"10 Essential Style and Survival Rules for Fathers" \\ Man holding a baby \\ Photo: Image Source\Getty Images

A few months back, I awoke early in the morning and began to prepare for a big meeting. I put on my go-to suit, the one I always felt at my best in. In front of the mirror, as I took a mental meander through the day's agenda, I finished the knot on my tie, taking care to caress the dimple to perfection. I made sure to take a lap in front of my wife, just to give her a subtle reminder of what I can look like on one of my best days. Feeling prepared to face the world, I ducked into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water.

What happened next seemed to transpire in cinematic slow motion. I flinched…too late. And suddenly, as if in one of those anxiety dreams where you show up for the big exam in a bathrobe, my attire had changed. I was now dressed head to toe in imported silk, fine wool, pressed cotton…and pureed vegetables.

As my suit lay in ruins, more Jackson Pollock than American Gigolo, I glanced across the room at the high chair. Sitting there in his furry blue suit, with Ping-Pong eyeballs perched atop his head (a very convincing Cookie Monster), my 1-year-old son, Ronan, howled in hysterical laughter.

For a new father, reconciling one's sense of self, not to mention one's sense of style, with the new responsibilities and epic sloppiness of parenthood is a daunting task. Regrettably, most other fathers aren't much inspiration to fight the good fight. Glancing around the playground, I am usually confronted with a bunch of dads who seem all too content to look like Bill Belichick on game day.

Friends, I recommend adopting the attitude of the Godfather. Many a dapper don, in the course of conducting family business, stained plenty of articles of their prized wardrobes (and no, that wasn't ketchup). Did they try to salvage that favorite shirt? Did they say, "I love this shirt, and after all, it's only a couple of powder burns on the sleeve"? Absolutely not. They culled the weaklings from their wardrobes, and later they walked into that courtroom dressed to the nines, and many a jury smiled kindly upon their natty attire.

Believe me, you face a jury of your peers every day, and your appearance, as much as how you comport yourself, will determine your success. Remember, your child will love you no matter what you look like. Your boss, colleagues, and clients won't.