It is our firm belief that no look has, will or can be as powerful as the blue jean with the white shirt. Everyone, from Homer Simpson to Bella Hadid, has worn some variation of this look, an aesthetic dubbed ‘dad chic’ or ‘dadcore’.
Dad chic can be seen on casual Fridays worldwide; worn-in denim, hike friendly raincoats and loose-fitting suits are some of the style quirks attributed to the trend that looks great on sons and daughters alike.
Brands such as Balenciaga and Ashley Williams have pushed the aesthetic down the runway, exhibiting looks that seemed to belong more in the aisles of Sainsbury’s than on high fashion catwalks. Dad chic, then, is cool!
Balenciaga SS 18 Campaign
It might seem a stretch to think of your dad as being the style catalyst for the hottest Summer trend of 2019, but below we break down how dad chic became an omnipresent feature of street style, the icons of the aesthetic and the ways in which you can sport the trend. Your definitive guide to dad chic, if you will!
The Origins of Dad Chic
Dad chic is inspired by the wardrobe of the man who gave up on fashion when he gave way to parenthood, inherently rooted in practicality and comfort.
It is no surprise then, that in the age that combines fashion with function, dad chic has become the trend we aspire to. Dad chic was introduced to mainstream media when in September 2016, The Guardian predicted that the trend would be “one of the defining styles of our times”. Three years later, it seems that they were right.
A year after dad chic was dubbed a style movement, Balenciaga sent models down the runway with their real-life children on their hips, wearing high-waist jeans, tucked in sweatshirts, Hawaiian print shirts, squeaky clean white trainers and, of course, the anorak.
The fashion landscape in 2019 is quite different to that of 2017, with young and upcoming designers taking the space once held by fashion powerhouses (think: the rapid decline of Dolce and Gabbana versus the overnight sensation of Off-White) but dad chic is as influential as ever.
The Spring/Summer 2019 catwalks saw Dries Van Noten tote shades of beige down the runway in the form of a fisherman’s gilet, Isabel Marant dressed models in short-sleeved anoraks and the aforementioned Bella Hadid wore loose-fitting suit trousers for Fendi. All of which were certainly nods to dad chic.
Dries Van Noten SS 19
The exact origins of dad chic are unclear; dads have always worn clothing that might have seemed dated or “uncool”, yet one day our collective conscious just changed our perception, and dad chic became cool. A combination of high-fashion treatment and some very notable figures in the public eye sporting the trend, perhaps? Speaking of which …
Dad Chic Fashion Icons
Jerry Seinfeld, father of three, is undoubtedly one of our dad chic icons. Known for sporting the crowning glory of dad chic, stonewash denim, as well as baggy blazers, shirts tucked in and chunky Nikes. You can certainly take 90s flavoured hints from this dad, who looks as though he walked right off the Balenciaga runway.
Kanye West, father of four, is an unexpected face of the dad chic movement. His own brand, Yeezus, utilises the Pantone colour wheel of dad chic, known for hues of brown, green and grey.
Larry David, father of two and king of the golf course, epitomises the dad-chic movement. Look to him for inspiration when it comes to accessorising, as Larry David is known to sport the ‘dad cap’. Previously found only at early bird specials and football matches, the dad cap is now a favourite of hip-hop’s biggest names (CC: Wiz Khalifa).
Barack Obama, father of two, is the ultimate dad. Barack Obama was somewhat mocked for his style throughout his presidency, with critics making snarky comments about the fit of his jeans and anoraks. In a tribute to the president, Levi’s reissued their iconic 505 jean (aka the dad jean) towards the end of his presidency demonstrating how influential his style really was, and is. As well as the now infamous jeans, Barack Obama is also known for sporting khakis and tucked in t-shirts, flag marks of dad chic.
Harry Styles, father of none, shows us how to incorporate the tenants of dad style into a younger, more contemporary vibe. Known to wear Hawaiin print shirts, in a more streamlined silhouette in the vein of Saint Laurent and Valentino.
Although all the icons mentioned above have been men, we would like to reiterate again that dad-chic is for everyone. Jenna Lyons, mother of one, shows us how to wear dad chic in a more feminine way. Think tailored trousers paired with oversized blazers, white button downs and loafers.
How To Wear Dad Chic
We hope you feel well-informed enough, now, to incorporate dad chic into your everyday outfit recipes. Whilst dad chic is, of course, a feature of the high fashion world, it remains an everyday style for the every-man, every-woman and every-they. This means that dad chic staples are accessible, and no more so than when shopping vintage, where you could well be buying a shirt that belonged to your dad!
Here is a comprehensive guide on how to apply dad-chic to your summer wardrobe.
Starting from the top, head-wear! Hats are the foundation of dad chic, the perfect combination of functionality and aesthetic, keeping your head protected from the summer sun AND making you look cool! Dad chic is known mainly for the dad cap, but for a more contemporary feel, opt for a trendy bucket hat instead!
Working our way from the head down, dads have never been the most garish of dressers, which is why the dad chic movement favours more neutral tones. Dad chic looks best in shades of brown, green and navy as seen here. Neutral colours also allow for a seamless day to night transition, which is part of the allure of dad chic, when our schedules include Bikram yoga, meetings for work and dinner with friends all in one day. Dad chic allows you to dress for all occasions.
3. LOOSE FITTING BLAZERS
Dad chic is known for a more loose-fitting silhouette, which makes the trend universally flattering. You can keep this look casual, by pairing the blazer with a vintage t-shirt and side bag as we have, or dress it up for the evening with a shirt or blouse. For the bottom, as always with dad chic, a pair of worn-in denim is best. Resist the urge to cinch for an androgynous cut.
4. TRENCH COATS
Seen on the runways of Alexander McQueen this season, the trench coat is a transitional staple for dads and fashion folk alike. The trench coat gives a broad-shouldered silhouette, sure to make you feel confident and imposing. Think your dad at parents evening.
5. STONEWASH DENIM
Dad chic wouldn’t exist without stonewash denim. The first reference point for any outfit incorporating the trend, it looks good however you wear it, stone wash jeans, stone wash shorts and even stone wash hats!
6. HAWAIIAN PRINTS
Hawaiian print shirts have long been a party staple of the dad, most likely to the embarrassment of the rest of the family. But thanks to the likes of Harry Style’s, no more! Pair yours with a pair of khaki shorts for a beach-ready vibe, or sport a tea-dress in lavish patterns for a more feminine take. Bonus point for pulled up socks, for a skater-inspired look.