If Daniel Craig can be disco ready at 54, so can you

Belvedere Vodka has unveiled its latest campaign starring the 007 actor - Belvedere Vodka
Belvedere Vodka has unveiled its latest campaign starring the 007 actor - Belvedere Vodka

At an age when most men are letting out the belt loops and eyeing up knitwear, Daniel Craig is slipping into a slinky pair of jeans and gyrating the night away. Granted, it’s from an ad for Belvedere Vodka, but the 54-year-old still looks damn good, no matter how artificial the set-up might be. Craig swaps a 007-esque ice-white suit for a neat little bomber jacket, nifty jeans, boots and a gold chain. Part Russian mafia henchman, part Mediterranean gigolo.

I am not for one second recommending that the average British man should aim to emulate the chiselled glacial coolness of Daniel Craig; you’ll be astounded to know that I do not resemble his Bond emerging from the surf in those sky-blue La Perla trunks in Casino Royale. Neither would anyone expect a fellow his age to slip into a risque little vest and not resemble Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances. But it is an indication, as we enter party season proper (for the first time in three years – get your dancin’ shoes on), that dressing up for a night on the tiles still has some potency, even for men.

See other men in their 50s and beyond who’ve been hitting the town recently. Back in summer Sir Ian McKellan, 83, cut a bold future wearing a pink shirt in a club; this week Stanley Tucci marked his 62nd birthday on Instagram with a wheel of cheese and his trademark pristine polo shirts; while Jeff Goldblum seems in perennial party mode at 69.

Men tend to be rather apologetic about the idea of getting dressed up and party ready; leave it to the women to have their red carpet moment (even if it’s more of a questionable burgundy hue and decidedly sticky in your local Slug & Lettuce). Which is a pity because, by the time a man’s in his 50s he’s generally more comfortable in himself than he ever has been, and still limber and fit enough to hold his own on the dance floor. Colin Firth famously said he had a choice at 50 to segue into middle-aged spread or embrace the nipped-in suits of Tom Ford for his role in A Single Man; he chose the latter.

It’s not as if the younger generation are getting it right. A group of guys from Birmingham became internet sensations last thanks to their clubbing style, consisting of painfully tight trousers, polo shirts clinging to every sinew and creakingly cheap leather shoes with elongated vamps, like Wetherspoons-based childcatchers.

Daniel Craig shows off his dancing skills in the new Belvedere Vodka advert - Belvedere Vodka
Daniel Craig shows off his dancing skills in the new Belvedere Vodka advert - Belvedere Vodka

So how to finesse your dancefloor look, even if you’re more set on skulking at the bar than showcasing your moves to Nile Rogers? Saturday Night Fever is an eternal reference here, but it’s not one anyone should really emulate. First, suits are tricky on nights out, because they’re a fairly precious and restrictive item to risk getting drinks spilled and arm holes obliterated. And second, silk shirts are a tricky path to navigate: excellent if you’ve got the frame of a young Mikhail Baryshnikov, less so if you’ve got any hint of middle-aged timber – the silk will cling and you’ll resemble a paunchy crooner in a Turkish resort. The same goes for the vest; leave it to the Mr Craig’s of this world, and Harry Styles.

Look instead to the middle-aged man’s best friend: a soft-structured blazer with a T-shirt. It adds form, but a knitted or jersey variety will be less stuffy and done-up than a proper structured variant, and a T-shirt’s a touch more contemporary without looking like you’re wearing your teenage son’s getup.

Likewise a grandad collar shirt: it’s sharper and cleaner than a collared variation, which has office connotations and can look a bit “middle management gone wild” when you’re out of the town. This brings us to the party shirt. By all means, go all out if that’s your style verve, but the issue here is that it can veer into novelty territory. A subtle print is a halfway house, in a dark hue like deep green or aubergine, as a halfway point, and stick to long sleeves – short-sleeve patterned shirts are best kept for holiday mode. Add straight leg jeans in a dark wash – never skinny cut – and slick boots. For the more casual, try grown-up trainers in dark leather (leave the sports-centric ones along with the five-a-side kit).

Two tips that you can take away from the debonair Daniel Craig. First, the bomber. This is a winter party saviour for men. It’s less formal than a proper jacket, but versions in suede or even silk can look sophisticated and grown up with a neat dark shirt or polo shirt underneath. Consider it going-out attire for men who don’t want to look like they’re auditioning for Strictly.

The other takeaway is the grooming. A freshly shaven jawline and precise, neat cut will immediately show you’ve made an effort; likewise a touch of under-eye concealer to keep you looking fresh into the wee small hours. No, you’re not 21 anymore, but there’s no excuse you can’t hold your own with the best of them. A man of your vintage, like an excellent 2016 Brunello Montalcino, deserves to be appreciated.

Try these

Clothes
Clothes

Left to right: Jersey blazer, £220, Gant (gant.co.uk); Cotton blend polo, £75, A Day’s March (adaysmarch.com); Selvedge jeans, £89, Arket (arket.com)

Clothes
Clothes

Clockwise from left: Suede effect bomber jacket, £59.99, Mango (mango.com); Leather trainers, £200, Axel Arigato (axelarigato.com); Shakeup Under eye concealer and moisturiser, £13.32, Superdrug (superdrug.com)

Three party shirts

Clothes
Clothes

Left to right: Olford shirt, £90, Ted Baker (tedbaker.com); Tile print shirt, £35, River Island (riverisland.com); Dries Van Noten printed cotton and silk shirt, £390, My Theresa (mytheresa.com)