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  • Writer's pictureDamian Kerlin

'Dad Fashion' - My Top 5 Tips

I have always been an avid fan of fashion and throughout my teenage years and early 20’s I explored and played with styles ALOT. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the mullet and checked shirt phase – Tiger King eat your heart out! It’s taken me this long to figure out my own personal style, which continues to change and evolve. However, I feel l have a much better grasp of what I do and don’t like, and what suits my body shape and personality.

‘Dad Fashion’ has always been an interesting concept to me and something I am hoping to explore more through my blog. Since becoming a Dad, I have never felt the pressure to change or adapt my look to fit this new responsibility. Fashion for me, has always been a creative outlet and a form of self-expression, but for others it may be about practicality, comfort and escapism.

I feel confident in my fashion choices and it is something that I continue to enjoy as I get older, but for many Dad’s it can be quite an overwhelming and daunting experience. Having spoken with a number of Dad’s through platforms, such as Dad AF, lack of confidence, loss of identity, and change in their body shape are among the main contributing factors.

A recent survey from British Social Attitudes found that only 23% of men satisfied with their body image in the last year. 15% of men felt shame, 25% felt down or low and 12% actually felt disgusted of their body image. Comments from the Dad’s I spoke to include:

‘as I’ve gotten older, I’ve put on weight and I’m suddenly finding the clothes that I used to wear don’t fit anymore, so I just throw on whatever I can find, or what my Mrs has bought for me’

‘there is so much choice these days, I’m not 100% sure where to start’

‘I do miss spending a bit more time in shops trying stuff on as you never really know how something bought online will fit until it arrives’

A point that kept cropping up was this concept of ‘not know where to start’. So, with this in mind, I thought I would put together a few pointers of where and how to start in the hope to breathe fresh life into your wardrobe, and in return your confidence.

#1 Know Your Size

Our body shapes will undoubtedly change as we get older, so it is important to be aware of this. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and instead should be embraced. That slim fit t-shirt you once wore in your early twenties may now need to be swapped for a more classic or traditional fit. Those skinny jeans may no longer be worth the squeeze, so the swap to an original fit is worth the call.

#2 Research

Just as our body shape will change, so should the brands we purchase our clothing from. As a teenager and in my twenties, I lived in Topman. This brand no-longer represents me. It catered to a current life stage, and my then lifestyle, and that is fine. I now look for more timeless pieces and shop brands like Levi's, Oak and Fort Man and Asclo. Matalan and Uniqlo are also great brands if you are on a budget. Not only do these brands cover all the necessaries; basics, one of pieces and trends, they also pride themselves on sustainability.

Research is key, explore brands, both luxury and high-street, online and through social media, and once you’ve got a nice match suiting both your body type and style, that’s it, stock up, quick!

#3 Essentials

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found key pieces and essentials that I couldn’t do without. These include a leather and denim jacket, my Levi’s originals, basic t’s in either grey, white or black and a pair of Reebok Classics. These can be paired, mixed and matched and can be dressed up or down.

Using those key pieces and essentials as my basis I work items such a shirts, knitwear, chinos and shoes around these, ensuring that my wardrobe is adaptable, fresh and up to date. It also means you can pull an outfit together with very little thought or forward planning, which is perfect when you are rushing to get the children ready and out the door too.

#4 Clear out

So, you’ve followed 1, 2 and 3, so now is the time to sort through your wardrobe for a much needed clear out. I try and do this at least once every 6 months, so I am not hanging onto anything that no longer fits, or has long past its sell by date.

This is a lot easier said than done and, in my experience, you have to be brutal. No if’s and buts; if you hesitate, it must go! You can still put these to good use by donating them to charity or if they are high-end brands and still in good nick you could sell them on eBay Fashion or Depop.

I also try not to buy anything new, unless it is to replace something I already own. This is a more sustainable approach to fast-fashion and ensures in the future that you are not buying for the sake of buying.

#5 Confidence

Lastly, and most importantly, confidence is key! None of these steps will work if you are not confident. Stop comparing yourselves to others. As you age, stay young in the mind. That proverbial saying, “men get better looking with age” is actually true; that is, if you look after yourself and truly ‘feel’ like you’ve still got it.

Take your time. Be patient. Change doesn’t happen over-night. Old habits, die hard. This is your personal journey. Your life will always be changing and evolving, and your style with it. Keep hold of your vision, that end goal, and as long as it makes you happy, then your going in the right direction. One teeny, tiny step at a time!

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