Things My Father Taught Me: Lizzie Garrett

As the author of Tomboy Style, the blog and the book, Lizzie Garrett demonstrates her appreciation for menswear and stuff guys like to talk about: sports, cars, and… well, girls. And today, finally, the truth comes out. The person who is largely responsible for Lizzie’s fascination with many of the trappings of manhood is none other than… her own father. Like my dad, hers had a habit of spouting off random facts while behind the wheel of a car. Unlike my dad who’d provide a socio-economic history lesson of literally every city along I-70, hers was telling tales of Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. I’m so glad she shared a short playlist here at the end.


IMG_0455-1You might call my dad the father of Tomboy Style, not just in the literal sense, but because it was his closet that I often found myself in as a kid. When my parents would go out I’d sneak in there and examine the shoe polish kit and his neckties, button-down oxfords and Top-Siders. I’d organize his pocket squares and look at the foreign currency he’d bring home from business trips stashed in the same bowl as his extra buttons and cufflinks. It’s his trad leanings and classic menswear staples that often inform my style today. And it’s probably not surprising that I always wanted to dress like him when I was a growing up. Sorry Mom!

But beyond clothing, my dad also taught me about sports, cars, planes, tools, guitars—all the traditional guy stuff. My favorite thing in the world was running errands with him on Saturdays. Just the two of us. I’d ride shotgun in his Porsche and watch him control the car’s gears—shifting seamlessly from first to second to third to fourth to fifth to sixth—these ordinary trips from our house to the hardware store or the bicycle shop or the car wash never felt mundane. I’d look on in awe at his way with his car—man and machine—a symbiotic relationship that seemed to be reserved only for some. When his right hand was free, he’d pop in a cassette tape and play his favorite albums and tell me the backstory of the band. Where they were from, why they were good, anecdotes I didn’t know. He’d verbally diagram the history of the band by saying things like, “Neil Young started in Buffalo Springfield at the same time when David Crosby was in the Byrds,” and “Derek and The Dominos was Duane Allman and Eric Clapton, Duane + Eric = Derek” or stage names of The Traveling Wilburys. I’d nod and mentally take notes and continue to look on in awe.

Below is a playlist I created to honor these trips, with the songs I remember my dad liking through the decades. Like his closet, it’s his taste in rock is classic. That said, the last song is his latest favorite—a cover of one of his favorite Robert Palmer songs by one of my favorite bands.

Trad Dad Playlist 1.0 (in chronological order)
The Del-Vetts >> Last Time Around [1966]
Buffalo Springfield >> A Child’s Claim to Fame [1967]
The Beatles >> Cry Baby Cry [1968]
The Band >> The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [1969]
The Beatles >> Get Back [1969/1970]
CSNY (Neil Young) >> Helpless [1970]
The Rolling Stones >> Dead Flowers [1971]
Derek & The Dominos >> Bell Bottom Blues [1971]
The Allman Brothers >> Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More [1972]
Eagles >> Already Gone [1974]
Boston >> More than a Feeling [1976]
The Cars >> My Best Friend’s Girl [1978]
Tom Petty >> Even the Losers [1979]
Dire Straits >> Walk of Life [1985]
The Traveling Wilburys >> Handle with Care [1988]
Neil Young >> Unknown Legend [1992]
Kisses >> Johnny & Mary (Robert Palmer cover) [2012]