Fathers are known for the many wonderful things and, of course, for bad jokes! I mean, even Barack Obama succumbed to them through his presidency, although we must add, they were pretty entertaining (or maybe we were actually amused at how his daughters were not amused by his ‘dad jokes’).
But, if there is something else that fathers are also notorious for, it has got to be their inimitable, and sometimes, eccentric sense of fashion. With their fondness for peculiar colour combinations, snazzy ties, socks with sandals, classic running shoes with formal pants, tweed blazers till summer arrives, or their predilection for wearing old college tees (if they still manage to fit into them), fathers around the world are responsible for what is often referred to as ‘Dad Fashion’.
With Father’s Day round the corner, we realised, that despite their fashion idiosyncrasies, dads don’t usually get any credit for their appearance, which is a real shame, because if you look intently, they have flaunted some of the coolest trends their sons now admire or are now chasing after.
Jeremy Arthur, a music teacher, recalls, “Growing up, my dad had this combination of ‘smart casual’ and ‘too casual’. He would wear a shirt with shorts and top it off with an ascot cap and cool shades. Back then, I thought it was really geeky and was embarrassed. He would ride his Chetak scooter in front of my friends dressed like that. Obviously, now my perception has changed and it is quite nice to see him almost in his 60s, still the same. He doesn’t care what people think and that appears to be quite cool to me.”
‘Like father, like son’, they say, and for good reason. Boys don’t just pick up the same skills or have a proclivity for the same kind of automobiles, or ape their father’s mannerisms. Many of them end up dressing like their fathers at least when they are old enough to think turtle-necks and stonewashed denims are as cool as their fathers made them out to be.
Jacob Anand, content lead — social edia and film, at AJIO, says: “My father lived out his 20s in the 1970s. Now I am quite envious of that because I think the 70s were all about decadent style and bringing attitude and good tailoring together. Things did get a little out of hand with the collars, flares and polyesters — it was the disco era after all —but overall, it was a good time for fits. Somehow, everyone in the 70s seemed to be lean and mean.
My dad was no exception. He wore what you now now call slim-fit shirts that were tailored to fit his frame perfectly. While I struggle to keep the girth of my mid-section in check, I see photos of him in these sleek shirts and sigh internally. I am moving towards getting more of my clothes tailored instead of buying them off the rack.”
“My father has has not changed much, including in his style statement. Half sleeved shirts, un-tucked linen shirts, or kurtas and sandals are what you normally see him wear. While I initially thought that this was an uncool way of dressing, watching him carry this style with ease made me change my mind. He has never dressed to please others, which is one of the attributes that I admire about him. Now, years later, I find myself following his footsteps and imitating his style,” confesses Mohan Benjamin, who works as a HR and culture manager.
For Prateek Ruhail, currently pursuing his MBA from Oxford, the story is almost similar. He says, “I would often see my father pair denims with brogue shoes or dress shoes. I occasionally asked him why he wouldn’t wear sneakers or dress more casually. He would smile and say he likes it that way. Post my graduation, I bought my first pair of true Oxford brogues (in beige). As fancy as they were, without realising, I started wearing them with denims whenever I wanted to look sharp for dinner or an event. It is only now that I realise I was actually imitating my idol — my father.”
Interestingly, while a number of men have come to love and even imitate their father’s style of dressing, women who have a keen eye for detail, never fail to notice and appreciate their father’s dress sense.
“My dad was always impeccably dressed, especially to school (he was the principal of a well-known ICSE school then) as well as to church,” says Anita Ranbhise, a teacher. She adds: “His suit, tie, socks and shoes were always well co-ordinated. I especially admired his collection of ties; they were smart. He took pride in being well dressed. One accessory that he loved was his golf hat. He always teamed it up with his casual wear and he looked dapper! Be it for an evening walk or to buy vegetables, he never stepped out of the house without it. I loved that look of his the most.”
And so it is true, as the American comedian Jerry Seinfeld says, “You can tell what the best year of your father’s life was, because they seem to freeze that clothing style and ride it out.” This Father’s Day, why not appreciate him for being Daddy Cool?