Hey Sid!

The Dad Uniform

Hey Sid!

You ask, Sid answers

Submit a question at heysid@sidmashburn.com

“Hey Sid. I'm a father of two in Louisiana. On weekends I'm mostly bouncing from birthday party to play practice to soccer game, etc. What do you think is appropriate 'dad-wear' that is stylish and not overdressed?” – Reagan

in case you needed proof that Sid is well-equipped to answer this one


For Reagan's question, here's another Q&A with Sid (dad of five) and HS Editor Jonathan (dad of one).

Sid: Hey Reagan, great question. Let's see. You’ve got 2 children in a place that’s about to be hot as all get-out. Maybe the birthday party has a trampoline, maybe you’re getting slimed, maybe you're sitting in the grass at the soccer field. Hopefully play practice has air conditioning. Wherever you’re going, you have 3 goals:
1. Feel cool (For you.)
2. Look cool. (For your kids.)
3. Stay cool. (For both of you.)
The first one is pretty easy to solve. Heat + weekend = shorts for a lot of guys. I don’t do shorts all that often these days, but I absolutely did at your stage of life when I was running around with my kids. I am pretty set on a 7-inch inseam, which isn’t short-short, but the most universally flattering and easy to wear for most guys. So that’s how ours are. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Just trust me. So, yeah, shorts. That takes care of feeling cool. What did I say was next?

JB: Looking cool.

Sid: Oh yeah… your kid may not notice now, but you will be documented. Something I didn’t really have to worry about in my prime dad years. Total freedom. Anyway, I’m always of the mind that if you’re gonna dress for something, dress up a little bit. (Clearly for me, since it has always been my profession... and clearly for you, Reagan, since you’re asking the question.) For me, that means a shirt with some kind of collar. I like t-shirts more for the back yard or working out – but that’s a personal thing. Lots of guys can pull off a t-shirt.

Now for me, there’s one thing synonymous with cool: CHAMBRAY. One of our all-time favorite materials and my weekend go-to forever. We love it so much we make a spread collar, a western shirt, a band collar, a work shirt, and a button down... AND in a variety of washes, from dark indigo to extra light washed. And they’ll continue to fade as you wash them. It just keeps getting better and better. Ann has had to play referee a few times because there’s a super old one of mine that each one of my girls has been trying to claim for years. Somehow 2 or 3 remember me giving it to them specifically. Come to think of it, I should just ask for it back. Problem solved.

Besides chambray (in any form), I’d also say polos are a no-brainer. Again, I like ours because the collar is perfect and looks great under a jacket. Navy would be smart if you are still in toddler territory and your shirt is used as a napkin, which I'm sure it often is.

JB: Okay, chambrays, polos... what about a short-sleeved sport shirt? Split the difference?

Sid: I love a short-sleeved shirt. Super cool and a bit of a sleeper. They’ve got a little bit of polish to them, but short sleeves take it down a notch in a good way. One of my favorite documentaries is Jazz on a Summer's Day. A short-sleeved button-down was the uniform of the time period, and that movie... big style influence. You could also go with a guayabera - which I love - or something a bit more colorful, like a cheerful stripe, or a paisley or this very awesome tropical print. The vibe is kind of Nantucket meets Cuba. (And of course chambray would be great.) This is your chance to "feel cool" in a different sense.

JB: Anything else on things up top, or bottoms for that matter? I mean, what if you don’t want shorts?

Sid: As far as bottoms go... anything canvas would be great. Ours is dry and rugged and gets better the more you wear it in. Just like the chambray. So canvas shorts of course, but you could do canvas trousers or 5-pockets if you’re not a shorts guy. Any of those would be GREAT for kid-friendly, knockaround wear. And year-round, not just summer. So if I’m hitting a birthday party and soccer practice in your part of the country, I’d probably go with a pair of canvas shorts or 5-pockets, and a chambray shirt with the sleeves rolled up. And any kind of denim is a no-brainer as well. Just as indestructible as canvas.


the kid-friendly uniform; kids probably running in the parking lot

JB: Great... so shorts, jeans, shirt with a collar... anything else?

Sid: I guess yeah, that’s pretty much it for the summer dad uniform. And hey... one more thing. I might put on swim trunks underneath just in case. You never know when you might find yourself at a pool, or off-road at a creek or lake. I think your kids would be kind of impressed if you were able to jump on an opportunity for a dip. Our swim trunks are awesome and light enough to wear under your shorts or jeans. For me, anyway.

Last thing. Shoes you can run in. Sneakers, deck shoes, chukka boots, something sporty. Parenting 101: be ready to play.

From Sid

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