C’mon, Dress Your Age, Only Fun

by Adam Fox SOURCE AskMen

This may be the only chance you’ll ever have in life to push your luck – and get away with it…

There’s a boatload of age-appropriate advice out there for 40-somethings with backward baseball caps and a closet full of seizure-inducing striped shirts. Sure, you can tell those guys to stop taking their style cues from the house dads of Orange County (and don’t worry, we will), but what about the baby-faced coeds, recent grads and corporate climbers?

Turns out, the 20s are filled with their own fair share of decadal difficulties. The problem here, however, arises from a feeble attempt to look more mature (ironically, the exact opposite of the ill-fated quest for eternal youth that comes later in life) and simply not knowing any better. That’s why we’ve developed some rules and regulations for these all-important formative years. Here’s AskMen’s guide on how to dress your age: the 20s.

Experiment
You did it in biology lab and hopefully you’re no stranger to it in the bedroom. The same trial-and-error approach should apply to clothing. Most men in their 20s still have no idea who they are as a person let alone how to dress, so feel free to test the waters with fashion trends. You’ll win some and lose some, but always remember to maintain an open mind. This may be the only chance you’ll ever have in life to push your luck -- and get away with it.

Lose The Logos
The next tip on how to dress your age is to pull the plug on the Abercrombie & Fitch festival from high school. Mike’s Bikes? Tomahawk Track & Field? By now, your clothing shouldn’t advertise anything but your impeccable sense of personal style. Graduate to plain tees, polos and fitted button-downs -- and quit the kid’s stuff.

Back To Basics
Start from scratch and invest in a few core pieces like a tailored blazer, jeans and dress shirts that aren’t shapeless sacks. They’ll fast become your everyday go-to tools for sartorial success and stick around for years to come.

Find The Perfect Fit
Drop all the dough you want on clothing. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t matter. And chances are your entire wardrobe, from suits and dress shirts to tees and shorts, is in desperate need of a diet. Gone are the days when it was customary and, dare we say, even cool to sport a silhouette large enough for three of you. You’re in your 20s -- you’re growing up. So, make sure that the shoulder seams actually hit you at the shoulder, the torso is trim but not tight and the rear doesn’t look like it’s ready to make a special delivery.

Interview Wear
In your 20s, keep it simple with a navy or gray suit. And skip out on anything that can be perceived as too pretentious or distracting like monograms, cufflinks or a big, badass watch. Instead, when it comes to interview wear, put your money where it pays, like the perfect pair of wingtip brogues and a coordinating belt. Then, just make sure everything is perfectly tailored to set you apart from those other college grads clad in daddy’s oversize hand-me-downs.

Formal Affairs
While the severity of black isn’t the best choice for an interview, it’s pretty much the only choice for a black tie event. A finely tailored black two-button suit with side vents can do double duty as a makeshift tux when paired with a white French-cuffed shirt, patent leather lace-ups and a bow tie. At this stage in life, the DIY kind is the only one you’re allowed to buy -- clip-ons are reserved for the kiddie table.

Weekend Gear
You can never go wrong with the old standby -- a T-shirt and jeans -- unless, of course, you haven’t updated your assortment since senior year. In your 20s, dress your age by trading in tees with labels and logos for solids, and ditch the bootleg flairs. Try new and improved men's jeans in a simple straight-leg fit instead. As for footwear, keep the Nike Airs and Reebok sneakers in your gym bag where they belong. A fashion sneaker or even a basic boat shoe is the only way to play. And come nighttime, you can kick it up a notch with a button-down or polo and that all-purpose basic blazer.

Snow Days
Falling temperatures present problems for this transitional time in life. The good news is you only need two jackets to weather the storm: A form-fitting car coat for fall that can be layered through winter and a souped-up ski jacket (one that insulates without the schoolboy bulk) for those bitter-cold nights. They’re all you’ll need to weather the elements in age-appropriate style.

Dress The Part
The 20s are tough enough without having to endure them wrapped in the relics of teenage angst. Now, these once advice-forsaken years can become foundational ones on the lifelong journey to dressing your age.

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