What My Dad Taught Me About Fashion (Dad Jeans Not Included).

My dad chuckled when I explained to him the idea of a capsule wardrobe. He responded by saying, “Do you think I could make a million dollars if I sold Cladwell my patented fashion idea? 'In on the right, out on the left.'”

My entire family is more than aware of my dad’s fashion strategy. When his clothing is worn out (and I truly mean worn out, broken zippers and thread-worn shirts), he lets my mom know—who then subsequently replaces his slacks and dress shirts as Christmas and Father’s Day gifts. You see, every morning he picks a shirt from the right side of his closet and then at the end of the day simply places it back on the left; his outfit choices for the day take all of thirty seconds.

After my dad and I had a good laugh about what his so-called fashion strategy could contribute to this generation, I sat down and really thought about what my dad has decided to invest his time into—seeing that it’s definitely not fashion.

Holding a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, my dad works for one of the top medical device companies in the world. He holds a senior position and travels internationally, developing cutting edge standards. While his time and energy are daily invested into this position, when he comes home, he’s all about us, the family—seeing his greatest work in life to be a husband and father. And let me tell you, he does this job well.

I don’t think my dad consciously thinks about how his fashion philosophy frees him to be an excellent employee, husband, and father. In fact, 90% of this philosophy comes from the fact that he can’t tell the difference between two plaid shirts. (Sorry, dad). But the reality is that—even in the world of fashion—we can all learn something from my dad, and it’s not how to put a great outfit together.

Instead, it’s to keep the main things, the main things. And perhaps a simple philosophy like ‘In on the right, out on the left’ can help us do just that. Because at the end of the day, we don’t want our lives to be about clothes, but about being excellent at what we do, about building beautiful lives where we live, and about being loving and intentional towards the people in our lives. And perhaps by putting our clothing in the right place, we can do just that.