I Dressed Like My Dad For A Week & It Got Weird

by Lindsey Rose Black

If I had to describe my personal style, I would say it’s “hipster granny chic” (think feminine thrift store finds mixed with random Reformation splurges). Since I rarely stray from my high-waist jeans and cozy knit sweaters, I almost spit my coffee out laughing when my editor suggested I dress like my dad for a week to see what happened when I ditched my femme vibe. What. The. Heck. But alas, never one to shy away from emotionally intense style choices for the sake of an article, my answer was obviously “why not?”

Ever since the emotional rollercoaster of cutting all my hair off, I’ve been incredibly intrigued by how much physical appearance can inform emotional identity. I had no idea snipping away my wavy locks would feel like I was cutting off my femininity, and wondered if those feelings would stir back up if I channeled my dad’s more masculine style.

While the week was definitely full of some awkward feels around my appearance, trying to rock my dad’s conservative but generally very laid-back look was also pretty fun. And full disclosure to you, Dad: you’re never getting the flannel shirt back.

The Experiment

Day 1: Striped Polo With Shorts (And Visible Crew Socks)

I went very literal with my dad style on Day 1, and felt so freaking awk.

Throughout the day, I found myself reaching for more and more makeup and kept re-doing my hair to feel a little more like my very femme-presenting self. I don’t know how much this actually helped.

Day 2: Sweater & Loose Jeans

Took on a less intensely dad look on day 2 and actually really liked the results. Other than the fact I had to wear my rafting shoes since they’re the closest thing I own to black loafers, the whole thing was pretty solid.

I wouldn’t normally pair such a big sweater with loose jeans, but ended up falling in love with this look. It was perfect for a day spent cuddled up at a coffee shop working. #Winner

Day 3: Denim Shirt Over T-Shirt & Shorts

Pretty sure my dad owns at least ten different denim shirts, and always (always) wears them over a T-shirt and shorts. I can’t blame him, they’re freaking comfy.

A few things about this outfit surprised me: 1) I don’t own a single plain white shirt?! 2) I, too, am in love with the layered denim over shirt look 3) Why had I never thought to try this before? Seriously, the fact I discovered this outfit combo lurking in my wardrobe is enough to call this entire experiment a huge win.

Day 4: Office Attire

When I imagine my dad at any given moment, this is definitely the kind of outfit I picture him in. The man must spend at least 90 percent of his time in button down, sweater, and black pants.

I wouldn’t have rocked a combo like this in a million years on my accord (I am definitely not cut out for business casual office life!), but was presently surprised by how powerful I felt in it. In fact, I think I legitimately might’ve had a better work day solely due to the whole button down sweater situation. Thanks Dad!

Day 5: T-Shirt, Jeans, & Flip-Flops

When my padre is not working hard in his office, I always know I’ll find him taking care of his garden in super chill clothes. Sadly, I live in a studio and have zero room for a garden, but found some flowers to sniff on the street in an almost-identical get up (also featuring Hillary Clinton-esque pixie grow out hair!).

I gotta say, despite the coziness of this outfit, I didn’t feel good in it at all. Nothing about it seemed very “me,” and I ended up so anti-social that day. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to my favorite coffee shop. What even. Definitely time to re-evaluate whether or not I have a body positive relationship with clothing…

Day 6: Flannel Shirt, Belt, & Jeans

There is only one type of shirt that my dad owns even more of than denim: flannel. His closet is packed with the ultra-soft and warm fabric, and now I see why.

SO SOFT YAS. Beyond the shirt, the whole belt thing was a new concept to me. Why had I been avoiding this most blissful wardrobe addition for so long?

Walking around in this, I definitely felt like I was giving off a more queer vibe than usual and actually got hit on by a cute gal at the park. Maybe I should dress like my dad more often…

Day 7: Patterned Shirt & Shorts

OK, I admit, by Day 7 I was more or less running out of clothing that could even vaguely resemble my dad’s. And even though none of them had a Hawaiian patterned shirt, shout-out to my The Northern Empty bandmates for a hooking me up with a sweet patterned button down.

I know I kind of cheated on the last day by highlighting the high-waisted shorts with my newfound belt obsession, but I just needed to feel more feminine by Sunday. I tried, OK?! I really did!

The Result

Even though “why not” turned into “what have I done” about halfway through, I’m so glad I dressed like my dad for a whole week to see how it affected my own personal style. Doing so helped me realize I maybe actually give my appearance too much power over how I feel on any given day, and also led me to discover some epic new wardrobe choices (#VivaLaBelts). And while I can’t deny I’m ready to tuck back into my thrifty finds and occasional Reformation splurges, I know my dad better guard his closet next time I’m in town.

Images: Lindsey Rose Black