Jeffrey Wright is many things: award-winning actor, seasoned surfer, and, more recently, chilled-out suiting god. Over the course of a decades-spanning career, he’s carved out a niche as one of Hollywood’s most compelling actors, logging a run of Oscar-worthy performances that culminated in his turn as a very Wrightian character in 2023’s American Fiction. Wright has always been slyly dapper, but these days he’s dressing every bit the leading man, stepping out in just-right suits supported by an ensemble of demure, elegant knits—a foolproof cold-weather combo for anyone following along at home.
Three Ways to Suit Up Like Mr. (W)Right
What, exactly, is the secret to his spate of impeccable outfits? Simple: While his A-list counterparts compete to outdo each other on the red carpet in elaborate runway get-ups, Wright keeps it approachable and easy. His suits are slick and perfectly tailored, but instead of wearing them with button-ups and ties, Wright sticks to trim, solid-colored mocknecks and finely-knit tees. (Yes, knit tees—imagine a luxe-leaning sweater-polo with the collar lopped off and you’ve got the right idea.) His commitment to the look is a timely reminder that the easiest way to make your suits work overtime this season is to dress them down when you can get away with it—and even, perhaps especially, when you think you can’t.
If you’ve been wondering when you’ll wear the suit you splurged on for your best friend’s wedding last year, don’t save it for the next round of nuptials: according to Jeffrey Wright, you can and should incorporate it into your regular rotation right this very second. Here’s how.
For the 9-to-5 Grind
Your boss probably doesn’t expect you to clock-in dressed to the nines every day, but it never hurts to clean up occasionally for the big man. (You are the big man, by the way.) The easiest way to do it? Follow Wright’s lead and swap the button-up for a mockneck. John Smedley’s version is knit from a super-fine merino wool that’ll keep you nice and toasty when your office radiator goes kaput, but won’t have you sweating bullets on the train back home. For best results, wear it with a Todd Snyder’s ludicrously swanky pure cashmere suit, a proposition so decadent we felt richer just writing that.
For the High-Stress Date Night
First things first: Loosen up! You’re doing great. Date night doesn’t demand a suit, but wearing one never hurts. When in doubt, opt for dark colors and a relaxed, semi-slouchy fit; it’ll help you rise to the occasion—and keep your cool—without compromising on comfort. The kind-hearted Brits at Oliver Spencer cut their jacket from a sturdy wool blend softened with rounded shoulders and a trio of patch pockets. (The trousers boast a hidden drawstring waist, too.) And Abercrombie’s tee-like mockneck is a Wright-approved flourish that’ll differentiate you from the poor fellas sweating through the starchier stuff.
For the Low-Key Formal Affair
Gearing up for an event that requires a bit more panache—an exhibition opening, say, or an intimate industry screener? Stick to Wright’s formula: Find a shirt that boasts the structure of a knit but the chill factor of a broken-in tee. Upstart Bali label Isa Boulder uses dropped shoulders and a thin, slinky rib to nail the landing, and Drake’s’ slate-gray suit offers the perfect frame to display it.
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