Menswear has taken on a whole new look this year. Liberated from the stereotypes of the past, mature-aged men are free to explore, design and shape their identity through fashion choices.
After previous generations of older men were doomed to a uniform of the ordinary - think navy blue boxers, boardies, singlets, thongs and grey suits - the fresh palette of fashion comes as a bright relief. Fashions have broadened the horizon and today there is appreciation for the male who can dress up - or dress down - according to the day.
Brisbane's Brendan Harris naturally personifies the new older man. He's a well-travelled businessman with a gregarious personality which makes him the perfect personality to run 'Cafe on the Goodwill Bridge'.
Brendan lives and breathes fashion throughout his daily life, a passion the began while growing up as the middle child of the Harris boys in the hinterland of Queensland's Mt Tamborine. Brendan jokingly blames the middle-child syndrome for his bold dress.
"I would get the hand-me-downs, so instead I got a job and bought my own clothes," Harris tells Seniors News.
He went on to travel the world and studied in Devon, England, where he obtained his hospitality qualifications. Back in Australia, he spent large parts of his career working in the Brisbane hospitality scene and managing community venues for the Gold Coast City Council.
But fashion pulled at the thread of his personality and existence - channeling his passion into creating the pocket square business, 'A Pocket Affair'.
"My pocket squares are rectangular, you wear them individually of course, or double them up to get a maximum, structural textured effect," he says.
But it's not just Brendan's pocket squares that make him stand out in the crowd, describing his preferred look as lavish and experimental. Ultimately, his style is determined, show stopping at times, but always individual.
"I believe in pushing the limits," he says. "First impressions are so important, any age, young old, it doesn't matter, my motto is it's just as easy to put on a nice shirt as it is than a horrible one."
He proves the point when he matches sheer black tops under suit jackets. Silk, he explains, is his favourite fabric.
"Silk comes in so many textures and blends, silk wool is absolutely beautiful and the saturation of color is always good," he says.
A combination of traditional and edgy jewelry is another integral part of his look. His hero pieces feature the daily wearing of a Louis Vuitton flip coin ring.
"I usually wear my wedding band, my engagement ring, and my signet ring plus a nice watch," he says.
Meanwhile, his shoe closet is lined with local brands and designers including his favoured RM Williams boots.
In terms of eyewear, Brendan regularly rocks a sleek tortoise shell pair of Tom Ford. Alternatively, Chanel glasses, he notes, are always a good fit. But most importantly he claims, sunglasses should complement your face and not put them under any stress.
On the topic of staples for the average man, Brendan declares every man should have a navy-blue suit in their wardrobe coupled with a cotton stretch white shirt.
"A good fitting navy blue suit can take you from the day to the evening, looks great against silver hair of course," he explains.
"(And keep) a clean white shirt and one spare that you haven't touched for that special occasion."
Personal care is another aspect of Brendan's routine. He keeps up appearances with two weekly barber visits and his job, positioned in the brunt of the bright Australian sun, prompts him to use skin products that cope with the harsh light.
"I use majority of Aesop products, but I love Kiehl's day and evening oil, sunscreen is a must as I am in the sun most of the time," he says.
Another must-do for the wellbeing of the older gentleman is travel with Brendan stressing that be it local or overseas, going on holiday is an essential part of his lifestyle. But that doesn't mean you can leave the suit at home! Here's his suitcase for a weekend away to Burleigh Heads.
"Tailored shorts, a really nice linen jacket that's only half-lined, paired with a bright color," he muses.
"And I'd suggest, at the moment, a really nice cherry red and a nice pair of loafers always with invisible socks."
And it seems men are taking notice of Brendan's unique and bold style advice!
"I have picked up quite a few fellows that want to be styled, it's a matter of taking them places that I know will fit for them," he says.
Finally, the relaxed fashionista gives some simple advice.
"Just have fun, fun with your wardrobe and your food."