Middle-aged men and their sad self-regard

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Orange permatanned chest? Too-perfect teeth? Hair transplants? Yuk! Matthew Bell prays he'll never fall victim to these 10 fashion crimes

Personalised number plate

Everything you need to know about Chris Huhne was summed up in four letters (and two figures): H11HNE. It was the clue that gave him away all along. He may as well have raced down the M11 yelling: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, I AM VERY RICH AND IMPORTANT AND RULES ARE FOR LITTLE PEOPLE!!" One would expect more from an ex-environment minister with a first-class degree, but then, they don't teach good taste at Oxford. So let's spell it out: having your name plastered on a 4-litre BMW says one thing about you – but it uses a different set of four letters.

Click here to view the gallery of middle-aged men and their fashion crimes

Statement facial hair

Simon Le Bon enjoyed a brief, Antonia de Sanchez-style revival last week, but not because he holds a candle for David Mellor. He got into the papers by sporting a handlebar moustache at a party. Apparently he grew it for charity in November, and his wife liked it so much he kept it. Well, that's his story: some suspected a whiff of look-at-me theatrics. Simon, there are better ways to prove you have a personality than moving hair round your face.

Simon Cowell neckline

Tony, love, put it away. We know you're mates with Silvio, and have made loadsamahney yourself, but we're not in Sardinia now – this is London in February. Ever since he stopped being PM, Blair's preferred way to wear a shirt has been to undo as many buttons as possible. It's a way of revealing his tan, his toned pecs, a gold chain (qv) and chest hair, and saying "I'm a laid-back metro-millionaire, yah boo to Myrobella." Point made, now cover up.


David Beckham has a good body, we all know that. But does he really need to hammer the point home by parading it for an H&M advert, "directed" by Guy Ritchie? He's already sprawled all over buses for Giorgio Armani, the traditional outlet for footballers keen to show us their pecs (see Cristiano Ronaldo). It's faintly desperate, when you're approaching 40, to start modelling for any old pant-house as an excuse to flash your abs. You've been to the gym – well done. Do you want a medal? (That goes for you, too, Tom Daley).

Orange skin

Black, white, olive or brown. Any skin colour is fine, except Haribo orange. We live on a wet, windswept island off the edge of northern Europe. It is not the Caribbean. So, Gordon Ramsay, you are fooling nobody by spray-painting yourself like an egg-glazed pasty. By all means, go to Sandy Lane and get a tan. But if you want it year-round, it would be better for everyone if you stayed there.

Perfect teeth

There's something creepy about men with Colgate smiles. Nobody wants to see a row of sawn-off stubs, but the opposite can be almost as bad. There is a third way: just brush your teeth twice a day, as matron taught, and everything will be fine. Martin Amis spent £20,000 getting his fixed, and we all know in what moderate esteem he holds himself.

Signet bling

Even if you are the heir to Wiltshire, there's no need to wear your coat of arms on your pinky. Signet rings were once useful for sealing letters, now they just scream Fulham and insecurity. Pinky rings are just naff. If you are a full-time rapper, and only then, it's OK to wear some bling, but there has to be a nod to irony. Gold necklaces are just sleazy (see Tony Blair), and anything that's out of sight – Evan Davis, Prince Albert – should stay that way.

Advancing hairline

We'd all love to have a thatch of Pantene's finest across our foreheads for ever. But some of us must learn to accept, aged 15, that our hair is only going in one direction, fast. You can get away with a messy comb-over for so long, provided it's not too Donald Trump. But there comes a time when you have to embrace the slap. Weaving back in what nature cast off is, frankly, weird. And at £30,000 a head, expensive, and puts you in the company of Gordon Ramsay and Shane Warne. I'd rather go bald.


A good idea; trouble is, they're like chocolate peanuts – one is never enough. You can't just staple the wattle back and hey presto. Gravity keeps pulling and bits come unstuck. Nicky Haslam swears by his, but, for most, it's better to do a Samuel Beckett and let the crags tell a story.

Dyed hair

If in doubt, watch the last few minutes of Death in Venice. The black dye dribbling down Dirk Bogarde's collar is tragic, for so many reasons. Better to go grey.

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London