"Styles for Guys Over 40" \\ Man in a suit looking at his cell phone \\ Photo: Fabrice Lerouge\Getty Images

After the age of 40 guys need to do things a little differently. Yet, the style we choose and the grooming we brave every day matters more now than ever before. At this age your clothes shouldn't define you, but they should solidify who you are. Here are some rules that will not only help the average guy over 40 look better, but feel better as well.

1. When it doubt, dress it up rather than down. You're at the point now when you've earned respect; don't blow it by wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt instead of a button down and chinos to your in-laws' house for dinner. If you have any question at all, especially if it's a work event, dress it up rather than dressing down. It'll look like you have respect for the occasion and the host, and you will never feel out of place. It's always better to be the best-dressed guy at a party rather than the worst.

2. Don't buy anything that is labeled "slim" or "fitted." Don't believe what most of those catalogs and salespeople are telling you - 95 percent of men over 40 should not be wearing "slim fit" anything. You're not Ashton Kutcher, nor would you want to be, so buy clothes that look good on you. If you're not sure, or terrified of getting duped by the hot sales girl, take your wife or another woman who will shoot straight when shopping with you.

3. Ditch the Electric Razor. We shouldn't approach shaving as something to get done as quickly as possible. Our beard is one of our most manly traits, so instead of looking at shaving as a chore, treat it as a ritual. Embrace it. One thing you shouldn't do is skimp on your tools, so dump the electric razor. It will irritate your face, give you those horrible red bumps, fail to provide a close enough shave for that lady in your life, and at some point make you look like a soccer ball - with missed patches of hair all over your mug. Nothing looks worse than a guy in a meeting trying to make a point, with patches of hair sprouting from all directions. Take pride in shaving each morning, and make sure it's something you hand down to your boys. They'll remember the day you taught them to shave for the rest of their lives.

4. Stay true to who you are. As your hair starts turning gray, there's a big push to start dying it. Resist. Thank God that we live in a time when George Clooney, Anderson Cooper and President Obama have made it cool to go gray. And unless you're paying top dollar to a fantastic "stylist" your dyed hair will look ... dyed. Just keep it clean, neat and looking good and you'll be fine. Fight the urge and embrace the change. This goes for toupees and hair pieces too - don't even think about it.

5. Pay attention to the details. You might have noticed that while you're losing the hair on your head, you're gaining hair in other fun spots such as your ears and nose. Not good. Make sure to keep track of where these irritating buggers pop-up and get them before someone else points them out to you with an uncomfortable look on their face. It's not a fun part of getting older, but it's necessary. You don't want to be 80 and end up looking like Andy Rooney - or a Chia Pet.

6. Protect yourself. I know this doesn't sound manly or cool, but you need to protect your skin with a moisturizer that contains sunscreen. Even if you're face is a little beat up from all those years in the sun without any protection, you can slow down any further damage or aging by using a men's face moisturizer with at least SPF 15. I told a few of my buddies this at our guy's weekend last summer and they all laughed and said how dumb that was. The next Monday, two of them emailed me and asked which one to buy. It's okay, go ahead.

7. Wear clothes that fit properly. Hopefully you're at a point in your life where you know the sizes that work for you. Unfortunately I see guys wearing clothes that are either too small or too big all the time. Let's face it, most guys after 40 have put on an extra pound or two, and oversized clothing makes you look even more rumpled, chunky and unkempt. While anything too tight will end up showing parts of you that we don't really want to see. Also, a good fit is important because you'll feel better -- which in turn will make you more confident. And confidence is king.

8. Stay away from anything trendy. After a certain age, a guy who tried to follow what's hip just looks sad. You shouldn't be wearing the same thing as your 15-year-old son. Instead, go with a more classic look and then take one thing you're wearing and go just a little trendy. It won't look like you're trying too hard, but you'll still look like you're not stuck in the 80's.

Craig Playstead is a freelance writer and happily married father of three living in the suburbs of Seattle. He frequently writes about fatherhood and anything else of interest to guys for MSN. You can reach him at playstead@hotmail.com.