When I started blogging about style, I quickly realised older men were being left out of the conversation. I thought: why is this? My demographic is affluent, and growing. Brands ignoring us are a missing an opportunity.
I called it ‘grey fox’ instead of ‘silver fox’. I thought I’d be doing it for a few months, then quit. But here I still am, four years later. I do it for fun, really.
My overall style is fairly classic. I started with tweeds, brogues, knitwear. Then it’s about adding something a little bit different. That’s the art of style, I think.
Then again, there are men my age who dress like men do in their twenties, and carry it off very well. I often think of Gordon Richardson, the director at Topman, who wears Converse and skinny jeans and looks great.
Why does one man who wears skinny jeans and t-shirts in his 60s look ridiculous, and another looks just right? That's the mystery. But a lot of it is about how confident you feel.
Style is all about finding your own way, but I do have one rule: everything must fit properly. Some men go around wearing oversized jackets and trousers that drag behind them on the floor. That’s not me.
If you don’t feel comfortable in something, don’t bother.
I don’t have style icons, but I like that background haze you get from the 50s and 60s, people like Cary Grant and Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. It’s not necessarily what they wore but how they wore it.
Brogues. I love them. I have around 8 pairs, all from British brands, mostly based in Northampton. They’re comfortable, they’re stylish and you can wear them for walking the dog or pounding the city streets.
But please, don’t wear them without socks. It looks too affected. Brogues are made for wearing with good socks.
Men’s attitudes to clothes in general have changed so much. I can remember ten years ago, if you went into a pub wearing a pink shirt you’d probably get thrown through the door. Nowadays it is more likely some guy will say: that’s nice, where did you buy it?
Men get to an age when they've got the partner, the family, the job, and there is a tendency to give up. But I think that’s partly because the industry puts them off. It’s difficult, having to look at pictures of younger guys wearing things and trying to decide if they’d look good on you.
British style has become a blend of our traditions, and what you see in other countries. You can pair a battered old tweed jacket with a silk scarf or an Italian tie and it looks great.
That said, I have trouble with cravats. On men my age, they’re just a little too ironic.
I don’t care for accessories, but I have a real weakness for vintage watches. They can add a lot of style to a look, and if you know where to shop and how to buy, they can be a great investment.
It’s worth keeping an eye on fashion. A lot of what you see on the runways will end up being worn by less than 1% of men, but it’s useful to know where trends are going in relation to texture and colours and the general shape of clothes. It’s good for inspiration.
At the start I used to think: this is a very unimportant issue, why am I writing about something as superficial as clothes and appearances? But actually, how we appear and how we come across to others is massively fundamental to us as human beings.
Style is a journey that lasts a lifetime.
What would I tell an older guy getting interesting in style? Start with the classics. You’re not going to be able to leap straight into wearing orange trousers or whatever you want to wear. You have to build up to these things. Start safe with stuff you like that is good quality and fits properly, and take it from there until you find your own style and confidence. Oh - and read Grey Fox blog!