Every man should make an effort to develop his own style, he should seek inspiration from others and allow for seasonal changes in wardrobe, but at the core of his look there should be a sartorial theme which is entirely his own.
That being said, there are those days where you just can’t be arsed…
On these days, and on these days alone, it is acceptable to partake in some light thievery. When at your lowest ebb, it is fine to look to icons of men’s style and to hijack a few key items to give your look a bit of a boost. To find garments which not only add to your own personal style, but are the tried and tested staples of menswear and can make any man look and feel cool.
For this particular experiment to work you’ll need an almost flawless icon, enter Cary Grant:
Cary Grant personified Hollywood men's style of the 1950's and '60s, his formal yet relaxed look has often been copied, but never matched. Grant formulated his style, as we suggest you do yours, by taking influence from established icons and adding his own personal touches and staples to create a signature look. Taking Fred Astaire's merger of casual and formal attire and mixing it with his own bespoke detailing, Grant created a look that launched a thousand articles.
And indeed there are thousands of articles and books charting Cary Grant's style in his heyday, allowing you to look into the intricate details of his suits, socks, pocket squares and the lighters he used... no, seriously. With that in mind, this article will try and make Grant more accessible, allow you to build his look for yourself, but with a modern edge and more importantly on a modern budget.
Grant in Hitchcock's North by Northwest
There are about 4 or 5 images knocking about the internet, in which Cary Grant isn't wearing a suit. He still looks cool, all chunky knit and American heritage, but this wasn't Grant's signature look. You need a smart, well fitted three piece suit. To get something in a quality material that fits well you don't need to go overboard on price. Aim for elegance and simplicity, and avoid anything shiny, or you'll end up looking like a retired footballer. (This is a bad thing)
Shirt & Tie:
Simplicity is again the key here and you can rarely go wrong with a well fitted, white shirt. Keep it plain and make sure you know your sizing, or run the risk of ruining a perfectly good suit with a shabby, ill-fitting undergarment. The store you buy your suit from should be able to recommend a selection of shirts for you, if not you're shopping in the wrong places. The tie should follow a similar pattern, plain block colours were Grant's staple. One last thing, make sure it's in a neat Windsor knot, or all your hard work will be undone by looking like a scruffy schoolboy.
Cary showing off his brogues in North by Northwest
Brown shoes with grey trousers may raise a few eyebrows, but then again so does the concept of shoes with loads of holes in. Neither of these facts bothered Cary Grant, Brogues completed his classic timeless look whilst allowing him a tip of the cap to his style icon Fred Astaire. You can pick up brogues relatively cheaply from a lot of high street stores, it all depends on how much you are willing to spend and the quality of footwear you expect. Try and avoid those ridiculously pointy numbers though, what works for Pete Doherty is certainly not in adherence to Cary Grant's textbook style.
Accesorise your look with a pipe...maybe.
The Pocket Square:
It's all in the detail, gentlemen. A silk pocket square can make your suit go from off-the-rack monotony to perennial class. Use a guide of how to fold one correctly, slip it in your breast pocket and await a spillage or damsel in distress. Mr. Grant would be proud.
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