From bottle duty, to helping you with your math homework, to chipping in for your college tuition, Dad has done a lot for you. He’s smart, supportive, and kind — and who doesn’t appreciate a couple of cringeworthy dad jokes? But the one area we don’t give him enough credit in? Fashion.
Don’t let his sweater vests, light-wash jeans, and sneakers fool you: He’s a pretty stylish guy. Father’s Day is right around the corner and in honor of his big day, we’re listing 10 sartorial lessons you can learn from your old man.
1. Never underestimate the power of a good suit
A suit isn’t just another article of clothing hanging in his closet. Whether he’s giving a big presentation in front of the CEO or simply letting loose at a wedding, a suit is his armor. But very few things look worse than an unfitted ensemble. When tailored correctly, a fitted suit shows onlookers that you’re confident and in charge of your own life — and anything less than a perfect, glove-like fit is the exact opposite. There are many made-to-measure suiting companies and eager tailors out there to give you the suit of your dreams, but if money’s a little tight, have a look at these clever tricks for faking the perfect fit.
2. Always iron your shirt
Like a perfectly tailored suit, a crisp, wrinkle-free shirt shows everyone that you’re mature, responsible, and have your life together. When you think about it, have you ever seen Dad in a wrinkled button-down? Probably not.
Look, we get it: Taking 30 minutes out of your day to iron or steam your shirt is a big ask. But when you put on Game of Thrones in the background, it doesn’t seem so bad. If you’re really pressed for time, try hanging your shirt in the bathroom as you take a hot, steamy shower. It might not work as well as ironing, but you’ll notice a small improvement.
3. Vintage is actually cool
Sure, you might have shuddered at the sight of your dad wearing the same leather jacket he had when he was 25 years old, but he’s got a point: Vintage is cool. In an era when almost every fast fashion retailer churns out the same products season after season, finding an article of clothing or a cool accessory that actually resonates with you is easier said than done. Not only do vintage pieces have a story behind them, they have that one-of-a-kind air you can’t find anywhere else. Vintage shopping for the first time? Make sure you check out our tips for shopping like a pro.
4. Wear a belt
Above all, strapping on a belt is functional; however, we have to admit that Dad’s chronic belt-wearing convinced us they are stylish, too. Even when everyone thought pulling your jeans down low enough to expose your boxers was cool, Dad was always buttoned- and belted-up. This look might’ve seemed square back in 2001, but now we finally get it.
5. Comfort is key
Have you ever seen your dad wearing a skin-tight, uncomfortable pair of jeans? No, because he knows it’s better to stay loose and cozy. Dad might be dressed to the nines for the office or special occasions, but when it comes to Sunday night football, he’s all about those plush, fleece-lined sweatpants. It must be hereditary because after a long day, all we really want to do is throw on some sweats and binge-watch our favorite TV show.
6. Layer up
Once the mercury drops, it’s almost necessary to throw on several layers before you even think about stepping outside. But Dad’s string of patriarchal-friendly looks make a case for layering up all year round. His button-downs tucked underneath a crewneck sweater is a viable option for the fall, but even when it gets warmer, he always makes a T-shirt and windbreaker look cool.
7. Experiment with your grooming
Wow, Dad has really gone through a lot of different grooming looks. There was the retro mustache he sported when you were born, a classic clean-shave for the office, and a rampant beard during those long summer vacations. In 2017, it’s becoming increasingly appropriate to sport a beard or mustache to your C-suite job, and perhaps nobody taught you how much fun experimenting and caring about your facial hair can be quite like your old man.
8. Shine your shoes
A guy could be dressed in the finest, perfectly tailored suit, but a pair of scuffed up shoes will definitely cheapen the look. When you were a kid, you probably thought the idea of Dad getting his shoes professionally shined seemed silly. Why waste all that time and money when you’re just going to step in some dirt? But regularly cleaning your shoes will extend the lifespan of your favorite lace-ups, not to mention show colleagues or potential employers that you take care of yourself. Unlike Dad, you might not have the budget to get your shoes professionally shined, but you can get the same results at home — all you need is a brush and some polish cream.
9. Only wear the things you love
Frivolous is probably the last thing we’d call our dads. He likes to keep it simple and sartorially speaking, that means wearing the same T-shirt, jeans, and hoodies until they’re literally falling apart. A mere hole or ketchup stain doesn’t deter him — he knows what he likes and sticks with it. Call it what you will, but we respect him for keeping his closet — erm — minimal. We actually get it. What’s the point of having a closet filled to the brim with stuff that doesn’t bring you joy?
10. Don’t take fashion so seriously
By definition, dads are embarrassing. They crack their silly dad jokes on the regular, post several cringeworthy Facebook statuses, and wear some really cheesy clothes. That turkey tie he whips out every Thanksgiving? Or what about that “Kiss the Cook” apron he wears during your family barbecue? Don’t even get us started about his Christmas sweater. But while his sartorial choices sometimes send us reeling, he raises a very valid question: Who cares?
At the Cheat Sheet, we’ll always share tips for living the smartest, and most stylish, life you can; however, having a sense of humor about what you wear is key. The world is chock-full of serious, somber happenings — and the last thing we should be irrationally serious about is our clothes. So go ahead, get a little weird with what you wear — OK, maybe not to Dad’s extent. Whether it’s a loud, printed sweater or pair of bright sunglasses, taking a style risk never hurt anyone.