Is there a more aptly named item of clothing than the dad hat? Apparel companies love to give cheeky names to their wares: “boyfriend shirts,” “mom jeans,” etc. But the dad hat is more evocative of a vibe, a generational aesthetic and a vague sense of giving up than any of those other contenders. Dad hats are the universal symbol of the person who’s simply out of time: time to think, time to care and time to prepare.
The dad hat is named as it is because fathers slowly but surely lose their sense of fashion. We drop the pretense of trying to impress strangers and submit to a fully functional idea of how to dress. Tevas are comfortable. These shorts have an elastic waistband. If I wear a hat, I don’t have to wear as much sunscreen. Ah, the joys of knowing sublime practicality.
But how much of life in Los Angeles is strictly practical? This is a city with a significant population of people with an unnatural aversion to the very idea of getting older. There are entire industries dedicated to lifting, tucking, sucking and sculpting the human body to more accurately resemble one not falling apart slowly over time. Why, then, would anyone be caught wearing a hat with the word “dad” associated with it?
I wear a dad hat pretty much any occasion when I’m too busy to make any enlightened sartorial choices. As a father, that means just about anytime I have to interact with my son for long periods of time. The mere act of parenting is so grueling, messy and devoid of vanity that putting together a fire fit seems antithetical to the job at hand. There’s a whole galaxy of bodily fluids for you to get accustomed to when you become a parent: the poop, the pee, the mystery concoctions that make you send a photo to your group chats to ask, “Is this normal?”
Parenting in L.A. is even more harrowing because of all the myriad outdoor activities we subject ourselves to — hiking, surfing, attempting to find street parking in Koreatown. That’s not to say that all dads are schlubs with no discernable ability to put together an outfit. Some of the most stylish men I know in Los Angeles are dads. It’s just that, well, sometimes you must admit your Our Legacy camp collar shirt from Mohawk General Store is going to get Nutella smeared on it.
When it’s simply too difficult to look good, you can always rely on the dad hat — unstructured and usually visibly weathered. It doesn’t stand out or draw attention to itself. It’s a comforting, utilitarian device for hiding if you’re famous enough to need such things. During the worst months of the pandemic, dad hats also kept our long, scraggly hairs in check during emotionally and physically fraught outings to the grocery store or the post office. Dad hats serve a purpose, like a lathe or an Allen wrench. You probably have one lying around just in case. I keep mine tucked away in an overflowing, awkwardly shaped plastic container under my bed. You could reasonably try to shove one in a pants pocket if you really had to.
Keywords: dad hat, hat
Post time: Mar-22-2022