Posted in I'm the Daddy

Man Bags and Dad Rags

Dad fashion. What’s that all about then? There seem to be plenty of blogs dedicated to style for Mums but no one wants to talk about what Dad is wearing. We seem destined to wander blindly around shops without guidance, ignored by the fashion industry and mocked by the media.

It gets worse. As this excellent post on ‘Diary of the Dad’ points out, we live with tiny little style icons that have the clothes and attitude to outshine us whatever we do. A friend of mine has his t-shirts selected by his 2 year old daughter before he is allowed to put them on; he is on a slippery slope. So what’s the answer?

If you were to believe a post I read on ‘The Simple Dad’ the answer is to try not to be embarrassing. I always thought that embarrassing your teenage offspring was one of the perks of being a Dad so I have no intentions following that rule. The author goes on to list a series of tips that I could never agree with.

Don’t Wear Clothes Out Of Your Age Group – What does this mean? As I am no longer a toddler I don’t have handy age ranges on the label of my clothes and I’ve never seen a ‘going on 40’ range in any shop.  Who wants to be pigeon holed like this?

Dress Neat and Slick – Why? I’m not at work. Don’t I get to chill out now and then? I don’t like dressing smart and I don’t think it really suits me anyway. My style is casual and it’s not going to change.

What to Wear

 To counter this I have feverishly worked on what I think Dads in their veeeerrry late thirties are wearing this season.  Obviously I mean me.

Rocking the self shot
Rocking the self shot

Hoodies – They’re comfy, they go with anything and they look vaguely sporty. And young people wear them, right? I do love my hoodies but I will be the first to admit I that I look a twat in this photo. I took it while I was bored on a work trip and I keep as a reminder to not take self-shots unless I have George with me.

Cargo Pants/combat trousers – Shortly before George was born I bought what I refer to as my ‘paternity trousers’ – a pair of green ‘combat’ trousers – and I have noticed several of my Dad friends wearing something similar. The attraction is obvious as they have loads pockets for random Dad stuff, they’re roomy and don’t show the puke stains too much. I do love mine but I’m coming round to the idea that they are not that stylish. Oh well!

Pub shoes maketh the man

Pub shoes – I’m talking about the sorts of trainers that have no athletic purpose and are only really any good for wearing down the pub.  We all have our favourites and as retro styles are still popular I see no reason to kick out your Adidas Samba or Nike hi-tops. A few weeks ago I wore my Converse All-stars to a wedding mainly because I had broken my toe and couldn’t get shoes on but ended up with strangers complimenting my style. In my head I looked like Dr Who.

T-shirts with words on – In my late teens and early twenties I loved t-shirts with the names of my favourite bands emblazoned on them and developed an addiction to low quality bootlegs. Now I am older, I appreciate finer quality garments but can still indulge in all manner of geekery thanks to the internet. I am particularly fond of Last Exit to Nowhere and the plethora of geeky design on sites like Red Bubble.

What Not to Wear

When it comes to ‘what not to wear’ there are a few things we can exclude.

Boat/deck shoes – Do you own a boat? No? Well jog on, landlubber.
Blazers – I haven’t won the Open Golf and it isn’t the 70s.
Twat hats – Any hat worn to make a statement. Watch audition rounds of The Voice or X Factor for guidance.
Crocs – We all know this one, right? Wrong! Recently I was forced to have a conversation with a man wearing leather fronted Crocs without screaming at him. So wrong.

I have no real conclusion to this post. Dads: wear what you like, don’t change your natural style because you have kids and don’t ever feel embarrassed. Let’s stick together and develop our own style. I’d like to thank Tom Briggs for giving me the title for this post and apologise to Han Smith for not making it a vlog where I sing Rod Stewart tunes while eating salt and vinegar crisps.

I need your comments more than ever.

Posted in Sport & Fitness

England Expects

England shirtsEven though both Warren Gatland and Stuart Lancaster tend to ignore our advice we are not going to be perturbed. George and I have put the underwhelming Lions selection behind us and have turned our attention to the England tour of Argentina. Although England have made great progress in the last year there are still question marks over the centre pairing, back row balance and counter-attacking ability of the back three. With this in mind we have highlighted three players we would like to see play in a developing England side for this tour.

Christian Wade – This isn’t a suggestion, he absolutely HAS to tour. Wade is easily the most exciting winger playing in the premiership, has scored 11 tries and a quick search on youtube will show how many were scorchers. His flat speed is impressive but his acceleration and ability to change direction in the blink of an eye is what sets him apart. You can’t watch him play and not think about Jason Robinson as he possesses the same fast feet and rugby brain. He doesn’t need space and has developed an incredibly knack of standing up defenders as they try to close him down. As he isn’t that big there will be inevitable questions about his defensive ability but I would prefer to have him in the side to coach that perceived weakness rather than leave him out.

Joel Tomkins – If common sense prevails and Billy Twelvetrees gets a decent run at inside centre then I would like to test some options outside him while Manu is with the lions. There are several candidates but as I’m a big fan of rugby league I’d like to see if Joel Tomkins can bring the quality of finishing he managed for Wigan to the England team. It takes a while to adjust to rugby union but Joel has played the majority of Saracens games this season, settled in well and even scored a few tries. He is defensively solid, fast and powerful which should appeal to Stuart Lancaster.

Matt Kvesic – Despite having a number of high quality back row players the one thing England lack is a specialist open side flanker. Steffon Armitage was largely ignored and I’m sure this is one of the reasons why he decided to play in France. Thankfully, Matt Kvesic has opted to play for Gloucester where I hope he will be encouraged to play with the freedom they love at Kingsholm. He is fast, links well with the backs and is powerful enough to be able to be a real handful at the breakdown. This clip from a recent defeat to Saracens shows him spinning out of a tackle before setting up the backs for a try then scoring himself from a more conventional forward route. I’d like to see England vary the team based on the opposition and having a player with Kvesic’s abilities certainly adds to their options.

My starting line-up for the first test against Argentina would be as follows

15 – Mike Brown (needs to be back where he belongs not stuck out on the wing)
14 – Christian Wade
13 – Joel Tomkins
12 – Billy Twelvetrees
11 – David Strettle (overlooked for far too long)
10 – Toby Flood (experienced player who can control the game and be a leader)
9 – Danny Care (should be first choice scrum half all the time)

1 – Joe Marler (big chance to show he can scrummage against formidable opposition)
2 – Joe Gray (more mobile than other hookers and deserves a chance to prove himself at international level)
3 – Alex Corbisiero
4 – Joe Launchbury (reputation took a knock in Cardiff and needs to show he can compete in big games)
5 – Courtney Lawes (opposite of Launchbury, needs to prove he is more than a thug)
6 – Tom Wood (captain)
7 – Matt Kvesic
8 – Billy Vunipola (injury to Morgan showed we need proven ball carrying options at 8)

I would take some of the more experienced players such as Morgan, Ashton, Foden and Haskell but I would give Chris Robshaw the summer off to rest. He may not be to Warren Gatland’s taste but he is a vital part of the England set up and has nothing to prove to anyone. I’d prefer to let him spend the summer on the beach and return to action fully rested.

All comments, thoughts and views are welcome in the box below.