As a fashion iconoclast, I realize that — despite my impeccable taste — I would be nowhere without stealing from my dad’s closet.
Dads are like magnets: I don’t understand them, and they collect a bunch of stuff. While my father indeed confuses and frightens me constantly, much like a magnet, he also has collected an incredible array of clothing.
The only problem with raiding a dad’s closet for looks is that his collection is probably insanely eclectic. While he collected a lot over the years, there’s no way he only gathered the good stuff. But that’s what brings the challenge and excitement to diving into from a dad’s dresser.
Things dads have gotten wrong
I saw my father wearing Croakies on his prescription glasses yesterday, and I almost jumped into traffic.
While eyewear retainers have gained a certain popularity especially among preppier types for their practical ability to keep one’s sunglasses in place, my dad somehow co-opted this look into my living nightmare.
What’s worse is that he wasn’t even at the beach — just going outside posed enough risk to knock his glasses off his noggin that he apparently needed to secure them with a strap around his neck. I often wonder if my dad is clueless, or secretly and intentionally trolling me.
While my dad might be the only one, to my knowledge, infected with the desire to wear eyeglass retainers on prescription glasses, cargo shorts, on the other hand, are an epidemic.
In the wild, adventure-filled world that is a dad’s closet, cargo shorts are a dad favorite that should be avoided like Indiana Jones avoided that boulder in “Raiders of The Lost Ark” — run for your life.
Where do I even start? Unless you’re literally carrying supplies on a hiking expedition, what are you going to do with those pockets?
I understand that some dads actually use the pockets for various dad things — extra Croakies, ponchos, snacks for the kids — but unless you are literally a dad with at least seven kids to take care of, the cargo pockets are unnecessary, unsightly and just plain wrong.
Things dads have gotten right
If you can get past the booby traps that are your dad’s Croakies, cargo shorts and cargo-short pockets stuffed with extra Croakies, your reward lies in the hidden gems that are rugby shirts and dad caps.
I stole an old-school, confirmed-vintage rugby shirt from my dad my freshman year, and I was the only person in Baker Hall East to rock one. Given their combination of classic, old-school aesthetic, warmth and popping colors, rugby shirts are the burritos of fashion: All that good stuff wrapped into one item.
Even though my rugby shirt currently resides in the apartment of an ex-girlfriend, that just goes to show its versatility. As a confirmed horrible boyfriend, the rugby shirt allowed me to give a pretty decent gift, at least one time.
Dad caps — typical, boring baseball caps — bring a certain beauty with their subdued simplicity. I personally like to go with a beige hat, to balance out any aggressive color schemes I’m wearing.
A simple hat, with a Lawnscapes logo — like mine, for example — makes people think, “Hey, I like this guy. He cares about obscure Cincinnati-based landscaping companies. What a salt-of-the-earth guy.” I can’t think of a better way to obscure my actual personality, which is one of an insufferable fashion columnist.
As dangerous as dads can be with their fashion choices, and as much as we mock them, I can truly say that I would be nowhere without my dad’s clothes. Dads, in general, might have dorky wardrobes, but with simple, millennial curation, it’s more than possible to turn one man’s trash into another, cooler, much hipper man’s treasure.