When discussing the best and the worst dressed celebrities in the world there are a number of things that bond together the individuals on both sets of lists. When considering the most stylish, sophisticated, elegantly dressed men on the planet it would take something of a leap of the imagination to nominate someone other than George Clooney; his monochrome suits and tanned shoes reek of style and, to put it simply, he is head and shoulders above most of his contemporaries. For the worst dressed list – Chris Brown, Jersey Shore’s The Situation, etc – it is worth considering what each of these people got wrong and what Clooney has gotten correct. The answer, of course, is simplicity.
In many style manuals nowadays the process of “peacocking” (wearing bright clothes to stand out) is often extolled as a virtue yet it is seldom this technique actually works; more often than not wearing garish colours and wild accessories will simply make the wearer look like he is desperate for attention and that they are classless. Clooney and his like, however, always plump for understated styles which are there to enhance, rather than deflect attention from, their handsomeness. This style of dressing was pioneered decades ago yet somewhere down the line, men’s style became corrupted as designers tried to over complicate fashion which has, ultimately, led to generations of men dressing progressively worse.
Clooney, a few years back, was himself an appalling dresser who followed the latest trends which made him look, from time to time, nothing short of ridiculous. During the 1980s, whilst still breaking into Hollywood, Clooney famously sported the haircut of the times, the mullet, which has come to be recognised as a fashion faux pas of incredible proportions. Combined with eyesore fashion, Clooney was simply not doing his handsome features any favours. However at some point in the early nineteen nineties Clooney realised that the way forward, in terms of both his style and in his acting career, was to look backwards to his Hollywood predecessors and he began to take his cue from classic Hollywood. Clooney replaced his outlandish hairstyle with a sleek side-parting and began dressing like icons from the Golden Age of Hollywood such as Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart.
The general principle behind Classic Hollywood dressing is plumping for manly, no nonsense style with an emphasis on crisp shirts, sharp suits and high quality leather shoes. The simpler the ensemble, the better – monochromes are favoured and it well known that blacks, whites and greys are colours that can never clash with each other and, whereas some people inexplicably cannot wear certain colours due to a clash with their complexion, these shades will suit all wearers. A fine pair of shoes is one of the most integral parts of the outfit and a real man should never be seen in anything but smart, well kept footwear. Black or tan shoes are ideal, as they will compliment all outfits, and they should be kept well shined at all times – a failure to look after your shoes is indicative of a lack of respect for your own appearance and, if an individual can’t be trusted to look after their own appearance, it could be thought, then what can they be trusted with? Suits should be measured so they are neither too big nor too small and, if possible, they should be tailor-made to fit the wearer. James Cagney, for example, was never seen in an ill-fitting jacket. Although patterns are advised against, a neat pinstripe always constitutes a sophisticated look.
Kieron Casey is a fashion writer who blogs regularly about classy men’s shoes.
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