As long as he’s got his suit & tie…
While I am not a fan of this ensemble as an outfit, as a show piece or costume, it works, especially given the context of his performance. JT’s 2013 VMA performance came on the heels of a kick ass year for the artist, as evidenced by the fact that 15 minutes were reserved for his performance. With that said, the man could have worn anything- a luxury that comes with a position of power and respect from your peers, or colleagues if you want to translate this to the business world. Justin didn’t just wear anything though. This outfit was thoughtfully coordinated to suit Timberlake’s personal style, his venue (or context), and his audience. Had Justin been performing at a benefit or ball, it is HIGHLY likely that his wardrobe choice would have been more reserved, classic, even safe. But that’s just it- this was not a ball or formal event- this was the MTV Video Music Awards- a venue where everyone is looking to stand out and be remembered and some even trying to elicit a certain degree of shock-value. I don’t think this outfit was “shocking” by any means, as we have come to expect exceptionally well-tailored 3-piece suits and tuxes from the award-winning artist, but at the same time this is not an outfit we’d expect so see Justin in on the streets, or in a more sophisticated context.
The lessons here are…
1. It is extremely important to remember each day who you are and who you want to be, as well as who your audience is.
2. Never try to rock a fedora. You are not and never will be Don Draper.
3. Costumes are not the same as outfits.
4. When you’re as powerful, talented, and respected as JT then maybe, just MAYBE you can get away with a fedora, and what, in my opinion, is a hideous white vest.