In the last two years, a niche style of dressing has infiltrated both the high fashion and streetwear markets. “Dad fashion” is back in style and it is becoming more popular than ever before.
The trend spans from clothing to footwear. In way of clothing, a pair of baggy jeans, a white vest and occasionally a blazer is practically the uniform of supermodels nowadays. Full tracksuits are also coming back in style, and not the juicy couture ones popularised in the 2000s, I mean Tony Soprano-Esque outfits; just look at singer Billie Eilish’s entire wardrobe. As for shoes, the dad aesthetic manifests itself is chunky and conventionally ugly shoes, the most accurate representation of which is the Balenciaga Triple S trainers.
As much as this newfound aesthetic has sparked the birth of many new styles, it has also seen the revival of fads once thought of as unappealing and frowned upon by many.
For those of us who followed Emily Oberg during her complex days, the rise of the dad clothing doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as her entire aesthetic embodied that. She also had a brand called “Sporty and Rich” which although didn’t take off very much showcased sweatshirts and shorts that could easily be rocked by many fathers.
For me, the most unlikely pioneer of the “cool dad” aesthetic was Steve Jobs. The former CEO and creator of Apple famously wore the same, staple outfits: a black turtleneck, baggy jeans and a different edition of New Balances, usually grey ones. Although it may not have been apparent at the time, this style of dressing became more commonplace in the late 2010s; I even took inspiration from this tech genius.
What was once thought of as being uncool as it was so closely associated with fathers is now all the rage. I remember a time in 2015 when I tried to purchase a pair of pink New Balance 990s and had to search the depths of the internet just to find them. Now, there is a wide range of these shoes sold in the top streetwear stores: from Kith to Dover Street Market to Selfridges, just to name a few.
The brand themselves have even gone so far as to use this new trend as a form of marketing; their new ads show the grey 990s with the slogan “Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio.”
Another brand that’s now found its footing in this dad craze is sneaker brand Asics. The shoes that I once associated with P.E while I was in school are now being worn by all my friends and young famous people alike. The brand even collaborated with Kiko Kostadinov, a collaboration that was coveted, it had people queuing up just to buy a pair of the shoes and of course sold out extremely quickly.
I think the reason for the return of this trend is the newfound focus on comfort in the fashion industry. As much as latex and leather outfits are aesthetically pleasing, they lack a certain level of comfort and practicality that appeals to the masses.
The dad aesthetic can also be seen as a new form of minimalism. Simply put, old men are lazy and their outfits don’t require much thought, therefore whatever they piece together carries with it a certain level of simplicity that is close to the now popular minimalist trend that we see more often.
As weird as it may be that my dad is now a source of inspiration for my outfits, this trend is the pinnacle of the 90s comeback as high fashion and streetwear have somehow managed to make the most obscure things fashionable and hip (as dad would say).