Is the menswear fashion industry interested in the older man?
I started writing Grey Fox Blog in December 2011 to describe my search for style as an older man. I’m now 60 years old but, like most men, had found that, from around 40 years of age, choosing clothes became increasingly difficult. I don’t want skinny cuts and waistbands round my backside, nor do I want the shapeless designs sold on our high streets to men with little interest in how they look. What I’m looking for as an older man is stylish, well-made, well-designed and properly-fitting clothes that enable me to reflect my personality and even maybe look a bit cool.
I found that such clothes exist, but they have to be searched for. I suspect that the reason I had to look so hard was that brands simply don’t think of advertising and selling to the older man. The evidence for the fashion industry’s lack of interest is clear. When did you last see a menswear advert featuring a model over 25 years of age? I’m not talking about the old folksy models used to sell boxy tweed jackets and corduroy trousers in Sunday papers or about the images of grandfather figures used elsewhere; I mean cool, stylish older men used in a non-patronising way to sell quality menswear.
Too many men give up on style after 40. They may feel they no longer have to compete for jobs, love, a partner, so the need to look good is less pressing. While these are no doubt factors in reducing their desire to dress well, the complete lack of role models, inspiration or influences to show them how well they could dress does nothing to encourage them. The clothing industry has given up on them, and the rarity of advertising images of older men looking good in designer menswear is symptomatic of the problem.
I’d like to see the menswear industry wake up to the fact that the older man is the most affluent and fastest-growing demographic. Retailers are losing money by failing to market themselves effectively to him. If they sell to the older man, he will buy.
With some reluctance, I decided to start showing images on the blog of myself wearing clothes I like. I wanted to show that older men are interested in style and to encourage other men to explore the possibilities. This has snowballed recently and I’ve arranged or been invited to take part in a number of photo-shoots. If this encourages other older men to look again at their wardrobes and to recognise the power and importance of dressing well, I will be a happy man. If it encourages menswear brands to use images of older men in their sales and marketing, I will be even happier.
— Oliver Sweeney (@OliverSweeney) April 22, 2015
— TheInvisibleWoman (@TheVintageYear) April 22, 2015
— Ruffians (@ruffians) April 22, 2015
To read more about my search for style and the menswear brands that work for all ages, please visit greyfoxblog.com
— Grey Fox (@GreyFoxBlog) April 19, 2015