In one of the most astounding turnarounds in the fickle fashion world the ‘embarrassing dad look’ is the fastest growing trend for summer.
Once the biggest fashion faux pas - socks with sandals - preferably topped off with a Hawaiian shirt, the louder the better, is now the outfit of choice for the fashion-forward.
High street retailer Debenhams has seen an increase of 68% in sales of socks and sandals, while purchases of bright short-sleeved shirts have soared by 72%.
The bizarre trend has created an unlikely fashion icon in ageing Die Hard star Bruce Willis, who showcased the style perfectly while photographed in LA this week wearing sensible, suede sandals and pale grey socks.
Brits abroad have frequently been voted the world’s worst dressed holiday makers while sporting their beloved socks, sandal and bad shirt combo. Now the style they practically invented has been hijacked by the fashionistas and for the first time in many bemused men’s lives, they have been catapulted to the top of the style stakes.
The reincarnation of the ‘embarrassing dad outfit’ as cutting edge fashion has come as no surprise to middle aged men. Comfort is key to the trends’ growing popularity.
Personal stylist, Alain Mehada of Debenhams said: "We didn't see it coming, but perhaps we should have done as let's be honest there are fewer things more comfy than a solid well-made sandal and a soft pair of socks to stop them rubbing on bare skin.
“As for the shirts, who can resist a smile when someone walks past in a garishly bright short-sleeved top. It brightens up the day and reminds people of holidays and beach-side fun, even if they are stuck at home”.
Younger fashionistas happily jumping on the bandwagon include David Beckham, Puff Daddy and Jake Gyllenhall.
Not to be outdone, It girls and celebrities including Fearne Cotton, Rita Ora, Beyoncé, Mary - Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen have all recently embraced the sensible-sandal look.
Alain Mehada continues: “Teaming socks and sandals together provides comfort and style but the girls have taken this trend to the next level. Pastel socks with metallic sandals and printed socks with neutral sandals reflect the autumn winter ’14 catwalk style as seen in runway shows such as Dior, Burberry and Hermes”.
Historically, socks and sandals were lifesaving elements at the time of the Roman Empire as the combination was key to legions of the Roman army stationed in north Yorkshire.
Socks and sandals allowed Roman legions to implement Roman Britain during the freezing weather conditions having originated from the warmer Mediterranean climate.
Letters found in north Yorkshire showed requests for ‘Paria udonum ab Sattua solearum duo et subligariorum duo’; translated, this is a request for socks, two pairs of sandals and underwear.
What was thought to have kicked off an unfortunate British fashion statement that’s survived to the present day, in turn saved Roman Britain until 410AD. Perfect for British summertime and the likely chance of rain.
It seems the ‘embarrassing dads’ were right all along!
Debenhams socks, sandals and printed shirts are available in all stores nationwide and online at debenhams.com.
Notes to Editors History of socks and sandals Wikipedia Debenhams Debenhams is a leading international, multi-channel brand with a proud British heritage which trades out of 240 stores across 28 countries. Debenhams gives its customers around the world a unique, differentiated and exclusive mix of own brands, international brands and concessions. In the UK, Debenhams has a top four market share in womenswear and menswear and a top ten share in childrenswear. It leads the market in premium health and beauty. Debenhams is the eleventh biggest UK online retailer by traffic volume and in March 2013 was awarded “International Growth Initiative of the Year” and “The Retail Technology Initia-tive of the year for Endless Aisle” at the Oracle Retail Week Awards. Debenhams has been investing in British design for 20 years through its exclusive Design-ers at Debenhams portfolio of brands. Current designers include Jeff Banks, Jasper Con-ran, FrostFrench, Henry Holland, Betty Jackson, Ben de Lisi, Julien Macdonald, Jane Pack-er, Jenny Packham, Pearce Fionda, Stephen Jones, Preen, Todd Lynn, Janet Reger, John Rocha, Jonathan Saunders, Ashley Thomas, Eric Van Peterson and Matthew Williamson.
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