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Almost a decade into fatherhood, I can tell you with the confidence gained through experience that the legends are true: when you take on the mantle of fatherhood, you take off the mantle of cool—or of looking cool, anyway. Stylishness and fatherhood just aren’t all that compatible because A) messiness; B) fatigue; and C) lack of time to shop, coordinate outfits, or even be much concerned about how you look.
While I’ve never cared about being the most fashion-forward guy on the block, I have always taken pride in looking at least a few degrees above presentable. Maybe it was a basic t-shirt outfit elevated by a pair of statement shoes or a jacket layered with a sweater for a dash of texture. Regardless, my style was always understated yet conscious—until I had kids.
My new sartorial baseline has become… how shall I put it? Let’s say “presentable plus.” If my outfits aren’t curated with care, at least I’m not going to be leaving the house dressed in anything that would catch a sidelong glance or an eye roll. And while in the past I might have sacrificed a bit of comfort if a slimmer pair of pants or a stiffer jacket looked better, today I value clothing that offers stretch and range of motion more than aesthetics. After all, my kids don’t care what I look like as I’m running around the park or tucked under a bed during hide-and-seek.
Fortunately, striking that balance of looking good and feeling good in my clothes is made a lot easier by a brand that all my fellow dad dudes (and mom dudes) out there need to check out.
DU/ER clothing is, for the most part, a pretty casual brand. They have some slacks and button-downs that are all well and good, but for me, it’s all about the jeans, tees, polos, and shorts. Perfect for everywhere, from Disney World to a kids’ sports game or recital to mowing the lawn, DU/ER apparel is comfortable, durable, and perfectly presentable. In other words, it’s the ultimate dad garb. Here are a few of this dad’s favorite DU/ER picks.
Performance Denim Athletic Straight Jeans
These jeans are so stretchy and flexible that I have worn them bouldering and rock climbing—yes, really. A perfect dad pant for running after the kids as they bike or scooter, for kicking back on the couch to watch the game (or an episode of Bluey), presentable enough for dinner at the diner or for wear during travel, these are my go-to jeans when I want to be comfortable, I may need to be physical, and I don’t want to overthink my look.
The Only Polo is my absolute go-to shirt for travel, for Disney days, for days when we’ll be in the city all day long, or for any other occasion where I know I’ll be active; and won’t be able to change any time soon. This polo shirt is every bit as comfortable as your favorite soft, well-worn T-shirt, and it feels that way from the first wear. (Mine is now on its several dozenth wear, and it’s still in great shape, by the way.) Flexible, breathable, sweat-wicking, and even odor-resistant, this shirt may be the most “dad” shirt I own.
Durasoft Premium Long Sleeve
As cooler weather comes on, this long sleeve tee comes out. Basic but handsome in that signature DU/ER way, it pairs well with jeans or joggers, but I always think this shirt looks best under a light jacket. The fit is slim without being anything near clingy, so it’s a decent layering shirt when needed, which means you can start wearing a Dura Soft in September and keep rocking it through early spring.
DU/ER designed these versatile shorts to be as comfortable as a pair of sweatpants but without looking like sweats. Stretchy enough for splits or high kicks, these pants look suitable for wearing to lunch, to the golf course, or the backyard BBQ, but you could also, by all means, wear them on the basketball court or even on a hike. They have five pockets, reinforced seams, and they come in more than half a dozen colors.
Basic in the best possible ways, The Only Tee works equally as well atop a pair of jeans as a pair of board shorts—and even under a jacket or layered with a sweater. They’re soft and stretchy, and that fabric blend helps The Only Tee wick away sweat and release heat. You can wear one hiking, jogging, raking leaves, cooking dinner, strolling through the park, or anywhere else you, well… let’s say anywhere!
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