Your Mom and Dad Are Suddenly Stylish. Here’s How to Get the Look.

A guide to parent-core.


We've all been embarrassed by Mom and Dad at one point or another. Now all the cool kids are dressing like them.

Portland was already a hub for "normcore," the unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, nondescript clothing—think off-brand sneakers, loose jeans and lots of fleece.

But the new rage is parent-core. Walk up Burnside on any given day and you'll find roving packs of hip millennials emulating the style of a senior citizen cycling club, with socks pulled high and jeans even higher.

Want to get the look yourself? Here's how.

The Dad Hat

You've might have one in the back of your closet from that weird promotional event your cousin dragged you along to a few years back. The basic requirements are cotton-twill fabric, unstructured crown, five to six panels, an icon or logo square in the middle (no prints please) and a curved brim. Just leave your prints and exaggerated brim shapes behind. You can find a few different styles at Wildfang (404 SW 10th Ave.; 1230 SE Grand Ave.;, including the "Girls Girls Girls Dad Hat."

The Polo

If you're not buttoning all the way down, you're going a modest third with a classic polo—flip through your old family scrapbook for inspiration. This is a great place to insert some prints. If you're feeling extra-nostalgic, you might even go for that one with the giant logo or graphic. To really get the look, you'll mostly want to go vintage. A visit to the local Goodwill is where many of these kinds of treasures lie if you have the time to sort. If you want to go straight for the gold, visit Zero Wave (722 N Killingsworth St.), where you can find a classic 1960s Lacoste polo.

The Mom Jeans

Mom jeans are typically defined by three things: high waists, rigid fabrication and a tapered hem. If you find a pair of Levi's from the 1980s or 1990s, they probably fit the mold. For styling, loosely cuff the legs, and maybe add a haphazard tuck. Local vintage shops like Zig Zag Wanderer (1458 NE Alberta St.) often carry quality mom (or dad) denim.

The Fanny Pack

The fashion industry is now calling them "belt bags." Some call it a waist or even banana bag, while Megyn Kelly dubbed them "uterus bags." No matter what you call them, fanny packs are back. Fashion companies from Gap to Balenciaga are offering their own version. Wear it over your shoulder or backward. Try it at your hips or waist and dress down a gown, or sport it with your athleisure and go full street-star. You'll be amazed at the liberation of being hands-free and wonder why you ever stashed your pack in the first place. Try the Nomad Fanny from TAH Bags or, for a sportier option, North St. Bags (1551 SE Poplar Ave.), with "Hip Packs" starting at $40.

The Chunky Shoe

The chunkier your tennies are, the better. I wore a pair of new pink Nike Air Huaraches just the other day, and my friend took one glance and said, "Your shoes need to be daddier." Yes, mom and dad are officially style descriptors now. Typically light in color, wider in perimeter and roomy enough for your calf-length socks, the broader adaptation of the trend brings brands like New Balance and Puma to mind. But as with fanny packs, brands at every point in the spectrum seem to be making a pair. In a sneaker-loving city like Portland, you won't find yourself short on options. Head to the closest DSW for a pair of true "dad shoes" on the cheap.

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