When I was a young professional at my first company, one of my mentors told me to dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. Whereas, most of the men in the office wore poorly fitted khakis and baggy dress shirts, my mentor always wore a tailored suit and tie.
Every day, the guys would tease him with snarky comments. “Where are you going to preach today?” “Are you still trying to impress the boss?” or “Do you have a job interview?” He simply ignored them and continued to work hard and get promotions.
At the time, I was 24 and my mentor was about 45. He was married (20 years) with two kids in high school. I always admired his dedication to his family, his professional integrity, his drive, and his style. I wanted to be like him when I grew up.
Twenty years later, I’m nearly the same age as my mentor was and I’m still trying to be like him.
The last time I saw him was right before he retired from the company. He invited me to his office to say farewell.
“I’m proud of the things you’ve accomplished,” he said. “I guess you really have been listening to my advice.”
We laughed and I thanked him for his mentorship. We chatted for a few more minutes and exchanged goodbyes. As I was leaving, he called my name and said, “Nice jacket.” That was one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
My mentor died a few years ago, but I continue to honor his legacy by working hard, being a good husband and father, and dressing in a way that would have made him proud.
Now I mentor young men and encourage them to always make a good impression. I also share this advice with new dads. Just because you’re a father doesn’t mean that you have to lose your sense of style.
Here are a few winter fashions for dads that are appropriate for work, the weekend or a dinner party.
LOOK #1 – Casual Friday
Many workplaces have adopted a casual dress code. Instead of simple wearing jeans and a plain button-down shirt, you can enhance your look with a blazer and sweater vest. The additional layers will keep your warm during the winter months.
Look #2 – Date Night
My wife and I don’t get out as often as we’d like to, but when we do, I like to look nice for her. This simple outfit is good for various date night activities.
(Marc Anthony Textured Patterned Shawl-Collar Sweater and Modern-Fit Plaid Wool-Blend Flat-Front Gray Dress Pants from Kohl’s, aviator sunglasses by Calvin Klein)
Look #3 – Weekend
Weekends are a time to relax and have fun, but you don’t have to wear sweatpants and a t-shirt to be comfortable. This jeans, hoodie, and jacket combination will make you the coolest dad at the playground.
Look #4 – Formal
I wear suits often and I get the same comments that my mentor got. However, I believe that men should wear suits more often. There are many modern, affordable options available.
(Calvin Klein Dress Shirt, Banana Republic Slim-fit Suit and wool overcoat, Merona Skinny Tie, Sibley glasses by Warby Parker)
Join the conversation: Who has had the biggest influence on your personal style?
Disclosure: I received clothing from Lee and Kohl’s. All opinions are my own.