Monday, September 29, 2014


To my son Tommy,

Dads get a bad rap when it comes to fashion. "What? Did your father dress you?" Is a common question when you go out mismatched, or what I like to call the idontgivea fashion. This is an unfair judgement on many a father. You don't have to look too far in the dad blogging world to see guys with GQ fashion sense who are equally adept at dressing their sons and daughters. Most men are at least adequate at the task and rare is the father who dresses his child not knowing of his errors. Yet still all dads share in the charge of being fashionless bumblers when it comes to dressing our children, and only mothers know how to properly dress a child.

Well, let me tell you a secret. I know when you don't match. I know when you look funny. I however don't worry about such things. If the end result is feeding the stereotype, I don't care about that as well. I would rather my son learn to judge content over cover. I'd rather my son not become obsessed with appearance over character. I'd like my son to be able to laugh at himself when he mismatches and even occasionally mismatch on purpose for the shock and awe factor. I want my son to learn to express himself with his clothes

Take, for example, this expression of self in the picture above. We were heading to a viewing at a funeral parlor. Your mother had already picked out the shirt and was in the shower when you came down holding this tie. You don't have many occasions to wear a tie, but you knew that a tie is appropriate for a funeral. I looked at the tie. I looked at the shirt. I looked at your hopeful face. I put on the tie for you. I smiled and looked you in the eye and said, "There is no way your mother is going to let you out of the house like that."

I had your back. I even thought the tie shirt combo may have been inspired by the spirit of Mrs. Gloria, as this would have made her laugh. I accepted you for your sense of style, or lack there of, just like I accept you when you decide you want to wear a princess dress and/or a superman cape. But I told you your mom wasn't going to like it. I even got you laughing about the inevitable result which was of course going sans tie. At least we made your mother laugh before she took it off.

You are a Downey through and through my son. You have your own quirky sense of style and you define what you think is cool and appropriate regardless of outside influence. Your grandfather used to wear the ugliest orange Oriole shorts for a good part of my life and much to the chagrin of my easily embarrassed high school self. I am sure my own sense of style will embarrass you one day too. But like your father before you, you will learn that it truly is what is on the inside that counts and you will stop making excuses for the fashion of those you love because that is truly a part of who they are. I am glad I learned that lesson because it has helped me more than you know with a son like you! For now, know that I will stand by you, no matter how badly you are dressed.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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