Cool dad wearing sunglasses and a polo shirt.

The Anatomy of a Tool Dad

For Fathers Day, we’d like to unpack what makes a typical tool dad. I’m sure everyone immediately has an image in their head of what they think a tool dad looks like or the scientifically named Toolis Dadus. Dads are an interesting species that have a very distinct look and sound.

Picking a bonafide tool dad out in the wild usually isn’t that hard. He’s either telling the mechanic how he’s using the wrong tools, talking to random strangers about the deal he got on his reciprocating saw or using speakerphone in a public setting. With our simple guide, we’ll have you fitting in with the group rivaling the coolest tool dad on the block in no time.

The anatomy of a tool dad

Appearance of Toolis Dadus

Perhaps you’ve just entered the world of fatherhood, and you want to fit in with the other dads. Becoming part of the pack is a very delicate game. In order to blend in, you need to look the part. We’ve provided the general anatomy of the common tool dad to assist you.

Baseball Cap

A dad wearing a denim and canvas hat holds his son.

The beginning of any true tool dad is a baseball cap promoting a local business or tool brand. An alternate style is a sports-related hat that was a popular style over ten years ago, for example, a 1996 Chicago Bulls championship hat. Denim or canvas are also common materials used for these hats. A dad will usually say it’s to keep the sun out of his eyes, but it’s actually to hide his receding hairline.

Gas-Station Sunglasses

The gas station is an in-person Amazon for dads. Everything you would ever need can be found at a gas station. Number one on that list? Sunglasses. Dads are notoriously tight with their money and would never be caught dead buying $100 dollar sunglasses; in fact, the cheaper, the better. The key sign of gas-station sunglasses is the 90s-era look to them with several angles like they’re playing right field for the Atlanta Braves. They’re almost always black, as well. Lastly, never turn down a chance to tell someone how much you paid for the sunglasses. Bragging about savings is the key to success.

Mustache (Optional)

This one is totally optional, so proceed at your own discretion. Some guys just can’t grow great facial hair, and that’s okay. The crime is not realizing which one you are. A mustache is a total power move and asserts dominance over the other dads. If you want to take it a step further, you can grow a full beard, but again it isn’t required. Facial hair, in general, will take your dad game to the next level. 

Tucked in Polo Shirt or Graphic T-Shirt

A dad bod in a tucked in shirt.

There are two options for shirts, a polo shirt or a graphic t-shirt. Polo shirts are reserved for “dressing up” events, such as weddings, church, dates, etc. Graphic t-shirts are for all other moments, whether while working on the car or attending a child’s birthday party. There are other options, but they’re only worn sparingly, such as dress shirts, sports jerseys, or sweatshirts. Regardless of what shirt you choose, it must be tucked in, even sports jerseys.

Drill and Tongs

Every true warrior needs their weapons, and dads are no different. The main tools of any proper tool dad are his drill and his grill tongs. Dads are naturally attracted to the sounds they make. There isn’t a dad in the entire world who hasn’t picked up a drill and given the trigger a couple of quick pulls or clacked the tongs together every time he’s on the grill. It’s literally never happened.

Cellphone belt clip

One of the mainstays of every tool dad is the cellphone belt clip. It provides a convenient spot to easily access their original flip phone before the default ringer disrupts the entire theater. You can go with the traditional plastic, which is inexpensive, but this is the one area where dads tend to splurge a little bit. A leather case that clips to his belt is an excellent way to show a little class and style without going overboard.

Khaki/jean shorts

A dad in khaki shorts and calf socks helps his son ride a bike.

When it comes to outfitting your lower body, it’s all about comfort over style, so shorts are a good option. Similar to shirts, shorts are broken into two categories. Khaki shorts are your go-to option on the golf course. Now depending on the season, it’s khaki shorts or pants for weddings, church, or dates. Jean shorts are the clothing of choice for all other occasions during the summer. In the winter, it’s acceptable to move to full-length jeans.

Calf socks

When it comes to keeping your feet warm, don’t stop there at the top of your shoes. Socks must travel to mid-calf at a minimum. All socks must be bought in bulk, but you’ll only have to worry about purchasing your own 24-pack of Costco socks one time. Once you’ve established yourself as a tool dad, they’ll be purchased for you three times a year, Fathers Day, Christmas, and your birthday. 

New Balance shoes

This is the one item that completes the dad look. There is nothing in the world a dad hates more than a pair of uncomfortable shoes. Put yourself in the greatest pair of footwear to ever grace the planet in New Balance sneakers. They’ll grip your feet like pillows and create a stylish, clean look while you’re cutting your grass. They can be worn at any occasion, whether you’re attending your daughter’s wedding or going for a job interview. The only other option is velcro strap sandals, but be sure you bring your calf socks with you to finish the look.

Common Calls of Toolis Dadus 

Once you’re able to walk the walk, you need to be able to talk the talk. We’ve listed a group of common dad idioms to practice outside your desired dad group, such as the cashier at the gas station or the server at Applebee’s.

A man accidentally hits his thumb with a hammer.
A dad practices a TikTok dance with his daughter.
  • Now we’re cookin’ with gas – Usually said while fixing something and you finally get it working, or when you took something that already works well and made it better.
  • Works pretty slick or variance of this phrase – This phrase is used to identify something that wows you, whether it’s a new tool or piece of technology that just came out. It’s a sign of a job well done. A common variant of this phrase is, “Oooooh, that’s slick!”
  • Don’t touch, borrow, look at, or breathe on my tools – Tools are sacred and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. No one will treat your babies as well as you do, so it stands to reason that they shouldn’t be touched, EVER. Also, don’t make the common mistake of borrowing tools to friends unless you don’t want to use the tool for at least one year and then have to physically go to your friend’s house and search for it to get it back.
  • Swearing while fixing anything – This is all part of the process of work. If you finished your project and didn’t spill one cuss word, you’re Superman, a paid professional, or you did it wrong. Plus, you’ll probably hurt yourself at some point during the project, possibly multiple times, and some foul language will show up at the party.
  • Hold the flashlight here. No, HERE! – Every kid remembers being asked to “help” dad fix something, which usually meant handing him tools or holding the flashlight. Every child will inevitably hold the flashlight in the wrong spot or forget to move the flashlight as dad’s hands move around the project. That’s when you, as a dad, will ask nicely once and then get a little sterner with your second request.
  • Dad jokes (the more awkward, the better) – This is the number one move of any tool dad. A good dad joke is like a fine wine; they just get better with age. Some quality ones are “Where do boats go when they’re sick?” “To the boat doc.”, “I don’t trust those trees. They seem kind of shady.”, or the old mainstay, “Dad, did you get a haircut? No, I got them all cut.”
  • Mimicking TikTok trends and dances – Every dad wants to be the cool dad, and what better way to do that than to fit in with the young people. You can keep it simple with the Griddy or try something a little more challenging like a Fancy Like.

Shop all of your dad tools, such as power tools, hand tools, outdoor power equipment, and more at Acme Tools.

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