How a man should dress in his thirties


Twenty-something is about finding out who you are or figuring out who you want to be. But in your thirties, you can very quickly accumulate more distinct identities than a millennial “slashie.” Career-man-slash-husband-slash-dad. Somehow, you have to blend them all into a cohesive wardrobe while clinging to your youth and waning physique more desperately than a Rolling Stone.

On the one hand, you have more money to spend and a respectable wardrobe already pre-assembled. On the other hand, it is possible that you are a mortgage slave, married, have children, or a combination of the three. At this critical midlife point, many guys give up completely or stubbornly continue to dress like the teenagers they still wish they were. But it’s possible to grow up in style without getting old too.

And one of the benefits of getting older is that you no longer have to put in the time and effort to stay “with the kids”. Good job too, because your knees are really starting to play…

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How should a 30 year old man dress

Keep reading for everything you need to know about how a 30-year-old man should dress.

End the experiment

Fashions change, your style stays. “There are no hard and fast rules for turning 30,” says Freddie Kemp, stylist at men’s personal shopping service Thread. “It’s more that the stakes are rising. Because the fashion industry fetishizes young people, trends are less risky at 25. It’s also easier to get rid of any discomfort, in part because by age 35 you’re expected to have figured out what works for you.

So try less on single-season trends and stick to staples with a proven track record. Because indiscretions in your twenties also tend to be less expensive.

Buy quality, not quantity

By now, you’ve hopefully completed a fully functional wardrobe, even if only with inexpensive placeholders, so you shouldn’t need to buy more clothes. Instead, spend your clothing budget on fewer, more expensive purchases, even if it means saving up for a few months.

“Buy less but buy better should be your maxim at this age,” says Kemp. The idea is to gradually upgrade items in your rotation with versions that will look better and last longer.

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Double

The exception or addendum to the above is that completing your wardrobe is not the end of the game. In addition to leveling up, you must add expansion packs in the form of extra builds or variations of the things you wear most often.

“Now is the time to grow some favorite staples,” says Kemp. “You should be on good terms with your brand of denim and the fit of your choice. Ditto for T-shirts. Achievement unlocked: it’s your ‘signature style’.

Cut out some cuts

If you’ve managed to ward off the early dadbod, you may still be able to lose weight, or rather, you can. But regardless of the logistics, there is something impoverished, even infantilizing, about clothes that are too tight after a certain age.

Embrace the maturity of relaxed tapered jeans, wider cuffs and tailored jackets that actually cover your behind. Not only do they make you look like an adult, but you won’t get away with it either.

Long and Prosperous Elevator

One of the most effective things you can do for your style when you’re breaking down is staying in shape. We’re not trying to shame anyone, nor do you need to be any more stacked than an OCD gym attendant’s weight plates.

The inconvenient truth is that most stylish men in the public eye are, if not buff, at least well-groomed, and most clothes will look good on them as a result. Daniel Craig wouldn’t be 007 at 49 if he couldn’t put on his tuxedo.

Formalize your casual outfits

Being too old to push ship fashion-wise doesn’t mean you have to completely moor the style ship. But it’s about letting fits and fabrics speak for your credentials rather than garish styles, colors or labels: less Supreme, more Supima cotton.

“You want people to compliment a jacket’s fit or its material, not its reflective panels,” Kemp explains. Then, by the time the smart-casual begins to occupy your waking thoughts, you’ll already have it nailed.

Relax your evening wear

In your twenties, there’s a distinct difference between the rest of your clothes and tailoring, whether it’s the suit you wear for special occasions or the two or three you go through for work.

In your 30s, this distinction becomes more blurred than the bottom line of your eye test. Suddenly, describing a blazer as an “essential” makes perfect sense, as does the concept of buying a suit that might never see inside your office cubicle. There will be weddings. Lots of weddings.

The key pieces to buy in your thirties

Unstructured blazer

That is, less stiff or padded than the suit jackets you’re used to, cut a little shorter (we said “a little”), and made in a more nubby, matted fabric that will hold up better at the sides jeans and chinos.

Throw it over a T-shirt or Oxford shirt and stick a smart-casual fork on it: you’re done.

best unstructured blazers for men

massimo dutti SLIM FIT KNIT HERRINGBONE BLAZER - Click to buy ASPESI Blue Slim-Fit Unstructured Cotton Blazer - Click to buy suitsupply HAVANA GREY PLAIN blazer - Click to buy j.crew Unstructured Ludlow blazer - Click to buy

Tailored overcoat

Again, structured and therefore smart enough for work and weddings, but not so stuffy – or long – that you can’t wear it with jeans or even joggers. Indeed, depending on the occasion and the weather, an overcoat can take the place of a blazer and make your outfit vaguely respectable.

best tailored coats for men

reiss GABLE WOOL-BLEND OVERCOAT - Click to buy charles tyrwhitt Cashmere Overcoat - Click to buy AMI TWO BUTTON OVERCOAT - Click to buy suitsupply GREY OVERCOAT - Click to buy

Smart and casual pants

Don’t worry, you’re not in soft territory yet, Grandpa Simpson. But as a man of a certain age who sometimes has to dress smart, but not too much, for work or social events, you need dressier alternatives to jeans, like chinos, corduroys and custom pants. Sweatpants don’t count.

best smart-casual pants for men

INCOTEX Four Season Relaxed-Fit Cotton-Blend Chinos - Click to buy A.P.C. Classic Chinos - Click to buy reiss DAFFY MOLESKIN TROUSERS - Click to buy Slim-Fit Tailored Trousers - Click to buy

Shoes without training

The same way you reserved tailoring for business or special occasions in your twenties, (black) shoes were reserved for the office or the (bad) club. But then comes the advent of elegant and casual invitations in the thirties.

“If you’re looking to improve, one of the easiest changes is to wear quality leather shoes or boots for your Nikes,” Kemp says. Brogues, derbies, loafers and desert boots are solid foundations.

best smart shoes for men in their 30s

TRICKER'S Robert Leather Derby Shoes - Click to buy WEEJUNS LARSON PENNY LOAFERS BLACK LEATHER - Click to buy CLARKS ORIGINALS DESERT BOOT - Click to buy GRENSON FRED BROGUE BOOT - Click to buy

A “good” watch

You do not have need a mechanical watch to be elegant – but there are needs and desires.

Besides, why deprive yourself of this traditional signifier of passage to adulthood, and one of the rare precious masculine jewels? Tell your partner this is an investment – which it will be if you buy shrewdly.

best mechanical watches for men

IWC PORTOFINO - Click to buy CARTIER TANK SOLO - Click to buy ROLEX DAYTONA - Click to buy OMEGA SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH - Click to buy

Style icons in the thirties

david gandi

Yes, the male model could probably flex at Mugatu from Zoolander’s Derelicte collection and always beautiful. But while David Gandy is a regular on the front row of Fashion Week, the classically styled 37-year-old misses the latest trends.

And it’s because he resists the temptation to cram his beef into lean cuts (or hydrate it with a fence stain) that the Essex exile doesn’t look like a character from TOWIE.

david gandi

Eddie Redmayne

Giving red carpet appearances almost as award-winning as his on-screen performances, Eddie Redmayne has deciphered the theory of how to look good in everything.

It’s not astrophysics: The 35-year-old actor simply wears clothes that complement his slim figure but don’t exaggerate it, injecting color or pattern via fabric or accessories instead of going thoroughly with Jared Leto.

Eddie Redmayne

Roger Federer

Whether his suit is prefixed with track or not, “Fedex” is as reliable off the field as he is on it.

Constantly chic, the all-time record holder father of four also manages to play athletics without looking like a sheep dressed as a lamb or a boy child. The collection for which he draws Nike ticks all the right boxes too: muted colors and reduced logos.

Roger Federer

Ryan Gosling

The Gos does what every stylish 30-something should do: find a style and stick to it.

Outside working hours, he favors quality basics: white T-shirts, denim, work boots, bomber jackets (scorpion embroidery optional). And on the red carpet, he keeps the cut sharp and adds interest by experimenting with color. Also note the grooming: he hasn’t changed his hairstyle for years. To be fair, why would he?

Ryan Gosling

john legend

A man who never seems to misstep, Legend is rarely off topic as he is rarely off message. His style is consistent: he likes monochrome, muted and relaxed patterns (but always tailor-made – always tailored).

The man also loves a varsity jacket – a good example of how and why turning 30 doesn’t necessarily mean resigning to middle age.

john legend

Style checklist: what to scratch before 40

Perform essential maintenance

“At this age, you’re looking to expand and improve your wardrobe with each new purchase, not change it completely,” says Kemp.

Restock your basics, upgrade if possible, and sprinkle in hero coins – just in time to have kids, after which you can never afford to buy clothes again.

Automate your processes

“Age tends to have a positive effect on your income, but a negative impact on the time you have to spend on it,” Kemp says.

That’s no problem though if you avoid looking for trends online in favor of just clicking through to your commodities. We say ‘go-to’ but really, your purchases should come to you.

I still have it

“You’re never too old for anything until you wonder if you are,” Kemp says. “As a rule, the subcultures – dandy, athleisure, skater – move fast, but the silhouettes remain. Make something your trademark now and you can stay in style for a decade. It’s always easier to keep it than to get it back.

have a haircut

Deviant trends don’t just apply to clothing. If you still have hair, then you’ll realize that aside from thinning or graying, it doesn’t change much, and neither does the shape of your head or face.

Find a hairstyle that works for both (ask a good hairstylist), then stick to it (and the good hairstylist) like a firm hold gel.

Accumulate interest

Just at a lower rate than you were in your twenties. “It’s not that your style has to get boring, but you should learn to appreciate how subtle changes make a difference,” Kemp says. “A double-breasted jacket, let’s say, rather than single-breasted. But still in gray flannel, not mauve.

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