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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It’s pretty safe to say that becoming a father is a life changing event. When my son was born in 2016, I had to make some adjustments in how I approach clothing. I thought these bits of wisdom might be valuable for other fathers-to-be.

The first major adjustment a new Trad Dad should consider is discretionary spending. No matter how much you earn, a child will significantly cut into your budget.

The second major adjustment for a Trad father is caring for your clothing. Before I had a child, I could never have imagined just how messy they could be. Even if you amassed a wardrobe of Mercer shirts and Shaggy Dog sweaters, you will (wisely) be hesitant to wear them near your beloved newborn child.

Those points have led me to adopting a more affordable take on Trad. In brief, here are my conclusions:

1. It is fine to wear nicer clothing to the office, but do yourself a favor and change when you walk in your front door of the evening.

2. A cotton crewneck sweatshirt will prove indispensable around the house. It’s trad enough, can be worn over a fraying OCBD & khakis, and most importantly can be washed as often as necessary without concern. Think of it as your shield from bodily fluids and baby powder. Consider purchasing multiple. My favorite has my alma mater on it.

3. A broader point I have adopted which may especially be important for budget conscious new fathers: expensive OCBDs provide excellent collar rolls, but unless you are wearing a tie an affordable OCBD should perfectly suffice. I have yet to find a better daily wear OCBD than RL Polo’s. They are widely available, must-iron, and can be had for $50 new on eBay at all times. Keep the Mercer or Brooks Brothers shirt in the closet for special occasions.

4. Thrifting is a valid option, but as a new father you won’t have as much time available to scour the forums and auctions as before. Keep that in mind.

5. Wool sweaters are expensive and shouldn’t be washed often. Consider affordable cotton crewnecks in the usual colors. JC Penney reliably stocks them, and they can be purchased for under $10 on sale. They tend to fade, but at that price you can restock as necessary.

6. Watches—many a Trad jumps into the world of vintage mechanical timepieces. Be aware that these watches require costly servicing every 3-5 years (newer watches can go longer, though that debate rages on). Consider a quartz Timex instead. I have both, but the Timex shares wrist time with equal pleasure to my 50s Omega Seamaster.


Those are the main points that come to mind. Feel free to disagree or offer your own paternal sage wisdom. And, yes, this list does assume that you are helping change diapers and other parental duties. That may not apply to all new fathers in 2018, but I think it applies to most.
 

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It gets better. Not. You have to pay for 4 years of college, if you are lucky he finishes in 4, all the while filling his checking account throughout college. He finishes college and talks about caddying a few more months to get extra money because he might want to go to Europe with some friends before he looks for a "real" job. Yeah, it gets a lot easier.

Happy ending. He caddied for 3 months during the day and worked at my friend's restaurant at night and started his "real" job January 1st. By the way......it's worth every minute of the journey. Good luck and enjoy.
 

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1. It is fine to wear nicer clothing to the office, but do yourself a favor and change when you walk in your front door of the evening.
Absolutely this!! Excellent advice here.

2. A cotton crewneck sweatshirt will prove indispensable around the house. It's trad enough, can be worn over a fraying OCBD & khakis, and most importantly can be washed as often as necessary without concern. Think of it as your shield from bodily fluids and baby powder. Consider purchasing multiple. My favorite has my alma mater on it.
a sweater doesn't protect your pants.

5. Wool sweaters are expensive and shouldn't be washed often. Consider affordable cotton crewnecks in the usual colors. JC Penney reliably stocks them, and they can be purchased for under $10 on sale. They tend to fade, but at that price you can restock as necessary.
Maybe I am just being picky, but cotton just does not look or drape like wool. If you wait for a sale, you can get merino wool sweaters from Lands End for a reasonable price.

6. Watches-many a Trad jumps into the world of vintage mechanical timepieces. Be aware that these watches require costly servicing every 3-5 years (newer watches can go longer, though that debate rages on). Consider a quartz Timex instead. I have both, but the Timex shares wrist time with equal pleasure to my 50s Omega Seamaster.
Or consider a mechanical from a value priced brand like Orient that makes some excellent, and trad looking, mechanicals. Seiko doesn't have much that seems trad to me, but their Presage line is gorgeous, automatic, and under $500. Particularly at the price of something like an Orient Bambino (~$150), would servicing even be worth it? Just replace when it stops working years down the road.

Those are the main points that come to mind. Feel free to disagree or offer your own paternal sage wisdom. And, yes, this list does assume that you are helping change diapers and other parental duties. That may not apply to all new fathers in 2018, but I think it applies to most.
Here's some advice for new dads -- change every diaper you can before the kid starts eating food, so as to build up good will with the spouse. #2 diapers are nothing when it's just milk. Once they start eating real food, however, it's a disaster!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Agree that the sweatshirt doesn't protect the pants, but I did mention wearing frayed OCBDs and khakis around the house.

As for Merino wool, it still advises dry cleaning or hand washing. It's perhaps more of a care issue than cost issue. And I'm often amazed at how often my kid manages to get me even if I'm just holding him for a second.

I'm a big fan of Orient for affordable mechanicals, but I question what the point is in spending $200 or so every five years for a watch that will just wear out if it's not serviced.

I especially agree about building up goodwill with the spouse. Thanks for your thoughts!
 

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4. Thrifting is a valid option, but as a new father you won't have as much time available to scour the forums and auctions as before. Keep that in mind.
Actually I got into thrifting when my first child was born. It was a way to save on baby clothes.

My 10 and 8 year old really enjoy for their own clothes and filling up the large hand baskets on 50% off days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Actually I got into thrifting when my first child was born. It was a way to save on baby clothes.

My 10 and 8 year old really enjoy for their own clothes and filling up the large hand baskets on 50% off days.
Like I said, it's totally valid and a great way to save money. But personally my free time is limited at this point and it's just not a high enough priority for me.

I can, however, see how thrifting for a baby could be pretty easy compared to hunting 38 R shetland sweaters.

Thanks for the input!
 

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I have a second "set" of budget clothing I wear with the kids as well. My main criteria is that I'm willing to purchase non-USA manufacturing but I try to stick with the same material type and style. For example:

Wingtip oxfords: Stafford Deacon boots are made of leather with rubber soles. $35 on sale and pass as my alternative to AE Mccallisters. Put on some black polish on the brown wingtips and the leather looks like it has been burnished.

OCBD's: LE Hyde Park and LL Bean are 100% cotton and I can machine wash and dry. Bean when I really want some collar roll despite toxic chemical finish. HP feels like a poor man's Mercer / BB. $25-35.

Tweed jackets: Jos Bank has 100% wool ones for under $80. But the discrepancy here versus quality tweeds is very pronounced.

Chinos: LE and BB 346. The former is better because of higher rise.

Navy blazer: BB 346 Made in Mexico at the outlet can be had for under $150 when on sale.

Now there are exceptions too. I haven't been able to find an alternative to a wool cable knit crewneck sweater but the cotton ones by LE (Drifter) and Bean feel very nice given their sub $30 price when on sale. Machine wash.
 

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I have a second "set" of budget clothing I wear with the kids as well. My main criteria is that I'm willing to purchase non-USA manufacturing but I try to stick with the same material type and style. For example:

Wingtip oxfords: Stafford Deacon boots are made of leather with rubber soles. $35 on sale and pass as my alternative to AE Mccallisters. Put on some black polish on the brown wingtips and the leather looks like it has been burnished.

OCBD's: LE Hyde Park and LL Bean are 100% cotton and I can machine wash and dry. Bean when I really want some collar roll despite toxic chemical finish. HP feels like a poor man's Mercer / BB. $25-35.

Tweed jackets: Jos Bank has 100% wool ones for under $80. But the discrepancy here versus quality tweeds is very pronounced.

Chinos: LE and BB 346. The former is better because of higher rise.

Navy blazer: BB 346 Made in Mexico at the outlet can be had for under $150 when on sale.

Now there are exceptions too. I haven't been able to find an alternative to a wool cable knit crewneck sweater but the cotton ones by LE (Drifter) and Bean feel very nice given their sub $30 price when on sale. Machine wash.
Regarding budget OCBD's, you'll laugh, but my best budget one is from five four club. It is actually oxford cloth, has a real soft casual feel to it, has no pocket, the top button (below the collar) is higher than on others, helping the collar to not flop open widely, and it gets a decent collar roll pretty easily. In addition, it's a relatively traditional cut but not baggy.

I wish they sold this design in their online store but they don't. I wish they did, as it's a great budget product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good tips, everyone. I especially need to look into the Stafford Deacon boots. Hyde Park OCBD's have had my attention for a while, but I worry about the supposed short length as I'm pretty tall.

And, yes, my Scottish Terrier ruined a few items especially in his first year.
 

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Good tips, everyone. I especially need to look into the Stafford Deacon boots. Hyde Park OCBD's have had my attention for a while, but I worry about the supposed short length as I'm pretty tall.

And, yes, my Scottish Terrier ruined a few items especially in his first year.
Hyde Parks are indeed short. If you're tall, they likely will not work for you.
 

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For the Trad Dad, I concur regarding the Orient Bambino 4. I have worn one every day for the last 18 months and if I had spent $1000 for a comparable watch I would be no less pleased with the look or performance. Great, great value for money.

And the $6000 one saves vs. buying a JLC Reverso can go in the college fund! :)

I have two children, aged 22 and 19, so additional advice....never, never cheap out on shoes or eyeglasses. Cost per wear should be the calculation, not purchase price.

Thrifting became and still is one of my hobbies. Going to the right stores in the right neighborhoods is the key. Also making friends with the folks in the backroom receiving area always helps!

Cheers,

BSR
 

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I have to admit that I never took any particular precautions as a dad, and I am a very involved dad (often feeding the baby and carrying it in one of those carrier things and so on). There's not much a baby can do that won't wash off!

As for watches, I was perfectly comfortable letting her play with my Rolex Sea-Dweller: I don't think there is any possible way that hunk of steel is threatened by a child.

Now, granted, I have a daughter, not quite the force of destruction one sees in boys.

My ONE caution is: don't leave your glasses lying within reach, ever. Even now (my daughter is 5), I'm mindful not to allow her to handle them. As a toddler, and even a baby, she has always been very "helpful", and of course once I was snoozing on the sofa and had set my $1500 glasses on the coffee table, only to awaken to her presenting me with them, grasping them the temples such that they were spread apart like wings. Ruined. Made it easy to decide how to finish out my HSA for the year.

After that, when I went to bed, I actually used to put my glasses on top of the window frame, as she was resourceful enough to reach them anywhere else. I had to stand tippie-toe to do it myself.

DH
 
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