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Clothes and kids

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    Clothes and kids

    I didn't intend this to be called a Dappered Dad thread because plenty of non-binary and other folks appreciate this clothing, but I liked the alliteration.

    I've been reading this site for several years, and have had new questions to think about recently. My second son was born this January, and with work from home (I'm lucky to have that reality) and two messy boys (4 and almost 1), ideas about clothing change.

    Is anyone in a similar situation considering different clothing paradigms? Has having children changed the type of clothes you wear, or the type of person you want to express with your clothing?

    Has having kids and being home with them changed your ideas of clothing?

    Has having children changed how you feel about spending time or money on clothes?

    The pandemic has changed my habits more than having a child has. Since I work from home more now I have shifted to more casual outfits. But I still try to wear my nicer stuff, mostly because i enjoy wearing them. During the pandemic, I have been taking advantage of the terrific sales (for me, probably not for the stores. I've been buying things from Jcrew at thrift store prices) and adding to my wardrobe. In addition, I try to wear my nicer clothes so my daughter has an example how to look put together or how she should dress, whether causal or more dressed up. (She's almost 6 so obviously if I had an infant that might change things). I've always been a bargain hunter and probably at least 50% of my wardrobe is thrifted so kids haven't changed my purchasing habits.


      Having a child hasn’t changed my ideas of clothing. If anything, I’m trying to teach my 7 yo the buy once, cry once approach to things.

      With that said, My boy likes to wear tees and sweatpants almost exclusively. The majority of his clothes are either secondhand or bought on discount. I don’t see the value in paying full price for clothing that he’ll grow out of in a year or two. I, on the other hand, prefer paying extra for nicer quality things because they’ll typically last longer and I appreciate craftsmanship. I do still buy clothing used or on discount, but I’m far more selective about those purchases. I realize that longevity and quality are subjective terms so there’s that, but I try to buy from companies that value their workers and by extension, the craft that goes into making something.

      When my son is older I’ll teach him the basics like dressing up, shining his own shoes, tying a tie, etc. For now he gets to be a boy and do boy things. He doesn’t need to be burdened with fashion/style etiquette yet


        I've come at this from the other direction. I was well into fatherhood before I really started being mindful about my clothes or style in general. So I guess I can't say that my kids had anything to do with the changes in my clothing choices, per se. But I have picked up a few hacks and tricks along the way. Firstly, my casual style is fairly heavily dominated by workwear and Americana. So that works out just fine for daddy duty.

        As far as dressing up, usually the kiddos aren't coming. Well, except for church. I do insist on dressing up when I visit a house of God. If a kid barfs on my jacket lapel...well, that's what dry cleaning is for. Also, don't wear a tie tack because it will get yanked off. (not that anyone wears tie tacks anymore, but still...) But back to the kids aren't coming part. The tricky part about dressing up and kids is the getting ready to go and coming home from [inset dressy event]. This where Mr. Rogers had it all figured out. What does he do when he walks in the door? Swaps his dress shoes for sneakers and his jacket for a sweater. I do the same thing. Basically, I wait to put on my dress shirt and jacket until I'm ready roll and as soon as I get home, at the very least put away my tie and/or jacket first thing.

        So let's see, what else? Fels Naptha. Get yourself a bar - you'll need it. Eventually.

        And lastly, on the time and money piece. I pretty much follow the basic advice espoused by this and other men's style sites for frugally building a wardrobe - shop sales, focus on staples, interchangeability, etc. I have increasingly found good stuff online, which helps save time I suppose. In that case, I have two or three brands that I know fit me well, so its not so much of a hassle not being able to try things on. Of course, Amazon makes things pretty easy now and their house-brand stuff is pretty decent. I have found a lot of good items on Poshmark for cheap too. However, l do still procure a substantial portion of my wardrobe from thrifting. Actually, thrifting can be very kid friendly. First of all, thrift stores usually have TONS of kids' clothes, so its a good way to get stuff for them too. But also kids love going to thrift stores. At least they love the toy section. If I take one of my kids to a thrift store (we're talking pre-COVID here, so YMMV) usually I'd make them go with my to the men's section (boring!) for a few minutes to scan for a good sportcoat or shoes and then take them to the toy section and maybe they get a toy if they're good. (Mom will thoroughly drench said-toy in Lysol when we get home and maybe nag me about germs while she's at it) Now my older kids actually enjoy thrifting for clothes themselves, so its kind of coming full circle.

        So I guess if you're wondering if you have to surrender and start wearing relaxed fit jeans and cargo shorts to be a good dad... No, no you don't! You might be doing a lot more pretreating stains than you used to do and occasionally (but hopefully only occasionally) donating a beloved garment to the rag bin because its FUBAR. But you stay Dappered, man!


          I have a very active 3yo girl with whom I do a lot of activities, so the interest in dressing fine when with her isnt there. Its just not practical for me at this time. I’ll save it for when she gets bigger.

          When she was a baby we had a rash of funerals/baptisms/graduations and a communion to attend, so we brought her along with me wearing jacket and tie. I learned quickly that tie bars and babies don't mix. For the most part, she amused herself by playing with my tie during the dullest parts of such grown-up drudgery.

          I am blessed in many ways, one of which is that she is generally neat and rarely if ever spills anything on me regardless of what I’m wearing, and only yakked on me 2 or 3 times as an infant.

          I am staying stylish by wearing chinos, chukka boots, leather shoes, quarter zips, and flat caps. In Warm weather, I overheat so I admittedly slop it up a little bit with a t shirt and shorts. Otherwise I’m in a polo with light chinos. I am bald so I am also a classic hat enthusiast.

          I own zero jeans, hoodies, or anything sports themed. I abhor the stereotype of the bro-dad, or the guy who was forced to ‘give things up’ by fatherhood. I adjusted my personal style for practical reasons and share what I can with my little lady. She has helped me fold shirts, shine shoes, put hats away, etc.
          Last edited by Silverstreak; December 26, 2020, 02:49 PM.


            I look for more stain-resistant clothing now. My daughter splashed some cappuccino on a my J Crew shorts last summer (nylon), and the liquid almost bounced off it. A little napkin work, continued to wear them - awesome. Finer materials (linen, silk, cashmere) tremble in the closet when she's awake. Since I sweat a lot, breathability and odor-resistance are even more important when running after her. I look more at synthetics / blends now. Travel-friendly brands (Pistol Lake, Patagonia, Bluffworks) interest me now. An added bonus is wrinkle-resistance- ironing is a low priority.

            My wife is European and won't let me go frat dad- she saw me in a college photo with cargo shorts, crew socks, and sneakers and said I was undateable then. That said, I'm OK in t-shirt and joggers lounging around the house, but will upgrade to at least jeans/trousers for the outside world. The regional dress code in Texas would bill me as slightly dressed up; in Europe, I'd be acceptable. As I'm approaching 40 and further in my career, I'm willing to invest more in durable clothing that meet the above criteria. If I were earlier in my career, I'd easily raid Target, Amazon, and the clearance rack.


              In short yes it has. My son is almost two and back when I wore suits and ties everyday it was such extra effort to avoid getting messy with either his food, dirty hands etc when going out the door. Or he wants to play and I don’t want my clothing to impact my ability to parent. Before him it didn’t matter.

              now that I’m home 24/7 my hoodies and such have crept back in. I wear a collared shirt and jeans most work/zoom days. I rarely wear shoes unless going for a family walk so my dress shoes haven’t seen the light of day.

              the most important thing I’ve learned from this site is the importance of fit and that to me makes even hoodies and jeans a better look than most others.


                Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                Or he wants to play and I don’t want my clothing to impact my ability to parent. Before him it didn’t matter.
                That is most like what I've been thinking: I feel like clothing is not an unimportant thing, but certainly of secondary importance. I'm not as worried about kids ruining my clothes, but concerned that worrying about clothing would ruin my relationship with my kids.

                Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                the most important thing I’ve learned from this site is the importance of fit and that to me makes even hoodies and jeans a better look than most others.
                That's a really good point, you can look like you woke up and meant to wear the clothes you're wearing no matter what they are. And definitely a person can wear the same thing as another and look bad in it. Fit is king.


                  1. Don't wear expensive clothing around kids.
                  2. If you must, dark colored wool is pretty stain resistant. So is dark colored denim.


                    No real changes here.

                    Prior to COVID or after a day at the office, I honestly do a full change when I get home. I typically just run that hot where it’s helpful to change, and prepping dinner or playing on the floor or outside is just easier in a flannel/polo/henley and chinos/shorts than something more office appropriate. WFH is no different for me in this regard. I’m either already in “play” clothes or I just throw them on when I clock out.


                      Interesting topic and thanks for starting it!

                      I have a 5 year old boy and a 2 year old girl, and I'm lucky to make it out of the house without some sort of stain. The biggest thing I've changed is I try to get dressed right before I leave the house, and try to change out of clothes as soon as I can when I get home. Stain resistance is good, and flexibility/mobility is a must! Some of my "nicer" suits and blazers, I tend to save for non-kid events...and then I'll usually manage to spill something on them myself!

                      As others have mentioned, I think the biggest change is that it lends perspective on the importance of clothing. Dress nice sure, but at the end of the day, its just stuff guys. This applies whether you have kids or not. Think back to an important event in your life, be it a wedding, presentation, graduation, anything really. Is your first thought about the event itself, or do you think about what you wore that day? If your primary concern is what you wore, I would humbly submit that you should reassess your priorities. (I do realize the irony/hypocrisy of posting this on a clothing forum!)

                      Wear nice things sure, but focus on living your life to the fullest, and not how many compliments you did or did not receive on your outfit. Life is too short, and remember, someday most or all of your wardrobe is going to end up in a thrift store or being discarded!