Some call it Normcore, others “Seinfield chic,” but I simply call it dad-wear. You know the style when you see it: standard no-name jeans and a tucked oxford, to say the least. Maybe even toss on some ugly New Balances or boat shoes.
I don’t care who are or what climate you live in, everyone has owned a pair of boat shoes (ubiquitously known as Sperry’s) over the past five years or so, so we’re all victims of the trend to some degree. You might argue that it’s simply easier to walk in dad’s shoes than to actually live up to his name, especially when that name is Kanye West. In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Kanye dishes on everything from parenthood to new music to “the class system of creativity,” truly serving as one of his more cogent cocktails of candidness and child-like wonderment chilled on the rocks of obdurate self-certainty. Chilled – that’s probably the best way to describe his overall vibe in the interview. It’s how a man talks when he’s got his one-year-old daughter sitting on his lap – and despite North not physically being there, it’s clear that she’s largely responsible for daddy’s new zenned out state.
“Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool. Not wearing a red leather jacket, and just looking like a dad and shit, is like super cool.”
One of the things I love most about Kanye is that every project he’s offered is its own discrete entity, representing whatever muses and experiences he had at the moment. Obviously he’s not the only artist who shoots for this, but he’s certainly among the most prolific. The pendulum of his sound has always been a cursor pointing to other areas of his influence, with fashion being the most consistent. That’s why I couldn’t help but laugh as I read the slander about his wardrobe in the GQ spread. I would’ve laughed even harder if I clicked through the images to find him deadened under some outfit selected by GQ’s on-set stylists aka the people who make most of the featured athletes/celebs look like they actually have a fashion sense.
Kanye is probably the only dude in recent memory to actually bring his own ‘fits to a GQ shoot, but I don’t think that irritated people as much as being flat out underwhelmed with the pieces. While “minimal” has been the most tossed around word to describe the Yeezus paradigm, perhaps comfortable and casual are more suitable when describing his sartorial cadence as of late.
In fact, many of the pieces he sports in GQ are part of his newest collaboration with A.P.C – the higher-tiered American Apparel when it comes to closet essentials. Remember that $120 white tee everyone cried about last year? Well, it’s back, along with a few other comfy pieces like the $340 alpaca woven pullover pictured above.
Oh, it’s called an “airport sweater,” which says so much more. Having travel swag says you’re cool, but you’re not really trying. It says, “my sweater is made out of fucking alpaca, but it’s loose fit, and I’m just chillin’.” Isn’t that similar to how we view dads and their tucked in Ralph Lauren shirts on off days?
That’s just pops; he’s just chillin’.
But when you’re a new dad and a self-proclaimed “arbiter of taste,” you define the rules before following them. In GQ we find Kanye pedaling the contradiction of a dad-like simplicity mixed with a tycoon’s taste level. There’s no oxford shirts and chinos, just long, skinny tees and no-name Adidas. Everything bleeds together without contrast, providing a cloak of normalcy that most dads relish in regularly. The clothes are well-made, but look expendable enough for baby North to spit up on without daddy getting too angry.
See, the thing about dad-wear is that it’s less about pieces and more about the look; it’s less about going shopping than it is about flipping through what you have in the closet and making it work. Most guys who’ve been awarded GQ covers look like they just went shopping, while Kanye looks comfortable and at ease, like he flipped through what he had in his closet and made it work.