Top 5 Male Style Icons
It can be difficult to define ‘style’. It goes beyond merely the clothes you wear, and is more a reflection on the way you live your life.
Some men seem born with it, some work hard to acquire it, and others are destined to see it forever as a stranger.
Style has had many faces over the years. Here are our 5 favourites.
“You’ve either got or you haven’t got style.”
If we’re going to talk about style, then we may as well start at the very top. On or off screen, Sinatra lived his life with the kind of effortless swagger and exquisite nonchalance that has elevated him beyond the likes of mere ‘film star’ or ‘musician’ and landed him up in the rarefied air of the undisputed legend.
Never flash or cocky, everything about Sinatra was a performance and he carried himself through it all with the attitude of a man who knew exactly how good he was and saw no reason to hide it.
Over a career that spanned fifty years, from heartthrob crooner to The Chairman Of The Board, Frank created his own style, one that has been emulated and admired the world over.
The perfectly tailored suits, the quietly masculine presence, all added to his image as the archetypal man’s man. And no one but no one wore a hat quite like Sinatra!
“I wear what I want and it doesn’t matter what people think.”
It’s hard to think of any public figure whose personal style has changed so much over the years. In complete contrast to Sinatra, who nailed his persona early on and merely refined it throughout his career, Becks has always been at the forefront of new trends; an innovator who has never been afraid to experiment. Like any innovator, he’s had his fair share of misses amongst the hits, as well a heavy helping of ridicule–perhaps deservedly so during sarong-gate in the 90’s–but as he slides gracefully into middle age, he’s never looked better.
As a top-flight footballer and one half of Britain’s most famous power couple, Beckham’s status suddenly made it ok for men to be interested in fashion. Along with the clothing trends he pioneered, he also inspired millions to shake up their hairstyles. Boys and men all over the world started sporting mini-mohawks, buzzcuts and hairbands. The man bun belonged to Beckham in 2003, ten years before the rest of the world caught up.
These days, Becks’ style is reflecting his new roles in life, as a dedicated father of four and a UNICEF ambassador as well as a fashion icon. He’s choosing timeless over trendy and classy over kitsch. We’ll have to wait and see what the next ten years brings.
"The highest art form is fashion."
Love him or hate him, Kanye West is a difficult man to ignore. Not crippled with self-doubt, he is, in his own words, the number one human being in music, a creative genius, a ghetto pope and a god.
Deliberately provocative, his audacious fashion sense sets him apart, even in the world of hip-hop.
His style has evolved since the release of his first album, College Dropout, in 2004 when he wore the early noughties rapper’s uniform of garishly colourful Ralph Lauren and heavy gold chains.
These days, the shutter shades and fur coats have been relegated to the history books along with the ostentatious displays of grandeur and wealth, and West’s look is surprisingly simple and bordering on low-key.
The discord of strong, contrasting colours is long gone and has been replaced by monochrome outfits with subtle tonal variations. The only splash of bright colour in his ensemble is usually confined to his footwear.
Having collaborated with everyone in the fashion world, from Adidas to Louis Vuitton, Kanye West has cemented his position as one of the biggest influencers of trends in the world.
"I live for myself and I answer to nobody."
The undisputed King Of Cool, McQueen’s anti-hero persona perfectly encapsulated the American dream; the turbulent, remand home kid who became a movie icon.
McQueen lived by his own code, and along with James Dean, defined the 1960’s counter culture.
Radiating macho energy, he was always completely at ease with himself and the world around him. He was the likeable rogue, the loner, the crazy one. Endlessly fascinating but never trying to impress, yet always managing to get the girl.
On screen, he made anything look good, from the exquisite tailoring in The Thomas Crown Affair to the leather jacket and khakis in The Great Escape. Off screen and indulging in his passionate obsession for motor racing, he could even make his driver’s race suit look cool.
Away from the track, he carried his casual attire with a simple assurance. Few men before or since have ever worn a t-shirt and jeans so well.
Testament to his legacy can still be seen everywhere today. Barbour has the Steve McQueen Collection clothing range. The watch he wore in the movie Le Mans is sold by Tag Heuer as the Steve McQueen Edition Monaco Watch.
And of course, when Ford redesigned their most famous creation, The Mustang, they christened it the 1969 Steve McQueen Signature Mustang Bullitt.
He was and remains one of the coolest icons of all time.
“It's always time to question what has become standard and established.”
When the world lost David Bowie earlier this year, it lost one of its true originals.
He was the first pop chameleon, radically changing his look with every new tour or album release. He gave disaffected teens everywhere the permission they needed to be different and offbeat. You could never be as weird as Bowie!
Each reinvention, each alter ego, gave us something new: from the androgynous alien Ziggy Stardust to the stranded spaceman Major Tom. In-between, he was a Musketeer, a mime, an Egyptian god and a goblin king. The Thin White Duke, his final creation, is still influencing the world of men’s fashion today. Described by Bowie himself as a “nasty character indeed,” he was, nevertheless, impeccably dressed.
He was a reluctant style icon; on stage he only wanted his music to look how it sounded. However, with his mastery of avant garde self-expression, he has influenced generations of artists, from fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier to fellow musicians such as Lady Gaga.