Now that the botched Tonight Show torch-passing is a distant memory, most people have warmed up to the new faces of late night television. But what we’re more curious about than who the torch will be passed to next is, can any of the freshly minted hosts hold a torch to the old guard’s style? Take a look at our Late Night fashion report card, and find out our picks for best dressed.
Even though the audience no longer shows up dressed to the nines like the days of Johnny Carson, late night hosts are still among the small screen’s few remaining stars to check in wearing a suit and tie. While some are clearly phoning it in, others seem to revel in an opportunity to get better acquainted with their tailor. Grades are in, and the results are as follows:
Host of: Conan on TBS
Comments: As a longtime Simpsons writer and Harvard alum, Conan has one of the sharpest wits in the game. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said for his fashion sense. While the fit of his suits is looking good lately, on most nights he falls back on a pretty pedestrian bank teller getup consisting of black suit, black shoes, french blue shirt, and a shiny, fat tie with some sort of intense pattern. Not the worst, but after a $45 million buyout, you’d figure he might buy himself a tie that hasn’t been around since his college days.
Host of: Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC
Comments: Jimmy definitely wins the award for most improved. His taste has always been low key, opting for a relatable everyman vibe. But after shedding a few pounds, he has been going for trimmer suits in classic colors and textures. It isn’t fashion forward, but it’s the kind of sharp and timeless look you’d see on hosts of a bygone era. Don’t be surprised to see Kimmel move up the list as he gets more comfortable with the new duds.
Host of: The Late Show on CBS
Comments: You won’t ever catch Letterman in “slim fit” anything. And that’s precisely why we like him. As trends come and go, he has stood by a traditional suit paired with bold glasses and an eccentric tie. It isn’t always our cup of tea, but it’s the very definition of personal style versus trying to be fashionable. Dave is going to look like this as long as he’s on the air, and there’s something admirable about a guy going with what makes him comfortable whether his stylist hates it or not.
Host of: Late Night on NBC
Comments: Seth looks consistently good to the point of it being a little boring. He usually wears the safest thing that could still be considered modern, grabbing a 2-button suit in solid navy, charcoal or black almost everyday. It’s always well tailored and universally flattering, but sometimes we wish he didn’t look like the million other guys (granted, sharp guys) wearing the exact same thing.
Host of: The Late Late Show on CBS
Comments: Craig is interesting. He doesn’t look as svelte as Seth or Jimmy, but there seems to be an honesty to it that earns him major points. Often caught in a three-piece suit with peak lapels and a pocket square, his style has a distinctly UK flair. And while we generally frown on wrinkled suits and flapping collars, Ferguson is known for having a bit of a deviant side so it works.
Host of: The Tonight Show on NBC
Comments: Fallon takes the crown as the sharpest of late night’s rising stars. He has a sleek, tailored look similar to Kimmel and Meyers, but isn’t afraid to take it a step further. Turn on his show and you’ll see him wearing knit ties, bright blue suits and even a pair of monk-strap shoes now and then. The extra edge is genuinely his, as demonstrated by him going all out and rocking a tie with a varsity even on an off day.
HONORABLE MENTION – Jay Leno
Host of: Formerly the Tonight Show on NBC
Last but not least , er, unfortunately last and least is Jay Leno. As longtime host of the Tonight show, his wardrobe often looked more like that of a politician than a comedian. Boxy suits, shiny ties and a perennially present American flag pin aren’t crimes, but they aren’t making anyone week in the knees either. Jay scrapes by with a passing grade thanks to his off duty look – the Canadian tux. Nothing to write home about, but it has been his uniform a la Steve Jobs’ turtleneck for most of his adult life, so he gets extra credit for sticking to his guns.
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