By Roger Stone
It is with great fanfare that the StoneZone announces it's 7th annual Best and Worst Dressed people in the world. Seven years ago we adopted a tradition of the legendary Hollywood designer and columnist Mr. Blackwell. From the 40's until 2008 Blackwell would publish a list of celebrities, movie stars, athletes, socialites and captains of industry whom he deemed the most stylishly clad. Blackwell could be withering in his criticism of individuals who dressed in "expensive poor taste." His list was the gold standard of style and who was stylish and who was not. 600 hundred newspapers across the country carried his list at the beginning of each year.
Taking Blackwell's Place
While Blackwell is long gone, his tradition continues for the SEVENTH year. The publication of our 2013 list coincides with the launch of a new website http://stoneonstyle.com/ in which I will write on matters strictly sartorial. Those familiar with these pages know that we have waxed long on the sorry state of American dressing. Unlike our European and Asian cousins, Americans appear to give no thought to whether they are appropriately dressed for the activities for which they are engaged. Neither do they seem to have any sense of balance, understanding of their physique or their coloring. We are proud to continue this august tradition yet it is with increasing difficulty that we compile this list for the state of dress for the public at large continues to slide. We have vigilantly watched the world of media, entertainment, sports, politics, academia, art and fashion to determine who has style... and who truly doesn't... Like Mr. Blackwell, we single out a few who are truly tasteless and inappropriate.
At its foundation personal style is based on an understanding of what colors compliment the color of one's hair, skin tone and eyes as well as an understanding of how both cut and color of clothing can mask any person's physical shortcomings while accentuating their attributes; the short man can look taller, the fat man can look thinner, the flat chested lady could look bustier, etc. Look for example at Christina Hendricks who, although busty never manages to look top heavy and wears clothes to accentuate her ..eh..assets without looking like a redheaded Mae West.
Much of what passes for style today is in fact fashion. While style is constant, fashion is temporary. While fashion changes, style remains timeless. Remember there is a big difference between style and fashion. Fashion is what you buy, style is self-expression and how you live. What is in good taste today was in good taste thirty years ago and will be in good taste thirty years from now (picture a well cut navy blue blazer with brass buttons). We here at the StoneZone try to avoid inadvertently lauding the work of a stylist or fashion advisor. Fred Astaire chose all of his own clothes and ensembles. Justin Timberlake was dressed (brilliantly) by Tom Ford. Timberlake made last year's list only with a nod to Ford.
Style is, in fact, the direct opposite of fashion. Fashion is a look that is temporarily "in". Fashion is people imitating each other. It's about fitting in and looking like everyone else. Style on the other hand, is about individuality; what sets one apart from the crowd. Yet that style must be bound by rules of good taste and the uses of colors, styles and cuts that accentuate your attributes and hide your flaws (white pants make a woman's ass look huge and a fat man look fater. Black minimizes size - how many men and women don't know this?) Short people shouldn't wear horizontal stripes. Overly tall people shouldn't wear vertical unless, of course, the want to look taller. This isn't rocket-science.
Compiling our 2013 'A' list is a far greater challenge than one might think. The advent of "casual Fridays" is symptomatic of an overall decline in our standards regarding what is right and wrong about the way Americans dress. Sadly, fashion today is more motivated by economics than aesthetics. Men are seen in both business and social settings in running shoes, tracksuits, sweats, T-shirts, and caps, which advertise either a sports teams or a brand of farm tractor. Women are seen outside the gym in spandex workout ensembles and hoodies. It's so wrong.
A.J. Drexel Biddle, Best Dressed man of 1960
While we love the guys over at ESQUIRE, the idea of Pope Francis as the Best Dressed man of 2013 makes no sense; the Pope is wearing a uniform that he wears to do his job. While the concept of a "uniform" meaning a standard look that works for you and that you war everyday is fine A.J. Biddle Duke, know to his Main Line pals as Tony, was consider the Best Dressed man of 1960 by Esquire, owned 10 identical blue suits, 10 identical solid neckties and ten horizontal tab collar shirts and wore them every business day) is fine -a real uniform cops, firemen, judges, clergy, military is a different thing altogether, although when you reach a certain rank you can design your own jacket like IKE, your own hat like Gen. Douglas MacArthur or strap on ivory handled revolvers like George Patton. But I digress.
The good news is dressing is becoming popular with a younger generation of hipsters on both coasts and as this revolution dictates, some of the best dressed men and women who have graced our list in multiple previous years will be moved to Hall of Fame status.
CNBC TV host and WABC radio talker, Larry Kudlow, may just be the best-dressed man in America today. His look is always crisp, his knowledge of fine tailoring solid, and his shirt and necktie combinations are always on target.
Ditto Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts. While Mick Jagger was prancing around in tights and Keith Richards was dressing like a homeless guy, drummer Watts began patronizing the finest English tailors on Savile Row, notably Huntsman and Henry Poole. Watts suits are quiet, somber, elegant.
Andre 3000 who used to call himself Andre 2000, of Outcast is still the best representative of "old school" dressing with an urban flair.
This year Kudlow and Watts and Andre 3000 move to our Hall of Fame to make room for actor Chris Pine and former NFL star Archie Manning and others.
Joseph Gordon Leavitt
Joseph Gordon Leavitt epitomizes the very best of young Hollywood. L knows when to wear a well-tailored suit and when to sport a well cut sports jacket and a open collared shirt. His choices of color and pattern are always on the mark. His look is fastidious but doesn't yell "look at me."
Given her ample assets it would be easy for Hendricks, this Mad Men actress to dress like a latter day Jayne Mansfield but Hendricks goes in the opposite direction. Her outfits are always appropriate, well tailored and extenuate her figure in a tasteful way. She looks particularly great in business wear but is no less stunning on the red carpet. Second year on our list.
Most people who end up on the Stone Zone's Best and Worst Dressed List are happy about it. That won't be the case with Reason TV commentator Nick Gillespie. Gillespie has inadvertently adopted a spare style previously favored by Johnny Cash and a young Elvis Presley and James Dean and Brando. No one does the Black leather jacket. But Nick.Gillespie is invariably clad in black with a short- sleeved black T-shirt or black Western waist length leather jacket. Sometimes Gillespie will sport a dark western shirt, which evokes the western style of Roy Rogers, Tom Mix and John Wayne. More importantly it is clear that Gillespie hasn't thought two seconds about what he wears and it all comes naturally.
She was said to be in competition to play political heavyweight Hillary Clinton in the canceled biopic "Rodham". She would have had to dress down. Chastain is a winner on the Red carpet and off. She favors colors that accentuate her fiery hair and ginger coloring. A knock-out. Always. She reminds me of NYC fitness guru Kat Smith who manages to look stunning despite choosing a more informal look some people call "homeless".
CNN talking head Don Lemon always looks well put together whether he's broadcasting in a windbreaker in the ravaging winds of a hurricane or reporting in a tasteful sports jacket or well-tailored suit. His choice of neckwear is on the mark 99% of the time. He doesn't look "studied" and his flair for good dressing appears to be natural.
The Latin spitfire literally stops traffic when she shops in LA or South Florida. Ms. Vergara knows what décolletage is for and always accentuates her curves, managing to look sexy without looking vulgar. No man looks better in a tuxedo than fiancée and Food Condiment King Nick Loeb, but with this lady on your arm how could one look bad. I wish I had a dollar for each (false) gossip item that says they're breaking up.
This New York Daily news columnist invariably looks like a well-dressed college professor whether he wears an impeccable tweed sports jacket or a heavy shawl collared cardigan sweater. Something about Cohen's look tells you he is a writer. His sports jackets pair naturally with his wide wale corduroys. While most journalists are slovenly, Cohen would never leave the house without looking smart.
The secret of former supermodel and former French First Lady Carla Bruni ? Bruni is virtually always monochromatic in somber colors like charcoal gray, navy blue and slate and always chooses simple seemingly basic styles by the best French and Italian designers. She is the picture of understatement and chic, what Cary Grant, also monochromatic in his dressing, was for men.
This veteran actor was one of the best dressed men in the world… in the 1980's. Now he's back, looking more distinguished and vibrant than ever before. Perhaps it is a new tailor or his subscription to the tried and true values of great British tailoring. He can get away with a well cut blazer, gray flannels and Gucci horse-bit loafers like no one else. His suits are proper, pin striped and fit flawlessly. His formal good taste only accentuates his flawless tan and silver hair. Hamilton has come a long way since he dated the hideously ugly daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Welcome back, Mr. Hamilton.
This poor woman is married to schlemiel and former congressman Anthony Wiener. She has, by all accounts, borne the humiliations inflicted on her by her horndog husband with good grace and style. Hillary's right hand woman, Abedin, is always perfectly put together whether she's going to a cocktail party at the UN or to the grocery store. She reminds me of a young Jackie Kennedy in her impeccable fashion choices. Her choice of sunglasses is up there with Jackie O.
Even fewer men know how to dress on the Left Coast. In places like California and Florida one would be hard put to even find a well knotted neck-tie. Not so with NBC Dateline's Josh Mankiewicz. While he always looks good in a suit, it's his carefully chosen sports jackets that make this TV correspondent stand out from his televised brethren. At the same time his casual barn jacket look is a winner. Brokaw, Lauer, look and learn.
Kate Middleton and Pippa Middleton
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Middleton will join the ranks of Princess Grace of Monaco and today Queen Rania of Jordan and Spain's Letizia, Princess of Asturias as one of the best dressed royals. Simplicity is her watchword. Her millinery choices are always on target. While a tad more conservative than her saucy sister Pippa, she exudes the best of English style. - Philippa Charlotte "Pippa" Middleton, the English socialite and younger sister of "Kate" Middleton also embodies the best in English style. We can't choose one over the other. One wag from Buffalo said she has a "perfect derriere" and in jeans, a mini-skirt or a party dress it seems so. Take that Kim Kardashian!
I knew Bob Beckel in the day. He was one tough Democratic political operative who was more responsible for VP Walter Mondale's political comeback after stumbling in New Hampshire than anyone else. Beckel was hardly a guy who cared about clothes. He worked hard, played hard, drank hard and partied hard. At one point I remember him wearing bass wejun loafers held together with surgical tape. Today, Beckel is among the savviest talking heads on the Fox cable network. His trade mark suspenders are color coordinated with his low-key suits but he still looks best without a jacket and with his sleeves rolled up and talking tough.
In the style of Andre 2000 but not so over the top. Smooth flow. Correct. Understated. A touch of Vegas cool. First year on the List.
This hot young actor shows the fashion sense of a latter-day Errol Flynn. Sporting a royal blue double-breasted blazer or three-piece suit Pine has a sense of what works for him. His clothes are cut to accentuate his athleticism. No fads here—just solid good taste. Master of the pocket-square.
This actress who dazzled in "American Hustle" was on every list when I solicited opinions from my lady friends. Whether in a knit ensemble from Alexander McQueen or a Dior gown, Lawrence has taken the old guard by storm and surged ahead of Beyonce, to win a spot on our list. Do a Google image search. Hard to find a poor fashion choice.
When professional athletes make the transition to sports broadcasting the sartorial result is not good. Not so with former NFL Quarterback Elisha Archibald "Archie" Manning III. Instead of consulting the International male catalog for suiting like most ex-jocks, Manning puts the "Sports" in sports jacket, window-paned, well cut and tweedy.
Lady Spice has her own line of women's clothes, which are extraordinary and are worn by actresses, models and celebrities including Beyonce. In fact, it is only when Beyonce is wearing Ms. Beckham's line she looks good. It is a natural then that the real life ex-spice girl would always look smashing. Her husband, David Beckham, the perfect male specimen, was on last year's StoneZONE's Best Dressed List for his nattily tied scarves, well-cut three-piece suits, tweeds and newsboy caps and earns an honorable mention this year.
We're heavy with jocks this year but this former tight-end for the Denver Broncos, Hall of Famer and Super Bowl Champion may be the best dressed man to ever come out of football. Sharpe, a large and muscular man, shows how good tailoring can convey athleticism without bulk. His shirt and tie choses are bold and solid. Sharpe, who talks sports for CBS on NFL Today, hits the list for a second year.
Although it happens rarely, one individual has actually moved from our Best Dressed List in 20xx to our Worst Dressed List in 2013. When disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer showed up at his goomada's apartment for a tryst, wearing baggy sweatpants and a "Trayvon Martin" style hoodie, which no 54 year old white guy should wear, he crossed a Rubicon. I stress that Spitzer was not wearing this garb in the gym or at his weekend place in the Hamptons but out in public.
This super lawyer charges $700 an hour and his track record shows that he loses in court far more than he wins. Boies wears wash and wear suits from Sears, which invariably look like he slept in them. Shit collars never fit, Seeing Boies enter and leave the Supreme Court building with high water suit pants is a disgrace. Disheveled thy name is Boies.
This metro sexual who stars in the taxpayer financed ads for Obamacare wears plaid pajamas that are more appropriate for an eight year old along with his $350 Oliver Peoples frames. He needs heath-care? He's paying $350 for shades. He is oily, vaguely androgynous and weird. Is that a one piece? Taxpayers paid for this?
A fashion car crash. No sense of taste or appropriateness. No sense of what colors go well with other colors. No sense of proportion. No idea what looks good on her. No understanding of anything. A sartorial catastrophe. A disaster.
What can I say? I love Jesse Ventura. I love his courage and I love his disdain for the two major parties that have in many ways corrupted our democracy. If you are still naive enough to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered President John f. Kennedy and that he was Communist nut acting alone, you need to read Jesse's new book "They Killed our President." At the same time, I wish my friend would ditch the Jimmy Hendrix t-shirt and the mom jeans.
A woman shouldn't dress like a Mouseketeer if she isn't a Mouseketeer anymore. Miley's predilection for spandex and lycra makes her look like a poorly dressed teenager. Perhaps the idea is to match her trashy gyrations with trashy clothes but this chick looks like she just got out of a trailer park.
Diddy has it. Pharrell definitely has it. Jay has it. Yeezus doesn't have it.