Actor and musician Darren Criss is not afraid to take a few fashion risks — whether on-screen or on the red carpet. And this year, thanks to his portrayal of serial killer Andrew Cunanan in the FX television series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” — for which he swept every major award this season including a Golden Globe and an Emmy — Criss has had plenty of opportunities to push the style envelope.(His recent awards-season wardrobe has included its fair share of shimmery jacquard, metallic lamé, and graphic florals.)
But off duty, the 32-year-old San Francisco native takes a decidedly more low-key approach. “I’ve always been open-minded about fashion, but the bold steps I take on the red carpet are definitely statements. They are part of this other narrative about myself. Normally, I’m a jeans guy.”
That’s not to say Criss — who describes himself as an “all-around enthusiast” — doesn’t impart plenty of playfulness to his everyday style as well. “I take my job and my work very seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously at all,” he says. “I try to embrace that kind of duality in everything I do, and fashion is no exception.” Here, Criss shows us different ways to wear the tapered jean in a story produced by GQ.
Criss is wearing a Trucker Jacket, a Levi’s® Vintage Clothing sweatshirt and the 502® Taper.
“There are so many sides to [a person]: what you have just for yourself and what you present to the world — whether it’s the parts you play or the way you conduct yourself in public or the way you present yourself in fashion — those are all different roles that you are assuming. [Ultimately] you kind of have to assume the role while making sure you are representing yourself. Only recently have I leaned into that and tried to have them all be closer the same.”
Criss is wearing the 541™ Athletic Taper.
“You can wear a denim jacket year-round in Los Angeles, but it will only get you so far in certain months in New York,” laughs Criss, who splits his time between the two cities. “Either way, I love a good jean jacket; I believe in the power of a good denim jacket.”
Criss is wearing a Trucker Jacket and the Hi-Ball Roll.
“Eclecticism is the name of the game for me across all avenues of my life, whether it’s versatile experiences or my ambidextrous pursuits. I like being as influenced by and as representative of as many different things as humanly possible. Because I do truly find everything interesting. But it’s not just that — I also want to know how things work; I want to know more about them; I want to know where they’re from; I want to hear the story.”
Criss is wearing the 501® Slim Taper.
“My style has definitely evolved. I remember looking at prints and thinking, ‘No, man, I don’t like prints, I like neutral things,’” Criss reflects. “But as with anything in life, we evolve and we shift. Our style is the alchemy between our outlooks changing and the world changing — you find your taste somewhere in between those two things. And when you feel right about something, you just know: It’s either ‘hell, yeah’ or ‘hell, no.’ Anything in between — anything like, ’I don’t know, it’s kind of cool?’ — that means you’re not actually enthused and it’s not for you.”
Criss is wearing the 502™ Taper.
“As far as style is concerned — and this goes for everything in my life, really — I’ve just never wanted to be like everybody else,” explains Criss. “I always tried to take any opportunity I’ve had to stand out or be unique in some way. Like, if it’s not in my shirt, it’s in my socks. Or if it’s not in my clothes, then hopefully it’s in my attitude.”
Shop our full range of tapered jeans to get Criss’ look.