WITH MORE THAN 40 films to his credit in the past decade, Samuel L. Jackson is one of the hardest-working men in Hollywood. But when it comes to style, our panel agrees, the 6'3" actor never breaks a sweat. "This man knows what he's doing," says designer Dana Buchman. And with outfits as edgy as Jackson's, that's no small feat. Says singer Sisqó: "He's figured out a way to dress that nobody else can." How does Jackson, 51, get away with mixing radically monochromatic evening wear with streetwise Kangol caps? He dropped an inadvertent hint in June while promoting his latest star turn, in the title role of Shaft: "This character is about being calm in the skin you're in, having confidence bordering on arrogance, with a simple dollop of humility." The statement could apply equally to Jackson's philosophy of style. As designer Elie Tahari puts it, "He's a cool dude."
"Oh my God, he looks fabulous!" says Dana Buchman of the three-quarter-length Armani tux and matching cap that Jackson wore to an awards event in Monaco in May. Adds Elie Tahari: "He's saying, 'I'm going to dress differently from anybody else,' and he succeeded."
Model Mia Tyler envisions Jackson "playing golf and holding a cigar" in the clothes he chose for a charity pool tournament in L.A. last September. "But he could show up at the Oscars like this and look great there too," she adds. The casual yet coordinated outfit inspires Elie Tahari's imagination as well: "He looks like a good architect with a blueprint in his hand. I'd let him design my house."
Jackson used his signature hat as a billboard for Shaft at June's MTV Movie Awards in L.A. "He looks great in white," says Mia Tyler of the actor's Armani ensemble. Sisqó seconds that opinion: "I was there when he wore this. He was like a breath of fresh air."
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