Dressing for Success, Again
Today the well-off 55-year-old is likely to be the worst-dressed man in the room, wearing a saggy T-shirt and jeans. The cash-poor 25-year-old is in a natty sport coat and skinny tie bought at Topman for a song. Young men are embracing the “Mad Men” elements of style in a way that the older men never did, still don’t and just won’t. The result is a kind of rift emerging between the generation of men in their 20s and 30s and those in their late 40s and 50s for whom a suit was not merely square but cubed, and caring about how one looked was effeminate.
The evidence of this style gap is everywhere. Just check out the numerous men’s wear blogs — acontinuouslean.com, dandyism.net, thetrad.blogspot.com, fineanddandyshop.blogspot.com — dedicated not to cutting-edge European fashion but to old-school minutiae of dressing well. Or take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, who favors double-breasted suits and bow ties and talks about “the resurgence of the gentleman.”
“It’s these young guys rebelling against their boomer dads,” said Russell Smith, 45, the author of “Men’s Style: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Dress” and an advice columnist for The Globe and Mail in Toronto. “But it’s very amusing and paradoxical that the new anti-parental paradigm involves a pinstripe suit and a pocket square.”
Far from being a superficial movement, the style gap is seen by young men as something of real substance, with the same kind of opposition to fuddy-duddy ways that the boomers wore threadbare.
So, in an age of irony, here’s a whopper: Given how zealously baby boomers have clung to, or hopped on, all kinds of youth trends, no matter how age-inappropriate, why can’t they hop on this one?
What’s the worst that could happen, Pops? Someone might think you are 10 years younger?