In short, he looks like an older version of his son Arthur, just without the glasses. His usual outfit is a white top with blue borders with corduroy pants with brown loafers. He was originally bald-headed in the earlier books but was later given clumps of hair that were brown in the books, although it was restricted to black lines in the cartoon in order to simplify animation process. For sleepwear, he has been seen wearing green pajamas. In the summer, for summer clothes, he wears a white t-shirt with an aqua green collar, blue shorts, and brown sandals. In "Cast Away", he is shown wearing an orange checkered shirt and brown shorts.
Although not very strict, David urges Arthur and D.W. to try new foods that he bakes; however, the foods are usually weird and exotic ones that Arthur and D.W. do not like. Mr. Read is equally disgusted at their preferred food, saying it will only give them dental problems. He also says that a year's supply of junk food is no prize.