don’t look like you just stepped out of the nineties. As you continue to age, editing what you have in your wardrobe will be a process like anything else.
While your tastes may develop and shift, you should have a central working idea of what you ultimately like, what looks good on you, and how you want to represent yourself through your style. There’s no time for the haphazard anymore, so lean into the tried and true.
Neutral Colors provide the perfect building blocks for your wardrobe. Courtesy of www.fashionbeans.com
When you’re going with simple and quality, layering is your friend. Especially in the cooler months, expertly putting together a cohesive outfit will be to your advantage – a dress shirt, sweater, jacket or blazer, and perhaps an overcoat if it’s cold looks sophisticated with a range of smart to business casual pants.
Nothing screams dapper like a well layered, well co-ordinated ensemble. Courtesy of www.dmarge.com
With more disposable income, buying luxury pieces can add dapper accents to more simple style choices. Invest in some premium accessories or designer brands to really stand out and elevate your style. Timeless pieces that you can pass down will give your look a commanding air of confidence and sophistication that will differentiate you from your peers. Some examples:
Having a high end watch is a great way to elevate an outfit, adding an element of class. Pick a versatile one that can be paired with any look, or pick a more flashy watch for special occasions and another one for everyday wear.
Courtesy of www.realmenrealstyle.com
Like a watch, something as simple as a bracelet can be the detail that brings your look together. Beaded ones are trendy, but accessorize with restraint lest you look like you’re coveting your youth a little too much.
Beaded Bracelets are a surefire way to make a statement. Even in your 40’s! Courtesy of www.etsy.com
Both your sneakers and dress shoes alike could surely use a bit of an upgrade to match the rest of your high quality clothing. Investing in some pairs that won’t deteriorate with minor wear is a good start, but high end shoes like luxury trainers, Oxfords, and loafers will smarten up your footwear and allow you to express more of your personal style in cool designs.
Sneakers can undoubtedly pull up your style game in your 40’s! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
The right fragrance, or a collection of them depending on the season and occasion, can catapult your vibe into the next level. You can have a few at your disposal, or even pick one to make your signature scent.
Tie and Pocket Square Collection
Since you already have the basics, now is the time to broaden the accessories to your suits that really make them stand out. Padding your tie and pocket square collection is an easy way to add some flair, and here you can go a bit crazier with the color and pattern.
Silk and knit ties are both solid options, and you can get them in various designs: solid colors, stripes, foulard patterns, plaid, polka dot, floral, paisley – the choices are nearly endless.
A well curated selection of ties & pocket squares will definitely have you looking the part, irrespective of occasion! Featuring The Dark Knot's Exeter Paisley Blue / Brown Silk Tie!
By now you should have more suit options,and can choose them based on which season they’re the best fit for by their color and fabric. With the base layers down, you also have more room to expand your coat and jacket collection, paying attention to what will work best with your personal wardrobe.
Seasonal considerations, such as summer suits, will ensure that you are always dressed on point! Courtesy of www.coolmaterial.com
As a man in your 40s, there will likely be more weddings and black tie events to attend. While you could get away with more casual suit options in your younger days, the stipulation of formality on those invites means you need to step it up a notch.
A modern tuxedo that fits correctly and is accessorized well will have you looking sharp instead of a poor emulation of James Bond.
Courtesy of www.mytuxedo.com.au
Grooming and Skincare
Lastly, we can’t forget about proper grooming and taking care of your skin. It’s a bleak reminder of your age, I know, but dedication to a simple yet effective routine can make a world of difference in retaining some of that youthful vigor while showcasing your maturity.
As you enter your 40s, you may be tempted to drop the ball a bit when it comes to your look. You might think yourself too busy, perhaps – whether it’s with work or your personal life – to care about fashion all that much. However, this decade of your life has huge potential for your style, and can help you get ahead and stand out with your sartorial wisdom.
And that's a wrap for this one! We hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it!