What’s the male equivalent of a Kronenbourg? Or: how do you dress your age when no other bugger does?

There’s a rather sexist term that makes me laugh: Kronenbourg. The beer’s full name is Kronenbourg 1664, so a Kronenbourg is a woman who looks 16 from the back and 64 from the front; the whole mutton dressed as lamb thing. I’m wondering, is there a term for the male equivalent? “Kidult” doesn’t quite do the job.

I was thinking about this the other night in the pub, where the bloke in front of me at the bar was wearing a Weird Fish top. It’s one of those surfer-dude things, really thick yarn, overly big collar, the sort of thing that I’m sure looks great on a bronzed surfer when he’s, I dunno, chilling with his homies or whatever the hell young, athletic people say they do. This bloke, though, was a peely-wally late-forties (I’m being generous) Glaswegian, and it just looked utterly, utterly wrong. There wasn’t anything wrong with the top; it’s just that he was far too old and pale for it. He wasn’t the only one, either. Most of the customers were male, over thirty and wearing clothes designed for teenagers and twentysomethings.

I think it’s fair to say that while most sensible men don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to fashion, there are still rules that we’re all aware of. Take light-coloured sportswear, for example. Absolutely fine if you’re a muscly, twentysomething black kid in America. Pathetic if you’re white and Scottish, no matter what age you are – although the older you are, the more pathetic you look. Bow ties never work, and suits for anyone who doesn’t work in a place where you have to wear a suit are weird too. To my great shame, when I had a day job that required a suit I did own some wacky ties, but I’ve been self-employed for a decade now so thankfully the memories of that particular faux pas have faded.

But what should you wear when you’re getting on a bit? This is something I’ve become subconciously aware of recently. I’ve noticed that I’m developing an aversion to big logos, to things with hoods that don’t need to have hoods, to extremes of any kind whether they’re extremely baggy or extremely tight. It’s not just a body shape thing, although as a lazy, smoking drinker I have the same physique as a packet of lard that’s been bashed about a bit. It’s that I’m beginning to think certain things are simply off-limits for people of my age (I’m 36), either because of age inappropriateness or because they’re hideous.

The list includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Anything with a slogan on it
  • Anthing with a picture on it
  • White trainers and black trainers
  • Leather jackets
  • Suede jackets
  • Denim jackets
  • Anything “distressed”
  • Chinos, unless you’re in the US air force
  • Combat trousers
  • Sandals when you’re not in a country where nobody knows you
  • Deck shoes if you don’t own a boat
  • Proper shoes if you’re not wearing a suit
  • Jeans that show your arse
  • Jeans that you feel the need to stuff with socks
  • Suits if you don’t have to wear them for work
  • Coloured trousers
  • Corduroy
  • 3/4 length trousers
  • Anything you’ve seen in a rap video
  • Bright colours on anything
  • French Connection (for no other reason than their ads are really, really annoying)
  • All designer tops with big designer logos, or with price tags that defy logic
  • Rugby shirts if you don’t play rugby
  • Anything connected with golf
  • Anything you wore as a teenager
  • Blazers with jeans
  • Anything too tight, especially on your upper half, unless you’re (a) gay and (b) in good shape
  • Anything too loose
  • Band t-shirts (I’m trying to wean myself off this one. I still wear my Eels T-shirts with pride)
  • Anything shiny

The problem with all that, though, is that once you eliminate all of those, what’s left? Fleeces, jeans and clumpy boots? I suspect the answer is yes, because that’s generally what I find myself wearing when I’m not being lazy and living in my dressing gown.

It worries me, because I recently found myself watching an episode of Top Gear, seeing James May, and thinking “Hey! Nice jumper!”. No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. It really was a nice jumper.

Help me out here, Internet. What should late-thirties men wear, and what should they avoid at all costs?

13 replies on “What’s the male equivalent of a Kronenbourg? Or: how do you dress your age when no other bugger does?”

> I’m wondering, is there a term for the male equivalent?

“Boomer”. Applies to women, too. Not exactly what it means, but all Boomers dress like that, so why not?

Half my wardrobe is on your list, you bastard. More than half, probably. But then everyone who meets me thinks I’m in my early twenties, so ha.

> But then everyone who meets me thinks I’m in my early twenties, so ha.

Heh. Not all of us have the picture of Dorian Gray in our attics, unfortunately. You know that saying, at the age of 40 every man has the face he deserves? A look in the mirror suggests that unless I spend the next three and a bit years being a saint, I’m doomed.

> [boomer] Not exactly what it means, but all Boomers dress like that, so why not?

Baby Boomer, maybe?

Today, i’ll mostly be wearing black jeans, black bike boots, with as it happens a black tee, a black leather waistcoat (12 years old, repaired once and will probably be buried in it) and a black denim jacket (that I do need to replace). Which is what i’ve being wearing for over over a decade now. For going out fancy i’ve got red shirts, a ‘not guilty’ bhs suit for the official and a Yakuza collerless one for weddings.

But then again i’m 27 and have being for 20 years (facebook age 31-real age 41), you are right a lot of people do wear stuff they shouldn’t, trying to be something they’re not and they do look ridiculous.

Related to this last night I saw an ad for a ‘rave’ complication, can’t wait till the 40ish start wearing the dayglo again, available on queen st. btw

a ‘rave’ complication,


I blame H&M. First time I went into one of them I thought “a shop for gay or Japanese men: Yeah, that’ll last in Glasgow”. Seems to have won out, though.

I’ve taken to waxing my ‘tache. No-one notices the clothes after that.

I think you’re being a bit harsh excluding rugby jumpers- they’re ok. As long as they’re not brand spanking new and worn with the collar up- totally cockish.

And jeans that show off your bum are ok as long as they’re not so tight you can see your front bottom through them. There’s a horrible style of men’s jeans out now with the back pockets so low that they make men look like they left their arse at home- avoid these at all costs!

Lapels should never been seen anywhere near denim, ever.

If James May is your style icon, please be aware of his ponytail hair mistake. Don’t wear long hair (which on men is all wrong anyway) tied back all day and then just untie before going on camera. You end up with a ponytail wave.

I don’t think I’ve changed clothes since I was a teenager. (other than getting them washed, obviously!) I was unfashionable then and damnit – i’m unfashionable now.

Clothes, to me, are to keep you warm when it’s cold and to stop you getting arrested when it’s warm. Other than that I don’t really care.

(Mind you, being a porker I avoid clothes that are very tight. I always did though, even when I was skinny, so that works out OK)

Heh heh heh. As ever, the posts I give a lot of thought to get bugger-all comments, but do a half-pissed rant about nothing and it’s comment central :)

Having come up through the fiercely territorial American university system I find it endlessly entertaining to see a ned walking about in a flourescent hoodie which says “Yale University”. No, son, you didn’t go to Yale.

So yes, add “Branding of elite American universities, esp. on apparel worn by thickos” to your list.

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