Inspired: Shia LaBeouf
Inspired: Shia LaBeouf
- Words Asaf Rotman
- Date September 28, 2020
Shia LaBeouf has always been an enigma. A former child star turned Hollywood A-lister, LaBeouf went from Disney Channel gag character to lead a multi-billion dollar franchise in just four years. Yet, despite being one of the best paid actors in the world, LaBeouf chose a different route, pivoting towards performance art and choosing independent arthouse films over countless big budget opportunities.
Between directing rap videos, starring in Sia music videos and countless accusations of plagiarism, LaBeouf seemingly became more famous for his antics than his acting, with a number of public incidents and legal troubles eventually landing him in actor limbo. Yet, following starring roles ranging from Disturbia to Fury—where Brad Pitt famously said “he’s one of the best actors [he’s] ever seen,”—Hollywood’s oddest success story is back, and tackling more complex and emotionally fluid roles than ever.
Though now firmly back in the film industry’s good graces, it’s odd that one of LaBeouf’s defining characteristics (even amongst non-menswear folk) is his outrageous wardrobe. The man whose clothes were so legendarily (and inadvertently) cool they prompted Kanye West to raid his closet, LaBeouf’s eccentric nature and alternative worldview are clearly communicated through his clothing choices.
Though his child star years were nothing out of the ordinary—cargo shorts, plaid short sleeve button-ups, plain T-shirts—and various red carpet appearances thereafter were typical, LaBeouf’s penchant for bucking style norms first came to light following the Berlin premiere of Lars Von Trier’s highly controversial Nymphomaniac, where the actor, in the midst of his performance art exploration, walked down the red carpet in a tuxedo with a brown paper bag over his head reading “I Am Not Famous Anymore” written in sharpie. Though derided by the press as a publicity stunt, the move was in fact well received by the performance art community, who recognized LaBeouf’s intent.
Still, the unexpected move made waves, and was the first of many news-making outfit choices. Next was the infamous “Hell on Wheels” hat, which the actor wore as early as 2014. A vintage military hat referencing the army’s second armored division, the hat—which was signed by various personalities including LaBeouf himself—eventually wound up on the head of one Kanye West, who famously “borrowed” the hat after raiding the actor’s closet.
Even more than the headline grabbing choices, it’s LaBeouf’s entire aesthetic that has inspired legions of menswear fans to mimic his unorthodox approach to getting dressed. Claiming he searches for clothes with “history” and “meaning” LaBeouf’s notable fits have ranged from skin-tight purple running tights to cropped sweatpants and Uggs. While there is no clear discernible direction to his wardrobe choices, the actor obviously values comfort and utility above all else—his obsession with army standard issue tachyon boots and flight bombers shows as much. In fact, his wildly attainable choices transformed LaBeouf into a sort of normcore god, an early adopter of Patagonia, Crocs and countless other dad-style classics.
It’s not just his nonchalantly cool tendencies, however. When LaBeouf breaks out the designer duds, from a Gucci double breasted suit and matching loafers to an all white Prada tuxedo, he shows that his eclectic approach is not limited to his off-duty style, and he can find a way to show out while still bucking convention.
It’s strange to think that it’s been more than a decade since Shia LaBeouf had his breakthrough role as Sam Witwicky in Michael Bay’s mega blockbuster Transformers. Stranger still that his first major starring role in the now cult-classic Even Stevens began over 20 years ago. Last year, combining his streak for self-referential performance art with his certified acting chops, LaBeouf took on the role of his own father in the semi-autobiographical Honey Boy, documenting a fictionalized version of LaBeouf’s own rise to fame and experience as a child star. According to many critics, it’s his best work yet. Naturally, the double breasted Gucci white suit over a T-shirt and two-tone squared off loafers he wore to the premiere showed just how far he’s come.
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