Fact: ninety-nine percent of our style reporting concentrates on the ladies, specifically runway and celebrity fashion¬--so we don't consider ourselves experts when it comes to menswear. That said, we do appreciate all well-assembled ensembles and definitely keep a professional eye on the fashionable fellows out there. That, of course, is exactly the problem: we're interested, but not necessarily educated or articulate about guys' outfits. Rather than faking it, for today's What They Wear story, we've decided to hand over the reins to a master (er, mistress!) of the wardrobe world, the one and only Janie Bryant, costume designer for Mad Men and style aficionado extraordinaire!
We're over then moon about our guest expert and were delighted to discuss fashionable fellows with Bryant for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the woman is a flat out genius: as the mastermind behind Mad Men's incredibly influential wardrobe, Bryant impresses and inspires us on a weekly basis. (You also might know her previous work on a little show called Deadwood, maybe you've heard of it?) But in addition to costuming the likes of Don Draper, Joan Holloway, and the entire MM crew, Bryant's also quite busy in her own right. She's currently gearing up for the launch of her own clothing line for QVC¬--look for Janie Bryant MOD starting on September 29th¬--plus she's collaborated with Nailtini to create four fabric-inspired nail polishes, which will be available at CVS and Duane Reade stores this fall. As if that's not enough, Bryant is also currently starring in the Mad About Style vlogs with Banana Republic's style director, Simon Kneen, appearing in a viral web campaign for Maidenform later this month, and wrote a book, The Fashion File with noteworthy journalist Monica Corcoran Harel, which will hit stores later this fall. Phew! But despite this truly mad schedule, Bryant took the time to lend us her expertise and give us all the need-to-know facts about menswear. But enough background info, it's time to delve into today's special edition of What They Wear¬--let's hear it for the boys!
We can't help but swoon every time Swedish actor Alexander Skarsg√•rd appears on the small screen in HBO's True Blood as the sinfully handsome vampire Eric Northman. But aside from our obsession with Skarsg√•rd's good looks, we are equally impressed by his familiarity with fashion (though, considering the fact that he keeps seriously stylish company in the form of Kate Bosworth, we're not surprised). We've spotted Skarsg√•rd in a few stellar clothing combos, but Bryant particularly liked his chic look from the February premiere of HBO's The Pacific in Los Angeles saying, "Love love love the Burberry trench. Smart, elegant, but casual¬--Bravo." We second that!
We've always had an appreciation for Pharrell Williams' hip and smart fashion sense¬--his ability to successfully mix high and low fashions is spot-on in our book¬--so naturally we had to include him in today's story. Seen here leaving his London hotel room in June, Williams models the blazer-and-jeans combo that become a staple in most well dressed fellows' wardrobes. We were curious to hear Bryant's take on his smart styling and were not disappointed with the response. "The sports coat has a great modern fit," she says. "Great accessories, a little bit of flare without being over the top."
One thing is for sure: Jon Hamm can rock a polished suit both on and off the set of AMC's hit series Mad Men. Now Bryant may be partial when it comes to the gorgeous actor, but his sharp fashion choices on the red carpet are definitely worth noting. "His suit is perfectly tailored and I love the shirt-and-tie combo," Bryant states. One might say he looks every bit as dapper as Don Draper¬--a fitting compliment indeed!
When thinking about potential candidates for today's story, we felt it absolutely necessary to include singer and producer Alex Greenwald. Why, you ask? Well, instead of sporting a sloppy musician look, he opts for a rocker uniform that is smartly put together and universally appealing. While out at the Gucci Icon-Temporary New York store opening last winter, Greenwald flaunted an ensemble that represents precisely what we are talking about, and Bryant gave a perfectly constructed assessment. "His look his so rock and roll and modern Edwardian," she says. "Very chic and cool."
We have been longtime fans of Justin Timberlake¬--at least since he cut off his bleached-out curls¬--and watched him mature into quite the stylish gentleman with much delight. His passion for fashion inspired him to launch his own successful clothing line five years ago, William Rast, and whether he is rocking a vest, fedora, or sleek leather jacket, his apparel choices are noteworthy in our opinion. Take, for example, his look at the Paris68 fashion show during February's New York Fashion Week. "Sloppy chic but cute," Bryant says. The appreciation extends to his geek-chic eyewear, which also caught Bryant's eye¬--and approval!
These days it seems that James Franco does it all¬--some of his many hats include actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and now grad student¬--but fortunately he manages to keep up his busy schedule in style. We are fond of his easygoing, down-to-earth sensibilities and the cool casualness of his red carpet attire. A favorite of ours is the ensemble he wore to the New York Cinema Society & Thomson Reuters screening of Howl back in January. Bryant feels the same way we do, stating the look is so "classic and clean." More specifically, she states that she "loves the no-break trousers," and believes "the coat fits perfectly." Extra points for Franco's slightly messy hair and scruffy facial hair; the contrast works perfectly here!
There is no doubt Jude Law is a handsome fellow, but his timeless good looks are not the only thing that piques our interest. On the red carpet or in everyday life, Law has a stellar wardrobe of contemporary and classic pieces. He is rarely seen wearing anything bright or too over the top, generally sticking to dark neutral tones, much like what he wore leaving lunch at Pastis in New York back in May. Law dressed up his relaxed, casual daytime ensemble with a sleek gray blazer, and revealed his footwear by rolling up his jeans just above the ankle. When asked for her opinion on this look, Bryant's response was enthusiastic, to say the least. "There is nothing sexier than a man wearing shoes with no socks. Gorgeous!"
While most people are infatuated with Robert Pattinson's untamed, just-rolled-out-of-bed hair, we are charmed by his bold style choices and his ability to pull them off with ease. Pattinson proves he's not afraid to venture outside the red-carpet norm, as demonstrated by the burgundy Gucci suit he wore to the Los Angeles premiere of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Bryant also approves saying "I like the color risk," which made him an instant standout amongst his black and gray-suited co-stars. We hope to see some more daring selections from him in the future.
Zac Efron is beloved for his stunning looks and down-to-earth personality, but the fact that he has some serious style is just the cherry on top. His off-duty looks tend to be on the more relaxed and comfortable side, as he is often spotted in jeans and a t-shirt, but when it comes to his dressier moments, Efron nails it. Bryant approved of his jacket-and-shirt combination at the June MTV Movie Awards, saying she "loves the buttoned-down collar." Gray is definitely the new black this season, and looks great on just about every guy. When asked about Efron's head-to-toe look, she noted that he has "cool, casual style" with an emphasis on simplicity. "The hair is the accent," she says, and what a good one it is!¬--Jessica Baker
Photos of Jude Law and Zac Efron, courtesy of Splash; Photos of Justin Timberlake, Alexander Skarasgard, Robert Pattinson, Pharell Williams, and Jon Hamm, courtesy of Getty