The Style Icons Who Look Even Better in Their Sixties

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One of my biggest pet peeves is how fashion is perceived by the media to be a young man’s game. I respect and admire the good work done by David Evans over on Grey Fox Blog who is a constant reminder that the grey pound is often the most over looked by social media and brands alike.

Whilst that hot 20 something influencer might be blessed with the cherubic looks and the ass that won't quit, how affluent is his/her demographic. Why dress a 20 something in a Hardy Amies suit when traditional bespoke buyers are 30 something and above?

The Italian bespoke giants Brioni are one brand synonymous with ambition and being in tune with their respected clientele. Is it any wonder that their series tailoring legends feature the likes of veteran actors such Christian Slater and Pierce Brosnan?

Pierce Brosnan wore Brioni throughout his entire tenure as James Bond. He still has a great working relationship with the brand, although he has no exclusive ties to wear Brioni for media appearances. He has worn Tom Ford suits for ambassador duties and previously Spencer Hart suits.

Today I wanted to highlight some of the great plus 60 style icons that I aspire to.

Richard Gere

Every time I catch a photo of Richard Gere, I'm always fascinated by what he's wearing. I never see him take a mis-step. I've not managed to catch Father, Mother, Son yet due to technical constraints. (BBC iPlayer not available outside of the UK). But his suits look impeccable. Just like he did when he broke on the scene in the 80's in American Gigolo, transforming menswear with the unstructured jacket, softened shoulders aesthetic. No wonder he's every mums favourite.

Lino Ieluzzi 

Interestingly you won't find Lino's age anywhere online. But he is the owner of the haberdashery 'Al Bazar di Lino Ieluzzi', Milaon in which he has been working since the 1970s. Symbolically he is the tip of the spear when it comes to how a seasoned gentleman should dress. As interest in menswear spiked Ieluzzi has become more and more famous among men's style enthusiasts.

Jeff Goldblum 

It's almost as if he was waiting for this moment to arrive. To think, ironically, for his breakthrough and iconic performance in the movie The Fly, Jeff was largely bare chested. In Jurassic Park he brought the biker jacket back to its rightful home of academia rebel. Now his career shelf is awash, neigh, littered with style icon awards.

An era-encapsulating actor who can pull off a high number of audacious outfits from flower print Prada shirts to velvet teal Yves Saint Laurent tuxedos.

William Defoe 

I've long admired William Defoe's dedication to independent movies. He will often counter his thirst for playing parochial roles in low budget dramas, by making blockbusters. Some disposable, others hang around. Think of the much maligned Speed 2: versus Scorsese's arthouse miss, The Last Temptation of Christ.

However, his style is aspirational. Always has been but moreover, since marrying into an Italian family he has doubtlessly been sculpted into a style icon that transcends generations. I know he did a catwalk for Prada, and is a keen proponent of Ralph Lauren. Unsure of his preferred tailor.

Sting

From the late 70's in the height of pinstripes and wide lapels, to the touch-to-fit era of the 80's, Sting has always managed to keep on top of style trends whilst maintaining a classic demure edge.

He scrubs up well to red carpets, whilst easily switching to bearded Shoreditch hipster. Effortlessly. He has it all really. A great physique, a great style, not really known for being a trend setter but I hope I can be as versatile in my wardrobe when I hit 60 as Sting clearly is.

 

Style Icons Who Have Nailed it in Their 40's

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Yes I'm coming for you 40's. Though I'll forever have one foot in my 20's. I'm in the embers of my youth as Frank would say, but have never felt better. I'm in better shape now than I've ever been and currently writing this under a palm tree in Whitsundays, killing an hour before I head out chase down the sunset on my paddle board. Life is good. 

Before I do I wanted to highlight the style icons in their 40's that I admire. I'll do a series of these overtime as the generation thing, how people dress as they go through the gears of life fascinates me. 

DAVID BECKHAM 

David Beckham is the gift that keeps on giving for influencers and bloggers. Annotating his different outfits can certainly kill a slow news day in fashion. He's a wonderful ambassador cum-co-owner for Kent & Curwen, a British heritage brand with now a flagship store in Covent Garden. 

He traverses the line of style and statement effortlessly. Wearing some beautifully pared down pieces that will get anyone noticed without screaming 'look at me'. Exactly the line a man in his 40's needs to know. 

CHRISTIAN BALE 

Readers of my blog might have guessed that one was coming. I love Christians red carpet game more than his casual out-of-office style. Which is about as non-descript as it gets but hey-ho. Lots of cargo pants and non-logo denim shirts from what I've seen in the press.

He is obviously on good terms with Brioni however because Christian's always immaculately turned out at black tie events. His Brioni tuxedos are styled with black silk shirts and matching black ties to emphasise his mysterious quality. 

He is after all Bruce Wayne still in my eyes. He is an enigma of an actor taking on crazy roles for independent movies like The Machinist. That film was bananas. 

JUDE LAW

The thing I love about Jude Law is that he has a natural eye for a decent casual game. He has a very English style, loves his braces and his Donegal tweed. Well before he took on the role of Watson in Sherlock Holmes. 

He is a big proponent of wide brim hats are Brooklyn-esque beanies. I've read online that his style varies from Topman to Hackett London. As a resident Londoner it's no surprise that he's an indigenous shopper. 

DERMOT O'LEARY 

He has an awesome line of aftershave does Dermot, be sure to check out my blog reviewing his fragrances exclusive to M&S. He's regularly touted as being one of the UK's best dressed style icons in their 40's 

He has had some turbulence in the fashion industry. Investing and apparently losing £70k in former Savile Row tailor Spencer Hart. 

Dermot has a very unfussy style, fan of roll necks and a modern look. His lapels often suitably narrow, nipped in at the waist with a slight flair in the skirt. Very Doug Hayward of the late 70's. 

SADIQ KHAN 

If it's ever been possible to completely dislocate ones feelings of a person; their political agenda from their personal style, Sadiq Khan is that man. 

Seemingly out-of-office during the Climate protests. Knife crime at a record high. Cross Rail not delivered and the infrastructure for transportation has been somewhat wanting in London of late. All of which I can't hold Sadiq personally accountable for, but I just don't know what the man is doing other than looking swathe in his blue suits. 

He makes off the peg Zara (reportedly his go-to) look like tailor made costumiers. Sadiq dresses perfectly for a man in his late forties. His height is also a factor. He has a diminutive body (carriage) so low rise trousers work well.

High rise with inverted pleats would distort his frame. His shirts fit snug but not sprayed on. Never a tie so I think he wants to relate to the man on the street. He looks like he's about to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in. If only he would.  

 

 

Mens Fashion & Style Icons From the 1920’s – 1930’s

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Between hitting the pads, swinging idly in the hammocks on Whitsunday Island, I've had plenty of time to catch up on some fashion history. As many of you already know my style inspiration for Hawkins & Shepherd shirts is heavily themed around the pin collar shirts that were massively in vogue in the 1920's to 30's.

I've made a tonne of research notes and stumbled across some devilishly handsome gentlemen that were really stood out from that era. I wanted to share some of those notes with you today.

Robert Montgomery

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Robert Montgomery was an American film and television actor, director, and producer. I've included an MGM still and to quote sartorial writer James Sherwood; I 'Love a man who can wear white flannel and a cravat with conviction.'

According to IMDB, in 1935, he became President of the Screen Actors Guild. His stay with MGM lasted 16 years, and was only interrupted by WWII when he joined the navy. He saw action in both Europe and the Pacific.

You'll notice if you Google Robert Montgomery that he wore a lot of suits, with heavy cloth as was typical of the time. But immaculate fit, incredibly suave. He was clearly a man who dressed with the plenty of intent.

Marlene Dietrich 

They're not all going to be dudes in this article. It would be utterly remiss of me not to point out the fine splendour of Marlene Dietrich, regarded as the original Flapper. I've taken notes from the wonderful book by Christopher Laverty called Fashion in Film, a derivative from his excellent blog Clothes on Film.

He talks about the costumier Travis Banton who made the suit for Marlene Dietrich's first Hollywood film entitled, Morocco. 

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'Banton eschewed the era's (1920's - 30's) more obvious glamour to craft a controversial indelible image in the history of cinema. Dietrich plays a nightclub singer Amy Jolly, seen for only the second time wearing white-tie formal attire for men: black tailcoat, black trousers, white wing-collar shirt, white dress waistcoat  with white bow tie, white silk pocket square and black top hat.'

I strongly recommend you to all look as closely at the trends in women’s styles as well as men. When I write articles themed around menswear trends, I've always got half an eye on what the women are up to. Especially in this rejuvenated, androgynous-shapeless, gender fluid fashion era, it's a mistake to think that one does not reflect nor inspire the other.

FURTHER NOTES

Whilst trawling through the glorious 'A History of Fashion' by J.Anderson Black and Madge Garland I thought this was worthy of note.

'The most important item of the new style was the width of the grey flannel trousers, or 'Oxford bags' as these large garments were called since they had been launched by some under graduates of Oxford University'.

Clark Gable

Clark Gable was very much the George Clooney of his day. Just look at the supreme collar fit on his shirt, perfectly angular for his dimpled chin.

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According to an excellent article by Vintage Dancer 'Most collars were 3 or 3.25 inches long but could extend down 5 inches. Clark Gable wore the 4.5 to 5 inch California collar in a few of his movies.'

His most recognised films are Mutiny on the Bounty, It Happened one Night and of course Gone with the Wind.

Before the Second World War would eliminate an entire clientele of Savile Row customers, the three main houses Anderson & Shepherd, Huntsman and Kilgour, French & Stanbury would have more than likely provided the suits for Gable, much like they did for Valentino, Astaire, Chaplin and Grant.

Fred Astaire

King of the White Tie and just an incredible dancer. I love the quote that Gene Kelly gave about Fred Astaire as being "the only one of today's dancers who will be remembered."

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According to linear notes in Savile Row, by James Sherwood, the earliest record of Astaire on the Row is in Anderson & Sheppard's 1923 ledger. His style has been immortalised in modern day trail blazers such as the late Tommy Nutter and his former partner Edward Sexton. 

For further reading you can catch the wonderful article by Gentleman's Gazette on the life, times and style of Fred Astaire. They go into fantastic detail about his tailcoats and reference his style ambivalences in his autobiography Astaire, Steps in Time: “At the risk of disillusionment, I must admit that I don’t like top hats, white ties and tails.”

Gary Cooper

Remarkably the long read of Gary Cooper on Wikipedia mentions very little of his personal style. By all accounts he wasn't much of a conversationalist. But his style spoke volumes. Like many of his leading men contemporaries of the time, Cooper got his suits tailored at Anderson & Sheppard. 

Post war Cooper would change allegiance to fellow Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons. His films of not would be the aforementioned Morocco, A Farewell to Arms, (he was good friends with Hemingway) and The Wedding Night.

I've found a wonderful quote on the Gary Cooper website that characterises my thoughts on the man. 'No matter what costume he put on, he looked like he owned it. The camera loved him, and so did the box office.'

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