Can We Recognize a Midlife Crisis in Changes in How We Dress?

Our evolving dress codes as we age.

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
4 min readFeb 23, 2024
Photo courtesy of author


My grandfather used to work as a glassblower for a large multinational company that produced electronics and lighting products.

Although I never had the chance to meet him during his working years, I remember him wearing a formal suit and tie whenever I visited his home after he retired — a slightly shabby, ill-fitting suit, but still a suit.

He would only take off his tie indoors on a warm day, but as soon as he stepped outside, he would put it back on again.

At that time, most older men wore suits, so I associated my grandfather’s clothing choices with being old-fashioned and slightly outdated.

I wondered whether older people might wear suits to cover their bodies as they age — a sartorial diversionary tactic.


My father only wore suits to work and looked really good in them. But you would never find him in a suit during evenings and weekends. I only have a few pictures of him wearing one, and that was only for official occasions.

As a kid, I thought he wore the suit to look older.



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.