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We are what we wear, 
and what we wear needs no explaining

Clothes maketh the man we were always told but do they ? What should a 50 plus gay man wear which will not make him look stupid ?

After leaving school at 16 and getting out of school uniform, I dressed very much like my dad. I suppose this was because all my clothes were bought by my mother and she could think much beyond a sports jacket, grey trousers (baggy) shirt and tie. In addition there were a range of V neck pullovers knitted by my grandmother.

That dress code continued until at 18 I was conscripted and ended up in the air force. There with #1.40 a week allowance burning a hole in my pocket I managed to experiment a little and while the main difference was that I changed the sports jacket for a nice blazer with an RAF badge on the pocket, I did after a few months discover denims.

I have a photograph taken at the age of 19, lying on a bed in a barracks and, sorry to disappoint anyone who had started to get worked up, wearing denims and a check shirt plus short hair. I was an embryonic Colherne clone, born decades before I had ever heard of that grand old twilight zone. Looking back I suppose there is a bit of our DNA which defines dress sense.

The clothes came from a shop in the centre of Leicester called something like the Anglo American Irish clothing store. They were the only store which didn't sell the sort of stuff which filled the window of Jacksons or Burtons. Even going inside made me feel the same way that I felt going into my first gay bar. The staff wore the gear they sold, not neat, tidy salesmen's suits. They were friendly and were, now I look back, probably friends of Dorothy.

Every leave I had I went back. I acquired a pullover which although it did have a V neck was totally unlike anything granny ever knitted. It was jet black with a pure white band running from one arm along the shoulder and down the other arm. Later I found a wonderful shiny nylon blouson in brown and on another visit a big baggy blue crew neck jumper which came down to my knees.

I also found that plimsolls could be worn as leisure wear and not just in the sweat box the school called a gym. My mother told me they would ruin my feet but they don't seem to have done me any harm. Nor did masturbation which my father told me was sure to turn me blind or weaken my back.

I did add a few other choice items from small mail order ads in the Melody Maker which I would rather not talk about but by the age of twenty I had thrown off my imitation grown up clothing. Duffle coats followed, red denims, matching flowered shirts and ties, and eventually I arrived at levis, loose plain cotton wrangler cotton shirts, leather jackets, trainers or boots and white T shirts. 

There I seem to have stuck. I think it suits me but I seem to have stayed with it since seeeing Rebel without a cause. Is it time to change ? What does suit gay men past the big five O? 


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