In the past we took you down the path of dressing stylishly as a portly man. Today we’re taking it one step further into more prolific territory – the dad bod.
If you’re not hitting the gym like you used to and enjoying a few more beers on the weekend in between minding kids, you’ve probably got some extra cushioning on that once rippling torso.
A relatively new body type for men, the dad bod is described as “softly round” by Urban Dictionary, and has been associated with men like 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 any longer.
Not a dad? Maybe you’re single and look, how should we say it, ‘fatherly’ across the tummy. Again, we’re not here to judge your pudge. But, we do have some dad bod styling tips, meaning you don’t need to cut the carbs or invest in stylish gym kit to look good.
For now, embrace the dad bod you’ve earned – every jiggly bit of it – and learn to still look good.
What Is The Dad Bod
While no two dad bods are the same, today’s style exercise (don’t worry, there’s no actual exercise involved) starts with a clarification warm-up. A dad bod falls into the following body shape categories:
- Oval or triangle
- Not exactly ‘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, dad bods, 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 With Dad Bod
- 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 With Dad Bods
To undo some of the dad bod’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 dad bods 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.
Suit With Dad Bod
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.
Smart Casual With Dad Bod
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.
T-Shirt & Jeans With Dad Bod
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.
Dad Bod FAQ
Your suit jacket should end around mid-crotch if you are under 5'9” and mid to lower if you are taller than that. For sleeve length, there should be about half an inch between your jacket and the shirt worn under it. It depends on the occasion you are going to wear them. If you will do sports, go for polyester. For a more formal setting, the best choice is linen or cotton. Waxed jackets come in neutral colors, so they work well with just a shirt and chinos. Younger men may also wear them with jeans, hoodie and sneakers for a more urban aesthetic.
How long is too long for a suit jacket?
What are the best fabrics for Bermuda shorts?
How to style a waxed jacket?
Your suit jacket should end around mid-crotch if you are under 5'9” and mid to lower if you are taller than that. For sleeve length, there should be about half an inch between your jacket and the shirt worn under it.
It depends on the occasion you are going to wear them. If you will do sports, go for polyester. For a more formal setting, the best choice is linen or cotton.
Waxed jackets come in neutral colors, so they work well with just a shirt and chinos. Younger men may also wear them with jeans, hoodie and sneakers for a more urban aesthetic.