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five male fashion icons in movies
24 · 08 · 2018

5 Male Fashion Icons in Movies

Written by Pilar Espitia

When we watch a movie, we are definitely on the lookout for a good plot, great acting and a box of popcorn. But it is a plus when we’re able to appreciate a fabulous wardrobe worn by our favorite actors.

The seventh art has immortalized characters and also their sense of fashion. We can think of movies as a subtle runway where we can see some timeless looks. Let’s review five male icons in movies with excellent taste.

Formal Classic Style: Guido Anselmi, 8 ½

5 male fashion icons in movies

“The truth is: I do not know... I seek... I have not yet found. Only with this in mind can I feel alive and look at you without shame”

If we talk about the classic stylish man in a movie, we definitely have to refer to Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni). He's the main character in 8 ½, by Federico Fellini.

It isn’t a coincidence this film was awarded an Oscar for Best Costume, and Guido is the perfect example of this merit.

He’s usually in a slim-cut suit, double cuffed white shirt, black tie, pocket square, and dress shoes. The glasses are the cherry on top for this immortal stylish character.

It has been said that Guido’s aesthetics and personality are a reflection of Fellini. After all, the movie is about a film director suffering from a creative block and troubled by his relationships.

But even if Fellini’s movies were somewhat autobiographical, we know the Italian director was the master of lies. In fact, he liked to invent his own memories and was a fan of writing his dreams in a journal.

And what’s the result of this inventiveness? A surrealist gem, where we see Guido transiting between his fears and desires, his memories and dreams. Let’s not forget he’s always dressed in a sharp suit, ready to take over the world.

Summer Casual Style: Dickie Greenleaf, The Talented Mr. Ripley

“‘See Venice and die,’ is that what they say? Or is it Rome?”

Wealthy, handsome and bohemian. These three words perfectly fit the character of Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) who we see in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley. This film is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s famous psychological thriller.

Dickie Greenleaf is the embodiment of sprezzatura in the middle of an endless Italian summer. The double-breasted blazer, white linen pants, black t-shirt and white sneakers reveal Dickie’s relaxed but tasteful personality.

But he’s for sure a character that cannot go unnoticed, and he’s terribly envied by Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), an underachiever but brilliant scammer, who will meet Dickie’s father at a party.

Mr. Greenleaf, anxious about his errant son, will pay Tom to go to Italy and bring his heir back to America.

Tom, pretending to be a good friend of Dickie’s, will indeed end up in Italy. But he not only tries to bring Dickie back to the United States, he actually tries to be Dickie.

In a surprising twist, the smart and cold-hearted Tom will eventually take over Dickie’s persona, as compensation for the good life and style he never had.

Thanks to Dickie’s good taste and posh personality, Jude Law was nominated to the Oscars as Best Actor in Supporting Role.

Casual Style: Cal Trask, East of Eden

5 male fashion icons in movies casual
“Man has a choice and it's a choice that makes him a man”

This movie, based on the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck, features the memorable James Dean in his first major screen role.

In fact, this is the only film James Dean was able to see and was the only one released during his lifetime.

The rebellious, moody and stranded personality of James Dean fits perfectly with the role of Cal Trask. Indeed, Cal Trask is also a young man in conflict with his whole family.

In several scenes of the movie, we see Cal wearing a casual style which highlights Dean’s excellent looks.

A beige sweater, striped shirt, gray pants and derby shoes. Simple and concise. Cal’s rebellious personality and relaxed outfits create a big contrast with Cal’s uptight and conservative brother, Aron.

Hence, this tension between the two brothers is a central subject of the movie and recreates the eternal Cain-Abel conflict. And it is in this movie that Cal-Cain-James becomes a fashion icon for a whole generation.

This performance will eventually lead James Dean to portray his most remembered character: Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause.

Business Casual Style: Frank Bullitt, Bullitt

5 male fashion icons in movies business casual

“Look, Chalmers, let's understand each other...I don't like you”

Persecutions in San Francisco. Mustangs and Dodges flying up in the air. Shootings and crime. Bullitt was the perfect box-office smash in 1968.

In fact, one of the car chases in this film has been considered as the best car chase in the history of movies. Also, Bullitt won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing.

But you know what else is great about this movie? Lieutenant Frank Bullitt’s (Steve McQueen) icy personality, along with his quintessential and effortless style.

Known as “The King of Cool,” Steve McQueen was a reference in the counterculture of the ‘60s. His anti-hero characters have a lot of characteristics every man wants.

So, if you are on a mission to fight mobsters, you’ll definitely want to look sharp, but always staying on the comfy side.

Go for a tweed single-breasted blazer with elbow patches, wool turtleneck, slim pants, black belt and a nice pair of chukka boots in suede.

Add a watch and a pair of shades, and you’ll be ready to fight crime in a stylish way, even if you don’t have a Mustang GT390.

Business Formal Style: George Falconer, A Single Man

5 male fashion icons in movies business formal

“It takes time in the morning for me to become George, time to adjust to what is expected of George and how he is to behave. By the time I have dressed and put the final layer of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite perfect George I know fully what part I'm supposed to play”

Before 2009, Tom Ford had never directed a movie. His talent had always been in the fashion industry as he worked as the creative director for Gucci or Yves Saint Laurent, but never in film studios.

So when A Single Man was released, the critics were ready to jump down Ford’s throat. Surprisingly, the film turned out to be a masterpiece in many senses, and not surprisingly, the costume design was on point.

Indeed, George Falconer (Colin Firth) is a character to admire when it comes to fashion. The actor recreates the drama of a gay English professor in 1960s Los Angeles, after losing his partner. And no person on the verge of suicide has ever looked as good as he did.

Brown suit, white Oxford shirt, cap toe Oxford shoes, thick-framed glasses, and a tie with a tie bar. George Falconer is not only a single man, but a man with immaculate taste.

One fun fact: To build the character to perfection, Tom Ford convinced Firth to use Creed’s Bois du Portugal aftershave during the shooting.

For the director, it was a way to build George’s character. And we must say that when watching the film we kind of guess Professor Falconer is not only a well-dressed man but also nice-smelling one.

For his excellent acting and looks, Colin Firth was awarded the BAFTA award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.


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