The Ultimate Style Icon: Cary Grant

сент. 20 ,2018
Published in Blog

Too often, we get so caught up in who’s wearing what at any given moment that we sacrifice true style in the pursuit of fast fashion fixes.

Now, that’s not to say that we don’t have a remarkably large pool of fashion-forward and well-dressed men to look to for inspiration in the style stakes. Rather that the debonair sophistication that defined style - as a concept, not just a look - throughout the golden years of the 20th century seems much too far away. 

Of course, there are those who put great thought into every last detail of their outfits, from the collar to the cufflinks, and we are seeing a resurgence of gentlemanly style everywhere from the catwalk to the high street.

But we ought to be rekindling our love of the true style icons - the trendsetters before their time - who made other men take note, while women everywhere swooned. These were the men before fast fashion. Men who wore sharp suits, maintained a suave demeanour and remained perfectly polished at all times.

One such style icon - who really was an icon in every sense of the word - was Cary Grant. Mr Grant was one of Hollywood’s finest leading men, and he held an air of sophistication both on and off-screen that was unmatched by most of his peers, and those who came before or after him.

A Brief Introduction to Mr Grant…

Though Cary Grant (born Archibold Leach) did not have an easy life by any stretch of the imagination, he was meticulous in his study of etiquette and grace - something that helped him become and remain one of Tinsel Town’s most beloved leading men long after his retirement at age 62.

 He projected class effortlessly, staying poised and gracious throughout his journey from touring shows to Broadway and finally, onto Hollywood’s big screens. However, this didn’t always come naturally to the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement (1970) winner.

 Grant created and refined his personality as he learned and developed his craft. He even cited the likes of director Leo McCarey and fellow ocean liner passenger Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as influences on his style and countenance - the latter having such a lasting impression that Grant recalled every detail of his outfits some years later for Ralph Lauren!

 It is Cary Grant himself, though, as a man and a paragon of gentlemanly conduct, who even now continues to capture the very essence of classic and timeless style.

 In the 1960s, Grant even wrote a style guide for the This Week publication. In it, he describes in his own words what style is to him. You can read the article for yourself here, but we’ve highlighted some of his most important advice, which we hope you will use to channel your own inner Cary Grant.

 

“Wear, not only your clothes, but yourself, well, with confidence”

 

Perhaps one of the most important rules of fashion - that is, of course, if there were rules - is that confidence is the best accessory, no matter the outfit, the occasion or the individual. If you carry yourself with confidence, with a quiet belief in who you are and how good you look, the world will take note and believe you. Cary Grant was a master at this, commanding the attention of all those around him, whether he was low-key in loafers and a crew neck tee or dazzling the red carpet in a tuxedo. Carry yourself with confidence, always.

 

“Simplicity... has always been the essence of good taste”

 

Another crucial style commandment - don’t overcomplicate things. If you overthink your outfit or any one part of it, you can be in danger of creating a monster. Keep things classy and tasteful with simple styles, good cuts and quality materials.

Grant advocated the importance of ‘middle of the road’. His suits were well-designed and always tailored perfectly to suit him, whether they were off-the-rack or custom-made. They didn’t push boundaries by being too on-trend, nor did they limit him by being too dated. His accessories followed the same formula, with crisp collar stiffeners and classic lapel pins or tie clips pulling a look together by enhancing it, rather than competing with it.

Everything he did was the Goldilocks effect. His suits were simple. His style was simple. His choices were never ‘in fashion’ so to speak, so they never went out of fashion. Shrewd move, Mr Grant.

 

“It’s better to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones”

 

This final, fundamental piece of style advice is all about investing in good quality pieces that will stand the test of time. A pair of good shoes that are comfortable because they fit properly and are attractive because they are well-made and clean up nicely; these are worth their weight in gold, and while you may be able to buy a few pairs for the same price, it’s of no consequence if they aren’t of the same quality. If clothes maketh the man, shoes maketh sure that man stands up straight and walks with the confidence his clothes deserve.

Of course, this rule works for all aspects of your wardrobe, from buying the perfect suit and having it properly tailored, to investing in a quality pair of silver cufflinks instead of cheap throwaway alternatives. As with anything, you get out what you put in, so make sure that you invest in quality items and take proper care of them so they stay in good repair. FYI - Grant suggests curved hangers for coats.

So, there you have a whistle-stop guide to style, taken directly from the man who epitomises the word. Be sure to check out Cary Grant’s full article and make every effort to exude the cool, collected classiness he was so well-known for.

Sign up to our newsletter