Doh! Let TV dads help guide your Father's Day fashion gifts

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

If he still treasures the wallet you got him last year, and “World’s Best Father” coffee mugs are crowding the kitchen shelves, consider what Dad would really like to unwrap on June 15.

If his shirts are looking a bit faded, or his jeans are more than a little frayed, consider a wardrobe update for Father’s Day.

Not sure if you should go with a Hawaiian shirt or classic Polo? Think back on all the great dads from television shows past and present, and consider who your pop identifies with. Does he shun T-shirts, opting instead for a casual but classic look, like “The Cosby Show’s” Cliff Huxtable, or “Modern Family’s” Cameron? Or does he like to kick back in blue jeans and a pullover shirt, Homer Simpson style?

Those TV viewing habits can be a clue, says Jacqui Stafford, author of “The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget.”

The New York-based stylist (, has a few hints to help you as you set out on a Father’s Day shopping excursion. Start by looking through his closet and noting some of his favorite colors. Then boost those shades — but just a bit.

“I like to incorporate color, but avoid anything too vibrant,” says the celebrity stylist. “Look for a cobalt instead of muted blue, or a mustard instead of a brown, for instance. But avoid colors like pink and bright green, which are scary to many men.”

Another tip is to always go with natural fabrics in the summer. Cotton fabrics breathe well, and they last longer.

Also take note of the sizes of those T-shirts and buttoned-down casual shirts in his closet and drawers. If he’s starting to look a little like Homer Simpson, and that shirt is a bit too snug around the belly, go a size up.

But only one size, says Stafford.

“The mistake I see many American men make is they wear clothing that’s too baggy,” says Stafford, who moved to the United States from England 15 years ago. “And if Dad is heavier, a darker color is more flattering than a lighter shade. Finally, keep away from bold prints if he’s heavier.”

If Dad goes to work every day in a suit and tie, you might not want to purchase a new suit, but if you know where he shops, a gift certificate would be welcome. Add a tie or a pocket square to the gift card and wrap it all up for a personal touch.

If you want to splurge, two of Stafford’s favorites are Paul Smith and Thomas Pink, which offer unusual patterns and classic styles.

A final clue to the woman who’s doing the shopping for the father of her children?

“Keep the dad in mind when you go out to shop,” Stafford says. “Too many women go into the shopping experience with their own tastes in mind. Be mindful of what your dad or your husband truly likes to wear.”

And if that means he’s fond of jeans and flannel shirts, like Dan on “Roseanne,” so be it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few small tweaks to improve on that look a bit.

We offer a few styles that reflect the taste of some of our favorite TV dads:

— Alfani shirt ($45, We like the casual but classic look of Cameron on “Modern Family,” played by Eric Allen Stonestreet. He might be a nervous dad, but the big guy always looks sharp. If you have a dad who likes a bit of color, consider a shirt like this winner.

— Van Heusen 1/4-zip fleece sweater ($60, Cliff Huxtable, played by Bill Cosby, shed the suit and tie when he came home from work, and seemed to have a penchant for casual sweaters. We think Cliff would approve of this classic, and it’s perfect for a cool summer evening in the mountains.

— Chaps classic-fit plaid brown suit separates ($120 to $220, This classic wool suit is as stylish today as it was back in the days when Robert Young starred as Jim Anderson in “Father Knows Best” in the ‘50s.

— Straight-leg denim jeans ($29.50 and up, What dad, TV character or not, doesn’t spend his weekend in jeans? Stafford points out that like suits, jeans are another item you don’t want to gamble on. But if you know his favorite jeans are Levis, or that they come from a place like Old Navy, a gift certificate with a sweet note (like, “Time to retire the ripped-up jeans, Dad”) would be a fine gift.

— Apt. 9 woven casual button-down shirt — Big & Tall ($54, It’s worth noting that most items at Kohl’s were deeply discounted, something that Dan the Man from “Roseanne” would have appreciated. The character, played by John Goodman, was partial to plaid, so we found a casual cool shirt that would have satisfied the character.

— Izod polo ($40, We have good news for Homer, arguably America’s most irreverent dad. The shirt actually isn’t too shabby, as long as you keep the mustard and ketchup stains off it. It’s just too small. So a tip: If Dad has a belly (mmm ... donuts), be sure you’re buying the more generous size. And, with all due respect to Homer, consider something other than white. If he’s anything like the TV character, darker is more slimming, and white won’t remain pristine for long.


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