A lot of trendy moments in fashion have been inspired by the ugly-cool ways that dads have been thought to dress. There was the dad sneaker—chunky, bulky, retro—and of course, the dad baseball cap hat. But there are also a handful of other ways to channel dad style like the t-shirt tuck with belted trousers, a pair of light wash denim, a calf-height athletic sock, and, of course, the carefree, colorful vacation shirt. While you can certainly pick up a few dad-like styling hacks from the fashion world, you could also go straight to the source and emulate the wardrobe of your own Father—he’s where it all started, after all.
Ahead of the Father’s Day holiday, we asked a handful of editors to recount the fashion experiences and memories of their Fathers. It turns out, there’s much more to their style than the goofy sneakers (sorry, Dad) and nerdy fanny packs. It’s true that father figures can teach us many wonderful life lessons, but these Dads even know a thing or two about how to get dressed.
Chioma Nnadi, Editor Vogue.com
My dad only ever wore suits when I was growing up, even when he wasn’t at his office job! To add a little extra length in the leg, he’d pair his suits with snazzy Cuban heels. I always thought they were kind of ridiculous when I was a kid—I mean, who in their right mind wears uncomfortable hard-bottom shoes on the weekend!? But now I realize that elements of his late 1970s styling have found their way into my own wardrobe. Case in point: I recently bought a pair of men’s heels from Gucci (I have huge feet so I often find myself buying men’s shoes though it turns out they make the style for women, too) that are basically a fun take on the ones my dad would wear. The words “ice” and “lolly” come embedded across the back of each two-inch heel. I know he’d love them.
Steff Yotka, Senior Fashion News Director
Despite the fact that while I was growing up, my dad was always encouraging me to embrace the all American minimalism of a classic white Oxford shirt—he told me to channel Sharon Stone in The Gap, I wanted to channel Scary Spice in leopard print—he is actually a master of color-blocking. I often think about the outfit he wore on my 25th birthday, a cobalt polo and sneakers with lime green shorts and his vacation wear that consists of flamingo pink shorts, patterned camp shirts, and a series of colorful Uniqlo tees. He never spends a lot on clothing—except for the occasional Dries Van Noten shirt in a groovy print, but he always looks polished and exciting. My reference for colorblock is always Raf Simons’s spring 2011 show for Jil Sander; it’s one thing my dad and I can agree on.
Emily Farra, Senior Fashion News Writer
My grandfather grew up in Egypt and always wore gold jewelry, even after moving to the U.S. in the 1960s and encountered a much more tepid culture of men’s style. I’d like to think my own jewelry obsession comes partly from him! I’m lucky to have a few of his pieces now, including a signet inscribed with Arabic text (which I need to get sized!). For our 30th birthday, my dad also gave me and my twin sister Liz a watch our grandfather bought in the ’80s via a telegram auction. It’s on the smaller side in a mix of steel and gold with a bracelet strap—much more delicate than the chunky watches guys wear today. It inspired my dad’s lifelong appreciation for watches, too, and I’m honored to be the third person to wear it (at least, when it isn’t on Liz’s wrist! Luckily, we’ve become very good at sharing. We timeshare that signet, too.)
Madeline Fass, Market Editor
As a classic motorcycle and automobile enthusiast and a former college band member with a healthy music obsession, my dad has taught me to love and appreciate the classic leather moto jacket. He’s had the same Schott jacket for about 25 years (one of many in his repertoire)—talk about a return on investment and cost per wear! When I turned 25, he gave me my first real leather moto. Leather jackets are just one of those genderless items that ooze genuine cool, looking better with age the more you wear them. As of late, I’ve really been into my second-hand oversized moto for just that reason. His love for leather may or may not have had something to do with my obsession with the material—it’s safe to say there’s a leather or vegan leather version of almost every silhouette in my wardrobe, from long shorts to shirt dresses. And when it comes to his well-suited looks for the New York’s Distinguished Gentleman’s motorcycle ride for men’s health, (last time he insisted on matching Rowing Blazers jackets), he’s my forever inspiration.
Ella Riley-Adams, Senior Living and Beauty Editor
So many of my clothes come from my dad’s closet! Since he now relies on a collection of Orvis tees and Patagonia shorts, I’ve been lucky to receive a few of his old, more formal shirts, which I wear tucked into high-waisted pants or loose over a short dress. My favorites include a silk emerald-colored Lanvin button-down and a striped Paul Smith number, which I actually wore to one of my Vogue interviews. Lately, though, I’ve been inspired by my dad’s commitment to color—he’ll pair bright Nikes with patterned socks and a lime-green shirt with a lavender hat. The result is both effortless and eye-catching, which seems like the ideal combination for our re-entry into a more social life.
Charlotte Diamond, Associate Fashion Editor
My dad is a man of simple pleasures, and his sartorial choices definitely reflect that. One tidbit I picked up from him is the power of a good denim jacket: sturdy, just broken in, oversized, and has ample room for some pins strategically placed along the collar. Additionally, my most treasured possession is a sweatshirt of his from his college track days that is falling apart, but it feels like I’m hugging him every time I wear it.
Willow Lindley, Accessories Director
I’ve found myself drawn to an inordinate amount of loose-fitting button-downs, specifically those styled over t-shirts, vintage straight leg Levi’s, and even elastic waist shorts. I’m all in on menswear for women but especially dad style. It was in this realization that it came to me—my two moments of joy are intrinsically linked. My dad definitely always has and always will dress like Jerry Seinfeld. It seems to run deep in my DNA.
Rachel Besser, Market Editor
My affinity for a good, oversized sweater comes directly from my dad. I used to raid his closet before school and wear his half-zips and cashmere turtlenecks on the regular. Nowadays, I’m loving a good oversized half-zip silhouette, especially because they remind me of him.