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My full-time job is writing about menswear, but my other full-time job—the one I don’t get paid for but still do for, like, eight hours a day—is watching TV. I love TV! And 2023 was a fucking great year for people like me, who Google things like “where to find jason oppenheim gucci shirt selling sunset season 7″ on my tiny screen while Selling Sunset Season 7 plays on my bigger screen in the background.
From reality TV to scripted dramas to scripted TV that was also sort of reality (I’m looking at you, Jury Duty), this year was absolutely major for leading men, and, as a result, menswear worthy of a leading man. Loyal Esquire readers will know how deeply Kendall Roy was on his style game in the final season of Succession this past spring, turning out quietly luxurious Loro Piana and Tom Ford looks paired with a mental breakdown every Sunday night. Across the pond, Ted Lasso‘s Jamie Tartt went a different route with loud, in-your-face luxury, from Stone Island coveralls to Dsquared2 accessories.
Daisy Jones & the Sixtook it way back to the rock and roll scene of the ’70s with denim shirts, fur coats, and heeled boots, while The Last of Usbrought us into the post-apocalyptic landscape of the not-so distant future, where Pedro Pascal slays mushroom zombies while wearing a flannel-lined trucker jacket. And who could forget The Bearof it all, proving that the perfect white tee and a solid pair of Birks should never go overlooked?
If this year was any indication, we’re headed to even brighter, better, more stylish futures on TV in 2024. But for now, let’s take a walk through the eight best on-screen menswear moments of 2023.
1. Succession‘s Kendall Roy
One of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my entire life is pick just one outfit of Kendall’s Season 4 rotation to highlight. When a man is falling apart inside, slightly manic, and still lacing up his Tom Ford sneakers and putting on a brave face under his cashmere hat every day, there are a lot of options to choose from. Previously, I’ve ranked all of Kendall Roy’s best outfits, so I suppose the most ethical, mathematically-accurate way to do this would be to pick his highest-ranking look from Season 4: the Funeral Fit.
Ultimately, this outfit is not only quintessentially Kendall, but quintessentially 2023. It represents the new age of menswear and leading-man dressing that began this year—and, honestly, began with Succession. Kendall’s $8,895 Loro Piana overcoat is the poster child of the “quiet luxury” trend that blossomed earlier this year (and, in fact, was so influential that it sold out, but similar styles are still around). And Kendall really did put some thought into this perfectly-tailored, chic-as-hell look for his father’s funeral, from the dark sunglasses to the leather shoes. Kudos, Ken.