Style Thief: How To Dress Like Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Welcome to the latest installment of Style Thief, where I steal the clothes off queer style icons’ backs. Metaphorically, that is. I’ll try figure out just exactly what makes queer style icons tick by breaking down their look into itty bitty bite size pieces. I get a lot of questions about how to look like different celebrities/characters, so I’m finally tackling the question “How the hell do I dress like that?”

Header by Rory Midhani

Hello style stealers! Lizz and I traded columns this week because we’re gettin’ crazy over here. Did you see her washi tape boxes? Wait until next week. Just you wait.

Because we’re getting crazy, I don’t have to abide by the rules. You know what that means? We’re stealing the clothes off of a man this week. No, not just any man. This specific man was requested by a girl whose style I can’t get enough of, and I fully agree with her. Yep, it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Hear me out. For our purposes here today, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is basically a queer style icon because he pulls off the casual button-down, the well-tailored suit, and the t-shirt and jeans combo perfectly, which are of paramount importance to queer ladies. He always looks purposeful in his clothing choices, which just screams “I have super good style.” The best part of stealing JGL’s style is the fact that it translates perfectly into queer fashion. These are simple, cornerstone looks for so many styles from tomboy femme to Brittney Griner. Let’s break these down, because if you can master the translation of this man’s style into something wearable on your own body, you’re golden.



There are very few things that Joseph Gordon-Levitt does as well as the suit, especially the three-piece suit, and especially especially the slim fit three-piece suit. Tailoring! You need it! I recommend shelling out a bit of money for a really nice suit that looks like perfection on your body. It’s an investment. You can always switch out waistcoat/suit vest to change up the look of the entire suit or skip that part altogether. Wearing an ill-fitting suit makes you look like you’re wearing your father’s prom outfit. This isn’t the look Joseph Gordon-Levitt is rocking. Another staple of JGL’s style is the skinny tie. You already know how I feel about the skinny tie, of course, but let me just repeat myself: you should probably only be wearing a skinny tie.


Wearing a lighter color suit is a bit difficult to pull off without looking like you’re Don Draper. Unless that’s what you’re going for! I like how Joseph Gordon-Levitt pairs a lighter suit with a patterned shirt to really pull the look together to make it look purposeful.


I also recommend really snazzy tie bar. Look at how nice JGL’s suit looks with that tie bar. It breaks up the similar tones of his suit, tie and shirt. Plus, tie bars take you from dapper to perfection. Pro tip: wear your tie bar between your third and fourth button on your shirt and never let it be wider than your tie.



Oftentimes Joseph Gordon-Levitt rocks a sweet blazer, button down, tie, and jeans combo. I love this combination, but there’s a fine line between pulling this off and looking like you just couldn’t figure out what to do with your pants. I recommend doing a dark skinny jean with this look, especially with dress shoes. I also prefer the untucked button down with jeans, it makes you look a little less like you’re in the third grade. Avoid sneakers with this look for that very same reason. A warmer weather option for a similar look is to pair your dark or gray jeans with a suit vest instead of a blazer or sportcoat. It ties the top and bottom half together in the same way a blazer would without adding weight.


Trousers and a worn-in, casual chambray button down is also a look that JGL wears really well. Take a note from Joseph and pair dark trousers with a lighter top (or vice versa) to make sure your look balances. Avoid matching tones or you’ll look like you’re just too lazy to put on the jacket. A few buttons undone on top, lack of a belt, and unevenly rolled up sleeves make sure it has the perfect effortless feel.


Even a t-shirt and jeans look classy on Joseph. You know why? He keeps his t-shirts from being too loose, so they never look sloppy. Also, of course he’s wearing hipster glasses, but they’re working, aren’t they? Glasses pull a casual look together. Plus, glasses are really hot. JGL pairs a simple white t-shirt and jeans (which is the most classic and sexy look on everyone ever) with fun kicks, which we also have really really really strong feelings about here at Autostraddle. This keeps his look playful and casual but still stylish.

Most importantly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks like he wears his clothes for a reason and manages to always look effortless and purposeful. Small accessories like a tie bar add interest and a lack of accessories like no belt add a casual feel to his outfits. He looks effortless in his choices, even with a three piece suit, because they’re tailored so well they require almost no thought. Take a note from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and invest in good tailoring and classic style choices.

If there’s a queer style icon you’d like to see stripped down in Style Thief, send Lizz an ASS messageask on Lizz’s tumblr, or tweet Lizz @Ohheyitslizz

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.



  2. Oh and I was so hoping the glasses link would lead to never-ending pics of Laura Prepon in glasses.

  3. All I want in life is a boi/girl/type person who dresses like JGL. Where are you magical unicorn person? I want to make out.

  4. I totally agree, I think I could raid JGL’s closet & give it all to Brittney Griner & she’d look so good in it and vice-versa. It’s not something I would wear, but I think many people can and should rock it.

  5. I’m so bi I can’t work out if I want to shag him or steal his clothes. Hey, why not both? ;)

    • While he is obviously adorable, I’m pretty sure my crush on him is due at least 92% to the clothes.

    • JGL on 3rd Rock From the Sun was for real my first boy crush. I feel completely vindicated by the fact he grew up to be such a sex/style/awesome icon.

  6. YESSS, this makes me really optimistic that someone will maybe just maybe do my style thief suggestion of Zachary Quinto. He is literally my style icon, I can’t even begin to explain it.

  7. So now if you combine the two columns and show me how make all of these suits so they actually fit me, that’d be fucking genius.

  8. Hansen, you are totally my hero for this. JGL is pretty much who I want to dress like always. A quality three piece suit is at the top of my to buy when I actually have money again list. I think a large part of my desire to be a professor is so I can dress all sorts of dapper all the times.

  9. I have never wanted to wear a tie before (ok, lie, I’m obsessed with ties but I’ve never felt I’d look not-stupid in one) but now I want to try.

    I HATE traditional women’s suits (which I own a ton of) and I have always been endlessly jealous of menswear (hence my GQ and Esquire subscriptions).

    In short, this post cemented my suspicion that I just wanna dress like JGL.

  10. Awww, is it wrong that I just wanna pinch his cheeks!? In an auntie sort of way, his FACE cheeks.

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