Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jared Leto-- In Defense of His Fashion

Being labeled “worst dressed” in the media is a compliment. It means you don’t fit society’s standard and aren’t afraid to be completely ridiculous and free with your fashion choices. Of course, there are mistakes in fashion and criticism can be helpful to those who struggle in finding their true style. But often times the celebrities who top worst dressed lists are being criticized because their unique sense of style doesn’t fit the norm of how the rest of the world dresses. From Bjork’s iconic Oscar swan dress to Lady Gaga’s VMA meat dress, some of the most unique and brilliant personalities have been categorized as terrible acts of fashion, simply because they’re not playing by the rules society has set when it comes to what’s acceptable in the expression of one’s appearance.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned rock stars twice my age, my admiration for rebels who wear sunglasses indoors, and  the fact that I would be featured on all the worst dressed lists if I were a celebrity. That being said, it would only make sense if I made a post on one of my favorite male celebrities; Jared Leto, who was given the ultimate honor of being named “Worst Dressed Man in the World” for all of 2011 by GQ Magazine, claiming that he looked “extravagantly terrible all year long”.

Just to refresh your memory, let us briefly recap Jared’s career. We must first appreciate the fact that his talent and versatility as an artist is a rarity. He was a teen idol in the 90s, playing Jordan Catalano in the TV series “My So Called Life”, and then went on to land roles in numerous films such as “Girl Interrupted”, “Fight Club”, and “Requiem for a Dream” where his skills as an actor earned him critical acclimation. Even though Jared’s talent on screen was enough to provide him with a long and successful career as an actor, that didn’t stop him from taking a risk with his artistic abilities when he formed the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars in 1998. With three successful albums, world tours, music videos in which he has produced, written and directed, and a place in the Guinness Book of World records for “Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band”, 30 Seconds to Mars has proven, and continues to be, a shining light in the music industry. Jared’s passion and devotion towards whatever he sets his mind to is proof that dreams are possible, no matter how out of sight they may seem, as he has gained great success in multiple categories within the world of showbiz.

As well as earning worldwide recognition for his talents, Jared’s fashion choices have also given him quite a lot of headlines in the media. Critics seem to have a hard time understanding Jared’s style choices, which leads many of them to just simply poke fun of his style in general. Criticism for his fashion generally falls along the lines of things like this;  “Leto's always the most wealthy-looking homeless person in the room”, “Jared Leto – once cool, now offending eyeballs worldwide.”, and “Oh, Jared Leto. Once upon a time you were the thing that teenage girls dreamed of most. Now you just look like a homeless version of Inspector Gadget.”

GQ is the leader right now in the category of Jared Leto fashion criticism, as “Worst Dressed Man in the World” is quite an astounding claim for them to have made. Ironically, GQ Germany gave Jared the “Style Man of the Year” award in 2011, proving that the world (and especially GQ) is extremely confused as to whether or not his style is highly fashionable or an indication of insanity.

But not to be outdone, Complex Magazine recently gave Jared Leto the number one slot on their list of the “50 Worst Dressed Celebrities of All Time”. ALL TIME. Not just for a particular year, not just in the world, but for all of forever. I find worst dressed lists to be a confirmation that one is not boring, and since I dream of one day becoming relevant enough to be put on such list, I can’t help but be proud of Jared and all the uprising his style has caused. He’s not only been featured on lists; he’s dominated them. He has achieved top honors on all the worst dressed lists which is something I strive to accomplish, as the eclectic vibrancy and persona of the individuals who end up making these lists are the most interesting ones of all.

What I like about Jared is that he doesn't stick to one particular style. From flamboyant attire to elegant suits, he's created his own category of style that is solely his own and doesn't fit into anyone’s expectation of what he should be. His extravagance and willingness to wear absolutely whatever he desires is something I have tremendous respect for and wish more people had that kind of courage in fashion. As any forward thinking person, his style has evolved tremendously over time, and in recent years, his eccentricity in fashion seems to have hit an all-time high. He's been seen wearing slippers in public, man skirts, mesh tank tops, ponchos, shredded t-shirts, studded pants, and Indiana Jones style hats. His hair has been sculpted into a vibrant pomegranate colored mohawk, cut into a mullet multiple times, and dyed a smurf shade of blue. Although hair is an aspect of one's style, Jared’s hair has a mind of its own and I would have to devote an entire post just to express the flawless qualities and evolution of his hairstyles over the years. 

He's attended various fashion weeks (where fashion criticism is naturally heightened) and still stays true to his style without sacrificing his fashion identity for the approval of the mainstream, which is one of the reasons why I idolize him so much. He doesn’t play it safe with fashion, nor does he hold back in expressing who he really is inside.

Jared and Gaga exchanging style tips at the 2010 VMAs
Some call him a fashion icon, some believe he gets dressed in the dark, some think he tries too hard, some think he’s just a blonde wig away from being Lady Gaga, and some just can’t figure him out. But the reality is that he’s simply just being himself. He’s confident in expressing his creativity through all aspects of life, and fashion is no exception. Creative individuals are compelled to share their art with the world, and one’s fashion is a form of art. The choices we make with our clothes is one of the most beautiful and vulnerable parts of life, as our personal attire tell us a lot about one another and can be seen as a  reflection of how we perceive ourselves.

Jared Leto’s style is one of my favorite things in the world. He is like the explosion of a really weird rainbow, an eighties hair metal band, and Derek Zoolander (the ultimate fashion icon). No matter if he wears a flannel shirt and jeans or faux feathers over a denim vest, I will defend his fashion choices until the death of me because the individuals who are unafraid to freely express themselves through fashion are those in which I admire most. People like him give me hope for all of humanity in that it’s ok to do whatever you want in fashion, regardless of one’s age, gender, or how ridiculous others may think you look.

The toxic notion behind the worst dressed lists applies to more than just celebrities. It represents negative fashion criticism, and the idea that some of us are “wrong” with our style and have broken non-existent rules of fashion. Don’t let the fear of being criticized keep you from expressing your individuality. Those who break the rules and refuse to conform to society’s standards, in both fashion and in life, are the ones who change the world for the better.
You all know that spamming my blog with pictures is my new found obsession, so here's some Jared Leto fashion spam for your enjoyment:

Before going on stage, 30 Seconds to Mars show 2010
Arriving at the Christian Dior show for Paris Fashion Week, March 2010 

(Top) Performing with his band 30 Seconds to Mars at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City,  April 2010 wearing a custom shoulder piece designed by Rachel Barrett.

Arriving at Radio 1, London, July 2010
In New York, Oct 2010

A photo Jared posted on his website in Oct 2010 in which he captioned: "The guy behind me...'what the fuck is leto thinkin' with that ensemble??'"
On the set of filming a commercial for Hugo Boss, Oct 2010

Arriving in London, December 2010

Out in Hollywood, Jan 2011

At The Grove in Los Angeles, Feb 2011

Attending the G-Star Raw Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City, Feb 2011
At the screening of 30 Seconds to Mars' video for "Hurricane", May 2011

 Video Music Awards, Aug 2011, Los Angeles, Ca

30 Seconds to Mars press conference in Mexico City, Oct 2011
Attending the Yves Saint Laurent RTW Spring 2012 show during Paris Fashion Week, Oct 2011
At the Airport in Berlin, Germany, Oct 2011
Leaving the Chanel RTW Spring/Summer 2012 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week, Oct. 2011
Attending the GQ Man of the Year Award 2011 in Berlin, Germany, Oct 2011

Arriving at a Guns N' Roses concert in Los Angeles, Dec 2011

At the Hugo Boss’ F/W 2012 fashion show in Berlin, Germany, Jan 2012
At the Dior fashion show in Paris, Jan 2012
At the Rad by Rad Hourani Unisex Collection #5 Fall 2012 during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at the Designers Loft in New York, Feb 2012
At the Chateau Marmount, in LA, Feb 2012

Leaving a pre-Oscar party at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, Ca, Feb 2012

1 comment:

  1. In opposite land, Jared Leto would be considered the best in the world of fashion. Great background detail.