For all those A-listers who demand the sartorial spotlight – statement dressers with an army of stylists in tow – there are plenty more deserving men quietly killing it. Across all walks of life you’ll find those who dress daily with impeccable style without getting, or seeking, the credit they deserve. Unmoved by the fickle winds of fashion trends and social hype, it’s these everyday inspirations who are sure to still look the business a decade from now.
The same is true on screen. For every Don Draper or Dickie Greenleaf, there are less assuming characters whose wardrobes have not yet been appropriated by the masses – but should be. So, eschewing the regular best dressed men poll-toppers, we’ve picked out eight underrated menswear icons and the style lessons we should all be stealing from them.
Anyone who can successfully pull off a leather blazer deserves some recognition. Jeff Goldblum is the thinking man’s A-lister – his glittering career spans five decades, from blockbusters to cult classics, and the spectacle-toting star of The Fly, Jurassic Park and Independence Day has picked up a small but devoted following for an on-point wardrobe that manages to capture his on-screen charisma.
As comfortable in biker jackets as graphic-print shirts or sleek tailoring, the 64-year-old’s sure-footed sense of self is a constant across a look that has only improved with age.
“Goldblum has range in both his acting and his wardrobe; the casual way he wears a suit makes me want to invest in more tailored pieces,” says Alastair Rae, founder of utilitarian menswear label Albam.
Goldblum can do the buttoned-up look very well, but he often plays down formal looks by choosing separates, skipping the tie, and adding sneakers, cropped trousers or unstructured jackets with patch pockets. It’s a big part of why he looks way too young to be claiming a bus pass.
He may have lost out to Floyd Mayweather in the so-called Fight of the Century™ but Dublin’s super-confident UFC star will always be a champ when it comes to tailoring. The Notorious’ penchant for bespoke suits in imaginative palettes has made him an unlikely style icon, with sharp waistcoats, clashing prints and a love of mixing high-end with low-end proving he’s as much of a showman out of the octagon as in it.
Yes, his in-your-face style might not be to everyone’s taste but as his press conferences, weigh-ins and own Instagram account attest, it certainly packs punch.
When it comes to shadow-boxing McGregor’s wardrobe, take the cuts and just a pinch of the flamboyance – the fuck you pinstripe and his most garish prints are a step too far for the rest of us. “When you’re a boxer and you look more understated dressed for work, you know you’re overdoing the flash,” says menswear writer Josh Sims, author of Men of Style.
It’s unclear how many owners of Run-D.M.C.’s ubiquitous block-lettered T-shirts are familiar with the New York trio’s musical output, but as the tour merch trend picks up, their legacy of band as brand is as strong as ever (that tee alone is said to have banked them $ 100m). Although they split over a decade ago, the group’s sound proved as influential as their swaggering style.
Okay, the jewellery was on the heavy side (nobody other than Rick Ross is buying chains that could feasibly lower an anchor these days), but they knew how to rock a leather jacket and statement eyewear, and practically defined the association between sportswear and hip-hop, which is now stronger than ever.
Their 1986 track “My Adidas” led to a $ 1.6m endorsement deal – cementing the Superstar as an iconic design in the process – and the surviving members are still doing sneaker collaborations to this day.
Signature pieces and favourite brands give you a consistent look. “Never be afraid to take a specific garment and own it through repeated wear,” says Sims. “Even if it is a bucket hat.”
Flying the flag for three-piece suits, the London-based New Yorker is a renowned scene stealer and this extends far beyond larger-than-life characters in The Hunger Games, The Devil Wears Prada and Spotlight.
He says he’s worn Hugo Boss for 30 years – and it certainly shows. The actor and director excels when it comes to tailoring, bringing finesse to public appearances with refined cuts, crisp white shirts and experimental accessories with a particular penchant for silk scarves and cashmere ties.
“You might describe Tucci as the perfect metrosexual – a little dandy and always perfectly polished. He isn’t a tall man but he makes sure his suits and tuxedos are cut so as to make the most of what nature has given him and looks effortlessly elegant,” says Robert Johnston, fashion director at British GQ.
Never be afraid to soften staid tailoring with luxurious knitwear or accessories.
It’s a year since Konnichiwa’s Mercury Prize win cemented grime’s crossover to the mainstream and Skepta has kept himself busy since, growing his superstar status on a global tour and building a following as much in love with what he represents as what he’s released.
In contrast to the ostentation of the US rap or UK garage scenes, he champions a pared-back sportswear aesthetic that remains true to grime’s roots.
As his profile’s increased he’s gone on to put out his own clothing line, Mains – a sharp range of tracksuits and tees that’s stocked in Selfridges – and added further to his style credentials with his own take on the Nike Air Max 97s.
“With the launch of his brand Mains earlier this year, Skepta reinforced his commitment to simple but beautifully made pieces,” says Jack Cassidy, men’s contemporary and designer buyer at Selfridges.
Yes, sportswear is usually about labels and logos displayed as proudly as possible, but with the right cuts and a palette that goes easy on the primary colours, it can look as refined as any minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic.
Although the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte can rightly be credited with bringing razor-sharp continental style to Premier League touchlines, there’s a home-grown manager who also proves that football can be stylish.
Gareth Southgate marked his first game in charge of our national team in an outfit that turned as many heads as the team’s performance. Part wedding-attire, part keen young professional, his blue waistcoat and buffed shoes marked a welcome shift from the tracksuits and sloppy tailoring of his predecessors and – akin to his playing style – displays a calm assurance that proves that nice guys don’t always finish last.
The England manager has learned the most important lesson an aspiring well-dressed man can take on board – find something that suits you and stick to it.
“In Southgate’s case, it seems he has discovered his go-to colour – a shade of royal blue – and makes it work for him across the board from suits to sweatshirts,” says Johnston. Route one stuff, but if it works, it works.
One of the major players during London’s Swinging Sixties, the British actor – and Michael Caine’s old roommate – remains one of our proudest style exports, but he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
He bought his first made-to-measure suit aged 17 and, when not starring in the era’s coolest productions or dating its most striking women, he evangelised Mayfair’s fashion scene. Opting for shoes by George Cleverley, suits by up-and-coming Doug Hayward – who went on to revolutionise tailoring for British men – and a sharp array of accessories that helped establish the 1960’s take on the British dandy, Stamp’s eye for style endures today.
“Elegance is a state of mind, not a product of age: you may have been beautiful once, but you can always be elegant,” says Sims.
Stamp has never had to reinvent himself (discounting Superman II) because he has always followed the same set of rules.
Yeah, that Tintin. Although too busy solving swashbuckling crimes to switch up his wardrobe much, the courageous journalist created by Belgian cartoonist Hergé back in 1929 certainly looked the part.
Although his pal Captain Haddock’s nautical chic is also worthy of note, it’s Tintin’s effortless cashmere sweater, cropped trousers, mackintosh and on-trend quiff that saw him journey to Russia, Egypt, the Congo and beyond in unruffled style.
Although Steven Spielberg’s CGI-heavy movie adaptation didn’t quite hit the same style notes, Tintin’s sartorial legacy in two dimensions is as fresh now as when it first appeared.
“Plus-fours may be a stretch for most young men but cords and chunky knit never goes out of style,” says Sims. And screw it, get a Haddock-style pea coat while you’re at it.
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