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COOL POOS : Dad Deserves Comfort Clothes Made for Weekend Warriors and Prime-Time Potatos

June 18, 1993|KATHRYN BOLD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

More dads are dressing with style while indulging in their favorite pastime, be it golfing, sailing, hiking or lying on a recliner exercising the remote control. They live for weekends, when they can abandon their stuffy work uniforms and schlep around in comfortable clothes.

For fathers who hike or climb rocks, there's rugged tough guy attire that makes them look like Indiana Jones. For pops who sail, there are nautical knits and retro-style Hawaiian shirts that look like the kind worn in old "Gidget" movies. For the golfing dad who has everything, there are $100 Bobby Jones golf shirts--the Rolls-Royce of the fairways.

Dads didn't always look this sharp on their days off.

A few years ago, men's sportswear was dull and predictable, a bland mix of blues, browns and whites in conventional solids or plaids. All that has changed. Dads can now express themselves through brighter colors and bolder prints.

"It started when we got men to wear contemporary ties. Now guys are stepping out. They're much more willing to take a chance with sportswear," says Stephen Knutson, president of At-Ease in Fashion Island Newport Beach.

When it comes to clothes, men are more daring on the weekends. They'll push the fashion envelope with contemporary looks such as triple-pleated pants, over-sized shirts and bold prints.

"There's a lot more sophistication in weekend wear," Knutson says. "Men have upgraded from a real sloppy look to more tailored styles.

"They aren't slouching around anymore. You see them going to dinner in a Reyn Spooner shirt and shorts. It's tastefully relaxed."

Reyn Spooner makes the classic weekend shirt for guys who like the sun and sea. The Hawaiian-style shirts come in all kinds of nautical and floral prints, some turned inside out so the shirts already have that faded look men like. Reyn Spooner's vintage-looking "Avalon" shirt promises to be hot this summer, with its campy scenes of Catalina Island ($52).

"We've already sold 100," Knutson says.

Whether they sail or stay on land, many weekend warriors favor nautical styles by Cutter & Buck, including bright woven knit tops, jackets and swim trunks. Cutter & Buck's casual zipper-front jacket in lightweight royal blue cotton with dual front pockets ($70) is a classic that can go anywhere.

For "the rugged dad with attitude," Knutson recommends a line of rough wear by Timberland featuring "beefy" polo-style shirts of thick cotton pique in stone-washed earth tones ($60), serious leather hiking boots ($125) and heavy canvas shorts with large cargo pockets ($75).

Willis & Geiger also makes rugged wear, including a fisherman's vest in khaki cotton with assorted pockets ($220) and a collection of heavy duty leather flight jackets. Both lines are geared for the active outdoorsman who likes crawling around the Saddleback Mountains.

On their days off, dads like to kick back in clothing that's comfortable, preferably loose-fitting pieces made of cotton or cotton blends.

Cotton knit shirts are a basic for weekend, says John Berges, owner of Berges Menswear in San Clemente. Yet even the classic polo shirts are breaking away from traditional solids and stripes and coming out in prints.

"We've got geometrics, subtle plaids and even a couple of paisleys," Berges says. One polo shirt by London Fog comes in a blue or tan floral wallpaper print ($39) and has coordinating walking shorts in solid blue or tan ($30).

Prints have also overtaken cotton cardigans and lightweight pullover sweaters. Geometrics and motifs such as golf and sailing are strong; one novelty sweater at Berges has a lighthouse and sailboat woven on the front ($65).

"Men's stuff used to be very drab. Now they're wearing a lot more color," says Maxwell Phillips, owner of J.P. Maxwell in Balboa Island.

To prove his point, he points to a long rack of shirts in a rainbow of batik prints. One South Pacific-inspired shirt by Back East comes in an orange print festooned with fish ($40). Another Hawaiian shirt by Kahala is covered with colorful postage stamps ($47).

Brilliant colors are the hot trend in weekend wear, agrees Lisa Bayne, divisional vice president of product direction for Eddie Bauer in Redmond, Wash.

"This time of year people get adventurous about color," Bayne says.

Indeed, when describing the palette for men's T-shirts, polo shirts and shorts, she uses words such as "peacock," "mango" and "magenta"--hues that were unheard of in menswear not long ago.

The colorful clothes have what she calls a "weathered finish" that softens the hues so "they're not garish."

Among the brighter offerings at Eddie Bauer stores at the Brea Mall, MainPlace/Santa Ana and South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa: a cotton twill short-sleeved shirt that's a natural for the great outdoors ($28), pique cotton polo shirts ($22) and elastic waist cotton twill sport shorts in a wide range of colors ($22).

Whether dad is active or anemic, a rugged outdoorsman or a confirmed couch potato, there's weekend wear to fit his lifestyle.

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