Annual best-dressed lists often make little sense. That's because a whole lot of backroom politicking and planning go into them. So Esquire is once again asking you, dear reader, to decide upon our Best-Dressed Man of the Year. Last week, Harry Styles bested Tom Holland. So, it's onto the second of the quarter finals: Henry Golding vs. Benedict Cumberbatch.
We think we know what a British actor looks like. They wear suits, and crisp white shirts, and wear shoes that are as polished as their accents. All of which is true. But as menswear veers weirder, our homegrown talent have gone along for the ride. Case in point, this week's contenders: Benedict Cumberbatch and Henry Golding.
For the former, it's been a slow rise to the top. While there's the usual smart gear that we've come to expect from Cumberbatch (Wimbledon blues, BAFTA tuxes, that sort of thing), a watershed moment came in one terracotta workwear get-up. In New York, with a slogan T-shirt beneath, the 43-year-old trialled something we didn't expect at all. And by that very token, he earned our applause.
Consider it a premonition, too. At the Met Gala's pantomime-like ode to Susan Sontag's 'Notes on Camp', Cumberbatch followed the dress code down to the last letter. That meant an all-white get-up straight from Tom Wolfe's wardrobe, with a walking cane and poses last seen on the Las Vegas leg of a Liberace tour.
They've paid off, too. At a standout Ralph Lauren show, he wore a velvet two-piece in Cadbury's purple. There was all-black with a slickback, like some Seventies Bond villain at a BAFTA party. And lest we forget, Golding's own Met Gala choice of fancy dress: purple glittering sequins from head-to-toe. It was all very Julian Clary at Versace. Which is a good thing.
So, who wins? The classic Brit that slowly went bonkers? Or the classic Brit that always had it in him?
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