Update: Dad Style F/W 21-22

Hey guys.  How’s everyone holding up from Christmas?

One of my favorite things about this blog and our little universe is the Ask Me Anything sessions over on Instagram.  Not only do you folks ask some GREAT questions, but it’s a good barometer of what’s going on in the general #menswear ecosystem.

In the last couple of sessions, I’ve heard from quite a few of you for ‘Dad Style’ help.  Specifically, you are tired of a tech polo, five pockets, and On Cloud sneakers.  Ugh.  I get it.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that look, but it has become somewhat of a uniform.  And let’s admit it: it’s boring.

I’m anti-On Clouds, so I’m all about helping out.  And I love 5-pockets, but there are so many other options.  And tech polos?  We all have a million.  And yes, there are other, more stylish options.  The reason the 5P/TP/OC uniform is so popular is that it’s easy.  It’s the Juicy Couture velour tracksuit for guys.  There’s always room for it, but there are stylish ways to amp it up without making it any more difficult.

Some baseline requirements:

  • Stylish.  All of this is acceptable for chasing kids around the ball field, slinging cheese dip at a Mexican restaurant, cooking out with neighbors, or lounging around watching ‘Top Gun’.
  • Washable.  Everything here can be washed at home. Stuff happens, so have some Oxyclean spray on the ready.
  • Interchangeable.  All of this stuff works with everything else below.

Here are some options:


Chambray Work Shirt from H.Goose:  Chambray shirts are the most versatile button up in your closet, especially this time of year.  They wash and wear like a dream.
Holderness & Bourne Johnston Long Sleeve Polo:  I’ve gotten into these long sleeve polos, especially those with the working cuffs.  They are a little more dressed up than the Chaps versions from the early 90s.
Kamakura Vintage Ivy Slevedge OCBD:  Good oxford cloth shirts are a workhorse here.  The key is 100% cotton – they wash and dry like a dream.  Get a few with good construction and wear them liberally – under a vest, under a sweater/sweatshirt, or on their own.

Pants:  I get that 5-pockets are all the rage, and I’m on board.  In the spirit of adding some variety (and some style)…

Sid Mashburn Non-Selvedge Rinse Denim:  You need a good pair of stylish jeans.  I know spending money on a pair of jeans that are ‘kid friendly’ seems counterintuitive, but your wife and self-esteem will thank you.  Don’t go selvedge, no (or maybe 2%) stretch, and darker…they dress up any outfit and can take a beating.
Johnnie-O Wales Cord Pants:  I’d argue that these cords are far enough of a deviation from typical 5-pockets that they deserve a spot on the list.  Find a fun color and wear them well.  These from Johnnie-O are great (and on sale!).
Ball and Buck Overland Pants:  And don’t sleep on chinos.  You already have ten pairs of khaki, so try something else.  Ball and Buck just released their Overland pants, which is the updated version of their 6-point/8-point canvas options they’ve had for years (and are incredible).  Get a size that you can wash and hang dry, and you’ll reach for these a lot more than you think.


Duck Head Lumber Coat:  This year has been the rebirth of the ‘Shacket’, with quite a few companies releasing their versions.  I’ve been a Chore Coat guy for YEARS, so I’m excited to see them hit the mainstream.  Duck Head crushed it with their Lumber Coat.  It’s just thick enough as an outer layer, but not so thick that it’s a jacket.  Perfectly loungeable.
LL Bean Organic Cotton Sweater:  Don’t get on me about a ‘cardigan’.  This isn’t the Mr. Rogers version of a sweater.  It’s a full-zip cotton sweater, which is perfect this time of year.  The standing mock neck will give it some style, and the trim fit will give your entire look and update.
Fisher & Baker Greenwich Anorak:  Anoraks are incredible.  More of an outer layer, but very cool (and functional!) for this time of year.  Good for when it’s wet out, or for fighting the brisk morning air.  I have a feeling we’ll see everyone releasing their version of an anorak next year.


Clark’s Wallabees:  Probably the coolest boots ever released.  You’ve had (and ruined) the Maple Suede version of these at the Fraternity House or roaming the bars in Buckhead, so try the Beeswax option.  They are a little stiff out of the box, but will break in really well.
Saucony Peregrine 11 Trail Shoes:  For athletic shoes/sneakers, I prefer the outdoor/trail versions.  They typically provide a little waterproofing and the colorways are much cooler.  I love these Sauconys.
Loake 1880 Pimlico Chukka Boots:  A good, tough, dressy option for dads in the winter.  These feature a Dianite rubber sole so they can get wet, and the suede is treated.  Don’t go trudging through the mud, but you get it.

Go get ’em guys.  Be the best version of yourself.



  1. CCE II
    12/27/2021 / 9:33 AM

    Thank you for the timely post. Before Covid, I wore jacket and tie to work and when I came home, it was 5 pockets and well-worn cotton polo. During/post-Covid, synthetic/tech clothing has started to account for more of my everyday wardrobe than I’d like to admit.

  2. JMR
    12/27/2021 / 9:34 AM

    I’d add that if you’re getting a lot of these shirt, broaden your color ways. A great way to stand out as the dad who has is style together is to be the guy who puts a twist on the uniform. It’s wintertime – bust out the gem tones.

  3. WK
    12/27/2021 / 9:51 AM

    Tech polos are male equal of women shopping in exercise clothes. That’s why the golf club has a locker room. Dressi-in;dress out”

    • J
      12/27/2021 / 7:33 PM

      Clarks? C’mon, I thought we grew out of or fraternity!

  4. PDB
    12/27/2021 / 10:02 AM

    I was at my daughter’s swim meet last week and afterwards she told me that one of her friends asked why I got so dressed up for a swim meet. I was wearing an OCBD, nice jeans and a pair of Rancourt loafers.

    I didn’t feel that dressed up but apparently the bar is not as high as I would imagine.

    Also, 100% hard pass on tech polos for me.


    • CCE
      12/27/2021 / 11:15 PM

      I bet that made your daughter more proud than she let on; she’ll remember that.

    • SMB
      12/28/2021 / 7:50 AM

      PDB,, I think the lockdown has lowered the bar to sub-terrain levels. People that are just now coming out of their bubble no longer know how to dress and act around people. For example I was at my in laws for Thanksgiving dinner and my brother in laws were in faded jeans and video game t-shirts. It was quite a site.

      To not care for your appearance is a side effect of this madness.

  5. Chris Argo
    12/27/2021 / 10:33 AM

    Great information !!!!!! I just recently lost 46 lbs and counting. So I’m finally able to find break free from the big/tall chains of boring dad style. I’ve always dressed very traditional/classic style. And I’ve really jumped on the 5 pocket trend. This article will serve as a great reference for adding to my closest as the season goes along now that it’s much easier to find sizing.

  6. CHA
    12/27/2021 / 10:37 AM

    Great information !!!!!! I just recently lost 46 lbs and counting. So I’m finally able to find break free from the big/tall chains of boring dad style. I’ve always dressed very traditional/classic style. And I’ve really jumped on the 5 pocket trend. This article will serve as a great reference for adding to my closest as the season goes along now that it’s much easier to find sizing.

  7. Cameron
    12/27/2021 / 11:21 AM

    What’s the issue with selvedge? Just curious.

    • NEM
      12/27/2021 / 1:39 PM

      I agree, the SM selvedge option is a champion for laymen and denimheads alike. I have a pair I wore for over a year without washing. I also have a non-selvedge pair of Sid’s and they fade differently, and the shade of blue is just slightly different. But both are exceptional jeans in my book.

    • Trip
      12/28/2021 / 11:10 AM

      I think the issue is that if you’re going to get a nice pair of selvedge jeans, they should be washed sparingly. Approaching it from the standpoint of Dad Duty, you’ll likely need to be washing them more regularly, so better to get something else.

  8. JDV
    12/27/2021 / 12:36 PM

    For casual and office attire: 100% cotton. 100%wool. No tech, no performance, all natural. Non iron is non acceptable. If the store ends in lemon run away to one ending in Bean. If possible shop in person. Online retail is bad for America. Oh right, buy American made whenever possible.

    • Ryan
      12/27/2021 / 7:54 PM

      You’re telling people to buy American right after telling them to shop at LL Bean. Might want to check those “made in” tags.

      • JDV
        01/02/2022 / 1:06 AM

        Well, my Bean boots were made in Maine about 4 years ago, so neither of us are exactly accurate.

    • HL
      12/28/2021 / 1:19 PM

      Yeah I don’t agree with your attire thoughts. That wouldn’t really fly in the South with the majority of careers and weather. You sound like you are not a fun person and close-minded.

      • JDV
        01/02/2022 / 5:27 PM

        Not a clue what you mean dear Hl. Born and reared in the South and worked in an office wearing a 100% worsted suit, 100% cotton buttondown, and all silk tie since 1987. Listen to Tim McGraw and Elvis, and watch Andy Griffith with my kids most every night. Also a fan of most anything Mr. RCS posts. Really enjoy this blog. But wouldn’t be caught dead in a fleece vest if that’s what you mean. Have a super day. Happy New Year.

  9. Wheels
    12/27/2021 / 3:39 PM

    I’ll never understand the Wallabees love. In full disclosure, I’ve never owned a pair but I cannot get past how ugly they look.

    • Ryan
      12/27/2021 / 7:55 PM

      You clearly didn’t attend an SEC school in the late 90s. They were basically handed out at initiation.

    • CCE
      12/27/2021 / 11:01 PM

      They’re basically orthopaedic moccasins. I think it’s more nostalgia than anything; if you didn’t wear them in college, you probably don’t or won’t wear them now. Personally, I enjoy my pair as a casual knock around shoe that can be worn with just about anything. Worth a look.

    • SMB
      12/28/2021 / 7:44 AM

      I am in agreement with you. These were all the rage in high school but I could never buy into them. Not stylish in my opinion. A nice pair of suede desert boots are a better choice.

  10. Charlie
    12/28/2021 / 3:45 AM

    I’ve always preferred the Desert Boots over the Wallabees. And yes, the bar is not nearly as high as we would imagine. On one of the rare trips to the office just before Christmas, I wore khakis, button-down, and zip sweater, only to elicit the “Why are you so dressed up?” and “Wow! You’ve got the ‘fancy’ clothes on today” comments.

  11. Jeff+L.
    12/28/2021 / 7:28 AM

    Totally agree on the long sleeve polo shirts. I really like the Criquet Long Sleeve Players shirt.

  12. SFM
    12/28/2021 / 1:04 PM

    I enjoy all the suggestions and good way to avoid any particular uniform (especially if it’s getting repetitive each day). That said, I wish someone would have told me how unexpectedly and voluminously infants can spit up. I know this is directed at dads with a bit older kids, but between the lock downs of 2020 and having a new born, I was really excited to put on a good sweater or OCBD just to feel human again. But as they say, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… won’t get fooled again.

    • CJH
      12/29/2021 / 9:09 AM

      I unabashedly wore exclusively tech polos/quarter zips for the first six months of my sons life for this exact reason (not to mention I wasn’t leaving the house much due to COVID/new parent duties). My son turned one a month ago and I’ve gotten back into my cotton clothing now that I’m not constantly waiting on the next spit up incident (now it’s just food residue from his hands!)

  13. Sam
    12/28/2021 / 10:15 PM

    The bar certainly is low. My son is a grad of an SEC school where he was active in a frat. My wife gave me some of the “dressier” Lululemon ABC pants for my birthday. My son promptly responded: “Dad, I hope you’re not going to wear those to the office!” It never crossed my mind, but it’s always good to be reminded these days!

    • Mike Wisniewski
      12/30/2021 / 8:20 PM

      Southern style is certainly a style that is not easily Googled – and as RCS is a heritage and a tradition, so is the style as it is mainly shared through the generations by example and by word of mouth. I too have to be constantly reminded of the fundamentals of not only style but of all the other 9 yards that go along with style. It’s often easy to get distracted!

  14. Brian
    12/29/2021 / 6:51 AM

    Amen to the On Cloud sentiment. Love the colors and look, but overplayed. I’m a fan of Karhu. They are exclusive to Fleet Feet, which allows me to support local business owners and are not widely known. Which makes them a unique talking piece when I wear them.

  15. Dave
    12/29/2021 / 5:55 PM

    Great post! How do the Holderness & Bourne Polos fit? I have heard they run slim? I am average size 5’11” / 40R and usually wear medium (such as Sid Mashburn and Gap.)

    • SMB
      12/30/2021 / 10:50 AM

      Dave, I am a similar build and wear M in the H&B long sleeve polos. Love the one I have.

      • Dave
        12/30/2021 / 2:15 PM

        Thanks! I just ordered one. I had never heard of H&B till this post but they look great. Can’t wait to get it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Me
Looking for Something?
Post Categories: