For the most part a man in his 40s can be counted on to own a decent collection of clothes he likes already. Now’s the time to start finding ways to improve it: make things a little dressier, a little more luxurious, a little more more.
These are a few looks that the 40-something man should feel comfortable wearing, and merit space in his wardrobe:
The Serious Business Suit
We usually recommend that a man get a proper business suit as soon as he’s out of college, or even before then if he’s in a field like finance or law. That’s a basic wardrobe necessity.
But a middle-aged man is at the right stage of life to upgrade from a business suit to a serious business suit. This should be something with real heft to it — thick, luxurious wool that no one’s going to mistake for the special at Men’s Wearhouse.
Go ahead and get it in something beyond the basic two-button, notch-lapel jacket style. Peaked lapels? Sure. Double-breasted? Go for it. Pin stripes on that dark, rich color? Keep ’em modest — true pinstripes, just a needle’s width of white color — but why not? Do something to shake up the generic formula.
This will, of course, become one of your business suits. You’ll wear it when you need, well, a suit. But it’s something that can make the occasional “casual” appearance as well, at evenings at the theater or Sunday morning church services, to say nothing of upscale events, like country club dinners, you might find yourself invited to.
It’s not a cheap piece and it’s not an everyday piece. But the serious business suit is worth owning, and one that announces you as a man of stature.
The Perfect Blazer
Middle-aged men look good in the square, firmly-constructed silhouette of a classic blazer. It’s well-suited to their stage in life: solid, dependable, and comfortable.
You should own a good blazer. Ideally you should own several, but have one that’s your favorite, and perfect for you.
It doesn’t have to be the traditional navy blue with brass buttons, though that’s a good look. Other dark colors work well and stand out a bit more. For buttons, anything from a basic matched color to wooden or leather toggles works. If you’re feeling extravagant, personalize with monogrammed metal buttons.
You can wear a blazer with almost anything — that’s one of the reasons to own a good one. Pair it with gray slacks and a necktie when you want to impress, or with jeans for a casual weekend date. Khakis will do for just about anything in between.
Mix it, match it, own it. These are your best blazer years.
The Casual Coat
As great as they look, suits and blazers aren’t the only kinds of jacket a man should own.
One of the marks of a well-dressed man is his outerwear’s ability to stand with the rest of his outfit. As part of your long-term collection, lay in a few coats that you can dress up or down as needed.
A long, straight, wool overcoat is a good staple, and a good starting place. Once you own one of those in dark wool, add another in a lighter color and a different cut, or switch to a shorter style like a peacoat.