x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Katie Trotter: How to dress a dashing dad

Can't see Dad doing 'tribal'? A well-chosen gift will help him keep his cool.

When I was growing up my father had a certain dash of style about him (for an Irishman, anyway) in a kind of relaxed, last-day-of-term way. His year-round "I've been off sailing" tan contrasted dramatically with the deathly pallor of his countrymen. And his clothes were just sharp enough that if he came to visit me at university, he would be eager to make it clear to the surrounding tables that he was my dad. "Can you get some water for my daughter?" he would yell - terrified that anyone should mistake him for a creep. Which, of course, probably made him appear just so.

Dads are easy. Straightforward. Yes men. Coco Pops for dinner? Sure. Sleepover on a school night? No problem. Pierced ears? Why not? Life's so simple with Dad, so joyful. Then in swoops Mum, the big old fat fun-spoiler with a big old fat "No". That's just the way it is. It all seemed dreadfully unfair at the time.

Great dads carry cash, rebuild things, rewire stuff and pass on years of knowledge - and later perhaps a trust fund. All of which poses the question, what do we buy the man who has everything?

My advice: do some research to make him look cool and the envy of his friends. Why? Because most dads would rather chew through their right arm than hunt for the new trend - the new statement bag from Dolce, say - or, worse still, to admit they did. Like it or not, menswear isn't so different from womenswear in terms of the amount of effort required. Yet it remains a mystery to many.

Still having trouble picturing your dad doing "tribal"? Me, too. So let's break it down.

The signature hue coming out of the autumn/winter shows is orange, so try small accents; the lining of a jacket or a hint on a tie works, for example. Your first port of call should be Mr Porter, the recently launched menswear equivalent of the online emporium net-a-porter. Think James Bond meets Savile Row. You can't go wrong with a well-tailored jacket, and this season is all about the British blazer; think green or grey windowpane tweeds or a subtle tartan.

Leather goods last - although, again, be daring and go for pewter, moss green or brick red rather than bog standard black. Zara Man offers great designs if you are on a tight budget.

Although popular culture dictates that the relationship between father and daughter is less significant than that between mother and daughter (Mum is both role model and eternal antagonist), our relationships with our fathers will no doubt reflect ourselves. So do your best.



This week's highs and lows

SPOTTED Alice Temperley's leopard print Elemis travel set is ideal for a jet-set summer.

SHORT SHORTS Go on, Aggy, give longer shorts a go. These certainly don't cut it.

BEACH STRIPES We're not big fans of swimwear, but this Topshop two-piece has us drooling.

ROUND SUNGLASSES Lady Gaga might wear them everywhere, but that doesn't make them cool.

THE WELCH EFFECT Florence and the Machine's songbird inspired Gucci's A/W 2011 - and we thought we couldn't love her more!