A Men’s Style Chronology for Dad’s Day (Pt. I)



colonial furniture

Do dads have style when it comes to décor and interior design? The answer used to be an uncontested “Nope!” in every corner of the country, but something has happened over the last 60 years or so that has changed the course of dad-style history.

What was it that changed? How did dad’s style evolve in the U.S.? Believe it or not, the typical American male of yore wasn’t born into style – it took a long time for him to reach the point where he could afford to take an interest in what his house looked like, if he had one.

Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandad’s Style (NA – 1600)

Historically, American dads and dudes have at times been dapper, to be sure. And, the common ancestor of your average dad definitely had style; China’s Forbidden City, the Parthenon, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Versailles are all fine examples of guys basically going style crazy.

But, none of that ostentatious and indulgent interior design made it across the pond with the nation’s first settlers, and that helps explain how dad style got a do-over here in the States.

Cabins vs. Old Colonials (1600 – 1760)

Pioneer life was not awesome, and interior design took a backseat to survival for a long, long time. And, when it finally arrived, it wasn’t the pioneers who brought it or adopted it – it was the moneyed gentry that followed once the settlers and soldiers had done all the dirty work.

And, what did these folks bring? They brought English, French and Spanish colonial style, among others. European colonial architecture and the designs found therein were dominant in America from its inception through the 19th century.

But, then something new happened.

A Style Revolution Begins (1760 – 1840)

The Industrial Revolution changed everything. In the span of about 80 years (hyper-fast, as far as historical periods go), far more people had jobs, and those jobs involved making things that more people could afford to buy because they had jobs.

And, a lot of the things they were making and buying were the beginning of an interior design dream – homes, furniture, textiles, art – all the stuff a dad could want to define his very own style.

But, cultural influence, social perception and buying power were still hurdles. For most dads, a house was still just for living, and not so much for decorating.

Tune in to tomorrow to see how dads went from style-less to style finesse, and in only 100 years!

The Dutch colonial style is still very popular, particularly among birders.

Get colonial style on a small scale with decorative hardware like knobs and pulls from Schaub & Company's Colonial Collection.

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