Inspired Style: Idris Elba

As a dedicated sartorialist (he has his own menswear line with Superdry) and contender for the role of James Bond, Idris Elba is a fitting choice for today’s Inspired Style. The Luther star’s love of dark, moody colors and layering provides a wealth of inspiration for the coming fall months. What we admire about Elba’s sense of style is how he brings polish and charisma to any outfit, transitioning seamlessly between red carpet suits and street wear. What keeps his looks on point is keen attention to tailoring – as well as knowing when and how to break the rules.

With his new sci-fi film The Dark Tower in theaters, Thor: Ragnarok coming November, and another season of Luther, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Elba – and his nearly impeccable style pedigree – in months to come.

Let’s learn from this dashing Englishman by breaking down three outfits where he proved he’s one of the best-dressed A-listers out there.

Outfit 1: The Gray Suit

The gray suit has become a staple for Idris Elba on the red carpet. More interesting than a black suit and less outlandish than a more colorful hue, a gray suit conveys sleekness. Just remember to give it personal flair by playing with the color and texture of your shirt and tie. Here, at the premier of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Elba wears a lavender button-up and polka-dot tie to add a touch of color to his Prada suit. A good rule of thumb for patterns: the bigger the pattern, the simpler the shirt.

When donning a suit, Elba believes it’s all about the shoes and the cut on the trouser. Decide on proper pant length and the amount of break you’d like.

SHOP SIMILAR:

The Suit – Bonobos The Foundation Italian Wool Suit

The Shirt – Finamore Cotton Herringbone Shirt

The Tie – BHLDN Grey Dot Tie

The Shoes – Monte Rosso Lazio Cap-Toe Oxford

Outfit 2: The Casual Polo

Many actors excel on the red carpet, but their style flounders when it comes to everyday dressing. Not Elba. As an actor who works 18-hour days, it’s no surprise Idris Elba has mastered comfortable style. In fact, he says his style is best described as “charismatic and easy-to-wear gear.” His go-to look? A polo shirt and jeans.

If you thought polo shirts were just for golf, Idris Elba will quickly convert you. A devotee to the classic polo, Elba adds attitude to the staple while keeping things polished with impeccable fit.

For his appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Elba packed a casual punch with a navy polo, dark blue jeans, and comfortable printed slip ons. To prevent casual from looking sloppy, Idris always abides by the rule of dressing for his body shape. The polo isn’t too tight (which would make him look like a beef head) or too loose.

The dark blues of this outfit, combined with varying textures, make it an excellent transition look between summer and fall. Put on a gold watch like Elba for a smart finishing touch.

SHOP SIMILAR:

The Shirt – Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-Fit Cotton-Jersey Polo Shirt

The Jeans – AG Jeans Tellis Slim-Fit Denim Jeans

The Shoes – Toms Navy Washed Canvas Deconstructed Alpargatas

Outfit 3: The Layered Wool Coats

Technically this is not Elba’s outfit but that of his tormented detective character, John Luther, but it doesn’t stray far from how Elba usually layers his coats and overcoats. Elba sticks with monotone grays to keep the focus on texture. The popped collar and striped red tie freshen up what would otherwise be a somewhat bleak palette.

The result is a rich, interesting ensemble befitting cold fall and winter days.

SHOP SIMILAR:

The Overcoat – Brooks Brothers Double-Faced Wool-Blend Topcoat

The Coat – Hugo Boss Wool Blend Jacket

The Shirt – J. Crew Secret Wash Shirt in White

The Tie – Canali Dots & Stripes Silk Tie

The Pants – Thomas Maier Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton Twill Chinos

The Influence of 1940’s Fashion on Today’s Fashion

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Personal style is a big part of being a well-groomed gentleman. A freshly-shaven face and smart outfit go hand in hand in making a stylish first impression. And fashion always takes cues from the past.

That’s why we’re excited to hand it over to Marie Miguel, a fashion journalist, to give us a fun history lesson about men’s and women’s’ fashion in the 1940s, and how that era still has influence over what we wear today.

Enjoy!

Fashion in the 1940s focused more on comfort than aesthetics. The start of the World War II significantly increased the popularity of utilitarian style. Practical styles were hugely advocated since it was an era of strict rationing and patriotism. With less extravagant pieces of jewelry, embroideries, and heavy fabrics, men and women were able to do their day jobs with ease.

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Katherine Hepburn in wide-legged slacks.

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Typical 1940s day dresses were uniform in nature.

What women wore during wartime 1940s

Unlike women’s fashion in the previous decades, clothing in the 1940s was uniform in nature. Dresses, blouses, and skirts had standard lengths, shapes, and patterns. Squared shoulders, below-the-knee skirts, and narrow hip suits became very popular.

As the female workface increased, women began wearing wide-legged slacks because pants were much easier to work in than a dress or skirt. While initially only worn while working, these slacks transitioned into everyday wear and even became integrated into pants suits. At the height of the war, women were also encouraged to create their own dresses to conserve materials and reduce their clothing expenses.

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What men wore during wartime 1940s

The movie The Aviator starring Leonardo Di Caprio accurately depicts the state of men’s fashion during World War II.

Men wore plain suits in muted colors like black, navy, and tan. Vests, trouser cuffs, and pocket flaps declined in popularity as the need for sturdy clothing such as trousers and shirts made with cotton twill or gabardine started to rise. Additionally, the government mandated specific rules for tailoring: no double-breasted jackets, no slits or buttons on the cuff, and three pockets or less.

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Christian Dior’s “New Look”, circa 1947.

Fashion after the war

When the war ended in the late 1940s, rationing was lifted and men and women gained access to expensive clothing and accessories. Designers could choose from an array of laces, fancy fabrics, and textiles. Hence, the fashion industry regained its glamour and boomed once again. A prime example of post-WWII glamour is Christian Dior’s “New Look” – a long, full circle skirt nipped in the waist, featuring tons of fabric.

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WWII fashion vs. today

Women

Today, women still wear clothes with squared shoulders (without the pads), sports jackets, and knee-length skirts, styles which were quite popular in the 1940s. Utilitarian dresses and skirts are worn to achieve a vintage look. Moreover, the modified version of the wide leg slacks introduced in the same era has become quite popular among celebrities. Often, the slacks are paired with cotton or silk blouses and worn at formal events.

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Men

Suits are still considered de rigueur for formal events and business meetings. But suits have also carried over into street style in recent years. It’s not uncommon to see men wearing blazers and slacks in the streets to achieve a high fashion look. Sans the tie and bow, suits are worn casually and paired with sporty polo shirts and plain t-shirts.

Also important to note: many of the trendy styles both men and women wear today – bomber jackets, trench coats, chinos, and aviator glasses – have their origin in WWII military clothing.

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Inspired Style: Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. has starred in over 83 movies and T.V. shows and has 2 Oscar nominations and 2 Golden Globe wins under his belt.  Starting in the 1970s at the early age of 5 and continuing to this day with his latest hit, Captain America: Civil War, Robert Downey Jr., who is the world’s highest-paid actor, can only be described as prolific.  

c5c11ebc-954e-4d9c-abf9-d4f47d88fea4Whether he’s saving the world as Iron Man or solving mysteries in Victorian era England as Sherlock Holmes, pioneering the beginning of motion pictures as Charlie Chaplin or dressed to the nines for the Monaco Grand Prix, Robert Downey Jr.’s sense of style has always stayed impeccable, evolving and growing with the times regardless of the role he is playing.  

Today let’s learn from the best by taking a look at some of our favorite looks from Robert Downey Jr.’s more recent offerings.  It’s important to note that with some of these looks, the clothing that is worn during filming is a custom rendition made exclusively for the film by costume designers, so in those cases we’ve gone ahead and selected nearly identical, just-as-stylish offerings that are available in stores.

Enjoy!

Outfit 1: The Three-Piece Dinner Suit

As Seen in: Captain America: Civil War

robert_downey_jr_98017Let’s start with the movie Captain America: Civil War. RDJ’s look was already causing some buzz before the movie’s launch when it was seen in pre-launch trailers. The look consists of three major pieces: a timeless black three-piece dinner suit, a red paisley print silk tie, and awesome two-tone sunglasses with custom red-tinted lenses.  The three-piece dinner suit is a classic that has recently seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few seasons.  This suit, in comparison to traditional dinner suits, is quite toned down, as this type of suit is traditionally worn with a bow and features silk striping, as well as more prominent pocket and lapel designs.   

Robert-Downey-Jr-Captain-America-1050x700The suit features a blazer with peak lapels, the traditional option for dinner suits, along with a single rear central vent, and side slit pockets.  This is tied together with a sleeveless waist coat featuring a v-neck and slightly more casual trousers with a straight-legged design.  This formal, somewhat rigid look is extremely fitting for RDJ’s role in the movie, who sides with the government, and we can only speculate that the custom red-tinting of his glasses along with the red tie are subtle nods to his alter ego, Iron Man.  

SHOP SIMILAR: The Suit   The Tie   The Glasses

Outfit 2: The Classic Suit & Tie

As Seen in: The Judge

Our next pick is from The Judge. RDJ’s outfit offers up something a little more casual yet without a doubt still sophisticated.   Wearing a classic pinstriped wool twill suit and a colorful two-tone blue and white dress shirt, tied together with a dark blue woven silk tie, this look seems extremely fitting for RDJ’s role as a lawyer.  

the-judge-official-trailer-2014-robert-downey-jr-robert-duvall-movie-hd_7586711-3590_1280x720The blazer features a simple design with narrow lapels and front slit pockets, as well as dual rear vents and a two-button closure.  The trousers are also simple, with a standard straight-legged design. The two-toned dress shirt with white collar and a blue shirt alongside the dark blue silk/cashmere woven tie add a twist to what would regularly be just another businessman’s outfit by offering a touch of Robert Downey Jr.’s trademark playfulness.

SHOP SIMILAR: The Suit   The Shirt   The Tie

Outfit 3: The Custom David Augustin Suit

As Seen in: Iron Man 2

Our final pick is from the movie Iron Man 2 – specifically the bar scene in Monaco right before the Monaco Grand Prix.  The actual suit being worn in this scene is a custom-order David Augustin suit, that was actually sold at auction following the filming of the movie.  

Iron Man 2 movie imageThe suit itself is a gray pinstripe design with metallic blue lining inside. The blazer is accented with a narrow lapel, alongside a rear double vent and a two-button closure. The trousers are standard fare, featuring a straight-legged design.  RDJ ties the look together with a blue spread-collar dress shirt and an ornate blue and white silk tie adorned with a floral print.

The result is a formal yet unstuffy look – it demands respect but is still very approachable, and almost playful.  We can also speculate that the lighter blue hue of the suit reflects Tony Stark’s state of mind in the early scenes of the film.

BUY SAME: Custom Order from David Augustin

SHOP SIMILAR: The Suit   The Shirt

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Inspired Style: James Bond “Spectre”

Movie Art

When you’ve leapt from a horse onto the tail end of a plane that’s taking flight, fought an international bomb maker on sky-high scaffolding with impressive parkour skills, and corkscrewed a car over a broken bridge, you might just deserve to have your own day. Today is Global James Bond Day, marking the 53rd anniversary of the release of DR. NO in 1962. Since Sean Connery made his debut as the first cinema version of James Bond, five other Bonds have succeeded him in the iconic spy role.

Spectre, to be released on November 6th , may be Daniel Craig’s last turn as Bond, and so far we know the plot involves a cryptic message from Bond’s past that leads him to uncover a sinister organization named SPECTRE. The movie’s trailers see Craig dashing as ever in his 00 work, charmingly clad in tailored suits and separates, many of which are Tom Ford (who, by the way, also designed a fair number of Craig’s suits in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall). 

Today we’ll take a look at three of our favorite outfits that we’ve glimpsed from the Bond trailers. We may not all be able to have Tom Ford as our personal suit maker, but we can definitely take some style cues from this eternally sharp spy.

The Blue Sharkskin O’Connor Suit

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The O’Connor suit was specifically created by Tom Ford for Daniel Craig in his role as James Bond. The sharkskin version, which is seen in several clips from the trailers as well as on the movie poster above, features a jacket with straight shoulders and a single vent. It’s also closely fitted and is shorter in length. His trousers have narrow legs and are flat in front.

Bond wears this suit with a white shirt with a point collar and a white handkerchief tucked in his breast pocket. A matching navy tie and sleek black Crockett & Jones derby shoes give this suit a classic Bond feel. For a more complete view of the suit, see the Bond movie poster above.

SHOP: Tom Ford O’Connor Base Sharkskin Two-Piece Suit, Navy

The Ivory Dinner Jacket

Ivory Jacket

The ivory dinner jacket is having a revival of sorts. Made popular in the ’70s  thanks to John Travolta’s career-launching role in Saturday Night Fever, the ivory jacket is now being spotted on red carpets and now on modern-day Bond.

A first for Daniel Craig’s Bond but seen before on Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, Bond wears the ivory dinner jacket during a scene romancing Bond girl Madeleine Swann (actress Léa Seydoux). Tom Ford, who designed the statement tuxedo, described it as a ‘windsor ivory viscose faille dinner jacket with a peak lapel, single back vent and ivory grosgrain details.’

Bond pairs the jacket with a black cummerbund, a crisp white Tom Ford dress shirt with a spread collar, and a black diamond batwing bow tie.

Bond keeps the focus on the jacket with narrow black trousers.

SHOP SIMILAR: J. Crew Ludlow Dinner Jacket in Italian Wool

The Casual Taupe Suit

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Bond wears a taupe jacket, tan trousers, and a crisp white shirt when he’s in Morocco. His jacket is cut shorter and the shoulders are more relaxed than the other suits he wears in Spectre. Though he wears a tie, its neutral brown color still keeps the look casual.

SHOP SIMILAR: J. Crew Ludlow suit jacket in Italian Houndstooth Wool

For more glimpses behind the scenes of the new Bond film, check out the latest trailer below.

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