Men’s fashion took a decidedly casual turn last year, with the buzz term “smart casual” influencing all apparel from shirts and jackets to hats, shoes and even suits. Accessories are in, hoodies are out, and navy was the colour of choice for every element in a gentleman’s ensemble. For those already entrenched in 2015’s most anticipated fashion trends, take a lesson from the greats by studying up on last year’s most stylish male icons.
The guys earned a space on my icons list by shaping pop culture over the last 12 months, influencing the masses with their lyrics, verses, jokes, characters and, of course, their ever-impressive sense of style. Though their personal tastes differ from each other’s – and likely even from your own – there remains plenty of knowledge to be gleaned from these five style icons. Learn how to dress and present yourself like these men and find the inspiration you need to fashionably succeed in 2015.
2015 Fashion Icon #1 – Donald Glover
Writer, comedian, actor and rapper, Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) blew up the scene last year with two Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance. After the popularity of his second studio album, Because the Internet, Gambino dropped a surprise mix tape STN MTN in October, followed up by accompanying EP Kauai the following day.
There are plenty of reasons to admire this guy, from his sick verses to his writing chops and loveable persona as Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community. But above all, Glover sets the perfect example of why it’s so crucial to wear your originality on your sleeve. When he rocks a Hawaiian shirt or short shorts, he’s not doing it to make a statement.
His choice in clothing may be eclectic, but there are no gimmicks – it’s just Donald being Donald. He also managed to earn himself a spot on my list of Top 10 Tracks of 2014 which given my high standards was no small feat.
Get the Style
Dressing sharp is one thing, but nothing can replace the confidence prompted by wearing clothing that you’re comfortable in. You don’t have to suit up or don wild prints to be considered well-dressed. Just choose apparel that is fitted to compliment your body type and, more importantly, that you feel good wearing.
2015 Fashion Icon #2 – Jared Leto
Beloved actor and Thirty Seconds to Mars front man Jared Leto is at a level of unattainable cool, yet you can tell from his artistry that he is a profound and empathetic kind of guy. He puts a lot of genuine effort into everything he does – he is a method actor, after all, something which anyone who saw his performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club (or Requiem for a Dream or American Psycho) could tell you.
The same goes for his personal style. It’s always self-reflected and always evolving. Currently, Leto’s signature style includes a flannel or sweater tied around the waist and his long mane of hair. However, he has also been praised for his effortlessly stylish suits and other Red Carpet ensembles. His hard rock style combined with casual yet fashion-forward pieces inspires a look that is at once dapper and cool; elegant and rugged.
Get the Style
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Whether it’s your hair, shoes, or your wardrobe’s colour scheme, the things you received compliments on in high school or college could likely use an update. Never shy away from a trend because you think it “isn’t you” – if you like it, try it in on the store or get a professional opinion and let your personal style grow.
Add some more layers and texture to your outfit with a sweater or jacket tied around the waist, a scarf around the neck, and maybe even a necklace or wrap bracelet from Novica.
2015 Fashion Icon #3 – Nick Wooster
True style has no age limit; we know this to be true because gentlemen like Nick Wooster continue to blow us away year after year with their confidence, creativity and swagger. Instagram celebrity and department store savant Nickelson Wooster is the “god of street style”: admired for his bold fashion choices, and highly memorable thanks to his iconic hairstyle and tattooed sleeves.
Wooster himself is proof enough to defend the argument that age should never define or constrain one’s wardrobe. His photograph-ready profile also reminds us that sometimes it’s not the clothes, but the grooming that makes all the difference. Proving that style is not just about apparel Nick also has an exquisite little place in NY, you can read more about it HERE.
Get the Style
Everybody looks good in business casual, and doing so is easy with the proper tools: a sharp haircut, designer sunglasses, a contemporary watch and enviable shoes. Finding your style can take years – as mentioned with Jared Leto, for most everyone fashion is a work in progress. A teenager in the 1960’s, Wooster has been experimenting with clothing and accessories since he was a kid. Take notes from the greats, but have patience and perseverance. And above all, never underestimate the power of a well-fitted jacket.
Have a well-fitted (and professionally tailored) suit for dressy occasions, sharp blazers and sport coats for more casual events, and pair each look with a handsome Invicta watch from Evine.
2015 Fashion Icon #4 – André 3000
Success is dictated by numerous factors: most importantly talent, drive, persistence and charisma. It’s no wonder that André 3000 has found international success as a rapper, singer-songwriter, actor and producer. He’s been performing alongside Big Boi as hip-hop duo OutKast for nearly 2 decades (more than that, if you don’t count their hiatus), and their work has produced six Grammys and sold over 25 million records. Fans love to latch onto artists with big personalities, and André 3000 has a way of flaunting his through his music and fashion.
With his signature bright colours, loud prints and funky hats, you’d never miss it if man were to enter the room. If there’s anything to take away from André’s influential wardrobe, it’s that your personality and how you feel inside should fuel your fashion, and allow it to inspire your style.
Get the Style
Be bold and unapologetic – there’s no such thing as being overdressed. Suits, dress shirts and dress pants can be for casual wear, too. And no matter where you’re going out, it’s cheesy but true that a smile is your best accessory. Take a leaf out of his book – the cameras love André, and they keep showing up because he loves them right back.
Get crazy with some loud coloured and patterned dress shirts, blazers and pants. If you’re feeling bold enough, spring for a plaid suit from ASOS and top off each look with a fedora or other signature hat.
2015 Fashion Icon #5 – Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean spent most of 2014 wrapping up his new album, releasing a snippet of an upcoming song back in November (not to mention a moving cover of Aaliyah/The Isley Brothers’ “(At Your Best) You Are Love” just last week). Despite his lack of new released material, this superstar songwriter and performer showed up dressed up at numerous high profile events, including the Met Gala and TIME 100 Gala, and remained on the radar through cool events, like his Saturday night performance at Bonnaroo. Ocean’s style is the most down-to-earth of all these male icons, yet its effect is undeniable.
His look is subtle yet well put together, comprised of interesting combinations of apparel that aren’t typically outrageous or necessarily special on their own. When he does opt for attention-grabbing prints, he throws caution to the wind in pairing eccentric graphics and colours seemingly without any rhyme or reason. On the other hand, Ocean also does monochromatic ensembles really well, proving that black and white isn’t boring if it’s intentional.
Get the Style
Fashion trends are always coming and going, so unless you’re committing a faux pas of sorts, it’s always a good time to draw inspiration from the past. Though they aren’t particularly on trend at the moment, Frank Ocean remains a connoisseur of snapback hats, bandanas and vintage tees – and it works for him. Fashion rules exist more as guidelines; the better you understand them, the easier they are to break and get away with.
Embellish printed button-down shirts from Urban Outfitters with preppy style cardigans, and give your basic tee or polo-clad ensemble a little something extra with a bandana head wrap or necklace.