Dressing well in your 30s can be tricky. You still feel young, but you also know you probably can’t pull off the fashion trends you see on the high street, adorned by the youth who have entirely abandoned self-consciousness and instead opt to express themselves. Deep down, you know you wouldn’t really want to dress this way regardless. You want to look sharp without seeming like you’re overdressed for any occasion.
So what is there to do for the modest man? The good news is that you can still embrace bold colors and even bold patterns as long as you wear them the right way. For both work and play, here are the top summer trends to anticipate this year so you can make a statement whenever you venture out of the house.
Even though you spent the last two years working from the comfort of your home in your favorite basketball shorts or pajama bottoms, many companies are encouraging (or even demanding) that their employees return to the office. It’s a drag, for sure, but it's also the chance to demonstrate a new attitude to everyday workwear. Slowly but surely office employees have ditched the traditional shirt, tie, and jacket and opted for something closer to smart-casual. There’s no reason why this cannot (and should not) continue.
While bedhead became a normal facet of your workday style while working remotely, this won’t fly back at the office, no matter how much time you spend making it look like you don’t care.
If you have long hair, you’ll need to start crafting the perfect professional look each day. The slick-back look is still very much in, so a fresh tin of pomade available across the matte-to-shiny spectrum will provide the hold and style you need. If you have experienced a little hair loss, you may want to think about hair restoration surgery to rejuvenate your locks, especially if you’re trying to maintain a youthful yet modest aura.
Of course, a bald head can also make a statement, especially when paired with a thick yet still well-groomed beard.
The suffocating suit-and-tie culture is something you won’t need to worry about as much as you once did, which is a blessing for just about anyone who entered the professional world in the mid-2000s. Yet, there are still rules, especially as the small but easily noticeable tech-bro trend of wearing whatever the heck you want has also died out.
Instead, there is a middle ground. You want to feel comfortable but also respectable. While previous generations have been forced to deal with dull colors like charcoal grays or squashed-blackcurrant navy blue, the trend has shifted towards neutral colors, especially stone or khaki.
Furthermore, you no longer need to match the jacket to the pants. Instead, a contrast can work if you feel like it. Matching it with a simple white dress shirt will top off the look, and you’ll feel presentable without being constrained by archaic formal norms.
Dress shoes or sneakers? Dress shoes? Or sneakers? There is still some debate about which is more suitable for the office, but you obviously won’t wear the latest Yeezys or Jordans to the office. If you are tired of blisters and that clip-clop noise echoing through the office, you can get away with wearing modest and comfortable sneakers.
However, these can’t be bold and brash, not that you’d want that, anyway. You don’t want the unmistakable swoosh distracting from the rest of your outfit. Sneakers with hidden brands or even no discernible brand at all are perfect.
If anything, these shoes are the one acceptable relic that remains from the tech bro phenomenon. They are comfortable and they look good, especially if you’re wearing chinos or similarly breathable pants. Furthermore, the multifunctionality is ideal for the modern professional on the move, so you don’t need to change when walking home or heading to the gym.
Admittedly, you can’ get away with many accessories when going to work. Your favorite chain can hang discreetly under your shirt, and a watch - smart or not - would be acceptable in any era.
The same goes for glasses. You won’t be rocking the huge frames that you might prefer when out of the office, so something slim can bring your entire style together. If you don’t need glasses, then it’s perhaps best to avoid them.
Other accessories could include pins on your lapel and even rings. Unlike other accessories, one thick gold ring (ideally with a dark stone) can make your work attire look a little more interesting without it feeling like you’re begging for attention, especially if you implement this accessory into your personal life.
Even if you spend all day at the office, it’s the times where you can play that really gets you excited, especially as they’ve seemed few and far between recently. As a modest guy, you aren’t interested in going too big or bold, yet you still want to look the part and shows off that you are still fashion-conscious.
Without the restraints of the office, you can style your hair however you like. The same goes for your beard if you have one, and if you’ve been planning on growing out for a while, this summer could be the time to do it. Although it may seem the opposite, a beard can help keep you cool during the blistering heat, although there is an increased risk of getting ice cream all over it.
The Viking beard may be on its way out, though, but that’s okay. As long as you care for your facial hair, you can make yourself look more mature without veering too close to looking old.
While mostly considered accessories, hats can apply to your head fashion, especially if covering up a misjudged experiment with the aforementioned pomade or surf-style hair products. Baseball caps, preferably with a unique stitched logo in the center, will also add a modest hint that you still know what you’re doing.
From a trip to the bar sitting on patios to the always interesting wedding suit, your summer style boasts a heap of versatile possibilities. Because of this, you can do whatever you like, and recent trends have shown that there are no rules about what a modest dude in their 30s can wear. And thank the fashion gods for that.
Because you’re still close enough to the youth of today, you may want to take some inspiration without delving into their experimental style too much. Patterned shirts are still acceptable at this age, although you may want to shift towards something that is not as in-your-face.
You may have also seen vintage soccer shirts populating every park or festival, and this is something to consider even if you don’t follow soccer. As these shirts have been brought back from the 90s, you can consider it your era, and you can also show off how worldly you are, and you can definitely name the starting 11 for Borussia Dortmund’s 1997 Champions League final win.
Vans, Converse, Derby Shoes, and commando soles are all the rage, and you can pair each of these with just about any summer outfit. The commando sole is becoming increasingly popular as the finishing touch of your wedding outfit, whereas high-top sneakers can go with chinos or shorts no matter where you live.
As a modest man, you may want to steer clear of sandals or sliders unless you’re at the beach or by the pool. As you’re more likely to be active during the summer, something forgiving on your soles can also help, allowing you to take a long walk around the city or even hike up to some stunning vistas and take a photo with your friends.
As you’d expect, sunglasses are a key accessory for all your summer looks. Some people like to have one pair for all occasions, whereas others like to switch between sunglasses styles depending on their outfits.
Besides this permanent fixture, you have a plethora of other accessories to choose from. You are already considering your hat, but jewelry, including pendant chains, or even fabric bracelets that pay tribute to the long-ago trend of wearing your festival bands for years after you attended said festival could spice up your wrists.
You won’t want something too brash, but the right accessory will always enhance a look, especially if you let a chain dangle through your unbuttoned shirt, demonstrating a cool and carefree attitude that’s just right for summer and still seems to match your style
Drastic wardrobe changes always come with some hesitation. You can feel like you're wearing someone else’s skin, and you’re masquerading as a dude who is completely out of his depth. You don't need to make drastic changes, though. Even a few modest but stylish shirts here and here, and a versatile and breathable blazer can enhance any look no matter what you’re doing. Sometimes, the best way to express yourself is to let your personality do the talking, and the clothes are just a bonus that will encourage people to pay attention. You look well put together, after all.