To be fair, my dressing distress isn’t limited to my daughter. I can’t dress myself worth a damn either. To start, I’m color blind. Add to that I have zero fashion sense and the fact that I hate shopping for clothes and you’ve got a good idea of what I’m up against (or my wife is up against) when it comes to my daily battle with the shirts and pants hanging in my closet. Unfortunately, the real victim of my wardrobe worthlessness is my wonderful daughter. She's a mere 14 months old and already has more coordinated outfits than I’ve owned my whole life. But I have no clue what they are because I can’t tell what looks good and what doesn’t. The problem? In addition to all my sartorial limitations I mentioned above, I not only have no experience dressing myself well, I have no experience dressing a female at all. The looks I get when I walk into preschool holding my eye-clashingly clad daughter can roughly be translated to: "How early does that man start drinking in the morning before he dresses his poor little daughter?"
Why do I have to dress my daughter you ask? I have to dress her because my amazing wife leaves for work before my daughter and I get up most mornings, which means I’m responsible for getting her dressed, fed and ready for school before I go to work. Of all the things I wondered about when it came to being a dad, I honestly never considered the whole dressing issue. It literally never popped into my head.
We tried laying out my daughter's clothes the night before (and my wife still does it sometimes), but it's not any everyday thing because my wife has a valid point: I should be capable of dressing my own daughter. And I am, just not in a way that is acceptable to the general public (to be fair, everything I put on her is clean, which is more than I can say for what I'm wearing most of the time).
I don’t know why a pink top and a slightly different pink bottom shouldn’t be worn together, but evidently they shouldn’t be. I don’t know why a shirt with a flower pattern looks bad when paired with pants with pears on them, but they do. And I have no idea why dresses have so many buttons in the back sometimes, so I avoid them completely.
The good news is that I have two saving graces:
1) Babies look cute in almost anything. Wrap a bunch of old tube socks around your daughter like she’s the Michelin man and I promise, she’ll still be adorable.
2) My daughter has no idea what she’s wearing anyway. I could cut arm holes and leg holes in my gym bag and throw it on her and she wouldn’t complain. In fact, she’d be the cutest Under Armour commercial ever.
In conclusion, it has never bothered me that I dress simply, and I’m sure by the time my daughter is old enough to dress herself, she’ll be light years ahead of me in style (and when she’s a teenager, she’ll look at photos of the two of us and curse the outfits I made her wear), but for the time being, I like that we’re in this together, facing each day uncoordinated, unmatched and utterly unaware of the clothes we’re wearing. It's a bonding experience I recommend to all fathers.
For tons of advice about how to stay in peak form when you become a father (or to give as a gift to the new dad or dad-to-be in your life), buy Jon Finkel’s The Dadvantage today! _Follow Jon on Twitter: @3dollarscholar_