Oscar 2021 Countdown: Leslie Odom Jr.-Ology

Posted on April 21, 2021

We’ve never seen fit to do an Ology post for any of the male Oscar nominees in the few years we’ve been doing them; largely because most of the men default to more conservative men’s formalwear. But this year saw more Black men and men of color among the nominees than ever before, and one of the things we’ve learned in our decade-plus of celebrity fashion coverage is that the men most likely to look for non-traditional menswear for their public style are always Black men and men of color. Conventional western formal and semi-formal menswear takes its inspiration solely from upper-class men or white-collar businessmen at a time when those roles were held solely by white men. Imagine if formal womenswear still took inspiration from the hoop skirt or bustle and then think about your favorite Black actress and whether she’d ever dress that way if she got nominated for an Oscar. To be fair, Steven Yeun dresses in extremely conventional styles and that is of course his right. There’s even an argument to be made that modeling the most traditional formalwear is itself a statement about belonging where you are. But Riz Ahmed, Leslie Odom, Jr. and, if he’d been able to, Chadwick Boseman are all prone to looking outside the Brooks Brothers model for something with a little more power and meaning to them. And Leslie took every chance he could to snag the most colorful and, to our surprise, occasionally gender non-conforming styles this year and it’s been a fantastic PR run for him. You almost never see a rising male star make such a declarative “I’ve arrived” statement through their fashion as he has.



Leslie Odom Jr. Performs for the BAFTA Film Awards in Prabal Gurung


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And for all that, the shape of his suits still remains fairly conventional. He may play a little with cut and shape here and there, but its his love of bold color and print that sets his choices apart.



Leslie Odom Jr. in Versace for the BAFTA Film Awards

He clearly loves a clodhopper shoe no matter what the cut of the pants he’s wearing; part of that playfulness he has about shapes. But if there’s one thing that stands out most about his style choices, it’s the unusual or counterintuitive way he styles his suits, like here, with the brilliant red coat and the checkerboard print turtleneck.




Or here, by pairing a print shirt with a print suit. Notice how well-coordinated his ensembles are, right down to the socks.




Leslie Odom, Jr. in Berluti for the SAG Awards

Just spectacular.




Leslie Odom Jr. in Celine for the Critics’ Choice Awards

Again, there’s that sense of the shapes changing slightly with each suit. Love the ruffled collar.



Leslie Odom Jr. in Valentino for the Golden Globe Awards

And we appreciate his fondness for a more studied sort of awkward style; the way he combines style choices – like his hairstyle here combined with that bright green turtleneck against a dusty pink suit. It’s more strange than stylish, but in its own way, that’s kind of refreshing.






Leslie Odom Jr. Promotes “One Night in Miami” in Etro


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We’ve been saying for over a decade now that there’s absolutely no reason why actors or singers or performers should ever be dressing like lawyers or butlers. They’re artists. They should dress the part. He clearly gets that.



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[Photo Credit: Austin Hargrave for Versace, Leigh Keily, Phoebe Joaquin, Courtesy of Celine, Avo Yermagyan/Instagram]

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