The history of fashion is filled with icons who influenced clothing trends so significantly that no one has dressed the same since. For example, a man named Beau Brummel was so renowned for his rejection of longstanding men’s fashion and adoption of an entirely new style that it is Brummel who is attributed with inventing what we now know as the modern suit — a staple of men’s wardrobes around the world.
Currently, we are living in a time of flux for men’s fashion. Men are no longer confined to a single style; as the concept of masculinity morphs in the new century, men’s fashion is also branching into new and exciting realms. To demonstrate, here are some of the most well-respected style icons of the new millennium and what they could do for fashion into the future.
Prince Michael of Kent
Throughout history, British royals have always had undue influence on fashion trends. For decades, the late queen’s cousin, Prince Michael, took up the mantle for male fashion, and even today, his looks remain iconic. Of particular note are the sophistication and elegance of his double-breasted suits, even when paired with relatively long facial hair, which is a rarity in the royal family. Those striving to look cool in formalwear should take notes from Prince Michael.
Despite being off the pitch for a full decade, David Beckham has remained a household name thanks to his strong and successful pivot into fashion. With the looks of a male model and style guided by his impeccable wife Posh, Becks has been able to cultivate a wardrobe that effortlessly mixes bad-boy and perfect-gentleman. Though not every man can have the soccer star’s body, they can copy Becks’ grooming, which allows him to find success with such great diversity in his outfits.
Without a doubt, Kanye West’s political ideologies are reprehensible, and the recent boycotting of him by the fashion industry is well-deserved. However, before Ye went public with his dangerous and hurtful views, he was undeniably a strong influence on men’s fashion. Almost every phase of Ye’s personal wardrobe preceded a noticeable shift in fashion trends, from shutter glasses to ugly tennis shoes. Hopefully, Ye can see the error of his ways, apologize for his incendiary statements and return to the fashion stage, where he belongs.
Tyler the Creator
Tyler the Creator lives up to his name in so many interesting ways, but among his most significant legacies are his music and his fashion. Like other style icons on this list, Tyler the Creator’s wardrobe has evolved over time, shifting from intentionally ugly loungewear to neat jazz suits and now to a feminine preppy aesthetic. The key to Tyler the Creator’s success is gleeful experimentation, which all men can imitate in their own personal journeys through men’s fashion.
Known in the fashion industry as POGGYTHEMAN or simply Poggy, Motofumi Kogi initially gained notoriety merely for his personal styling choices every fashion week. Seemingly literate in all styles and trends, Poggy can effortlessly combine Italian tailoring, British brands and classic Americana to create an undeniably fashion-forward and fascinating ensemble. Loud colors and patterns, unstructured silhouettes and bold headwear define Poggy’s looks — but emulators also need a cool sense of confidence to pull everything off.
Unlike other style icons on this list, Ryan Gosling doesn’t have a reputation for pushing the fashion envelope — but he continues to influence how men dress. The actor and musician tends to stick to crisp, well-tailored shite shirts, casual jackets and boots, which generate a smart-casual look that he pulls off well. This ensemble has become the go-to for adult men eager to elevate their style without too much experimentation or statement-making. Guys of all ages can find men’s clothing that matches Gosling’s looks and enjoy the boosts to comfort and confidence that come with.
Fashion continues to evolve, and not every man understands intuitively how to put clothes together to create a chic and trendy outfit. Fortunately, there will always be style icons for men to turn to, and in the 21st century, the men listed above have delivered interesting looks to inspire the masses.