Andy Poupart’s selfie hobby started as a dare from his daughters.
“They encouraged me to post a picture of myself to Instagram, so I’m like, ‘You know, sure.’” Then, Poupart, a 59-year-old software engineer manager based in Cupertino, California, quickly climbed the ranks of Instagram’s sartorial elite.
It grew into a competition between him and his oldest daughter. “She was like, ‘Well you almost have as many followers as me,’” he said, chuckling. “Now, I have five times as many as she does!”
Since that dare six months ago, Poupart has gained more than 1,500 followers on his Instagram feed, named @styleafter50, thanks mainly to the photos of his daily outfits.
“Pretty much what you see on Instagram is what I wear to work every day,” he said, explaining that he’s the only guy who dresses so sharply amongst his colleagues, who are millennials in hoodies, polos and dress pants. “I’m fortunate that the company that I work for has no dress code, and people can wear whatever they want. So I take advantage of that,” he said. “But as far as I can tell, nobody cares.”
Using the Layout app, Poupart showcases what he wears every day ― tailored or bespoke suits and ties, pocket squares, watches and shoes.
Now that his kids have grown up, Poupart, who is originally from England, said, “I have a little more disposable income than I had 10 or 15 years ago, but I’ve always harbored an ambition to have a Savile Row suit made.”
So a couple of years ago, he made the investment, found a tailor he liked and had a suit made. “Sadly, it kind of spoils you ― once you’ve had a piece of clothing made for you, you realize how the fit is so much better than something you could buy at Nordstrom. You find that it becomes a part of who you are. And it turns out, the other funny thing is, it’s no harder to dress the way I dress on my Instagram feed than it is to wear a polo shirt and jeans. It’s no more difficult and not less comfortable, so it’s not like I don’t feel like I’m making an unusual effort every day. I dress to please two people. Myself and my wife. That’s as far as it goes.”
Poupart’s wife, Michele Free, takes his pictures, and he posts them ― she’s a stylist, “an elegant woman,” he said.
“I think it’s probably fair to say at some point I was dressing not to match her but to honor her, and this is going to sound like a grumpy old man for a minute, but it amazes me how often you see a couple nowadays with a very well dressed woman, and a guy who didn’t even try. And I didn’t want to be a guy like that. Now we feed off each other; we try to match each other’s style in many cases.”
Poupart says Instagram has been great for meeting other sartorial-inclined guys, and for giving him a platform to inspire others.
“I’ve always been interested in dressing well, but felt like I had no outlet.” Now, he’s realized that “you reach a point where you’re like, blow it. If I want to wear a red and white striped blazer then I’m going to do that and wear it and rock the hell out of it. And you know, if I post pictures like that, some people might be inspired to try something new. To be a little bit more daring, or realize it’s OK to stand out.”
Poupart laughed with a realization: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. To enjoy and express whatever it is that you want to express.”