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Advice & More June 2018

Looking Cool after 65

By Alan M. Lawrenzi, Jr.

Even when I covered the student riots in Watts or East Los Angeles, I was one of the best-dressed people on the scene. The Black Panthers and Brown Berets took time from burning flags or throwing rocks to admire my wardrobe.

“That is so cool. I wish my husband dressed like that.”

I looked around, wondering who was the subject of such a compliment. To my amazement the speaker was a woman in her 30s – and she had directed it at me!

I had just walked into the Talking Stick Casino near Scottsdale, Arizona, to play poker. And that morning I had donned my usual outfit which included black pants, black shirt, leather Larry Mahan boots, a western hat and a serape I had picked up in New Mexico.

I had suffered a heart attack over a year ago and had lost about 30 pounds while recovering from it. Result: most of my clothes were too big for my new skinny frame. The Mexican serape helped conceal that fact and that was why I wore it.

I stammered a thanks for the compliment, but I made a mental note that I really needed a new wardrobe.

After a man hits retirement age, he turns into one of two things: he either forgets about fashions feeling he is pretty invisible to the world, or he becomes a fashion plate, determined to recapture the youthful image age caused him to leave behind.

When I was a young journalist in my 20s and 30s, I had a big collection of suits, sports jackets, slacks and ties. I wanted to look perfect when I covered a breaking story or went on an interview for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner or People magazine.

Even when I covered the student riots in Watts or East Los Angeles, I was one of the best-dressed people on the scene. The Black Panthers and Brown Berets took time from burning flags or throwing rocks to admire my wardrobe.

“You cool, man,” one member of the Black Panther Party said, removing his shades. “I gotta say that for you even though you work for a ------ (unprintable) newspaper.” I thanked him and took notes.

My wardrobe had been depleted after I spent five years working on three islands in the Caribbean. The tropical weather made it nearly impossible to wear a suit during the summer months and I reduced myself to wearing light slacks and a tropical shirt like the other island residents and tourists. By the time my work permit expired and I headed back to the states, I had no wardrobe to speak of.

Men over 65 need a fashion adviser to help them decide what to wear. There is no question that most of us are caught in a time warp when it comes to selecting clothing.

I have received quite a few compliments on my serape over the past year. It helps that I live in Phoenix and spend a lot of my time in Scottsdale which has always had a western atmosphere.

But I am starting to get a bit tired of the Clint Eastwood look. I recently visited a western clothing shop and spoke to my friend who owns the place. He is getting in a new shipment of fashionable western suits in the next two weeks and promised to call me when they arrived.

All I can say is, look out world. The Serape Kid is going to have a new look and it willdefinitely be cool.

Geno Lawrenzi Jr. is an international journalist who has worked in many parts of the United States as well as the Caribbean on newspapers and magazines. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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