Narrowing down the best dressed people of a given year is always a challenge due to the many factors involved. Good personal style may be innate, but a lot goes into the looks we see on red carpets, from stylists to designer relationships to timing. If a celebrity did press tours for one or two major movies this year, he or she is more likely to be on this list than one who didn’t. Plus, some stylists are better than others, and some celebrities are limited to wearing brands that are paying them to be in an ad campaign (with varying degrees of success). Many celebs also benefited from Alessandro Michele’s recent collections for Gucci, which were both street style bait and offered a guaranteed entry onto best dressed lists.
Taking all of this into consideration, here, in no particular order, are the 20 people we thought deserve the title of Best Dressed in 2015. Think we missed someone? Tell us in the comments.
Jared Leto has always had a unique approach to getting dressed, and 2015 was the year he hit his sartorial stride with a slew of looks that were daring without being totally insane. He (and stylist Micaela Erlanger) experimented freely with everything from hair color to suit color, and there’s no doubt that his growing fashion prowess contributed to his getting cast in an upcoming Gucci campaign.
Taraji P. Henson
This was the year of Cookie Lyon. On-screen, Henson’s character wears over-the-top runway looks from brands like Balmain and Moschino. Offscreen, Henson’s style is just as fashion-forward, but quieter. Alexander Wang, who took her to the Met Gala this year, is largely responsible for her red carpet aesthetic lately.
If Alessandro Michele influenced one celebrity’s sartorial evolution the most, it was Harry Styles, who really elevated his look this year with a strong collection of floral Gucci suits and shirts. Menswear could get a lot more interesting if that aesthetic catches on.
Like Henson, Kerry Washington is just as stylish as the character she plays on TV, but the two are quite different. Washington’s elegant red carpet looks are a little edgier than Olivia Pope’s would be, featuring elements like jewel tones, plunging necklines and mixed prints that aren’t quite right for someone who lives in the White House.
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander was 2015’s breakout star, receiving as much attention for her acting chops as she has for her red carpet looks. She’s currently one of the faces of Louis Vuitton, and has that rare ability to wear off-the-runway looks without letting them wear her.
Michael B. Jordan
We’ll admit, Michael B. Jordan fell off our radar a bit after “Friday Night Lights,” but he came back in a big way during the press tour for his current film “Creed” thanks to his overall physical perfection and on-point red carpet style. There are few people we’ve seen wear a suit better. Kudos also go to his stylist, Jeff Kim.
Lily James’s press tour for “Cinderella” was easily one of the year’s sartorial highlights, thanks to stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray’s on-theme approach to dressing the British star. Though, her less princess-y looks post-Cinderella have been just as good.
If Diane Kruger is determined to be on every best dressed list until the day she dies, she’s well on her way to succeeding.
Sienna Miller has been inspiring us fashion-wise since her early aughts boho days; and with help from stylist Kate Young, she has taken her look to another, more grown-up (but still trendsetting) level.
Dakota Johnson started the year off with a little movie called “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and she’s been everywhere since, striking that perfect balance of sweet, sexy and fashion-forward, with help from stylist Kate Young.
Give Cate Blanchett a movie to promote, and she’ll blow you away with a slew of unexpected-but-chic red carpet looks. This year, she and her stylist Elizabeth Stewart seemed set on proving that black and white don’t have to be boring.
Kristen Stewart looks great in a dramatic Chanel gown, but it was her less traditionally feminine looks that had us swooning this year, from effortless Atea Oceanie separates to velour suiting. In addition to an innate insouciance, Stewart has her stylist Tara Swennen to thank.
If there’s anything Rihanna can’t pull off (with help from her stylist Mel Ottenberg), she hasn’t worn it yet.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and her stylist Cher Coulter know she doesn’t need to do much to look good, and she consistently inspires us with unfussy dresses that are sexy in their simplicity.
We all knew Kiernan Shipka looked cute in a sweet, girlie dress, but thanks to stylists Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson, she evolved that look this year, choosing more mature — but still subtly whimsical — looks by the likes of Dior and Delpozo.
Yasmin Sewell remains one of our favorite street style stars for her risk-taking (but not peacock-y) approach to getting dressed.
I can’t say I’ve seen Zendaya in any context other than on a red carpet, but she really dominated that space this year by going against the grain with dramatic silhouettes and under-the-radar designers.
Thanks to her stylist sister Camille and Prada contract, Bond Girl and all-around chic French person Lea Seydoux graced us with a number of memorable, often sparkly looks this year.
We thought about excluding Alexa Chung this year due only to her longtime ubiquity on these lists, but that just felt wrong for reasons you can clearly see above.
It should come as no surprise that the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet has a keen sense of style. There’s a definitely ’90s tinge that comes through, not to mention a tendency to wear the designs of her friend Alexander Wang.