For celebrities so inclined – or the stylists paid to dress them - Saturday Night Live has long been a venue for a host or musical act to show off his or her fashion chops in addition to their comedic timing.
But this opportunity for personal expression is, with few exceptions, limited to guests alone. It doesn’t take a trained eye, or even a particularly well-dressed one, to spot the marked contrast between Kanye’s head-to-toe red outfit from his performance of Power, Chadwick Boseman’s recent foray in layered maximalism, or Jonah Hill’s Palace double cup and long sleeve tee and the bland, everyman wardrobe worn by SNL cast members during on air sketches.
And its underlying logic that makes sense!
The overwhelming majority of characters in SNL's sketches are meant to be every-men and women; your attention is supposed to be captured by their words and physical movement, not their clothes. Unless you have a character who is to be defined by his or her wardrobe, a la Bill Hader's Stefon or Cecily Strong and Vanessa Bayer porn stars-turned-infomercial-spokespeople, a Comme des Garçons Play polo or a branded Louis Vuitton jacket would look sorely out of place in one of SNL’s generic high school or dinner party skits.
In recent years however, one cast member in particular has appeared on screen almost as often as himself as in character, a unique opportunity that has afforded Pete Davidson the ability to showcase his personal style in ways not afforded to his always-in-character co-stars (other than the imitable Leslie Jones, who appears as herself almost as often as Mr. Davidson). Whatever the reason behind Mr. Davidson's unique show usage - whether owed to a product of a background heavy in stand-up but light in improv or simply the writer’s inability to translate his dry, nihilist humor to other characters - many of Mr. Davidson’s most memorable appearances have been as Resident Young Person Pete Davidson, a role that requires him to present an authentic version of "Pete Davidson" the person in addition to "Pete Davidson, SNL Cast Member."
During these segments of Weekend Update, Mr. Davidson tends to favor relatively muted streetwear or streetwear-adjacent tops, like the red tonal Supreme hoodie he wore during a summer episode, though he has more recently been dipping his toes in shades of red, pink and purple, an experiment which includes a subtle lavender Supreme tee paired with a blue denim jacket and gold wrist watch.
Mr. Davidson has been most frequently seen in casual Champion pieces or repping Brooklyn in offerings that have included an Adidas Brooklyn Nets baseball jersey, an Ebbets Field crew neck, and a surprisingly inoffensive Forever 21 sweatshirt. Mr. Davidson has also dabbled successfully with higher market pieces from Acne, including a deep purple hooded number and a light pink/bordering-on-salmon crewneck that prompted The Cut to offer readers a chance to “Find Out Where to Buy Pete Davidson’s Acne Studios Sweatshirt.”
Funny enough, however, Mr. Davidson’s SNL fashion peak may have actually come mid-week, when he wore a Gucci fly sweater during a promo for the week’s episode featuring Natalie Portman and Dua Lipa, surprisingly upstaging two A-list talents.
Outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza – and presumably without the help of SNL’s team of stylists and makeup artists - Mr. Davidson doesn’t always hit sartorial home runs but you can’t help but commend him for his consistent effort each time he is called to the plate. In public appearances and editorial features Mr. Davidson’s attire can be most aptly described as, “What your stoner friend from high school would wear if he got hired at his uncle’s law firm as a paralegal straight out of college, but instead of grinding away for $45,000 a year, somehow got paid like a Senior Partner.” Just like that friend wouldn’t make Tom Ford or Bruno Cucinelli his first stops once that five digit paycheck hit his bank account, Mr. Davidson has instead opted for – more or less – standard skinny-guy youth attire offset by flashy footwear grails. Sporting a sneaker rotation that would make even Lil Pump envious, Mr. Davidson’s collection includes the Nike Air Mag, Just Don Jordan 2, Nike Air More Uptempo and various Yeezy offerings, including the Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red October.
All signs are pointed up for Mr. Davidson's future in both fashion and comedy, and a recent commitment to sobriety and openness regarding mental health demonstrate the still-just-24-year-old's newfound maturity.
On a lighter note, Mr. Davidson also recently filmed a shopping experience (aka the first step in his adult glo up) with Queer Eye's Tan France, going to show Mr. Davidson is making the most of his celebrity status (and access to NBC's cross-promotional reach).
With a body built for sample size and a career only at the beginning of its earning potential, here's to the hope that Mr. Davidson patterns his wardrobe – and his comedy choices – more off fellow sneakerhead Jason Sudeikis and less – or, for that matter, not at all – after SNL alumnus Adam Sandler.