Middle Aged Fashion Crisis










I was waiting at a farm shop while my car was at a garage nearby. I was told it would only take an hour so I had a wander around the farm shop but there’s only so much enthusiasm you can show towards home made jams, spreads and organic vegetables. I bought a lovely breakfast bap and a coffee and sat outside on the only available seating they had, in the cold, trying to eat the bap that had sausage, bacon, egg and mushrooms with ketchup inside. The contents were escaping from the soft bread that was getting soggier from the grease, yolk and ketchup mix and I was making a bit of a mess. On top of that it is now autumn and so it was getting cold pretty quickly in the crisp air of the morning. I had to eat this as swiftly as possible while it was still warm.
The call still hadn’t come to tell me my car was ready so after my rushed and probably grotesque attempt to eat the bap, I waited in the entrance to the shop’s restaurant out of the cold breeze.

As I waited a man in his 50’s left the restaurant and headed to his car. I noticed the thick woollen jumper he was wearing and thought that it was a wise choice on this chilly morning. I can appreciate good quality knitwear. But then I noticed something not quite right with this picture. You see the man was clearly dressed for autumn with his jumper. However, I then noticed that he was also wearing shorts and socks with sandals.

It goes without saying the faux pas that socks and sandals have in today’s society.  It just has no place in the world. But I’m not going to harp on about that. I am however going to harp on about the fact that this guy clearly had a seasonal conflict between the different parts of his body. Much like a mullet hair style being business up front and party at the back, this guy was Norwich up top but Miami below.

He then turned around as he entered his car and I could clearly see that he was wearing another two layers underneath the jumper. This was a triple collar offensive.

Now I’m no Gok Wan. I couldn’t care less about what people where. But it struck me that this guy was wearing three layers up top and shorts downstairs. It’s the equivalent of wearing thermal underwear, thick cargo trousers with waterproof trousers over the top and then accompanying them with a nice tasteful string vest.

So I suddenly got the fear. The fear of will I ever get to a stage where I have no idea what I’m wearing. Will I ever throw together random combinations? To hell with colour co-ordinating, not even co-ordinating seasons. Is that a fate that most men befall when they get older?
The man got into his car and I noticed that he had a lady, I presume his wife, in the passenger seat. If she is his wife then she is clearly failing him in her duty to make sure her husband doesn’t look like a twat. Why didn’t she say anything to him? But perhaps she did and he ignored her advice and that is why she stayed in the car. Too embarrassed to be seen with a man who looks like his upper half and lower half work at different operating temperatures.

I went through a stage in my 20’s where I had an idea of what looked ok and I didn’t really have any trouble. But I’m afraid that now I’m in my 30’s I may be loosing that ability. Take for instance a recent purchase I made trying to get rid of a gift card. I’ve had this gift card since last Christmas. Bound to a single shop where I never get my clothes from. I could buy underpants or socks but I feel like I should buy something more substantial like some decent trousers or a jumper. What if that person asks me what I got with the voucher? It wouldn’t be right to drop my trousers and show some comfortable briefs.

I entered this shop and eventually settled for a thick woollen cardigan with a nice chunky collar. It seems to be the current trend lately. I made the purchase and proudly took it home and showed my good lady. Fortunately she is as subtle as an Indian wedding sometimes. She didn’t even have to say anything. Her face said it all. I don’t know what the problem was with it. Perhaps it was the speedos I was wearing with it. Within seconds the cardigan went straight back into the plastic bag to be returned. Now, I still have a voucher to spend in this bloody shop. Still bound. I’m going to end up buying underpants I know it. But this made me question if I’ve lost touch with what looks good. I genuinely thought it looked ok but I actually looked like I had stolen it from a washing line at the local old peoples home. Why could I not see this?

Now I am blessed because my good lady isn’t the average woman who could quite happily spend several days shopping. She doesn’t like to mess about. Straight in, look around for a bit, pick something and gone. This is great for me because I don’t get dragged around shopping centres for hours on end. But as it would appear that I have to rely on her opinion now when it comes to buying clothes to prevent looking like a mental person, this quality doesn’t help. It has to be quick and efficient shopping. A recent trip to H&M was pretty short as we zipped around, picked up 4 things, I tried them on, realised that they looked shit and then we had to leave because we were both getting bored. We’d only been in there 15 minutes!

Is this a problem that men have to endure? Does it get worse with age like our conflicting seasonal triple collar wearing brother at the farm shop?

I have a friend at work who I shall not name and embarrass but Justin and I were talking one day and he proudly showed me the new boots he was wearing. I was confused and perplexed by what I saw. They were boots, but in the style of brogues but not quite like brogues because the sole was like a van trainer. They were bizarre. I called them boot-van-brogues. It sounds like a Dutch soccer player. He bought them from Matalan and I’m guessing his wife wasn’t with him.

So this only reinforces my theory that if left to his own devices, a man past a certain age doesn’t know what looks good and we do heavily rely on the fairer sex to stop us looking like idiots. Our triple layered short and sandal wearing friend only makes me think that this gets worse with age.

God help me! I’m doomed.



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