Modern men’s fashion has become a bit stale in the past decade. Maybe it is a cultural shift or just a generation thing, but a basic t-shirt and jeans combos are everywhere with very little experimentation. Luckily, things are changing in exciting directions again with the rising popularity of 90s dad fashion.
It is often said that fashion is a loop, everything that was popular a few decades ago will soon become popular again. This is exactly what we’re seeing right now. This shift was already some time ago, but then the pandemic happened, and sweatsuits became everyone’s default outfits.
Now that the world is opening back up after two years, people are a lot more open to experimentation and expressing themselves with their clothing. What better way to achieve this goal than with the most interesting, suspenders-loving styles of them all? But what exactly is the 90’s dad style, and how can you emulate it in today’s fashion landscape? Let’s find out.
What Is A Dorky Dad Outfit?
In the simplest terms, a dorky dad outfit is something that middle-aged men used to wear in the 90s. However, this contemporary dad look trend is much more nuanced than just wearing dad outfits from the last decade of the twentieth century. In other words, this trend is more about emulating it rather than faithfully recreating it.
That being said, the signature dorky dad clothes are still a massive part of it. The main difference is that dads of the 90s rocked these fashion items as normal. Then the 21st century rolled around, and the younger generation coined those outfits as awkward and weird. Now, the modern 90s look is all about embracing that dorkiness and rocking the Harington jacket topped star outfits of that style, knowing that they are not “normal” and a bit out there.
Flashback 90s: Stereotypical Dad Outfit
So, if you’re interested in becoming a part of this expanding trend, where do you get started? Well, the first step is to gather the elements that form the very identity of a dad outfit. Most of these items are the ones that a lot of people already own; they just need to style them with a different intent. But this list also includes stuff that went pretty much extinct a long time ago, so you might have to go buy that to complete the look.
Without further ado, here’s what you need:
A Fanny Pack
Fanny packs are one of, if not the most infamous examples of 90s dad outfits. They were a practical item turned into a fashion staple. That practicality is undeniable when you don’t want to lug around a whole backpack but don’t have enough pocket space for all the things you have. There is a reason why fanny packs are still readily used by tourists around the world. As for the fashion side of things, rocking a fanny pack today is more stylish than ever.
Rocking a Fanny Pack With a Leather Jacket
Your first option is to go completely old school and rock a black leather fanny pack around your waist, alongside a matching leather jacket and dad jeans. The most practical position for the pack is right in front of you as it gives you complete access to the fanny pack without restricting your movement. But you can also wear it slightly to the side or fully on your back (which is the least practical option but looks quite stylish).
On the other hand, you can blend both modern and classic styles and rock the fanny pack on one shoulder like a mini backpack, but keep the pack in front of your chest. This style of wearing a fanny pack is often referred to as the New York style and is widely recognized as the most stylish of them all. It has even made its way into the regular wardrobes of Hollywood fashion icons like Kendall Jenner and Jared Leto.
The next item you’ll need is a pair of classic khaki pants. If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, then you most likely already own these. Luckily, rocking these within the 90s dad style is super easy. All you need is a loose-fitting polo shirt and a pair of dad sandals. But you can go a step further and pair these pants with a white button-up and a woolen sweater. Tuck in the sweater and finish the whole outfit with a shiny brown leather belt.
Headwear is an essential yet often neglected part of an outfit. It is especially important when you’re trying to emulate the style of an era from the past. This is the very reason why a simple baseball cap carries so much dad energy.
All you have to do is wear the cap, and you’re done. This is quite possibly the simplest way of emulating the 90s dorky dad look. If you’ve already crafted an outfit in this style, but it feels incomplete, then a basic black baseball cap might be just the thing you need to tie everything together.
Dads in the 90s rocked a lot of different types of jackets. A lot of them are still in fashion today and have barely any association with the dad aesthetic. There is, however, one jacket that is very much a dad jacket to this day, and that is the fleece jacket. It is the symbol of dad on the weekend, relaxing on the couch after a tiring work week.
The issue with wearing these to recreate the dorky dad look is that they are a bit too stylish. Just wearing them over your regular everyday outfits will result in them just looking good and nothing else. So, you need a 90s dad outfit to go alongside it. A pair of dad jeans, combined with a pair of white balance sneakers and a baseball cap, should do the trick. Bonus points if the shirt underneath the jacket is a cream-colored button-up with loose-fitting.
What Is A Dad Look?
In its purest form, a dad look is something that is practical and comfortable. You will find this idea repeated again and again with 90s dad outfits of all kinds. For example, as far as footwear is concerned, there is nothing that even comes close to the popularity of balance sneakers. These running shoes are perfect for dads because they are able to stay on their feet all day long without hurting their feet in the process.
A teenager might look at a pair of shorts combined with running shoes and sparkling white socks and think that they are uncool. But the man wearing those will still wear them because this combo is both practical and comfortable.
So, you have to keep this “rule” in mind when designing your 90s dad aesthetic outfits. This is also why clothes like skinny jeans are not a part of the dad fashion as they can be very uncomfortable for many.
Secret To Pulling Off The Dad Look
The only thing you need to successfully rock the 90s dad outfits is confidence. This might sound cliché, but this is the truth. The dad look has always been under scrutiny by the younger generation for being “lame” and “embarrassing,” and the same is true for the dad outfits of today, vests and all. So, why do dads still dress like that? Why don’t they abandon their comfortable sense of fashion for modern trends and the new flashy outfits? Because they have confidence in what they’re wearing.
Transformation: Cool Dad Style
So far, we’ve talked extensively about the 90 dad fashion that was deemed too uncool for the younger generation and how that same stuff is now trending at the peak of men’s fashion. But 90s dads also rocked a lot of stuff that was stylish back then, and it is stylish today.
At the pinnacle of these stylish items was outerwear. These are the 90s dad jackets that have the same status in men’s fashion today, as they did over 20 years ago.
What can be said about denim jackets that haven’t been said already? They are one of the most versatile uppers a man can own. Rocking them is as simple as just putting them over the outfit you’re already wearing. They work with t-shirts, button-ups, sweatshirts, and much more.
Their glamor isn’t limited to a single scenario either. You can wear them to date, to a night party, while grocery shopping, and when hanging out with friends. Think that your white t-shirt and blue jeans outfit looks uninspired? Just throw on a blue denim jacket, and you’re ready to walk on a fashion show runway.
Looking for something that looks professional but also doesn’t want to spend time styling a suit jacket? Well, then a black blazer is just the jacket you need. Its versatility is on par with the denim jacket, but with one major difference. While the denim jacket is great for any and all casual and smart casual situations, it is not a good fit for professional settings.
This is the side of men’s day-to-day fashion where the blazer is the king. It is the perfect upper for looking stylish while also following the office dress code and looking professional in the business world. However, just because a blazer is great for professional environments doesn’t mean that it is confined to just that. For example, say that you’re going on a first date with someone, and showing up in a t-shirt and jeans will feel too casual. Just top that outfit with a matching blazer, and you’re perfectly dressed in the coveted preppy style.
While both the blazer and denim jacket can protect you from cold, they are pretty much useless in the middle of winter. Luckily, the 90s dad fashion has a stylish solution for that as well, and it is called the peacoat.
Sure, you can find other jackets that are as warm as the peacoat, but most of them look like quilts with sleeves. Peacoat, on the other hand, looks and feels like the winter jacket of a sophisticated gentleman. Pairing a peacoat with a pair of black jeans, a white button-up, a pair of black high-top sneakers, and a charcoal V-neck sweater will make you look like the cover of a men’s fashion magazine.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two steps to dressing like the 90s. The first is to acquire the right clothing like denim jackets, dad jeans, old-school running shoes, etc. The second step is to get in the right mindset. Don’t think of these old-school clothes as historical artifacts. Put yourself in the shoes of a man in the 90s, and rock these outfits like you are actually living in the 90s.
The easiest way to not dress like a dad is to follow the hot fashion trends if you’re still young. If you’re an older man, then following the trends of the youth might not be the best idea. What you can do instead is focus on clothes that make you look posh and classy. Things like well-fitting chinos, shiny leather shoes, button-ups with rolled-up sleeves, and checkered vests are the way to go.
A dad outfit is something that is chosen more for its comfort and practicality than its place in the current men’s fashion hierarchy.
Dad jeans are jeans that sit higher on the waist. They usually have a very rectangular design with plenty of room for restriction-free movement.
The 90s were a treasure trove of weird yet iconic fashion trends.Most of those trends were completely abandoned by the dawn of the 21st century. But fashion is a loop, and trends are bound to come back at some point. This is what we see happen to the 90s dad outfits, but with a twist.
Now, instead of middle-aged men, that sense of style is getting adopted by young folks. Not only that, the modern adaptation of this style is filled with the intention of completely embracing its wacky and unique parts as they were over two decades