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.
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.
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.
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