Between the recent conclusion of Project Runway‘s fifth season and this Wednesday’s premiere of the new reality show Stylista on the CW, fashion is all the rage. Finding inspiration from your favorite celebrity or cattily commenting on your friends’ fashion faux pas has become hip thanks to this boom of fashion and modeling reality shows.
In that spirit, BuddyTV set out to compile our list of the best fashion accessories on TV, the signature looks that made certain characters stand out. In our preparation, we came to a shocking realization: right now, fashion is all about the men. In the early party of this decade, Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City made every woman crave a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Fashion is often cyclical, and now, it’s time for the men to have their moment in the spotlight.
We changed our list to highlight the top 10 male fashion icons. Whether it’s a specific article of clothing or a key accessory, men on TV are boldly establishing their own signature looks. They make it work in a way that would make Tim Gunn proud, and they strut their stuff with more ferocity than Tyra Banks.
In compiling this list, we thought about every possible way a man can express his unique fashion sense. For some, it’s with hats or eyewear. For others, a specific piece of jewelry is what completes the whole ensemble. These are the guys with very special looks that let them stand out in a crowd and express their individuality.
Check out our list to see if your favorite male fashion icon is here. Do you prefer the brightly colored fashion sense of a certain Gossip Girl bad boy, or have you decided to buy a pair of horn-rimmed glasses? Would you rather see a man covered in a well-tailored suit or tattoos? Continue through our gallery to see all of our top 10 male fashion icons.
#10 Frank’s Hats, ’30 Rock’
Judah Friedlander is a funny guy, and his comedic persona on 30 Rock is made even funnier by his constantly changing hats. The hats feature different slogans in every episode, usually in-jokes about his favorite movies or commentary on a wide range of social issues.
The concept of using a hat to express yourself is fantastic, but what makes it even more impressive is the hats are actually Judah Friedlander’s designs. He creates his own hats and, somehow, has convinced Tina Fey and the producers of 30 Rock that Frank should wear them in every episode. The hats are the perfect blend of self-expression and shameless capitalism, because , as an actor on 30 Rock, he gets paid to promote his own business because Friedlander sells the hats on his personal website.
#9 Mikhail’s Eye Patch, ‘Lost’
A great villain needs a little something extra to stand out from the crowd, whether it be a grisly facial scar, funny accent or furry animal companion. Lost‘s Mikhail Bakunin may be memorable for his unnatural ability to defy death on several different occasions, but it’s his awesome eye patch that truly puts him a cut above the Others.
Mikhail, or “Patchy” as we like to call him, somehow survived having his brain fried by a sonar fence and getting shot in the chest with a spear gun. We don’t know why the Island kept the crazed Russian alive for so long, but we like to think it was because of the unstoppable bad-assery of the eye patch. Now that the amazing fashion accessory is blown to bits somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, we hope it, and Patchy, rest in peace.
#8 Michael’s Tattoos, ‘Prison Break’
Tattoos aren’t exactly sexy, especially when they cover your entire body. But when that body belongs to Prison Break‘s Wentworth Miller, exceptions can be made. The reason Michael Scofield’s tattoos are a great fashion statement has nothing to do with the way they look, but what they represent.
Michael is the kind of guy who will deface his entire body to save his brother’s life, using the tattoos as a map to help him break out of prison. That makes the tattoos a beautiful display of his fraternal devotion. Although he had them removed at the start of season 4, fans will always associate Michael Scofield with the full-body tattoo.
#7 Jamie’s Cape, ‘One Tree Hill’
Little kids often get attached to stuffed animals, imaginary friends or special pieces of clothing, and One Tree Hill‘s Jamie Scott is no different. The ridiculously adorable youngster, who’s obviously seen one too many superhero movies, has been inseparable from his bright red cape since he first appeared on the series. There are some fashion accessories that are perfect for everything from Rock Band competitions to basketball games.
Jamie is so attached to his cape that he even promised to make another one for his friend Quentin. After Quentin was shot and killed in a robbery attempt, Jamie proved what it really means to be a superhero. He finished the cape, with his mom’s help, of course, and draped it over Quentin’s coffin at his funeral. Sometimes it takes a five-year-old to show us that great fashion can bridge the gap between life and death.
#6 HRG’s Glasses, ‘Heroes’
Before Jack Coleman came along on Heroes, I, like many others, had no idea what horn-rimmed glasses were. To be honest, I still don’t. What I do know is that Coleman and the show have created a character so uniquely identified with a single fashion decision that the character is named after it.
The nerdy glasses are the perfect choice because they only serve to make his bad-ass nature more terrifying. Even without powers, I’d pick HRG to win in a fight against any other character on the show, and the glasses are a big part of it. They make him look like a normal guy, and when an average person snaps, it’s a lot more troubling than if someone who looks like a thug tries to rob you. You expect that from them, but with HRG, the glasses lower your expectations for the man behind them, making him more lethal.
#5 Dean’s Necklace, ‘Supernatural’
The Winchester brothers on Supernatural know to be careful when choosing their demon-hunting outfits. They have to be prepared to be doused in demon blood, tossed around by a monster or dragged off to Hell at any given moment. With all the beasts and baddies they’ve slayed over the years, it’s a wonder Dean has yet to lose the trusty amulet he keeps around his neck.
Not only is the necklace the perfect complement to Dean’s multi-layered hunting attire, but it also has sentimental value. In season 3 of Supernatural, it was revealed that Dean’s little brother Sam gave him the necklace as a Christmas gift when they were kids. It’s rare when the origins of an accessory bring a tear to the eye, but from that moment on the amulet represented the everlasting bond between the Winchesters. Dean’s necklace is the rare fashion statement that’s bad-ass, stylish and imbued with meaning all at the same time.
#4 Alex’s Black Wifebeater, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
For BuddyTV writer Debbie Chang, there is no single greater article of clothing on all of TV than Alex Karev’s black wifebeater on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s casual and comfortable, but most importantly, it’s easy on the eyes.
Not all guys can pull off a wifebeater (as Seth Cohen taught us when he tried to imitate Ryan on The O.C.), but Justin Chambers is most certainly one of those guys. Whether he’s taking care of his crazy girlfriend or distancing himself emotionally from those around him, it’s impossible to resist Alex’s choice of clothing while he’s relaxing at home.
#3 Barney’s Suits, ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Suit up! It’s Barney Stinson’s call to action, a commandment he lives by. In today’s age of the GAP, casual Friday has become every day and men are content to wear jeans or khakis for a night out on the town.
But not Barney. He respects himself and the power of the suit. He knows what he wants and how to get it, and step one is to always wear a suit. Whether you’re going out for some drinks or posing as an old man from the future, Barney teaches all of us that the trick to leading a successful life is by wearing a suit.
#2 Horatio’s Sunglasses, ‘CSI: Miami’
Even if you’ve never seen an episode of CSI: Miami, you certainly know about Horatio Caine’s sunglasses. The iconic character played by David Caruso observes the crime scene, delivers a pithy line, then puts on his sunglasses.
More specifically, he puts on his pair of Silhouette Titanium Model 8568 sunglasses. Rarely has eyewear been so dramatic, but with Caruso’s unique line reading, these shades are a signature look that demand respect. No matter the situation, once Horatio Caine puts his sunglasses on, the bad guy is going down.
#1 Chuck’s Scarf, ‘Gossip Girl’
There is no TV character, male or female, more fashion forward than Chuck Bass. The delightfully mischievous mastermind on Gossip Girl is bold in his choices, from brightly colored pants to his old-school swim suit. But nothing is more fashionable than Chuck’s scarf.
The scarf is not an accessory many men can pull off, but with his bold choices in color, Chuck makes it work. The viewer’s attention always goes straight to Chuck’s latest ensemble, and he isn’t afraid to experiment with strange new choices. Chuck Bass’ wardrobe embodies everything Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum encourage designers to do on Project Runway. He’s the male equivalent of Carrie Bradshaw, making a statement with his clothing.