"Cool Story, Bro" is an ongoing series in which Jian DeLeon tries to place men's style in the larger context of an apathetic society.
So the 64th annual Primetime Emmy Awards have come to an end, and no doubt, there are plenty of roundups already on the Internet about the night’s best and worst dressed dames and dudes. While womenwear runs the show in terms of what most people are paying attention to and, well, what people have the license to stunt (‘cause, like,for real though, Julianne Moore was killing it in Dior Couture), men are given decidedly less freedom to shine.
Yes, as gentlemen, we’re taught that on nights like this (which for regular people like us include prom, weddings, quinceneras, cotillions, bar mitzvahs, re-bar mitzvahs, etc.), we should generally never try to outdress the ladies. Especially if one is your date—to put it simply, she is the burger, you are the fries. You’re the accessory, guy.
But, I think in the case of star-studded events like this, the rules can be bent, especially in favor of more exciting menswear. Judging by my Twitter feed, I wasn’t the only guy who wanted to see less ill-fitting suits, more patterns, a bit of color and some texture. It definitely says something about the state of celebrity style when one of the best men’s outfits of the night was on Ellen Degeneres. Really though, the midnight blue tux with the polka dot scarf is a look we’d see on a mannequin dressed by Club Monaco’s Aaron Levine, not to mention something that would get a billion reblogs had it been snapped at Pitti Uomo by Tommy Ton.
Seriously, if I wanted to see a bunch of guys in ill-fitting suits, I’d go to every other formal event in my own boring ass life.
What’s really good, stylists? Maybe less bloggers would be stealing your seats at Fashion Week if male celebrity style was still something to aspire to. Instead, it’s secondary to women’s when it can really be so much better. Menswear will never trump the popularity of womenwear sure, but most guys can look at a dude and go, “I want to look like that” or, “He looks like a total scrub.” And man, the shirt sleeves eating up dudes’ hands? The pant hems that give about 5 inches of stacking? The square-toed shoes? In 20-fucking-12? Really?
Take a cue from the men that are really influencing the way guys view and wear clothing: the street style superstars. One look at gents like Lino Ieluzzi, Simone Righi and John Wrazej shows how important fit and details are to making menswear really shine on a guy—it makes him still look like him, but the best possible version of him. I hardly saw any of that on last night’s red carpet. Whereas street style peacocks and vets do their best to act nonchalant when cameras start clicking and whirring at Lincoln Center, you can bet that the effortlessness of their impeccably-fitting outfits were calculated.
People appreciate a velvet double-breasted suit on an editor or buyer, and often try to emulate their style. Is it too much to expect the same from our real, actual celebrities whose sphere of influence extends far beyond a little corner of the Internet? Hollywood and its celebs are, in some ways, supposed to represent an ideal version of America. I would certainly hope that all the men—or the stylists who dress them—would at least know how a tux should fit. Shouldn’t the people whose job it is to show up to be photographed at glamorous events be required to give more of a shit about their appearance than the hopeful amateurs who parade around fashion weeks hoping to end up on The Sartorialist?
Seriously, if I wanted to see a bunch of guys in ill-fitting suits, I’d go to every other formal event in my own boring ass life. Pants with no break, tuxedo jackets that are cut perfect so they don’t pull, Givenchy velvet one-button jackets and perfectly-hemmed two-inch cuffs are things that probably won’t ever proliferate the majority of guys’ closets, but is it a crime to wish the fantasy world of celebrities were as stylish as the one of Internet style superstars?