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Good to Go: Look like a dapper dad

Friday - 6/13/2014, 9:16am  ET

MensFashion.JPG
Investing in a few pieces that look polished and feel comfortable will take dads from the sidelines of the soccer fields to a corner booth at date night. (Courtesy Tara Luizzi)

WASHINGTON -- Dads in need of a fashion reboot can heed advice from D.C.-based stylist Tara Luizzi, of TaraStylesDC.com, who finds the biggest style challenge for the buttoned-up, conservative Washington crowd is shifting from the office to the weekend.

She says a lot of local dads dress professionally and look put together during the week, but when it comes to weekends and vacation they turn to ratty T-shirts, shorts and jeans.

"Don't go to the bottom of the pile" when dressing for the weekends, Luizzi says.

But that's not to say dads shouldn't feel comfy during downtime. Investing in a few pieces that look polished and feel comfortable will take dads from the sidelines of the soccer fields to a corner booth at date night.

"When you look good, you feel good, so step it up on the weekends to go to that cocktail party or barbecue," Luizzi says.

Busy is not an excuse

D.C. thrives on the "I'm too busy" excuse, Luizzi says. But with the right basics and key pieces in your closet, it just takes five minutes to pull a look together. A good pair of khakis, or casual pants, and a pair of jeans that fit well and are not ripped are as critical to a man's closet as good tailored suit.

Papa's got a brand new bag

When it comes to accessories, Luizzi says to hang up the backpack and get rid of the stodgy briefcase -- it's time for a replacement. Try a messenger bag, she says, and don't worry about it looking like a "man purse."

What's on your feet?

Rethink the running shoes and go for a driving loafer, boating shoe or slip-on sneaker.

"The preppy/sporty look always looks good on the weekends and is all over the place this season," Luizzi says.

Modern pants

When it comes to jeans and shorts, dads should consider some of the newer trends. Luizzi says she has had luck with some of her clients in white or cream-colored jeans. Pair them with lightweight shirts and a sport coat for a comfortable and sleek going-out look.

If white is a no-go, Luizzi says, consider a lighter blue or grey denim and find the right shirt -- one that looks good both tucked in and out. Shorts are now longer, tapered at the knee and in bold colors such as Nantucket Red and Indigo Blue, Luizzi says. Pants have skinnier lines and straight-leg styles -- which can work on bigger, broader-sized guys. Polish off the look by adding a spring/summer sport coat or blazer.

"The beauty of the blazer is, it hides all sins especially when it comes to challenging body types," Luizzi says, adding she is a "big proponent" of the pocket square.

Luizzi says men can have fun with their socks too. They add a pop of color or pattern to an outfit even under a suit during the workweek. Men should also consider changing out their belts in the warmer seasons with a lighter twill, canvas or woven belt for a new look.

Do a closet flush

Stop reliving Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" and start with ditching the frayed high school T-shirts.

If and when dads get a lazy Sunday, Luizzi says, it's the perfect time to go through the drawers and closets and make a list of everything you need to replace. Luizzi suggests putting that list in your phone so you can replace basic items when out and about to make shopping painless.

Go through all shirts and invest in updated looks such as a zip-up sweater or sweatshirt jacket. Even basic polos get a refreshed look each season in the collar, pocket or button details.

"So many trends are thrown upon us -- pick one or two that work for you," Luizzi says.

She says stores such as Billy Reid, James Perse and the men's section at J. Crew, Zara and Nordstrom are good places to start.

Luizzi finds when men look and feel good, they love compliments just as much as women.

Like ZZ Top says, "Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man."

Editor's Note: WTOP's Katie Howard is a mom on the go. With two children under age 5, she's always looking for ways to provide her family fast and healthy snacks, meals and activities. Katie shares her go-to food and family fitness tips on her blog "Good to Go."

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