A funny thing happens to most of us aging guys once we find ourselves near the south of 60. We start to look it. Our ears enlarge. Our bellies protrude. Our nose hairs multiply.
Take heart. There’s hope. That, at least, according to three national consultants in men’s style, fashion, and image. Sometimes it’s about what we wear. Sometimes it’s about the little things that we do — or don’t — to take care of ourselves. And sometimes it’s about attitude. Here are 14 tips to look sharp after 50:
Change your hairstyle. Most older men (who still have their hair) have been getting the same haircut for decades. Same length. Same part. Same style. Time to try a totally fresh style from a new barber, says Sven Raphael Schneider, CEO of Gentleman’s Gazette, a website whose mission is to help men look like gentlemen. “Nothing dates you more than an old fashioned haircut,” he says.
Don’t hide the gray. While it’s widely believed that coloring gray hair will automatically make you look younger, that’s not necessarily the case, according to Linda Davis, USA training manager for U.K.-based House of Colour. Most men who dye their hair do it so poorly, they actually make themselves look older instead of younger, she says. “If you don’t know coloring, it’s better to leave the gray than to color it,” Davis notes.
Trim those nose, ear and wild eyebrow hairs. Every man over 50 knows that the fastest growing hair on his body tends to be in those exact places where he doesn’t want it to grow. Regularly trimming those hairs with a specialty trimmer can also trim years off your looks, says Schneider.
Invest in quality skin care products. Many men over 50 are seeing age spots and even dealing with skin cancer. Finding and using top quality skin conditioners and moisturizers can add life to your skin and slow the aging process, says Antonio Centeno, founder of the website Real Men Real Style. The soap you use for your face should be specifically designed to gently wash and moisturize, and different than what you’d used in the shower, he adds. And don’t forget to use sunscreen daily.
Keep those pearly whites shining. Particularly if you’re a smoker or heavy drinker, it’s critical that you get yellowing teeth whitened, says Centeno. Few things signal aging more than discolored teeth and sour breath. “You need to take oral hygiene very seriously,” he says.
Grow a stylish beard. Short beards that are very neatly trimmed can be more a sign of youth than a sign of age, says Schneider. But this probably won’t work if your beard is white — or very curly. “Ungroomed, Santa Claus beards won’t work,” he says.
Cue the Cooler Clothing
Bag the baggy jeans. Which one of us can’t plead guilty to owning at least one pair of jeans so baggy and rumpled they could be mistaken for something Mr. Green Jeans wore on Captain Kangaroo? “You can’t wear the same pair of jeans that you wore twenty five years ago,” says Davis. Jeans with more fit — and more fashion — can immediately help you look younger, she says.
Purchase quality clothing. Wearing quality clothing that is fashionable sends a message of youthful authority, says Centeno. Next time you head to Starbucks for a latte, he suggests, instead of wearing your torn T-shirt and faded sweatpants, put on a snazzy shirt and fashionable slacks and you’ll immediately notice that people are looking at you (and treating you) differently.
Buy one very expensive suit. The true value of clothing isn’t what it costs when you buy it, but how often you wear it — and how you feel in it, says Centeno. A suit that costs $1,000 is something you might be able to wear more than 100 times. And it’s one you’ll likely get compliments on every time you wear it. Compare that to an ill-fitted $100 suit that makes you look older and that you find all kinds of reasons to avoid wearing.
Consider getting a color analysis. Wearing the right colors can make all the difference in the world, but that can require getting a personalized “color analysis” from a fashion consultant which can definitively determine what colors look good on you. Generally speaking, red is a color that makes most men look younger. Surprisingly, purple tends to be a good color for most guys, too, says Davis.
Add to Your Look
Dump the metal-frame glasses. It’s okay to wear glasses and still look young. But wearing gold- or silver frame glasses will immediately make most guys look older than they are, says Davis. She suggests getting fashion glasses — ideally with a serious splash of color — to shave years off your looks.
Watch those watches. Standard gold and silver watches instantly make you look older, says Davis. No single piece of jewelry makes you look older than wearing a Seiko watch with the gold and stainless steel mix, says Schneider. As he adds, wearing an Apple watch can make you look younger because the technology screams of youth.
Dump the Velcro sneakers. Velcro tennis shoes — particularly when the sneakers are all-white — is an “old people look,” says Schneider. He suggests mixing things up with brown, black or even colorful sneakers. And while you’re at it, consider no-show socks (particularly with sneakers). If your socks show, make sure they have a burst of color.
Consider a tattoo. Few things signal youth faster than strategically placed tattoos. “This is what young people do,” says Schneider.
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