Menswear has been synonymous with movies since the dawn of film. But even in the modern age, where style inspiration can be found everywhere from the high street to your smartphone, a sharply-tailored suit on the big screen can cause a seismic shift in men’s fashion. We’ve put together a list of the characters who have caused the biggest impact and although you might not be familiar with all of them, you’ll surely recognise their lasting influence.
1966 – Blow Up
After just one watch of director Michelangelo Antonini’s psychedelically-charged thriller, every ‘wild’ party you’ve ever been to will pale in comparison. Besides being able to drive women crazy with a simple snap of his camera, fashion photographer Thomas’s achingly cool wardrobe is as covetable as his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III.
1967 – The Graduate
Astonishingly, it’s been nearly fifty years since college graduate Ben first met Mrs Robinson – a relationship that has become entrenched in the collective male imagination. If it is possible to divert your attention from their scandalous affair, it’s worth pointing out that every single one of Ben’s outfits is still as sartorially relevant today.
1968 – The Thomas Crown Affair
One of cinema’s most famous anti-heroes, self-made millionaire and shameless playboy Thomas Crown’s blue-tinted sunglasses and three-piece suits have become part of the classic menswear lexicon – so much so, that it’s easy to forgive his penchant for self-fulfilment through bank robbery.
1980 – American Gigolo
If the 80s are inescapably linked with greed, indulgence and excess, its poster boy would be image-obsessed Julian Kaye (played by Richard Gere) whose vast array of Italian suits was only matched by the list of names in his little black book. Despite his questionable profession, Julian’s look inspired an entire generation of men to follow his fashionable lead.
1997 – The Game
Wealthy banker Nicholas – a man with more money than sense – inadvertently pays a company for a mysterious ‘experience’ which involves the systematic annihilation of his entire life (as you do). But while poor Nicholas stretches the boundaries of his midlife crisis, one can’t help but notice his meticulous taste in tailoring.
1999 – The Talented Mr Ripley
Perfectly balancing formal wear and casual elegance, shipping heir Dickie Greenleaf is a fashion maverick, sharply pairing different pieces together to create his own signature statement. This, coupled with the seductive allure of southern Italy in the 50s, makes for a timeless source of menswear inspiration.
2000 – In The Mood For Love
Dressed in a slim fitted dark suits with skinny ties, journalist Chow Mo-wan’s faultless exterior is only betrayed by his inner heartache. Exquisitely shot, this restrained portrait of a troubled marriage expresses its emotions with striking visuals and an equally enviable collection of clothing.
2009 – A Single Man
We wouldn’t blame you for not knowing what happened in this film – it feels like one extended aftershave advert, but we mean that in the kindest way possible. From the immaculate stationery on college professor George’s mid-century modern desk to his superb collection of suits, director and fashion designer Tom Ford’s unparalleled attention to detail is a gentleman’s masterclass.
2011 – Crazy, Stupid, Love
To be fair, you would be hard-pressed to find a movie where Ryan Gosling isn’t the most stylish man in every scene. But seeing as this is a comedy, and it’s his character Jacob’s remit to act as wardrobe wingman to the terribly uncool Cal (Steve Carell), Ryan deserves double debonair points here.
2015 – Spectre
Not many men have saved the world, let alone 24 times… while perfectly groomed and meticulously dressed. Us mere mortals might not be able to best James Bond in the spy game, but at least we can attempt to equal agent 007 in the style stakes.
Though you may have missed your chance to see these films in the cinema, there’s still time to add them to your streaming list (and tell us what you think below). And for more style inspiration, just click here.
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