Around this time of year, soon-to-be college students all across the country depart from their mediocre high school existence and prepare to enter a beautiful rite of passage known as Freshman Year…just as supposedly-wisdomed and matured Seniors graduate with their Bachelors Degree and a beer pot belly.
Some of you who are from the sunny West or across the blue Atlantic have inquired about the “Frat Daddy” label. What exactly is fratty style? And how can I do it right? Well, just like my trad mannerisms, there are some do’s and many don’ts, but the style should not be confused with authentic trad and prepdom. Because technically, fratty style consists of all dont’s. But I do realize that the name of my blog prominently directs your attention to collegiate fashions, and a little walk off the beaten trail doesn’t hurt every once in a while, which is precisely why I have this fratty category to begin with.
Here is what Frat Daddyism certainly is not:
Not necessarily fashionable nor correctly preppy.
Not necessarily endorsed by me, Tony from College Trad.
Definitely not to be worn past the age of late 20s at the very extreme.
So paranoid am I about this message that I have added caveats to the more extravagant demonstration pictures following below, just in case some of you bastards Pin or Tumblr my pictures for all the world to see. Frat Daddyism does not accurately represent the backbone of College Trad and flies in direct opposition to the advice put forth here. I am trying to get you away from looking like a dorm room coed, and more into a knowledgable and fashionable youthful appearance. Thus, there goes my admonition.
Here is a general gist of what Frat Daddyism is:
A style of dress influenced by preppy East Coast style. As such, usually seen on the American East Coast and Southern campuses.
Very prevalent among Greek Members, although any Geed can wear it too.
Regional preferences between the Northeast, Southeast, South, and Southwest affects the style, but in essence, they are all equally bad. (lol)
Frat Daddys are associated with douchebags, debauchery, and disgust. Awesome.
Dressing fratty is about combining adolescence, athleticism, and the Go To Fucking Hell attitude of mix & matching with aspects of traditional American styling. It’s become an elaborate “tag you’re it” game these days, like who can out-frat the next brother. Lots of in your face clothing that looks wonderfully hideous and usually chaperoned by a zero chance of remorse. Frat daddies represent a herd culture like any other group of like-minded people on your typical college campus. They like to bastardize trad clothing and call it their own. But, unlike the hipsters or sandals-wearing folk, there is some potential for growth into true, fashionable prepdom. For many 18 year olds, fratty style is the first foray into dressing well, introducing fresh faces to the enjoyment of tradition and heritage. Blue blazers with gold buttons. Chinos with cuffs. Leather shoes with hard soles. Hell, even boat shoes. The finer things in life, as it turns out, can be sourced from the not-so-elegant. That Vineyard Vines frat kid can very well turn into a successful, Oxxford suited executive one day, and all because his Big Brother first introduced him to the uniform years ago.
Here are some highlights of Frat Daddyism. You’ll see some reoccurring themes, like the croakies and the high top athletic socks for example. Enjoy and take it all in but keep the snickering to yourself, you clothing elitist snobs!
Typical fratty attire. During the warmer months, your standard guise consists of a pocket t shirt (aka fratty + pocket = frocket), pastel shorts ending well above the knee, high top athletic socks, fratty approved sneakers, and a cold brewski. Good for casual events or sleeping in the classroom. Just don’t let the professor see the alcohol.
When it gets chilly, add a Fratagonia Synchilla pull over fleece and you are good to go. Plus those socks will keep your calves warm. Because that was totally the intent.A less obtrusive and more trad-honoring costume, so I figured a warning sign wasn’t needed here. Worn for times you feel like dressing up a bit more. Garden parties, rush dinners, and taking out your Kappa girlfriend perhaps. Don’t forget to GTH your outfit any chance you get, with a cult classic Brooks Brothers Fun Shirt (one of the guys in the video has the same one actually), The Game College Bar hat, GMP level Duck Head short inseamed shorts, and sockless pennies. Fraternity belt and croakies to show off the letters, or any other motif belt would suffice given it is a navy tone and doesn’t have too much of a pattern so it can ground the GTHellness of the Fun Shirt.
Utilize your pockets. On game days, you can put the cheering stick in your back pocket if you don’t already have a beer bottle there. I have my College Bar hat in my side pocket but I have seen fratbrahs stuff it in their backside into the shorts, with the brim flattened and flushed against the lower back.There are many southern lifestyle brands out there, but stick with New England preppy Vineyard Vines and original frat hard Southern Tide from the start. Many newer companies have become too much of a copy cat and should generally be avoided unless they bring something unique to the table. Like motif state belts from Volunteer Traditions. And Chubbies.
What’s the deal with those high top athletic socks anyway? It is custom to wear high tops on the field for prep school sports like lacrosse and soccer, and since a part of the whole Frat Daddy experience glorifies being a jock, you want to appear like you can jump into lax stick drills while dodging pesky GDI nerds at the gym and fast breaking to the lunch line. I prefer New Balance high tops to match my 993s, and to be different from all the other Nike worshiping kids. I swear, entire chapters swarm the nearest Foot Locker and buy out the entire Nike sock section.
But…but…athletic socks with boat shoes? Yup, seen it before numerous times. Nope, I don’t approve of this at all.
At the lakehouse or the beach. Old lax pinnie, Fratagonia 5″ Baggies, and classic Rainbow sandals- only to be worn near a body of water or in between bouts of tanning on the quad. I’ll trust you guys to know that this is for days of abundant sunshine and aquatic fun, so I left off the heed of caution.
The classic blue blazer and bowtie combo. To all incoming pledges: learn this well! Have fun with it and incorporate colors or patterns that match the event. For fraternity galas, splash in your brotherhood colors. At football games, wear Pennington & Bailes stadium pants. At fratastic horse derbies or outdoor sporting events like the Carolina Cup or the Harriman Cup, go classy with a seersucker or madras sports coat. Since this picture was taken around Memorial Day, I wore ‘Murican Red, White, and Blue bowtie and oxford cloth pants. Smathers & Branson needlepoint flask hidden in your jacket inner pocket is basically required.In the autumn, a popular look is pairing a vest with a tattersall OCBD. Ideally, you’d have a fleece Fratagucci vest or a quilted Barbour waistcoat but I do not personally own either so I used my Brooks Brothers inner lining vest which seems doable on a whim. Add cuffed no-break chinos and you are game set for beerpong at the Pike house party. And as always, croakies and college hat pairs well. Sure. Even when it’s night time.One more outfit to assault the senses. Worn for dorming around or a quick trip to Redbox. Brooks Brothers long sleeve frocket, old game lax shorts, high tops and Bean Boot Mocs. Captain Morgan pose and brewmeiski cozie not included.
Some general tips:
Keep the inseams short.
As with trad clothing advise, keep to one GoToHades piece at a time.
The more beat up the leather or cloth, the better.
Pair formal with informal (i.e. high top socks with loafers).
Trust these fratty companies for branded apparel: Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, and Southern Proper.Then donate them to your younger cousin after college.
Don’t forget the classic brands like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren.These can actually be worn well into adulthood.
Speaking of which, logos matter a whole lot to the sheep crowd. Golden Fleece reigns supreme. The Polo is too mainstream in my opinion.
Take advantage of regional differences. Wrangler jeans and Roper boots at TCU. Columbia PFG fishing gear at Ole Miss. Barbour oiled coats for Georgetown. Perlis polos for LSU. Look around and take note.
Teen brands Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle are so not TFM. Neither are huka shells and popped collars. They haven’t been seen on a true Frat Daddy since the 90s.
Dressing and being part of a fraternity doesn’t mean you have to partake in every sinful act. That’s just my general piece of advise. You don’t want to actually be a douchebag with multiple STDs and Skoal breath. Stay safe.
Most importantly: Be fratty at school. Be classy everywhere else.
Fratty style is okay when you’re young. You are allowed to make mistakes at this age. Yours truely used to dress this way, and still adopts some bearing of Frat Daddyism while still in his mid 20s and graduate school. But I can hear the sirens calling over the horizon. At graduation, please leave the TFM and croakies to the new generation of foreveryoungin’s and learn to appreciate your new found inkling for gentlemanly haberdashery.