10 Ways Not to Dress Like a Soccer Dad

Eleven months.

Alternate title: “How Not to Look Like a Man in Your 40′s When You’re Really in Your 20′s or 30′s.”

In “Does Becoming a Parent Make You Less Cool?,” I proclaimed that I didn’t want to end up looking like a “bland soccer dad.” What does that even mean?

Let me take you back to my senior year of college. I was working an afternoon shift at Liberty University’s brand-new student center with my culturally aware, straight-talking friend, Anna.

“You totally look like a soccer dad right now,” she said.

At the time, I didn’t realize that was a bad thing, with my faded polo shirt tucked into my khaki cargo pants, paired with tennis shoes and a flat hairstyle that resembled Mike Brady on the first season of The Brady Bunch.

Over time, especially since getting married, I have learned how to dress as a culturally relevant man, not Nick Burns, your company’s computer guy.

So for any dads out there who are wanting to step up their game, I’m here to sincerely help. The truth is, Nick Burns (a Saturday Night Live character played by Jimmy Fallon) is a good place to start; regarding who not to look like. 

1. If you are a white man under the age of 40, nix the mustache. It makes you look a pervert. No one takes a young mustached Caucasian man seriously- hence the term, “ironic mustache.”

2. Lose the cell phone belt clip. Just place your phone in your pocket and leave it on vibrate. That way, no one has to hear “Sweet Home Alabama” every time someone calls you.

3. No white socks. Unless you’re playing sports or you’re Michael Jackson in 1985, white socks are nerdy.

4. Give away your pleated pants. Pleats went out with Sears catalogs and Zack Morris cell phones.

5. When it comes to your hairstyle, the key is not to look like a weatherman, who I feel are notorious for having a definite “side part” like the previously mentioned Season One Mike Brady. The truth is, the clean-cut, yet semi-messy “Ryan Seacrest” is the safest way to go right now.

6. Go black, or go brown; but don’t go both. If you are wearing a brown belt, don’t wear black pants or black shoes too; and vice versa.

7. When it comes to jeans, light and baggy says “Hey man, Creed’s coming into town and I’ve got front row tickets!”. Also, do not purchase jean shorts. Like the white man’s mustache, they have become a fashion joke, now referred to as “jorts.”

8. Unless you’re actively on duty in the military, there is no reason for your pants to have cargo pockets. Cargo pants equal “sloppy” except they are part of your required uniform.

9. When wearing a neck tie, which you sporadically should, only wear it with a long-sleeved, collared shirt. I’m sure you don’t want to look like Dwight Schrute.

10. Fact: There is a reason no one ever asks anymore; “boxers or briefs?” That’s because it goes without saying. Boxers.

Passing the Mic:

Can you think of anything to add to my list? Maybe you’ll give me enough material here to write “10 More Ways Not to Look Like a Soccer Dad.”


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  1. by Holly

    On October 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I got a serious kick out of this. My dad is an offender of almost every one of the things on your list, except for the mustache. He also is bald so he doesn’t do the weatherman hair thing, which is ironic since he actually is a weatherman. Additionally, he likes to combine #7&8 into what we refer to as “jargos”.

  2. by Nick Shell

    On October 20, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks, Holly of Norway/New Jersey. I actually thought of you when I was writing this one because you’re the only person I know who actually knows a weatherman very well- since he’s your dad.

  3. by Jim Woods

    On October 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    All true. Good post Nick. I would have mentioned suspenders, non-solid polo shirts and boat shoes are forbidden as well.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On October 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Thanks, my man.

  5. by Steve

    On January 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Completely agree! Awesome… except for the boxers. Those things are just too much fabric to stuff in your pants.

    Plus cut it to the wood or shave instead of the comb over, or the friar tuck nest of hair, but that should go without saying.