Idris Elba is one of those Hollywood stars who simply never fails to deliver on the red carpet. The British actor, who turns 48 today, can rock a suit like no other. In fact, you’ll likely never catch him in a look that’s not perfectly tailored. Over the years, Elba has been consistent in this approach, drawing on a variety of suiting that’s always streamlined but never boring. He will flaunt everything from a gray checkered two-piece with a pageboy cap, to an all-black tux with a bowtie for evening. Even his off-duty look is worthy of the spotlight. It’s why he stands apart from his peers, and has done for the better part of a decade.
Elba has been a familiar face on film since the late ’90s, though it’s in the last ten years that he’s risen to A-list status. Still, since the very beginning, he proved that he had the style to captivate on the red carpet. In the early 2000s, he attended a premiere for The Sopranos in a long tunic worn over pants—an usual alternative to black tie, yet he pulled it off with flair. In the years that followed, he would continue to deliver memorable (and unexpected) style moments, such as when he wore a crystal-embellished Obama T-shirt to the premiere of RocknRolla ahead of the election in 2008, which read, “Change.”
He’s not afraid to play with the conventions of tailoring, experimenting with unconventional colors and fabrics while always keeping a perfectly-fitted silhouette. He’s also shown he has a knack for elevated casual wear. He can wear a simple crewneck and trousers on a carpet and somehow make it look like a million dollars. Some of his best style moments in recent times have been at the Met Gala, where he has experimented with bolder finishes. For the 2019 camp-themed ball, for instance, he wore a colorful, printed Versace blazer and kept the rest of the outfit sleek and discreet. After all, the man wears a look—the look never wears him.