You’ll notice it says shouldn’t, not can’t, in the title. If you have the youthful looks and/or physique to pull off any of these items, by all means wear them (at your peril). Some people have a strong sense of style and know what works for them*. That being said, I think when you cross the 30 threshold you should take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and think: ‘I’m a man’.
There’s something inherently college-like about graphic tees. You wore them at an age where what was on the shirt – be it your favourite band or political icon of some sort – was an extension of who you were at the time, as you tried to find your way in the world. Now you should know who you are, and your tees should be as plain and boring AS YOUR LIFE.
Arguably, these shouldn’t be worn by men of any age. If you’re anything like me, by the time you’ve passed 30 you’ll be settling into the middle-aged spread. Your legs, arse and thighs are growing at an exponential rate, and getting into normal jeans is a contortionist act in itself. Squeezing those lumps of meat into jean shorts is almost obscene.
Anything from Urban Outfitters
When you walk into a shop and instantly feel like a voyeuristic pervert, you know you’re too old for that establishment. Some brands, such as UO and Jack Wills, are made for college/university students. You may occasionally find an item which suits you, but it’s needle in a haystack territory.
Bright coloured trainers
Trainers are comfortable. They have this in their favour. Also, I’m a firm believer that every man should own a pair of plain canvas/leather trainers in solid colours such as black or white. These should be minimalist in design where possible (see our guide to shoes for some examples). But we’re not in the playground anymore. You don’t need to impress your mates with your garish, luminous green, oversized trainers.
Unnecessary wrist accessorises
Note the word unnecessary. A good watch makes the man. A sports band also serves a purpose. That festival band from 2007 and the ‘friendship’ beads you picked up from some bloke in Malaysia? Put them in a box if they hold sentimental value or a bin if you’re a cold hearted cynic like me.
T-shirts under shirts
Just to clarify: I’m not talking about undershirts worn under formal shirts. I’m talking about long-sleeved tees under short sleeved casual shirts. It was part of the ‘skater’ look when I was growing up. Anyway, you’re not in the band Weezer, so grow up.
The misconception about baggy clothes is that they hide fat. In fact, the opposite is true. All that extra material pools around your waist and ankles like you’re some kind of cut-price Jabba the Hutt cosplay. Taper your clothes and keep the fabric close to the body.