In the second installment of this series, we share our two cents on the well-documented style of another Hollywood icon, Mr. Steve McQueen. Described as the King of Cool by all the leading men’s fashion titles, he certainly radiated a rare kind of masculinity. Combined with his good looks and well-considered clothing choices, he truly incarnated timeless men’s style.
We looked through all the iconic images of his screen and personal life, then selected some favorite looks to interpret them in true SARTORIALE style. Each outfit revolves around an iconic piece of menswear, from tailoring to sportswear and shows how these pieces are still relevant today.
The Three Piece Suit
Famously worn in The Thomas Crown Affair, three piece suits became the hallmark tailored style worn by McQueen. A grey three piece is subtle, restrained and sophisticated. If you don’t have one in your wardrobe yet, a vest can seem to be superfluous, in reality, it’s a great piece to wear in the office. Worn on its own, it still signals professionalism and style. While the suit coat doesn’t serve a purpose behind the office desk, wearing only a shirt and tie will always feel undergrad. This is where the vest comes in the picture. Not just a great look, when worn on its own, it also signals professionalism and style.
In today's dress down world wearing a three piece is probably the best option for special occasions. Easy to style and when its well-tailored incredibly flattering. The classic combination of a crisp white shirt, dark tie, and properly polished black shoes always works for formal outings. If you are brave and handsome you can pull it off sans tie, but only when the invitation says party.
The Mackintosh Coat
A single-breasted topcoat style raincoat is oftentimes called a Mackintosh or just simply a Mac. Charles Mackintosh, a Scottish chemist invented a waterproof sealing technique by merging two fabrics and coating them in liquid rubber. This is how the first true raincoats came about.
Steve McQueen popularized the style in the movie Bullitt, playing one of the most stylish detectives in movie history. Given its simple cut and the protective fabric its made of, it has a place in virtually any men’s wardrobe.
The Tweed Sportcoat
When building your tailored wardrobe, a tweed sportcoat like this Sartoria Castangia one, in brown or grey should be on top of your list. While a navy blazer reigns as the most popular option for a separate jacket, tweed should be your second choice. Water repellent, hardwearing and warm, it can be worn instead of a light coat in fall.
The looks worn by McQueen are a great testament to the many ways one can fit tweed sportcoats into their style. We love the chambray shirt/knitted tie ensemble in The Cincinnati Kid and the brown version with a navy turtleneck in Bullitt. For a more contemporary take on this classic style try to layer a white shirt and a round neck sweater under the jacket with khaki chinos and desert boots.
The Leather Moto Jacket
On the more rugged end of classic menswear, a leather jacket is hard to beat. In one of his most famous roles in The Great Escape, McQueen wore a classic A-1 flight jacket, first commissioned by the US army. Later the style was replicated by many menswear brands, like Schott or Valstar.
For the look we created, we were inspired by a series of pictures of McQueen, which were made during a motorcycle race in the Mojave desert. His jacket is already nicely break-in, showing off the characteristics of a good leather piece. Thedi Leathers collaboration with Legendary motors is based on a similar model, highlighted in our look. It’s still bright and shiny, needs some breaking in from a committed owner. With some wear and care, it can get only better with age.
Another British invention (like Mac coats) to fight incremental weather is waxed canvas outerwear. Originally only worn for outdoor pursuits like hunting, waxed jackets today are acceptable in the city too. McQueen wore his off-screen, as an alternative option for motorcycling. If you lose the goggles, the field jacket style (Barbour International) is great in the city too. Wear it with dark selvedge denim and boots like the vintage piece we styled for this article.