Brian Williams: Fashion Icon?

Not just an icon--Vanity Fair says he's a Hall of Famer

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Brian Williams is a trusted newsman and proven teller of Brooklyn jokes, but is he also one of America's most fashionable men? We're inclined to say no, if only because Williams's outfit of choice-- dark suit, crisp white or light blue shirt, and conservatively striped tie--is also our father's outfit of choice. Vanity Fair disagrees. Williams is on their annual Best Dressed List for the fourth time this year, which means he's going to be "retired" and put in something called the "fashion Hall of Fame," which is like the baseball hall of fame, without the steroid suspicions. “Brian deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he represents male glamor,” Vanity Fair's Amy Fine Collins told the Today Show this morning. “He’s dashing, he’s manly.”

Nobody's here is calling Williams dashingness into question. (Nobody.) It's just that we've never thought of him in sartorial terms before (well, maybe we should have--Joseph Epstein, doing a Media Diet for us, called this one ages ago, vastly preferring Williams to Jim Lehrer when it came to haberdashery). Which is why we've assembled a gallery of his notable looks over the years. You can make your own judgements, but we'll just say: rare is the man who looks at home in black tie as he does in a flame resistant jump suit.

Even before he replaced Tom Brokaw in 2004, evening wear looked good on Williams. You can't say that about every anchor-in-waiting.

Even in pit row, wearing a Richard Petty racing jumpsuit that wasn't custom-tailored, Williams--a race fan--looked at ease. Though we would have suggested ditching the frameless glasses for wraparounds, and leaving the aviator's watch at home.

Williams at his most fashionable--but is it too fashionable? We don't like our (American) newsmen going to events sponsored by Zegna, just like we don't like a very subtle pinstripe blended into a too-nice suit. It gets us wondering if he's going to go all Piers Morgan on us.

Dashing, but another possible misstep. The man just looks good in a tie. And that suit jacket looks a tad too long. It's nearly cloak-like.

This is what we're talking about: this is his best look, and probably what got him into the Vanity Fair Hall of Fame. Conservative, streamlined, and not wearing tan. (You do not want to see Brian Williams wearing a tan suit. He fades into the background and it's like a disembodied voice is talking about the flat tax or the heroes who walk among us. We'd give you a picture, but they've all apparently been scrubbed from the Internet. Being a Hall of Famer has its perks.)

Even if you're not convinced about Williams's fashion sense (and we are), it's worth remembering what nightly news anchors used to wear on a nightly basis.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.