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ALPHA MALE: How Soccer Dads Can Dress for Success

Friday, August 17, 2012


Just because there are kids in the picture doesn't mean you should dress like a kid, even at their games. Get a grip on your off-hour style.

Thus far, we have mostly been discussing some menswear basics—the staples of your wardrobe (your “uniform”), the brands and products you trust, finding some of those basics like denim, and all the while emphasizing fit and functionality while still looking stylish. But something we have not yet really touched upon is, once you have these basics nailed down, how do you use them?

That sounds silly, right? I mean, we all just get up and get dressed- whether it be for a day at work, a night out or a weekend carting around the kids. Simple. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. But what can help you distinguish yourself as a guy with a little self awareness and pride is taking those pieces in your closet and wearing them so they help you stand out without sticking out. We are talking about subtlety and appropriateness here.

Soccer dads: put down the windbreakers

I am a father of 3 beautiful children. I drive them to school, I take them to soccer practices and swimming lessons, the beach and boating among countless other activities. I know a lot of devoted parents who do the same and then some. But what I see when I get to the school or soccer field is a lot of dads who get too comfortable in these roles and forget about their own appearance. Just because you are a “Soccer Dad” does not relegate you to windbreakers and sweatpants. In my opinion, “dressing for success” even applies to the weekend soccer game.

You have a choice every morning when you wake up regarding how you prepare for the world that day. This choice is predicated on your personality, attitude and pride in your appearance. Part is also determined by what is in your closet. Regardless, you should not treat any day differently than any other. But the key to doing this besides confidence in yourself and your wardrobe is knowing what is appropriate for the occasion. I will not get into a work-appropriate dressing discussion here because it can vary based on your place of employ, dress codes, etc. Other than my advocacy for “dressing above your job” (a broad mantra indeed) we could spend countless hours discussing what style works in the workplace. What really makes a difference is your off-hours.

Why your off-hours look matters more than your work look

Next time you have a function or activity planned after work or on the weekend, really think about it. Where are you going? What are you doing? What is the weather going to be like? There is never a wrong time to be the best-dressed guy in the room. That also does not mean over-doing it. Drinks after work with colleagues? Throw a pair of denim in your bag that morning and swap out the trousers after work, but keep the shirt and blazer. Soccer practice at 9am Saturday? Sure, you will not wear a tie, but a great fitting pair of chinos and solid T-shirt and tennis shoes say a hell of a lot more about you than your golfing pullover and gym sneakers. (Note: If you are at the field coaching, I will not judge your level of dressing for comfort with 11 screaming children, especially when one is mine.)

What you wear on your own time says a lot about your attitude, self confidence and how much pride you take in your appearance. You have nailed down staples for your closet and have confidence in what you are wearing. Now you can start thinking about who you are outside of the office and what you want your appearance to say about you. Once you realize you can step up your style for any occasion and still look appropriately dressed, taking the kids to soccer practice at 9am will look a little less like  you are there out of obligation and a little more like you are ready for success. Even on a Saturday.

Robert Babigian is owner of WHARF Clothing & Wares, a menswear retail boutique located at 212 Westminster Street in Providence, RI. A native Rhode Islander, Rob started WHARF after 2 decades in marketing and sales to fulfill his desire to combine his loves of consumer branding, small business and style that would fulfill a niche for desirable men's clothing in the Providence market. The apparel and accessories found at WHARF reflect Rob's own personal aesthetic—a combination of traditional New England staples mixed with modern fits, construction and fabrics blended together with a touch of European style. For more tips or to shop the store, stop in and see Rob and his staff or reach them online at shopwharf.com.


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