For most, the term Silver Fox is used to describe an older gentleman with grey hair, good looks and a sense of style. With the rise of brands harnessing the power of older gentleman such as Christopher Waltz and Garry Oldman in recent Prada campaigns, the inspirational value of the Silver Fox is now on the rise
However, having just one umbrella term for men over a certain age can be misleading and maybe doing some a disservice. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the term Silver Fox; it’s just that there might be another animal to aspire to as the greys begin to surface and as the laughter lines become more pronounced.
For me, the Silver Fox evokes the image of a clean cut, perhaps preened, conformist who was most likely head boy at school. Simple arithmetic dictates that not all of us were head boys. Therefore we need an alternative, an anti-hero. That alternative is the Grey Wolf.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Grey Wolf is the antithesis of the Silver Fox but his characteristics are markedly different. The Grey Wolf, despite having a strong sense of style, will often appear dishevelled and unkempt. His face will bare deeper lines as a consequence of over indulgence in his rebel youth. He is outspoken, fiercely independent and follows his own path.
To help us distinguish a wolf from a fox, let’s consider some of the prime candidates.
Jack Nicholson - Wolf
One of Hollywood’s finest. Jack Nicholson personifies the notion of a Grey Wolf. Nothing states non-conformity more than a man who considers slippers and dressing gown suitable golf attire.
Films such as The Shining, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and The Departed cement his status as Wolf (not to mention playing an actual werewolf in the 1994 film Wolf).
Donald Sutherland - Wolf
Sutherland’s penchant for wearing tailored suits with his distinctive long grey hair and bushy beard makes him a stand out wolf. He became an idol for the counter culture movement with this anti Vietnam war film F.T.A in 1972 highlighting his non-conformist character.
Richard Gere - Fox
Pretty Woman, An Officer And A Gentleman, American Gigolo, Runaway Bride . It’s clear from this that Gere is a chick flick staple and a ladies' favourite. Smooth talking and even smoother faced, he is the archetypal clean and preened silver fox.
Clint Eastwood - Wolf
The cigar chomping, gun slinging, poncho wearing Eastwood who is the undisputed king of Westerns can only be one thing and that is a bone fide wolf. His performance as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry gave us some of modern cinema's most memorable lines.
Geroge Clooney - Fox
Fantastic Mr Fox.
Film star and now human rights activist Clooney is the ultimate Silver Fox with his clean cut good looks, classic style and advocate for social responsibility. He is the prime head boy (class president) candidate.
Join the debate and let us know who's a Silver Fox and who's a Grey Wolf in the comments section below.