Dressing for a character on screen is easy – you will find that most movies and television shows consist of some sort of styling team, leaving the actors to simply rock up, get dressed and play the part.
It happens quite often however, that actors tend to fall short in style choices once walking off the set, either over compensating or not doing their reputation justice with basic clothing. Then there are those who simply maintain their cool vibe, and we have narrowed it down to our nine favourites.
Take style cues and inspiration people.
Sidney Poitier was the epitome of ‘smart casual’. Poitier was almost always wearing a suit, and when he wasn’t, he was wearing classic knits and subtle colour.
“My goodness his bow tie game is strong,” says stylist Sarah Ann Murray. “His choice of neckwear is a lesson in appropriate knot size and secondly, in how to choose tasteful patterns to elevate a classic charcoal grey notch-lapel suit – his trademark look.”
Steve McQueen knew exactly how to carry himself. What ever he wore, it appeared effortless and every item fit well, he was comfortable and it showed. His look wasn’t overly refined but appeared like he had pulled out his favourite jacket or top from the wardrobe and chucked it on – although none of it looked old.
To get this look, team your favourite worn pieces with new, crisp items – wear an old buttoned down shirt with a pair of chinos and a fresh pair of loafers.
Delon epitomises the ‘Frenchman’ style and does so, very easily. Rather than letting the clothing speak, the actors attitude elevated his style game. How can you do that? Stop trying so hard..
“To obtain this look, don’t be too forced,” says Olie Arnold, style director of Mr Porter. “The more you overthink it, the more forced it’s going to look.” Invest in good quality staples, such as unstructured blazers, jeans and buttoned down shirts, adding your own additions of style.
Grant defines the concept of masculine elegance. He always looks refined and formal but uses unstructured blazers and patterned separates to bring on a more casual look when appropriate. In contrast to Alain Delon, Grant did try. And he pulled it off every time.
“If there was ever anyone that embodied the term classic it would be him,” says Murray “Even down to styling his pocket with a simply folded white pocket square and a plain tonal shade in his ties.”
Redford was the style icon of the seventies, sporting lots of hair and big sunglasses. His style is one the easiest to pull inspiration from, for any man. “Robert Redford wore his casual looks loosely, so that they were never tight to the body,” says Arnold. “Not only did this allow movement, it also left him room to layer up, which is a rule I’d give to men wanting to emulate this look.”
“My advice would be to invest in a good overshirt, field jacket, a rugged pair of boots and some really well-cut jeans”, suggests Arnold.
The all-American Paul Newman’s style could only be described a ‘preppy’ – without the Ivy League education. Newman took the stiffness of the preppy style and made it more wearable. He did this by wearing creased shirts and rolled up his sleeves, always adding a pair of masculine sunglasses.
To finish of his look, he always wore quality items. “You can see his appreciation for natural, sumptuous fabrics.” Simple things look great when they are beautifully made.”
Many people look back at their eighties photos and agree, that they were embarrassed by what they wore. It is only now that the era is back in style, but what never seemed to leave was the impeccable dressing of Richard Gere.
Gere obviously learned some tips from his breakout role American Gigolo, when he was dressed by Armani, with an understated version of the bold style choice from the 1980s. He still wore the stone wash jeans and camel coats, but steered clear of the flair. “He often wears his shirt unbuttoned and favours a larger collar,” says Street. And has even brought his style into his sixties.
From the red carpet to the street, Ryan Gosling is always well dressed. Not only does he give a great lesson in tailoring, he knows exactly how to up the style game. “Gosling also knows how to finish off an outfit,” says Street. “Focus on the finer details, like a good leather brogue, or an expensive leather belt.”
Gosling takes basic clothing, such as the chino or shirt, and dresses himself with an impressive array of accessories and outerwear. From leather jackets, printed bombers, sunglasses and boots, he simply needs to team a couple of elements together to look great.
And lastly, the actor and rapper Donald Glover is a lesson in bold and bright dressing. We can agree that he doesn’t seem to like sticking with the classics, or dressing too formal, but he knows how to dress loud.
With good tailoring and quality basics, anyone can look good, but it takes real skill to wear colour – think purple, brown and orange – and look refined. This also goes for the everyday kit.
“This takes practice,” says stylist Murray. “The time and effort (read trial and error) is an important part of the journey to expanding your personal style, but trying small elements one at a time is a realistic approach to updating your wardrobe with some daring pieces. You’ll be at Donald Glover-level of purple tuxedos in no time – or maybe just stick with a jacquard gem-stone tone shawl lapel option for now.”
And if you need a good place to start, start shopping our daily drops here.