Uncertain times like these have often impacted our mindsets and our wardrobes. But while our closets were driven by the need for comfort due to the onset of the pandemic last year, 2021 offered a fresh perspective on style. As the year progressed, the need to “dress to impress” swept the zeitgeist as the best dressed men of the world emerged back into our daily lives with a fresh take on men’s style.
But who have emerged as those that truly influence us? New style stars have come to the forefront to tap into our idea of what makes a well-dressed man this year. Some celebrities have embraced more gender-fluid dressing by rocking crop tops and glam sequin and feathered looks. Some have opted to reimagine the suit for a new sartorial age with increasing voluminous shapes and double-breasted models. And some have chosen to bring a new take on streetwear. There’s something for everyone.
And how did we get here, you ask? Undoubtedly our behavior during quarantine may have something to do with who has entered the style chat in 2021. From consuming too much streaming entertainment – and social media – more people were spending time online, on their phones, and in front of their TVs these past two year. A new wave of influencers on TikTok have impacted some of society’s new style moves. But don’t fear, musicians, athletes, Netflix stars, and Hollywood notables have also stepped up to the style plate in 2021. Bringing us an endless supply of fresh looks.
Here, FN features some of the best dressed men of the year who have claimed their stake as a menswear trendsetter.
Lil Nas X
The king of trolling his haters, Lil Nas X had a transformative year for both his career and his style. The “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” singer released a new album, teased a controversial Nike sneaker featuring real human blood, and made an appearance on the infamous talk show “Maury.” As for his style, the rapper consistently delivered unexpected looks all year. His lilac pant suit with train from Atelier Versace at the MTV VMA’s this year along with his Andrea Grossi gown at the BET Awards gender-bent the men’s style rules this year. And let’s not forget all three looks he delivered at this year’s Met Gala.
The former One Direction star came into his own this year with endless Gucci looks. Back in March at the Grammy Awards, the music artist ushered in revenge fashion by sporting a Gucci textured wool and checked cropped jacket with velvet trousers and a purple feather boa casually thrown around his neck. He then took the stage in a leather Gucci suit with no shirt underneath, as well as a long green feather boa to perform his hit “Watermelon Sugar.”
Speaking of Gucci, Mr. Leto, a favorite muse of the brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele, also served up some looks from the Italian fashion house. His go-to style move this year came in the form of the Gucci velvet suit in multiple colorways (sometimes with a hint of feathers) for his “House of Gucci” premiere and press tour.
Also known as Rihanna’s boyfriend, A$AP Rocky is always serving fresh looks. From his Vans collab to the ERL quilt he donned on the Met Gala red carpet, the rapper’s take on style has earned him tons of press and accolades this year. We expect to see more matching moments with his mogul girlfriend come 2022.
Machine Gun Kelly
Another musician with a famous girlfriend, Machine Gun Kelly has been everywhere this year with Megan Fox. His best look came at the MTV VMAs in Brooklyn where he wore a red sequin Dolce & Gabbana suit. Kelly’s black Balmain tuxedo at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards with matching black tongue also made a break-out statement this year. We expect to see more adventurous looks – and skin – from the power couple in 2022.
Shawn Mendes’ style has evolved from classic suits, boots, T-shirts and sneakers to open shirts and colorful suits. This year, Mendes embraced the oversized suit trend in an all-white look while also taking on the suit-sans-shirt trend a day later with an all-black Michael Kors ensemble at the Met Gala. It’s good to see that Mendes has taken the time this year to break out of his shell and more have fun with what he wears.
The “Dune” actor has always been seen as a style star since he took the red carpet for the first time. A stand-out look this year was his industrial-inspired black suit from Alexander McQueen’s spring 2022 men’s collection. The suit was embellished with silver zipper details that were placed on the jacket sleeves and along the trousers. The actor paired the look with silver chain jewelry. Let’s also not forget his sparkly black suit from French designer Haider Ackermann at the Venice Film Festival this summer.
The “Schitt’s Creek” star took on award’s season this year with an expert level of finesse. Maison Valentino seemed to be a favorite choice for the actor, who wore a blue suit from the Italian label to the Emmys and a yellowish-green suit to the at-home Golden Globes. The beautiful cream suit he wore for the SAG Awards from The Row and the statement-making Loewe look at this year’s Met Gala is also unforgettable.
While 2020 forced the popular K-Pop band to remote press, this year marked the return of the uber-stylish gents to the red carpet. The boys always seem to serve up certified style, dressed in an array of colorful ensembles. At the 2021 KIIS FM Jingle Ball, some members, like BTS’ Park Ji-min, opted for fun but formal suit, while member Rap Monster was fitted in a more street style-casual sweatshirt, slack and bucket hat. The group’s style truly reflects what is trendy in men’s fashion at the moment, including pieces like colorful sneakers and cool cardigans.
Always known to have eccentric style, the Puerto Rican artist is known to pull out all the stops when getting dressed. For the 2021 Grammy’s, Bad Bunny wore a full Burberry by Riccardo Tisci look, Bonnie Clyde “Shy Guy” frames, Departamento boots in collaboration with Premiata, and accessorized with an endearing yellow sunflower. The “La Anoche de Anoche” singer was also seen in a baby blue suit with a white shirt and white shoes at the 2021 Billboard Latin Awards that did not disappoint.
An unlikely mention for this list, but the “Ted Lasso” star has made news due to his character’s shoe game. In season 2 alone, Lasso could be seen wearing Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG University Blue sneakers, Air Jordan 1 Low Light Smoke Greys, Air Jordan 5s, Nike Daybreak shoes and Jordan Delta Breathe sneakers. But on the red carpet, Sudeikis didn’t disappoint this year. His crowning moment — powder blue velvet Tom Ford suit with crisp black bow tie and slicked back hair — a complete 180 from his 2021 Golden Globes look (a simple tie dye hoodie).
Another unlikely name for this list, the “Don’t Look Up” star has been killing the fashion game this year. From matching light blue Gucci suits with girlfriend Sarah Brady and endless street style moments this year, Hill has gained a following of men that appreciate his take on fashion. Who doesn’t love that?
One of the breakout stars from Netflix’s “The Crown,” O’Connor has had several memorable fashion moments this year. From his at home Golden Globes look to his love it or hate it Emmys look, O’Connor is a budding fashion darling. He’s also been seen in a few projects with designer Jonathan Anderson as his latest muse for Loewe, most recently attending the brand’s Miami party for Art Basel.
The Formula One driver has always enjoyed fashion. His hit collaboration with designer Tommy Hilfiger brought his style sensibilities to the masses. One of his best style moments included a Tommy Hilfiger suit at the 2019 Met Gala. Moving into this year, Hamilton showed out in a electric blue suit at the WSJ Innovator Awards. We look forward to seeing more from him.
Tyler, the Creator
Another star rocking Gucci, Tyler the Creator is a natural style leader. He’s known for his quirky takes on menswear staples as well as the founder of his own clothing label Golf Wang. While his style choices bring a smile to our faces, we can’t wait to see what looks he will turn out in 2022.