The De-Bieberfication of Justin Bieber
Generally speaking, growing up kind of blows. People start talking about semi-detached houses. You get lines on your face. And though there is the strange, nebulous phenomenon of "finding yourself at 30", it was one no doubt conjured up by 40-year-olds that sort of miss the exquisite pain of sending tender 3 a.m. texts and the Uber-bar-Uber-club-Uber-afterparty-Uber-Hell safari that caused them. It happens to famous people, too. It's potentially happening right now to one of the most famous of all in Justin Bieber.
At 27-years-old, Bieber isn't quite at the eating dinner at 6 p.m. stage. But he's not the same pop star of just a couple of years ago. The music has settled down. He's married, which is a pretty grown-up thing to do. But most strikingly, Bieber doesn't look the same. During a recent trip to Paris (ugh, holidays), the Freedom star stepped out of a restaurant with wife Hailey Bieber like two wealthy divorcees embroiled in a bitter settlement battle despite still occasionally sleeping with one another. A strong look! A mature one. By Celine too, which, under the steer of creative director Hedi Slimane, has become the spiritual homeland for sullen, skinny teens that are now sullen, successful adults with proper jobs and slightly wider shoulders.
So mature it is that Bieber wore the stripes-on-stripes for a meeting with the EU equivalent of the impossibly coiffed man that charms you into buying an extortionate perfume on the fragrance floor of a department store, French president Emmanuel Macron. Not quite the bilat the State Department expected, but OK.
Just the day before, Bieber relaxed into the stuff we expect of him (hoody, chinos, Dunks). Though there was a tempering at play. The fit was slouchy, but it was no Fred Durst throwback. Instead of retina-burning prints, or PJ bottoms, or a teeny tiny beanie in the brightest shade of Pete Davidson, it was solid, neutral gear. Brooklyn Art Dad, if you will. Or at least his senior account exec who's on the cusp of parenthood.
As one of the founding fathers of that whole scumbro sleazeball trash king steez a few summers ago, the season continued ad infinitum for Bieber. Only a few months ago, the singer was sloping from convoy to restaurant in the stuff we'd expect, like big checked shirts and even bigger pairs of jeans. Now, the sense of dress is maturing. The cherubim locks have been shorn off for something smarter and neater. There's no top lip caterpillar. And, reassuringly, it's hard, tailored evidence that cosplaying grown ups needn't look dull. Nor does it mean exorcising your inner cozy boy. Granted, Bieber stepped out yesterday in a smiley acid house hoody from his own Drew fashion line, but those instances aren't every day like they once were.
Despite what histrionic fashion types would have you believe, the suit is not dead. Despite what histrionic designer types would have you believe, streetwear isn't dead. It's just mellowing out, which is a sign of the times. After several seasons of really quite mad menswear, and a global climate of unease and gloom that has undoubtedly left its fingerprints on the fashion industry, the stuff we wear is beginning to recline once more. It's not just Bieber that's undergoing a de-Bieberfication. It's all of us.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.