Steve McQueen The Cooler KingDecember 7, 2014
There’s no doubt – at least from a women’s perspective perhaps, that Steve McQueen was beautiful. Those ice blue eyes, the rugged features, the close-cropped hair, the brutish masculinity matched by a feline grace. There was a reason why they called him The King of Cool – for he was the cooler king, the coolest king of all.
Steve McQueen The Cooler King
As a man perhaps you admire his style, he certainly had a smart, stylish way of dressing that was evident both on-screen as well as off.
However, what you may have noticed – if you’ve looked hard enough, is that his look was timeless, you could dress like that today and not look out-of-place. Like Marilyn Monroe, who we looked at last week, McQueen’s style was classic, stylish and utterly timeless.
When you’re looking at McQueen’s style through pictures and films then you’ll notice that he has a clean, sharp silhouette. This is certainly created with the clothes he wore. There was very little layering, no bulky materials, straight leg trousers that tightened at the thigh. This can easily be achieved today.
The emphasis is on good quality garments, labelled tees that are made from good quality fabrics like 100% cotton, good quality denim and well cut jeans. The message then, is that if you want to create a look that’s reminiscent of Steve McQueen, you need to buy good quality, labelled clothes that keep their shape and are well cut.
There’s nothing like a well cut suit
In The Thomas Crown Affair his suits are expensive and well cut,creating sharp clean lines with slim line pants, which were naturally in vogue in the late sixties, but are still fresh today. The well cut waistcoat and the dimpled ties – all created a smouldering gent, someone you can’t quite work out, but wish you could.
Yes, he was playing a millionaire, so his suits had to look expensive, but it’s possible to recreate the look without the price tag. Just look for quality cloth and make sure it fits well.
Smart casual and oh so laid back
Another thing that McQueen did well was smart-casual. He managed to look smart and well-groomed while at the same time looking laid back. Take a look through the archive of photos available on the net. The mix of causal ribbed wool sweaters worn with a grey tweed blazer. Cotton and cashmere pants completed the look with expensive aviator shades to hand. Lightweight jackets with a bright lining to compliment a matching cable knit jumper without the bulk. Personal shades and a winning smile – that was the king of cool at his best.
As we’ve seen last week, next spring and summer is all about denim, mixing and matching jackets, pants and shirts. Steve McQueen led the way in that department too, making denim his own. And one thing he managed to get right, which a lot don’t was – double denim. This is something that can be a bit hit and miss, but as denim is big next year, do it the McQueen way. If you’re going to try wearing double denim, then go for different shades, indigo and stonewashed is a good mix, dress it up with good quality shades and perhaps a leather jacket and round it off with lace up boots.
It’s been well documented that McQueen was an avid racing fan and the way he dressed often reflected this. A leather jacket worn over a t- shirt with well-fitting jeans, or sweaters and jeans, the boots were always to the ankle and laced up, and jeans were de rigeur for all his biker and motorcar racing – unless he was wearing a jumpsuit.
What’s most striking and perhaps the hardest thing to emulate is the way that McQueen always managed to look so at ease with himself, laid back and ultimately, comfortable in his own skin. McQueen said himself that he lived for only himself and answered to no one and perhaps that was what made him appear so relaxed and unburdened – he really didn’t care what anyone thought of him. Perhaps that’s the best way of emulating the King of Cool – be comfortable with who you are and don’t spend your time worrying what everyone else thinks of you.
Let’s summarize then what you need to be the coolest king of all –
- Skinny sweaters – no bulk
- Shawl collared cardigans (preferably with jeans)
- Skinny pants that tighten at the thigh – narrow at the ankle
- Tees – good quality cotton with sleeves that stop at the biceps
- Leather jackets – bomber, finish at the waist
- Denim jackets
- Slim cut tailored suits
- Zip up windbreakers
- Sports coats
- Double denim – two colours together and not one block colour
A good quality pair of aviator shades, Persol was McQueen’s label of choice, go your own way and choose your own.
Rolex watches are a must – McQueen had one named after him –“the McQueen Rolex.” A tad unimaginative perhaps, but all the same – cool.
In keeping with next year’s trends, include blue, cornflower blue and papaya into the look for a thoroughly modern vibe with rugged, hand crafted man bags in leather and worn look boots.