We have featured Kanye West on site before, as he was picked by the readers as our 4th best dressed male of 2009. So can he continue his streak of being in our top 5 list which we will reveal early next year? The choice, dear reader, will end up in your hands. Whether you love him or hate him (his ego and all the other crazy that comes with him), this article is going to focus on the fashion and style. So try and keep an open mind as you go through it, and form an unbiased opinion.
As we have featured a look book before, and due to the fact that his look changes on a daily basis, Matthew has tried to concentrate on some of his more recent outfits and grouped together some similar styles, so you can get the look. I hope you enjoy…
With the recent release of his short film ‘Runaway’, I thought it would be appropriate for this weeks style icon to be Mr Kanye West. Widely regarded as a style icon by his fans and his peers, Kanye West’s film Runaway highlights his great sense of both visual art and fashion. With his well known collaboration with Louis Vuitton, his surprise internship during a musical sabbatical at Italian High Fashion House Fendi, and general love of fashion, Kanye West is the definition of a style icon. Whether you love him or hate him, you can still draw inspiration by the way he creatively and instinctively throws pieces together in order to create an individual look.
As we have seen from most of the style icons we have featured, they can afford luxury high fashion brands, but I will stand by my opinion that this doesn’t matter in your quest to achieve the style of the men in this series. High street brands, small independent quirky boutiques and vintage stores (my favourite) give you everything you need to re-create a particular look on a budget – or you can just take small pieces of inspiration from a particular icons look and integrate it into your own personal style.
Kanye West’s style is a mix of casual cool and sprucely smart. His day-to-day wear is amazing to say the least; but the thing is, it’s easy to re-create. As we can see above, a typical casual outfit consists of a pair of slim or straight jeans (in dark or raw denim), with a scoop neck or low rise plain t-shirt. The outfit always includes hi-top sneakers or a great pair of chunky boots, and is usually finished off with a zip-up hooded jacket. This creates a cool and relaxed look, but by getting the correct fit with his jeans and using fashion forward cuts and materials – like scoop neck tees, cashmere hoodies or raw selvedge denim – it means that you can tell he knows about fashion. It is not over the top and an altogether more subtle approach to dressing well, which is maybe something not typically associated with Kanye over recent years. Of course, the man still loves his footwear, and has a knack for picking styles that finish off a look perfectly.
Accessories are what makes his outfits stand out from the standard look that anybody can pull off. Consisting of looped gold chains, pendant necklaces and black wayfarer sunglasses, Kanye puts HIS mark on his outfits. This is what is going to make you stand out from the rest of the ‘casual’ crowd. Personalising your outfits is the way to be seen as fashion forward, and this is something Kanye does with panache. From chains to sunglasses, and scarves to hats, each addition to your outfit will make it your own. I personally love outfits with a pendant (or a stack of pendants/necklaces/ropes) worn over the top of a scoop neck t-shirt – don’t feel like you have to hide your jewellery, be confident enough to show the world your particular taste.
This look is a lot more sophisticated and shows more of his fashion credentials. His evening outfits nearly always consist of a blazer which is either part of a suit or used as a separate. Kanye seems to dress around the blazer, and it is layered over the top of a scoop/v-neck tee (like his casual wear) or slim fitted shirt. Whether he is in a suit or pairing the blazer with some slim trousers or jeans, Kanye always likes to feel comfortable. No matter how sharp his outfit is, he tends to forgo using a tie, instead opting for a casual tee or leaving a couple of buttons open on his shirt. This gives him that effortless but refined look, and his outfit is brought up a notch again using accessories such as pocket squares.
The one thing that variates from the day-wear is the colour palette. The colour palette of his evening wear collections includes colours a lot brighter than the usually dark colour palette which is prominent in his day wear. In the lookbook above and you can see reds, camels and even whites in the more formal outfits. This brightens his whole appearance and gives him some individuality from the rest of the crowd. Outfits such as the camel suit and the use of a bold red blazer with white trousers and tee take a lot of confidence to pull off, but if you get it right, then all eyes will be on you.
My favourite of his evening-wear looks is the black blazer, granddad button t-shirt, with dark jeans and simply amazing tassel loafers/slippers. This is a contemporary mix of traditional and modern, and a look I encourage you Fashionbeaners to aim for this season.
In the Runaway film, he wears a shawl collar dinner jacket that is stunning. The jacket is white with a black shawl collar. Amazing. You can have a look at the Runaway video here and see how the film is full of great style inspirations:
Get The Look
Now for the short list of key wardrobe items to get the Kanye West look:
- Slim/Straight jeans or trousers – Opt for quality materials such as organic or raw selvedge denim that will adapt and become unique to the wear and tear you put it through.
- Premium Basics - Scoop/v-neck t-shirts or slim fit shirt.
- Accessories - Anything which makes the look personal to you; jewellery, pendants, watches, pocket squares, bow ties, scarves and the like are all fair game.
- Footwear - Hi-tops/tasselled loafers/boots.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks style icon. Remember the men featured in this series are going to be used in the list of men in the running for the Fashionbeans Man of the Year award.