There’s a lot of responsibility placed on fathers. Kids, are the first, most obvious burden (I mean, joy). And I could stop there.
But fatherhood often comes with the added commitments of making a lifetime partnership work; navigating a busy job; and for some of you, going to gym. Then, the modern father has many a social event to attend and down-time catch ups old mates. Is there room for anything else? A father’s appearance, of course.
While many see fatherhood as a reason to let it all hang out, having a mini-you (or several) isn’t reason enough to throw away your style. To get you off the couch and out of that horrible hoodie t-shirt, here are ten essential tips for being a dad – with style.
#1 Know Your Size
While it’s a generalisation, most guys pack on a few pounds when the kids come along. And if you’re on the older side, gaining weight is a ‘charming’ part of the ageing man’s journey. So, stop trying to fit into pre-father clothes or be a slim-fit if you’re more the larger gent. There’s nothing worse than seeing a guy who’s very fashion-conscious but not in shape and wearing clothes that are too small. Go a size up.
While patterns or prints are by no means off-limits, going for a more tonal look in neutral colours is a foolproof style palette – think camel, navy, olive green, dark grey, and white. Then, stick to traditional patterns to jazz things up – Breton stripes, pinstripes, Prince of Wales checks, micro-dots and plaids. Retire crazy prints accessories: pocket square, tie or socks; leaving outwear, separates, and shirting neutrally colour blocked.
#3 Make An Investment
At the age of fathering children or having raised a few, chances are you’re peaking in your career and have a bit more moolah to spend. So invest well; divulging in live-forever pieces like a leather bomber, cable knit sweater, superwool suit and a navy blazer.
As mentioned earlier, keep the colours masculine and sans fuss, and you’ll be looking sharp. Until the grandkids come along.
#4 Know What Brands Work
While skater brands may have served well back in university days, as a dad brand loyalties should reflect your current life stage. As your body changes, brands that fit well when you were younger may not so much anymore. And, dressing like your teenage son is embarrassing (you no longer sleep til noon). So, your go-to brands must cater to that lifestyle.
The biggest changes involve denim, button up shirts and trousers. Try a few different labels – both luxury and high-street – and once you’ve got a nice match – that is, the fit suits your body type and style – stock up, quick.
#5 Accessorise Away
Having bought up on neutral tones and investment pieces, splash out on accessories that take an outfit from average to absolutely smoking. Get yourself a watch (immediately), followed by a simple band or signet ring.
Then spruce up a suit or blazer with a pocket square, and silk woven tie, or instead a scarf and a classic hat; the latter perfect for the dad who needs to cover any male patterned baldness.
#6 Brand Less To Impress
Over-branded anything signals: ‘insecure dad trying to be cool’. While a subtle logo on the pocket of a shirt or seam can add a decorative touch to a plain tee, a statement-brand word or icon should never be visible from more than a few metres away.
Instead stick with garments that look expensive because of their impeccable fit to your dad-bod. Finally, luxury, quality materials portray a far better style message than a jumper that shouts ‘KENZO’ at every passer-by.
#7 Look To Style Icons
What do David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth and Brad Pitt have in common? They are dads. And look great at the same. Pitt is even getting on a bit now but still manages to style himself well: sharp suits, heavy cottons, and a very tonal colour palette which includes black, tan and grey.
Pick a celeb who fits your body type and age bracket and go from there. But don’t blatantly copy either. Remember, start off easy at first and ramp up the experimentation as you get more confident.
#8 Be A Grooming Guru
First off, get your beard in order, clipping it as meticulously as you do your hair. Can’t grow one? Then keep it clean shaven. Next, hair. As a rule, keep it hair short-back-sides with a little extra length on top. Starting to thin? Keep the sides very short or go the buzz. And here’s a superb guide to channeling the silver fox look for going grey.
Fragrance is an easy way to smell more ‘youthful’ without appearing too hip. But avoid heavily spiced colognes which scream ‘old man’. Moisturise to prevent dry skin (face and hands are a must). Long toe nails? Clip them. Fingernails? Stop biting them. Oh, and for your wife’s sake read this guide to grooming downstairs.
#9 Get Technical
Taking the focus away from your body and clothes, being tech-savvy (and actually owning a smartphone) lifts your style game. Owning a tablet too, shows that you’re part of the community, especially appeasing the judgment of the younger generation.
#10 Style Is A State Of Mind
Some men panic when they become a father: “No time for me”. You’re already shooting yourself in the, erm, brogue. Instead of packing it all in, bring your family along for the ride. Having kids can actually keep you in the loop with what’s going on in the fashion world; especially when they reach their late teens and starting caring about how they look.
As you age, stay young in the mind. That proverbial saying – “men getting better looking with age” is actually true; that is, if you look after yourself and trulu ‘feel’ like you’ve still got it. To quote Phil Dunphy, let this wisdom fill your head: “I’m a cool dad.” Confidence is key, so be a man about it.