Though many folks are now in total “Back to school” mode, Labor Day weekend brings the final warm breath of summer. So in honor of the season’s passing, I thought I’d share my summer-long Instagram project, #DADSOCKS. Yes, pictures of my socks. Let me explain…
Shortly after JJ was born, a friend complimented me on a new jacket. It was a spiffy argyle design that made me feel particularly dad-like, without being too boring or conservative. It’s still one of my favorite things to wear. I responded to their compliment, “Thanks! It’s part of my ‘Dad Drag.'” To which they replied, “It’s not drag anymore. You’re an actual dad, dude.”
I realized I’d been seeing myself as “playing dressup” to a degree — that I didn’t yet see myself as a full-on father. Or maybe I was still enjoying the newness of parenthood, like a new jacket. It fit me well, improved my appearance, but was still in the process of becoming a part of my regular wardrobe identity.
Fast-forward a couple of years; I’m deep in the trenches of toddlerdom. There’s no question in my mind I’m a dad, and that most people see me that way. Which suits me fine. I’ve fully embraced the role, which includes the wardrobe. Yet dressing like a dad can be an unattractive undertaking. Comfort is key, as is flexibility. And lots of pockets. The ability to carry several bags, push carts and strollers and sometimes carry a kid, all at the same time, is key — so no skintight, hipster, layering nonsense.
Men in general — and dads in particular — have fewer wardrobe choices with which to express themselves. Being not only a gay dad, but a designer dad… the whole black hoodie/gray sweats/white sneakers combo just ain’t gonna cut it. Which is where #DADSOCKS comes in.
When someone says “dad socks” you’re likely picturing a guy wearing dark socks with sneakers. Or perhaps dress shoes & socks with shorts. Maybe white tube socks with sandals. Whatever the scenario, it’s not pretty. So this summer I took that tired and true look and amped it up, pairing my loudest socks with sneakers, but doing it with confidence and style. I got quite a few compliments, and more than a few odd looks, particularly when I was photographing my feet. But it was fun! And on more than one occasion, I found myself getting impatient with JJ for one thing or another and I’d look down, see what I was wearing and think, “I can’t be that grumpy, scowling dad — look at what fun socks I have!”
Maybe you think I’m delusional. Or perhaps color blind. I don’t care. I’m a dad, dammit! I will wear what I want, be comfortable, and look good doing it!
Now please enjoy these photos of my socks.
MY TOP 10 FAVORITES:
THE WHOLE COLLECTION:
I was hesitant to show all 20, well because A) Hello, TWENTY PHOTOS OF SOCKS, and B) Some of my socks (and shoes) have seen better days, and I didn’t have time to Photoshop them clean and/or new-looking. But I included them all in the group shot because A) artistic integrity — I have to use the entire collection, and B) Maybe a hip clothing company will see my ragged kicks or frayed socks and give me some free stuff for next year’s #DADSOCKS adventure. Which was YOUR favorite?
Until then, enjoy the holiday weekend, have a good fall, and I promise not to complain if anyone buys me socks for Christmas this year.
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(PS: To follow me on Instagram, click HERE, or look me up @DESIGNERDADDY)