Five Men Who Prove Dad Style Isn’t Just A Passing Trend
“Cool dad” is no longer an oxymoron – take it from fathers such as Messrs David Beckham and Donald Glover
First there were dad jokes. Then dad bod. Now, dad style. Seems like everything father-related (and totally uncool) eventually comes full circle. Paternal fashion sense is enjoying its place in the sun.
Designer Mr Demna Gvasalia promoted it in his SS18 Balenciaga collection, by both lampooning and lionising tropes of so-called dad style – the washed-out, frumpy denim, the ill-fitting blazers (some leather), the oversized striped denim shirts, and the clunky footwear. By taking the once looked-over uniform of out-of-touch patriarchs and placing it on a catwalk, Mr Gvasalia reframed the aesthetic, and created a sartorial in-joke.
Jokes aside, there are as many types of dad style as there are dads (and men, for that matter), from the dorky to debonair, good to very bad, and everything in between. And it transpires that, while fashion may still be seen as a young man’s game, ageing out of supposed “coolness” has its perks. Growing up and shifting your priorities (from fashion to family) can often lead to a more assured sense of personal style, one where trying too hard is unrealistic and “effortless” is a necessity – who has time to fuss about bits and bobs when a toddler is screaming at your feet? – not an aspiration. Today, there are so many genres, and even sub-genres, of dad style – classic dads, outdoorsy dads, streetwear dads, goth dads, you name it – that when it comes to style bragging rights, it seems that fatherhood is practically the must-have credential.
Here are five men who prove that looking cool doesn’t end when you become a dad. In fact, that’s where it may start.
The Goals Dad: Mr David Beckham
Mr David Beckham heads out in New York, March 2018. Photograph by Gotham/Getty Images
The Most Stylish Dad Award, if one existed, would surely go to Mr David Beckham, a man who has come to be recognised as much for his manner of dressing as his impressive athletic prowess. Long before dad style was a cultural phenomenon, the football star, husband to former pop star and current fashion designer Ms Victoria Beckham, and father of four, made headlines for his rule-breaking, boundary-pushing fashion and grooming choices (cornrows anyone?), and he hasn’t let fatherhood change that. Mr Beckham keeps us guessing, mixing up smart tailoring, streetwear and athleticwear into an eclectic and utterly unique mash-up. What’s better, it never feels like costume, but rather an organic extension of self: part classic Brit (an inborn appreciation of fine tailoring), part sportsman (intimate knowledge of the benefits of performance clothing), and a dash of natural-born rebel.
The Hip (Hop) Dad: Mr Pharrell Williams
Mr Pharrell Williams arriving at Jimmy Kimmel Live! in Los Angeles, November 2018. Photograph by Splash News
At 46 years old, Mr Pharrell Williams feels timeless. Or at very least ageless (as the obsession with his skincare routine and ever-youthful appearance can attest). There’s something age-defying about his personal style as well, an aspect of childish wonder and good-natured cheeriness juxtaposed against the swagger of hip-hop music, where he first made his mark. Mr Williams exists at the crossroads of high-fashion (take his love of Comme des Garçons and Thom Browne’s twee tailoring), streetwear (he’s often seen in adidas Originals, a brand that he’s collaborated with) and skate fashion (Dickies trousers and cut-offs are a perennial go-to). It’s a confluence of seemingly disparate influences that is visionary in the way it has predicted the current menswear aesthetic. Long before it was de rigueur, Mr Williams was unbothered by the concept of gendered clothing, seen wearing apparel from womenswear brands such as Chanel and Celine, and making it undeniably cool and helping push a niche movement toward the mainstream. In other words, anything goes when it comes to the father-of-four’s personal tastes – nothing is too fancy, too sacred, or too commonplace to escape his ravenous cultural appetite. His whimsical fashion sense has only benefited from this curiosity and openness and kept us guessing along the way.
The Je Ne Sais Quoi Dad: Mr Vincent Cassel
Mr Vincent Cassel attends the closing ceremony screening of The Specials during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival, May 2019. Photograph by Ms Gisela Schober/Getty Images
When it comes to matters of style, actor Mr Vincent Cassel possesses a certain urbane, unforced elegance that is typical of the French and proves, yet again, why Paris remains the fashion capital of the world. While Mr Cassel mostly sticks to wardrobe classics, the way in which he wears them – with a rumpled, lived-in insouciance – makes them sing. The cunning simplicity of the perfect button-down shirt or pair of trousers can make it hard to pinpoint what makes his wardrobe so covetable, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It’s there in the way he wears, say, a dark, trim crew-neck sweater and white trousers or a sharply-tailored double-breasted suit or relaxed grey trousers and a white tank top under an off-white overshirt. Each look is imbued with a knowing Gallic je ne sais quoi. The father of two daughters (with one on the way) even looks chic ferrying his teen around on a paddleboard or squatting on the street for an iPhone picture of the girls. If you need further proof of just how well-versed he is in matters of style, look at his wedding to the model Ms Tina Kunakey, to which he wore a cream suit with an unbuttoned pink shirt, proving that the bride shouldn’t have all the fun on a walk down the aisle. C’est magnifique.
The Utterly Brooklyn Dad: Mr Ethan Hawke
Mr Ethan Hawke arriving at the premiere of Good Posture during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York, April 2019. Photograph by Mr Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images
It’s widely known that the respected actor, writer and director Mr Ethan Hawke is a Brooklyn man; he is a local fixture in that New York borough. And his style – rugged and unkempt, cool without any premeditated fuss – has the rough-around-the-edges sophistication that befits his surroundings. Often seen donning some variation of faded jeans, a plain knit, and a hard-wearing jacket, Mr Hawke seems to gravitate towards workwear and its utilitarian characteristics. Also a father of four, Mr Hawke has an everyman appeal, and a relationship with fashion that’s casual and unforced. Put it this way: he definitely looks good, but he doesn’t look like the kind of man who spends much time thinking about what he’s going to wear. With his salt-and-pepper hair and scruffy stubble, he seems much more like that cool guy in a group of friends who just has a closet full of handsome clothes he’s collected over the years and an innate sense of how to wear them.
The Nouveau Dad: Mr Donald Glover
Mr Donald Glover at a screening of Solo: A Star Wars Story in New York, May 2018. Photograph by Mr Ron Asadorian/Splash News
At 35, Mr Donald Glover is an actor, writer, director, comedian and musician – an impressive feat. His approach to personal style has a similarly expansive versatility; he tries on different roles, from formal to casual, with confident ease. He often weaves in some throwback appeal, a certain 1970s flavour, to his looks. His bold take on suiting favours bold, rich colours (cherry red, maybe, or royal purple) and assured cuts and details (think: wide trousers, wide lapels). He also embraces eye-catching prints – from Gucci’s zany patterns to subtle plaids and checks from the classic menswear mode – and expertly plays with textures ranging from shiny silks to tactile velvets. While Mr Glover embraces variety, sporting Missoni, Ermenegildo Zegna and Burberry (to name a few) with equal ease, perhaps our favourite aspect of his style is that he often takes traditional sartorial elements and layers in unexpected and joyful details, creating an ensemble that feels celebratory and free-spirited, legendary even. Appropriate, then, that he and his girlfriend has named their first son (they have two) Legend. Altogether, it adds up to a look that’s hard to define, but wholly enjoyable, much like this body of work.
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