Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society” and when it comes to the potent power of apparel, the men on our list have enjoyed mighty and stylish reigns as all-round fashion kings. From 50s movie stars to 21st century supermodels, we take a look at some of the century’s best-dressed gents and pay homage to their supreme style.
Topping every style icon list, it may be predictable to include Steve McQueen in this line-up, but to leave him out would be nonsensical and frankly blasphemous. The anti-hero of American film has become immortalised as one of the big screen’s best-dressed stars thanks to his rugged and masculine style. A keen motorbike racer, McQueen was at his best in a sports jacket, a classic white t-shirt and denims, paired with aviator shades, but effortlessly made the transition into a slim-fit tailored suit when the occasion called for it. For “The King of Cool”, style was all about purpose, masculinity and the right amount of nonchalance.
Unquestionably, David Gandy is the world’s most influential male model and most likely, he is the best-dressed of the sculpted bunch. Far be it for me to dish out the imperatives, but dare I say; this is how a man should dress! Gandy’s style is utterly timeless. With the cursive masculinity of the old Hollywood greats, combined with his own modern attention to detail, David Gandy is an all-encompassing style aficionado, who couldn’t put a foot wrong if he tried.
Nick Wooster is an internet sensation and probably one of the first original street-style icons. The Fashion Advisor for Gilt and Park & Bond favours brands with a heritage or lineage and the idea of the uniform is central to Wooster’s look. For this style king, his Zippo lighter is just as important as a tailored jacket and as the ‘bad ass’ of men’s fashion, Nick Wooster is an undisputed 21st century style icon. He combines classic tailoring with militarism and that impressive moustache to create a distinctly personal and innovative look.
Tom Ford is one of those annoyingly talented guys. Not only did he save Gucci from bankruptcy, serve as the Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent, and create a successful eponymous clothing line, but he also directed the stunningly-beautiful, Oscar-nominated movie, A Single Man. Oh and along the way, he cemented his own status as a style icon. Tom has said that he favours classic simplicity and when it comes to his beloved suit, he always wears one that gives him broad shoulders, a fitted waist and long legs. A sartorial success if ever there was one.
Striving for originality, just like with Steve McQueen, I tried my best to ignore James Dean, but let’s face it, when something’s good, it’s good and there’s no denying or ignoring it. And James Dean, in all is rebellious goodness is certainly an unavoidable tour-de-force. The impossibly handsome star achieved fame in his short lifetime, but it was only posthumously that Dean was fully recognised as a style sage. The original Rebel Without a Cause epitomised effortless dressing – shedding any superfluous items and keeping his aesthetic minimalist, original and impossibly cool.