One of the pleasures of watching films is looking at the style. They are essentially time capsules on what fashion is and what may be for the future. Devil Wears Prada is a joy because it’s an inside look on couture. And who can forget any of Audrey’s films. Paired with legendary designer, Hubert de Givenchy, they set a high standard in such films like Roman Holiday, Funny Face, Sabrina, How To Steal A Million, Charade, and, of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Even today, Atonement and Clueless have the awareness to ogle at the period pieces. But men’s style as always been sidelined compared to women’s style. And why for? There are many great films with men’s style. They don’t have to be stuffy formal or monotonous, they can be casual and chic at the same time. So here’s seven films that have left a mark on my perception of style.
1. Casino Royale (2006)
Plot: a new agent receives his license to kill and sets to stop a diabolical plan on his first mission.
Style Icon: Daniel Craig
Why They Have It: The movie rebooted the James Bond franchise with a modern, sleek gentleman. As he travels from Jamaica to Monoco, Craig is casually fit even with white pants, formfitting polos, and skimpy trunks.
2. To Catch A Thief (1955)
Plot: a former burglar is accused of stealing and he plans to find the perpetrator.
Style Icon: Cary Grant
Why They Have It: For a man well over his 50s, Grant makes it effortless to woo Grace Kelly in suits against the backdrop of the French Riviera.
3. An American in Paris (1951)
Plot: An American lives in Paris and falls in love with a girl.
Style Icon: Gene Kelly
Why They Have It: An extravagant musical with an 18 minute ballet, Kelly mixes athleticism with his dancing simply in a black polo, loafers, and black pants.
4. Ocean’s 12 (2006)
Plot: The crew of Ocean’s 11 reunite to an even bigger heist in Europe.
Style Icon: Brad Pitt
Why They Have It: With a European edge, Brad Pitt has the best wardrobe as he galvanizes Euopre in trench coats, black suits, and chic sunglasses.
5. Rebel Without A Cause (1955)
Plot: a teen from the 1950s defies his parents and faces his peers.
Style Icon: James Dean
Why They Have It: Besides Brando, Dean is the epitome of 50s rebellion. The white tee, blue jeans, and chambray jacket should be a staple in every man’s closet.
6. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Plot: A young underachiever assumes the life of a playboy after he travels to Europe to retrieve him.
Style Icon: Jude Law
Why They Have It: The movie sets place in 1950s Italy and takes full influence of its period style. Carefree, yet chic, Jude Law shows his effortless skills in 1950s Italian inspired attire.
7. Breathless (1959)
Plot: a young hoodlum persuades a girl to travel in Italy with him after killing a policeman.
Style Icon: Jean-Paul Belmondo
Why They have It: Considered one of the definitive French New Wave films, Jean-Paul Belmondo mixes a Beat-inspired style as the clothes drape off him like his skin. Very effortless and cool.
Want to explore more? Check out GQ’s own 25 stylish films.