Dudes showed up to the BAFTAs dressed up, and I bring this up for two reasons. One, I thought of a good joke, see if you can spot it. Two, I want to talk about the shift in men’s red carpet fashion and workshop a name for the new type of fancy man we’re dealing with. Here’s what I mean: in all the talk about the Dune: Part Two press tour fashion, it has come up on The Squawk that Austin Butler, previously accepted as a Fashion Man following his Elvis year, might actually not be a Fashion Man.


This is not to say Austin Butler doesn’t look good. He does! He has been well-dressed on the Dune tour, but there’s no arguing that his more or less standard look of wide-leg trousers and strong-shouldered jackets isn’t really matching the level of Timothée Chalamet or Zendaya (to be fair, her style is so good it’s obliterating everything around her). Lainey chalks it up to his “pretty privilege”, that he’s so good-looking he doesn’t have to try as hard to stand out, and this is a legit point. 


But thinking about Austin’s style, and looking at these BAFTA red carpet photos, I think we have to acknowledge that “standard” red carpet dressing has evolved for men over the last few years, and what once would have been an exceptional look is now just part of the regular rotation. 

For instance, Himesh Patel showed up in a beautiful mint velvet tuxedo jacket that, even five years ago, would have been an automatic “best dressed” blessing but now it’s…normal? Men wear colorful velvet all the time now! 


Similarly, Cillian Murphy favors blousy tops, and he wore another one last night, paired with a cummerbund and a long, open-front jacket. It’s a good look! But is it now the most stylish thing on the red carpet? Same question for Paul Mescal’s cross-front jacket. No, these looks are not groundbreaking anymore. Even Dominic Sessa’s 70s-inspired tux isn’t all that boundary pushing, though it is on brand for the breakout star of the 70s-set The Holdovers.

All of these guys look great, don’t get me wrong, and it’s a level up from the basic tuxes worn by Very Handsome Men like Teo Yoo, Callum Turner, and Kingsley Ben-Adir (though Kingsley gets credit for wearing an Artists 4 Ceasefire pin). It’s just that red carpet style for men is more adventurous than it was, and it’s looks like Andrew Scott’s fire engine red tux, or Ryan Gosling’s blush suit with crimson piping that are doing more than colorful velvet or a cool jacket.


But there are men Doing The Most, the Fashion Men showing up and serving looks, led by Colman Domingo, doing a grown man’s version of Little Lord Fauntleroy, complete with a twirling rose on the red carpet, an affectation so precious I almost hate it except Colman is clearly having a good time with it. He KNOWS what he’s doing, and he is the ONLY man who can rock that look and that rose. He should really give lessons to Bradley Cooper, who dressed like a fancy train conductor but does not have the rizz to pull it off. Timothée Chalamet could wear that fit with a twinkle in his eye, but Coop just looks…stressed. 


Another Fashion Man is host David Tennant, who walked the red carpet in a boldly patterned tux, then donned a truly amazing sparkling kilt ensemble for his monologue. He made a joke about not winning and the cutaway after was to BCoop making this face:


Kudos to whoever directed and edited the broadcast for that, they definitely know the narratives of awards season this year.

Anyway, we need a word for the new class of dressed up dudes who are doing more than wearing a standard tux but also aren’t fully Fashion Men. The Austins, the Cillians, the men who wear colorful velvet jackets, but aren’t fully committed to the bit like Colman Domingo. What is this? There has to be a name for it, because it’s becoming consistent enough on red carpets to be a thing unto itself. Something between doing the least and doing the most. Looking good, making more than average effort, but not winning the Law Roach Award for Boundary-Pushing Fashion. I am open to suggestions. 

We're talking about this on The Squawk. (app link here)