3 Reasons Why Fathers Need To Dress Sharp – Be The Man You Want Your Children To Remember

Antonio Centeno, AoM’s style writer and the author of the blog Real Men, Real Style, has been going back through some of the old articles he did for AoM, and making a video to accompany the post. He recently did this for an article about why fathers should care about dressing sharp. Check out the original article–A Guide to Dressing Sharp for Fathers–or watch the video to have Tony talk you through it.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick October 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Great point about parents wearing pj’s all the time. My wife and I always laugh about this at our kids games too. How comfortable is too comfortable? Nothing with an expanding waist needs to be worn out of the house or gym, and men over 40 should really think twice about shorts…and Crocs should be illegal

pcoq October 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm

If you are dressing in a certain manner because you are concerned about the judgements of others, then you are doing it for the wrong reason. People who judge you on the basis of superficialities, such as clothing… Do you remember the Aesop fable about the man, the boy and the donkey that you read in grade 1 or 2? The moral: “Please all, and you will please none.”

I have heard ridiculous advice, such as older men should not wear jeans or men over 35 should not wear ball caps and team shirts. No shorts over 40. If it is a hot day and you are out for a stroll, why not? Wearing clean clothing appropriate for the activity is all that is required, as far as dressing goes. It is not necessary to have new or fashionable clothing.

What I heard in this video was a single message: pander to what people think.

Rob October 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Nick…really? I agree with the Crocs remark but…really? Men over 40 should not wear shorts? There are a lot of guys over 40 that look good in shorts…if they are the right style suited to their body type and overall look. For the married man, ask your wife if it looks nice on you and be confident enough to wear it. If she says…umm…nope!, then listen. I totally agree with Antonio with setting an example and how dressing can change an impression that a teacher may have of your child. I too have been to the school and witnessed outfits on both men and women, thinking…what were YOU thinking? Antonio suggests we do it for our family, I agree, but guys, do it for yourself.

Rob October 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm

There was an old NPR story-corps episode done with one of their correspondents. She was a black woman and she talked about her father. One part of her story stuck with me. Every morning when it snowed, her father woke up very very early and made sure that theirs was the first house on the block that had the snow cleared. She said it made an impression on the white neighbors that their ‘house was well in order’. Dressing well is like that, it shows that you have your house in order, that the homework is getting done and the teeth brushed. If you take care of the small things, it implies you have the big things under control too.

pcoq October 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

“If you take care of the small things, it implies you have the big things under control too.”

That is the _Broken Windows_ crime prevention theory in a nutshell.

Christof October 8, 2011 at 6:09 am

I would agree with the author in that (and this is where the guilty take the truth to be hard), how you do ANYTHING is really how you do EVERYTHING.

Eddie in INDY October 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

Great Advise…….
I will be back to this man’s youtube posts and check out all I can…

Worth the time.

Eddie in INDY

FichenDich October 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Flashback to 1985, Billy Crystal, SNL…
It doesn’t matter who or what you are so long as you look good, because your appearance is the only thing that matters. Interestingly enough, every banker and politician always wears a coat and tie. More fascinating is that the devil is always portrayed immaculately dressed while Jesus is wearing either a robe or his underpants.

Brothajohn October 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

He is not saying Pander to everyone. That would mean you have to wear what makes everyone else happy. That is not it. What he is saying is, take care of your appearance in public. I am a teacher and I have one simple piece of advice that applies to everything: Everything Speaks. That’s it. Your house, your car, your clothes, your work, they all send a message. People should not judge books by thier covers, but they do.
I am not wealthy and I do not wear a suit everyday. I dress very simply like a modern monk. I like Chino pants, oxford cloth button-down collar shirts, and simple leather shoes (although not penny loafers, that is just to preppy even for me) but I Iron my shirt. My socks, match my pants. I clean my shoes and shine them if possible on a regular basis. I will never win any awards for fashion or taste. But, when I walk down the street, no one says “look at that slobby jerk”. It is not about pandering, it’s about having Self Respect.

Greg October 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

I agree with this for the most part, but, I must say, that putting age limits on shorts takes it a little too far. I have an uncle who is seventy-eight, but he looks like Jack LaLane, and is very active, who looks appropriate in shorts, even though they are polyester. I do believe however, that a man should dress his age, and especially act his age, and HOW PEOPLE SEE YOU IS IMPORTANT, AS HOW YOU DRESS AND ACT SAYS VOLUMES ABOUT YOU. Dress appropriately for the occasion…wear a suit to weddings, funerals, and church. Dress nice for a date, or for dinner out…etc. I have seen, and am still seeing too many men over the age of 35 or even 40, who dress just like their sixteen(16) year old sons, lke they are in high school too, not to mention acting like that. Men, especially those of us who are fathers, need to pay attention to the image we represent. We are FATHERS to our children, we are role models, in many ways to include the way we dress and act, we are disciplinarians to our children, we give advise, we teach right from wrong, we love,…. so in a nutshell…..we raise. We are not just best friends, on the same level, or the same age or grade level, and it’s time for men to act like men, dress like men, and exibit the self-confidence and have the self-respect that comes from doing so.

Gabriel Ascolese October 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

I agree with Antonio. Dressing well shows self respect and excellent representation for the family. As a stay at home dad I dress in a shirt and tie or suit and tie as often as I can either at home or in public. I do it for myself and no one else. The teachers in the school where my children attend will scold them to tuck their uniform shirts in their trousers yet they are wearing shorts, flip flops and tee shirts. No wonder kids today are so confused. I have often been asked what my occupation is because I dress well. It has been assumed that I am a lawyer or the CEO of a company. When it is learned I am a stay at home dad I am asked why I do not dress more comfortably. I never said I was uncomfortable. In fact I dress this way out of comfort. I look and feel most confident and it shows. My wife and daughter appreciate the way I dress and will often help me shop. My boys who are very young wear their play clothes daily but on
weekends and holidays enjoy dressing like dad. They often ask to wear a shirt and tie and they feel good about it. I get positive results without forcing myself on them. I must be doing something right.

Jaron Andersen October 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I totally agree that Crocs are not fashionable. However, as a surgeon there are many benefits to wearing them at work, especially in the operating room. That is why you see so many healthcare workers wear clogs in general. They are super soft and comfortable for standing on for feet for long surgical cases. Blood and other fluids easily rinse right off of them. And they slip off easily when you need to sit down or put your feet up. But yes, I wouldn’t wear them out on the town.

will October 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Here in Butler, men, no matter the setting, can be seen wearing a ballcap, tee shirt with a heavy shirt that is not tucked in, worn levis and workboots.

A few years ago I went to shoe stores and asked for italian cut full dress shoes. Nobody knew what I was talking about. I went to a larger city within 50 miles and bought a pair for about $75 (I was accustomed to pauying $250 – $300 in Philly). I mean, the guy knew what I was talking about and brought several pairs for me to choose from.

Go figure, you should always look your best.

If you have not tried a good italian style dress shoe, do it, you’ll swear by them.

Antonio Centeno October 11, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Gentlemen – thank you for watching my video and the intelligent comments – your thoughts and time spent discussing this is appreciated.



Kyle October 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I agree with Antonio. I don’t believe he meent you should pander to anyone. He meant that you should always present yourself in the best light. It makes you feel good, and others are more likely to treat you in a respectful manner if they dont see you walking around target in a pair of sweatpants and a cut-off t-shirt. Next time you want to see this in action, go to a car dealership and pretend to be interested in a car. Wear gym shorts and a tshirt with holes in it. Now go to a different car lot dressed sharply. Bet the 2nd guy didnt treat you like a simpleton like the first guy was more inclined to do. Always try to have the manly look to match your manly person.

Don Wright October 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I disagree with the idea that men over 40 should not wear shorts, but I do agree with Antonio’s point of view. I have gone into store’s etc. wearing gym clothes and/or “young man’s” attire and have actually been greeted by a salesperson with “What’s up Man?”.

I have also gone into a store dressed sharply, and have been greeted with “Good afternoon Sir. How may I assist you?”. First impressions mean a lot. I can only speak for myself, but when I dress sharp I feel a boost in confidence and command respect. You also get more looks from the ladies.

We live in an age in which our appearance receives less focus. Back in the day, men always looked sharp when out on the town. (check out a few episodes of Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men or any movie made prior to 1980).

Maybe we older guys should bring back the tradition.

Aurumgirl October 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

If you’re going to see this advice as just “appearance is everything”, then you’re missing the point completely. This is about taking care of yourself, and starting from a position of self respect. You want to see yourself as being worthy, capable, and respectful of other people enough that you would care to dress appropriately to be in their presence. Why wouldn’t you want to present that as an example to your children? It’s not about submitting to someone else’s ideas about decorum, it’s about your own self esteem. It does reflect the way you see yourself–and the way others treat you, too. You can ignore that reality at your own peril, if you really must, but if you give a damn about your kids you’ll give them some kind of model to help them use that reality for their own benefit.

Overlord October 31, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Another reason that dressing well is important is that it shows not only self-respect, but respect and honor for others, even for society in general. The doofus schlepping around in a grimy t-shirt and jeans strategically lowered to reveal his own personal Crack of Doom is essentially saying, “You all are nothing to me! In fact, I’m not sure you even exist! The only important thing for me is what makes me comfortable!” He might as well be a child who never learned to use his “indoor voice” or chew with his mouth closed – he might be gross, crude or just plain rude – it doesn’t really matter if no one else matters.

I guess the good thing about such a lowlife is that the rest of us all know exactly where we rate in his wonderful world of comfort and ease…

Keith May 17, 2012 at 7:48 am

I agree that first impressions matter. Unfortunately, my first impression here is of a shallow man extremely impressed with himself, and it’s enough of a turnoff that I stopped watching.

Dave McGoldrick May 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm

This topic has obviously hit a couple of nerves but what I would say
is that from my own personal experience some of the smartest people I
know and some of the most successful people out there don’t feel the
to dress smart.

I’m a bit of a computer geek and in the industry I work in people tend
to ‘dress down’ or for comfort. It has no representation on how successful
they are in life or how they carry themselves etc

Don’t get me wrong, when I have important meetings I dress smart casual and
I have found it hard to shop for mens clothing and menswear in general which
is not only affordable but feels comfortable to wear. I recently found some
really great, smart clothes from http://www.gazman.com.au/Online-Store.html and
I have to say I’ve started to favor wearing them a little more over my beaten
down tennis shoes and baggy jeans.

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