Fashion tips for the elderly male

Considering my wardrobe contains golf shirts that weren’t produced in this century, I’m about to climb out on a very shaky limb and offer the elderly men reading this article some fashion advice.

I don’t know how to make you look good right now and frankly that’s probably too high a mountain for you to climb – face it, you’re elderly.

What we’re trying to accomplish here is making sure you don’t look ridiculous twenty years from now when your great grandkids pull out an old photo album. (Of course, this assumes you’re still alive twenty years from now and dying does take care of most wardrobe problems.)

I feel well-qualified to offer these things-to-avoid tips because when I was younger I owned a pair of hot pink overalls, Earth shoes and shirts with collars so wide that if I could have picked up enough velocity, I would have achieved liftoff like Sally Field in the Flying Nun.

I thought I looked great and nobody told me I didn’t.

I realize I’m about to offend some of you, but if you’re committing any of these fashion faux pas it means you don’t have any friends honest enough to tell you that you look like a fucking idiot, so let me step into that role.

Here’s a short list of things to avoid, starting at the top and working our way down.

Ponytails

In my opinion ponytails on young men look like shit and ponytails on old men also look like shit, but have the added advantage of giving those old men a creepy, child-porn-enthusiast vibe.

Especially the “I’m-going-to-make-up-for-being-bald-on-top-by-growing-the-rest-of-my-hair-three-feet-long” ponytail.

Guys, I don’t know what you’re thinking when you look in the mirror, but you can’t see that thing dangling down your back like a dead ferret and the rest of us can, so for our sakes, get a haircut.

Dye jobs, toupees and comb-overs

I often wonder if there are dye jobs, toupees and comb-overs so artfully done that the rest of us can’t spot them, but I can tell you there’s a shit ton of them done so badly the rest of us can see them from a block and a half away.

Here’s a hint: if every hair on your dyed head is the same color, it’s a shitty dye job.

If you’re not spending the money to get some different colors worked in to your Earl Scheib hairdo, quit doing it. And if you’re doing it yourself in the privacy of your own bathroom so no one will know, trust me; everyone knows.

When you show up at work with your previously gray hair looking like you fell headfirst into a vat of Kiwi shoe polish nobody thinks, “Did Bob lose weight?”

More than once I have fantasized about dying my hair jet black and walking around to see who would tell me I looked like a moron and any “friend” who saw me and said nothing would be taken off my contacts list.

Really? You’re supposed to be my friend and you were going to let me walk around like that?”

When it comes to hairpieces, if there’s a discernible line between the European rat hair in your toupee and the real hair on your head, rest assured the rest of us can see it.

And don’t even think about a comb-over.

Every morning our current president has a team of NASA engineers assemble that thing on his head and he ain’t fooling anybody.

If you’re going bald the best look is a shaved head, but before you get out the razor make sure your skull is not shaped like a trapezoid or as lumpy as a Kansas City street after a hard winter.

I got lucky in the genetic draw and actually have hair, which is a good thing because I’m pretty sure I’ve got a flat spot on the back of head which if my head was shaved would make me look like I was dropped as a baby and now that I consider the possibility, might be true and would explain a lot about subsequent events.

Beards

Facial hair is acceptable as long as you clean the bits of food out of it at least once a month. I suspect guys like the look of beards way more than women do, but if you go ahead and grow one, remember: at your age a beard no longer makes you look like a lumberjack, it makes you look like Santa Claus after an attack of dysentery.

And you can’t pull off the “stubble” look either.

In your twenties it might have made you look like Don Johnson on Miami Vice; in your sixties it makes you look like a wino.  

Earrings

No – it makes you look like a retired drug dealer. On the other hand, if you are a retired drug dealer, my bad and could you hook a brother up?

Hats

Before we leave the head area, let’s talk about hats.

These days it appears the government is issuing those semi-cowboy-looking hats to every male who reaches the age of 65. (Still waiting for FedEx to drop mine off.)

It’s hard to pull off that “big-game hunter” look when you’re actually picking up some Maalox at your local CVS.

I assume avoiding the sun is behind that hat’s popularity because it can’t be that guys look good in them. And those “bucket hats” with a broad brim and a tie under your chin make men look like Kate Hepburn in The African Queen.

Be careful with fedoras; even hot chicks who look good in just about anything, can wind up looking like nitwits when wearing a fedora. And never turn a fedora brim up all the way around because then you look like a supporting actor on a CSI series who’s gotten way too old to play the hip sidekick and those guys usually get killed by a maniac halfway through the episode.

And under no circumstances are you allowed to wear a baseball cap backwards. That is reserved for males 21 years or younger and women who are still breathing.

(As a friend of mine once said, “If women knew how they looked in baseball caps they’d wear them all the time.” You could put Grandma Moses in a ballcap and men would think she looked cute…and she’s been dead since 1961.)

Muscle shirts

Rule of thumb: muscle shirts are for men with muscles.

You might look good for a man in his 60s, but that doesn’t mean you actually look good. Even old dudes who are muscular have that sagging skin that makes them look like they’re melting in the sun. (Probably should have worn one of those semi-cowboy hats.)

And even if you have a muscular body and your skin is till taut, remember: your head still resembles a Sun-Maid raisin which makes you look like one of a Dr. Moreau’s more successful experiments.

Face it: running around in a muscle shirt or with no shirt at all is a “look-at-me” move and makes everyone who tries it – even young men – seem like a douchebag.

Shorts

Men who wear shorts say they’re comfortable, but for who and/or whom?

If your legs have more blue lines than a Rand-McNally road map, nobody wants to see that shit. And shorts with black socks and dress shoes make you look like a porn actor in a 1950s stag reel.

Shorts in public are only acceptable as long as you’re tan and the skin that used to cover your knees hasn’t reconvened around your ankles, but even then, you’re pushing it.

Do the rest of us a favor and put on a pair of jeans for god’s sake.

Sandals and socks

Nothing says I’ve given up on looking good like wearing sandals and socks in public. Pick a side: if it’s cool enough to require socks, don’t wear sandals and if it’s hot enough to wear sandals lose the socks.

A little known Masters and Johnson study showed that women like men who are decisive and showing up wearing sandals and socks decreases a man’s odds of getting laid by a minimum of 72 percent.

If the man wears sandals and socks with a suit, that number goes up to 97 percent and would have hit 100, but at least three percent of women get drunk and desperate enough on blind dates to do the horizontal bop with dorks.

Avoid the cutting edge of fashion

I look at my high school yearbook and you know what looked good in the late 60s and early 70s?

Tennis shoes, loafers, khakis, jeans, T-shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts and ball caps.

And you know what still looks OK today?

Tennis shoes, loafers, khakis, jeans, T-shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts and ball caps.

Walk into a bar wearing that outfit and no one is going to be impressed with your sense of style, but twenty years from now you won’t be mortified when you look at old pictures of yourself and that’s worth something.

Remember: Being on the cutting edge of fashion is a good way to need stitches.

Men, if you have made any of these fashion choices and I’ve offended you by revealing how you look to the rest of the world, I’m sorry you feel that way.

And to the women who live with these men, you’re welcome.