It’s only up from here, guys.
A few years ago, an ‘80s Levi’s commercial resurfaced featuring a young Stanley Tucci… with hair! The internet was abuzz not only because he looks great in the ad, but because for as long as we’ve known him, he’s been completely bald. Amidst all this reinvigorated admiration for the veteran actor (and maybe even a new wave of Stanley “Stans”), here’s our hot take: Stanley Tucci looks even better today, as a baldie.
Header photo by Martin Kraft, Stanley Tucci 2017 Berlinale, CC BY-SA 3.0
In the decades since his blue jean modeling days, Tucci has been stealing scenes in all your favorite movies while quietly emerging as a stylish Hollywood ambassador for baldness. In a world where aging celebrities – even men – cling desperately to “youth,” we at Primer contend that Tucci appears all the more sharp, strong, and distinguished by fully embracing his follicular fate. This is actually more than just a “hot take” – it’s science.
All Or Nothing
There’s no shortage of research showing that completely bald men are perceived as favorably dominant, sexier, stronger, more masculine, and more confident than men with even a full head of hair (there’s also no shortage of manly icons who have taken this to heart). Past a certain level of hair loss, it can indeed become more difficult to achieve a desirably clean, smart look by holding on to what little hair might remain – so shave it all off and don’t look back.
There’s nothing wrong with going bald of course, just like there’s nothing wrong with aging – the trick is to do it in style. And this requires some attention to detail.
Dress Like The Grown Up You Are
This is why smart casual is Primer’s fashion northstar – because it will always stay in style, and works even better as you age (and as we often point out, it’s a look that anyone can achieve, on any budget). Take for example this short video that Tucci recently posted on his Instagram in which he prepares a Negroni at home for his wife, monochromatically dressed in a form-fitting polo, dark denim, and bold-rimmed eyewear.
Though no one could go wrong by following in Stanley’s fashion footsteps, we’re not going to say that you have to dress exactly like him to look good. As long as you’re being mindful of the underlying principles of men’s style that we’ll be discussing here, feel free to imbue these concepts with your own flair. No matter what your personality, remember that the key is intentionality – this is what will allow you to make a variety of potential aesthetics or types of clothing work for you. Hell, even hard swerves into the “scraggly-chic” end of the rugged spectrum may at times have worked for guys like Jason Momoa and Johnny Depp, but it’s not necessarily a look that will age (you) well.
The internet went crazy over this post (partly in criticizing his recipe), but mostly owing to Tucci’s smart casual swag. And even with the muted colors and classic basics of a more mature closet, you can create bold ensembles that are more than the sum of their parts, like pairing this pea coat with a luxuriously thick turtleneck.
Another guiding principle to keep in mind here is fit. If you take away nothing else from all of this, the fact is, you’ve won most of the battle by simply ensuring that everything you wear fits properly. This might go double for those of us who are older and have chosen to be a member of the bald and the beautiful. With an excellent fit, you’ll look dressed to kill even when you’re in a simple striped Breton t-shirt in the kitchen whipping up mom’s marinara.
If you’d like to do a deep dive (or even a refresher) on fit, check out our comprehensive principles of fit for shirts and pants.
Tucci’s acute use of eyewear is perhaps what most defines his look. Though he rocks glasses in all shapes and sizes, he tends to go with the robust rims of the mid-century modern persuasion. Glasses like these tend to have a balancing effect for completely bald guys. Bolder, thicker frames can make for a visually pleasing contrast against the vaster “negative space” of a shaved head.
Sometimes, Stanley steps out in other accessories like a light scarf or driving cap. You could go with neutral colors to coordinate with the subdued blacks, grays, and blues of the more grown-up color palettes favored by Tucci – but you could also take a page from his playbook by utilizing accessories as an accent, adding a flourish of color to your outfit. //more photos here
Grooming Yourself For The Position… Of Stylish Gentleman
The aesthetic principles of contrast and balance also explain why bald men can look even more striking with a goatee or beard. Tucci chooses to go with a subtler scruff – when off-duty (and not altering his personal look for a film role) he cements his silver fox status by sporting a “designer stubble”. Facial hair, like any other component of style, is best approached with intentionality. A mindfully groomed beard will better accentuate your jawline. If it comes in too wispy or patchy on the sides, keep it confined to a neat mustache and/or goatee.
This type of intentional approach to facial hair is a great way (particularly if you’re clean shaven up top) to lend even more sophistication, masculinity, and maturity to your look.