Who’s that dashing dad?

Fashion would be the last thing on a new dad’s mind. But Harssh Chheda suggests a few easy ways to look cool and stylish...

As is the case with size, knowing which brands work the best for your dad-bod will serve you well.

The birth of a baby changes so much for new fathers. Suddenly, they must learn to skilfully balance parenthood with their career, social life, relationships and hobbies, without any additional hours being added to their already hectic days. With so much to deal with, dressing up may seem like the last priority and easy to skip simply because you don’t want to deal with yet another thing to do. The good news is that with a little help and some well-planned shopping, you could still pull off that much-coveted trendy dad-style with surprisingly little effort. 

Know your size

As per a 2018 study by Northwestern Medicine, most new fathers gain anywhere between 3.5 and 4.5 lbs following the birth of their little one(s). One of the first things you can do to overhaul your style is to determine your new size and find clothes that fit your new body. Don’t try to squeeze into pre-fatherhood pieces, even if they happen to conform to the latest trends or if you happened to buy them as investment pieces. Well-fitted basics will do a lot more for your style than a more sophisticated outfit that you have to strap your body into.

Invest in neutrals

As a father, you probably already know that time is perennially in short supply. You simply can’t afford the luxury of matching elaborate prints and patterns, especially when there’s a school run or a PTA meeting to attend to. For your daily look, stick to a safe wardrobe of trusted neutrals such as navy, camel, olive green, dark grey or white. Pick a few statement pieces in traditional patterns such as pinstripes, plaids, Prince of Wales checks and microdots, which can instantly dress up your look. Also invest in a few sweaters and jackets that you can easily layer over your shirts, to instantly look more put-together.

Pick the right brands

As is the case with size, knowing which brands work the best for your dad-bod will serve you well. Know that the aesthetic that your 20-year-old self once rocked is hardly as charming and rakish, now that you’re a dad. Investigate a good mix of high street and luxury labels, especially when purchasing wardrobe staples such as denims, button-up shirts and trousers.

Convenience can be stylish

New dads, especially, don’t have all the time in the world to spend on maintaining their wardrobe — opt for easily washable fabrics such as cotton over wool or cashmere, for your daily errands. Know that your expensive suits and dress clothes can get drooled on or attract spills, so make sure to plan well ahead. Some easily washable clothes that you can add to your everyday look include cotton khakis and corduroys, cotton polo shirts, cotton cardigans, sweaters and vests.

While many new dads tend to veer towards wrinkle-resistant or non-iron dress shirts, know that many of these may be treated with formaldehyde, which makes the fabric feel plasticky and lose its wrinkle-resistance after a few washes. Instead, choose fabrics made of super 80s or super 60s yarns, which don’t wrinkle as easily — remember, the higher the super number, the more prone the fabric is to wrinkling. When picking shoes, choose slip-on styles such as loafers and boat shoes that save you the time and effort you’d otherwise spend on struggling with shoelaces.

Don’t shy away from accessories

Just because you’re a dad doesn’t mean you have to be boring, especially as far as your style is concerned. A good watch, a simple band or a signet ring can spice up your daily look, while a smart pocket square, silk-woven tie or scarf and classic hats can make formal evenings that much more sophisticated.

Less is more

Always remember that the thumb rule to looking effortlessly stylish (which is your goal) is ‘less is more’. Don’t be lured by loud, large logos, statement tees or garish colours that scream for attention. Prefer garments and accessories that look and feel expensive because of their material and fit.

Find a good tailor

Many pieces you buy off the rack may not fit you as is but can work quite well with your body when you make a few simple adjustments. A good tailor can help you to get there, without breaking the bank in the process. Many good stores will also offer tailoring services at discounted rates, if you buy from them. For occasions when you want to dress up, a bespoke, custom suit can up your fashion game and help you to turn heads without trying too hard.

(The author is founder & CEO, Corporate Collars)

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