Updated: Feb 6, 2020
There are moments in life when you know you’re ready for change. Crossing the big 5-0 can be one of those moments. If as they say life is a 3 act movie well when you’re 50plus, you’re in the third act. As with all movies, this is the act that counts. This is the one that decides whether you're watching a good or bad film. It is as they say now or never. Be the man you always knew you should be or not, because once that third act is over the movie is finished and there will be no reshoots.
So when my friend of more than 45 years came to me and said I need a change, well I understood exactly what he was saying . You see my friend Chris hadn’t simply turned 50 he had turned himself around. Now he’d always been a big guy. Not fat but big, meaty might be a term that could have been used to describe him. Over the last few years, that had changed. He had changed. Meaty had become lean. He changed what he ate, and how he trained and to be honest at 53 I had never seen him look better. The problem was that although he had changed physically he had not changed his style to match. He still dressed as if he was his meaty old self.
He wasn’t taking full advantage of his body. He still dressed in the same dark baggy clothes he always had. I had raised it with him on more than one occasion but you know what it’s like when you’re used to a certain look. Change can be difficult.
It can take time for the you on the inside to catch up with the you outside. Normally for a man over 50 this can be a bad thing. You know what I mean.The guy who just can't accepted that jeans that used fit snuggly over his twenty-year-old hips don’t look quite so good slung under his 50-year-old gut. With my friend Chris this was not the case. Here was a man who if anything looked better now than he ever had before.
Once Chris decided that he was ready for a fashion reboot, I knew exactly who to call. Devon Parsons model agent and style guru.
We decided to strike whilst the iron was hot and so soon after the decision was made the three of us found ourselves on Oxford street ready to find Chris a new look. It turned out to be an amazing day. My friend did not simply reboot his wardrobe, but he found his true self.
What follows is Chris's own words about that day:
On Saturday I was a little nervous but also very excited because for the first time since my dad took me to the local uniform store at age 11 I was going out with another man to buy clothes; in fact two men, James and Devon. In my head, the only legitimate time to do any shopping with a guy would be to buy records, and even in those days it was a question of going to the store together, but searching and finding that special piece of vinyl to play at a party.
The point of this exercise was to take me out of my usual modus operandi of buying something baggy, conservative and dark in colour, to something that would be sleek, fitting and a little daring. Devon, the resident fashion guru, because of his sense of style and his day job as a model booking agent, took point in this excursion and directed us to the West End.
My only instruction to Devon was to ensure I could afford the clothes and maybe try something that didn't have a Lonsdale label on it. Coming out of Oxford Circus tube station we took a sharp right and walked a couple minutes to our first stop Mango, I'd never in my life walk into this store thinking it was really a women's clothing store. To my surprise, the sleek arrangement of clothes under the uber-cool lights was stacked with men's clobber.
When I go to a clothes store I usually shop for traditional styles aimed at the larger man, however I'd gone through a personal transformation losing over a stone in weight to move from a 38 waist to a 35 over the last six months. Indeed thinking back to my youth I could often be seen in my dad's hand me down post office work trousers and DM shoes (comfortable and rugged) perfect for a football-obsessed kid with a 40-inch waist. Time was against us as James had a long standing appointment that he had to attend.
Soon I had 5 garments in my hands and was waiting in the queue for the fitting rooms, 15 mins later I was taking fashion model turns, showing my front and back sides to the guys as I struck various poses. Moments later I was waiting to pay for a shirt I would never buy in a million years and a men's coat that fitted me perfectly.
Next stop along the high street was Zara This was a store known to me in the past but one I thought was a bit too, young, too trendy, too small for me but now, well I could wear pretty much anything. We spent about 30 mins looking, trying stuff on, but nothing really took my fancy. Maybe I'll try again in the sales.
Last was M&S and to my surprise, I walked away with 2 suits a roll neck jumper and a pair of shoes. It has received a lot of bad press in recent years for It being out of touch with current fashion trends, losing customers due to poor levels of choice. I must say I was bowled over by the number of items I could choose from, they cater for all shapes and sizes and they were on point on the styles available. Normally I shop there for undies and socks, but they are so much more than that. I went back there a couple of weeks later to pick up a fitted shirt, and some fitted jeans. I suspect I'll be shopping there again during the January sales.