Oh, grow up

1 Aug

boy-wearing-dads-clothesAll, or at least most of us at one point in our life, cross the threshold and enter the House of Adulthood where things are a little quieter and little more refined; when we care more about quality than quantity, and where substance is just as important as style.

It’s a strange time, realizing you’ve outgrown your high volume,  fast cars, and tight trousers. My friend Chris posted a Facebook rant about a place he used to frequent and revisited as an adult: “It used to be a great restaurant. Now its like a god damn club. Super loud crappy music, yelling at bartenders for drinks and young skanks getting picked up by greasy steroid bulked dudes. Terrible, just terrible.”

I suppose that being conscious of moving into the Adult House is quite different than just complaining about things being different that what you’re used to. It is the very act of being aware of our adulthood that enables us to embrace it and own it.

Several men have come to me recently, saying they want to look more grown up; they want to stop dressing like brats, ditch the devil-may-care attitude towards their dress, and embrace their adulthood. (It’s a wonderful gift to be asked to help a guy come of sartorial age.)

Take my friend, Patrick, for example. I saw him last week and he excitedly told me about a jacket that he purchased in Montreal. He thought it would help him look more grown up.

“I’m sick of wearing track pants and hoodies,” he said, “I want to look more mature, more my age. I’m coming up to 35, you know.”

He brought out the natural linen jacket with wooden buttons, explaining that he really liked the jacket and got it on sale, but the sleeves were too short and he wasn’t sure how to wear it.

That he chose a linen sports jacket is unto itself a step toward adulthood – as opposed to stretchy, sporty, youthful fabrics, linen is sturdy and sensible, and even a lightly structured linen jacket gives a squared off shoulder and visual maturity. So there’s that.

Normally, wearing a jacket with too-short sleeves is a sartorial sin and looks visually immature, but there were elements working in Patrick’s favour that helped get him around it (one must be practical in times of seasonal sales!). Though the sleeves are not lined and the seams show on the underside, the jacket did have working surgeon’s cuffs (buttons and buttonholes to open the cuff). To hide the too-short sleeve and add a bit of style to the jacket, I opened the cuffs, folded them back, and pushed them up a little – instant fix.

Patrick wore a t-shirt under the jacket, making it fun (we were going to a party), but he could also have worn a collared shirt and folded the cuffs over the jacket cuffs to cover the seams, add some colour, and give a little more visual refinement.

Details can also speak of maturity: after placing a wonderful folded pocket square (peaks up) in the breast pocket, Patrick decided to lose the brightly-coloured pin stuck in the buttonhole. I couldn’t have agreed more – the handkerchief set off the jacket and spoke of refinement, while the fun pin seemed at odds with the toned-down jacket.

So a simple but versatile linen sports jacket ushered Patrick into the House of Adulthood, and he’s eager to settle in. He’s a guy with a good attitude toward aging, and looks forward to see how he matures so he can reinvent himself, change his closets, and get comfortable in his new digs.

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