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How To Channel Steve McQueen’s Off-Duty Casual Cool

Photo by Jennifer Ryan Jones

Even if you’ve mastered your workweek wardrobe, putting together, off-duty looks can be challenging. Keep it simple and channel Steve McQueen’s casual cool. Start with the basics. The star of The Great Escape, Bullitt and Ease and The Thomas Crown Affair didn’t overthink it. Known for his charisma, pushing the limits and his nonchalant approach to dressing, McQueen never looked like he was trying too hard. Yet, still, he's considered a men’s style icon. It’s easy. Stick to solid colors, and staple pieces like jeans and white t-shirts as your foundation and build your outfit with these select pieces from Persol and Baracuta. Here's how.


Persol 714 Sunglasses


McQueen was one cool customer and known for great sunglasses like this folding pair of Persol shades from The Thomas Crown Affair. Legend has it that he arrived on set wearing his very own pair and later another from his personal collection sold at auction for $70,000. Picking up a pair for yourself won't be quite as pricey but be prepared to spend on the timeless Special Edition Persol 714 SM, well worth the investment.


Baracuta G9 Classic Harrington Jacket

This 1960’s British jacket is a style icon onto itself. You’ll know it by its waterproof cotton shell, two button collar, and ribbed cuffs. First worn by Elvis and named for a character named “Harrington” played by Ryan O’Neill on Peyton’s Place. It’s been worn by Paul Newman and more recently by Daniel Craig and is still in production today. Steve McQueen wore the lightweight Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket in The Thomas Crown Affair as well as on the cover of Time Magazine, and the rest was history.


 White T-shirts

McQueen wore both crew and V-neck t-shirts, but they always looked super soft and lived in. If you use a decent deodorant, you’ll keep pit stains at bay while getting more mileage from your most comfortable white t-shirts. Laundering them with bleach will also keep your whites bright. Or you can skip right to the perfect tee and buy a J.Crew Mercantile Broken-in-V-neck or Hanes ComfortWash Garment Dyed T-shirts.


Black Jeans

An avid motorcycle rider, “The King Of Cool” often rocked a pair of black jeans. And so can you. Wearing them and dark denim, in general, is a great way to straddle a laid-back casual vibe and a tougher more edgy look. The fit is just right on this style from AG Jeans called The Ives in Deep Pitch. Take good care of your favorite pair so that you can dress them up if you choose. To keep them from fading, don’t wash them every single time you wear them and use only cold water.

Broken In Chinos

A pair of perfectly broken-in chinos was a Steve McQueen wardrobe staple. Pick up your pair from Save Khaki United (S.K.U.) for 100% cotton goodness. This company is all about comfort and fit. Their chinos are preshrunk, washed and dyed for the ultimate clean-cut, casual look.

White Sneakers

You too can be a big star like McQueen with these low profile white sneakers from Superga. It's a stripped down heritage look that's perfect for a guy on the move. Match them up with your Steve McQueen inspired minimalist khakis and a plain white t-shirt because there's no need for bells and whistles when you're the man.

Desert Boots

The best thing about shopping for iconic styles, especially when they've been approved by a legend like McQueen, is that they're worth the investment. Go with Clarks.  Done in suede, with a lightweight crepe outsole these kicks have stood the test of time because of their supreme comfort and versatility. Pair them with chinos, turtlenecks, chinos, and denim, just like "The King of Cool" did.



This article was written and appeared on Grooming Lounge and our Founder, Mike Gilman, were quoted a lot, so we borrowed the article. Giving them credit -- hope it's OK.

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