Men’s style – Steve McQueen

In order to inspire myself to sew menswear I have been considering who my style icons are. Here are a few men who I think dress well, whatever the period.

  • Arthur Miller
  • Frank Sinatra
  • James Dean
  • Sean Connery
  • Steve McQueen
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Yves St Laurent
  • Robert Redford

Notice most of these are dead, or getting on. My taste is decidedly retro, although I also appreciate David Beckham – I know – he is not everyone’s cup of tea. I am really talking about the style – the way they wear their clothes. I recently wrote about GC Peter Townsend, who was quite good looking, but it was his clothes that I found most interesting.

Anyway of all these names the one that stands out for me is Steve McQueen. Oh yes. Here are four reasons why he would always be the top of my list.

Formal with a twist

A number of roles played by McQueen required a suit and tie. But he always looks like he is not taking it terribly seriously. I enjoyed this blog post which shows him shopping for formal wear (second picture is from the feature in Life magazine that was never published). If you have to wear a suit Steve would suggest casual footwear, a jersey instead of a shirt – anything to show that you are not really serious.



He was amazing in knitwear. Polo/turtle neck jumpers, Aran sweaters, chunky knits and fine. Very snuggly and soft looking, with a tough edge.

Short jackets (Harringtons and bombers)

Although Steve looks amazing in a three piece suit, he made the cropped jacket his own. It is a relaxed look that exposes the groin and buttocks to full view, an effect that is emphasised by wearing light coloured jeans with a darker jacket.

Shorts and sports

I looked for pictures of Steve McQueen in short trousers. There are a number of images of him, but mainly on the beach. He wears his shorts short, and revealing. Not for streetwear. And jeans.

Steve died, in 1980, from the complications associated with cancer. He smoked heavily all his life and was exposed to asbestos. He liked guns, camping, motorbikes and fast cars. He was confident that women found him very attractive. He was simply a great dresser. I hope some of the outfits I will create for Gus (including jeans, shirt, bomber jacket, corduroy, poloneck knitwear and tailored jacket with a twist) might enable Gus to put together some cool and stylish outfits. I do think the footwear helps – brown desert boots, white sneakers, lace up outdoor boots and slip ons help create the relaxed, sexy and cool image that McQueen is known for.

7 Responses

  1. eimear

    The movie ‘Bullit’ for me, is total Steve McQueen style..that cool trench / mac coat and the soundtrack… and now that its come to mind, I have a feeling I will dig it out to watch it again…..

  2. Stephanie

    I wasn’t familiar with his style to this extent so thanks for this. Love the desert boots and now I want to make that cool aran. Even the double denim is great.

  3. Lynn Mally

    I think I read somewhere that McQueen was one of the first men to have his jeans “worn out” in certain places to make them look better on his body. Such a sexy man…

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