Dressing Dad - Original Penguin Polo review

I love my husband dearly - let's get that straight first of all. I adore every inch of him from his comfy shoes to his still-blonde but slightly thinning hair. And so can overlook that mostly he is not exactly a style icon.
men  modelling Original Penguinpolo shirts copyright Afra Willmore
DS#1 and DH modelling Orginal Penguin polo shirts in
a 1950's-style dodgy catalogue pose!
Actually, I should take that back - he was not at all interested in fashion, or particularly what he looked like until quite recently. He favoured comfort and softness over cool and stylish. Which often led him to choose most of his clothes in the grandad department in Debenhams.

His jeans for instance had to be Wrangler Ohio. Which was fine when I met him 23 years ago but over the decades it became harder and harder to track down the comfort fit jeans, especially in the pale shade he favoured. He ended up resorting to the internet -but baggy old man denim doesn't come cheap so we had a few years of trying out other designs until he found some he liked. Leaving a big pile of "not suitable" ones worn once or twice to give away.

I should have know he'd be awkward - when I met him he admitted that his sisters chose clothes for him including the sort of knitwear we call  No-Dad jumpers in our house....

I battled for years to find him a style we would both find acceptable and then he discovered Fatface and his eyes were opened. He fell in love with the smart but casual look and scoured shops to find other retailers offering Dad fashion with the element of cool. He does often look a bit like he's just off sailing even though we about as far from the coast as you can get but it's a look that suits him so we are both happy.

Conversely our eldest son was born cool. He picked out his own clothes practically from day one and always managed to stay looking clean and tidy while his younger brother could be dressed in identical clothes but look like he'd worn them for a month within 5 minutes.

He loves to look smart and while most men can't wait to ditch their suit or shirt and tie at the weekend DS #1 always goes out dressed to the nines complete with sharp shoes.

heritage feel
So when Original Penguin offered us the chance to choose two polo shirts from their extensive range I thought it would be great fun for DS#1 to choose one for his dad as well as for himself.

DS used to love helping me shop when he was younger and has always had a good eye for what might suit other people. Even now if he happens to be at home when I'm going out I'll ask him to look me over and I know he'll be honest if he thinks something doesn't suit me - and can usually come up with a suggestion to make my outfit look better.

I remember when he was about 4 commenting:"Mummy that's a lovely handbag!" He's bought me many handbags and coats since (generous and stylish!) and people always comment how lovely they are. His girlfriend is lucky to have a partner who loves shopping as much as she does! I on the other hand have the sort of husband who lurks reluctantly looking uncomfortable by the changing room doors and says:"That's fine" to even the most horrific outfit in the hope the nightmare of shopping will end sooner and he can go get an overpriced coffee and some chocolate Brazil nuts to help him recover.

Luxury packaging
Anyway DS was happy to spend ages exploring all the styles, colour ways and fabrics on the Original Penguin website. I did my best to stop him being distracted by all the other clothing, footwear and accessories (available for men, women and children with a distinctive 1950's heritage feel) and he finally picked two polo shirts.

He was like a child on Christmas morning when the package arrived. Ripping off the plastic wrapping we were pleasantly surprised to see the shirts were lovingly enrobed in tissue with the famous penguin logo on, and sealed with a penguin sticker. DS#1's girlfriend who came to watch the modelling is also a blogger and she pointed out you know you're a blogger when it takes twenty minutes and 50 photographs to open a parcel.

Lifting out the short-sleeved shirts the quality was immediately evident  - the cotton felt soft and smooth. We had chosen size small for DS#1 and medium for DH (Dear Husband). They are both tall and the length was right but they were definitely slim fit - if the man in your life has even a tiny beer belly I'd maybe go a size bigger or choose a regular fit T-shirt from the range.

My son's choice for his Dad
I have always loved polo shirts so I knew I'd like how they looked on. I wouldn't have chosen the colours myself but was right to trust DS#1 - his dad looked great in The 55 Polo Shirt and he looked very smart in the Earl 2.0 Oxford Polo Shirt in "Total Eclipse" - otherwise known as black and grey!

The modelling session was great fun - I asked them to come up with the sort of poses you used to see on old knitting patterns or in catalogues and so we had lots of staring into the distance and pointing at the horizon from them- I was laughing so much I can't use most of the photographs because they are blurry from giggle-indueced camera shake!

Photo-shoot over we all had dinner and I made my men take off their nice shirts as they are renowned for dropping food down their fronts and I didn't want to have to wash them after 5 minutes of wear!

DS decided he would put his polo shirt back on after dinner to wear that night - Like me he presents a radio show and because listeners can also watch us on a webcam we tend to try and dress nicely, tempting as it is to wear PJ's when you are hosting a late night show!

So off he went looking very smart and I started to tidy up and asked DH where his shirt was so I could put it away. Cheeky DS#1 had gone off with both of them! So that's the only problem I can see with buying Original Penguin for Mum or Dad - the styles are so nice your teenagers might "borrow" your clothes!

Father and son fashion

Disclosure: I was sent two free polo shirts for the purposes of this unbiased honest review.

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