Monday, November 9, 2009

GQ SA: Best dressed men of the year 2009

Every year GQ magazine South Africa has its ‘Best dressed men of the year’. This is a list I always look forward to because it’s good to know and see which men in our country embody style through dress. For the 5 years that this list has been running I have at times been in awe and simultaneously cringed at some of the selections. In fact in preparation for this review I went to my archives and browsed through the GQ magazines from the past years just to see who the past selections were, how they were presented and whether, in my opinion, they were worthy of being on the list.

. I really think the editorial has been somewhat lacklustre in their presentation of the best dressed list because at its inception it came in a separate, tear out supplement. This was very much welcomed by me because it meant there were more pictures and the accompanying write ups were thorough and in-depth. Over the years I feel like not much effort has been put into the pictorials and written pieces, so much so that this year there are pictures, only, of the top 10 and the rest are mere names. Another startling fact is that the list has been trimmed from 50 to 40 since 2006. I digress though and leave my qualms behind and turn my focus on the present list.

Here is my breakdown of the top 10:

1. Jon-Paul Bolus : Comfort is very key in and with any outfit. This man looks, not only, comfortable, but cool and thus naturally, de rigueur. His combination of denim and leather is nothing original however the addition of a tie is what transforms his get-up from casual to business casual. The fit is once again important and he has managed to make sure everything fits, even the denim shirt collar so that the tie could sit properly. To his credit he is the owner of what is, I presume, a men’s clothing store which means he is always dressed for the job, everyday.

2. Olé Ledimo: The man is a fashion designer and founder of House of Olé, therefore he absolutely he has no choice but to represent. He does this in a faintly sequined black notch lapel tuxedo, a white fitted French cuff shirt and bow tie, all designed by him. A black pocket square is keeping within black tie rules however I would’ve gone with something a little more colourful. Nothing beats white with a black trimming. The real reason why he gets high marks from me is the fact that any time I see a black sequined suit, I can’t help but think back to the time I first saw one, Luther Vandross ‘Superstar until you come back to me’ video.

3. Sandile Msimango: You know for a visibly young guy I would expect him to play around and experiment with colours especially as an expression or outlet. Albeit well proportioned in his suit I find the black and white extremely dull and boring. What stands out for me though are his accessories. Multi-coloured pocket hanky, red cufflinks and the black knit tie with red trimming at the bottom. How’s that for coordination. My essential for this summer is definitely a knit tie, I absolutely love them. They are versatile, stand out and definitely grab attention. Now if I can just find a store that carries them.

  4. Sizwe Dhlomo: The kid is well groomed, cleans up nice but he doesn’t belong on this list, not yet anyway. Once again a young guy clad in black. Why reinvent the colour black when Yaphet Kotto already did that. Although not fitted, I like the contrast colour shirt but its pairing with such a wide tie is off, especially taking into consideration that the shirt’s collar is tied down with a pin. My suggestion, because he is a young guy why not have him in a two button single breast suit of a lighter hue, and a complementary slim tie. That would definitely bring out his youthful exuberance.

5. Mark De Mendez: He’s a rocker, a drummer specifically, very atypical in his appearance but looks at ease and comfortable. I absolutely love the gingham shirt and slim tie. They go very well together and it is a look I have yet to try even though I have both pieces. The black jeans form the core of the outfit because it is from there that the top part is added. The grey cardigan is a wonderful piece to add because it breaks the black monotony and is a great contrast to the black. I’m not too sure about the un-tucked shirt though. Not really a fan of the peek-a-boo anymore.

6. Thabang Skwambane: Another brother in black. Pin stripe is one of my favourite patterns and when put together right makes me the boldest of statements. The centre piece of this outfit, the red tie, just seems off. It’s a shade of red but it looks so dull. As a power tie it really lacks the kick and power it is supposed to exude. A French cuff shirt would also add a touch of elegance which is sorely lacking. Mr. Skwambane might hate me for this but his belt is a definite no-no for me. Not only is the solid buckle chunky but I definitely don’t want to know that it’s by Fabiani. Something more subtle would do the trick or not so subtle, like going belt-less. 

7. Tshepo Molale: I have no qualms about his belt, very understated but perfect for the outfit. His shirt, crisp white and forms the necessary contrast with the charcoal gray suit. I would place his shades elsewhere, visibly, on the jacket. This outfit is a direct descendant of the look popularized by Tom Ford. And the shirt being undone 3 or 4 times..? This man does not lack for confidence.
8. Anthony Keyworth: I really feel something is amiss with this list. It is spring in South Africa right now but most of the top 10 have not portrayed this in their appearance except for a turquoise scarf. I feel Mr. Keyworth could’ve come out with more bright and bold colours. Not necessarily flamboyant but striking and reflective of his diverse style. The mixture of long sleeve sweater, tweed checkered waistcoat and dark blue jeans is a good look for him and exudes comfort. Something befitting the owner of a Paul Smith outlet.

9. Mandla Sibeko: Flannel is a great fabric, in winter, because of its versatility but this outfit just doesn’t do it for me. Some of the pieces seem ill-fitting. The pocket hanky is not bright enough and if bright fails, just go for the classic crisp white pocket square. For me this is a case of when being dipped in brand names from head to toe misses the mark.  
10. Devon Brough: Now this is the closest to spring summer feeling and I assent totally. I thought he was wearing black slacks but upon closer inspection saw that those are in actual fact shorts. Not really the length but something more in tune with the season. The pairing with a white jacket is a conventional contrast which is mutually complementary though. I am not too sure though about the contrast collar, black and white shirt.

There seems to have been something glaringly absent in all of these pics, something any stylish man has and inherently forms part of his persona and character. A smile. None of these men smiled, maybe it's the recession or the pressures of their jobs however a smile doesnt cost a thing and it should've been impressed upon everyone participating int he shoot to smile. in my opinion a smile could've lightened and brightened any of the outfits I wasn't impressed with. This is nothing but the truth. So gents smile next time you'll be surprised at how good you'll feel.
For a full list of the top 40 you can go here or simply go to your nearest book stand and purchase the latest GQ SA November edition.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


Sibusiso said...

Great idea, man. Finally some solid guiadance on style and dress for the SA man. Godspeed, my borther.

The Sumo

Linda Ivo said...

True Ol' Sumo.
Question, should man ready magazines like Cosmopolitan and woman magazines to get a clearer picture of what woman want. just as much as they would read GQ and FHM to understand Man better?

MN SL&E said...

I don't think so. I'm not trying to understand any woman. You can try until you turn Smurf blue and you still won't be able to understand a woman. Just stick to trying to find and figure yourself out.

Linda Ivo said...

Not to mean fully understand them like 100%.
I mean just to make our relationships better perhaps. but its cool, I will stick to what I do best

Anonymous said...

That Tshepo is something else...DAYM! Dem lips!
Nice fashion analysis!

Anonymous said...

Sizwe's suit is actually Navy-Blue, not Black.