Our menswear editor takes a look at young versus old when it comes to fashion.

Today, young men are trying to impress the world with what they’re wearing and more often than not they’re failing. The attempt is Darwinian, possibly an act of “peacocking,” but making attempts at appearing cool and smart is coming with an opposite effect. There is a reason why there are staples in the closets of every respectably dressed man. The reason these staples exist, above anything else, is functionality. I wonder if these men could have created staple items out of anything making it more about the men themselves than the clothes.  “High-water”pants, are now cool. So are tube socks, Hawaiian prints, buttoning the top button of your shirt, a pen in your pocket, running sneakers with slacks… [In the recent past these could all be on a list used to describe a nerd or uncool kid.] Look at Hunter S. Thompson, Tyler the Creator, any character in “Nerds,” or a southern tourist in New York. How you wear your clothes is the only thing that matters when getting dressed. If the items you’re wearing are both functional and ballsy, without being desperate for attention, you stand out in a more inconspicuous kind of way. Consider Mr. Rogers as a style icon? He wore the same thing every day. He knew who he was and his actions had purpose, so his clothing was predictable in concert with what he was doing and where he was.

My grandfather dresses flawlessly. Chances are, yours does too. There’s something very respectable about a man that has landed on a tried and true uniform for nearly every day, or at least seasonally. It means that he’s tried experimenting with other options. There is nothing boring about it when you consider the layers of experience, and personal connection that go into the years it takes to get to that level of confidence when it comes to the way you dress. Having a starting point that can be described as your uniform also gives you endless freedom to be creative in your detailed additions and even makes standing out in a positive way easier. When your peers or strangers become accustomed to your consistent sartorial efforts, you then are able to impress and even trend-set by trying more daring accents as long as they fit relatively comfortably into your formula for success. Go look at old guys; they’ve done most of the work for you. — Dustin Marucci

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