You couldn’t call it a boring year for menswear, could you? Looking back, 2018 has been the most diverse, colourful and expressive spell we’ve had in a long time. Clothes became fun again. Trends were chaotic and contradictory. People let go. Men got confident. Slim-fit minimalism found itself edged out.
This was the year when Jonah Hill could become the style icon he was always meant to be. The ’90s were trending, but so were the ’70s, ’50s and ’80s. Tailoring loosened up. Sportswear got luxury. Louis Vuitton went technicolour under Virgil Abloh, and the stars of Black Panther proudly wore African-influenced clothes on the film’s publicity tour.
There were surprises month after month. England football manager Gareth Southgate made a strait-laced waistcoat a summer must-have, but for every inch-perfect dinner jacket on the red carpet, there was also a mischievous scumbro quietly tie-dyeing the rulebook.
What it all means for the average guy is this: options. More of them than we’ve had in a long, long time. This might just be the most exciting time men’s fashion has known, maybe ever. And in a year when all bets were off, these 25 men were there to show us how it’s done – leading trends, breaking rules or keeping it classic, their message was the same: wear whatever the hell you want, and do it with a smile on your face.
25. John Legend
If the mark of a truly well-dressed man lies in the ability to look great in both formal occasions and when dressed down, John Legend nails it every time. Shying away from the loud, statement attire favoured by many of his fellow musicians, Legend keeps things simple, with a minimal palette of navy, blacks, greens and tan, which are utilised in tried and tested garments such as bombers, leather jackets and fine tailoring. He also does black tie better than most, which is handy considering he’s one of the most awarded people in showbiz.
24. Jeff Goldblum
Is Jeff Goldblum the coolest man in Hollywood? He’s certainly up there with the most stylish. The man wears his clothes with such vigour, he can make virtually anything look good. A master pattern-mixer and bold shoe wearer, he’s just as at home in an all-white tuxedo as he is in leopard print trousers and a leather jacket. And then there’s his ‘regular’ tailoring, which is often comprised of a slim cut jacket and trousers, mixed with a statement piece or two, and always with a smile. Somehow it’s never too much.
23. Eddie Redmayne
The eternally preppy Eddie Redmayne’s style hasn’t changed much in the last five years, and that’s no bad thing. When done well preppy style is hard to beat, and Redmayne is head boy. From monogrammed college jackets to Harringtons, worn denim jeans through to chinos, and of course sharply tailored suits, the Fantastic Beasts star rarely puts a foot wrong. And how does he do it? “I have a very wonderful stylist in the form of my wife”, he once told The Mirror.
22. Luka Sabbat
Luka Sabbat must be the most famous person not on Wikipedia. We’re still not quite sure what he actually does, apart from look perpetually annoyed in photos – but the man/boy can dress. Although that was probably a given considering his father was a designer and his mother a stylist for John Galliano and Dior. Regardless, he’s been a fixture of the streetwear zeitgeist for a couple of years, and continues to rock anything from a padded-shoulder all-denim look through to relaxed tailoring for smarter occasions.
21. Rami Malek
Much like the style of Freddie Mercury, who he starred as in Bohemian Rhapsody this year, Rami Malik never looks dull. This is largely down to his willingness to experiment with his red carpet style, something many actors in their prime shy away from. That said, Malik always looks comfortable and confident in what he’s wearing, which is essential when you transition from a fleece varsity jacket to a bold check blazer as easily as he does.
20. Travis Scott
The birth of his first child, a second US number one album, the face of Saint Laurent: 2018 has been a pretty far-out year for rapper Travis Scott. He might always have his head to the ground, metaphorically and literally in every photo, but Scott’s style is anything but shy. Colours are bright, sweatshirts are laden with graphic artwork, the bling is tasteful, and the sneakers are high and loud. It’s a knockout blend of hip-hop style, streetwear and high fashion that has seen him pegged as the best-dressed man in music.
19. Karamo Brown
You know him as the impossibly handsome man from Netflix’s Queer Eye, and while he’s not the show’s resident style expert, he is the best dressed (sorry Tan). Brown’s ability to rock fitted statement tailoring is second to none, from subtle floral prints to block pastels and everything in between. That’s not to say he’s a one-trick pony. Far from it. When he’s not suited and booted, you’ll often find him treading the line between casual and sporty in a statement bomber jacket, baseball cap and high-tops.
18. Riz Ahmed
You can’t go anywhere at the moment without hearing Riz Ahmed’s name echoing off every wall. Not surprising really, it’s been a big year for the Wembley lad who found himself thrust further into the spotlight thanks to HBO hit The Night Of and Marvel blockbuster Venom. The endless photocalls have given him a chance to show us all what he’s made of in the style department and we like what we see. That being an expert blend of fitted tailoring with casualwear, plenty of prints and embroidery, and just a dash of streetwear savviness.
17. Ezra Miller
Ezra Miller had a year packed full of more sartorial highlights than you can shake a wand at. Not least of which, managing to sit through the entire premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in a full-length Moncler x Pierpaolo Piccioli puffer gown without passing out.
Miller identifies as queer, and his personal style is all about challenging gender norms and bending boundaries. It’s seen him plastered around the press all year, even earning him a historic cover shoot for Playboy. At its core, the actor’s look is unapologetic, utterly absurd at times and most definitely something we’re keen to see more of in the future, even if we doubt we could pull it off ourselves.
16. Oliver Cheshire
London’s Oliver Cheshire is no stranger to a catwalk, or a best-dressed list for that matter. The 30-year old has been strutting his stuff for everyone from Dolce & Gabbana to Marks & Spencer since the tender age of 15, and in that time he’s learned what works for him in the wardrobe department: almost anything, the bastard. He can do trends and tradition, with a penchant for statement jackets, textures and the occasional roll neck or ten, Cheshire can go from all-out tux to T-shirt and trainers and still have his personal style shine through.
15. Alex Turner
With a new Arctic Monkeys album dropping in May this year, you had to expect another remix from style chameleon Alex Turner. Like many frontmen before him, Turner changes his look often and without half measures. Echoing the album’s retro stylings, this year’s Turner is straight out of a ’70s jazz lounge-cum-detective agency, all colourful suits, wide-collared shirts and tinted eyewear. There are still traces of the rockabilly look we last saw from him, though he took a trimmer to the gelled-back hair in the summer. Like a lot of the people on our list, he’s never repetitive.
14. Prince Charles
You only need to look as far as the brands that hold a Royal Warrant for dressing HRH Prince Charles to see why he deserves a place on this list. Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard, Bond-favoured shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser, Northampton shoe firm John Lobb and British powerhouse Burberry are all namechecked, marking the future king out as not just a man with a penchant for impeccably cut double-breasted suits and smartly shined Oxford shoes, but one with knowledge of where to get the best. He turned 70 this year and out-dressed his sons at every turn. Take a bow, your highness.
13. Harry Styles
Harry Styles is best known for his soft-rock sounds and Jagger-esque dance moves, but in recent years the ex-Directioner has also established himself as one of the better-dressed men in the music industry. Out of the boy-band bubble, these days his wardrobe reflects the switch from pop puppet to viable frontman, with a slew of coloured suits, crushed velvet textures and plenty of IDGAF swag. You can’t bribe the door on your way into a Gucci campaign, you know.
12. David Gandy
When trends go batshit, as they undoubtedly have this year, you can always navigate your way to good style by following the north star of menswear himself, David Gandy. Brilliant and unchanging, he’s a fixed point – a guiding light through choppiest of fashion trends. Gandy’s formula of excellent suits and tailored casual wear is and always has been masculine, rakish and proudly British. This year, he debuted his first ever tailoring range, with a capsule collection designed for Marks & Spencer. Somewhat predictably, it’s really good.
11. Donald Glover
As an industry built on classic staple items, it’s unsurprising that, until recently, there was relatively little innovation in men’s style from season to season. Then along came dressers like Donald Glover, and suddenly brands across the spectrum went into overdrive, turning out the kind of big, bold silhouettes favoured by Childish Gambino on the red carpet. The influence of the actor/rapper/writer/director is evident, not least because he can claim one of the most popular videos of 2018 (thanks to ‘This Is America’), but because he has one of the most popular wardrobes too, decked out with ’70s-tinged suits and preppy casual gear.
10. Justin Bieber
Look, we’re as surprised about this as you are, but the fact is Justin Bieber had a very good year considering he spent the majority of it dressed like a California mallrat. He sits on the board of directors of the scumbro trend alongside Jonah Hill, Shia LaBeouf and comedian Pete Davidson. From there, he has been genuinely influential in creating a fashion movement that had nothing to do with designers and everything to do with social media and celebrity culture.
The Bieber look consists of long gym shorts, oversized hoodies, socks with sliders and baseball caps. It’s a little bit hip-hop, a big bit skater, but it’s crazier than both. Somehow it works. We’re not saying you’re definitely going to like it, but you’ll definitely have an opinion.
Any man who can wear a pink denim suit made by Balenciaga and make it look good (as Khalid did at this year’s American Music Awards) is worthy of inclusion on this list. A man who backs it up by consistently pushing the boundaries of what your suit should look like is frankly someone everyone should be paying attention to. In the past 12 months Khalid has hit the red carpet in clashing checks, metallic suits, advanced-level pastels and double denim. With the possible exception of Jeff Goldblum, nobody else seems to have as much fun with their clothes. Great hair, too.
8. David Beckham
It’s usually bad form to out-dress the groom on his big day, especially when the lucky man is also sixth in line to the throne. But then Prince Harry should have known better than to invite David Beckham to this summer’s royal wedding. Beckham in morning dress is the same as Beckham in motorcycle gear, or Beckham in tweed, or Beckham at Fashion Week – better than everyone else, basically.
It’s been another quiet year for Dave, what with the launch of his own grooming brand (and his own US soccer franchise), busy family life and charity work on top. What Beckham’s wardrobe does maybe better than anyone else’s is its versatility: he looks perfectly dressed for all those things, all the bloody time.
7. Ryan Gosling
Do you know it’s been seven years since Drive? The man-crush over Ryan Gosling’s wardrobe is starting to feel more like a long-term relationship. And here we are, still going steady in 2018. Gosling has flirted with mid-century styles in recent years, but now his favourite reference point seems to be the 1970s. We’ve seen him in brown suits, clashing patterns, dorky knitwear and printed shirts. At least on the red carpet – off-duty he’s more often seen in a denim jacket and work boots. Both looks pair well with the general air of insouciance he wears with everything.
6. Daniel Kaluuya
The breakout Brit of recent years followed up his star-making turn in Get Out with 2018 appearances Black Panther and Widows. He’s been everywhere, all year, and on both the publicity tour and the awards circuit, Daniel Kaluuya didn’t have a thread out of place. He’s a master of tonal dressing and looks tailored in casual gear, but he’s at his best in reinterpretations of classic tailoring. It could be the colour of his suit or what he’s got on under the jacket, but it’s never boring. We’d happily wear the caramel dinner jacket he had for the Oscars every damn day. Any chance, Dan?
5. A$AP Rocky
Praise the lord, it’s the undisputed king of high-fashion hip-hop. A$AP Rocky is one of the originators of the couture streetwear look that has become the new fashion paradigm over the past few years. He sang “Raf Simons, Rick Owens: usually what I’m dressed in” while draped in a Supreme gym towel in the video for ‘Peso’ back in 2011 for crying out loud. If that isn’t predicting the future of fashion, then we don’t know what is. Anyway, he’s still at it here in 2018, mixing sportswear, high-end fashion and grills to glorious effect.
4. Henry Golding
At the beginning of the year, Henry Golding was a presenter on the BBC’s The Travel Show. At the end of it, he’s a Hollywood leading man and one of the most stylish men on the planet. It’s a modern day Cinderella story, only less of the glass slippers and more of Golding’s impeccable three-piece suits. The British-Malaysian actor flits effortlessly between classic and contemporary tailoring, keeping it all buttoned-up for the former, loose and relaxed with a pair of chunky trainers on the latter. Every inch the leading man.
3. Timothée Chalamet
Heartthrob du jour and proud owner of the finest hair since Alexander the Great, Timothée Chalamet has continued his ascent into Hollywood royalty after a breakout 2017. His breezy, broad-ranging and distinctly modern take on red carpet tailoring has been a key part of the success. The suits are sharp and slim, kitted out with fancy embroidering and plush fabrics, a simple tee balancing the look underneath. It’s all part of the relaxed tailoring revolution, a movement stylishly spearheaded by the Call Me By Your Name star.
2. Jonah Hill
This year saw the completion of two-time Academy Award winner Jonah Hill’s glow up. The boy has come a long way, especially in style terms, from his rodeo shirt wearing breakout in Superbad (although we guess that’s trendy now). A regular fixture at awards ceremonies, Hill has cultivated a simple monochrome get-up for smart occasions. But it’s on the streets where he really stands out. As the king of the Scumbro look, skatewear is repped, sneakers are on point and he even makes tie-dye look cool all balanced out by some wide leg jeans and a loose varsity jacket. In a year when trends went haywire, Jonah Hill was the guy pulling all the strings.
1. Michael B. Jordan
A series of hits from Black Panther through Fahrenheit 451 to Creed II means 2018 has been a blockbuster year for Michael B. Jordan. The same is true of the man’s style. He doesn’t show it off like some do, but he’s made every menswear move that matters this year and topped it off by becoming the face of Coach for 2019.
We’ve seen chunky, multicoloured knits, statement streetwear, subtle nods to the leaders of the black rights movement and exemplary tailoring, usually with an individual twist that makes it his. The fact that he does all this on the bulky frame of Adonis Creed makes it even more impressive.
The kaleidoscope of colours and silhouettes that surfaced in menswear this year could be off-putting for the average guy. Michael B. Jordan is the man who proves that it doesn’t have to be. He takes what he wants from trends, makes them his own and seems to understand the single best thing about the way menswear has gone this year: you can have it all and still look great.