Clothes for divorced dads (or other middle aged dudes that care) — Fall/ Winter 2023

Broderick Turner
6 min readSep 11, 2023

There was a season in my life when every other weekend was someone’s wedding. It was a great time. I would dance and drink and revel in their promises of happily ever after.

But that season has passed. Ever after was not happy for many of these couples, and we have now entered the season of separation and divorce. The leaves have turned colors, fallen to the ground, and the tree is now bare.

We should celebrate divorces as much, if not more, than we celebrate weddings. Ending a relationship, after promising in front of friends and family that there would be no end, requires courage and bravery. There are many bad marriages . But there has never been a bad divorce. All divorces are for the best. All divorces open both partners to another chance for happily ever after.

I want my friends to have the best shot of finding a love that sustains them, nurtures them, and opens them to joy of spending every day with their homieloverfriend. I have this with my wife, and it would make me happy, if my friends had a similar situation, ever and after.

But to find this love, my divorced friends will have to get back out there. They’re gonna have to go outside.

And, it’s possible, very possible, that they’ll need better clothes. It will be harder to find love wearing a John Cena tee and jorts, unless you are John Cena.

But, you are not John Cena.

So, here are some suggestions. These options are aimed at people* who want a masculine aesthetic (I will invest some time this year in learning more about ladies clothes, promise). These clothes acknowledge that the six pack may be long gone. These clothes also acknowledge that not everyone is willing to spend eye popping sums on clothes they will only wear once (of this, I am guilty). Instead, each item recommended can we worn hard, for many wears, and no one item cost more than $150.

Outerwear

Alpaca Cardigans feel great. Let someone touch your arm. You deserve it.

LL Bean makes serious clothes. The Fisherman Shawl Collar and classic wool cardigan are serious. LL Bean also has a great return policy in case you’re unhappy.

Russel Athletics’s hoodies and sweatshirts from the 90’s are so well made — heavy weight, rock solid stitching, and great color.

Carhartt sells broken-in coats. I live in mine. They only get better looking as they get more worn.

Buy a coach’s jacket. Improve your windbreaker game.

Clothes

I am a sucker for workwear worn casually. This stuff was made for mechanics and machinists. It can handle dirt and grime, and get thrown in the wash, and look even better with a patina. Wear a work shirt open, over a tshirt, with a pair of work trousers in a different color and you got a vibe that tells all the single moms at your kid’s soccer game, that you might be someone they should share a shopping cart at Target with you.

In terms of Tshirts, Camber makes awesome heavyweight T-shirt’s. These are my new favorite solid tees.

If you like graphic tees, you can’t go wrong with ones that tell a story you love. I love old ciggarette promo tees and actual vintage tshirts from concerts I’ve actually been to. First live show I ever saw was James Brown, during Sweet Auburn Fest, under an overpass. If you’re going to buy vintage, my suggestion is buy one size higher than you normally wear. They shrink a lot, and if you have a little bit of a gut, wearing a larger tshirt is a great move. Also, if you’re buying vintage tees, avoid buying white ones. They don’t seem to age well.

If you want to step up a bit from a tshirt, short sleeve sweatshirts are the bees knees. They make your arms look good and can hide a soft middle.

Apparently, chef’s are sexy now. Although Cookman’s chef pants won’t give your the arms of Jermey Allen White, they will give you a relaxed fit that looks put together. Also, you can spill stuff on these and they wash easy.

There is something louche about pants with a slight flair. You won’t look like you’re going to a disco, but these Wrangler Wrancher dress jeans make any outfit where you would wear jeans about 10% more exciting. Order 2 full sizes up in the waist. If you wear a 36 order a 40

Shoes

I think classic silhouettes with a slight twist are great. I love sneakers. I love dress shoes. I loathe dress sneakers. If your wingtips have white soles, burn them. Some of my favorites are the Reebok Club C 85, Reebok InstaPump Fury OG, the Jordan 1 , Nike general purpose, Nike Vomero 5, and Chucks.

If you want something that’s not “classic” check out these Crocs. They’re a collab with a black designer named Salehe Bembury. He’s millennial Tinker Hatfield.

Bags

It’s ok to carry a satchel (or a man purse). You’re past the age where you can be cool. But you can be useful. Useful trumps cool. And what’s more useful than carrying the things you need during the day in a bag? Your grandma knew better. Be like her.

Jewelry

Wear a beaded necklace. You’ll look good. Trust me.

Hats

You might like these cigarette promo hats.

Conclusion

Clothes are fun. You deserve to look good. And if you have to be outside, look your best.

*I teach my sales students that every new sale starts with identifying the needs of one person. I had one person in mind when I wrote this list. But in this specificity, we find taste.

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Broderick Turner

Assistant Professor of Marketing @ The Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech