Bowie. Prince. Dylan. These are the names that often come to mind when we think of the most stylish musicians of our time. Embracing fashion in dynamic ways, these men – among others – are known just as well for their distinctive aesthetics as they are for their iconic sound.
But aside from the established greats, are there any contemporary artists we can learn from? Which chart-toppers and up-and-comers are worth taking inspiration from today?
We’ve rounded up a number of bands and soloists who are not only setting the musical standard this year, but the sartorial one too, breaking down what makes their look unique and the lessons we can take away from it.
Mumford & Sons
Having emerged in the UK circa 2008, four-piece Mumford & Sons became known for their Old Crow-esque look as well as their folk- and bluegrass-inspired sound. But in May this year, the band traded in their banjos and kick-drums for electric guitars and full drum kits, unveiling their third album, Wilder Mind.
Of course, with the new sound came a new look. While in the past few years you might’ve seen Mumford & Sons sporting waistcoats, fedora hats and the slacks of yesteryear, the release of Wilder Mind sees them kitted out in Oxford button-downs, sleek leather jackets and minimalist overcoats.
Like the look? We suggest starting with a plain long-sleeved Oxford shirt from the likes of Uniqlo or Gap, combined with a classic leather jacket from the experts of rugged and rock-infused, AllSaints. Team with jet black or raw selvedge jeans and a pair of classic Chelsea boots for a contemporary take on the traditional indie aesthetic.
During the colder months, layer a black or camel overcoat over the top as a final touch.
Get The Look
- He By Mango Leather Biker Jacket
- Allsaints Utility Leather Bomber Jacket
- Selected Overcoat With Stretch
- Uniqlo Men Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
- Uniqlo Men Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
- Reiss Ascot Button-down Oxford Shirt White
- J.crew Slim-fit Wool And Cashmere-blend Overcoat
- Reiss Benares Slim-fit Jeans Black
- Nudie Jeans Thin Finn Slim-fit Organic Dry Denim Jeans
- He By Mango Unstructured Jersey Blazer
- Allsaints Brisk Boot
- Selected Homme Antonio Chelsea Boots
Signed to Wondaland Records by the just as distinctively dressed American singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe, Jidenna released his aptly titled debut single, Classic Man, back in February of this year.
A bit like a moniker for the 30-year-old Brooklynite, Classic Man is a blueprint for living as a modern gentleman: dress up, but remember to carry yourself with the requisite decorum. We can get on board with that.
Taking the archetypal hip-hop aesthetic in a new direction, Jidenna boldly mixes a timeless classicism with the outré attitude of André 3000. To tap his style, start with a two- or three-piece suit in a slightly unconventional hue, such as petrol blue or teal – we suggest going for immaculate British tailoring from Savile Row stalwarts like Gieves & Hawkes, Richard James, Ozwald Boateng or Hardy Amies if budget permits, or Reiss, Topman and J.Crew if you’re after something more affordable.
Take the look up a notch by teaming with a penny collar shirt and patterned tie from quirky brands such as Thomas Pink, Duchamp or Ted Baker. And, finally, round the look out with a pair of dark brogues or monk-straps from Ben Sherman or Church’s respectively.
All you need now is the finger-curled hair. At your own discretion, of course.
Get The Look
- Asos Skinny Fit Blazer In Oil Print Co-ord
- Reiss Xenon Modern Fit Wool Suit Blue
- Reiss Rhyme Penny Collar Shirt
- Polo Ralph Lauren Striped Linen Trousers
- Ps By Paul Smith Petrol Slim-fit Wool And Mohair-blend Suit Jacket
- Duchamp Floral Paisley Tie
- Icon Brand Black Stone Ring
- Rotary Pocket Skeleton Mechanical Watch
- Thomas Pink Birchill Spot Woven Tie
- Icon Brand Imperial Yen Ring
- Asos Brogue Shoes In Leather
- Asos Oxford Shoes In Leather
If performing alongside Katy Perry at the 2015 Super Bowl wasn’t enough of a comeback, Kravitz also released his book of photography, Flash, earlier this year. An eyebrow-raising move, maybe, but what else is someone who’s conquered the world of music and film supposed to do?
Usually seen swathed in black and white with his trademark aviator sunglasses, Kravitz doesn’t shy away from the odd daring style move, including leather pants and animal print. He dresses for his form too – as one of the least statuesque stars to feature on this list, Kravitz’s tendency to keep it monochrome is definitely a smart move, as black and white can help to elongate the body.
To kick it like Kravitz, you’ll want to stock up on plenty of form-fitting, good quality cotton T-shirts (deep-cut necklines optional). Both James Perse and A.P.C offer high quality options, so we’d suggest you start there, or try ASOS or American Apparel for lower cost alternatives.
Rather than take your cue from Kravitz’s penchant for a waistcoat worn as an outer layer, look to his mastery of rugged denim and leather jackets instead. Able to be dressed up or down, both styles deserve their spot in any contemporary wardrobe, so keep an eye out for designs that are crafted from premium fabrications, feature minimal detailing and fit exceptionally well across the shoulders.
When it comes to accessories, more is more for Kravitz. Although he can often be seen sporting multiple necklaces, bangles and rings, you may want to start out with just one or two if you’re not 100 per cent jewellery adept. Add to that a pair of all-black Ray-Bans and a long, lightweight scarf and you’re set.
Get The Look
- He By Mango Slim-fit Chest-pocket Shirt
- Asos Wool Overcoat With Raw Edges
- Asos Slim Fit T-shirt With V Neck
- Topman Mid Wash Zip Detail Denim Western Jacket
- He By Mango Elbow-patch Zipped Jacket
- Belstaff Knightley Slim-fit Coated Denim Jeans
- James Perse Crew Neck Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Alexander Mcqueen Brushed-suede Boots
- Alexander Mcqueen Skull-print Cotton Scarf
- The Kooples Sport Echarpe Reptile Print Scarf
- Ray-ban Aviator Sunglasses 0rb3523
- Ps By Paul Smith Falconer Chelsea Boots
With four albums under his belt as the frontman of The Killers, Flowers released his second solo offering, The Desired Effect, in May this year.
As with so many lead singers before him, we’ve witnessed Brandon’s style evolve over the years. Take, for example, those ostentatious feathered blazers that seem to have disappeared, along with that misguided moustache that got tongues wagging the world over some years ago. Today, for someone who rarely points to his style as a USP, Flowers often knocks it out of the park.
Flowers is the perfect example of a slimmer man who dresses perfectly for his size, channelling the indie style of his Killers heyday but updated for today – think printed short- and long-sleeved shirts combined with lean black tailoring.
To get a similar look, try trousers and jeans from Farah, Nudie or Reiss, which are ideal for those with slimmer frames. Meanwhile, Ben Sherman, Ted Baker, River Island and Uniqlo offer plenty of plain and printed shirts that fit narrow body types particularly well.
Finally, if you’re going to top it all off with some quintessentially Brandon braces (which, by the way, we think you definitely should), then make them Topman or Hackett.
Get The Look
- Ben Sherman Shirt With Polka Dot Pattern
- Antony Morato Peacoat
- Nudie Jeans Thin Finn Jeans In Black Ring
- Topman Black Ultra Skinny Suit Jacket
- Uniqlo Men Easy Care Broadcloth Long Sleeve Shirt
- Reiss Mayfair Peak Lapel Tuxedo Black
- River Island White Pointed Collar Long Sleeve Shirt
- Saint Laurent Boomerang-print Silk Shirt
- Reiss Medway Classic Twill Chinos Black
- Tomas Maier Wool-blend Peacoat
- Asos Derby Shoes In Leather
- Asos Chelsea Boots In Leather
Pharrell is, for want of a better phrase, on fleek. In addition to juggling roles that include performer, brand owner and super-producer, Williams also launched his ‘Supercolour’ collaboration with adidas this year. Add to that him receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2015 CFDA Awards earlier this month, and it’s clear we’re talking top-level style here.
Pharrell’s style is somewhat of an anomaly, as he isn’t one to stick to a certain look, on or off the red carpet. You’re just as likely to see him in a faultlessly tailored two-piece suit as you are a printed T-shirt with denim cut-off shorts and hi-tops.
We’d be fools if we didn’t recommend Pharrell’s own street and skatewear lines: Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream. His SS15 adidas collaboration (with sneakers in every shade) is also a no-brainer. But when it comes to smartening your look up, clean-cut wardrobe classics from preppy labels such as Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco and J.Crew should be at the top of your list. Especially the latter if you’re brave enough to pull off a shorts suit.
And as for the choice headwear – try a fedora if you’re feeling confident, or a simple snapback if you prefer a more casual, everyday option.
Get The Look
- J. Crew Ludlow Suit Short In Italian Cotton Pique
- Asos Chino Shorts With Camo Print
- He By Mango Skinny Vintage Wash Jude Jeans
- Raey Suede Biker Jacket
- A.p.c. Printed Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- He By Mango Cotton Chinos
- River Island Ecru Straw Leather-look Trim Trilby Hat
- Topman Black Textured Bow Tie
- Rhythm Pocket Trilby Hat In Grey
- Oliver Peoples Jack Huston Square-frame Acetate Sunglasses
- A.p.c. Polished-leather Derby Shoes
- Lanvin Calf Hair And Suede Slip-on Sneakers
Believe it or not, Nick Jonas is no stranger to a best-dressed list or two. Or even three. It might come as a surprise, but lately it seems Jonas is following in the footsteps of fellow ‘former Disney stars turned best-dressed males’ Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling, both closely watched trendsetters in their own right.
Since splitting from sibling trio The Jonas Brothers, Nick’s career has taken a new course. With a new solo album and TV show under his belt, Jonas has seen himself grace the pages of major style publications including GQ, Attitude and Flaunt to name but a few.
We’d be lying if we said Jonas’ gym-honed body isn’t part of the reason he’s landed this kind of coverage, so if you’re taking a leaf from his book, then you better put the hours in at the gym and make sure you eat clean.
Style-wise, Jonas is about all-American classics given a slightly smarter slant; for off-duty looks, it’s tees, sweatshirts, jeans and leather bomber jackets, while for formal events he’s a fan of classic single-breasted suiting that’s cut to flatter his athletic frame.
He may wear a leather jacket like a Mumford and have the similar height and build of Kravitz, but he carries his look with ease.
Get The Look
- Asos Leather Harrington
- Vito Casual Cotton Suit Jacket Inskinny Fit
- Asos Slim Fit Suit In Darkgreen Pindot
- He By Mango Slim-fit Black Jan Jeans
- Topman Premium White Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
- He By Mango Dark Denim Jacket
- Austin Reed Double Breasted Prince Of Wales Coat
- Reigning Champ Mid-weight Slim-fit Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Nn.07 Harry Lightweight Weather-resistant Harrington Jacket
- River Island Green Suit Jacket
- River Island Black Leather Pointed Formal Shoes
- Common Projects Achilles Canvas Sneakers
DJ, singer and producer of some of modern-day pop’s most iconic hits, including earworm Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson is celebrated just as much for his meticulously honed aesthetic, as his chart-topping tracks.
Unlike some of his listmates, Ronson hasn’t really undergone a dramatic wardrobe overhaul over the course of his career. Because he hasn’t needed to. Emerging on the scene in earnest in 2007, the London-born musician has mostly stuck to his sartorial guns, opting for statement tailoring and outerwear (boldly coloured and printed blazers, dramatically proportioned overcoats) while incorporating a few nods to whatever’s current.
Today, Ronson takes a little of motocross, rockabilly and the subtler markers of glam rock to create a unique and show-stopping signature style.
Feeling inspired? Look to brands like Topman and Noose & Monkey for lean-cut statement suiting, or go upscale with the likes of Paul Smith, Burberry and Etro.
Get The Look
- Noose & Monkey Floral Printed Velvet Blazer In Skinny Fit
- Asos Harris Tweed Overcoat In Herringbone
- Asos Smart Shirt With Long Sleeve And Button Down Collar
- He By Mango Modern Slim-fit Suit Trousers
- Topman Brown Check Suit
- Topman Black Tartan Skinny Tuxedo
- Topman Palm Print Skinny Blazer
- Forall Blazer
- Etro Printed Blazer
- Reiss Bless Crew Neck T-shirt White
- Adieu Type 36 Two-tone Leather Derby Shoes
- Churchs Sovereign Embroidered Velvet Slippers
Bowie and co. may have set the bar for male musicians, but it’s these gents of 2015 who are offering a fresh and contemporary approach to men’s fashion.
Whose style wins your vote and who else do you think should be on the list?
Let us know in the comments section.