I have read, while glancing at the Style sections of magazines and newspapers, that a recent trend is menswear getting in touch with its feminine side. Cropped tops to expose smooth bellybuttons. Ruffled blouses and scarves in bright patterns for making grand entrances. Scooping necklines to show off that freshly waxed chest. Even skirts for men, with no mention of the underwear situation.
This is not a trend that will wear well with geezer males.
Skinny jeans on the senior set? Varicose veins would be pressed too tightly by the jeans which would back blood up to our hearts which would have to work overtime. Senior hearts that have to do overtime then go on strike.
To get to the fashion hub of the matter, retired geezers don’t care a lot about looking good in clothes anyway. Not like when we were young and in the workforce.
Back when I was working, I knew that all IBMers wore white shirts at the insistence of Mr. Watson. The rest of us, who worked for less conservative organizations, were allowed to wear shirts of other colors with our ties and suits and, occasionally, a sports jacket.
Women wore skirts and blouses, hats and gloves having gone the way of the manual typewriter.
It was a madman world and everybody knew what to wear. But over time even the IBMers began to loosen up, thus allowing the rest of us to get even looser. By the time I retired from the workforce, only bank presidents wore jackets and ties. Fridays became “casual days” when jeans were permitted and offices had to write memos with rules for women about tank tops and shorts. (Not allowed, please!)
I have a friend who was a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. When he retired he collected all his ties and jackets and gave them to Goodwill. He did the same with all his wingtip shoes. He told me “I’m never going to wear those again.” I’m not sure what he wears to funerals but I know that when he goes (if he goes) to the “formal” night on any cruise you will not see him in a tie and jacket. He does however, have a great collection of Hawaiian shirts.
The other reason we cared anything at all about clothes was because we wanted to attract the opposite sex. (Men who wanted to attract their own sex already knew how to dress.)
We knew that women liked men who dressed well. But few of us knew what a well-dressed man was. Sometimes, if you were dating a woman (at the time she was called a girl) with style, she would dress you appropriately. Otherwise you were on your own. I tended, like most men, to be monochromatic. Blue or black pants went with blue shirts. Khaki pants went with brown shirts or maybe something in the muted red area. Shoes and belts matched your pants. There was no yellow, pink, or purple anything. End of my style story.
I have discovered that, in retirement, being a well-dressed man is not as important as being a healthy man. Given the choice between the stylish man and a healthy man, the senior woman is going to pick the healthy guy. Besides, she probably thinks any well-dressed senior guy is gay.
I admit there are times when you need to dress up. Funerals often require dark suits and dark ties. So, many of us keep one funeral suit in the closet for these occasions. By switching to a colorful tie, the suit can double for weddings and bar-mitzvahs.
That’s why we’re happy to pay for destination weddings if a beach is involved – it means we won’t have to wear a suit.
Then there are times when you have to be presentable. Going to see your grandchildren at a school play, for example. A leisure suit might do, but a pair of slacks and a Hawaiian shirt tells everyone you’re the grandpa and your retired.
Plays and concerts might also require a little dressing up. But again, a pair of slacks and a Hawaiian shirt lets people know you’re only there because your wife bought the tickets.
So here’s Geezer Bill’s walk-in retirement wardrobe closet. Knee-length shorts, a blue and khaki pair of slacks, lots of polo and Hawaiian shirts, one dark suit and two ties – one dark, one with color. Relaxed fit jeans for when it gets cold out. No blouses, scarves, or crop tops. The only way you’re going to see my belly button is if a shirt button pops off.