You’ll be forgiven if, until a few years ago, you weren’t aware of Timothée Chalamet. After all, it was only in 2017 that the Hell’s Kitchen native was nominated for an Academy Award for his scene-stealing role in Call Me By Your Name. He was only the third youngest ever actor to achieve the nod for Best Actor, making him part of an illuminating group indeed.
Coming of Age
The coming-of-age film alone earned raves for its explorative journey as a young man attempts to find himself while coming to grips with the romantic feelings he has for a man. There are moments of tenderness, of escape, of loss … and it’s riveting from start to finish. It puts on full display Chalamet’s ability to connect with his characters in such a dynamic way.
It doesn’t hurt that the actor possesses an almost photographic memory of his decisions, so he can look back on the filming experience and use those distinctive moments to educate his future choices. He’s a real actor’s actor — the type who sinks his teeth so deeply into his roles that he can just taste them. He rips them to shreds so he can put them back together again, interpreting the character in his own way and developing the nuances so tightly and in such a cultivated manner that it seems impossible to believe the lad is all of 24.
But that he is, and his role in the film was preceded by an onslaught of other nominations. He went on to star in Lady Bird, Beautiful Boy, and Little Women, all of which were recognized in some way or another at different awards ceremonies. Chalamet scooped up the Hollywood Breakout Actor Award for both Call Me By Your Name and Beautiful Boy at the Hollywood Film Awards, all but cementing his place in the industry and demanding that others take note if they hadn’t already.
The actor is entertainment pedigree personified: his grandmother was a Broadway dancer, and his mother, too, danced on Broadway and acted. His sister is an actress living the dream in Paris. It was all prep school of sorts for his rapid climb up the ranks, the type of rare catapult to fame that only a select few experience.
For Chalamet, it occurred during awards season, which saw him move from one show to the next, making thousands of appearances at everything from late-night shows to parties to screenings. And that meant more than just showing his face — it also meant doing so in style. And so he did, carving out a place for himself on red carpets and plush chairs and cushy spots in between, developing instant recognition status in the glossy world of which he once only dreamed.
There’s a humbling feeling watching Chalamet, if only for the utter nonchalance he displays. He’s offbeat and charming, and he successfully made the rounds during those early days with the carefree confidence of a young model — the sort you might spot in a teen magazine circa the 1980s. The floppy hair alone possesses its own rakish sort of charm.
The Style Edit
The actor took a bit of a shine to fashion several years later. He developed standing relationships with some of the industry’s best and brightest, including the likes of Virgil Abloh, Calvin Klein, and Haider Ackermann, on whom he relied for many of his sharpest red-carpet ensembles. His look reigns not just in public, but even off-circuit. When he’s not doing the rounds, he’s often found in one of his many pairs of collectible kicks, perhaps a Prada jacket thrown on for a pop of high style.
He didn’t shy away from dressing as he wanted, as one should always — but he also displayed a certain knack for mixing and matching the unexpected.
The progression from Chalamet’s earliest days is almost shocking. Once upon a time — say, 2013 — he was known to rock skinny jeans and loose-fitting ties, an attempt, perhaps, to set the tone by taking an offhand approach to style. That continued for a while. He didn’t shy away from dressing as he wanted, as one should always — but he also displayed a certain knack for mixing and matching the unexpected. It was evident in 2014, when he paired his cut-off shorts with Vans and a blazer.
Things took a sleeker and more thoughtfully cultivated turn in 2015, when he started making appearances in sharp grey Dior suits and, later, wowing on the red carpet in pinstripes that bore a decidedly youthful edge. Tough to pull off — ask anyone who begrudgingly dons the staid pattern every workday — but Chalamet managed it with a certain ease.
That continued to serve him well as his name grew bigger. Suddenly he showed up looking sleeker and sharper than ever. There was the immaculately cut blue Calvin Klein suit he wore to the Toronto premiere of Call Me By Your Name. There was the purple denim jacket he threw on over his tailored Berluti outfit at the Berlinale International Film Festival. Don’t forget the emerald green top that peeked out beneath his black suit at Toronto’s Lady Bird premiere. It seemed he had a fearless penchant for color — and plenty of it.
By then, the evidence was tough to ignore: the man knew how to dress. He turned up right and left, showing up in everything from deftly designed velvet suits to handsome Thom Browne overcoats to quirky Alexander McQueen getups. Yellow tees? Why not? Sparkling Louis Vuitton hoodies? Sure. A bracelet paying homage to Harry Styles? Um … yes? By now, it’s clear that Chalamet dresses to his own beat, paying no mind to trends and instead choosing to pave his own path to sartorial success.
Yellow tees? Why not? Sparkling Louis Vuitton hoodies? Sure. A bracelet paying homage to Harry Styles? Um … yes?
It’s been just as impressive a rise as that of his big-screen graduation from baby-faced ingenue to world-renowned, award-winning name-to-be-taken-seriously. A glance at his portfolio is enough to inspire anyone with a twinkle in their eye. But even if you’ve just come for the fashion, you’d be hard-pressed not to glance at Chalamet and feel the vaguest sense that it’s time to update your own wardrobe and bring it up to speed. For the actor is nothing if not well-rounded, with an innate ability to embrace looks ranging from sporty to sharp with the ease of a well-seasoned industry vet. How’s that for inspiring?
Get the Look
Would you dare? You should, if you’re at all motivated to take on the fashion risks that Chalamet has for years. In 2019, he made a statement in a fuchsia Stella McCartney suit on the red carpet at the premiere of Little Women in Paris. Baby steps if you can’t imagine wearing fuchsia from head to toe — yep, even his shirt was the same head-turning shade. Try this ASOS DESIGN super skinny jersey blazer for a similar effect that will, at the very least, give you an option to substitute your usual black and grey suspects.
Feeling like you desperately need to shake things up can make you do crazy things. And if you’re especially inspired by Chalamet’s McQueen pants, you can snag a pair of the designer’s floral wool-silk pants for yourself and bring the vision to life. Even if there are no red carpets or talk shows in your future, there’s a surrealist aspect to these artsy bottoms that makes them particularly appealing for those more adventurous among us. And, hey, they’re McQueens. Any excuse is a good one.
There’s a certain audacity that comes with wearing bright shades anywhere and everywhere. If you’re working your way to that stage, start small by swapping your go-to tops with something bolder yet not too earth-shattering. This Helmut Lang Helmutland logo T-shirt fills the gap nicely, as shades like green and purple brighten things up in an instant yet still look right at home in any relatively casual and understated wardrobe.
Chalamet has a bit of a thing for Gucci, too. Frankly, that’s a thing most in style circles know and understand, yet it’s also understood that less is best when it comes to making them a part of your own wardrobe. When the actor left BBC headquarters in London in a pair of joggers, a baggy black sweatshirt, and Gucci sneakers that looked like something straight out of the 1980s, he probably didn’t plan for anything more than his signature brand of thoughtfully casual unkemptness with a flair. And yet here we are, inspired enough to make the Gucci Ultrapace an integral part of our lives.
Perhaps what’s best about this emboldened style evolution is that it’s come so naturally. As Chalamet has grown and his star become brighter, so too has his ability to dress the part. The emergence of unusual pieces — think shiny bibs, multicolored jackets, and wildly patterned tops — all feel so fitting for a young guy who started with the skinniest of skinny pants.
His is a new breed of style, one that’s at once approachable, irreverent, unfussy, louche, and distinctive. It’s tough to bring it all together in such fine form, but Chalamet has shown time and again that he’s no one-trick. The actor’s actor is here to stay, both on and off the red carpet.