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The 2023 Grammy Awards broadcast opened on the Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny, who led a procession of colorful-skirted bomba y plena dancers while wearing an exceedingly regular outfit: a plain white T-shirt tucked (no belt) into a pair of light-wash, hip-bone-high-rise jeans, with white tennis shoes and a backwards snapback hat. Here he was, the most-streamed artist on the planet onstage on Music’s Biggest Night™, and viewers at home on Twitter were reveling in how he looks just like me fr, except, well, sexier.

Later on in the evening, Bad Bunny changed into a lovely suit to accept his Best Música Urbana Album trophy—but he kept his curls tucked underneath a dark green Los Angeles Dodgers fitted cap, which he also wore backwards, Fred Durst-style. (The original brown snapback, for those curious, was a piece of exclusive merch from a concert he put on in PR back in 2021.) And Benito’s wasn’t even the only Dodgers New Era hat to grace the stage last night: Best Rap Album winner Kendrick Lamar repped his hometown team in a custom cap covered with silver brooches, which he paired with a breezy Martine Rose shell jacket, gray slacks, and Nike x Martine Rose Nike Shox.

Sure, Steve Lacy, in a switchblade-sharp Saint Laurent suit and pointed heels, may have been the singular best-dressed man of the night, but the staunchly normal menswear set the tone—which tells us that not a big-ticket awards show like the Grammys is immune from the reality that nice, normal clothes have become the biggest thing in menswear. Even Album of the Year winner Harry Styles, who hit the red carpet in a plunging, harlequin-print jumpsuit (a zany, if sexless, staple of his recent tour wardrobe), changed into a relatively relaxed cropped Gucci tux jacket and tan trousers mid-show. For a second there, I thought (hoped?) that surprise presenter Billy Crystal, perhaps in homage to Harry Burns, had paired his velvet suit jacket with dark-wash jeans. (They were slacks.)

Some went the “quiet luxury” route: Best New Artist nominee Omar Apollo hit in carpet in a leather blazer worn open over an unbuttoned striped shirt and a white tee, with blue jeans and hefty black shoes—a luxe outfit only if you know that it’s head-to-toe Bottega Veneta, and the tee and jeans are actually made of printed leather. The four-piece Baltimore hardcore band Turnstile, even while flexing some serious designer brands, made the revolutionary move of looking like they wore whatever they wanted to; their collective Grammys outfits included a pair of Bottega culottes, Brain Dead wooden clogs, an Our Legacy vest, and a vintage Bad Brains tee. 

Omar Apollo

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images


Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Meanwhile, GloRilla collaborator Hitkidd took things a step further in near-cosplay normcore: blue jeans, tan jacket, red striped tie, and a “Hitkidd for President” trucker cap. (Turns out, the producer wore a similar outfit to the BET Hip Hop Awards back in September.) 

Even as celebrity menswear has become a no-rules game, wearing normal-seeming clothes to a high-profile event still makes a statement—doubly so when that event is the Grammys, an awards show often hilariously out-of-step with the culture of pop music. There’s something about wearing jeans and a white tee that, besides looking cool and casual, speaks to the idea that when you’re doing “Bad Bunny numbers,” there are career achievements more interesting than racking up trophies.