If you’re not getting to the gym like you used to, and enjoying a few more beers on the weekend, you’ve probably got some extra cushioning on that (once athletic) torso. A relatively new body type for men, the dadbod is described as “softly round” by Urban Dictionary, and has been associated Leonardo DiCaprio and Jon Hamm. The name reflects the theory that once a man has found a mate (and fathered a child), he doesn’t feel the need to worry about maintaining a sculpted physique.
Not a dad? Maybe you’re single and look, how should we say it, ‘fatherly’ across the tummy. Again, we’re not a fitness blog so there’s no judgment directed at your paunch. But, we do have some dadbod styling tips, meaning you don’t need to cut the carbs or invest in stylish gym kit – just yet, to look good. For now, embrace the dadbod you’ve got — every jiggly, kilo of it. Happy Father’s Day, gents.
What You’re Working With
While no two dadbods are the same, today’s style exercise (don’t worry, there’s no sweat required) starts with a clarification warm-up. A dadbod falls into the following body shape categories: oval or triangle. Not ‘fat’, the triangle gent will be larger around the waist and hips, getting narrower as you head up toward the shoulders. Legs and arms are generally ‘in shape’ in comparison to the paunch located in the middle.
Oval shapes appear round, particularly at the centre of the body (beer belly and man boobs are not uncommon). The shoulders and lower legs looking slimmer by comparison, but ovals tend to have large thighs, giving off a complete rounded look to your silhouette.
Unfortunately, most off the rack clothing is cut to dress the exact opposite body type — the V-shape. So, dadbods, you’re at a disadvantage from the start when shopping for clothes that fit. But, underdogs are known to come through for the win. Here’s how you can.
What To Avoid
- The goal is to detract attention away from your belly region. Patterns such as horizontal stripes are out, only emphasising wideness, as well as busy prints, which just look overdone of larger gents. Avoid coloured belts, keeping brights and prints to accessories that accentuate your leaner features such as bags, caps and sneakers.
- Skinny fits and overly tapered ankles are out, emphasising the thickness of your thighs. Gents with short legs should also avoid high-top sneakers and boots as they cut you off at the shin, making you appear shorter and chunky.
What To Wear
To undo some of the dadbod’s roundness, you need to accentuate the shoulder line, before slim down the body from the chest through to the knees. Meanwhile, the hips and thigh region is where dadbods tend to be the roundest. So, tailored and straight trousers create the illusion of balance throughout your frame. Still not quite sure? Here are three outfit ideas suitable for work and the weekend.
When it comes to tailoring, stick to a single-breast suit in a dark grey, navy or black, with classic notch lapels – clean and easy – paired with a crisp, plain shirt. Pay attention to the suit length: the trousers and sleeves might be too long (a common occurrence where dadbods need a larger pant and jacket size to accommodate their bellies), which only makes you look stumpy. You’ll need the suit tailored if you’re buying off the rack.
As for cuts, the double-breasted suit is out. It just makes dadbods look thicker through middle and barrel-chested, especially if you’re a short guy. When going for separates, stick to classic navy blazer (but don’t do the second button up, per above) with a pair of khaki trousers. Inject some personality with a statement pocket square, a striped tie or coloured socks. Subtle additions like these show you’re the man, but you don’t take yourself too seriously.
#2 Smart Casual
When dressing to impress on the weekend, look to weightier cotton fabrics and stiff fabrics, which hold their shape and don’t tend to cling. Workwear pieces like shirt jackets, open button downs (over a cotton crew neck tee), waxed or canvas jackets are you friend, as well as breezy parachute silk bombers and windbreakers, not too puffy though, and with ribbed cuffs to give shape at the sleeves.
Pair with selvedge denim or cotton twill chinos, as heavier casual trousers which sit better. Opt for a nice straight-fit, loosely tapered, in a neutral shade. This will slim down your legs, as wide-leg makes your pins look shapeless while skinny looks too tight and ridiculous. Pair with loafers or minimal sneakers – no socks, which creates space between the foot and ankle.
#3 Cool & Casual
Jeans and a tee are the dadbod’s best friend. Opt for a raglan sleeve t-shirt Believe it or not, shorts are one of the dadbod’s best purchases, giving length to the leg. But avoid cargos at all costs. Come summer, you want a pair of bermuda shorts, which are casual but tailored and sit almost knee-length – the hem an inch above the knee. Pair with a linen granddad collar shirt in a dark shade, always untucked to masked your paunch, and leather boat shoes for a vacay vibe.
If you’re a swimmer, loose fit board shorts are your best bet, with an elastic waist as opposed to a press stud closure, which doesn’t allow for much give and take. Or of the water, chuck on a henley t-shirt, in a relaxed fit with raglan sleeves, and flat leather sandals. Avoid the velcro synthetic kind – it will only add to your ‘dad’ vibe.
Now, click through the slideshow for some dadbod fashion staples you need to own.