Aaron Traister thinks BuzzFeed’s list of things men shouldn’t wear is ridiculous, and shares his own list of stuff guys over 30 should own.
My respect for BuzzFeed is unparalleled, but I have to take issue with the entire premise of a recent Blosticle (I just made that up; it’s a combination of blog, post, and listicle—I’m very proud of myself) I came across on their site titled “20 Things Men Over 30 Shouldn’t Wear.”
My major complaint with the piece is that the best thing—some might say the onlygood thing—about getting older and being middle-aged is you just stop giving a f*@k about what you’re wearing. It’s a feeling of pure liberation. In your teens and twenties. you’re so concerned with finding sexual partners, and maybe a life partner, that you wear dumb, uncomfortable clothing because you think it’s fashionable or makes you seem hip.
By the time you’re in your mid-thirties and you only recognize half the “celebrities” at the Oscars, the only “hip” you’re concerned with is the one you injured shoveling snow. Your mid-thirties are a glorious time in your life when you finally begrudgingly accept that—for better or for worse—the buzzer on the stove has gone off, and you are now a fully formed person. Accepting the middle-aged person you’ve become frees you up to finally wear exactly what you want, and clears the runway for finally figuring out what looks good to you.
With all of that in mind, here are 10 things middle-aged dudes should be totally comfortable wearing regardless of the cruel tides of fashion.
A stupid hat
Some people might argue that wearing something like a fedora is for young scenesters. WRONG. It’s middle-aged and older gentlemen who have perfected the art of wearing of questionable headgear. My dad wears a fishing hat everywhere even though he’s from the Bronx and has never fished a day in his life. I sometimes forget where I put my skullies, so I’ll borrow my daughter’s to protect my ears from the cold and because she has awesome beanies. One of them looks like Beaker from the Muppets, and the other looks like Princess Leia’s hair. Do I sometimes get weird looks after I drop my kids off at school and go get a cup of coffee wearing crocheted Princess Leia hair? Sure. Do I care? Nope. Embrace the stupid hat as you get older gentlemen, it’s our birthright.
A shirt with your favorite animal on the chest
Does your guy have a favorite animal? I bet he does. Deep down, would he really like a shirt with his favorite animal’s image reproduced unironically on his chest? Yes he would. I’m wearing a shirt with a loon on the chest as I write this. Loons are my favorite animal because they’re big geese that howl like wolves. Why wouldn’t I want an awesome animal like that hugging my pecs?
There is a long list of people who have been unnecessarily cruel to jean shorts. I used to include myself on that list with a heavy heart, but not anymore. I now realize I was just taking my own insecurities out on jorts-wearers. If your dude is comfortable in jorts, then let that man wear his jorts with pride.
Free clothing from various businesses or events
If it’s free, it fits, and it’s comfortable, wear it. I had a free “Vote Harris Wofford 1994” T-shirt that I wore up until it disintegrated while I was riding a bike in 2010. It was very cozy and comfy, just like the real Harris Wofford.
Say your guy isn’t a tie guy, but you need to go to a fancy event. Introduce him to the wonders of the bolo. Quarterback and fashion plate Philip Rivers busted out a bolo tie after a big post-season win this year—and rightly so, because nothing says, “I’m a winner” like a piece of formal western wear. The bolo is an excellent option if you feel like you’re being choked by the yoke of societal expectations and corporate oppression every time you put on a conventional tie. #BOLO
Vests keep your chest warm and make buying a cup of coffee from a Stumptown barista feel like an adventure through time.
Denim is awesome (refer back to “jorts”), and if your guy had his way, he would wear it from head to toe all the time. So why doesn’t he? Because of society, that’s why. Year in and year out I watch the Oscars simply to see which male star is going to finally demolish this antiquated taboo, but I’m always disappointed. There are lots of Canadian actors out there, and some of your favorite films and TV shows were probably filmed in our neighbor to the North. Yet no one has the Mrs. Dunster’s Donuts to wear their cultural heritage with pride or represent the nation in which their art was crafted. Someday that mighty wall will come crashing down, and there amidst the rumble you will hear the sound of rejoicing coming from a Tim Horton’s in New Brunswick.
Running shoes are the most comfortable shoes on the planet. Wear them to run; wear them to walk around (you should probably get two pairs); wear them until they disintegrate like an old Harris Wofford T-shirt. If they have a color pattern that might induce epileptic seizures, well just consider it your way of bringing a little flair to your Canadian tuxedo.
Your wife’s clothing
See my column in the March issue of REDBOOK.
I’m a grown-ass man, so I cook. But (obviously) I also take pride in my appearance, and I don’t want to get any pasta sauce or bacon grease on my fancy loon t-shirt. Therefore, I have learned to embrace the apron, I wear that thing everywhere I might confront a messy cooking situation or meal. I look good in my apron. Sometimes my kids are like, “Daddy, can you please take off your apron before we go to basketball practice?” And I always laugh and say, “NO, KIDS.”
Follow Aaron on Twitter.
Originally appeared Redbook.com
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