Nostalgic 80s & 90s dad fashion trends that are back in style

20190516 - Nostalgic dad fashion - FI
Photo credit: digitalr/Envato Elements, Hemera Technologies/Getty Images; Tiberius Catinas/

Dad fashion trends haven’t quite reached the viral status of the “dad bod” hashtag in 2017 — which spawned interesting swimsuits and seriously scary fanny packs — but hold onto your cargo shorts: The style trends your dad rocked in his younger years are coming back.

Dad fashion has always been kind of a thing. Think Full House’s iconic Danny Tanner in the 80s, Family Matters’ Carl Winslow in the 90s, and the new millennium’s Sandy Cohen on The OC.  The irony is that our dads might have been ahead of their fashion times: Dad fashion is hot right now. (Who would have thought?)

Let’s take a trip down memory lane in honor of the things your dad might’ve worn in the past and you might be looking to rock in the present. This is all about grabbing your family scrapbook to see if your own Pops rocked these five nostalgic dad fashions that are major trends right now.

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The dad sneaker

Among the biggest trends of the past year, it’s inspired by the chunky, almost orthopedic-style sneaks that everyone’s dad wore in the 80s and 90s. Heck, some are still rocking them now. You know who else is? Models like Gigi Hadid and style aficionados like Queer Eye’s Tan France. Honestly, if the trend is good enough for these two, maybe our dads were onto something.

Gigi Hadid

gigihadid fashion
Image credit: Instagram

Tan France

tan fashion dad sneakers
Image credit: Instagram

Hawaiian shirts

Oh, the 90s. This was a time of serious dad style, and the Hawaiian shirt was a major feature. Remember walking through the men’s section of a department store and being bombarded with floral-printed, short-sleeved, button-up atrocities? (Sorry, Dad, but they really were low-key atrocities.) As it turns out, the world isn’t done with these technicolor train wrecks just yet. Affordable retailers such as ASOS and Old Navy and high-end brands such as Gucci and Alexander Wang are all embracing the style again and hope you will, too.


Gucci - Runway - Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20
Photo credit: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for Gucci

Canadian tuxedo

If there’s a champion of current dad style, it’s Gigi Hadid, and her latest riff is straight from one your dad might want to forget. It’s the Canadian tuxedo — aka, all denim everything. From pleated-front jeans and button-up denim shirts to jorts and jean jackets, denim was the stuff. Now, it’s back again, thanks to one of the world’s top models. For her birthday in April, Hadid had her guests wear denim from head to toe: a reminder that, even if a look has garnered its own unflattering nickname, it can still make a resurgence. Plus, Bella Hadid, Gigi’s sister and fellow model, made the Canadian tuxedo into something your dad probably wouldn’t want you to wear, even if it looks damn good.

Bella Hadid

bella hadid denim fashion
Photo credit: Instagram

Socks and sandals

Denim on denim? OK. And even a Hawaiian shirt has a certain appeal. But socks with sandals? This is beyond the pale — and yet, it’s back. Whether it’s Birkenstocks or Adidas slides with white socks, or strappy sandals with sheer, style-forward footwear, this look is back (but arguably, not better).

socks and sandals dad fashion
Photo credit: The Creative Exchange/Unsplash

Danny Reinke at 2019 Berlin Fashion Week

Danny Reinke - Show - Berlin Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019
Photo credit: Stefan Knauer/Getty Images for MBFW

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While the jort (jean short) never really went away in women’s fashion, this dad-approved look from the 80s and 90s became a bit of a joke for men. Now, though, iconic denim brands such as Levi’s are again offering light-wash, knee-length jean shorts. This time around, though, it’s likely to be you, your significant other, or friends wearing them this summer. Go figure.


Jorts mens fashion
Image credit: Instagram