Let’s take a journey through the men who have been considered style icons of the 20th century. Their fashion sensibilities and aesthetics continue to remain timeless, setting a standard that is yet to be surpassed.
While it’s often said that clothes make the man, sometimes it’s the style of the individual that truly elevates the beauty of the attire. Throughout the 20th century, certain individuals with natural charisma and refined taste have contributed to shaping modern men’s fashion through their own images. These are the archetypes that guide you in understanding how to wear clothes with personality and the significance of a well-styled haircut. Moreover, these figures established fashion trends rather than simply following them. If you’re looking to rejuvenate your style, then let ELLE Man be your reference, exploring the styles of the icons below.
Style Icon: Elvis Presley
When we think of Elvis today, it’s often his sparkling jumpsuits that come to mind. It’s an iconic image, but not something an average guy should try to emulate.
However, it’s away from the stage where Elvis truly shone in men’s fashion. High-waisted trousers, Cuban collar shirts, and Harrington jackets throughout the 1950s marked Elvis as a style icon and contributed to shaping a generation’s fashion.
Not to mention his distinctive pompadour hairstyle and its influence on modern men’s hair.
From impeccably tailored suits to pre-hipster styles, Marvin Gaye was a man who knew how to dress in a way that suited him. He also excelled at incorporating standout pieces, often opting for red accents within chambray and denim outfits during the 1970s. It all created a sense of natural authenticity, never forced.
Style Icon: Paul Newman
Actor, director, philanthropist, businessman, race car driver… Paul Newman’s career is a list that many men aspire to emulate.
However, it’s not just on the silver screen or the race track where Paul Newman excelled. Whether in meticulously tailored suits or simple white Oxford shirts paired with chinos, he always looked effortlessly polished.
From a simple single-breasted coat to a motorcycle jacket, Marlon Brando always managed to make his outfits uniquely his own.
Marlon always favored the basics, items that remained stylish over decades as if he was wearing them for the first time. He also played a crucial role in transforming the plain white T-shirt from an undergarment to an essential piece in modern men’s wardrobes.
James Dean made a lasting impact on men’s fashion in just a few short years.
His style was simple yet carefully considered, focusing on timeless items and impeccable fit. It’s a way of dressing that’s easily emulated and never goes out of style.
Style Icon: Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali might be known for his bold ring presence, but when it comes to fashion, he preferred it subtle and classic. Ali was one of the boxers who seamlessly merged sport and elegance in his style.
Style Icon: Yves Saint-Laurent
From the moment Yves Saint-Laurent stepped into the fashion world, he revolutionized it. Taking over Dior at the age of 21, he saved the fashion house from financial turmoil before establishing his eponymous brand, forever changing women’s clothing.
Yves Saint-Laurent also knew how to express himself, often seen sporting thick-rimmed glasses and impeccably tailored suits.
Double denim, retro sportswear, unbuttoned shirts, and even leather pants – Bob Marley’s style was a combination of seemingly mismatched pieces that harmonized in a remarkable way.
What set his style apart was the confident and comfortable aura that came from his genuine personality.
Alain Delon famously left his Hollywood career due to his reluctance to learn English. This attitude of freedom extended beyond just his profession and into his wardrobe.
Alain Delon truly didn’t care what he wore. And that’s what made everything he wore look effortlessly cool. Rolled-up sleeves, casually unbuttoned shirts, and an air of nonchalance defined his style.
Large glasses, turtleneck sweaters, meticulously tailored seams, and earthy tones – Michael Caine’s wardrobe in the 1960s was a masterclass in minimalist style, a guide for modern men to learn from.
These men are not just fashion icons; they are timeless sources of inspiration for every man seeking to define his personal style. Their choices and attitudes have left an indelible mark on men’s fashion, guiding generations towards timeless elegance and effortless cool.