Ever since the advent of moving pictures, for the audience, every film has been about a brief moment of escape from every day life and a way to live vicariously through others. Whilst you might not be able to live out your fantasy of pipping Richard Madden, Idris Elba or Tom Hiddleston to inherit 007’s golden gun, there are some valuable style lessons to be learnt from the big screen. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite flicks that fly the sartorial flag for menswear.
Bullitt movie poster, 1968.
In this police drama set in the late ‘60s, the impossibly stylish Steve McQueen plays Lt. Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco cop on the hunt for the hitman who shot gunned a crime witness under his protection.
Steve Mcqueen wearing the iconic Roll Neck.
The film culminates in a now legendary petrol-guzzling car chase and shoot out around the hills of San Francisco, which, let’s face it, is basically the stuff of boyhood dreams. Macho drama aside, it’s style we’re interested in here, and trust clothes horse McQueen to steal the show with his softly-cut herringbone tweed jacket, wool roll necks, chambray shirts and cord trousers. And it’s a look that’s not hard to replicate – just take a classic navy cashmere roll neck or brushed cotton shirt and pair it with some charcoal trousers and you’ll be well on your way.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014
Illustration of The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Wes Anderson’s idiosyncratic (some would say eccentric) aesthetic style has always resulted in films that have their own singular style and The Grand Budapest Hotel is certainly one of those. Revolving around the buzzy life and dramas of a pre-war Eastern European palatial hotel, the flick stars Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustav, the Grand’s celebrated concierge, whose commitment to the job and upholding standards of civility lead him to undertake some extraordinary deeds. Adrian Brody makes an appearance as Dmitri, the embittered son of a rich widow, Madame D – played by Tilda Swinton – who is disinherited of an extremely valuable artwork in favour of M. Gustave.
Mr Gustav wearing a crisp white shirt.
The menswear in this cinematic work of art is a feast for the eyes, which ranges from classic ‘30s attire with avant-garde touches, and later on, mid-century geography-teacher-come good. It’s M. Gustav’s always-immaculate standards that we’re big fans of though – his freshly pressed shirts and immaculately executed silk accessories, being highlights. And, you can never go wrong with a crisp white shirt, as well all know here at Luca Faloni.
Il Sorpasso, 1962
Il Sorpasso movie poster, 1962
In one of those age-old on-the-road sagas, Milanese-born director Dino Risi casts, Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant as the ultimate mismatched duo – one is a reclusive student and the other is devil-may-care rogue who has never truly grown up. On their four-wheeled voyage from Rome through the Tuscan countryside during a Roman holiday recess, they swing by their respective families, learning a great deal about each other’s chalk and cheese personalities, as the milometer racks up the numbers.
Italian Actor, Vittorio Gassman.
The leading duo - who go by the on-screen monikers of Bruno Cortona and Jean Louis Trintignant, are seen throughout clad in clean, crisp cotton-jersey, which is their one connecting factor. And in a mid-century vehicle that looks as good as Bruno’s, you need little else. This flick might be all about opposing personalities, but there is unity in its style. The takeaway here is that a silver screen classic like this proves the old mantra “less is more” is still very much relevant.
Three Days of the Condor, 1975
Director Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford during production.
Robert Redford plays CIA agent Turner, who on popping out for lunch from the office, returns to find all his colleagues slain in cold blood. After calling his boss, a man is sent to kill Turner, who later learns that those above him where behind the murder of his comrades. With a hit man tailing him, he needs stay a live long enough to work out why his own organisation wants him dead.
Robert Redford Style Icon.
Despite the fact that Redford pretty much wears the same outfit the throughout, he does so with such panache, it’s difficult not to nominate this film for the cinematic style hall of fame. It’s Redford’s masterful layering of a herringbone tweed jacket, blue shirt and classic knitted jumper that win him style kudos, while his oversized aviator specs, bootcut jeans and artfully dishevelled locks hit the nail on the head for pure ‘70s élan.
Jailhouse Rock, 1957
Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock, 1957.
The great Elvis Presley has a wealth of films that ooze pure menswear panache and his 1957 classic, Jailhouse Rock, is a prime example. Presley plays protagonist Vince Everett, a young labourer who gets into a drunken brawl at the local boozer and accidentally kills a man who has provoked him. He ends up being sentenced to a year behind bars for manslaughter, where his cellmate – a former country singer – introduces him to the music business and things start to look up. Prison uniforms aside (which look tailor-made on Presley), his chunky cable knit jumper, wide-leg trousers and bi-tone loafers he wears in one particularly jazzy scene, are a winning combination – it’s the sort of louche, cosy outfit that you want to see you through those chilly winter days.