He Wore It First

Why do all these men look so dreadful? Baggy blazers. Ugly sneakers. Light-wash jeans. Welcome to your dad’s closet.

Comments: 129

  1. Didn't realize dadcore style included smoking cigs around the kiddies. I'm not spending $345 on a baseball cap just to stink it up. All my hats are $30 or less and smell no worse than my stinky dad-head-sweat.

  2. Do you really think that they chose a picture of dads with cigarettes by accident?

    It was done to reinforce the idea that anyone dressing this way is terrible person for smoking cigarettes and not buying $700 jeans.

  3. After a decade of putting men in Pee Wee Herman suits and other "slim fitting" (which just means tight) clothing, the pendulum swings the other way.

  4. I knew that someday the fashion world would catch up with me. Glad to see my day is finally here! The mere thought - I have a closet full of high fashion clothes! Looking forward to all the consultations sure to come as family turn to me, hungry for my trend-setting advice.

  5. Yes, my husband is the cutting edge! Who'd a thought?

  6. The designers are missing the point. The clothing items have to be on sale. Some should be available at the hardware store. Clearance sales at LL Bean or Eddie Bauer are a must. But $35 for a logo-less cap? I don't think so. But an MLB cap gotten for free on cap day at the stadium is de rigueur.

    I'm an expert since I had baby barf down my back in 1991.

  7. You missed a zero there - the cap is $350, not $35.

  8. It's not as hard as all this. Just buy all of your clothes off the table at a membership warehouse without even trying them on. Don't forget the $14.99 no-name sneakers.

  9. Very few fashion designers have ever known what to do with men who don't wear suits, dress shirts and slacks. Saying misshapen jeans, wrinkled polos and worn out sneakers represent a fashion statement is just an act of desperation.

  10. This is a thing? Really? Limited choices in man land. American men basically dress like overgrown boys.

  11. This is just awful. When fashion has become the complete absence of fashion, civilization as we know it is over. Why do we bother with our appearances? Why bother with haircuts? Or working out? Or shaving? Why don't we all wear Crocs, muu-muus and gorge on processed carbs? Why bother making any effort whatsoever?

  12. Ugh, smoking in a clothing ad? Really? I thought we were past this. And next to a stroller no less.

  13. Two men smoking with an infant nearby. Just WRONG in so many ways. I am certain the point of the article wasn't to endorse smoking as style but clearly, that is conveyed by the photo.

  14. I find this cool branding to be so much nonsense--used to sell men $345 baseball caps. I find my "dad" clothes at K Mart, Goodwill and garage sales. Functional, easy to care for, cheap, and not how someone in middle school dresses. THAT is the dad look.

  15. What's the opposite of fashion forward? The "designers" are copying real life as brought to you by Walmart and LL Bean. It's not a pretty sight.

  16. light-wash, or acid-wash, jeans will never, ever look 'stylish.' They didn't then, they don't now.

  17. Why are 'dad clothes' cool? Two words: Barack O'Bama.

    The press teased him about his dad jeans and such, but he has such style and elegance, that only he could make these looks a la mode.

  18. I really do wish there were a way to edit one's comment. O"Bama? I am mortified!

  19. He wore mom jeans.

  20. Or, "How to spend $5000 on an outfit to look like you spent $50."

    Seriously, how silly is it to list shorts for $250 that, as another reader said, can be found on sale at LL Bean? Who is the target demographic here? Americans in general? Or, like 10 people in New York that have more money than common sense?

  21. Sneaks, jeans, T's. How I dressed since pre-school. Wears well, easy to clean, comfortable. Also shows off figure (if you have one to show off). Casual also works well when interacting with children.

  22. With the daily-often hourly-onslaught of terrible news from all over the world, it's dificult to maintain a positive outlook. Then you come across something like this. And lose the last remaining shred of hope for human kind.
    $345 for a baseball cap?! We're doomed.

  23. Real Dads shop at Costco not Balenciaga

  24. I find it very backward that under the banner of the online version of this piece is a picture of two men smoking - one of them is smoking in front of a child in a stroller. Diseases associated with cigarette smoking killers and modeling this behavior in front of a child or even photographing it for a feature is a call-back to a time I thought we were done with. Smoking kills.

  25. Even worse, exposing a toddler to second-hand smoke, which is just as carcinogenic as smoking itself.

  26. This is just a way of dressing like someone in perpetual adolescence. Some of us still prefer to dress like grownups.

  27. They can have it. American men have mostly always looked like slobs (and so have a good number of women.) Fortunately, there will always be a good number of men around who actually take pride in their appearance.

  28. If this is stylish, I'll pass.

  29. "Dads are now at the center of the style universe."

    Stop trying to make "fetch" a thing!

  30. "How did we come to the conclusion that ugly sneakers, light-wash jeans and all the other trappings of dads were cool?"

    Um..who exactly is 'we'?

  31. BTW. Smoking. De classe, dude. Early painful death. Shortened lifespan. Contaminants kids. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  32. So you have men in the "old dad" clothing, smoking near a child, in the photo from 1994. Stop with the Fellini nonsense already.

  33. My wife told me my shoes, blue, sandal-like, made me look like a middle-aged dad. Under no circumstances should I wear socks with them. Well, I AM a middle-aged dad so...They are pretty freakin' comfortable.

  34. That first photograph is pretty nauseating with the baby having to inhale the dads' secondhand smoke.

  35. Hmm, maybe if your dad looks like Obama did in the WH.
    I don't think a 20yo guy would think a 30yo is the same as him.

    The buyer for Mr. Porter gave men a way to spend 2500 bucks for the same look that most men can get for 200 dollars at their going out of business Sears men's dept or for 40 at a thrift store.

  36. I bet this dad's name is RJ Reynolds

  37. Hey, these guys look like me!

    Except for my $60 pair of khakis from Dockers. Wears well, and I don't have to take out a second mortgage when the kids fling ketchup across the room for the fifth time.

    Oh, and that $10 polo my wife snagged on sale at Old Navy. Because, you know, the kids needed seven more shirts - each! - since they ate our entire freezer last night and grew three inches.

    And seriously, $200 for a Prada keychain? Try $5 for a carabiner that won't break in a stiff wind and triples as an impromptu self-defense weapon and a windshield breaker.

    Hey, the kids gotta eat! And, what, you think I'm sending them to school in basically an 80's crop top? Even I have more style sense than that! And don't even think about looking at her, bucko... One word: carabiner. Well, that, and her sister will eat you alive. With ketchup, of course.

    Ahhhh, fatherhood.

  38. LOL. So true. Wish I could like this a hundred times.

  39. Spoken like a true dad; well done!

  40. And of course I meant Obama, not O'Bama! I knew it looked wrong, but I'd just finished reading the article on Irish blasphemy!

  41. Uhhh not for all of us. Nope, not sexy at all. (female here)

  42. Glad to read I'm well on my way to becoming a fashion icon. But -- bad job NYT featuring a front-page image of men smoking in front of a stroller and declaring it's what's cool now.

  43. I honestly can't tell if this article is satire or not. Well done, NYT.

  44. i don't think the prices are !!

  45. seconded...I think a tinge, but a simultaneous receptivity toward the trend

  46. Since the traditional "dad" garment, the necktie, seems to be going the way of spats and corsets, what else was there to do except venerate the "weekend dad" look? Particularly in the good old USA, which long ago perfected the man-boy hybrid, the "guy." (Do grown men in other countries wear superhero underpants and jammies?) Anyway, it's a step up from the double-knit slacks, with visible panty lines from the little-boy white briefs underneath, that used to be the staple of the male-over-35's wardrobe.

  47. This is a parody, right? No boomer dad I know would pay ridiculous prices for "dad-core" fashions they can get from the back of their closets or a thrift store. The ultimate dad garb is the Old Guys Rule tees worn unironically.

  48. When was the first picture on the top taken? Does anyone else notice what I noticed? Two guys smoking when a toddler is present?????? What?

  49. The caption on the picture says Mall of America 1994

  50. Why are we making pictures of dads smoking near their kids a style statement? I know the photo is old, but come on.

  51. I've never met anybody who was even slightly cool who smoked around kids.

  52. We didn't. This is not a thing. Dads do dress like this, but as a total look it is not fashion. It's NYTimes click bait.

  53. Ya know what's not in style and a bad look all the way round? SMOKING! Ugly smelly and just plain awful.

  54. I was shocked to see the 2 dads on the front page smoking! Are you promoting toddlers be exposed to second hand smoke? Hey dads, lets put your kids at risk for lung disease! Honestly, it is incredibly hard to believe you would include such a picture in this article.

  55. It's still legal in the US. Both parents smoked until I was 9. Never tried one in my 63 years. I hate the smoke, but some choose to do it. Get over it.

  56. They're outside. It's all good. Natural ventilation, fresh air!

  57. Seriously reconsider that photo of the dad smoking next to his kid. It's awful.

  58. My parents drove me around while they smoked and drank beer. No helmets, no seat belts and no car seats. We even had the dual purpose can and bottle opener.

  59. smoking used to be legal indoors too.

  60. So the trend now is to dress like Jon Cryer's loser, wimpy, neurotic character Alan from Two and a Half Men? Sorry, I don't want that association.

    Oh, and is 20 the new 10? It seems like no one wants to be an adult anymore.

  61. Ah man, the kids are copying me now?

    Right, I'm taking my closet down to the consignment shop and switching back to suit and tie like my Dad wore when I was a kid and I wore as a young professional. That was dad-style with an emphasis on "style".

    No I'm not. Best thing I ever did was get rid of nearly all of my ties years ago and switch to jeans, shorts and comfortable wear for 90% of the time.

  62. You want to look like a dad? Have a kid, spend all your money on your kid, be occasionally overjoyed and constantly frustrated, and never update your wardrobe. Earn the dad "look." You can't buy it.

  63. Truth.

  64. i also strongly agree with the comment about the picture showing "dads" smoking while caring for their children in a smoking area. How did y'all select this picture? I'm sure there are countless other photos that could have been chosen without displaying such an ugly and unhealthy health hazard... so ugly... so inappropriate!

  65. From the prices of the items in the pics, looks like Dad is going into debt to dress poorly. $395 for a bag? $1,095 for a man purse? Dad, go back to Wal-mart and spend 1/10th and take the difference, pay off your debt and save for college.

  66. Since women make the a majority of financial decisions in the household, according to Pew, let's add this to the to do list for Mom:
    Drop the nanny and parent yourself.
    Skip the yoga and spa treatments and have dad build a home gym.
    Stop running up Dad's debt and put that money for a vacation home in Nantucket and cosmetic surgery toward saving for college.
    Forego the $3,000 bags and join Dad at Walmart for that purchase.

  67. This kind of parody belongs in MAD magazine. Nice use of archive photos, though!

  68. Apparently very few readers caught that it is. After you laughed was your second reaction that people were going to freak over the cigarets in a kid's presence, in open air? Does anyone actually see even a wisp of smoke anywhere, including from the supposedly lit cigarets?

  69. Does your "vintage look" have to include cigarettes? Really, you could have at least given them pipes.

  70. It appears (from the photos, anyway) that it's now cool for men to purchase designer items for 10-20 times the price of essentially the same items elsewhere.

  71. and to smoke.

  72. The market prices indicated for the items shown vividly illustrate the meaning of wasting money. Perhaps the so-called crisis in retirement preparation would be helped by wise consumption.

  73. Or perhaps the Times and its fashion writers could talk to real people and not just to each other. No one I know cheerfully pays $345 for a baseball cap, for heaven's sake.

  74. There are 2 ways you can do this. First, look good, act cool and stay in shape. Chicks like that. Or, wear cargo shorts, lite or medium weight hiking shoes and a durable, loose fitting shirt, with pockets. Loose fitting shirts allow the gym membership to slide.
    Personally, I go with the second option. As it turns out, the chicks like that Dad bod. I may have dialed back my standards, but, I'm practical. Anything that looks like "money", implies payments. Subdued implies disposable income.
    And, if this doesn't work, I still have disposable income.

  75. Why is the listed price of every wardrobe item ten times the retail price of the real clothing item ?

    Is the writer on 1% drugs ?

    No one pays those prices for their wardrobe, except the rich.

  76. It's not the clothes on the dad. It's the increasing rarity of a dad being present. Having a husband getting rarer so now they are becoming "hot." In 1960, fatherless families made up 8% of US families. Today it's 32%. Think about it. Scarcity drives prestige.

  77. No, no, no. I am turning 35 in a few weeks, so I am just old enough to have looked silly in 90s clothes the first time around. If it's cool to sport the dad look, then why isn't it cool to buy the items from the companies that perfected them (LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, etc.)? I'm glad my husband (a human dad, not an art dad) is too old to buy into any of this.

  78. Someone who follows a style created by someone else has no style of his own.

  79. I'm 71. I wear all the stuff in the article; good quality for one twentieth the cost. I don't buy pants or shorts unless they have a "comfort waist". What's the big deal?

  80. You want really cool authentic Dad stuff? Come to my 91 year old Dads closet. Im happy to sell you incredibly worn in chinos for 6oo dollars! Also lots of oversize plaid shirts, especially flannel, and cargo pants and shorts galore. Mere 500 each. And don't forget the white and blue windbreaker! Special deal just for you..$1000! And it even got stains!!!!

  81. I'm a 40-something dad and I don't dress like this. Ever. And I'm not going to start. Have fun with this, kiddos!

  82. I can help these dads by happily taking half the purchase prices of these goods and getting them something that looks the same and holds up better (and probably made in the same factory employing child labor). And, I'll make about 80% profit while saving your half of what you'd spend.

  83. This story is a joke, right? Who in their right mind pays $200 for a baseball cap? Who in their right mind would care about anyone who would spend $200 for a baseball cap? Sheesh! Our social and political fabric in America as we know it is unravelling, and we have people who think this stuff is newsworthy? Get. A. Life.

  84. This is crazy, crazy. Dads are out of fashiopn - period. You cannot be in fashion with expensive clothes, anymore than moeny can buy class. What makes a Dad cool is being there for his children. And the mother of his children.

  85. Lots of fun! Prices are ridiculous of course, and I can safely question the quality of almost every item (do you really really want to compete with L L Bean?). To make it all even better is the smoking while actually touching a baby; indignation fury right on cue. Heaven... more please!

  86. It's not what you wear, how much it cost, or what the brand is, but how good it looks on you. Clearly the guys in these photos don't mirror that rule of thumb.

  87. This is what I like to call class-trolling. So obnoxious. Fancy pants Schmoes who spend a $1,000 on this outfit should be required to spend a week handing out samples at Costco, or loading packages at Home Depot. Rich jerks trying to pass. This ain't no costume party.

  88. A grotesque look that probably says something about how every conceivable niche is being colonized by some money maker and twisted into a fashion statement.

  89. No nod to Man Repeller here? There's a certain irony about the name of Leandra's blog and the fact that so-called "man repelling" style is actually modeled after a badly-dressed man

  90. These guys look about 10 times better than I ever do. I ain't spending no $1500 on a jacket, or $300 for sneakers, either. A plain baseball cap for $345? Please. Only in the New York Times.

  91. A ball cap and a canvas bag are $395.00 each? You must be kidding.

  92. Well, there is a reason it’s called disposable income...just throwing money away.

  93. If I see one more baseball cap paired with baggy, generic camping clothes I'll throw up. Grown men don't dress like that in other countries. Why here?

  94. By the way, smoking near a toddler? What is it again this is supposed to be about?

  95. You really have to have the first picture we see being two men smoking cigarettes in front of child? I'm sure you could have found the same styles in other pictures without promoting cigarettes and exposure to secondhand smoke. Are you trying to tell me cigarettes are stylish again?

  96. Ok- I posted something similar before a read other comments - so glad I am not alone!!!

  97. Just more cultural appropriation here.
    Some set trends, others couldn't' care less, and are now being copied.
    This too shall pass, and we'll be retro.
    Now get off my lawn!

  98. Ought oh - are plaid shorts for Dads out of style? No one told me.

  99. The term 'designer' focusing on the items discussed in the column is a misnomer. Baseball caps have been worn for a hundred years what makes them a designer item today? A few rows of top stitching and a ridiculous $345. price tag. Maybe a better title for the column would be 'A fool and his money are soon parted by the failure of design and the American man."

  100. This just shows what a vacuum of creativity fashion can become.

    It reminds me of Will Farrell playing the over-the-top clothing designer "Mugatu" in Zoolander. He creates a line of clothing based on the "look" of homeless people and calls it "Derelict" (with the "i" pronounced as a long "e").

    This whole normcore, dad-core trend is no less idiotic.

    This is what happens when you run out of ideas, but you still have to find some way to sell a $5 hat for $400. Why not call it "bland-core"? Or, has that already been done?

    Remember the big-hair, pink neon tank tops, and skin tight leopard print pants of the 1980's? Well, my condolences. And my future condolences to those who are currently living through this latest experiment in stratospherically overpriced "appropriated boredom".

    This isn't fashion, it's just an attempt to up-sell creative laziness.

  101. This is a joke, right? People really pay that much for this stuff? Dude, a quick spin through Costco will deliver this look for under a hundred dollars.

  102. I can't believe you have put a picture of two "fathers" smoking cigarettes on the front page of your newspaper. No matter your superficial, high minded, make -fun-of-those-who-don't-buy-into-your-vain-self-promotional-retail-fashion-standards , it is a huge disservice to everyone trying to quit, everyone who has quit, and to all who promote health and well being for people on this planet. It is not necessary, it is not truthful (surely if it portrayed a real world scene, they would not want a picture taken of them smoking so near any child, they would be hiding it!) and it is definitely not helpful. Take it down!

  103. Thanks - I posted mine before I saw your's. I thought I was being overly sensitive until my gorgeous 76 year old husband, who has always and still wears most of the clothing mentioned, immediately reacted the same way.

  104. Not my dad. With seven kids, he was star-quality thrift. We learned early to see through snob-appeal adverts and brand names that offered no more quality than economical brands. I guess for dads with money to burn and no desire to teach their kids thrift and value for money....

    As for childless men and women ( why not?) who want to dress up like 5,000 dollar a day `"dads" -- I hope they and and the real dads who throw family money away on overpriced clothes will at least be American "job creators" as their tax breaks were granted them for and are buying American made clothes of America-produced materials.

    Otherwise, just another example of how the SuprerRich are squandering their "job creator" tax breaks on foreign made bling.

    Meanwhile, mothers, still doing most of everything at home besides their careers, if they have them, still getting sneered at for "mom" pants and "yoga" pants and whatever else they wear that's comfortable to actually, not make-believe, mow the lawn in, along with everything else.

    In short, blech.

  105. My dad didn't wear a $300 ironic baseball hat. Neither would I.

  106. Long live the fanny pack! These prices are ridiculous though. No self-respecting real dad would ever pay them. Honestly, you could get a virtually identical look at Goodwill for $10 or less, minus the precious smugness. Which come to think of it, isn't really a dad thing either.

  107. So stylish. I suppose they are smoking Kools.

  108. Pretty depressing to see this photo of the "cool dads" not only smoking - but right up close to a baby who cannot escape. According to the credit - this was taken in 1994 - well after the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke were proven facts. In 2018 are we still positing smoking as cool???????

  109. WARNING: "30 is the new 20," "40 is the new 30," etc...only works for so long. Then, suddenly, one day, "Sag and bag is the old sag and bag," and you're not prepared for it.

  110. Forget the article and focus on the graphic and wonder: if women/moms smoking with their kids in tow had been pictured, can you imagine the storm of fury, rage, and condemnation of the women? Seriously, NYTimes?

  111. How did we come to the conclusion that the trappings of dads were cool? It’s inescapable.

    My son rolls his eyes when I inform him my friends and I wore torn jeans in 1973. Then he tears his jeans.

    That after “bitchin’”, “gnarly”, “awesome”, and “dope”, we’re back to “cool” again. “That’s cool,” he intones.

    Surrender, millennials. Your weapons are useless.

  112. Seriously, NYTimes, you couldn't have spent five more minutes searching your image archives, you had to pick a photo with two men SMOKING--and one smoking next to a child in a baby carriage? THAT'S the message your sending out? "Men who wore these clothes--which are 'cool' again--also smoked, so that must be cool again too?? Who approved this?

  113. What a stupid article. You want to know what looks really ridiculous? A middle aged man who dresses like a fashion conscious teenager. Grown-ups don't need to look like they're hitting the runway. The truth is that it's hard to find appropriate clothes for a middle aged man. I admit to having little interest and I hate shopping, but I'm not totally without vanity. I like to look nice. The problem is there is a real dearth of appropriate, well fitting and affordable clothing for middle aged men who don't want to dress like teenagers, but also don't want to look like someone's grandpapa.

  114. It's either urban/gangsta or prepster.

  115. "Dads are now at the center of the style universe. And their ethos, dad-ism, is part of the mass move to the unique and the downright fugly."

    Who writes these articles (this one and the several cited)? I suppose it's always been a select group of 'experts' who declare the dominance of one clothing style over another, but this is just silly. More people (especially 30s and older) are opting for casual wear any time they're not dressed up for work. For better or worse, we -- men and women -- wear more schlubby clothes these days, and do so more with every year we age; it has nothing to do with emulating males who have children.

  116. And they get to rent babies to complete the Dad look and smoke blunts or cigarettes -- what garbage.

    Imagine this article about the Mom look and women sucking nicotine or marijuana next to their babies.

    Or dark-skinned dads. Or just about anyone besides pallid men with money to waste. If they waste that much on snob clothes, imagine how much their booze, tobacco/dope must cost.

    Gross. This is why they don't deserve tax breaks.

    Real people in America need the tax breaks and the the government assistance on top of it, and still not enough to send the kids to college --but apparently people like this would become sick or freeze to death or starve or have to sit in the dark at night, or living out of a car, without their magic thousand dollar pants.

    I worked about ten years ago in a place that sold high end garbage like this. It was poor quality, often, but to illustrate what slaves to whatever fashion they're told is hot? A batch of jeans came in not only threadbare and torn but with yellowish stains. I remarked tpoo my supervisor that these pants had been soiled and had to be sent back. but no! That was the style.

    Spending 500 dollars to look like you slept in a garbage dumpster and urinated in your pants?

    Guess so.


  117. Good lord...

    Who cares about the clothes? Your photo shows two adults smoking beside a toddler. What on earth was your photo editor thinking? Why are you trying to present this as "stylish" or even normal? It's awful. And it's certainly not what being a dad means to me.

  118. Who cares what they’re wearing. Maybe the baby should be wearing a respirator! Two guys smoking in close proximity to a baby is just wrong. NYT - couldn’t you find a better photo?

  119. "I’m gonna wear a baggy plaid shirt with relaxed khakis because I’m chilling and I’m comfortable in my manhood.’ ??

    More like, "As a man, I am socially invisible and beyond hope of being found attractive, so I've given up presenting myself as such."

  120. As a late arrival to fatherhood, and having worn all my clothes out in the last four years (and not buying any new), I just bought a pair of shoes. I looked for style, the kind of shoes I used to wear, and ended up with old-man-trying-to-look-like-young-man sneaker things, which are comfortable as hell, and actually not as bad looking as I thought. But what do I really know? My brain's been warped by middle age fatherhood.

  121. My husband always tries to incorporate something extravagant in his looks by going against the latest currents in fashion. When the beards were out of style--he had a beard. Now when beards are in style, he's been shaving frantically. For years he has been wearing the funny pack--"to shock the youth." I'll tell my husband that the funny packs are back in style. He will be upset, because this means he will have to trade his beloved funny pack for an out-of-style purse. Well, perhaps the pockets will do.

  122. Everyone needs a "Funny pack"!

  123. Like a lot of things, what you wear is a choice, and one that depends on a willingness to learn. It is not a function of money - I buy nearly all my clothes and shoes second-hand on eBay.
    The "designers" pushing this look are lazy and lack creativity. Pretending you've discovered something is dishonest as well. I understand that your job is difficult but don't pass this off as fashion/style/trend.

  124. What's with the cigarettes?

  125. It seems the NYTimes wants people to stick to the written content, while most people couldn't get past the photo.

  126. There's a men's thrift store in Sacramento called Ed's Threads.

    Their selection has this look NAILED.

  127. My 73 year old husband was just called "one of a kind dad" by a thirty something guy. He has a)had all his clothes for decades or b)gets them at church sales. Here in Central PA that means $4.00 max per garment and Salvos is half off on Wednesdays. He is so cool with being untroubled about his appearance that he will not read this article.

  128. Women do like to dress up a bit when they have a date night, but it's hard to dress like Vogue when you're walking next to Field and Stream....

  129. I could buy those ugly, unflattering clothes at walmart for a 20th of the cost, but I am not going to because they are ugly and unflattering. I guess the old adage about a fool and his money is as true as ever.