Monday, September 29, 2008



I was chatting on the phone the other day with my dear friend, Paul, who had just ran into another friend, Gary. In the spirit of the remake of “The Women”, Paul asked me if I had seen Gary in a while. When I replied it had been a few months, Paul proceeded to tell me of the sad situation with Gary’s hair. Apparently Gary had fallen victim to a bad colorists and was looking like he was sporting a black helmet on his head. Paul suggested that I have a discussion with Gary and get him to a good colorist (Antonio) or convince him to go natural. Being ever so diplomatic, I of course refused.

It did get me thinking, however, about our youth obsessed culture and how more and more men are falling victim to hanging on with dear life to their younger days. I am not one to criticize as I have my own youth obsession although I find myself desperately trying to walk the fine line between looking good for my age and sporting a ridiculous youth obsessed appearance. While there is a huge difference between the two, it is ever so easy to fall into the latter category. So many trends look fabulous on the young so why not on me??? Mainly because, at 45, I am no longer young!!!

The challenge is that many men over the age of forty still look and feel like they did ten years ago so they are convinced they can pull off the latest trends sported by kids twenty years their junior. My friend, who is well in his forties, showed up at a party wearing jeans with holes and paint splattered all over them. While this look would be sexy on a 22 year old sculpted physical trainer, (and what look wouldn’t???) my friend sadly looked like a handy man. As a rule, I find that if it has any kind of Abercrombie & Fitch logo, it needs to be donated to your local youth hostile.

This is not to say we need to fill our closets with clothing from Brooks Brothers or Paul Stuart but it does mean that more attention needs to be paid to what we put on our backs. There are clothing designers who have attractive fashionable clothes which do not make you look like you are trying to be 23. Etro has been a favorite designer of mine for a while now. The rich colors used in their designs keep the look interesting yet the cut and the quality of the fabrics assures you these clothes are not for kids. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a huge fan of Ted Baker. His designs are versatile and work well at the office as well as at any fashionable restaurant or the theater. For a more casual look, both of us love Parke & Ronen and I like to mix in a bit of John Varvatos. When wearing something youthful, I differentiate myself from the youth by mixing it with something of quality such as a suede coat or a pair of great shoes and I try and stay away from anything that has abstract art or cartoons on it.

The same rules apply to hair. While at Fashion Week, I noticed that many of the male models walking down the runways had these adorable haircuts with razor cut sides and backs, while floppy mains of hair were draped across their foreheads. Sadly while at breakfast this morning. I noticed a man in his forties with salt and pepper hair attempting the same look. Not working for him and it will not work for you. The best looks for hair on mature men is to keep it short and well groomed. No one wants to look at long unsightly neck hair, especially when it is grey and wiry.
Recently I have allowed my own natural highlights to grow in and I am slowly getting comfortable with the notion of my main of black hair having sparkles of silver throughout. When I used to try and hide the natural highlights, Antonio and I worked very closely to make sure the color looked natural and was never too dark or fake. He was so good that my own boyfriend did not know I colored my hair for a year and a half. Now that I have gone au natural, Antonio has begun placing a glaze on my hair so the black strands retain some shine making the silver hairs less noticeable.

I have said repeatedly that if you are going to enhance your looks through artificial means, be it hair color, botox or cosmetic surgery, strive to stay as natural as possible. Extreme is never a good look on any man over the age of 35.

A man’s forties are a great time in life. This is a period when we are blessed with increased creativity and imagination. We are established in our professions and our experience allows us to achieve greater success without working as hard and a certain amount of mastery begins to emerge. We are also more at peace with ourselves and we start to become more gentile. We develop a broader, more humanitarian vision of life and we see more clearly our connections to others around us. We are more concerned about conditions in our community, our country and the world and we have the financial and intellectual wherewithal to start making a difference. It would be a shame to waste this wonderful time yearning to be something which is quickly becoming a distant memory.