Part of an ongoing series spotlighting the (in)ability of the men on the red carpet to capture the timeless elegance and sophisticated equivalence of black tie, whether through careful adherence to its conventions or skillful manipulation of them. (Readers unfamiliar with the standards of successful black tie can find a condensed summary in A Field Guide to Tuxedos, or an in-depth explanation in The Black Tie Guide.)
There was certainly no shortage of classic formal styling on this year’s red carpet as the conservative tuxedo trends of late continue unabated. One-button jackets, peak lapels and proper bow ties ruled the day as two-button jackets, notched lapels and long ties return to their rightful place with the business suit. The vogue for suits that fit as tightly as sausage casings also continues to decline (which is a good thing) as does the practice of wearing formal waist coverings (a regrettable development). Dark blue is still a popular alternative to black although it is now more typically a navy hue instead of the conventional midnight blue. White dinner jackets were another popular alternative carried over from last year’s Oscars.
Examples of the tuxedo’s potential fulfilled, illustrating why black tie has been unequalled in its ability to transform a man and inspire an evening for over a century.
Perennial dapper dresser Armie Hammer. (Getty)
Chris Pratt cleans up remarkably well thanks to classic menswear designer Tom Ford. (Getty)
Chris Pine in a 4-button double-breasted tuxedo by Giorgio Armani. (Getty)
Admirable efforts. Excluded from the highest honours due to minor shortcomings but nonetheless very respectable examples for the average man to emulate.
Best actor winner Eddie Redmayne was the most visible proponent of the Men in Blue contingent. He wore an Alexander McQueen dinner suit and velvet slippers. (AP Images)
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk sported another smart example of blue evening wear. Note the faced jacket cuffs. (Getty)
Former pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson, is not someone I ever expected to be placing on the best-dressed list. (Getty)
Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a blue 6-button double-breasted. (Getty)
Graham Moore, winner of the award for best adapted screenplay. (Getty)
Singer John Legend wears a Gucci tuxedo with velvet lapels and a matching bow tie. (Getty)
Musician Adam Levine is a textbook example of the slim physique needed to pull off a slim suit, in this case an Armani Privé tuxedo. (Getty)
Mark Ruffalo looks much less dishevelled than usual thanks to this sharp outfit, although he does suffer from the messy pant leg syndrome that also afflicted a number of other men. (Getty)
Actor and award presenter Channing Tatum in Dolce & Gabbana. Although he is bare waisted here it appears that he donned a cummerbund before going on stage. (Getty)
Best actor nominee Benedict Cumberbatch leads the charge of the white brigade. (Getty)
Jeff Goldblum (left) wears the traditional interpretation of warm-weather black tie while fellow thespian Adrien Brody takes a slightly less conventional approach. (Invision/AP)
Tastefully off the mark. Thought-provoking variations not necessarily recommended for viewers at home. Most likely to be chosen “best dressed” by clueless fashionistas.
Singer Common co-wrote the winner of Best Song with John Legend. His dark blue velvet Prada jacket is stunning but the white bow tie falls flat when worn with a turndown collar. (Getty)
NFL player Victor Cruz would have been another contender for best dressed if not for the fact that flashing one’s bare ankles is totally incongruous with a formal setting. (Getty)
Actor Robbie Amell’s tone-on-tone bold window-pane pattern may not be technically formal but it is nonetheless respectful of black tie’s traditional principles. (Getty)
Eddie Murphy’s pale lavender shirt is presumably a sartorial nod to his girlfriend’s dress. I’m not sure how well that choice will hold up once he leaves her side. (AP Images)
More insipid than inspired. Examples of bland and sloppy execution that will hopefully inspire others to step up their game.
Director Ron Howard looks much like an errant prom date in his wing collar and pre-tied bow. His jacket features an uninspired style of shawl collar and an odd fastener that only serves to expose more shirt waist. (Getty)
Mario Lopez represents the die-hard fans of long formal ties but even he has finally got the memo about ditching the double-buttons and notch lapels on formal jackets. (Getty)
Bradley Cooper trades in his usual bold Tom Ford styling for an uninspired Salvatore Ferragamo number complete with pedestrian business suit vest. (Getty)
Good intentions, bad choices.
Actor David Oyelowo’s cranberry Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo could possible be considered tastefully unorthodox but the same can’t be said for the candy-apple red accessories. (Getty)
Actor Ansel Elgort’s blue Prada tuxedo is too bright to be truly elegant. And his waist is too long to be wearing trousers that barely reach his crotch. (Getty)
The flashy silver tone of Matthew McConaughey’s jacket needs to be offset by understated accents, not by a shiny satin collar and satin high-cut waistcoat. (Justin Campbell)
Comic Kevin Heart inverts the traditional outfit’s black and white scheme, stripping it of its understated refinement and after-dark propriety. (Getty)
Perennial awards host Neil Patrick Harris seems to wear a different tuxedo to every occasion with noticeably mixed results. The model he sported upon arrival (left) was not particularly inspiring while the ones he wore during and after the show were bang on. (Getty)
Hall of Shame candidates. The most blatant bastardizations and sophomoric interpretations of formal convention, whether due to naïve ignorance or smug self-importance. The results denigrate both the wearer and the occasion.
Jared Leto seems to be gunning for Mickey Rourke’s title of most clueless formal dresser in Hollywood. (Getty)
JK Simmons may have won Best Supporting Actor but his juvenile prom outfit won’t garner any accolades. (Getty)