be honest: Fathers and fashion flourishes aren’t words
often found in the same sentence. But we surveyed a
handful of our favorite style influencers about any
wardrobe wisdom they gleaned from dear old dad — whose
day is coming up next Sunday.
Esquivel, president and design director of Esquivel
shoe designer George Esquivel describes his late father
as "a drug addict and thief," the elder
Esquivel’s ne’er-do-well nature didn’t prevent him
from giving his son a few style pointers.
I buy, I get altered. I think I get that from him. He
was always well-dressed. Whether he was stealing clothes
from a store or he was going to thrift shops, his
clothes would always fit perfectly. ...
was a jeans and button-down Oxford guy with his
spit-shined shoes he was always wearing. You know the
way Bruce Springsteen always dressed in his jeans and a
T-shirt? For my dad, it was Levi’s 501s, a button-down
Oxford in plaid or white, and those black cop shoes.
They were always either patent leather or he was getting
them polished all the time.
think I get a lot of that from him. I always cuff my
pants like he cuffed his pants. And he always made us
pay attention to details. "‘You’ve got to make
sure it fits right,’ he’d say, or, ‘Don’t look
like a slob.’"
three children of his own (19-year-old and 12-year-old
daughters and a 17-year-old son), he’s trying to teach
them to value craftsmanship over label.
try to tell my kids it’s not about the brand. ... Now
that I’m a designer, I’m really into the aesthetic
of things, but when you’re a kid, it’s all about
brands and logos. I tell them that there’s nothing
wrong with wanting something nice if it’s because you
want it, not because everybody else has it.
I’ve told them to (each) find a personal style and
(wear) things that are well made versus what everybody
else is wearing. That was how I found out who I
Burch, fashion designer
father had impeccable style, and he passed along his
appreciation of beautiful craftsmanship," says
Burch. "He should have been a designer. He designed
his clothes with extraordinary attention to detail. His
advice was you always look better when things aren’t
fussy. ... My father taught me that elegance is not just
about the way you dress. It’s a way of life and should
be about your attitude and the way you treat
Chait, founder of Elder Statesman
earliest style-related father memory involves learning
how to comb his hair back into a Fonzie-worthy duck’s
tail. "I must have been 8 or 9 years old," he
recalls. "And there was a ‘50s-themed birthday
party I was meant to go to at a bowling alley. My dad
helped me prepare for the party by finding the right
jeans, white T-shirt, Members Only jacket (and)
Wallabies. It was pretty awesome."
aside, Chait says his father "wasn’t into style,
to be honest. Still isn’t. I believe his focus on
other things in life helped me have a good relationship
with material items" and helped keep "things
in a sane perspective."
the father of a 4-year-old daughter who, by his
estimation, does "10 costume changes a day,"
Chait says he thinks it will be some time before any
advice he gives will resonate. "I just want to make
sure she finds a style that she feels comfortable in and
best represents who she is. Clothes always look great,
no matter what they are, if you wear them and they don’t
Silver, co-owner of Decades boutique
didn’t necessarily learn how to shave from my dad, but
I learned that eye cream matters," Silver says.
"My dad taught me to take care of my skin; he’s
82 and has amazing skin ... I always say that my dad was
the first metrosexual. He always liked bronzer — even
before Tom Ford made it trendy."
for style influence going the other direction? "My
dad now likes fancy and bright shoes. He loves his red
suede Tods — they’re his go-to — and his crocodile
Gucci horsebit loafers. And we have the same pair of
Bruno Magli shoes in green. We don’t do basic
Sternberg, founder and creative director of Band of
Outsiders and Boy by Band of Outsiders
never really talked style," Sternberg says about
the dispensing of fatherly fashion advice, "but my
dad taught me to covet beautiful things — clothing,
accessories, furniture, watches." As for advice
going from son to father? "He over-covets,"
Sternberg says. "(He will) buy something and hang
on to it for months before wearing it — so I always
encourage him to actually enjoy and utilize what he