My darling Dad is 86 and lives on his own in a very quaint little town called Velp, in the Netherlands. It’s a five minute drive from Arnhem, which played a crucial role in World War Two because it was headquarters for Operation Market Garden. If you’ve seen the movie, “A Bridge Too Far”, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and see how my Dad grew up during the extremely hard war years. Papa moved back to his hometown when my Mum died eighteen years ago in Cape Town. My Dad loves his hometown and is very happy there.
I’m close to my Dad and enjoy a special bond with him. Our bond grows stronger each year, which is something that I nurture and cherish.
As far as my Dad’s style goes, Mama sorted that out because Papa finds shopping tortuous and tedious. Since Mama loved to shop, she happily took over that part of his life. I’ve taken on the role of sorting out my Dad’s wardrobe and style since Mama died, and am happy to do it. With my Dad’s blessing on what he likes and dislikes, I’ve chosen everything in his wardrobe for almost two decades.
Papa likes to keep his wardrobe VERY minimal, simple and classic for maximal versatility and ease. He wears the same undertees, shirts, jeans, socks, belts and shoes all year round. He simply layers over the lot with knitwear, jackets, coats, scarves and hats when the weather is cold. The formula works extremely well for him.
Papa only wears short-sleeved button down shirts, because he finds long sleeves fussy. He has eight shirts. He wears black, blue and brown jeans, and has one in each colour. He has an assortment of cashmere and cotton pullovers for varying weather — about eight in total. He has a black and brown belt, one to match each pair of lace-up shoes. He has one jacket, one coat, two scarves, and three hats. Apart from wardrobe basics like undies, socks, sleepwear and Birkenstock type slippers for at home — that is it. He does not wear shorts, sneakers, tees, sweats, hoodies, blazers, sandals or trousers. It’s easy fitting my Dad’s very small wardrobe into his very small Euro closet.
My Dad’s wardrobe may be minimal, but it’s colour-rich. He’s worn shades of orange and red for as long as I can remember. His specs are burgundy, which he chose himself! He likes most shades of blue, brown and green. He does not like black or grey, but enjoys his one pair of black jeans. Papa’s shirts are from the Gap and his jeans are Levis. His knitwear and belts are from J.Crew and Banana Republic. His outerwear, scarves, hats and shoes are from Nordstrom. Both pairs of shoes are Ecco.
I’m thankful to have a wonderful Dad who is a role model to me. He’s soft-spoken, introverted, gentle, generous, intelligent, good with numbers (he’s an accountant), a very hard worker, extremely independent, smiley, headstrong, and has busloads of grit. Papa is one of the most charming people I know, a gentleman, and utterly adorable. I’m grateful to be able to visit him three to four times a year (he stopped travelling to Seattle at 82.) These are the moments in life that count.
We at YLF wish you, your Dads, including Dads who are no longer with us, a happy and peaceful Father’s Day.