Cloth and Hide · Musings

Clothes to survive dadhood 

Being a dad has made me appreciate tough clothes. Unless I’m at work, my clothes have to be functional and survive the rigors of being smeared with food or faecal matter, wiped with snot, scratched, scraped, and vomitted on. They have to be occasionally Napisan’d and scrubbed. It’s a hard balancing act, being a dad and trying to be stylish.

I’ve embraced the dadstyle hard. My wife says I’ve gone “full Chevy Chase”. I’ve got the whole camp mocs, Hawaiian shirt, ragged old five panel cap thing going. It’s a nice mixture of interesting and rugged that’s been surviving trial by monster toddler so far. It’s also not loungey streetwear that just about every guy is wearing these days. Camp mocs are also a great casual alternative to sneakers when wearing shorts.

Military wear is also the best here. If it can survive a war, it can survive a one year old! My M-65 jacket was my best friend in those early days because it has so many pockets. Wet wipes in one, nappy in another… I could even carry a bottle of milk in the bottom front pocket and I WAS the milk warmer. Chore coats/barn coats work in a similar way here with ample pockets and supreme washability.

Anything that requires drycleaning or couldn’t be washed too often like raw denim was out for obvious reasons. Having said that, my wool cardigans were my winter friends provided I layered it under something more washable. Sportcoats from brands like Engineered Garments in ripstop cotton or corduroy are usually washable by hand or machine as they tend to be unstructured. Rugged mountaineering parkas or liner jackets (very popular these last few seasons) are also useful for the colder months, provided they aren’t waxed, which again reduces the washability. The wax also tends to hold onto smells (like vomit).

All in all, dadhood has rather quickly transformed my typical outfit from #menswear to #workwear or hobo French painter. Still, I like not having to baby my clothes too much… Means I can crawl around on the floor with my little rugrat without worrying about holes in my pants and earn a little “patina” along the way.

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