To refer to Pharrell Williams as a fashion icon is an understatement. His reputation as a style mogul is as impressive as his lengthy resume. Indeed, he’s a sartorial impresario, boasting the type of fearless approach one desperately needs to remain one step ahead of the curve.
Once upon a time, he was the king of the trucker hat. It was the legendary accessory that solidified his place in the annals of men’s fashion history in the early 2000s. He’s brought it back time and again through the years, even reviving it nearly two decades later for an N.E.R.D. capsule collection.
Pharrell has progressed, naturally. From hoodies to baggy jeans to sporty suits, he’s touched on it all with aplomb. Again, that fearless streak is what sets him apart from the masses. Sure, musical genius is his strongest suit, but there’s something to be said for the man who just as smoothly rocks a trouser-shorts suit on the red carpet.
A simple breakdown would be impossible — the ebbs and flows of Pharrell’s fashion legacy undulate with a swiftness, sometimes spilling into athletic territory before reverting back to more polished realms. If nothing else, he proves that there’s room for absolutely everything in any wardrobe.
Evolving is what Pharrell does with the greatest authority. Yes, you may still associate him with his ever revolving collection of hats, but notice how they’ve changed over the years. Fast forward more than a decade after the infamous trucker made its debut. Pharrell rocked a camel Vivienne Westwood hat on the red carpet in 2014, showing that the Grammy Awards were the perfect place to make a Serious Fashion statement.
After that, it was more of the same — to some degree. He stepped out in a gray version of the same hat, then red, and later green. The next year, he embraced a jaunty newsboy cap as his pick of the moment, adding a touch of laid-back flair to his crisp yellow floral blazer at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Creative, indeed. In the months that followed, there was the uniform-style cap he wore when he dressed as an elevator attendant for a Chanel film directed by Karl Lagerfeld at the Métiers d’Art show. When he stepped out at the premiere of Hidden Figures, he kept it cool, casual, and refreshing in a navy baseball cap meticulous embroidered with “plant” in bold white lettering.
What came next? Oh, the unexpectedness of it all! Who but Pharrell would show up at a Métiers d’Art show for Chanel in a bejeweled crown? A true work of art, the sparkling accessory kept things fresh — and brought smiles and pure joy as he strutted down the Paris runway in 2016. Joy, naturally, is an important component in the wardrobe of a man whose most recent success revolves around a decidedly uplifting word.
Because I’m Happy
If happiness is the truth, there’s no question Pharrell has discovered that one can easily trace some of that vigor back to a peppy wardrobe. It’s one of the stylistic elements he’s known for best. A glance at his spectrum of outerwear is proof enough of that.
No, he’s not one to step out in the everyman’s windbreaker and a pair of jeans. Fashion risks, remember? Fearlessness. Bravery. A willingness to experiment. All without really contemplating what it might mean to show up on the cover of magazines around the world, either questioning his choice or celebrating his steadfast commitment to creativity and art.
Pharrell is all about the good stuff. It’s why he steps out in everything from the unexpected to the sharply tailored. Witness it in the bright rose overcoats layered over tan T-shirts and voluminous pants and the military-worthy denim blazers lined with gilded buttons. Admire the way a decidedly cold weather-friendly jacket somehow looks right at home over a polka dot vest, an oversized chambray tunic, and a pair of baggy denim shorts.
Yes, there’s joy in experimentation, and Pharrell has discovered that playing the matchy-matchy game isn’t what makes him happy. He’s all about the quirk, the pleasures of discovery, the desire to step beyond the confines of convention. He’s always expressed a passion for Japanese fashion, for example, and he isn’t afraid to layer unexpected pieces with one another to create fresh, new looks that are entirely his own. And, yes, he truly owns those looks.
The N.E.R.D. Show
When it comes to formality, there’s no room for actual formality in Pharrell’s vocabulary. He redefines the term in his branded way. Unorthodox suits set the tone. Shorts, of course, are the image most commonly associated with the artist, who penchant for hitting the crimson carpet in anything but the standard is recognized all over the world.
There was the infamous gray shorts suit he wore to the Grammy Awards, complete with a matching bow tie and what suspiciously resembled a pair of pretty solid golf shoes. There’s the way he managed to pull off a polka dot button-front shirt with a suit featuring cropped pants and well-worn Converse All Stars. There was the camouflaged number that turned every head.
There was even a stint as a country club visionary, complete with a crisp off-white suit, a pink and white pinstriped top, and a black tie studded with white dots. Sharp brogues completed the look to perfection. To say Pharrell has mastered the fine art of dapper dressing with a twist is something of an understatement.
Get That Look
Inspired? You can’t be blamed. Maybe you’ve tired of the same old, same old. Maybe you’re ready to express yourself in your own way. And, sure, maybe you don’t want to step out in a Swarovski tee and a Bape hoodie and multiple chains all at once, but you sure as heck don’t want to play it safe all the time.
To begin, there’s the aforementioned obsession with all things Bape. If you’re taking things in a Pharrell direction, you need something wildly colorful and undeniably adventurous. The brand’s Baby Milo Alphabet Pullover for men captures that fun and fearless aesthetic beautifully. Have a blast pairing it with something completely out of left field — a dynamic pair of patterned pants, for example, or something safer like a pair of jeans so the hoodie stands out on its own.
As for trucker hats, it’s true that they’re still relevant, especially if you’re all about emulating Pharrell. Try something tinged with a touch of upscale style, like the MCM Collection Baseball Cap. It’s emblazoned with the cult brand’s discreet logo, yet that leather delivers those edgy vibes you might want to introduce to an otherwise understated or sporty look.
Another like candidate to consider? A bold puffer jacket like this style by Mennace. The key here is to go the distinctive, unexpected route. It’s all about taking risks, which means you aren’t throwing this on over a top with long sleeves and jeans. You’re layering it over a vest and adding something slightly out of left field, like a button-front shirt and finishing with tailored slacks. You’re wearing the sporty kicks or the polished loafers.
In other words, you’re mixing and matching with a certain zest for life and flair for fashion. It’s what Pharrell has done his entire public life — and it’s the only way to pay homage to one of the greatest in the game.