Movie Men With The Best Style
When considering stylish film characters, many would default to the leading ladies – but over time, there have been countless gents who embody the essence of style.
From the startling to the suave, there are characters whose heightened sense of style (or lack of it) is a characteristic of their onscreen personalities. It’s not just James Bond, either – there are a plethora of stylish and men in film, when one digs a little deeper.
The Great Gatsby (1974)
One of the main parts of Jay Gatsby’s (Robert Redford) personality is his need to appear wealthy to the point of ludicrosity, so it makes sense that his wardrobe would be dazzling enough to match up. 1974’s Gatsby doesn’t shy away from a pop of colour – or an entire ensemble crafted from similar colours, like his bright pink suit and blue speckled tie, a neutral in the form of a white shirt. With suits made by Ralph Lauren, the summer whites and knitted pieces were a huge hit in the 70s, championing perfect pastels mixed in with sombre suits – so don’t shy away from soft colours when looking to dress snappily.
A Single Man
Tom Ford’s directorial debut is a sad and mournful tale, but impeccably styled – a must for the fashion-designer-turned-filmmaker. The melancholic George Falconer (Colin Firth) is going through a tough time, but he remains stylish nevertheless. Pairing spotless white shirts with soft, muted colours and thick-framed glasses, he perfectly represents the role of mourning academic. And no detail was spared – each suit is impeccably tailored, often with tie bars for an added touch, and Ford reportedly went so far as to specify what scent Firth should wear (Bois du Portugal aftershave by Creed), to get him more into character.
Taking the phrase ‘dressed to kill’ a bit too far, the murderer-protagonist Patrick Bateman of American Psycho (Christian Bale) is nevertheless somewhat of a style icon, if not a moral one. Bateman sticks by his fashion rules – wearing clothes proportionate to his physique, specifically pairing ‘bold stripe shirts’ with certain types of suits and ties, outlandish ties paired with more muted shirts. And it’s not just his clothes, since he had an impressive grooming ritual – the first scene of the movie details an exacting morning routine that could prove inspirational for anyone wanting to step up their styling game.
We’re not going to talk about Fight Club, as per the first rule of it, but we are going to talk about the style in the movie. While there’s plenty of shirtlessness, one of the most striking looks in the film is Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) rocking his patterned shirt and burgundy leather jacket, occasionally paired with some red aviator sunglasses. It’s an adventurous and somewhat confrontational look, but Pitt’s reckless bravado works its magic and makes the outfit iconic.
The idea that ‘clothes maketh the man’ really comes through with Drive, where The Driver’s (Ryan Gosling) silver souvenir jacket was an essential part of taking Gosling from a rom-com heartthrob to an icon in his own right. Costume designer Erin Benach jumped the curve when choosing the souvenir jacket, which would become a trend a few years down the line. A souvenir jacket is a great piece of casual outerwear, with any manner of decals placed on the back, although if you want to remain faithful to the movie, you’re out of luck – the jacket was made solely for the film, as was his equally stylish Patek Phillipe watch. Gosling’s natural good looks also allowed him to pull off double denim and driving gloves, a phenomenal feat for any man.
Crazy Stupid Love
Another style win for Ryan Gosling, his role in Crazy Stupid Love giving Steve Carrell a confidence makeover is something to watch, and it’s good that the fashion was made to fit. One of the few movies where a Cinderella transformation happens to a guy, there’s naturally a great concentration on clothes. From wearing overly large shirts and jeans that make him look like a teenager, Cal Weaver (Steve Carrell) finds his confidence and goes for what he wants after a makeover that sees him switch to middle-aged chic with the help of snazzy dresser Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling).
The 70s were a good era for iconic movie looks. There’s nothing better than a good leather jacket, as Grease’s Danny proves. Sticking to his tribe meant looking the part, which he played perfectly in a white t-shirt, jeans, his leather jacket, and very slicked-up hair. Even though his exact hairstyle might not be the most coveted these days, he still brings inspiration for proper grooming with his dedication to the eponymous hairstyling product – style isn’t just about clothes, after all. A well-dressed man will always have hair to match.
It’s hard to think that Armani was ever anything less than what it is today: the pinnacle of class and high fashion. But when it came to costuming American Gigolo, Armani was a big deal in Europe and a small fish in the US – through some luck, though, the brand ended up costuming Richard Gere in an array of elegant, seductive outfits that captured the attention of many across America. From casual cardigans and well-tailored shirts to full-on tuxedos, Richard Gere shares the starring role of Julian Kaye with his clothes.
Rebel Without A Cause
James Dean is the quintessential teen heartthrob, and Rebel Without A Cause is the film that made him so. With an eye-catching red blouson jacket, and the stock-standard white t-shirt and jeans, he was well-placed to become the epitome of teen rebellion and individuality, even decades after his death.