2013 was a massive year for Justin Timberlake. Not only did he return to our ears with some very questionable pop music, but he was also voted GQ’s Most Stylish Man of 2013. Which is a massive shame really, because yet again a perfectly respectable role model has had his natural good looks rewarded again. It’s a shame when these things happen, because every weird looking dude wants to look brilliant and impress that special someone; especially in these days of longer hours and the risk of redundancies hanging over our heads like tinsel that you’ve forgotten to take down. And whats the easiest way to dress to impress? By imitating someone else’s style of course! Unfortunately there aren’t a multitude of achievable male style icons milling around to pick from: Davids Gandy and Beckham always seem to lead the way in polls about Best Dressed Men, followed shortly by Robert Downey Junior and people like Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch. Which is fine, y’know? These men are undoubtedly good looking (except for Cumberbatch who looks like Dr. Moreau mixed a deer with the very idea of having a stiff upper lip). But one things links all these people together. No, not having the best stylists available to them so they can polish a turd, but they’re almost always seen in suits and slightly more formal casual attire. Except for David Beckham who’s totally brilliant shots for H&M really gave meaning to when the Spice Girls (and Victoria mimed) ‘too much of something is bad enough’, mainly because dat ass.
But what happens if you’re not married to a Spice Girl, or have the time to perfect a sculpted physique? We all know that there aren’t enough hours in the day to work off how brilliant bread tastes. Well, you look for different style icons don’t you? Which is where we step in. If, like us, you roll your eyes when David Gandy debuts his new girlfriend on MailOnline or steps out without a shirt on, then you can cancel that emergency appointment at the optometrist to see about getting your retinas to reattach and focus your good eye on who we think should be heralded as Gods Of Fashion.
As we’ve spoke about already, you don’t always need to be wearing the best pressed suits and the shiniest brogues to look amazing. Stateside celebrities, like Donald Glover and Andy Samberg excel at making sure that a more casual outfit is their forte. Anyone wonder why you rarely see Andy Samberg wearing something other than a check shirt? It’s probably because he knows a suit and tie aren’t his personal uniform. Same applies to Donald Glover. Though Pharrell Williams can pull off a hip hop suit combo mash up, not everyone can. Glover embraces a street influenced look, that would resonate with his hip hop credentials, while mixing it with a twinge of American fraternity. Why these guys should be heralded as Style Icons is because they approach fashion with what works for them, and ties in with their personality. It’s kind of like when you wear a pair of underwear that an elderly relative has bought for you: they don’t feel right and all you want to do is whip them off and pull on that faded grey pair you got from H&M three years ago. Glover and Samberg’s choice of outfit tell us more about them than a generic suit ever will.
It isn’t just Glover, or Childish Gambino as he’s known on the streets that your Gran would be too scared to walk down after dark, that take inspiration from their musical heritage and heroes. Liam Gallagher, although heavily monobrowed, takes his cue from the modernist subcultures of the late 50s and, maybe more obviously, from the 1970s. His Pretty Green label keeps notes of the razor sharp and post-War affluence styling while appealing to fresher subcultures. Pretty Green’s ‘The Vinyl Revolution’ Autumn/Winter 13 campaign shows that mix of Peacocking and subtlety that men are craving.
Mark Ronson, on the other end of the scale, imitates his idols, in just the same way that Liam Gallagher does, but the looks are entirely different. Ronson, as we all know, takes his cue from lots of different areas of music; 80s New Wave, 90s hip hop and 70s Soul, but whereas Gallagher’s inspiration shines out and is more directly ostentatious, Ronson’s alters to whatever gathering he is. Which is seen in his videos; with rappers he’s cavorts in sneakers and Knicks jackets: with The Business International, he’s angular in David Bowie and Alain Delon inspired finery and when he’s in Version mode, it’s in slightly more relaxed tailoring that wouldn’t look out of place in a Beatles concert, or a Race riot. It’s not a societal change of style, it’s a personal one. Ronson feels comfortable marauding through musical genres and altering his look to suit, which is why he’s one of the strongest style icons on our list; he’s not scared to change and adapt.
Although we may have decried men who sell themselves in shirts and ties, there is one man who does that and still manages to exude personality through the pores not covered up by his signature turtle neck. It has to be the man, the legend, Dermot O’Leary. When eager gays aren’t frantically rewinding their DVR to catch a glimpse of his VPL (Visible Penis Line) that seemed to make frequent appearances during the auditions stage of X Factor, people were making a note of the pretty excellent knitwear slash chino combos that he was sporting. And that was even before he brought back a Marks and Spencer staple that had fallen out of favour years ago: the trusty turtleneck.
Yes, the turtleneck isn’t for everyone; you need a good face to neck ratio to start with, but Dermot managed to pull it off. Being equally formal and casual, he disarmed the nation with his cheeky Irish charm and rugby build in a World of scrawny wannabes, while still being dressed well enough to fit in with his banteriffic mates down the local. Just like Olly Murs, everyone wants to either be, or be in Dermot O’Leary. But whereas fashion yokels stick to the tried and tested Topman suggestions, O’Leary has brought something more adventurous to our wardrobes. And that gift is a suit that manages to suit a man who isn’t built like a broken ironing board. Some people have thighs that touch, and some people’s arses exist in our dimension instead of a one filled with skinny caramel macchiatos and fat free things. Dermot O’Leary is very important because he’s one of the few people that has an achievable body shape for people who don’t envy Iggy Pop. Yes, Ben Cohen is up there, but that man is massive. His arms are like the size of a turkey or something.
So discard your Beckhams and your Styles, there are better people to covet the fashion sense of. And these people might be less obvious than you might think. Everyone has a fashion staple that they rely on, so why not try stealing someone else’s style once in a while?