It wasn’t that long ago that lists attempting to rank men by how they dressed were weary, predictable things. Menswear was about rules – the spoils went to whomever adhered to them best. They’d be half Hollywooders whose stylists knew how a dinner suit should fit, a couple of musicians in leather jackets and a rapper or two.
Then everything blew up. The Rules, rehashed in new ways every decade, collapsed in on themselves. The result, over the past couple of years, was a fashion supernova. Up was down, casual became smart, and hip-hop rose both in the charts and on red carpets.
The men on this list don’t share a single look. But they embody the same approach, one that is thoroughly modern: “I wear what I think looks good, whether you agree or not.” These are the guys who, in 2017, reminded us why we love style. Who showed us new ways to dress and who defined the most exciting era in menswear for more than a century.
Quick Jump: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1
There’s been plenty of bad news in 2017, but for fans of well-dressed men of a certain age there was more – Roger Moore sadly left the building. We’ll remember him through slightly teary eyes as the man who made the white dinner jacket look the best it (probably) ever has while bringing achingly cool outfits to the wardrobe of the world’s most famous spy. This Bond’s style is still one tough act to follow: Sir Rog, you’ve undoubtedly left the world a little bit less stylish.
“It’s easy to confuse the style of the late Roger Moore with his spell as James Bond – the flares and fat knots, the safari suits… Off-screen Moore was both more classical and more elegant in his dress. He was more Bond than Bond, as self-deprecating and good-humoured in person as his on-screen personae.” – Josh Sims, author, Icons of Men’s Style
With the kind of jawline more commonly found in comic books, one of the latest actors off America’s leading man production line has a bit of a headstart when it comes to looking good. But he also does a fine line in everything that comes below. His style is classic, but with a (wearable) twist, often elevating simple tailoring beyond the typical nine-to-five clobber. The White Collar star has also made the wise career choice to always look at least a million dollars in a dinner suit.
“Matt Bomer knows exactly how to play with layering, adding a waistcoat or knitwear under a cropped leather jacket or a woollen winter overcoat.” – Danny Ching, senior designer, Hardy Amies
His transformation from token funny fat kid to Academy Award-nominated actor is impressive enough on its own. But in 2017, Jonah Hill decided to add another switch-up into the mix, this time with his appearance. Alongside a new slimmed-down physique, the War Dogs star developed his own, unique laid-back aesthetic, merging skate brands such as Dime, Palace and Richardson with high-end statement pieces from likes of Saint Laurent and Gucci. All of this adds up to one of this year’s most effortlessly cool entries – we can’t wait to see what he does in 2018.
“Hill has long known how to look good in a tux. This year, he also left the stoner vibe behind and adopted a smarter and more contemporary take on smart-casual.” – Luke Sampson, associate editor, FashionBeans
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, the man who sported that infamous ‘I Love T. S.’ vest in 2016 has made our list of the best-dressed men. Everyone makes mistakes, and thankfully for Tom Hiddleston, this year has been devoid of any skin-crawling cringe statements. Instead, he’s been doing what he does best: sharp suits that go heavy on pattern and occasionally get colourful. A case for finding what works for your style and rinsing the hell out of it.
“Not many people wear a slim-fit suit better than Hiddleston. If you’re ever unsure about proportions when it comes to tailoring, just do what he does.” – Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief, FashionBeans
It’s not impossible to remember a time when the Jonas brothers were peak lame. But have a gander at Nick Jonas now. Gone is the mega-mopped Disney boyband-droid and in his place stands an actual human, and a well-dressed one at that. Not averse to a patterned suit and with a collection of bombers that regularly turn us green-eyed, Jonas has developed into a connoisseur of cool that we admire, sartorially speaking at least.
“The Jonas look is one of two things, usually: a never-dull mix of streetwear, or statement tailoring done without looking like he’s peacocking. Hard to fault.” – Luke Todd, deputy editor, FashionBeans
Despite a birth certificate that confirms his 36 years on earth, Rami Malek has quite clearly struck the same Dorian Gray arrangement that’s kept Pharrell suspended in time. Which is good news for his wardrobe, as it means he can brush off concerns of age appropriateness and carry on chucking on whatever he likes the look of: statement outerwear, bold print shirts, colourful tailoring and even a moustache and vest for his upcoming turn in the Freddie Mercury biopic.
“Aside from an enviable collection of bomber jackets, what we really like about Rami Malek’s style is that he never goes boring on the red carpet, whether he’s combining a leather jacket with tailoring or picking out a suit most guys wouldn’t have the brass to try.” – Jamie Millar, men’s style writer
How do you end a year that started with picking up an Oscar and a stint as a Calvin Klein model? Land yourself a place on our best-dressed list, that’s how. Masherala Ali made the cut thanks to his unrivalled ability to endlessly pull off new looks. We’ve had Masherala Ali in a dinner suit, Masherala Ali in double denim, and Masherala Ali in layered camel. It all worked.
“He was only in Moonlight for all of 10 minutes and stole the show – such is the power of Mahershala Ali, an ascendant Hollywood actor, whose style is known for lifting staple looks with flashes of statement here and there. Look up his tartan-panelled chore jacket for proof.” – Murray Clark, assistant editor, FashionBeans
Andrew Garfield’s single-handedly flying the flag for lanky, proudly geeky guys in Hollywood – and we’re all for it. The sartorial struggle that comes with being tall, but not especially wide, is real, but the former Spiderman nails it by making sure the cut of his clothes follow his form rather than swamp or cling to him. At his best in a never-ending tailoring rotation, Garfield plays with pattern, colour and separates for a modern take on fifties formalwear.
“It could be easy for someone with baby-faced charm and big floppy hair like Andrew to get stuck in perennial youthful style on the skinny suit merry-go-round. But like his acting, Andrew has embraced an elegant maturity with his look.” – Sarah Ann Murray, fashion editor and stylist
It’s hard to say exactly what Waris Ahluwalia’s full-time occupation is. So to make life easy, we’re just going to swerve his CV and move on to his wardrobe. Purportedly a massive hater of being put in a (figurative) dressing-up box, Ahluwalia’s style works so well because it takes influences from all corners of menswear and throws them together in one impeccably judged sartorial mish-mash. Respecting the wishes of the man himself, we’re not going to attempt to define his look, we’ll just simply sit back and admire.
“Waris has a great style, often mixing tailoring with unexpected twists and accessories. He wore our quilted waistcoat over a suit and under a trench coat to add a more casual layer. He has fun with his style, which comes across when you speak to him.” – Delphine Ninous, creative director, Belstaff
Ill-advised hipster beard phase aside, it’s fair to say that Jake Gyllenhaal has been pretty steadfast as one of Hollywood’s premier male dressers. The Nocturnal Animals actor has since ditched the aforementioned bushy chin wig for an impeccably groomed, short, boxed beard, but his wardrobe has needed no such update. Throughout 2017, you were just as likely to see Gyllenhaal at New York Fashion Week in a slouchy grey crew neck and jeans, as you were to spot him on the red carpet in a well-fitted suit. It’s this versatility that sees him cementing his place among this year’s best-dressed men.
“Gyllenhaal sticks to tailored silhouettes and safe colour palettes (as most of us do). It’s uncomplicated, but that gives his look an effortlessness that’s hard to manufacture.” Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief, FashionBeans
It speaks volumes about Cillian Murphy’s on-screen style that a man can now confidently stride into any barbers and bark “Peaky Blinders, mate”, and walk out 45 minutes later with the exact haircut he had in mind. But it’s not just as Brummy tough-nut Tommy Shelby that this Irish actor deserves praise. Off screen, his wardrobe manages to be simultaneously eclectic and low-key. An everyman-type vibe, carried off with an achingly cool nonchalance that puts him among the best dressers in Hollywood. We’re not sure what’s sharper: his wardrobe, or his cheekbones.
“Outside of Peaky Blinders, his inimitably laid-back approach to formal dressing gives him a cool everyman aesthetic that’s much harder to pull off convincingly than he makes it look.” – Moss Bros, men’s design team
Oliver Proudlock may have come to public prominence through Made in Chelsea (AKA the poshest reality TV show ever created), but in a world of non-ironic shooting garb and tweed fails, Proudlock is the dissenting dresser whose get-ups are often more East London than South-West. Anything that men are typically afraid to wear, Proudlock will put on. Bold prints, layer after layer, head-to-toe streetwear? That’s a regular day for this TV personality, who is also the brains behind the brilliant Serge DeNimes brand. If you can think of it and it isn’t boring, Proudlock has probably worn it, and it probably worked.
“Always an envelope pusher in the style department, Proudlock consistently flouts what most people expect from the Made In Chelsea brigade, mashing up streetwear, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll for a look that is entirely his own.” – Luke Todd, deputy editor, FashionBeans
For anyone out there who’s intimately familiar with the squat rack, Anthony Joshua is a consummate lesson in what to wear when you’re all muscle. On the red carpet, he leans towards a straight cut, rather than anything aggressively slim, so that he can actually sit down inside. He understands the power of wearing a slightly longer jacket to balance out his iron paradise upper half and pleated trousers to make light work of his heavyweight quads. Because even when you’re big, it’s the little details that count.
“Anthony Joshua oozes style and charisma. He looks slick in tailoring and makes a white T-shirt look the business.” – Alex Longmore, celebrity stylist
Alexander Skarsgård is a six-foot-something Swede with a face that looks like it’s been painstakingly carved from marble, so dressing well is probably a bit of a hobby for him rather than a necessity. That said, 2017 has been another stellar year in the wardrobe of this War On Everyone actor, who casually flips between classic Hollywood tailoring and annoyingly good thrown-on airport outfits. It’s not just his choice of clobber that gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from us either, his moustachioed mug at the Emmys almost convinced us to reconsider everything we thought we knew about appropriate and inappropriate facial decoration.
“Vertically unchallenged? Alexander Skarsgård shows men how to do tall, handsome and dressy. Especially in a suit.” – Marcus Jaye, blogger, The Chic Geek
Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more green-eyed about Jon Kortajarena, a man seemingly designed to point out everyone else’s physical shortcomings, it turns out he’s also an affable guy with zero problems in wardrobe the department. Bitter, us? Kortajarena’s style works because he has a clear understanding of the situation he’s dressing for. He does velvet dinner suits IRL just as well as in those Tom Ford ads, and brings the right level of unbuttoned aloofness to what he wears on the weekend. We hope his breath smells.
“Jon Kortajarena is a prime example of man who really works his best – and most prominent – feature, even though it’s not the kind of feature every man would want to work. He’s blessed by natural good looks, but like fellow model Cara Delevigne it’s his thick, attention-seeking, slightly unruly eyebrows he’s known for.” – Lee Kynaston, grooming editor, FashionBeans
It’s a universally acknowledged fact that there’s no colour on the Pantone chart that isn’t hung up in Mark Ronson’s wardrobe. We’re glad of it though, a few good turns in a black dinner suit will only get you so far. Ronson’s not just a headliner in jazzy suits, mind, he’s unbeatable at knowing what works well with them. T-shirts, printed shirts, shoes lifted straight off the set of Bugsy Malone; if nothing else, he made 2017 a much less of a sartorial snoozefest.
“This guy dresses himself as well as he produces music. You can tell if someone is an original or just a charlatan. Mark has always looked good and unique. The way he mixes all styles is a bit of an insight into his own personality, I think.” – Sebastian Dollinger, creative director, Eton Shirts
There are a few lucky men in the world who can pretty much chuck on whatever they want and still look maddeningly good. Case in point: Tinie Tempah. Whether clad in loud, clashing prints, streetwear or draped in gold chains, Tinie makes our wardrobes feel woefully conservative pretty much every time we clap eyes on him. Maybe don’t try this at home, just admire from a distance.
“Not one to shy away from a statement suit, Tinie Tempah gets our vote for championing brave choices. He’s willing to take risks with colour and texture, yet he manages to make the sometimes-tricky balance between bold and tasteful look easy.” – Moss Bros, men’s design team
While 90 per cent of the male population go grey and immediately descend into a bootcut-jeaned, ill-fitting blazered malaise, the remaining 10 per cent (of which Jeff Bridges is most certainly a part of) age like a fine bottle of something expensive, earning themselves the later life-affirming ‘silver fox’ moniker. Bridges may be knocking on 70’s door, but geriatric clichés don’t form any part of his style lexicon. A diet of well-cut suits make up the bulk his wardrobe, each finished with a how’d-you-make-it-perfect tie and beard that almost makes us wish we could speed up time.
“Jeff Bridges has that uncanny ability not only to embrace age, but to remind us all that it can look pretty damn cool too. He seems to don a tuxedo or three-piece suit with an effortless bohemian charm, though look closely and you’ll notice his suits always fit perfectly.” – Sarah Ann Murray, fashion editor and stylist
Comedian and Master of None actor Aziz Ansari doesn’t need a souped-up wardrobe to help his pulling potential: women love funny men, but that hasn’t stopped him crafting a personal style that marks him out as a master of, well, most things menswear. As a regular on the awards circuit, we’ve seen him pull off stunting suits time and again. And when it comes to pounding the mean streets of New York, he’s got a killer chino and bomber jacket rotation.
“Comedians aren’t known for their great style but Aziz Ansari has bucked the trend: think razor-sharp tailoring, the odd pop of colour and probably a one-liner to top it off.” – Murray Clark, assistant editor, FashionBeans
This was the year Ansel Elgort began to earn his seat at Hollywood’s top table, swapping sickly sweet teen films for meaty, bona fide acting roles (particularly a star-making turn in the very stylish Baby Driver). Right on cue, his wardrobe also stepped into leading man territory, proving on more than one occasion that Elgort knows how to shake up a suit for the red carpet, but is equally adept and making a getaway in a preppy bomber jacket and a pair of work boots.
“Elgort is the new crown prince of Hollywood and his style fits the role perfectly: colourful Americana, laid-back varsity jackets and, when he needs to, exemplary tailoring.” – Jamie Millar, men’s style writer
Eric Rutherford looks good in a suit. He also looks good in dad jeans, a woolly jumper and a nice shirt. Which is deeply unfair, because, for most men in their 40s, that’s an outfit which implies they’ve given up, rather than the kind of thing you wear to Fashion Week. But then, that’s the genius of his style; it’s unfussy, unpretentious, but nails the basics – fit, fabrications, form – so it always speaks louder than the sum of its parts. The fact he’s also got cheekbones that could cut diamonds is just a bonus.
“Eric Rutherford has that classic effortless style which fits into any era. His light tailoring during July’s menswear collections in New York was outstanding.” – Jonathan Daniel Pryce, menswear photographer
There are two things Irish MMA powerhouse Conor McGregor is best known for: laying the smackdown inside the octagon, and rocking knock-out ostentatious outfits outside of it. The Notorious one is all IDGAF attitude, and that comes through tenfold in his unapologetically flamboyant get-ups, which can’t be referenced without mentioning his custom ‘Fuck You’ pinstripe suit. While there are few (if any) men who could pull it off, Conor does so because of his unfaltering, balls-out self-assurance. Proof, if ever it were needed, that true style is all about confidence.
“Yes, he’s brash and not everyone could get away with what he wears, but “Fuck You” tailoring gets a thumbs up for sheer audacity.” – Marcus Jaye, blogger, The Chic Geek
Unlike most other men on this list, Pharrell is not an example of how you should dress. No one else on earth can pull off primary colours, coruscating patterns, distressing and jewellery, all in one outfit. But he does epitomise how you should think about style: that clothes can be fun; they should express your personality rather than that of the brand which made them; and with enough confidence, rules aren’t so rigid after all. Okay, so that doesn’t necessarily mean you should immediately experiment with oversized headwear. But maybe, make 2018 the year you take a few more risks. If it makes you as ‘Happy’ as Pharrell, it’s worth it.
“Pharrell is always setting trends, and looks effortlessly cool no matter the occasion. He never hides from colour, takes risks and has produced some bold, crazy, iconic collaborations to date.” – James Wright, menswear designer, Nicce
Any man can, within reason, look good. And it doesn’t take Leto-levels of eccentricity to get there. That Matt Smith wins most red carpets by sticking to what he does best is a testament to the same ineffable sense of taste that’s seen him reach the A-list by eschewing blockbusters for TV roles. That’s courtesy of an actorly self-confidence that shines through in what he wears off-screen; understated, elegant and never shouting for attention. But always getting it.
“Matt Smith is one of Britain’s best dressers thanks to his ability to seamlessly transition from heritage-inflected looks to grungier get-ups in a way that feels totally authentic and impossible to impersonate.” – Luke Sampson, associate editor, FashionBeans
If there’s a red carpet rolled out and Riz Ahmed’s scheduled to walk on it, we’d put big money on him making best-dressed lists the following day. The Rogue One actor is one of those guys who has the ideal frame for wearing tailoring, which we suspect helps a lot when he’s constantly pulling off suits that aren’t painfully boring. If patterned tailoring and air ties sound a bit dodgy on paper, then have a quick Google of Ahmed during awards season. It can be done, and very well at that.
“The guy’s just impossibly cool and that shines through in his style – check any red carpet and he’ll be off to the side somewhere, in a petrol-blue suit, or micro-florals. He’ll be the best-dressed guy but he doesn’t even seem to care. And that’s what true style is all about.” – Tom Banham, men’s style writer
We’ve given up keeping track of the latest bizarre thing James Franco has said or done this year. Instead, we’ve been keeping our beady eyes fixed firmly on his younger brother, Dave, and his definitely-not-bizarre wardrobe. A polar opposite of Jared Leto or Lewis Hamilton, Franco Jr is consistent in letting classic staples like the polo shirt do the talking, all the while adding an of-the-moment edge by championing style moves such as the shirt tuck and seasonally-appropriate mankle. James, you can keep your hand-me-downs.
“He does some winning throwbacks to fifties menswear, but Dave Franco also reminds us that monochrome outfits pretty much never let you down.” – Murray Clark, assistant editor, FashionBeans
Johannes Huebl is fortunate to be adept at looking good, because anything below par is going to make him feel like average Joe next to wife Olivia Palermo. The 39-year-old model’s style won’t win any awards for shut-the-front-door originality, but that’s no bad thing. He consistently demonstrates that blazers don’t just make sense for fancy awards dos, they work just as well with a denim shirt and white chinos in summer. In truth, if more men had the ability to make tailoring feel so effortless, we doubt they’d want to switch it up either.
“The German model looks good in everything, but he’s particularly good at tailored separates. If you want to mix up your blazers and trousers, type his name into Google images for a two-second masterclass.” – Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief, FashionBeans
Look at Stanley Tucci and you’ll wonder why we all don’t wear a suit all the time. He is among a handful of Hollywood players – including Savile Row-obsessed Paul Feig – who don’t just break out the tailoring when a red carpet event requires him to. It’s a simple thing, but he understands that fit doesn’t just mean fitted; Tucci switches between loose and light in Cannes to heftier British jackets, all roped shoulders and chest padding, like other guys change their shirts. He always looks like a man who slipped on a suit because he couldn’t imagine wearing anything else. Which is why even at his most trussed up, Tucci always appears to be having fun.
“No one wears a suit like Stanley Tucci. The key is in the fit and attention to detail, he is always impeccably turned out.” – Nick Tahir, head of menswear, River Island
While most of the internet spent 2017 (still) swooning over Frank Ocean’s 2016 album, Blonde, we were more interested in the noise his wardrobe was making. And boy, did we get noise. There was pink then blue hair (shockingly, both worked), an endless supply of I-wore-it-first slogan T-shirts, not to mention the masses of straight-leg designer denim. Naturally, all of it was greedily lapped up by Tumblr. Our new year’s resolution for 2018? Be at least a tenth as cool as Frank.
“Frank’s laid-back and effortless approach to personal style is a big thumbs up in my books. Casual yet refined with a bold statement hair colour proves that it’s not what you’re wearing but how you wear it.” – Joel Mcloughlin, blogger, @Gallucks
Thanks to an Oscar buzz-worthy turn in Call Me By your Name, this was the year that Armie Hammer properly hit the big time. And when it came to the rags on his back, the 31-year-old proved he’s equally worthy of praise. Perfectly-cut tailoring? He does that. Natty knitwear and pulse-quickening overcoats? He does those, too. Put-together summer style that doesn’t look at all sweaty? Well, well, well, we’ve got ourselves a style hat-trick. Better start writing that acceptance speech.
“Armie has understood what many tend to forget. By keeping it simple and classic he always looks sharp. I am pretty sure that most pictures of Mr Hammer will age well and people won’t look at them 20 years from now and think ‘what the hell was he wearing?’. Classic stuff not only makes you look good but ages even better.” – Sebastian Dollinger, creative director, Eton Shirts
If you’re of the opinion that real style is only achievable by not giving a single, solitary shit what anyone thinks, then count Jared Leto as your spirit animal. The actor-slash-musician-slash-walking-Gucci-billboard may often look like he’s been flung by a trebuchet into Iris Apfel’s walk-in wardrobe, but do you know what? He radiates confidence, he owns it, and that, friends, is what it’s all about. You do you, Leto, because we certainly haven’t got the balls to.
“Jared Leto is a Marmite dresser, but his bold choices are a welcome distraction from the sea of samey suits come awards season. He’s incorporated pretty much every style influence you can think of into his wardrobe this year.” – Luke Sampson, associate editor, FashionBeans
It seemed like poetic justice that Luke Evans spent time in a silly wig and frilly shirt on screen for Beauty And The Beast because, according to our calculations, it was the only time he didn’t nail an outfit in 2017. Evans is a master of wearing clothes that complement rather than cut off circulation to his gym-familiar frame. A fan of straight jeans, non-skinny tailoring and with access to a collection of leather jackets worth splurging on, his style is obviously impressive but emits no sign of caring too much.
“Luke Evans has always looked stylish. Always dressed impeccably and suited to the event or occasion. Him and his stylist are obviously a great pairing.” – Oliver Spencer, menswear designer
As a long time creative director to Kanye West, Virgil Abloh is unsurprisingly well versed on what’s cool and what’s not. Fortunately, the man behind insanely hip high-end streetwear brand Off-White has all the swag of his collaborator, but none of his insane ego. In fact, what’s made Abloh’s wardrobe so appealing this year is its lack of bravado, with stealth luxe sportswear, artful grunge and all-black-everything forming the backbone of his signature looks. One thing’s for sure, there’s nothing off about anything we see here.
“Our #1 is Virgil Abloh. Right at the tip of the new wave of creatives. Pulling fashion and culture together and throwing it forward. Designs everything. Wears Levi’s.” – Jonathan Cheung, head of design, Levi’s
The Casely-Hayford clan fight the good fight to keep suits a wardrobe essential, even in a world of work-friendly joggers. Charlie, the father-and-son fashion house’s younger arm, wages that war on the front line, with a tailoring-heavy look that marries Savile Row with the electricity of East London. Of course, it helps that he’s a six-foot-something part-time model and that dad Joe (OBE) is a one-time British Designer of the Year. But what Charlie does unaided is make clothes look fun and easy, things to play with rather than take too seriously. Which is about the best advert for his label – and British fashion more widely – anyone could offer.
“Charlie is renowned for his commitment to excellence and quality, which is anchored by his well-tailored and modern gentleman approach to style.” – Rachel Morgans, buying director, Topman
Even Action Man doesn’t wear a uniform as well as Tom Ford. Of course, it helps that the designer’s standard-issue involves a perfectly-cut black suit and tieless white shirt, rather than combat trousers (although they do share inch-perfect facial hair). It’s unsurprising that Tom Ford appears on these lists every year, without fail; he wears the same thing every year, after all. But the thing that always gets him over the bar is his willingness to tweak the standard black two-piece on the red carpet; a crushed, burgundy dinner suit, say – nothing more crazy than that. Less is more, after all.
“Few things are likely to link Tom Ford and Mark Zuckerberg, least of all their wardrobes. But both have discovered the power of picking a uniform that works for them and, in this case, doing it very, very well.” – Luke Todd, deputy editor, FashionBeans
Man try say he dresses better than Stormzy? Tell my man shut up. The Croydon grime superstar burst onto the scene in a red, Run DMC-reminiscent tracksuit back in 2015, but since then his wardrobe has undergone some serious refinement. It turns out Michael Omari’s lofty six-foot-four-inch frame was built to carry a suit of the tailored variety, too. The 24-year-old, platinum-selling artist looked anything but stuffy in his Burberry two-piece at this year’s Brit Awards, but his off-duty lean is still enough to leave even the most hardened of streetwear dons with a tear of joy in their eye.
“It’s hard to talk about style in 2017 without mentioning Stormzy. In addition to the Adidas tracksuits he’s sported most of his early career, his look has matured, leaning towards more clean-cut and simple pieces.” – George Nicholson, deputy editor, The Idle Man
At FashionBeans Towers, we sometimes amuse ourselves by imagining clothing combinations in which David Gandy might not look good. It is a tough game. Voluminous cargo shorts? Deep V-necks? Crocs? He could nail them all with elan. Which is why he shouldn’t necessarily be a great fashion icon – when someone looks that good all the time, how can you tell whether it’s the clothes or the man? Lucky, then, that his go-to is impeccable tailoring, which tends to make even the most dadbodded amongst us punch a class or two above our weight. More so than very white, very tight swimming trunks, at least.
“David Gandy has set the benchmark for men’s style over the last decade and to call him a modern-day fashion icon wouldn’t be an exaggeration. The man is as perfectly presented in person as his is in photographs. He is the very epitome of the modern British gentleman: stylish, charming and elegant.” – James Doidge, head of menswear design, Marks & Spencer
Things that Ryan Reynolds has not done since he turned 40: discovered a love of sensible cardigans; worn a baseball cap with the logo of a car he does not own; explored the ‘bootcut’ section of the denim aisle. Things he has done: realised that suits can be fun, come they in windowpane or camel; worn the Henley collar in ways that will make you want to cheat on your crew necks; stay in the kind of shape that makes looking good that little bit easier. That’s your big 4-0 birthday wish list sorted.
“Ryan also does the custom motorbike owner look, and does it well. His wardrobe boasts a number of quality leathers and suede jackets (that I wish I could afford), which he pairs with straight-leg jeans and some fresh sneakers so he never appears like he’s a moto try-hard.” – Chris Gove, creative director, Percival
Pity poor Niall Horan, the forgotten ex-Directioner – his transformation from tween heartthrob to wannabe singer-songwriter is being obscured by the megawatt fashion-off between Zayn Malik and Harry Styles. For every one of Styles’s navel-slashed silk shirts, Malik has a black velvet jacket from his collection for Versace Versus, and a new transformative hair do. He answers Harry’s red-suited Vanity Fair cover with Vogue, cuddled up with his Victoria’s Secret Angel other half, in his-and-hers Gucci. As far as their competition goes, it’s still too close to call, but we’ll continue enjoying watching it play out.
“Zayn Malik has evolved into a stylish dresser ever since going solo. He has a sharp eye for emerging trends and is never afraid to experiment. He wears some of the best brands out there, nailing the tailored fit just right.” – James Wright, menswear designer, Nicce
Much like the gentle charm of the man himself, Eddie Redmayne’s wardrobe is wholly appealing without being in-your-face in any way. Throughout 2017, he has drawn heavily on heritage design; not in a cringe-inducing Jacob Rees-Mogg kind of way, more in a “why didn’t I think of wearing it like that” way. If he’s in a herringbone blazer, it’s paired with a T-shirt; if he’s wearing a cardigan, it’ll go on underneath a suit and be finished with sneakers. One-part familiar, one-part fresh, Redmayne’s style is all-parts class.
“Eddie Redmayne encompasses smart dressing for both on- and off-duty. His suits are always the right cut, style and a perfect fit, meaning they work well whether layered with a knit, classic Oxford shirt, or dressed down with a pair of smart white leather trainers. We also admire that he isn’t afraid to take risks. Taking classic British style and injecting it with personality.” – Danny Ching, senior designer, Hardy Amies
On the press tour for Blade Runner 2049, Ryan Gosling debuted a hitherto secret collection of V-neck sweaters, the kind of thing that gets boys beaten up in school. We knew the Gos was a man of many talents – not least making musicals actually bearable – but this seemed optimistic even for a living meme. And yet here we are, with V-necks undeniably a ‘thing’. This in a year that also included wearing a ruffled shirt to the Oscars, making brown suits feel exciting (even when worn with, unbelievably, V-necked knitwear) and starring in a sequel that might just be better than one of the greatest movies ever made. Well done, Ryan. Well done.
“The appeal to Ryan Gosling is that he doesn’t fear to be daring with his style. He symbolises the modern man but nods to past trends that keep him looking unique.” – Thom Whiddett & Luke Sweeney, tailors, Thom Sweeney
A best-dressed and front-row stalwart, this year Becks stepped the other side of the runway. His investment in British heritage brand Kent & Curwen – a business that invented the cricket jumper, no less – turned a long-shuttered label into one of the most exciting new names at London Fashion Week Men’s. The 42-year-old has become a walking billboard for the brand, proof that in ice cream-striped rowing blazers, military great coats and, of course, those V-neck jumpers, he can tap century-old heritage and yet feel thrillingly modern.
“David Beckham made it okay to care about our appearance again, after at least a century of increasingly drab male attire. A true British legend in style that has a rare knack for pulling off a three-piece suit or a hoody and baseball cap with equal aplomb.” – Nick Tahir, head of menswear, River Island
Skepta may once have shut down fashion week in a black tracksuit, but these days he’s a front-row regular at the likes of Burberry, where he sports rather smarter garms. Along with BFF and honorary Boy Better Know member Drake, Joseph Adenuga upends expectations about what rappers should look like. He does high fashion happily – barely minutes after Christopher Bailey had taken his bow, Skepta had nabbed the show’s standout black overcoat – but also champions underground talent like Nasir Mazhar and Cottweiler. Not content with just playing dress up, this year he also launched his own line, Mains, at Selfridges. The starring piece? A black tracksuit, of course.
“Skepta brings the same energy from his music to his clothing. He’s conscious of what works for him and stays within that field, but still manages to have fun. Black seems to be his base colour, and he then builds a look around that in a completely modern way. Plus, the round frames seem to have almost become his signature, and it’s the small details that elevate his look.” – Charlie Casely-Hayford, menswear designer
We’re pretty sure Alexandre Mattiussi, the founder of young Parisian brand Ami, is the human embodiment of what would happen if you crossed what men actually want to wear with epic taste and an unwavering appreciation of cut and quality. A poster boy for the kind of pared-back wardrobe we’re always harping on about, Mattiussi should be a hero to any man who likes his style simple yet effective. Think navy chinos, classic sweatshirts and athleisure trainers, then chuck in a bit of denim and camel and you’ve got the Mattiussi method.
“Ami, as a label, feels like an extension of its founder. Which is why it’s one of the best menswear brands out there. Everything feels authentic, free and easy, even while it pushes boundaries. Both it and the man behind it do newness without it feeling like any effort. It’s just, well, Parisian. But the kind of Parisian style that doesn’t come accessorised with an attitude.” – Tom Banham, men’s style writer
John Legend has often played second fiddle to wife Chrissy Teigen in the dream dinner party guest stakes this year, thanks to the latter’s Internet-winning brand of humour. That said, style-wise, there’s no doubt that Legend is just as his name suggests. The sartorial antithesis to Lady Gaga, everything he wears looks easy, unforced and completely natural. His line-up draws heavily on patterned shirts, bomber jackets and coloured tailoring, but his ability to keep things on the right side of discreet means that he hits the middle ground between interesting and age-appropriate every single time.
“John Legend has worn the Oliver Spencer brand a few times this year and has made my clothes look fantastic on all occasions. It’s always about what the wearer can do for the design to make it stylish. Oh and he’s a huge musical talent.” – Oliver Spencer, menswear designer
Oliver Cheshire appears in our style roundups so regularly that we’ve given up stamping his loyalty card. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s easy to look good with those genetics, but many a male model dresses well on the runway, and like a sack of spuds off it. Cheshire, however, has an eye for an occasion and a sixth sense for how to tweak what’s expected. On red carpets, his suit is always classic, but never run-of-the-mill. As befits a man who lives in planes, his airport style turns comfort dressing into something that would work at Fashion Week. And he does Mr Ripley-influenced Riviera style better than Dickie Greenleaf himself.
“Oliver has a brilliant eye for creating a stylish but fun outfit, and that’s important. There’s always one element of his outfit that looks fresh, and stands out.” – James Doidge, head of menswear design, Marks & Spencer
His highest-grossing film may have been 1993’s Jurassic Park, but when it comes to style that’s sharper than a velociraptor’s gnashers, Jeff Goldblum is no dinosaur. The softly-spoken 65-year old is known for his award-winning performances in some of Tinseltown’s biggest blockbusters, but in menswear circles, he’s nothing short of a bona fide style god. His expert melding of slim-cut, monochrome outfits with the odd statement piece thrown in hasn’t gone unnoticed. Which is why when it comes to skirting the line between fashion and age-appropriate dressing, Jeff is an oldie but a goldie.
“The secret of Goldblum’s success in style is down to two things: consistency – he’s found his simple, dark, casual look and sticks with it; and ease – he always looks relaxed in what he wears. He’s not a flashy dresser at any level.” – Josh Sims, author of Icons of Men’s Style
The A$ AP Mob boss once rhymed “Oliver Peoples” with “Ann Demeulemeester”, but his dress sense bests his consonance. Last year he became the first black male to front a Dior Homme campaign; this year, he fused streetwear and couture in ways much imitated but never bettered. In the process, he pulled hip-hop even further from big chains and bigger logos into something that hungrily samples high and low fashion culture. Harry Styles embodies what proper rock stars used to look like. A$ AP Rocky is a glimpse at what they could become.
“A$ AP Rocky’s style has continued to improve on his signature aesthetic. He’s aware of his body shape, exploring a variety of fits and has really come on with bold patterns and colours (coinciding with the Gucci boom of 2017). He can transition and blur the lines between casual streetwear and high fashion.” – Alexander McCalla, stylist, Thread
The one-time boybander shrugged off his old skin completely this year, with an album of Prince-referencing pop that was nothing like anything he’d made before. It was also the year he became fashion royalty. The Styles style consists of equal parts sex appeal and self-confidence; he looks like he’s just rolled out of bed (one in which he’s certainly not slept) and pulled on whatever was to hand, whether that’s Saint Laurent skinnies or a dragon-embroidered Gucci suit. Making him the closest thing we’ve got to a genuine rock star.
“Harry is one of the few celebrities who works with a stylist and looks like he actually loves what he’s wearing. There’s something very genuine about his style. I believe he’s into what he’s got on, which is rather refreshing.” – Simon Chilvers, men’s style director, MatchesFashion
For us, the mark of truly commendable style isn’t necessarily consistency. What separates the bloody great from the fucking fantastic is an ability to not just nail a particular niche, but to jump from one menswear genre to another without breaking stride. And it’s this genre-hopping that the artist formerly known as Childish Gambino has done better than anyone else in 2017.
Perhaps it’s not surprising from the singer/rapper/actor/writer/comedian. Donald Glover has form when it comes to effortlessly switching codes. On stage, his look mixes Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys and old-school hip-hop. On the red carpet he flits between elegance and flamboyance. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen him do trends without looking try-hard (he’s particularly good in corduroy, printed shirts and the rest of the seventies look), but he also suits the classics.
Perhaps at his sharpest in dressed-down tailoring, Glover doesn’t much like a tie, but he will play with pattern, texture and tonal colours. He’s a fan of the sockless look, too. And when the dress code calls for a dinner jacket, he doesn’t play by the usual penguin suit rules. At this year’s Emmys, he stepped out in Prince-worthy purple. At the Golden Globes, the dinner jacket was Gucci – brown and velvet. Fitting for a rogue who’ll step into Lando Calrissian’s shoes in 2018.
The big take-home-and-wear-it lesson from Glover is this: at a time when the rules of menswear are splintered, there’s nothing wrong with being a chameleon. Not when it looks this good.
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