Monday, 12 May 2008

Pensioners shopping on the high street - Mutton dressed as ram?

During my weekend by the coast in sunny Westgate-on-sea I came across an interesting feature on Nicky Haslam in the Oberserver Woman magazine...(I had never heard of him before but apparently he is an interior designer to the rich and famous) it explores an interesting question, can a man of 67 shop on the high street and not look ridiculous?

Haslam is now 67 years old. Eleven years ago in the winter of 1997, he underwent a complete physical reinvention. His manifestation changed from a campish aristo seen in the middle ages to one inspired to 'pick the last vestige of youth from the stinking pit of old age.' He dyed his hair oily black and modelled himself on Liam Gallagher, replacing sober suits with battered combat pants, leather biker jackets and anaroks. Over the last decade Haslam has evolved his sartorial transformation, he is a style magpie as he has always 'aspired towards other people's looks.' If he likes what someone is wearing he accosts them in the street to ask them where they bought it. As long as you know what suits you (this is so, so important - something might look great on someone else but chances are they have a very different frame to yours), I think this is a fine way for men to shop - it makes clothes accessible. I rarely ask people where they bought something because I like finding things myself (...or after being gently nudged there by EJ and Susie).

So where is the style chameleon now? He has stopped dying his hair and allowed it to go grey (thank goodness) and he is shopping on the High Street. Haslam thinks men are served very well on the High Street and I certainly agree that things have improved significantly within the time that I've been spending money but there is still along way to go and many advancements to be made. Within the feature Haslam confesses an unforgivable thing...much worse than dying his hair...he has wardrobes crammed with 'Savile Row suits I've never worn...just got them made and then decided that I didn't like them' - this is pure poison to my ears and he should be punished. He prefers the 'disposable' suits of Topman which accommodate his changing fancies and mutated whims. I personally would like to see inside his wardrobe and see the types of bespoke suits he had made!

Haslam is a fan of recognising a great piece (wherever it might be found - currently he finds most of them on the High Street) and wearing it. As long as the piece is complimentary tot he person wanting it then there really isn't a problem. If however, the person is merely a magpie of style that has a nest full of shiny crap then of course there is a style problem. In this instance I can only judge on the editorial within the piece...but I would think it must be a little hit and miss with a chap like Haslam. His mantra that of 'it's rude to not try and look up-to-date' is certainly strange but in certain lights, kind of cool. A man of his age should know what looks good on him and his personal style should be pretty much there but of course he can be inspired by current trends. I recently went shopping with my Nan (who is 86 years old) and she needed a lightweight tote (she's not as strong as she used to be so can't lug her heavy leather bags as far anymore) and we ended walking out of H&M with the perfect one. There shouldn't be an age limit on entry to the high street, there should however be a warning sign that could read 'Think long and hard about your purchases, is it right for YOU?' but this sign should be ready by all ages!

If you are interested in the article and didn't get your hands on the Observer then you can read it online here


j said...

I don't think age discrimination is good no matter what aspect of life you consider. Let a guy (gal) do what he/she wants. You don't want to be put in a box when you are young, why should you want to be when you are old?

Thomas said...

All those mothers and daughters shopping together at Urban Outfitters are terrifying.

MR style said...

a lot of young lads wear clothes as if they were 60 !!, so what"s the problem with the people doin the contrary ?

poppy lee said...

i was going to post about this article but never got round to it. he does work the topman stuff incredibly well.

Fish Inton said...

I remember that article was good, but the lighting in the images wasn't so great - he's looked better. And he's 68. Why they said 67 is beyond me, since the article was this year... unless he was pretending, as he has a habit of doing.

Nicky is one of those rare people who can really pull something off - it's important to know your figure before even attempting something at that age, and to know what will work when you actually wear it - it's all nice looking on the hanger in the shop, and then... you look in the mirror after pulling all the tags off in some sort of crazed frenzy and it looks, for lack of a better word, shite.

That he has a boatload of discount in TopMan helps too. The lucky git.

Enjoying your blog.
Fish x


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