Nobody likes being told what to do. We get that, and we respect you enough to know that you’re an intelligent, well-read, successful guy. So don’t consider these mandates or admonishments. Rather, take them as gentle suggestions.
After all, we know what it’s like to finally get life figured out, and then you blink and twenty years have gone by, and people are giving you weird looks for things you used to be able to wear without thinking twice about it. But you have to ask yourself: Should I really be wearing that fanny pack? Is that man-bun really me? Should I really be cuffing my jeans like Huck Finn?
The truth is, we don’t think so. So if any of the 40 items below are things you still wear on an even semi-regular basis, and you’re 40 or older—please consider the remote possibility that your life could be at least marginally improved by eliminating them from your routine. And for more great advice for living your best life, be sure to read these 40 Things That Only Men Over 40 Know.
Your High-School-Era Cologne
Drakkar Noir had its time. Let it go. (We are only trying to help. Swear.) And for more self-improvement advice, check out the 20 Things Every Man Over 40 Should Have in His Office.
Do you work on a farm? Will you at any point in the future use a pitchfork or smoke a corncob pipe? Are you a precocious child? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then you know what to do (or not to do).
Long Man Bangs
“But Jared Leto has man bangs and he’s 45,” you protest. To which we’d respond: “Is there anything else in your life where you could say, ‘But Jared Leto does that!,’ and get away with it?” And speaking of Hollywood, don’t miss these 37 Movies Every Man Over 40 Should Be Able to Quote.
If you can’t squeeze into your pants, that’s nature’s way of saying you drink too much beer.
Hey, we went to college, and we also had our goth/emo periods. And you know what? You, too, can retire that look. That doesn’t mean you can’t still brood while listening to Fall Out Boy—just leave the makeup at home. And for more great style advice, be sure to check out the 20 Definitive Style Rules for Men Over 40.
If there’s one thing that literally 100% of your fellow beachgoers aren’t curious about, it’s the exact size and proportions of everything you have.
A Racy Halloween Costume
If your Halloween costumes cannot be explained without the adjective “sexy,” you need to rethink your approach.
If you’re a professional surfer, we’ll let it slide. But otherwise, it’s time to retire this bad boy.
Horizontal Wide Stripes
You are not the Hamburgler.
Doesn’t matter how expensive or luxe you think that fanny pack is, it’s still an odd bulge on your hip. Instead, rock a backpack or a messenger bag. And if you do rock a backpack, here’s how to know whether you should Single-Strap or Double-Strap It.
Clothing Made of Mesh
Even if you have the body to pull that off, you don’t have the body to pull that off.
We understand that in this crazy fast-paced world, the last thing you need to worry about is laces. But you’re a grownup now, and it’s time to man up. Repeat after us: “Bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by a tree, criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me….”
Unless, of course, you actually drive a semi.
If you can remember the last time you heard “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” and you impressed your best gal with some killer skating moves, then fine, keep the skates. Otherwise, we’d advise you to pass them down to your kids.
Untucked Dress Shirts
A controversial take, I realize, given the great casualization of menswear these days. But the combination of graying flecks in your hair and an untucked dress shirt just screams, “I’m trying too hard to be casual cool.”
Unfortunately you’re not showing off your eccentric personality anymore. You’re just telling the world, “I’m too cheap to buy more socks.”
Face Paint For Sporting Events
There a plenty of ways to show your support without looking like an extra in Braveheart.
Pajama Pants In Public
There’s one person who could ever get away with this look, and his name is Hugh Hefner.
The Sweater Your Mom Gave You For Christmas 10 Years Ago
Unless she personally knit it, she won’t even realize it’s missing.
We may be going out on a limb here, but we just don’t believe that a guy with a 401k and corporate card should be trying his hand at biker chic.
A Captain’s Hat
Trust us: there are many, many, many more effective ways to project authority.
If you want your skin to smell like lavender, save it for the bedroom.
Some fashion choices seem like such a great idea in your head, but the reality doesn’t even come close to living up to it. Consider this exhibit A. Unless your goal was to look like an old guy in a PSA from the 80s.
A 40-something guy with a man bun was weird in 2015, when this hairstyle was still fashionable. But that shipped has sailed. Now you’re like the 40-something guy wearing a Juicy Couture tracksuit.
Pastels can work if paired with an anchor color like, white, grey, black, or tan. Pastel green and pastel blue make you an Easter egg.
Tight or Ill-Fitting Clothing
You can afford to pay for the luxury of clothes that fit.
Sandals With Socks
There’s a time in a man’s life when he can claim that cringingly terrible fashion choices like this are meant to be ironic. But nobody’s buying that excuse anymore.
Your Shiny Club Shirt
If a shirt looks like it’s been pre-treated with vaseline, or can’t be looked at directly without wearing eclipse glasses, it’s not something that belongs in your closet anymore.
A Bowler Hat
Maybe you’re into steampunk cosplay, we don’t know. But that’s something you do in private. It is not the definition of “business casual.”
Bike Shorts (Away from the Bike)
These shorts exist for a singular purpose, not to show off your figure at the grocery store. If you’re confused on why nobody wants to see this, please re-read our advice above on thongs.
A Ridiculously Large Scarf
Sorry, Dr. Who.
We love a t-shirt with a funny slogan as much as anybody. But a tee with a borderline (or completely over the line) sexist joke like “Cool Story Babe… Now Make Me a Sandwich,” just proves that you’re an emotionally stunted man-child whose last meaningful relationship was with all the porn he downloads.
Vests That Aren’t Part of a Three-Piece Suit
Are you Han Solo? No? Okay. Time to bring that vest to Goodwill.
A Cellphone Clipped To Your Belt
If you have trouble pulling your phone out of your pocket, your pants are probably too tight.
Side-cut Tank Tops
You want to show off your ripped physique. But maybe this isn’t the way to do it. On a woman, this is sexy. On a dude, you look like you just got attacked by a pitbull.
It’s amazing your Mexican Baja hoodies haven’t already disintegrated, but if they somehow miraculously still exist, and don’t smell overwhelmingly of weed, that doesn’t mean they belong on your body.
Ironically, in 2017, this stuffy classic is a younger man’s accessory.
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