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the steve mcqueen style
27 · 09 · 2018

The Steve McQueen Style - Handbook for the Dapper Guy

Written by Pilar Espitia


Rebellious, timeless, and the “King of Cool”: Who else could it be but the staple of American style, actor Steve McQueen?

Exactly 50 years have passed since the car chase in Bullitt (1968). Yet, we clearly remember Mr. McQueen for his deep-blue eyes and his fresh and effortless looks.

We invite you to discover the Steve McQueen style throughout a review of movies so you can add some classic pieces to your wardrobe.

A Brief Biography

Steve McQueen was born in 1930 near Indianapolis, IN. The beginning of his life was certainly not a bed of roses.

At 16, Steve moved with his mom to New York where he started his acting career. At 25 he went to California and started doing small parts in TV shows and movies.

He finally made a breakthrough in TV shows like Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Magnificent Seven.

After his jump to stardom, McQueen was able to demonstrate his natural ability to do tricks with guns, play with his cowboy hat, drive at high-speed, and always look good.

By 1974 he was the highest-paid actor in the world, and many of his films were blockbusters.

He was a big enthusiast of motorcycles and cars, so he either was a car racer who loved acting or an actor who loved car racing.

In fact, he had a huge collection of motorcycles and cars. He also had a famous pair of Persol sunglasses which sold at auction for $70,000.

McQueen died when he was only 50, but his legacy is still alive through his movies and outstanding looks. So how do you channel the “King of Cool”? Watch and learn.

The Steve McQueen Look Book

The Great Escape (1963)

the steve mcqueen style the great escape

Black leather pilot jacket, blue sweatshirt (cropped to the elbows), khaki pants and brown leather boots

Just 20 years after WWII ended, The Great Escape depicts Steve McQueen as an American prisoner of war at a German POW camp.

Based on a real-life story, the movie unfolds the escape strategy of a group of allies. McQueen plays the role of Virgil Hilts, a witty captain always trying to fool the Germans.

Virgil’s flair fits like a glove with a cool military style, which features many essential pieces of the Steve McQueen look: A pilot jacket in leather, khaki pants --which he often wore in real life-- and comfy, rugged boots to fight the enemy.

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

the steve mcqueen style the cincinnati kid

Black rain jacket, navy blue crewneck sweater, grey wool pants and black Derbies

In this movie, McQueen literally put his cards on the table as he plays Eric Stoner, a poker player also known as “The Kid”.

Loved by women, envied by men, Eric is in Depression-era New Orleans, trying to challenge “The Man” of Poker, Lancey Howard.

But don’t be fooled by this so-called kid: Eric/McQueen also knows how to dress.

Throughout the film we see him in drizzly New Orleans with a black rain jacket --which he interchanges with a grey tweed blazer-- several crewneck sweaters, and gray wool pants.

The final touch? A pair of black Derbies to create the look of a street-smart boy.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

the steve mcqueen style thomas crown affair

Persol sunglasses, checked grey three-piece suit, light blue shirt, silk blue tie, white pocket square, golden watch chain, black Oxford shoes

Mr. McQueen takes a different spin in this heist film as Thomas Crown, a handsome businessman, and mastermind behind the theft of a bank. In this movie, Steve McQueen pulls out some groomed looks which are relevant to this day.

We want to highlight the fantastic, three-piece suits McQueen wears during the film, especially the Prince of Wales checked suit in grey. The combination of tie and shirt in different blues complements the outfit perfectly.

Add a pair of Oxford shoes and timeless Persol sunglasses, and you’ll be ready to rob any bank you want.

Bullitt (1968)

the steve mcqueen style bullitt

Brown tweed jacket, dark blue turtleneck, charcoal slim trousers, brown suede Chukka boots.

This Oscar-winning movie features McQueen as Frank Bullitt, a detective in San Francisco in the quest to find out who killed a star witness under his protection.

Frank Bullitt’s car chase in his green Ford Mustang has been classified as the best car chase in movie history.

Another crucial element is Frank Bullitt’s clothing. In fact, chasing mobsters never was so stylish: A brown tweed blazer, a navy blue turtleneck --a McQueen’s signature piece-- and suede chukka boots to go after thugs.

The Hunter (1980)

the steve mcqueen style the hunter

Gray bomber jacket with orange lining, white dress shirt, brown belt, light blue jeans and trainers.

The Hunter was the last movie McQueen acted in. Here, he plays Ralph “Papa” Thorson, who is the last American bounty hunter.

This is a hard-headed man on the lookout for criminals, but as the plot unfolds, we discover a very complex man, which also represents McQueen’s complexity and style.

In fact, Papa Thorson turns out to be a sensitive and tasteful guy who likes classical music and antiques.

We can also appreciate Ralph’s taste in his clothes. A clean-looking bomber jacket in sage green, a light blue jean accented by a belt that screams cowboy and trainers in leather and suede, perfect for the vintage lawman.


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