Is dadcore a fashion trend to outlast them all?

Practical, comfortable, confident: dadcore is a fashion inspiration rather than a style joke

Dadcore is inspired by the wardrobe of the man who gave up on fashion when he became a father. Ostensibly its a wardrobe full of practical, comfortable, yet sadly dated clothes, but the concepts behind it and how it has arisen are interesting. Unlike most fashion trends which are inspired by film, musicians or workwear the idea of dadcore came from comedy one-liners and sketches that developed into internet jokes and memes before being seen on the catwalks.

It began at the turn of the noughties with a reference in the 2000 film adaptation of Nick Hornbys High Fidelity. Jack Blacks character Barry calls out John Cusacks Rob for wearing the worst fucking sweater Ive ever seen. Thats a Cosby sweater. A COSBY SWEATER. The line screeches out of Blacks mouth with exaggerated disgust over a maroon, beige and brown striped jumper.

Of course, 16 years later, with sexual assault charges against him, thats a whole different sort of insult, but back then Bill Cosbys name was synonymous with Americas favourite dad. If there is a text that sets up the caricature behind dadcore more perfectly, its hard to think of one. Hornbys novel-turned-film was a bearded Bon Iver-esque hymn to lost youth and a calcifying life crisis. Wearing a jazzy sweater at that point thanks to Noel Edmonds, Carlton from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and Gyles Brandreth marks you out as a man who doesnt care if he looks like a fuddy-duddy.

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Tomorrowland A/W 16. Photograph: PR company handout
Another trend now associated with dadcore style is wide-legged, front-pleated trousers. These fell out of favour in the noughties, when Dior Homme and Raf Simons brought back skinny jeans and the flat-fronted trouser was considered a more modern silhouette, a look that would rule for almost a decade. But now designers such as
JW Anderson have resurrected the voluminous trouser look.

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E Tautz A/W 16. Photograph: James Gourley/Rex/Shutterstock

Its dad jeans typically stonewashed with a tapered leg and a nice high waistband you can tuck your T-shirt into that are dadcores crowning glory. The concept of the terrible jeans that parents wore was first mocked on a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2003 featuring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler advertising something called Mom Jeans. Unflatteringly cut, with nine-inch zipper, casual front pleats, these jeans were the antithesis of the bodycon, figure-hugging jean that had become a mainstream fashion hit for both men and women. Give her something that says, Im not a woman any more, Im a mom! went the all-too-true tagline. A couple of years later, an article on style.com rejigged the concept into dad jeans specifically about the one pair of jeans some men grow old with, irrespective of how bad they look and how poor the fit. The wash? Wal-Mart blue. The crotch? The length of a babys arm.

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President Barack Obama – the commander-in-chief of dadcore. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

President Obama was constantly mocked for his dorky dad style throughout his presidency. I think its funny that hes involved in this fashion icon stuff because these pants hes probably had for 10 years, Michelle Obama told TV show Access Hollywood in 2008. Republican political commentator Sarah Palin put it more snappily: People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans.

Obama defended his look to Ryan Seacrest during a radio interview: Ive been unfairly maligned about my jeans. The truth is, generally, I look very sharp in jeans.

As his presidential term comes to an end, he might be proved right: Levis have just reissued their iconic 505 jean. This style has been out of favour since the 1970s (when it was shot in crotch close-up on the cover of the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers and on the Ramones for their debut album) but many fashion insiders recognise it as pure dadcore. Even Jonathan Cheung, Levis head of design, admitted <a href=”http://www.gq.com/story/levis-505c-new-style-archives-denim-jeans” data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”u-underline”>in a recent interview: Its a little bit dad jeans.

At this rate, the dadcore look will probably end up being one of the defining styles of our times.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2016/sep/14/dad-dressing-fashion-trend

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