Monday, May 20, 2024

Guy Fieri Is A Great American Fashion Icon

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Bleached and gelled spiky hair. Bowling shirts covered in flames. A sick pair of shades worn backwards. These are the classic components of a Guy Fieri halloween costume for a reason: Guy made them fundamental to his brand. He even sells and promotes a fully licensed Guy Fieri costume kit on his website that comes with goatee. So while you maybe wouldn’t immediately think of Guy Fieri a fashion icon, in the food world, he’s basically Julia Fox, sartorially speaking.

Guy Fieri, American Fashion Icon

No one else is as well known in the food world for how they dress. Bobby Flay wishes. And while contrary to how emblematic the bowling shirts were for his brand, Fieri retired them and has made huge changes in his personal style. He clearly wants to show the world he isn’t just about grocery challenges and dive bars.

Since winning Food Network’s Next Food Network Star in 2006, Fieri has arguably become the face of the network. Drawing millions of male viewers to the channel, Fieri crafted a “chef-dude” Flavortown Cinematic Universe that was always on display in his clothing both on-screen and in the kitchen: cut-off band shirts, polarized sunglasses, bowling shirts, cargo shorts.

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Fieri at the 2009 Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival.

In fact, much of his style was accidental. The blonde spikes? The result of giving a hairdresser friend carte blanche when she did his hair one day. The flaming bowling shirt? The Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives wardrobe team requested he wear a short-sleeved button-down shirt for the pilot episode, and the one with flames was the only one he had.

Both elements stuck, to great success. I’d even venture to say that his personal style was fundamental to growing his media empire.

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Fieri at the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

From Bowling Shirts and Chef Clothes to Bling and Cigars

His sort of just-gonna-mow-the-lawn, God-Bless-America style sensibility, in my mind, makes it all the more believable that Guy Fieri’s reach has gone beyond restaurants. He now has a tequila brand and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which only three other chefs have.

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Fieri at Super Bowl Tailgate Party in 2012.

With a style as loudly notorious as Fieri’s, one could say he took that notoriety right to the bank. And after the bank, he clearly bought some bling, a well-loved camo sports coat (seen here in 2014, 2015, and 2017), and a whole lot of cigars. Fieri started to look less likely to be eating at the counter at a greasy spoon and more likely to be sitting courtside at a Knicks game. He’d rather start fires at food festivals than wear them on his shirt.

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Fieri at the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in 2014.

The leather jackets, diamond-encrusted necklaces and chains, and Rolex watches have cemented Fieri as not just a food personality, but a media mogul. But the bling and cigars are just the smoke and mirrors to what’s really changed in Fieri’s wardrobe: the gradual disappearance of his chefwear.

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Fieri at the 2016 New York City Wine & Food Festival.

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Fieri at a Vegas Uncork’d event in 2019.

In the early days, Fieri punctuated his clothing with the occasional pastel chef’s coat to remind folks he has a culinary backbone. But most remarkably, Fieri’s style never hearkened to any fussy, pretentious schmears and foams of, say, a buttoned-up Top Chef contestant.

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Fieri at the World Series Of Poker in 2023.

Opting now for more rock and roll style band t-shirts and big chains while he cooks at events, Fieri has been seen wearing fewer chef coats since roughly 2018. One could say that’s when the biggest leaps were made in terms of his fashion choices. No longer stuck in the kitchen, Fieri now seamlessly transitions from manning the grill, to officiating gay weddings (and spraying Santo tequila shots into the crowd), and, inevitably, I’d predict, taking over even more slices of the food media pie.

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