You leave the movie theater walking like him.
For an hour or two, you WERE him.
Saved the world. Got the girl.
You really want to get the clothes.
We’ve all had this experience – encountering a movie character so powerful and stylish it changes how you want to look. But how exactly does he look so sharp? If you don’t know menswear back to front, it’s tough to know where to start.
That’s why today, I’m giving you a point-by-point breakdown of some of the greatest movie looks, past and present. Is your favorite on the list?
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Click Here To Watch The Video – 6 Movie Looks To Steal
#1. Frank Bullitt – Bullitt
Steve McQueen is one of my favorite style inspirations – a timeless example of masculinity. It was hard to pick just one of his characters, but Bullitt is probably the best known as a style icon. If you don’t think a tweed jacket can look effortlessly cool and ruggedly masculine, you’ve never seen this movie.
The jacket in question is a herringbone tweed, meaning it has a v-shaped pattern in the weave. It’s cut long and loose with soft shoulders and a 3-roll, 2 button stance.
A three-roll-two jacket has three buttonholes and three buttons, but only the middle button is intended to be used. These jackets are usually pressed to roll directly to the middle button. The upper buttonhole is practically invisible to the eye, as it is sewn inside the lapel roll. This style suits tall men best and is a clear sign of a hand-stitched lapel (in other words, premium quality.)
Of course, Bullitt probably doesn’t care how many buttons are meant to be used, as he’s rarely seen with any of them buttoned up.
Bullitt’s jacket is dark brown, but you can go for gray as a more modern alternative. Part of what makes this brown tweed jacket stylish – as opposed to professorial – is that he wears it with a midnight blue rollneck sweater underneath. If you’re imitating this look, any other dark color would do fine too. The sweater should be well fitted but not too tight, and not too chunky.
Charcoal slim fit corduroy pants and suede lace-up boots complete the outfit. It’s all rugged, textured, and casual while still being sharp. Every piece of this outfit has a different texture – this might be part of why women want him as much as men want to be him. Women instinctively want to touch a man in textured clothes (and vice versa!)
For the full look, add a camel overcoat, brown Persol sunglasses, a silver watch, and confidence.
#2. Danny Ocean – Ocean’s Eleven
Speaking of ‘women want him’ – we can all learn something from George Clooney.
When he makes his iconic entrance gliding in on the elevator, Danny Ocean wears a brown houndstooth check single-breasted sports coat with a slight red windowpane overcheck (in other words, there are some red lines overlaying the little checks and making a pattern of bigger squares.)
The jacket is cut with classic notch lapels, 2-button front, 3-button cuffs, patch breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and a ventless back.
Ocean is another character who can really rock brown – he pairs this jacket with dark brown flat front trousers with belt loops and plain-hemmed bottoms, and a black leather belt with a squared steel single-prong belt buckle.
He also wears a brown dress shirt with mitered button cuffs. Mitered cuffs are a smart detail – the cuffs look as if they’ve had the corners cut or rounded off.
To complete the picture, add sunglasses with silver squared rims and dark lenses, and a nice watch with a leather strap. Danny’s is black crocodile leather, but a brown leather would go well with this ensemble too – as long as you remember to match it with a brown belt!
Another element of Clooney’s appeal is his naturally graying hair. While you might not find the signs of aging sexy, many women do appreciate a touch of gray on a man – it really does make you look distinguished, but only if you’re dressed like a distinguished man.
Also, note his roguish five o’clock shadow. Depending on the color, thickness, and enthusiasm of your facial hair, you might need to go two or three days between shaves to get this look.
#3. Tony Stark – Avengers movies, Spider-Man: Homecoming
Tony is a high-contrast man and the contrasts in his clothing tend to be… stark. He favors black or dark charcoal gray suits with white shirts – he used to go for flashy Iron Man red shirts in the earlier movies, but as his character has matured we’ve seen him become a more restrained dresser. You’ll still see his signature red in a tie or pocket square now and again.
His ‘”lovely Tom Ford three-piece two button” suit in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is likely not by Tom Ford – it lacks their signature details like the hand-sewn, elongated asola lucida lapel hole.
He likes a pinstriped suit, which is absolutely correct for a smaller guy like Tony – the vertical stripes give him more height.
Being a small guy with a BIG personality, he favors bold patterned ties and pocket squares, wide ties (mostly), wide collars, and wide lapels. This is old-school power dressing – despite his antics, he is an older guy, not a trendy kid (as seen in the father/son relationship with Peter Parker.)
For the full Tony Stark look, don’t forget accessories like a tie bar and cufflinks, and of course a big sports watch with ALL the techie bells and whistles.
Hair should be on the longer side, tousled and pushed back with hair wax rather than slicked back with gel or pomade. Tony also sports a Balbo beard (Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne had one too – obviously the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist beard.)
#4. John Shaft – Shaft
This iconic tough guy is very style-savvy. He’s best known for his leather jacket – but did you know Samuel L. Jackson actually wears FOUR leather jackets in the movie, one for each of Shaft’s moods?
The “classic” Shaft wears a three-quarter-length jacket with raw-cut edges and a wool collar. The “rebel” Shaft wears a double-breasted pea jacket. The “no-nonsense” Shaft wears a leather blazer. And the “approachable” Shaft favors a full-length suede jacket.
Technically, wearing a lot of black is a no-no for African-American men, as dark skin and dark hair make for a low contrast complexion. Samuel L. Jackson proves there’s a dramatic exception to every rule.
Pair your leather coat with a mock turtleneck ribbed cashmere sweater. This doesn’t have to be black – Shaft’s is dark red, but any dark color would do.
Shaft is known to wear both leather gloves and leather pants. That might be a little too much leather in real life, so switch out the pants with some good slim-fitting black jeans or other dark pants.
Hats include a watch cap and an eccentric take on a fedora. I would recommend the watch cap as a good ‘just keeping your head warm’ hat for most occasions. Fedoras with casual wear have developed a bad reputation since Shaft came out, although if you look like Samuel L. Jackson you can probably pull off any hat you want.
Shaft wears a variety of sunglasses, but I’d recommend the aviators as being the most versatile – they look good on everyone. They have dark black lenses to go with his outfit and hide his eyes (unlike Tony Stark’s – Tony wants everyone to see how attractive his eyes are.)
However, he does have one thing in common with Tony – they both wear a Balbo beard! Shaft also rocks a shaved head – just like wearing black, this is power dressing that makes him look more masculine and dominant.
#5. Dickie Greenleaf – The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley is set in the late 50s, with the mod era just around the corner. Dickie is a fashionable continental playboy and the outsider Ripley’s attempts to dress like him are a major plot point.
While Ripley looks awkwardly formal in suits, Dickie goes for separates and casually unstructured tailoring that’s much more appropriate for the setting (summer in Italy.)
He pairs his navy blazer with a navy polo in one scene, and with a shirt and tie in another. The shirt is a light blue with a white collar, his trousers are a light stone color, and the striped tie picks up both the blue and the stone. A white collar on a blue shirt normally says ‘banker’ but everything here is so light and breezy you don’t think of it that way.
To echo Dickie’s look, think light and warm colors like pink and cream (he has a cream blazer too), light and loosely knotted striped ties, slim-fitting shirts, and lots of short sleeves. A couple of his shirts have a classic 1950s pattern of vertical stripe panels.
Below the waist, the summery look continues with rolled-up chinos, printed or pastel shorts, printed swim shorts and boat shoes.
Dickie accessorizes with two-tone acetate sunglasses, a gold signet ring and a classy metal watch with a mesh bracelet. The watch is silver – he’s too carefree to worry about matching his metals perfectly!
One accessory I’m not sure I’d emulate is his felt trilby – trilbies are still a good look, but pairing them with men’s summer wear seems out of place today.
Another signature element of Dickie’s look is his swirly curls – most likely the stylist has used a sea salt spray and blow dried it into that beachy tousled shape before adding pomade to give the curls a bit of extra hold and shine.
Dickie parts his hair on the left, which is the side associated with masculinity, power, and social popularity, while Ripley parts his on the right, which is said to look vaguely unsettling on men. This goes with their personalities, and (spoilers) you may want to watch for the moment when Ripley changes his hair part…
#6. Meyer Wolfsheim – The Great Gatsby
This cameo role was extremely popular with audiences both for Amitabh Bachchan’s acting and his dapper look.
The wide shoulders on his jacket, wide lapels and wide tie make the Big B look extremely impressive and powerful. The off-white trilby is echoing his white beard and bringing more contrast into his look.
The dark red tie, pocket square, and hatband, all with different patterns, are a great example of accessories that harmonize without matching exactly. The color also adds more contrast and more warmth to the light gray suit. Red looks fantastic on Indian guys.
He’s also wearing a white pinned collar dress shirt, a dapper style that can only be worn with a tie. It looks as if the type of collar pin he’s wearing is a dumbbell style.
And finally… TEETH. He wears human molars as cufflinks and one as a tie pin. (The tie pin is a smart old-school alternative to tie bars. Do watch out for damage to ties if you use this.)
I’m not recommending that you wear teeth. But look at what Wolfsheim is doing with these accessories. He’s sending a very powerful message. He’s a moneylender, and we can guess that those teeth belong to people who didn’t pay him back. So he’s saying, ‘You WILL pay me back, or else!’ Can you use statement jewelry to get YOUR message across?
His hair is longish and swept back with a wave, and he wears a beautifully trimmed extended goatee with a handlebar mustache and sideburns. This is a flamboyant and powerful look that will definitely get you noticed. It would look just as good on a younger guy if you have the confidence to carry it off, but it’s definitely not one for the shy guy.
Bonus: Hu Bing – Who Moved My Dream?
This one’s a bit different because he’s famous as a model and style icon in his own right. But since this is about movie looks, let’s take a look at one of his recent looks in ‘Who Moved My Dream?’
One thing I like about his style is that he wears a lot of warm and strong colors that suit his skin tone beautifully. The brown jeans, all the brown earth tones in this outfit, and the gold belt buckle really bring out the golden tones in his skin.
Another thing he’s great at is effortlessly mixing levels of formality. Here we have a white pleated front TUXEDO shirt worn with jeans. How is he pulling this off?
The main key is the vest. A vest is something you’d expect to see with a tuxedo shirt, but in this slightly textured matte fabric with raw edges, it’s obviously a casual vest. So the function goes with the shirt, but the fabric goes with the jeans. It’s tying them both together.
Another big key is the fit. Everything fits him perfectly, so it looks intentional. Wearing it with confidence helps too.
Another interesting outfit from the same movie is the black and white patterned jacket with black peak lapels. Like most Asian men, as a high-contrast guy, he looks really good in black and white.
Technically it’s a tuxedo jacket, and he does wear it with a bow tie in another movie, ‘If I Loved You’. So I suspect it’s his own jacket. Here he just wears a black dress shirt underneath with a couple of buttons undone and no tie – again, he’s mixing levels of formality.
In another scene, he wears a black jacket, a black shirt and a black bow tie with a paisley pattern. Yet again, it’s not a normal tuxedo look. This much black is for high-contrast men only, and the pattern on the tie saves it from being too much.
Mixing levels of formality like this is a dashing and playful look that’s best reserved for pleasure rather than business. It says, ‘I’m an old-school gentleman but I’m also fun and adventurous’.
His facial hair sends the same message – it’s a very short mustache, almost a stubble mustache, so it’s like mixing the old-fashioned manly look of a mustache with the young fresh look of being clean-shaven.
Did I leave your favorite out? Then it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. Pull up Google Images and analyze the details of his outfit the way I’ve done here. Look at shirt collars, cufflinks – every individual piece, no matter how small. If he’s a suit wearer, this article on suit jacket style details is the perfect place to start. For any detail you can’t identify, search RMRS and you can pretty much bet there’s an article on it. You’ll be well on the way to becoming your own movie hero (or antihero!)
And whether you’re going for Danny Ocean stubble, a silky-smooth shave like Bond or a full-on beard like Meyer Wolfsheim…
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