I had a massive wake-up call this morning: maybe the way I dress isn’t doing anything for me. I have become one of those parents who dresses for comfort and practicality over style. I have stopped consciously dressing, and instead, gone into ‘just put stuff on’ mode, which isn’t good.
The start of my epiphany moment came the other week when we went on a rare child free night out. I remember looking in my wardrobe and thinking, ‘crap’ I actually have nothing to wear that isn’t a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. So before we’d even got to the going out part of our date night, I had to buy a whole new outfit. This was partly because I don’t think cargo shorts and a band t-shirt are acceptable in a bar but mainly so the missus would actually want to be seen with me.
How did it come to this?
Back in the day (before kids), I considered myself pretty well dressed. Fast-forward 2 years and while I’m very much embracing the modern, hands-on dad regime, there just isn’t time for all that preening and posturing with two small dictators ruling my diary.
With juggling the girls, the dogs, working at my paid job a couple of days a week and everything else in between the last thing on my mind is what to wear. So I’ve given in and just accepted it: I dress like a dad and I have made it so the selection process for my daily outfit is basic and without thought.
This has also translated into my life outside of being a parent and into the life where it’s just me and Rachel. I’ve been in ‘parent mode’ for so long, I’ve actually forgotten how to dress.
To put it simply: I just can’t be bothered and that’s not a good thing either. Just because I’m a dad and my fashion has seen a shift, it doesn’t mean I need to let my standards drop altogether.
Since becoming a stay-at-home Dad I would say my style/standard of dress has been in a steady decline. To the point now where it consists of three individual components:
Flip flops. Look, don’t hate me. But the truth is, flip flops are incredibly low maintenance and easy. Once you get past the idea that the only people who wear flip flops live my the sea and frequent walkabout pubs, you realise that they’re very comfy.
A T-shirt of a Superhero or band. The choice of a t-shirt I wear is determined by a simple process: If there is a t-shirt on the floor next to my bed and it doesn’t smell, then I will put it on. If there isn’t a t-shirt, or it smells, then I’ll take the first one I find in the wardrobe.
Shorts. Because let’s face it, they’re comfortable, they keep you cool and there’s less material for your children to spill things on or put their sticky hand prints all over. Plus if they’re cargo shorts like the ones I wear, then there are multi pockets for you to shove things in when your hands are full.
I was looking in my cupboard as I was writing this post and I actually only have two pairs of shorts, a handful of t-shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes (one of which is a pair of flip-flops).
What do I need to do?
Despite the lack of time and my altered outlook, I haven’t completely neglected my appearance. When life is ruled by children, my wardrobe has had to adjust to my lifestyle. The responsibility of being a dad brings with it changes that are sometimes difficult to control, I’m thinking the financial, physical and emotional ones in particular.
Dressing well as a father and a husband requires a little extra effort. There is no denying this. Having children and becoming a stay-at-home dad has definitely changed how much effort I put into my appearance.
I guess what I need is a rebrand. A rebrand of how I dress and the way I present myself. I have always maintained the attitude that I don’t care what other people think about me but after writing this post, it’s evident that I do. With the launch of our new family business, I guess appearance is important now more than ever. I may not have to wear a shirt and tie to work anymore like I did when I was in my 9-5 job, but I have come to the conclusion that I still look smart and relaxed at the same time.
It’s become clear though, that there is one inevitable change I can control and that’s my dad look. I’ve got the T-shirt, I just need to make sure I’m wearing it right.