Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The art of dressing like a dad, aka the ‘dadfit’

Dressing like a dad doesn’t have to be lame
(Courtesy of New Balance official Facebook page)

What do you think of as a stereotypical dadfit? Maybe a polo shirt or some kind of casual button-down cinched at the waist with a large leather belt, complete with a pair of straight jeans and exposed white calf socks — with a complimentary pair of classic Sketchers or New Balance sneakers to top it off. Anyone sporting this look should be pushing a baby stroller or have a Baby Bjorn strapped to their chest, meandering down a suburban sidewalk, travel thermos in hand.

A lot of my friends like to tease me for the “dadfits” that I wear on the daily. But here, I want to make a strong argument as to why the dadfit is a great and versatile outfit for daily use, and its variations can be made to impress while remaining comfortable.

First, I want to properly define what a dadfit truly is. It’s where clothing and personality collide to make something that represents you. Not everyone can pull off a dadfit, because if you don’t find jokes like “How does NASA organize a party? They planet” funny, then maybe the dad life isn’t for you.

If you don’t walk around your apartment turning off all the lights in the rooms not being used, the dadfit simply isn’t for you. If you don’t take awkward selfies, don’t have Urban Dictionary bookmarked on your phone to regularly check slang, don’t accept help when you really need it because you can “figure it out yourself,” don’t have a 12-year-old sense of humor or don’t laugh at your own jokes, the dadfit isn’t for you. These are strict, non flexible rules.

If you don’t feel the need to correct people’s grammar mid-sentence or to spend entire afternoons playing golf, or using your backyard grill to cook dinner (as if that’s the only option you have to cook dinners with) again, the look is not for you.

The dadfit is not just about the cringy sneakers and tucked in collared-shirts, but about the person who wears them. It’s a lifestyle.

Maybe your personality fits the dadfit, but you’re not a fan of looking like the pinnacle of suburbia everywhere you go. A few simple changes can help make the look a little more stylish and evoke fewer pointed laughs.

One, wear tapered pants of appropriate length. Be it jeans or a nice pair of chinos, your pants should sit comfortably around your thigh and calf, giving them a light hug. Not anything too tight, but something that doesn’t drape off your knee like a curtain above your shoe. That being said, pants should be at a length that rests comfortably on top of your shoes without crumpling or bunching while standing, and should not hike halfway up your calf when sitting.

Two, swap the tennis shoes for a stylish pair of chukka boots. These ankle-high leather boots will add a modern flair to your outfit that Sketchers or New Balances just can’t do. An added bonus is that they’re still casual enough for everyday walking use. In my opinion, a brown leather pair would complement any dadfit quite nicely.

Lastly, for some added flair, keep the long-sleeved button-downs, but roll up the sleeves. Nothing screams bland suburban dad more than a casual button-down t-shirt. But a tastefully patterned long-sleeved button-down with rolled-up sleeves gives off the air that, yes, you might have a boring, well-paying desk job, but you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty on a work bench.

Now, why would anyone want to rock a dadfit in the first place? Does it even get you anything besides some pointed fingers and snickers? I argue that a tasteful dadfit can do you a lot of good throughout all your daily personal interactions. Think about it — a dad is someone who’s settled in, paying his mortgage, probably has some savings he’s invested and has a passive income, with (ideally) a happy partner and a couple rambunctious kids.

A tasteful dadfit done right takes the stereotypes of a lazy burger-grilling, beer guzzling dad into one with professionalism and positive energy (although the immature distasteful humor may remain). Others may look at your watch, chukka boots and tucked-in button-down and see someone who cares about their appearance and takes what he does daily more seriously than others in their daily groutfits. Professors, friends and acquaintances alike will look up to you more as someone who’s got it all together.

Plus, you can still be comfortable enough to toss a baseball or a Frisbee at a moment’s notice.

Nicholas Remillard can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    John aimoApr 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    The sad thing is you can’t tell if this is serious or satire.