In A World Of Men’s Maximalism, Austin Butler Makes The Case For The Return Of Chic Classics

Austin Butler attends the UK Special Screening of "Elvis"
Austin Butler wears Alexander McQueen jacket, shirt, and pants with Cartier watch and jewelry. David M. Benett/WireImage/Getty Images

Young male stars have been spearheading maximalist fashion with gusto over the past few years. Every time Lil Nas X steps out in a fully beaded Balmain suit, or Harry Styles wears a sparkling rainbow jumpsuit, they inspire more people around the world to have fun with fashion, to add another beaded necklace, to shop in a section that maybe wasn’t originally designed for them. In a sea of black tuxes, anticipating Timothée Chalamet’s next red carpet look has become an exciting activity. But toile suits are not for everyone, and if Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chalamet, and Styles sit on one end of the male fashion spectrum—with their sheer blouses and sequined jackets—newly-minted cinema star Austin Butler, is lounging comfortably on the other.

It’s in this time of men’s maximalist fashion, which has Bella Hadid’s boyfriend Marc Kalman wearing all of his DePop purchases at one time, that Butler’s chic minimalism feels like a breath of fresh air. That’s not to say one style is better than the other. Just like maximalism can become too much, minimalism can get boring, but it’s the embracement of both that makes for a fun men’s fashionscape. And right now, as Butler’s star power climbs in real time thanks to his forthcoming turn as Elvis in the Baz Luhrmann biopic, we get to see how another male star chooses to show off his personal style, and it just so happens to be in direct contrast with many of the current trends.

The wave of strong, classic looks began on the Cannes red carpet last week for the premiere of Elvis, where Butler wore a black wool, double-breasted tuxedo blazer with matching pants, courtesy of the go-to designer for chic men’s suiting, Hedi Slimane at Celine. Compared to the other looks he would later wear, this one walks the line of being too simple, but it’s the addition of the pointed-toe calfskin boot that adds just a touch of something different (there’s also the fact that this man knows how to pull of a tux like no one else).

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The day after that classic moment, Butler took off his jacket and went a little more casual for the Elvis photocall. With a pair of wayfarer glasses covering his eyes, and a hand tucked into his pocket, the actor once again exuded a classic cool kid attitude in wide-leg slacks and a short sleeve button down with an accentuated collar and rolled up sleeves. He didn’t even need to open his mouth in order to embody Elvis, the way he carried the look was enough.

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But Cannes was just the beginning, and after wrapping things up there, Butler was off to London for some screenings of the film, which is where the looks really hit their peak. Monday night found Butler on the red carpet in a pin stripe suit. A classic, but one he played on by cropping the jacket so it hit just at his hip, and adding a white tank underneath. A day later, and Butler kept on that white tank, this time layering it with an Alexander McQueen white suit jacket and black pants with a hand, once again, in his pocket.

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It’s clear from these looks that Butler has been inspired by Elvis and the style of men’s dressing in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Everything from the actor’s whipped up hair, exaggerated collars, and wider-leg pants have a retro edge to them. Still, he’s wearing classic pieces, mainstays in men’s suiting, that he jazzes up with these little details as well as his attitude. The looks also prove that you can be a young leading man right now without the sheer tops, bright colors, and logos. Just like in women’s dressing, everyone has their own personal style. Butler’s girlfriend, Kaia Gerber, clearly shares a love for minimalism, wearing a slinky red Celine halter dress to her boyfriend’s Cannes premiere, but for every Gerber, there’s a Dua Lipa, who prefers to cover herself in Versace gold. Would it be fun to see Butler in an eclectic look? Of course, but he’s doing timeless chic pretty damn well, so for now, we will let him be.

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