If you haven't read Songs And Cigarettes yet, we feel bad for you. The site is where a collective of young (and attractive!) Canadian men come together to provide laughs and insights on a wide array of subjects -- from the pillars of summer to the causes of the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
So without further ado, here are Songs And Cigarettes' musings on TVs sartorially smart dads (as well as some honourable mentions):
James’ Top TV Dads
Phil Dunphy, Modern Family: Phil Dunphy has the kind of easy style that most Dads aim for, but seldom achieve. It’s not flashy or over the top -- more of an "I picked it out because it said medium on the tag" look. Sometimes Phil tries a little too hard to be the "cool Dad," which is where he -- and usually a lot of other fathers -- get into trouble (he just ends up looking like a dolt). Generally, whether it’s a nice button-down shirt or a worn college tee, Phil manages to look okay. It’s a style worth imitating and gives off a likeable, every man Dad vibe, which Phil would be happy to hear. Plus, he often wears blue sneakers in the house -- which is just great.
Phillip Banks, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Suits and sweater vests. That’s Uncle Phil’s uniform of choice. His sartorial decisions are a strong reflection of his personal character -- he’s a dignified, intelligent, well-respected man. He took his ridiculous nephew in and raised him as one of his own! That shows a strong sense of character and his clothes reflect that. He’s an upstanding guy -- and any father looking to imitate Uncle Phil would be wise to follow suit. Literally. Wear. Suits. They’re classy and never go out of style. Although you know what does go out of style? Sweater vests. You have Rick Santorum to thank for that.
Carl Winslow, Family Matters: Braden: Can I interject here? Carl Winslow was the working man’s Philip Banks. He was a beat cop -- not a judge, like some disconnected, Bel-Air jerk! -- and managed to not only raise his sprawling offspring, but he even showed the patience of a saint putting up with the longest, worst joke on TGIF’s lineup, Steve Urkel. Style wise, he was a master of horrible coloured pinstripe shirts and something of a male attempt at "mom jeans." I call them "90s TV dad jeans." Now back to James.
Heathcliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show: Now, Dr. Huxtable had style: he had a beautiful house, a beautiful wife, 14 beautiful kids (I think...) and a sweater collection that would make even your colour-blind friend go cross-eyed. Every single episode it seemed like he was making a concerted effort to top himself with another wild, cheeky and unusual sweater. He was a well-respected OB/GYN, so he couldn’t just walk around in a tank top and flip-flops. So he went the traditionally conservative route and donned a sweater. But Healthcliff was not a boring man, so it made sense that his sweaters wouldn’t be boring either. Nowadays, a father who identifies with Cliff might do something similar with his socks or maybe the lining of his jacket, with a bit of colour or unexpected pattern on an otherwise traditional garment. Just beware: if you go overboard, you will look ridiculous.
Because, in retrospect, Dr. Huxtable looked ridiculous.
Special Mention: Mitch Buchannon, Baywatch: Mitch was all man and wasn’t afraid to show it. It also helped that his work uniform consisted on red shorts and a matching red floatation device. Maybe he’d wear a pair of sunglasses to finish the ensemble, but that’s it. For the dads who are low-maintenance, this is the father to emulate. Obviously there is some appeal, as even his son Hobie followed in his footsteps and became a lifeguard, complete with minimalistic, yet iconic, red shorts. Sure, this look might not be for every dad, but, if you’re considering it, chances are you probably don’t care. So, if you’re tired of the traditional fashion rules -- the next time you head out the door, just throw on a pair of red swim shorts and rock the Mitch Buchannon look with pride.
Braden’s Top TV Dads
Eddard Stark, Game of Thrones: My main man Ned could be the best of the crew. The man raised six kids while running a kingdom -- not to mention while hosting wars, executions and returning from battle with an illegitimate son (allegedly). Just imagine: going hunting, living in complete and utter fear of everyone you’ve ever met, wearing matching armour and those weird leather pants. Awesome.
Sandy Cohen, The O.C.: Sandy Cohen was the ultimate dad of the 2000s. Not only was he the epitome of the "cool dad" he also showed signs of being a complete and total bad ass (who, yeah, also made terrible life decisions that clearly rubbed off on everyone around him). While Sandy’s style varied from the courtroom to the beach, he was always down for a full-Windsor or a pair of board shorts. Also, he had the craziest eyebrows in TV-land. Whether raising them in near-cartoony surprise or giving that serious furrowed brow only a parent from a popular Thursday night teen drama could pull off, he rocked 'em.
Walter White, Breaking Bad: Walter White has to be one of the best worst fathers in television history.
Ya, ya, he’s all about the family. But you know what we do in my family when we have an issue? We talk about it. What we don’t do is start a career in cooking and trafficking meth with a known drug dealer.
Now, big Walt’s style is something to really appreciate. So many browns and ill-fitted dress shirts; hazmat suits; and that iconic selection of white briefs and a gas mask. For a guy that makes millions (literally millions), you’d think at some point he’d spring for a better wardrobe. Oh well. Every penny counts. Save those dollars for the family, Walt!
Special Mention: Ross Gellar, Friends: Ha! I hated Ross. What a terrible character/actor/dark age of television. How did this not get a spin-off? Oh, right, because everyone hated Ross. Style wise, though, the man had an impressive collection of khakis and pastel dress shirts (a 90s style staple!). Ross also perfected the regrettable "gel-up-the-front-of-your-hair into-a-swoop-thing" that plagued male style for more than a decade.
Happy Father's Day from Songs & Cigarettes!
Braden and James are part of songandcigarettes.com: a Toronto-based, online collective that discusses a lot more than dads on television (we promise).