Men's Life Today: Fashion
The Most Stylish Video Game Characters
By Libe Goad
Improve more than your hand-eye coordination while playing video games by taking style cues from these (pixelated) leading men.
In the early days of interactive entertainment, video game characters' style was more of an afterthought. After all, when you're made up of a handful of blocky pixels, no one can really tell if you're wearing an Armani suit of a suit of armor.
In contrast, today's games include near-photo-realistic graphics, so your in-game avatar's wardrobe is impossible to miss. This gives gamers a whole new generation of style icons to emulate -- from sports stars to action heroes.
Of course, if you follow video game style trends blindly, you might end up wearing overalls and a red plumber’s cap -- so pick your icons carefully!
We asked stylists Jorge Ramon and Diane Davis of the Stylelist Web site to examine a lineup of the five most fashion-forward male characters from today’s hottest video games. Here’s who got the joysticks-up and why:
1. James Bond: “Quantum of Solace”
Double-oh-seven has been making tuxes look good for more than 40 years. This latest video game version in the James Bond franchise has him sporting a classic look.
Jorge Ramon: Black and white and kicking butt all over, you can never go wrong in a classic tuxedo. Tailoring is key for a well-fitted and dramatic look. Nothing is worse than an ill-fitting suit that is either too big or small for the guy in it. Do yourself a favor: Go to your local tailor -- some dry cleaners offer this service too. Also, have at least one navy suit (pinstripes are always stylish) and a gray suit -- these are wardrobe workhorses for guys.
Diane Davis: It's pretty hard to get more stylish than James Bond. Tom Ford dressed Daniel Craig for Quantum of Solace [and Craig was, in turn, digitally scanned for the game], and boy, do those suits sing. Don't be afraid to invest in classic suits and tailored shirts -- you really can wear those looks for many years.
2. Jin Kazama: “Tekken”
Workout gear doesn't have to look drab, as this “Tekken” fighting game star proves. Known for his high kicks and acrobatic flips, Jin favors loose-fitting patterned track pants and a generous dose of hair product.
Ramon: Can you say B-U-F-F? Jin's shredded upper body is the perfect attention grabber that punctuates the gold embroidery on his traditional ying-yang inspired black-and-white flame pants. Black and white is a color combination that will never steer you wrong: A black suit and white shirt can work in many situations -- from boardroom (with a slick, square-bottom black tie) to date night (open collar). Just make sure these looks are fitted and your accessories (sorry, Jin, I’d skip the gold in this case) complement the overall look (i.e., good shoes and a belt are a must -- and keep them black!).
Davis: Jin is following a cardinal style rule and emphasizing his best asset: his ripped torso. This is not a look easy to replicate at home. But you might be able to find a few pairs of flaming pants that, when combined with the right haircut and some muscles, evoke the same general feeling.
3. Snow Villiers: “Final Fantasy”
A rebel with a cause, fighting the evil Sanctum in “Final Fantasy XIII” (yes, the 13th game in the series), we’re guessing Snow was named after his shock of platinum-blond hair (in sharp contrast to his fiery temper).
Ramon: A classic trench is a must in a well-dressed man’s wardrobe. Versatile and actually useful in the rain, this piece will look amazing over a suit; or with jeans, plaid shirt and a chunky sweater. If you want to get your rocker on, trench coats also come in black.
Davis: Snow has definite cyberpunk appeal. His trench coat pulls together the entire look, and his studded belts are making a comeback from the 1980s right now. I am digging these two-tone combat boots -- they remind me of shoes I’ve seen in a designer’s fall 2009 lineup. I'm not sure you can get Snow's look off the shelf, but the classic trench is a must-have for every man. Even if you can't afford designer prices, look for quality details when you do buy a raincoat: topstitching, epaulets and straps at the wrists.
4. Leon Kennedy: “Resident Evil”
One of the mainstays of the long-running “Resident Evil” series, Leon Kennedy manages to look sharp even when blasting brain-hungry zombies. Part of his mojo comes from how he moves effortlessly from his police blues to Indiana Jones-style leather jackets (and honestly, part of it is that always-perfect hair).
Ramon: Right on trend, Leon’s look is strong, masculine and simple -- proving less is more. The monochromatic black puts the shearling jacket center stage. And don’t let the initial investment of a shearling jacket deter you from wearing a look that will serve you for many years to come. Keep it casual with jeans, layered tees and boots, or even dress trousers with a turtleneck and a dress shoe/boot. This jacket is manly but always fashionable, and the older it gets, the better it looks.
Davis: Leon makes cargo pants and camo look cool by pairing them with a classic leather jacket. He’s clearly dressed for his job and has the confidence to throw trends to the wind. A classic leather bomber can definitely lend any man panache. Just be sure to buy one made from soft but thick quality leather -- and no 1980s shoulder pads.
5. Tiger Woods: “Tiger Woods PGA Tour”
If millions of fans were watching your every move under the bright midday sun, you'd be pretty careful about how you dressed too. Not everyone can pull off the classic polo-shirt-and-cap look, but Tiger makes it look effortless -- like it's just part of his job.
Ramon: Fashion plate? Who cares when you’re Tiger Woods! The effortless “golf chic” shirt keeps his lines clean, simple and refined while highlighting those champion guns. Less can be more when dressing your best. The key is to pay attention to the details: Fit is crucial (too loose or too tight is not an option), experiment with color (Tiger’s lucky red works for many skin tones) and always make sure your shoes are shined and well-maintained. Never wear white socks with dress shoes or black socks with shorts. And remember that a baseball cap is not a hairstyle -- c’mon guys, you’re big boys now!
Davis: It’s hard to look stylish in polo shirts and pleated pants, but Tiger always pulls it off. You can find polo shirts at any department or discount store. The secret to looking good in them is twofold: First, find one that fits your body type. (Don't wear one that’s two sizes too big or that gaps at the arm.) Second, take good care of it. If you want it to look crisp and tailored, air-dry it flat, making sure to smooth out all the wrinkles.
Libe Goad is the editor in chief of AOL's GameDaily video game Web site and a semi-regular TV talking head on CNBC, Bloomberg News, ABC, CBS, NBC and other stations. She was named one of the 50 Most Influential Games Journalists by the Global Game Industry Network.