Concerning Mr. Depp’s Closet
When I was younger, (more) stupid, generally inebriated and drawn more toward the fringe than the center, I had an appreciation for the stylistic decisions (I dare say fashion) of one Johnny Depp. I suppose I was intrigued by the bohemian/ pirate overtones coupled with grunge staples, the touch of Old Hollywood and zootsuitery and the way all of the previous stood in opposition to the trendy “this is what my stylist picked out for me” looks popular amongst the chiclet toothed “ready for my closeup” celebrities.
Obviously, I don’t think celebrities ought to be admired, respected or followed the vast majority of the time, but unless you’ve finally purchased that Wyoming homestead and are browsing a manual on canning and preservation by candlelight, rather than the latest headlines, it’s difficult to not at least have an awareness of what’s happening on silver screens and red carpets. Beyond this, I did appreciate, and do continue to appreciate (albeit to a lesser degree) Depp’s work on screen.
From the standpoint of the traditionalist, Depp is off the mark about 90% of the time and routinely breaks the most basic “rules,” such as propriety of attire based on context. However, from a “personal style” (whatever that means) standpoint, Depp is successful to the extent that he seems to wear whatever he pleases whenever he pleases and there are consistent elements (fedoras, colored sunglasses, scarves, pattern mixing, an abundance of accessories, etc).
With respect to Depp’s sartorial inspiration, Keith Richards and Eddie Vedder, both friends of Depp’s, are stylistically similar to Depp. Richards, with more of a gypsy bend and Vedder with more of a classic Seattle grunge orientation. These avenues, gypsy and grunge, ought to be travelled with great care or not at all by the common gent.
It might be said that Depp is a man who dresses according to instinct or feel and that (again, in a traditional sense) his instincts and feelings are entirely wrong. Again, from the standpoint of individual/ personal style, he succeeds admirably, although I believe this to be a small victory.
Depp dresses in the repellant mode, similar to a “man repeller” or celebrity replete with baseball cap, large sunglasses and the particular look of fear, discomfort and avoidance one gets when hoping not to be seen/ recognized. 99% of men don’t have the luxury of doing this and must comport themselves in the “attractive” mode, using clothing and accessories as tools of aspiration, rather than insulation.
If he weren’t an actor or musician, Depp would likely be a candidate for What Not To Wear. Latitude and liberty have been granted to poets since Greek times, to be sure, but Depp, in addition to not conforming to the dominant concepts of men’s style, doesn’t really conform to any fixed “style,” save for perhaps, “Bag Man.”
Depp has the bizarre distinction of being both “The Sexiest Man Alive” (in a popular/ traditional sense..i.e. People Magazine) and one of the worst dressed men alive (again, in a traditional sense). The two have something to do with each other: Depp is uncomfortable with his good looks and consciously downplays them with distracting and unflattering clothes and accessories, which surely bring him an element of comfort and security.
Given all this, one might ask: What are the positive elements of Depp’s fashion? What is adaptable or advisable for the common gent of a bohemian orientation?
Perhaps, not much.
However, I present to you the Johnny Depp Getting Dressed formula for your complete rejection or attempted adaptation/ adoption.
The Depp formula looks something like: shirt + something else (jacket, second shirt, scarf) + >1 ring on each hand + >2 bracelets + fedora/ driving cap/ knit hat + >1 necklace + 1 additional accessory (sunglasses, additional scarf, watch or wallet chain).
Depp wears what he wants to. In an immature way, this is commendable on priority. 10% of his outfits “work” and the rest are largely ridiculous. His appearance is too consistent to not be deliberate and purposeful, which makes it all the more confusing. I’ve attempted to offer a few suggestions as to “why” and “for what purpose.”
I do believe, however, that the 10% of good outfits largely redeem Depp and reinforce the brand. Basically, Depp looks better when he keeps his clothing choices simpler and lets his accessories make a statement. The more he piles on layers (while not removing accessories), the worse he looks. Additionally, he ought to abandon “dressing up” altogether and be aware that red carpet means black tie 99% of the time.
A few of his better efforts, below.