With a wardrobe full of wayfarer shades and bright-colored basics, Spicy Preppy Dad on the Street Izzy Ortega creates his own twist on a classic look. Being traditional doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Israel Ortega writes about politics and policy issues as a communications consultant in the DC area. You might be able to catch him commenting on the news of the day if you’re tuned in to Spanish-language news outlets, and you can follow him on Twitter: @IzzyOrtega.
Izzy’s style is polished enough for the DC work scene, sharp enough to be camera-ready at a moment’s notice, and playful enough to transition to post-work social events—but more likely to the post-work family dinner and bedtime routine. He has three kids and is married to FamilyApp contributor Josie Ortega. [Ed. note: That’s me! Hi!! Apologies if this post seems over the top.]
With a reliable roster of classic clothes that work from office to home, Izzy injects some spice into his look with unique pieces like his beloved cowboy boots and saturated colors that complement his gorgeous golden brown complexion. [Ed. note: Too much? Sorry! Let’s move on.]
Outside of work, Izzy loves playing soccer, trying new recipes for weekend brunch, volunteering as a translator with Restoration Immigration Legal Aid, and walking around the neighborhood with his kids and beautiful wife. [Hi!]
Spicy Preppy Style
Which three words best describe your style? Preppy with flair. I go for fairly conservative, classic choices, but there’s often a bright element or something else to spice it up.
What are your favorite places to shop? My brother-in-law was one of the earliest employees at Bonobos, and so for the past several years, I’ve had success with their suiting, shirts, pants, and shorts. They’re cut really well.
Favorite style icon? Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties.
What’s your best style advice? “When in doubt, prep out.”
What fashion/style did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? Ripped jeans and tight shirts.
What’s your dad superpower? I can heal my children’s bumps and scrapes by doing the “Mr. Miyagi”—rubbing palms together briskly and placing on the site of the wound.
I also select great tunes from my phone for epic dance parties. [Editor/wife’s note: His portable Bose speaker is one of his most treasured possessions. And truly, his DJ skills are much appreciated by the family.]
Facial hair or clean-shaven? Usually clean-shaven. On vacation or over the weekend I might get some stubble going, but after a while, I can’t stand it!
Spicy Preppy Family
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? Dance parties; watching movies.
What’s your favorite family activity? I like our Saturday morning routine, which usually consists of walking to the farmer’s market and our local coffee shop. Then it’s either hitting the playground, or I’ll take the kids to their activity, like swim lessons or soccer.
What’s been your best family vacation? Honestly, I’ve enjoyed the adults-only trips best so far. We’re fortunate to have grandparents who are excellent babysitters and who are willing to watch the kids for a weekend or a few nights so that Josie and I can get away on our own.
That’s great advice we heard before having kids: prioritizing your marriage and time together. It’s challenging to make time, but we really want to work at that. We recently traveled to Mexico City to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.
For family vacations: the Destin/Seaside/30A area of Florida has been the most fun. Soft white sand, beautiful turquoise water, family-friendly waves . . . and again, most importantly, grandparent babysitters.
We also love visiting my family in New York City, especially around the holidays.
Best parenting advice: Make time for your spouse.
Parenting true confession: I have been known to steal food from my kids’ plate if I notice that they are ignoring something delicious.
What’s your go-to family dinner? Pizza on Fridays, and Taco Tuesday—usually. But I never want my kids to feel like they can enjoy tacos only once a week. Tacos should never be restricted.
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Chick-Fil-A, duh!
Spicy Preppy Life
What’s your favorite show to binge watch? The Office. I have probably watched every episode about a dozen times. Still laugh every time.
[Ed. note: He also loves watching Unsolved Mysteries.]
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Wayne Newton. Apparently, he looks like me.
[Ed. note: Ummm, I’d go with Jay Hernandez.]
What’s your favorite sport and why? Baseball. There is no clock. The game isn’t over until the last out. No other sport comes close. Also, it’s quintessentially American.
What’s the best song to dance to when nobody’s watching? Robyn’s “Dancing on my Own” or Irene Cara’s “Flashdance.” I like to go for an 80’s playlist; my wife prefers soul, like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke; and our kids prefer the Peter Rabbit soundtrack.
If you could hang out with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? Any of my ancestors on either side of the family. I would have loved to have met my grandfathers.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? Truthfully, it’s playing video games – mainly FIFA soccer. Reading the Wall Street Journal or the Economist would come next.
Your Spicy Preppy Style
Izzy has a look all his own: colorful and unique, but always appropriate to the situation. Whether he’s playing family DJ, or taking our kids to the playground, a Nationals game, or to visit a television studio, Izzy’s preppy-with-flair style prepares him to face whatever life throws his way.
Style-wise, he’s developed an arsenal of go-to basics that stand the test of time and look good wear after wear. And fortunately for us, his family, the spicy preppy look is never too stuffy—and always dance party appropriate.
Beyond exteriors, Izzy puts everyone around him at ease with his friendly demeanor and genuine love for people. I didn’t know him in high school, but as an adult I see him getting along with every type of person in the metaphorical cafeteria of life. He can talk sports stats with the athletes, dive deep into presidential history with the nerds, hang with the cool kids, or help out the new student who’s still learning English. Whatever he’s wearing, that confidence and kindness show true style.
[Ed. note: Love you, babe!]