How to Be a Stylish Dad on a Budget

Mocha Dad Sears Style Surprise.I never intended to be a male model. However, I’m often drawn into that role when I go shopping. Inevitably some woman will approach me and say.

“You look like a stylish guy. Can you help me find something for my [insert male relative, friend, or associate]?”

Even though I wonder why they don’t ask the sales associates, I always oblige. But my job doesn’t end there. After we’ve selected an item, I get the follow-up question.

“Can you try it on so I can see what it looks like?”

I sigh and take the item to the dressing room. The women make me walk around the store and insist that I do a few spins so they can get different perspectives. When they’re finally satisfied with their selections, they are usually quite grateful for my help. Some women have even offered to give me money for my time, but I always refuse because it would somehow turn a kind gesture into a unseemly transaction.

But department stores aren’t the only place that I get compliments on my attire. I can’t count the number of times that people have said to me, “You don’t dress like a dad.”

“What do you mean by that?” I ask. They often shrug and say, “I don’t know. You just look well-put together.”

It seems that people perceive dads as a bunch of schlubs (def: unkempt in appearance, either due to lack of effort or lack of awareness. The opposite of metrosexual). Obviously, we need to improve our image.

mochadad sears style surprise 2Since I was a teenager, I’ve known the importance of dressing well. I’ve also been adept at buying fashionable clothes on a budget. When I was a kid, my mother couldn’t afford to buy me Jordache jeans and Izod shirts. I quickly learned to put together nice outfits from department store clearance racks and thrift stores. I’ve maintained this shopping philosophy as an adult. When I peruse the pages of GQ and Esquire, I often wonder who can afford $200 jeans and $500 dress shirts. Um, not me. The way I shop, I could get several outfits for the cost of one of those fancy designer items without sacrificing style.

For example, recently bought a great outfit from Sears for around $175. I know what you’re thinking – “Don’t they only sell tools and appliance?” I thought the same thing until a couple of years ago when I brought my son to shop for his school clothes. I must admit that I hadn’t planned to go there, but I was pressed for time and it was the only store that was convenient. My son and I were surprised by the clothing selection. It was fashionable and dare I say cool. My son selected several T-shirts, shorts, and a fly hat (def: cool, in style).

Because of that experience, I decided to have a look in the men’s section. I was not disappointed. They had a huge selection of dress shirts, suits, pants, jeans, and outerwear. I had bought clothes at Sears before, but it was always work wear. In the construction industry, I needed outfits that were durable and comfortable. Sears was my go-to place for rugged shirts, pants and boots. Best of all, I could stop by the tool department and get a drill. Win-Win.

Back to the outfit I mentioned earlier. Here are the items I bought:

  • Pierre Cardin blazer – $90.00
  • Structure Long-Sleeve Shirt $19.99
  • Levi’s 514 Jeans – $39.99
  • Union Bay Sunglasses – $24.00
  • Total: $173.98

That’s a great bargain for an outfit that makes me look like a million bucks (check out my Instagram feed to see more of the outfits I tried on). I encourage all dads to go beyond the tool department at Sears. When you’re done looking at that riding mower, mosey on over to the men’s department and upgrade your wardrobe. After a few shopping trips, you’ll look so good that women may start asking you to be their personal mannequins.

Stay Strong,

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Sears. #CBias #ad #searsStyle.” All opinions are my own.

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at