I Let My Dad Choose My Outfits For A Week

by Summer Arlexis

A running joke in my family is that if he could, my dad would dress me in turtlenecks and ankle-length skirts for the rest of my life. Needless to say, I was grateful that I own neither when I agreed to let him dress me for a week. Other than the fact that I own several men's sweaters, my dad and I have absolutely nothing in common when it comes to fashion. It's not that he's a terrible dresser; he just doesn't put much thought into it. He's told me he has about six pants and shirts he prefers to rotate. So naturally, giving him access to my two closets of clothes, shoes, and accessories gave him major anxiety. According to him, I only own "fancy" clothes (we clearly disagree on what's casual and what's not) and it's no wonder I take so long to figure out what to wear.

What followed over the course of the week were several explanations about my wardrobe, including what the word "cardigan" means, the difference between stilettos and pumps, and how some of my jewelry contraptions work. It was then that I just knew I was going to look a hot mess all week. Surprisingly, I ended the experiment with a handful of phone numbers, date invitations, and — if you ask my dad — free extra toppings on my burrito during our dinner night out. Since this is the man who won't stop trying to convince me that I need more turtlenecks in my life, garnering male attention was certainly not in his plan. But hey, maybe I'll take him up on his dad style advice, since he proved he has a knack for dressing me. Here's how it all went down.

Day 1

For some, this may be a simple outfit that took little time and consideration to plan. It felt like it took my dad hours to put this look together. My only plans for the day were light mall and grocery shopping and an at-home movie date with a significant other. I wasn't completely blown away by this outfit, but I didn't disapprove either. It was comfortable, I felt confident in it, and as simple as it was, it got me stopped by several passersby of the opposite sex. Sorry, dad. Maybe it was the leggings!

My favorite part of the ensemble was the shoes: black Timberlands with a snakeskin collar. They gave me that boyish edge that I never mind, and I was grateful that he didn't choose one of my many pairs of wedges which it seemed he was leaning toward. In fact, a family friend noted that this looked like an outfit I would put together. Kudos, father!

Day 2

It was only the second day of our little experiment, and my dad was already raising my eyebrows. I wasn't around to talk cardigans with him when he chose this outfit, but it doesn't seem like he needed me. Besides the olive pants (which I absolutely love, because it's my favorite color), I hadn't worn these pieces in forever. I'm guessing that my dad let the weather influence his choices, given how the temp had reached the 60s. I think those Steve Madden oxfords and that floral top were a perfect complement for the beautiful day. Where my dad found those shoes, I'm not sure, but I'm glad he did! He disclosed to me that he really thought about my shoe game with this one.

Day 3

Let's just say that I was feeling myself on this day. I was beginning to trust my dad's judgment, and decided I would go all-out with a beat face to suit his efforts. He chose a casual yet stylish ensemble for this rainy day. He must have caught my hints about loving olive and sage greens, because he gave me moss-green leggings and a matching Kate Spade bag. I've always had a love-hate relationship with the black booties he chose (yet another item from my high school days), but I felt good about werking them with this outfit.

He also chose a collar necklace with a long, dangling spike attached. I initially thought it was an unorthodox choice for this fit, which is probably why I've only worn that necklace once. However, a gas station attendant was quick to point out that he thought it was pretty badass. Big ups to my dad on day three, and the many selfies this getup inspired.

Day 4

This was a "sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on" kind of day. My dad asked me about my plans, and I unfortunately had none, so choosing my outfit was a no-brainer for him. He dressed me in athletic leggings and a raglan tee (though I doubt he would have known it's called a raglan tee). Considering my uneventful day, there was no need to give me shoes, but I had a pair of neon pink Nikes on standby, should any errands arise. Though nobody would see me besides my family, I thought it was funny that my dad gave me a perfectly coordinated outfit for a day of relaxing.

Day 5

Football Sunday originally called for sweats, but when my plans went from watching games on the couch with my dad to heading to a bar with my SO, my stylist of a father had to do an emergency wardrobe change. What transpired in his rush to dress me was an oversized men's sweater, patterned leggings, and thigh-high boots. I actually really loved this outfit. I felt extremely snug, but still date-worthy for the screaming football fans bar scene. The switch from my emerald Kate Spade to my bright orange one gave my neutral outfit some flair. It was also important to my dad that I wear my Georgia necklace to represent for the home team, no matter who was playing (don't tell, but I rooted for the Panthers). I was nervous about my black leggings and brown boots, but all worries went out the window when my sweater pulled it all together nicely.

Day 6

My dad and I ended day five with a conversation about my feelings on "casual" and "dressed up," in which I informed him that I usually go all-out and never feel overdressed in any situation. I should have known that would lead him to dress me in heels the next day. I hadn't seen those heeled boots in over five years. Finding pieces from my past seemed to be my dad's MO for this experiment. He also borrowed a black trench coat from my mother. To his dismay, this ribbed dress I can't really recall ever wearing hugged all of my curves — hence the coat cover-up! I, on the other hand, was not displeased. This outfit got me an ultra-stuffed burrito and an extra-hefty bag of chips and salsa that made my dad jealous when he looked at his comparatively skimpy meal.

Day 7

Hands down, the final day of my dad styling me was my favorite. Just as our experiment was coming to an end, it seemed he was just getting into a groove that mirrored choices I would have made. He kept Sunday's talk in mind, while sticking to pulling old clothes out of the woodwork (yes, this was another top I hadn't seen since high school which I didn't know why I still had). Honestly, this cowl-neck sweater was the closest he was going to get to a turtleneck, which is probably why he chose it. My mother used to have to practically force me into this sweater, but when my dad chose it, I adored it! After taking a lifetime to figure out how this skirt was worn (the long back zipper and front pockets threw him for a loop), he chose this ultra-sexy number that I wouldn't have expected him to choose in a million years. I had only worn this skirt once, and forgot that it's a killer!

Hold the phone! Could it be that my dad was actually backing away from the two-inch pumps and ankle-length skirts he was looking for in the beginning? These snakeskin Steve Madden pumps and sleek high-split skirt were a long way from the Little House On the Prairie look he envisioned. I didn't even bother to go all-out with my lashes, smoky eyeshadow, and vampy lips on this one — the Angelina leg would speak for itself!

Would I Hire My Dad As A Full-Time Stylist?

If he figures out what a cardigan is and how to style it (no, I'm not letting that one go!), then yes, I will turn to my dad to dress me again in the future. The more the week progressed, the more he got into his game and proving me wrong about his fashion sense.

I also definitely didn't mind letting someone else pick my clothes for a while. It took the pressure off of me for a change, and now my dad understands why I have a major Cher Horowitz tornado-ed room moment every time I attempt to choose an outfit. Whether it's your dad, your grandmother, or a friend, allowing someone else to control your wardrobe for a while can be a good move. I'd even go as far as say that having my dad dress me got me out of a style rut. Even if he was choosing tops and boots that were hiding in the dark depths of my closet, it was a change I needed. Fresh eyes tend to make a difference, so having someone else style you may get you away from sticking so closely to your same old go-to pieces.

So will my dad and I be going shopping together any time soon? Well, that depends on how much he's going to push the idea of wearing a turtleneck down my throat. Cue several eye rolls and a sprinkle of "ugh" on top.

Images: Summer Arlexis