As I approach my (shudder) 40th birthday early next year, the gentle canter of the passage of years I felt in my twenties and thirties has been replaced by a thunderously intense gallop as the wild stallions of time drag me kicking and screaming towards middle age.
Like many men approaching their fifth decade, you begin to take stock of your life. Funnily enough, I’m not living the millionaire playboy lifestyle I imagined in my twenties, but thankfully one thing I have managed to achieve is the passing on of my genetic material. Yes, although the Hugh Hefner lifestyle has sadly passed me by, I am, at least, a father.
Being a modern dad is a style minefield, especially now that all our spare cash is diverted from the clothing budget to keeping the little swines alive. Therefore, sartorial decisions become much more considered than when we had money to burn.
The combination of style-aware gents and fatherhood has (excuse the pun) given birth to the Trendy Dad. For further proof, just look at how the style icons from the past 15 years have evolved; chaps like Ewan Macgregor, Jude Law and the king of celebrity dads, David Beckham, are now more regularly papped taking their kids for a Happy Meal than falling out of 1-Altitude.
Not getting it right in the fatherhood fashion stakes means you can end up looking like you’re in fancy dress as you drop your kids off at the school gates – Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Elton John are all guilty of this sartorial sin, but being international rock stars they are excused. But if you want to get it right as a trendy dad, here are the essentials.
“Fashion fades but style is forever”. Choose something that will last and be prepared to shell out a few extra dollars for a lifetime of wear. Workwear, Military, American Varsity, Biker, English Country and American Outdoor never go away.
The jackets by RRL (Ralph Lauren’s heritage-inspired line) are based on original vintage pieces and are worth the considerable retail prices. A Belstaff or Barbour jacket is going to last you for years – the leather biker jackets at belstaff this season are fantastic if your cash can stretch that far. For a more modest budget, authentic New York manufacturer Schott have been making peacoats for the US navy and leather biker jackets for decades – Marlon Brando’s jacket in The Wild One is a Schott.
Made on shorter looms than standard denim, selvedge denim features a coloured edge of fabric that is joined at the leg, so when you turn them up you get a neat seam detail.
Check out LVC – the Levi’s premium denim line for authentic fits from their 150-year archive. Alternatively, all the big denim brands do a selvedge style or two, but be warned, they are pricey. Go for a tailored slim fit rather than skinny – leave the leggings look to your other half; it’ll suit her better.
The cornerstone to any trendy dad’s garb is the plain t-shirt. Get rid of those meaningless slogan tees and channel your inner James Dean. A basic t-shirt doesn’t mean two for $10 from City Plaza; splash out on something a little more premium and it will fit like a glove and become better the more you wear it. British jersey specialists Sunspel have some great options, as does German brand Scheisser.
Well-chosen footwear is the finishing touch to the trendy dad’s ensemble, and again, be prepared to splash out on something a bit special. Red Wing boots have transcended their original work-wear roots and are now as common at the school gates of UWC as they are in the North American wilderness.
If the work-wear/biker look doesn’t do it for you, then a pair of classic English country boots is equally suitable. This season, try a plain toe or a derby rather than the ubiquitous brogue – and black and dark brown rather than light tan. Brands like Trickers or Grenson tend to be the best quality.
Now… I’ve got bottoms to wipe. Until next time.