Out of all the trends from recent seasons—Matrix style, ugly fashion—none has been more enduring than so-called “dad style.” In a nutshell, it’s typified by a penchant for brands like Patagonia, New Balance, and other cozy basics that have been outfitting father figures for decades.
Recently, those archetypal brands have influenced everyone from streetwear labels to runway designers. The normcore sensibilities of dad style were exemplified by Balenciaga’s SS18 show last year, and could be seen as a factor in the rise of the chunky trainer as one of the most impactful (and divisive) options for sneakerheads and high-fashion folks alike.
So, to celebrate Father’s Day, we’ve hooked up with some of New York’s steeziest dads (including Highsnobiety’s own Jeff Carvalho) to see what they think of the trend, how they define “dad style” on their own terms, and what pieces (and advice) they hope to pass down to their progeny.
Caiden Ting, 6-years-old.
I thinks it’s great that things are becoming more practical and functional. I think some of it is true representation, and I think there’s a hint of irony in there as well. But I think that’s the point. There’s a greater appreciation for functionality mixed with nostalgia/familiarity. There’s a handful of brands that are taking dad style vibes and giving it a twist and I think it’s fine.
There have been so many…where do I start? Maybe in the early 2000s, when I owned a pair of those Silver/Clear Christian Dior sunglasses that had “CD” on the corner of the lens. Those were as obnoxious as I was at the time.
Fashion is a great form of self-expression. So have fun with it. Mix and match brands, patterns, and colors, as long as you feel comfortable with what you’re wearing. Don’t get caught up in things that are overly trendy, but also understand why certain things cost what they do.
For me it would have to be my watch. I know its something that might be antiquated by the time my son is able to wear it, with the existence of cellphones and all that. But I have a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust that I would love to pass onto him. Watches are bit of an engineering marvel with all the tiny parts assembled by artisans. I think it’s a true gentleman’s accessory for all occasions, a status symbol, investment, and legacy item.
Podcast host at Blamo! Podcast.
I’m still relatively new to the dad life but so far it’s hit the nail on the head. I need washable, relaxed fit, and easy-to-maintain clothes!
I have a few suits that I acquired over the years that I thought were really “sprezz.” I can’t believe I was such an idiot. The only suits I have left are navy and grey. Young Jeremy equals Dumb Jeremy.
Don’t let someone tell you how to dress! Make your own decisions and choices, and remember: I love you more than anything on earth.
My watches and band tees…but I’d ask they take care of them! My dad gave me these amazing bowling shirts I wore a bunch when I was skating. I didn’t take care of them and I feel really bad I wasn’t more aware of what it meant to him when he gave me his clothes.
Partner and General Manager at ALIFE.
Bond Hill, 2-years-old.
When we were growing up our fathers wore suits to work, either for banks, law firms, consultancies, even sales jobs. Corporate culture changed, the internet happened, industries evolved and so did fashion. What was acceptable attire at work shifted. Dads can wear to work what they would typically wear on the weekend now.
The term “dad style” is code for “I don’t care about my look” and “I’m not trying.” There are dads that actually do not give a fuck, and then dads that pull it off perfectly. I think a blend of both is what fashion gravitated towards.
Which one?! I used to wear my hat on top of my head as if I was in a 24-hour rap video. And I have a really bad Replay shirt that my wife still tortures me about to this day.
Don’t follow trends. Wear what you feel comfortable in. Fashion fades; style does not.
Nothing! He needs to build his own closet.
CEO of SWEET CHICK.
Jette and Milann: age 7, Berry: age 5.
Ha! No, that kind of “dad style” looks like some shit parents in the Midwest wore in the ‘80s, but I’ve never been to the Midwest, so maybe?
I used to have a Cadillac belt buckle. That was wack.
Don’t just buy expensive shit and think it’s cool. That’s for lames.
All my T-shirts and Rolexes.
Costume Designer and Fashion Director of GQ Style.
Omolara Mariyam Dawodu, 9-years-old.
I think the “dad style“ trend is really more accurate of the dads before us—my dad’s generation, the baby boomer–not so much the modern dad. That’s why I think it’s a trend, It’s more or less vintage.
One style moment I regret? None. All of them got me here. They were comfortable for that moment. I definitely wouldn’t go back though. Ha!
Be comfortable, feel good, keep it fresh—and definitely keep it premium!
Any gold I have, and my collection of African prints–vintage by then I hope!
I own and operate both Kinfolk bars, The Kinfolk Store, and Kinfolklife.com. We have no affiliation with Kinfolk magazine and have an active beef with them.
My wife is pregnant with our first and is due in June. I have no idea what to expect, and I am completely unprepared. As far as names go, we are still narrowing it down and are open to suggestions.
I’m all about comfort, but if “Dad Style” means ugly sneakers and ill-fitting denim, then I’m out. People are too young to be dressing badly. You’ll have plenty of time to be washed. Don’t waste your prime years pretending not to care.
JNCO jeans with XXL Polo Rugbys. The Polo was dope, but the sizing was horrible. Huge waste of fabric for someone that weighed 135 pounds.
Fuck it, do you.
I have a mountain of graphic tees and a closet full of jackets… If people are nostalgic about the 2010s when my kid is a teen, they are gonna kill it!
Managing Director N.A., Highsnobiety.
Style is personal. If one feels like wearing what’s comfortable over what looks good—go for it. But my guess is that one can find common ground between what looks and feels good.
I wore a desert camo Mark McNairy Puffer jacket with cycling shoes to a Todd Snyder event. I wouldn’t do that again.
Be yourself. Take what the internet tells you is cool and figure out if it works for you, then find a way to make it your own.
Flat Head jeans from Japan that have great wear and patina on them from years of wear. They’re a size 32. He’ll fit into them one day.
I do just about everything at Nepenthes and Engineered Garments.
Ahmelia Elisabetta, 3.9.
I don’t think it is, I think it’s just a way to describe this moment that feels like men’s fashion is in neutral. I live in the suburbs and I never see dads that dress like that. Ultimately, I think the trend is fine—it’s a trend.
Touch wood, I don’t have one. Life’s too short for regrets.
Know yourself and have no fear.
Everything and anything she might want.
Thanks to all the fathers for speaking to us. Read more about the rise of Dadcore trend and why it’s so appealing to young people right here.