There's a lot of responsibility placed on fathers. Being a dad often comes with the many added commitments of making a lifetime partnership work; navigating a busy job; and for some of you, going to the gym.
While many see fatherhood as a reason to let it all hang out, having a mini-you (or several) is no reason to throw away your sense of style.
So get off the couch and out of that horrible hoodie with these 10 tips for being a stylish dad.
1. Know your size
Let's face it, many guys pack on a few kilos when the kids come along. If you're on the older side, gaining weight is a charming part of the ageing man's journey. So, stop trying to fit into pre-father clothes or be a slim-fit if you're more the larger gent.
There's nothing more telling than a guy who is fashion-conscious but not in shape and wearing clothes that are too small. Go a size up.
2. Go neutral
While patterns and prints are by no means off-limits, neutral colours are generally safer – think camel, navy, olive green, dark grey, or white. Stick to traditional patterns to jazz things up – Breton stripes, pinstripes, Prince of Wales checks, micro-dots and plaids. Retire those crazy printed ties and socks; leaving outwear, separates, and shirts neutrally colour blocked.
3. Make an investment
If you're at the typical age of fatherhood chances are you're developed in your career and have a bit more moolah to spend. So invest well; divulging in live-forever pieces like a leather bomber jacket, cable knit sweater, superwool suit and a navy blazer.
As mentioned earlier, keep the colours masculine and without the fuss, and you'll look sharp.
4. Know your brands
While skater style may have served well back in the day, brand loyalties should reflect your current stage in life. As your body changes, brands that fit well when you were younger may not so much anymore. Dressing like your teenage son is embarrassing.
The biggest changes involve denim, button up shirts and trousers. Try a few different labels – both luxury and high-street – and once you've got a nice match – that is, the fit suits your body type and style – buy up, quick.
5. Accessorise away
Having stocked up on neutral tones and investment pieces, splash out on accessories that take an outfit from average to absolutely smoking. Get yourself a great watch (if you haven't already), followed by a simple band or signet ring.
Then spruce up a suit or blazer with a pocket square, and silk woven tie, or a scarf and a classic hat; the latter perfect for the dad who needs to cover any rogue baldness.
6. Less is more
Over-branded anything signals: 'insecure dad trying to be cool'. While a subtle logo on the pocket of a shirt or seam can add a decorative touch to a plain tee, a statement word or icon should never be visible from more than a few metres away.
Instead stick with garments that look expensive because of their impeccable fit to your dad-bod. Finally, luxury, quality materials portray a far better style message than a jumper that shouts at every passer-by.
7. Look to the stars
What do David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth and Brad Pitt have in common? They are all dads. And they all look great.
Pick a celeb who fits your body type and age bracket and go from there. But don't blatantly copy either. Remember, start off easy and ramp up the experimentation as you gather confidence.
8. Grooming guru
First off, get your beard in order, clipping it as meticulously as you do your hair. Can't grow one? Then keep it clean shaven. Next, hair. As a rule, keep it hair short-back-sides with a little extra length on top. Starting to thin? Keep the sides very short or go the buzz.
Fragrance is an easy way to smell more 'youthful' without appearing too hip. But avoid heavily spiced colognes which scream 'old man'. Moisturise to prevent dry skin (face and hands are a must). Long toe nails? Clip them. Fingernails? Stop biting them. Oh, and learn how to groom downstairs.
9. Technical prowess
Taking the focus away from your body and clothes by being tech-savvy can lift your style game. Owning a tablet and rocking your smartphone shows that you're part of the community.
It's not so much about having Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. More, you can actually work a touch screen and aren't clunking around a Nokia 3315 (although Snake II is an well-missed game).
10. Stylish state of mind
Some men panic when they become a father: "No time for me". You're already shooting yourself in the, erm, brogue.
Instead of packing it all in, bring your family along for the ride. Having kids can keep you in the loop with what's going on in the fashion world; especially when they reach their late teens.
Always stay young in the mind. That proverbial saying – "men getting better looking with age" is actually true; that is, if you look after yourself. Confidence is key, so be a man about it.
of this article first appeared in .