Congratulations dad-to-be! You’re about to embark on the amazing journey of fatherhood. You can tell that everything in your world is about to change because you are drowning in stuff. At the baby shower, you received board books, blankets, bottles, piles of diapers and pacifiers, and, of course, butt paste.
You stop and think to yourself: Wow, babies require a lot of things. How will you ever carry everything around comfortably?
But wait a second: Help has arrived. It comes in the shape of a $95 hoodie. And it’s not just any old gray sweatshirt, it’s the Dad Hoodie. Wearing it allows you to look and feel like your old self, but it is ingeniously equipped with hidden mesh pockets designed to fit diapers, baby wipes, sippy cups, and even a storybook or two, along with your wallet and phone. “It’s meant to hold everything you need to take your kids to the playground or library for a few hours,” says Dad Hoodie inventor Taylor Llewellyn.
Llewellyn came up with the idea for the product as he was out and about with his two children, who are now five and seven. It seemed to him that many products on the market for new parents are geared largely toward moms. “I don’t want to underestimate the mother’s importance,” he says. “But dads are now more involved in parenting than ever. I thought it made sense to create something specifically for them as well.”
Sure, there are plenty of gender-neutral diaper bags on the market. Skip Hop Dash, The Honest Company, and Burberry, among many other brands, create unisex backpacks and shoulder diaper bags that come in sleek black and gray designs. But the vast majority of bags on the market target women with feminine silhouettes and patterns. (My own Kate Spade diaper bag had little dogs on it, and my husband toted it around like a champ.) Many women’s brands, like MZ Wallace and Sofia Fima, create handbags that can be easily converted into diaper bags, then go back to being a work bag when their kids are older.
But Llewellyn isn’t sure that parents always need such a big accessory when going out with the kids. “Many diaper bags seem designed to be big enough–and with enough pockets–to survive several days in the jungle with your child,” he says. “That’s way more space than you need to just head out with your kid.”
Llewellyn conceived of the hoodie last year and worked with a factory in Los Angeles to design it. The interior pockets are made with stretchy mesh fabric that are breathable and easy to clean, but that also keep the items safely stashed inside. (Llewellyn notes that the pockets are not designed to carry lots of heavy objects, because the fabric will sag, but a small milk bottle would fit comfortably.) The first products dropped late in the year on the Dad Hoodie website. Many early customers were wives buying the hoodie for their husbands, and friends looking to bring a dad gift to the baby shower.
One useful thing about the hoodie is that dads will be able to wear it longer after their baby have been potty-trained, because lots of pockets are useful whether you are taking your kids to the park or heading out to the bar. My friend Ander, who has three daughters, including a six-month-old, took the hoodie for a test drive. “Very useful for when your kids are between the ages of zero to four,” he said. “And then for the rest of your life to go to Red Sox games.”