Daily Archives: June 16, 2009

Things My Father Taught Me: Cory Ohlendorf

A major source of inspiration for all plaidout, Valet Magazine offers a daily dose of all things Man. I can think of no one better suited to reflect on their father than Editor-in-Chief, Cory Ohlendorf, whose father taught him this important lesson: stick with what works for you and maintain it.


I grew up in rural Illinois and my father was not what you’d describe as dapper. A casual jeans-and-a-polo kind of guy, he’s not concerned with getting dressed up, has no need for high-end European labels or four different navy blazers. I, on the other hand, was spending my allowance, not on comic books, but on Japanese fashion magazines by the time I was in middle school. Years later, however, I realized something. Maybe my dad didn’t want anything new because he takes such good care of those few pieces he loves. His favorite leather boots are nearly four decades old and he still shines them up every fall. I’ve pilfered many slim-cut silk ties from his closet—all of which, in perfect condition. And just recently, after recognizing the revamped briefcases Thom Browne did for Samsonite, I called my father. It was one of the first things he splurged on after becoming an MP in the Air Force back in 1969. Did he still have his? Of course he did. So now I’m using it to lug my laptop (and a few Japanese magazines) … and it’s as good as new.

– Cory Ohlendorf
Editor-in-Chief, Valet.

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Things My Father Taught Me: Joe Gannon

This week, all plaidout is devoted to Dad. I’ve invited some of my more stylish friends and my favorite writers to share a few words on their father’s style.

Up first is the man who inspired this collection, Mr. Joe Gannon.

My dad and I couldn’t be any farther apart on the style scale. I could fill an entire page with our differences, while our similarities would barely fill a footnote. We both strongly embrace jeans as the primary foundation of our day to day, however, I always find myself suggesting that he may want to put on a different shirt for a meeting. He has never been a slave to fashion, though in a way, he is always seemingly fashionable. When he goes the extra mile to bring it home, he always looks great.

As long as I can remember, my dad has anchored his “look” with a single element – his handlebar mustache. He jokingly refers to it as older than both his boys. Started sometime during his days as an undergraduate Environmental Science major in Salt Lake City, the stache saw its share of near-beer and Wasatch Mountain powder over his two year stint. After returning home he stayed the course with the upper lip, extending a simple mustache into what would become his trademark-the handlebar. It’s unclear to me if he had outside inspiration to start the handlebar, or rather, like most things he does, the whim just struck him one day. Either way, the mustache has endured. Thrived, no less, in the harsh environment of cigar smoke that constantly encircles its reaches. Most people that sport the handlebar style use a bit of wax to hold the curl on the tips. Dad’s whiskers, however, seem to know where to be just as an old hunting dog knows the score when he hears the slam of the pickup tailgate. I’ve tried several times to follow his path and introduce the mustache to my quiver. I am always turned away as I fail to reach even the doorstep of a curl at the tip.

Fashion comes and goes, while true personal style remains constant. Likewise, quality will top quantity … always. My dad emulates both basic principles and in his own laid back way, has passed them both onto me. His mustache is a good example of staying the course, finding that style and sticking with it through thick and thin. I admire that. I strive to live that.

As much as I would like to see my dad in a bow tie or Seersucker this spring, I know that won’t be happening. I find myself pulling from his bag more and more, avoiding trends and staying with something more classic, simple, and understated. I’m trying to add items that get better with time while mixing in some that have seen their share of time. These quality pieces are the ones I’m willing to pry the wallet open a little more for. So as I mix a pair of old jeans with an oxford, seersucker blazer and boat shoes, Dad will always rely on his trusty Levis, his button up, his boots (even in the summer), and of course that handlebar mustache.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad.

Written by Joe Gannon


Filed under Fathers Day