The Minivan Diaries

Fashion Week For Suburban Dads

We got a pocket party goin’ on.


Today is the first day of Fashion Week, and what style-conscious dad wouldn’t want to kick things off by rocking a roomy pair of cargo pants? Speaking as a guy who owns 28 pairs, (that’s a grand total of 168 pockets), I can’t say enough about how much simpler life became once I started wearing a filing system on my legs. And talk about versatility! When the kids were babies, I’d keep the backup diapers in my right thigh pocket, the ready-made Similac bottles in my left, the wipes in my left hip pocket, and a baggie full of nipples in my right (rubber, not real–they were for the formula, weirdo). But remember, fashionista fathers: Once the kids get older, your pocket needs will change. That is why today, you’ll find this dashing dad strutting his stuff with an entire bag of goldfish crackers comfortably concealed on my right thigh. On my left, I will be boasting a Trader Joe’s juice box or two, which I will pair with an I-Phone stocked with Cookie Doodle and Angry Birds apps in my left waist pocket, accessorized by a pocket-sized bribe of some kind in my right. I used to keep Fruit Roll-ups in that one to get them to do whatever I said, but they wised up over the years and realized how much that stuff sucks. Now I never leave home without a cargo pants pocketful of “fun size” candy left over from Halloween. I hand it out like dog treats to move the kids from the playground into the minivan, and from the living room into the bath. You know something? To celebrate fashion week, I think I just might toss a stale KitKat straight into the water tonight and let them jump right in and fetch it! And once they’re bathed and sound asleep in bed, I think I just might change out of these cargo pants and seduce my wife by slipping into something more comfortable. Something such as…

Check this page tomorrow for Tuesday’s edition of: FASHION WEEK FOR SUBURBAN DADS

Day Two: Fashion Week For Suburban Dads

Yesterday, we kicked off Fashion Week with Similac-stained cargo pants. Not to brag, but I wore mine to all the hottest parties, such as the 100th day of school celebration that raged through kindergarten classes at Chatsworth Elementary.  For Day Two, we’re turning up the heat even more, because this father is feeling frisky. This morning, I cat-walked into my kitchen decked out in an 8-year-old bathrobe, Adidas tennis pants, and open-toe, massaging sports sandals ensemble. Make no mistake. When I wore it to take the recycling outside this morning, it was obvious what Mrs. Lowenstein across the street was thinking: DILF.

This black, “distressed-style” bathrobe is of a faux-cashmere fabric available exclusively in the 2004 issue of The United Airlines In-Flight Magazine, where it is described, accurately, as “The World’s  Thinnest, Warmest, And Plushest Bathrobe.” Over the years, it has never been washed. Thus, there is a timeless quality to the piece, especially around the wrists where the shaving cream and snot have blended into a stiff, reinforced hem.

Like most fashion-obsessed suburban dads, I like to customize my wardrobe. That is why I once brought my bathrobe to Jack the Tailor and had him sew a discreet snap at the top of the neck. Memo to the design team at United Airlines In-Flight Magazine: put snaps on things that people wear outside! It gets cold! Long story short, the left part of the snap fell off about two or six years ago. I glued an auxiliary snap to this area using a sapphire-tone snap I found in one my daughter’s arts and crafts kits. Make it your own, gentlemen. That is what Fashion Week is all about. Try pairing your bespoke bathrobe with black and white striped Adidas tennis pants with egg yolk, as I do each dawn. I used to wear them to the gym, but now that I haven’t been to the gym in a few weeks or years, these slacks make a sporty addition to my morning ensemble. Accessorized with my matching Adidas open-toe, massaging sports sandals, I feel like I’m walking on clouds instead of wood laminate flooring. And when Tuesday turns into Wednesday, I’ll be burning up the runway in…

Check this page tomorrow for Wednesday’s edition of: FASHION WEEK FOR SUBURBAN DADS.


Day Three: Fashion Week For Suburban Dads



With two days of fast-paced Fashion Week action behind us, we’re schlepping into the midweek stretch with no signs of slowing down. No wonder dads in the hottest suburbs from Westchester to Winnetka will be dressed for the occasion in a basic black adjustable knee brace paired with Old Man Sneakers. First, the knee brace. I found mine–a Futuro one-size-fits-all in classic neoprene with itchy Velcro strap accents–in aisle 3,947 of Costco. A must-have for style-minded dads like me who are recovering from medial meniscus surgery, this is one brace that looks just as good on the greens as it does on the commuter train. Worn casually to the middle school soccer field with a roomy pair of cargo shorts (please refer to Day One, below), you’ll drive the mommies wild with desire as they gaze in lust at your naked kneecap. That’s right, fellow dads of suburbia, there’s a daring “peek-a-boo” hole cut straight into the center of this situation. Could the message from Milan be any more clear? When it comes to kneecaps this season, if you‘ve got it, flaunt it!

If you’re a man of modesty, simply drape a pair of sweat slacks over your brace, and no one will know what you’re wearing down there except you and the little lady. And anyone who notices the strange, swollen lump protruding above your shins.

And now it’s time to look at what’s hot below the shins in suburban dadwear. When night falls on this wild Fashion Week Wednesday, don’t be surprised to find me accessorizing my knee brace with a three-year-old pair of heavily cushioned, ultra-padded, thick-soled, triple E-width Old Man Sneakers. Available from Nike in sizzling white mesh, mine feature a dynamic orange lightning bolt, a fashion statement that says to the world: “I am too young for the Rockport Fitness Walkers my father wears with his pajamas, yet too old for the cool, flat-soled blue Pumas I bought for $300 at the hip sneaker store around the corner from where I used to live in Brooklyn when the kids were still babies and my feet didn’t hurt like this all the time.”

As we look toward Day Four of Fashion Week, I realize that most of you are asking, “Dan, how can I emulate you?  How can I, too, rock the cutting edge suburban dad styles you’ve been chronicling all week?” My expert advice: tie each look together with one consistent feature. Remember that peek-a-boo hole in my Futuro Knee Brace? Look closely at the left big toe region of my Old Man Sneaker, and you will find a peek-a-book hole there as well. Did I plan it that way? Of course not. It is the result of a toenail I didn’t trim for six straight weeks. But that is the essence of fashion for fathers like me. Spontaneity. Surprise. Suburbia.

Be sure to check this page tomorrow for Thursday’s edition of: Fashion Week for Suburban Dads.


Day Four: Fashion Week For Suburban Dads

Tonight's Must-Have Item


Tonight, the crème de la crème of A-List suburban dads will be at the most sought-after show of Fashion Week, the Rangers vs. Blackhawks game at glitzy Madison Square Garden. What will the real “Players” among us be wearing? Shimmering poly-blend hockey jerseys in patriotic color schemes, bold block-style numerals, and surnames of our favorite players. Yours truly will be resplendent in the signature style my eight-year-old son wears to school on an average of five days per week: 30 on the front, Lundqvist on the back. Why no “u” after the “q?” Because real style icons make their own rules, including the rules of grammar, whether they’re on the runway or on the rink.

And with that in mind, this maverick suburban dad isn’t waiting for game time at J.J. McFuckington’s Sports Bar and Wings to show off the flowing, fluid lines of my XXL hockey jersey from I’ve had it on since I flossed after breakfast, and I will strut it like a peacock to each of the sizzling Fashion Week hotspots I’ll attend through the wee hours of the night, including Home Depot to buy a new WetVac.

Word to the fashion-wise: please resist the temptation to achieve a “layered look” by pairing this piece over a long sleeve Spandex Under-Armour T-shirt that is three sizes too small. I tried it this morning, and it detracted from the rugged pleasure of this piece: the stimulating sensation of my bare belly hairs poking through each of the jersey’s micro-mesh holes. And just between us suburban dads, let me tell you that the wife seemed rather “stimulated” herself when she noted my existence for at least one or one-half second today while preparing a baggie of Pirate’s Booty for our daughter’s lunchbox.

“Why do grown men wear sports jerseys in public like they’re dressing up for Halloween as professional athletes?” she asked.

“The same reason grown women wear cheerleader uniforms and carry pom-poms to work,” I replied.


Gotta run, big daddies. Or should I say, “Gotta glide!” Be sure to check this page tomorrow for the final edition of:


The Grand Finale: Fashion Week for Suburban Dads

Fleece is the word.


Last night, scores of us sleek suburban dads turned up –and turned heads– at the most prestigious sports bars in the tri-state area, bedecked in dazzling, Rangers-inspired apparel from Modell’s. Though the Blackhawks emerged victorious in subtle, racist-toned tops featuring head dress insignia, I’d like to close out my fashion week coverage by sharing an inspiring quote which my close buddy Tommy Hilfingers once shared with me: “It’s not who wins or loses that counts, it’s who looks better.”  (Shout out to Tommy! Dude, I’m wearing your boat shoes today–with no socks.)

And nobody is going to look better on this Fashion Week Friday than suburban dads. Why? Because we will be wearing exactly the same thing we wear every Friday of every other week. That’s right: FLEECE.  On Monday through Thursday, we’re  all business in our buttoned-up clearance clothes from Banana Republic. But by the end of the work week, it’s time to TGIF. Thank God It’s Fleece Day.

When wearing fleece, particularly on anything-goes occasions like the grand finale of Fashion week, it’s a major “Daddy Don’t”  to “stop at the top.” Instead of selecting a single lime green fleece pullover from the Lands End catalogue, dapper dads like me dare to wrap ourselves from head to toe in a go-to-hell array of fleecy colors and textures. Party on in a pile carpet-quality fleece pullover from the LL Bean catalogue layered over a Thermax microfleece long underwear shirt from the Orvis catalogue paired with ultra-nappy après-ski fleece stretch slacks from the Patagonia catalogue (chocolate) and swirling, tripped-out patterned fleece bootie slippers from the Eddie Bauer catalogue.

This fluffy ensemble can be worn with confidence wherever your sizzling weekend plans take you, whether it’s the family room, the playroom, or even the laundry room. And when every other Saturday night rolls around, don’t be afraid to strut your fleecy stuff in the bedroom as well. After all, what suburban wife wouldn’t want to have marital relations with a spouse dressed like Fozie Bear?

And now, my haute-couture comrades, I’d like to thank you for following my fashion coverage this week, and to remind each and every one of you that Costco is currently stocking swimming trunks that would be ideal for those of you spending school vacation next week at your in-laws’ condo complex in Deerfield Beach, Florida. As for me, I’ll be combing the malls of Milan and the Chuck E. Fromage’s of Paris, prepping for next year’s edition of…

Fashion Week for Suburban Dads

Revised New Year’s Resolutions

Suddenly Suburban (Advice for New Arrivals)



It’s been several years since I stuffed my family into a minivan and boldly left Brooklyn for the ‘burbs. Such journeys are never easy, but today, I am a proud citizen of the United States of Suburbia. I know what you are thinking. “Dan, you are a pioneer; an explorer; a brave and inspiring Suburbanaut. Please, share your wisdom with us so that we may forward it to all of our city-slicking friends who swore they’d never leave, but now find themselves suddenly suburban.”

And to you I say this: You have come to the right guy.

                                          DAN ZEVIN’S TIPS FOR NEW SUBURBANITES

1. When you first move to the suburbs, it may be difficult to meet lots of people, so focus on making even one friend who has a pool.

2. Building contractors who say they can start the job on Wednesday are talking about a different Wednesday than you are.

3. The four phases of suburban lawn care are: old-school push mower, gas-guzzling power mower, high school student, gardener.

4. For the price of one meatball at that trendy “charcuterie” in the city, you can buy the whole cow at Costco

5. Love thy neighbor, but know it is easier to love thy neighbor when thy neighbor resurfaces his driveway and thusly increases thy real estate values.

6. The longer you deny your desire for a stainless steel gas barbecue grill with flush-mounted side burners, the longer it will be until you free your inner suburbanite and lead a fulfilling existence.

7. If your city friends don’t visit you within the first seven months of your suburban stay, they are not going to visit you.

8. As you settle into a family friendly lifestyle and the comforts of your own home, remember: there is a fine line between a happy suburban couple curled up on the couch and two carcasses who’ve fallen asleep to the same Netflix movie they’ve tried to watch for five Saturday nights in a row.

9. Show me someone who says they could never move to the suburbs because it means they’ve have to drive everywhere, and I’ll show you someone who’s never stood next to a guy on a rush hour subway who picked his nose and wiped the boogie on the pole they were holding.

10. You’re either on the minivan or off the minivan.

Dan’s Daily Flu-Fighting Tips (Day One)


Coughing:  Cough only into a Ziploc sandwich bag, 1 quart freezer-style with E-Z plastic sliding tab to lock in airborne contaminants. In regions where Ziploc bags are in short supply, the Centers for Disease Control urges coughers to cover their mouths by making a fist and inserting their knuckles firmly between the upper and lower teeth for the duration of the cough and/or coughs. Remove traces of saliva and blood from the knuckles by washing your hands with a dry steel wool pad and rinsing thoroughly in a solution of warm water and Liquid-Plumr. Remember, most germs are spread through hand-to-hand contact. In regions where Latex rubber gloves are in short supply, arm-length ballroom gloves are recommended.

Dan’s Daily Flu-Fighting Tips (Day 2)

Seal mucus membranes.

Runny nose: The National Academy of Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctors advises that all nostrils be sealed with surgical sutures. In areas where surgical sutures are in short supply, swimmer’s nose plugs are advised. Clothespins affixed to the nose are recommended in areas where nose plug supplies are scarce. The use of tissues is highly discouraged as they have been shown to collect in open trash receptacles and become breeding grounds for contamination. The blowing of noses should therefore occur into a handkerchief, ascot, or plush bath towel that should be dry-cleaned immediately following nasal contact. (Note: The International Council On Infectious Disease does not recommend dry-cleaning ascots made of 100% silk, as they tend to develop a slight dullness over time.) In parts of the country where handkerchiefs, ascots, and plush bath towels are in short supply, Clorox Wipes are advised.

Dan’s Daily Flu-Fighting Tips (Day 3)

proper sneeze position.

Sneezing: Revising prior recommendations to sneeze into the crook of the forearm rather than the hand, the American Medical Association now requires all sneezing to be conducted within one’s shirt or blouse collar, which must be pulled up over the chin, lips, nose, eyes, forehead, and scalp prior to releasing a sneeze or series of sneezes. Once the cranium is completely concealed within the shirt or blouse collar, sneezers are advised to grasp the shirt or blouse collar at the top of the head, twisting vigorously in a counter-clockwise fashion to seal in contagions. Please hold this position for four-to-six hours. Eyeholes may be cut out to facilitate sight if necessary. Note: Individuals in high-risk occupations such as hospital employees and childcare providers are urged to wear protective Berkas to the workplace.

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