Best-dressed? It’s all relative

Luke Leitch in The Economist:

EIN_01-headerWhen new acquaintances ask what I do, their eyes flick up and down my scuffed sneakers, well-loved jumbo cords and moth-kissed sweater before clouding over with inevitable confusion. A more sensitive soul might regard the effect that my clothes have as grounds for professional self-doubt. But not me. After all, isn’t football full of incisive pundits who have never scored a goal? How many respected political editors have ever stood for office, let alone won? And do theatre critics get appointed because they craft brilliant plays? You don’t have to be a clothes horse to write about fashion.

But there is one time of year when the comfortable elastic of the psychological waistband that holds up this justification for my lack of dashing personal style suddenly cinches like a too-tight pair of jeans: best-dressed season. For 2018 I nominated the Gucci designer Alessandro Michele to British GQ for its list (he came in 10th). Then I interviewed Charlie Heaton – the handsome young English actor who plays Winona Ryder’s son in Netflix’s 1980s redux horror series, “Stranger Things” – for a cover story naming him as the winner of Italian GQ’s list. He revealed a recently acquired fondness for high-waisted trousers, a long-held reluctance to wear anything that isn’t black or grey, and was generally charming.

The men who top these lists are invariably youngish, handsomish and successful in fields like acting, sports or that baffling modern profession – celebrity. There is usually a rising politician and a royal chucked in for good measure. The clothes of these types are an extension of their public persona, and sometimes even part of their income stream too. Their reasons for dressing well are boringly instrumental. I have long craved a masculine style icon to champion who dresses fantastically despite convention, not because of it – someone whose choice of clothes reflects their brilliance in other fields, who looks as remarkable as they are without attempting to appear more remarkable than they are. And – eureka! – I think at last I’ve found him.

More here.