The Semifinals, 12/16
In this bracket—as in that other, more famous college-hoops one—the second round is where the wheat and chaff begin to separate. Where the upstart underdog's run ends at the feet of a juggernaut. Jerry Lorenzo's revolutionary suiting couldn't get him over the hump against a bubble-tested LeBron James, while Timothée Chalamet made surprisingly short work of Travis Scott. (La Flame's army of McDonald's-devouring hypebeasts, it turns out, was no match for Timmy's international squad of stans.) In perhaps something of an upset, Tyler, the Creator and his trusty Timex (or is that his trusty…Cartier?) sent Brad Pitt packing. And in something less than an upset, the unstoppable speeding train that is Harry Styles left no survivors in his matchup against Pharrell.
Any easy choices there might have been in the first two rounds—and there weren't many!—vanish as we head to the semifinals. LeBron, the King, faces off against Chalamet, onetime star of a film called The King. And on the other side of the bracket, it's an absolute war of sweater-vest enthusiasts, with Tyler, the Creator the next poor soul to mount a defense against Harry Styles. Can his leopard-spotted pullovers make the difference? We'll know by this time tomorrow—come back here to find out who won.
Meet the contenders below, and head to GQ's Instagram to cast your vote ▸
The Quarterfinals, 12/15
And with that, Round One is in the books. As you might expect in a year as weird as this one, some funky stuff is happening! Okay, not too much funky stuff: LeBron James held off a feisty Steve Kornacki, the latter (and his now-famous khakis) fresh off a guest-tableting gig on Sunday Night Football. Leather-blazered legend Jerry Lorenzo managed to knock off Justin Bieber—who, you'll recall, was once notably styled by…Jerry Lorenzo. Travis Scott's year of dominance continued with a win over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, while Timmy Chalamet refused to Let Love Rule and dispatched Lenny Kravitz. Tyler, the Creator strolled past Marc Jacobs, Brad Pitt eased over DeAndre Hopkins, and Diplo “took this L” against Harry Styles. In perhaps the most exciting matchup of the round, Jeremy O. Harris enlisted the Haim sisters in his fight against the ageless Pharrell—who, skin-care routine and all, still managed to prevail.
All of which sets us up for a rather tasty quarterfinal round. LeBron will stare down Jerry Lorenzo, whose latest Fear of God collection is basically the present and future of luxed-up NBA style. Travis Scott and Timothée Chalamet will butt heads in a contest to secure the heart of young America. Tyler, the Creator will carry his millennial flag against the still-ageless Brad Pitt, and Harry Styles and Pharrell (who both look 19) will face off. It's all happening on GQ's Instagram, and your vote is everything for the next 24 hours. Check back here for the results tomorrow.
Moving to Florida does funny things to personal style. So it would have been entirely understandable if LeBron James, after relocating to the NBA bubble in Orlando this summer, had started wearing, like, sarongs and flip-flops. But the King is the King for a reason, and LBJ used his time at Disney World to test-drive some new style concepts: matching sets, totally unbuttoned shirts, and even a little Grateful Dead merch. Many of us turned to soft clothes during these long, homebound pandemic months. LeBron did too—but he reminded us that wearing them doesn’t have to mean giving up.
Well, someone had to have a good 2020, right? Scott didn’t put out a new album this year—instead, he used the time to cement his place at the white-hot center of youth culture. He threw a concert in Fortnite and launched a PlayStation. He put out more Jordans, and a whole line of McDonald’s merch. And he dressed for the part throughout, continuing to refine a jeans-and-tee wardrobe heavy on dusty tones, archival grails, and rare sneakers. If you can’t figure out how your preteen cousin learned about Helmut Lang, well—the answer should be obvious by now. Cactus Jack sent him.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator dresses like a grandpa who just learned how to kickflip. And it rules. He knocks the stuffiness out of corduroy suits and boxy sweater vests, and makes an excellent case for throwing out all your shoes that aren’t chunky loafers. His fits are bright, cheerful, and—crucially—accessible. You don’t need an owner’s manual or a million bucks to emulate Tyler’s elevated streetwear silhouettes. You just need white socks and a good attitude—and maybe the keys to your grandpa’s closet.
No celebrity has moved the Overton window of menswear more than Mr. Harry Styles, whose recent Vogue cover—featuring the pop star in a Gucci dress—was so radically awesome that it spawned a multi-day right-wing freakout. As perhaps the most famous 20-something on the planet, Styles—with his stylist, Harry Lambert—has almost single-handedly normalized the bell-bottom trouser, the sexy boot, the silky suit, the glammed-up beauty moment. And though he’s given us all the keys, no one does it better than Styles himself.
Lenny Kravitz has spent the bulk of this year in the Bahamas, at his home on the island of Eleuthera. We do not imagine he has been wearing any more clothing than has been strictly necessary. But such is the force of Kravitz’s personal style—and so wicked were his outfits in the first three months of the year—that he was an easy lock for a spot in this competition. Lenny put out a memoir this year, called Let Love Rule. We’re excited for the follow-up, which will presumably be titled Let Looks Rule.
Perhaps the most frequently shirtless entrant in this competition, Diplo nonetheless earns a spot here on the strength of his less frequent clothed outings. Our man is committed to the bit, if by “bit” we mean “wearing a cowboy hat,” and by “committed” we mean “does it more than most other mainstream celebrities, in a half ironic but not uncharming way.” Yeehaw!
Brad Pitt doesn’t care about fashion. On a less peaceable guy, that might read as arrogant or just misguided, but Pitt simply knows what makes him feel good and wears it…and wears it and wears it. Like his Elder Statesman sweater, and his Yeezy 750s, and his red plaid shirt. Pitt never overthinks it, which is the secret to looking good in a Brioni tux or shredded jeans.
A lot of fashion designers abstain from participating in the art itself, taking runway bows in anonymous black T-shirts and jeans. But Jerry Lorenzo, whose label, Fear of God, hit astronomic new strides this year, walks the walk, in perfect slate-gray sweats, artfully slouched long-sleeves, and majestic coats. It isn’t simply that he’s his own best advertisement—it's that, like his fashion hero, Ralph Lauren, he believes in the dream.
Justin Bieber’s relationship with stylist Karla Welch is one of the great collaborations of our time—the superstylist sends Bieber riotous tie-dyes, plaid shirts, and perfect pairs of baggy pants, and he freaks them into a strange new dimension, stuffing the bottoms of his sweatpants into his socks, running errands in hotel slippers, or matching his incredible rare pair of Riccardo Tisci–designed Nikes from 2018 to a mustard-yellow kit by his own brand, Drew.
Pharrell lives at least five years ahead of the rest of the world—he was one of the first dudes to wear Chanel, and softened up menswear way before Harry Styles could say “Gucci-Gucci-goo.” This year he became a short-shorts enthusiast, but even when Pharrell is embracing menswear’s most popular (albeit controversial) short inseam, he does it with his own crispy panache.
Everyone’s favorite election analyst wore his Gap khakis on a stroll straight into our hearts this election cycle. Kornacki is evidence that wearing archival designer grails, StockX-chum sneakers, and luxury labels is hardly the type of weaponry necessary when waging battle against the greats in a battle royale for the title of most stylish man of the year. The magic of Kornacki’s style is how well it served its purpose—his clothes worked as a sartorial Xanax, helping to calm a perpetually jaw-clenched nation.
The NBA’s rising fashion superstar, once again, resides in Oklahoma City. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was taking the well-trod route to style-icon status through NBA tunnel arenas before the pandemic put a halt to all that. However, some time away from arenas only cemented SGA’s status as one of the league’s best-dressed players. From home, Gilgeous-Alexander grabbed the title of quarantine MVP by posting the pitch-perfect baggy and streetwear-heavy outfits we’ve grown accustomed to. He even started a fits tournament to get everyone at home dressing like they had someplace to go.
Compared to the NBA, the NFL is not known for its outrageously stylish athletes. That perception could shift on the strength of Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins alone. The star has spent 2020 catching absurd Hail Marys and getting his mitts on even more outrageous fits. He treats the iridescent Louis Vuitton keepall like a beater piece of luggage, makes dressing like a cast member from The Matrix look cool as hell, and understands the best pants in 2020 are loose pants.
Timothée Chalamet doesn’t need a red carpet to show why he’s one of the best-dressed guys in the world right now. No one got more churn out of a Prada windbreaker than Chalamet, who rode it to multiple huge fits. This year didn’t consist of the usual Haider Ackmermann suits or the Louis Vuitton accessories that have thus far gilded Chalamet’s ascension to Fit God, but he’s still finding ways to bend the style universe toward his everyday wear. At this point, Chalamet can’t wear a brand’s hats without creating a fashion earthquake. Even vintage Juicy Couture velour hoodies were back in high demand after he wore one in this magazine.
If you ask us, the iconic designer is already the most stylish person of 2020. While we hunkered down in sweatpants, Jacobs went full throttle on his most outlandish and expressive outfits, blessing our feeds with fit pics by the dozen that reminded us that fashion is, at its core, about having fun. And, importantly, his fits—replete with Prada, Rick Owens, and Celine—transcend the industry’s outmoded insistence that clothes be gendered. Jacobs’s style isn’t just personal: It insists that you, too, can dress however you like.
Jeremy O. Harris
Jeremy O. Harris has the closet of a true fashion connoisseur, with racks on racks of Gucci, Bode, Thom Browne, and Telfar. But the Slave Play playwright has something even more important. Whether he’s wearing a pleated skirt or a plush sweatsuit, Harris’s clothes fit. (No small feat when you’re 6’5”.) The clothes don’t wear him—he wears the clothes, and does so with an effortlessness that makes you realize why Gucci designer Alessandro Michele counts him as a muse.
Originally Appeared on GQ