Billy Crystal, Unlikely Style God


In her off-duty wardrobe, you get the feeling that Crystal puts classic, comfy staples above any overt notion of fashion. He’s locked into the idea that all it takes to look good are great pants, a well-fitting sweater, crisp sneakers – and rarely deviates from them. It surprisingly feels at the height of today’s menswear. These days, after a few years of Gucci-induced maximalism and breathless streetwear drops, many men are turning to a more down-to-earth way of dressing. It started slowly – relaxed jeans, a pair of loafers, a simple tee with a choice cardigan – but this chic and accessible way of dressing seems to be spreading among well-dressed guys. It doesn’t look like a rework from the era of Frank Muytjens’ J.Crew chinos and skinny suits. Some of the quirks of the last years of wild style have remained, and that sweet touch of fun can be seen in Crystal’s old-fashioned style as well.

Of course, when you’re Billy Crystal, sometimes work requires you to stray. And when her day job claimed it, Crystal showed up in simple suits and tuxedos for the red carpet appearances. Some looked better than others, but they didn’t quite provide the same thrill as his short-side Clippers play outfit. (Of course, most of us would probably look relatively tame next to the legendary Robin Williams chest of drawers.) You get the feeling that Crystal had no interest in being on the same level as Williams or her other peers. more intrepid. When he showed up on the red carpet, he was there to do a job: smile and promote the film. Looking at the red carpet photos from this era, you never felt like he saw them as an opportunity to do stunts in extravagant outfit. And anyway, wearing a tuxedo is a lot less fun than loose, draped gray pants with your favorite white sneakers.

Billy Crystal in Hollywood, January 23, 1991.

Ron Galella / Getty Images

Crystal is a bit of a dark horse for a retro style icon. During the 1980s, he became known for playing comedic characters with pessimistic and pessimistic charm – not exactly the traditional leading male roles you would see of a Nicholson or a Ford. Maybe that’s what makes her styling style so unexpected and joyful. It was there all the time, hidden in plain sight – and more people might have noticed the clothes if they were worn by a more typical movie star. Look at how Crystal dressed back then, and it’s hard not to draw parallels with modern style icons – like, say, Jonah Hill. Of course, Crystal didn’t dress in in-the-know streetwear or endless Prada, but I feel a similar presence of comfort and self-confidence. In their respective eras, the two looked well dressed and likable, like a classy person you might see displayed in your local cafe.


Likewise, Crystal always seemed to dress just for himself, and it shows in his outfits. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Crystal’s’ 80s style, though? It still feels like most of us would be happy to wear today.


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