No, I’m not talking about suave, expensive suits. I’m not even talking about my own dad (though his contribution to my wardrobe via cool vintage baseball tees and sweaters that I may have stolen from his closet [thanks!] are duly noted and appreciated).
I’m talking about the Mr. Rogers-esque, short sleeve polo-wearing, do-we-have-any-grape-nuts-left dads. The geekier the better. In fact, if their khakis don’t come with pleats and they don’t have an arsenal of sweater vests, I am not interested.
So we are all familiar with androgynous style (which rather than meaning “gender neutral” has generally been interpreted as “women in men’s clothes”), right? Everyone loves the menswear trend, which has been called “chic” and “daring” at various stages of its tenure as Hipster Uniform, especially when it is not being worn by actual men.
When Coco Chanel debuted looser, masculine-inspired clothing in the early 1900s coexisting with the OG Suffragettes, the women’s fashion world dove into a longterm relationship with menswear that has been tumultuous at times, but is still going strong. Then came Katherine Hepburn, far later came The Turtleneck Goddess Diane Keaton, and now here we are today. Menswear is the ultimate lewk for budding fashionistas who want to look cool but not like they tried too hard. Nothing says casual like an oversized tee carefully half-tucked into high-waisted Levis that give you a camel toe but so what, they’re chic!!!!
But exactly which men is this style we women have come to love influenced by? I guess you could say that to an extent we do love our crisp white button downs, tailored pantsuits, and shiny black oxfords. However, with the rise (and thankful death) of normcore and the ensuing months/years of “mom” jeans and baggy vintage-looking sweaters that you pretend you bought at Goodwill (though we all know you paid $70 for it at Urban Outfitters), I feel that the type of man “menswear for women” fashion draws from is not usually the suave young urbanite. It’s from to another breed of male altogether. Namely: dads. It’s weird, but I couldn’t love it more.
If I needed proof, a quick investigation into my day-to-day stylistic choices shows that these are the things I find myself increasingly drawn to: tweed, short sleeve button-downs, khakis WITH CROTCH PLEATS (#fashionbirthcontrol), really really ugly loafers, turtlenecks, sweater vests, and high-waisted everything.
Plus: the sticking socks under shoes that socks have no business being anywhere near (read: sandals, heels, gummy shoes, etc.) trend? Our perpetual need to tuck absolutely everything into pair of high-waisted trousers and finish off our prospects of attracting the opposite sex with a belt on top? They couldn’t be more of a dad thing if they walked into a 5 star restaurant in white New Balances and a visor whilst attempting the Macarena.
Moms get all the credit for starting this asexual fashion revolution in which we currently find ourselves (mom jeans! and subsequently, mom butt!), but it’s really dads that I find have been influencing me the most in the sartorial department. Frank Costanza is my inadvertent style icon.
Which has led me to two conclusions. One, maybe art imitates life and not the other way around. Two, that slowly but surely, we are all becoming our dads.
And with that, I present you with an image of my future self: