Dad fashion: 5 things I learned from being The Sunday Times Style’s Badly Dressed Man

Photograph of Stuart Hood as The Sunday Times Style's Badly Dressed Man. Photo credit: Robert Harper
Father Hood after his dad fashion makeover. Photograph by Robert Harper for The Sunday Times Style. Styling by Jessica Punter. Grooming by Kristopher Smith at Terri Manduca.

I’m not going to lie. When I applied to be The Sunday Times Style magazine’s Badly Dressed Man, I was hoping to be rejected on the basis of “already being pretty on-trend”.

Sadly, it turned out that my potent mixture of being unable to match colours, being incapable of picking the correct sizes and having a really good story (dad with new business trying to impress clients and make friends, while wearing something robust enough to cope with looking after a toddler) meant that I was “perfect for the feature”.

Within a couple of days, I heard back from the picture editor, and within a couple of weeks I was heading to a gritty photo studio in East London for a haircut, beard groom and dad fashion makeover.

Father Hood before his dad fashion makeover. Photograph taken by Robert Harper
Clothes, and inability to match them, model’s own. Photograph by Robert Harper for The Sunday Times Style.

Dressed by a toddler

I strolled through the doors in my most cutting edge T-shirt, a pair of, ahem, Costco jeans and the old blue and white gym trainers that I wear everywhere, because my toddler tells me to wear them everywhere, and was immediately sent to the feature’s stylist, Jessica Punter

“They were right, you are perfect,” she smiled, which, now that I think about it, probably wasn’t a compliment.

After measuring my sizes, Jessica went on to teach me a number of important dad fashion lessons. Some of them probably only apply to me (e.g. wearing what your toddler tells you to wear isn’t the first step to owning dad fashion), but the rest should be of real interest to fathers who want to be stylish.

Are you one of these men? If you are, then get comfortable because I’m about to bring you the ‘5 Dad Fashion Lessons I learned From Being The Sunday Times Style’s Badly Dressed Man’. If you’re aren’t, then get off this page right now by clicking this link. Don’t worry, it’s nothing dodgy and should make you laugh.

Dad fashion lessons

1. Green is really in for men this season

Forget red. Shelve blue. And kick brown into touch. The colour male clothing brands are going big on in 2019 is… …fluorescent pink with orange undertones. Only joking. It’s green. I know this for three reasons. First, in look one (top of page), I was dressed in a green hooded top from Norse Projects. Second, in look two (below), I was wearing a green crew neck jumper from BOSS. Third, I overheard Jessica the stylist saying “green is really in for men this season”.

2. Tracksuit bottoms are not always a heinous fashion crime

My wife hates it when I wear a hoodie and tracksuit bottoms to drop my son off at nursery, claiming that the look doesn’t send off an ‘ooh I must be friends with that dad’ vibe, because it makes me seem scruffy and lazy. Don’t boo, she’s right. I get much more chat from the other mums and dads when I wear something a bit smarter. That said, some mornings I’m just too tired to dress up.

So… …are you thinking what I’m thinking? If only there was a way that a knackered dad could slip on a hooded top and tracksuit bottoms AND still look good. Spoiler alert: there is. It’s called ditching the blacks and blues in favour of injecting a bit of colour and, as you can see from the pic of me wearing a green hoodie and purple tracksuit bottoms at the top of this article, it works a treat.

A comfy suit you can wear to business meetings and the local soft play. Photograph by Robert Harper.
Father Hood showcases a comfortable suit you can wear to both business meetings and the local soft play centre. Photograph by Robert Harper for The Sunday Times Style. Styling by Jessica Punter. Grooming by Kristopher Smith at Terri Manduca.

3. It’s possible to work hard and play soft in the same outfit

The headline act of the outfit I am wearing in the picture immediately above this entry is a BOSS blazer and trousers combo with a twist. And the twist is that the two pieces are crafted out of a stretchy jersey fabric, which makes them incredibly lightweight and extremely wearable.

And you should care about this because? You should care about it, because it provides a one-suit-fits-all solution to the hands-on, but also working dad’s premier wardrobe issue. Think about it. Could you wear the above to an important business meeting? Yes. Could you wear it to pick your kid up from nursery? Yes. Could you wear it to clamber around the local soft play centre? Yes. Genius. Expensive genius (BOSS stuff ain’t cheap), but genius nonetheless.

4. Dad fashion extrovert? Try a onesie

Psst. Do you want to know a secret? The magazine only included two of the three bang on-trend dad fashion outfits I wore on the shoot. The third, which was dubbed “the male equivalent of the high fashion nursery mum’s nursery drop off head-turner”, did not make the cut, but will no doubt surface if I ever become famous. It saw me don a white T-shirt and a cotton jumpsuit.

Yes, you read that correctly. I was pictured posing in a big blue cotton onesie. And do you know what? While it was a little fashion forward for my dad bod, there is no denying that it felt good. Conclusion? If you reckon you’ve got the stomach, style and confidence to pull off a male jumpsuit, go for it.

5. Jigsaw has some awesome dad fashion trainers

“The rules” meant that I wasn’t allowed to keep any of the items I wore on the shoot. But if I had been given permission to go wild in the aisles, the first item in my swag bag would have been the white Jigsaw trainers I’m wearing in the picture at the top of this page. And the second item would have been the navy blue Jigsaw trainers I’m wearing in the picture of me in a comfy suit.

Why? Simple. Not only are these trainers comfortable, they also work with just about every outfit, from a suit to tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie. And given that I am a dad with a limited amount of time, money and storage space that’s not filled with LEGO, this sartorial diversity is exactly what I need.

So, there you have it. Those are the dad fashion style lessons I learned by putting myself up for public ridicule as the Sunday Times Style’s Badly Dressed Man. I hope you enjoyed the piece and have been inspired to update your wardrobe. Until next time…

Oh yeah, the all-important credits

Photos taken by Robert Harper and reproduced with the permission of The Sunday Times Style. Styling by Jessica Punter. Grooming by Kristopher Smith at Terri Manduca.

Look one (top of the page)

Green hooded top, £115, Norse Projects.
Purple sweatpants, £205, Stone Island.
White leather trainers, £98, Jigsaw.
Black back pack, £250, PS Paul Smith.

Look two (work hard, play soft)

Navy jersey blazer, £369,
Navy jersey trousers, £199,
Green crew neck jumper, £109,
Navy leather trainers, £98.


  1. Great post! Good to know that green is the shade for 2019. My hubbs loves green, so I’ll make sure to get him some items…win-win!

  2. Looking very dapper. Although I thought the outfit you turned up in was perfectly acceptable – probably because it’s the kind of thing I wear all the time!

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