| 17.1°C Dublin

My midlife style crisis: Too old for fashion?

Close

Fashion forward: Alexander Fitzgerald wears an Ellesse tracksuit top (€70, Life Style Sports)

Fashion forward: Alexander Fitzgerald wears an Ellesse tracksuit top (€70, Life Style Sports)

Alexander wears a Canada Goose parka (€880, Brown Thomas)

Alexander wears a Canada Goose parka (€880, Brown Thomas)

Alexander wears a McQueen print sweatshirt (€280, Harvey Nichols)

Alexander wears a McQueen print sweatshirt (€280, Harvey Nichols)

Alexander Fitzgerald in his everyday clothes

Alexander Fitzgerald in his everyday clothes

Alexander in an Alpha Industries bomber jacket (€250, Harvey Nichols)

Alexander in an Alpha Industries bomber jacket (€250, Harvey Nichols)

/

Fashion forward: Alexander Fitzgerald wears an Ellesse tracksuit top (€70, Life Style Sports)

After almost two decades of writing about men's fashion, I now occasionally find myself involuntarily frowning, sporting a slightly bemused expression or, at worst, shaking a cynical head while previewing some of the more avant-garde items in the latest menswear collections.

The pace at which men's fashion has evolved is to be applauded, but there comes a time in every man's life - the mid-40s as far as this writer is concerned - when the latest trends are, quite frankly, sometimes a little bit too progressive.

The hottest brands seemingly attempt to subvert the space between the catwalk and the car park. At cult label Vetements, Demna Gvasalia has presented stonewash jeans, reworked Champion tracksuits and that infamous DHL t-shirt, which was modelled by his friend, the Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy, who offers glaring statement tees and "Slav style" tracksuits on his own line.

Whether it's high-end or high street, many of the latest trends - think longline t-shirts, luxe sportswear or limited edition trainers with a proliferation of noughts on their price tag - seem to be directed primarily at fashion students and those who struggle to grow facial hair.

Close

Alexander wears a Canada Goose parka (€880, Brown Thomas)

Alexander wears a Canada Goose parka (€880, Brown Thomas)

Alexander wears a Canada Goose parka (€880, Brown Thomas)

But with a good six years until the big 5-0, surely it's not time to swap fashion for functionality, to embrace fleece and easy-care fabrics?

And so, a shopping trip was planned. The aim? To stock up on garments that are key to the streetwear-inspired look that is being hailed as the style du jour, and to see if they could be worn without causing heads to turn - and jaws to drop - for the wrong reasons.

Things got off to a promising start in Harvey Nichols where a reversible bomber jacket by Alpha (€250) instantly caught the eye. Worn with the olive green on the exterior, it felt great on - comfortable and contemporary. The more daring camouflage print, however, was trickier to pull off; and when teamed with a Yeezy longline T-shirt (€180, Brown Thomas), the overall effect felt a little too contrived. Other pieces in Kanye West's much-publicised Yeezy range - which is exclusive to Brown Thomas - proved more successful. A pair of lace-up suede military boots (€590) were a surprising hit: exceptionally comfortable and wearable with anything from denims to chinos. An attempt to go full-Kanye, however, and replicate his catwalk look with some loose sweatpants (€14, Penneys) and a Yeezy crew-neck sweater (€250, Brown Thomas) was not a look that I'd recommend for anyone north of their mid-30s.

So far, so good, but the less said about a Rubchinskiy-esque Ellesse tracktop (€70, Life Style Sports) the better. Teamed with slim-fitting grey trousers and white trainers, the look might be perfect for millennials; not so much for mid-lifers.

Let's just say that driving around in an open-top sports car and wearing a diamond earring would have ranked as less pathetic attempts to recapture the prowess of youth.

Bold print, a key SS17 trend, proved more accessible, thankfully. Over at Harvey Nichols, a McQueen swallow print crewneck sweater (€280) worked well teamed with monochrome trousers and trainers. An Adidas Originals hoodie (€65, JD Sports) felt equally good with slim-fit jeans and a Canada Goose Mcmillan Military Parka (€880, Brown Thomas). My thought after a day of temporarily ditching my more conservative wardrobe for some of the latest trends? Try as you might, it can be tough - sometimes impossible - to wear the latest looks without appearing as mutton dressed as man.

Close

Alexander Fitzgerald in his everyday clothes

Alexander Fitzgerald in his everyday clothes

Alexander Fitzgerald in his everyday clothes

Even boundary-breaking style icons such as David Beckham have settled into a more conservative mid-life uniform of classic smart-casuals, rather than the envelope-pushing sarongs and sandals of his sartorial heyday. It's probably time to admit that the days of drop-crotch pants and deep V-neck T-shirts have, like Scarlett O'Hara, gone with the wind.

Does that mean a life of comfy cardies, corduroy and velcro-fastening footwear? Not a bit of it.

By all means, embrace the latest trends, but in moderation: select some key pieces, rather than a head-to-toe look.

And remember, with some clever purchases - classics such as well-fitting blazers, tailored shirts, slim but not skinny trousers and a timeless camel overcoat - it's perfectly possible to look stylish, if not necessarily trendy, once you enter your fifth decade.

And, never let it be forgotten, there's nothing wrong with that.

Close

Alexander wears a McQueen print sweatshirt (€280, Harvey Nichols)

Alexander wears a McQueen print sweatshirt (€280, Harvey Nichols)

Alexander wears a McQueen print sweatshirt (€280, Harvey Nichols)

Irish Independent