- Photography by Ms Cat Garcia | Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher
Do men get too old to wear jeans? Is there an age at which brightly coloured trousers become unacceptable? These are the kind of questions Grey Fox, a blog written by Mr David Evans, seeks to answer. At the end of 2011, after a long career as a lawyer, Mr Evans was looking for a creative project and decided to turn his attention to the subject of dressing your age. "I'm now in my late fifties," he explains. "From my early forties I found it increasingly difficult to know what to wear - there was that fear of dressing too young or too old. So I thought I'd write about my search for style as an older man."
The impression I get is that Grey Fox has a large older male readership, but young men read it too. And women read it, presumably because they like to look at pictures of dashing older men
If Mr Evans was in any doubt about how much interest his blog, Grey Fox, would receive, he got his answer seven months after it launched. It was then that The Times, a British newspaper, devoted five pages of a colour supplement to him. "Looking at Google figures - in the days immediately after the article, there were up to 12 times the normal visits - it eventually settled down with double the pre-Times article," says Mr Evans. So who's reading Grey Fox? "The impression I get is that I have a large older male readership, but young men read it as well. And women read it, presumably because they want to smarten up their husband or partner, or perhaps just because they like to look at pictures of dashing older men." He laughs as he says this.
But aside from the attention, why does a 57-year-old man write a blog? Clearly, it is not for financial gain. "It's a bit like sailing or playing golf - I spend quite a lot of money on travel. There are perks, such as free pairs of socks, underpants and shirts, but after a while there's only so much you can wear." Most blogs are merely vehicles for the writer's prejudices, but Mr Evans is refreshingly keen to keep his personal taste low in the mix. During our interview he repeatedly says things such as, "That's just my opinion, people need to find their own style", and "It's not my business to lay down rules, but to provide ideas and inspiration."
Fifteen or 20 years ago if you'd gone into a pub wearing a pair of pink chinos you'd have been chucked out. Nowadays someone will ask you where you bought them
Grey Fox is the product of an enquiring mind, and it's important that Mr Evans is in the process of teaching himself how to dress. His readers can follow him as he discovers, for instance, whether or not he's comfortable wearing brightly coloured chinos. Which prompts the question, why do middle-aged men still need to think about this stuff? Haven't they already worked out the answers? Mr Evans admits, "Older men tend to let themselves go. I know three or four attractive middle-aged women who are doing internet dating and they have all given me the same message, which is that 90% of the guys they meet make no effort at all. They don't shave, don't bathe, don't get their teeth sorted out, and yet go on dates with attractive women." How does he explain this? "There will always be men who give up because they've got a wife, and a family, and feel they're no longer attractive to women, so there's no point in trying."
There may also be a generational element, according to Mr Evans: "It's becoming much more acceptable to be stylish. Fifteen or 20 years ago if you'd gone into a pub wearing a pair of pink chinos you'd have been chucked out... Nowadays someone will ask you where you bought them."
Styling by Mr Scott Stephenson, Senior Fashion Assistant, MR PORTER