Sad but true: the word “dad” is traditionally used as a prefix for something that’s a bit, well, crap (think “dad-rock”, “dad-bod”, “dad-dancing etc).
But last year “dad style” became a high-fashion craze. Models were promptly dispatched down catwalks in washed-out denim, baggy blazers and chunky sneakers with soles thick enough to be prescribed by your podiatrist. Even bum-bags were touted to have made an unlikely comeback.
“‘Dad style’ is now in fashion. Yes, even the jeans” proclaimed The Wall Street Journal. “The coolest sneakers to buy right now are ones your dad already owns” declared GQ. Meanwhile Virgil Abloh, the creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, told The New York Times that he was a big fan of dad style. “This is definitely the beginning,” he said. “I think we’ll be seeing more of it.”
While the term is layered with inch-thick irony, “dad style” basically refers to gear that is functional, comfortable and masculine. And frankly, what’s not to like about that?
When it comes to brands, New Balance is the totem of dad style and the sneaker brand is currently milking the connection dry. The latest campaign for New Balance’s 990v5 wears the slogan: ”Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio”.
It’s a tagline that’s both tongue-in-cheek and celebratory of the sneaker’s mass appeal. The shoe may prioritise cushioning and stability over head-turning looks, but the style has endured for 37 years since its 1982 release. In short, it’s a stone-cold classic.
In further good news for all the actual dads out there, the available colour-ways for the new 990s are grey, navy and black. So they won’t get too messed up when you’re mowing the lawn.