If there’s one thing that the London Olympics taught us, or at least reminded us, it’s that no other country has produced more stylish gents (excuse me: blokes) for us to emulate than Britain. Along with Italy, Jolly Old England makes up the two towering pillars of men’s fashion. Here’s a quick list of some of the more dapper men to come from this green and pleasant land, and from whom we could all afford (note: not financially) to emulate. I’ll quickly add that I have not included any of the one hundred trillion current pop stars hemorrhaging out of the U.K. ’cause Old Man Beer here don’t know nuttin’ ’bout no One Direction!
Michael Caine (image via Driven)
Sir Michael reportedly includes in his contracts a provision that he keeps his wardrobe once he’s done filming. When you think of all the stylish characters he’s played over the years in movies such as Get Carter (pictured), Alfie, Hannah and Her Sisters and the Christopher Nolan Batman series, this works out well for him.
David Bowie (image via Rokpool)
Here’s a gent who looks as comfy in a sparkly jumper with moon boots as a perfectly tailored suit. (That said: Bowie’s codpiece and Spike-from-Degrassi look from Labyrinth may be difficult to pull of every day. Please let us know how it works for you.)
Keith Richards (image via BBC)
The gold standard for the freaky land-pirate look has been rocking beads, feathers, scarves and other assorted talismans for years. His secret? There’s always classic Saville Row tailoring under it all. Keef’s bandmate Mick Jagger almost made the list, but was rendered ineligible by a regrettable early ’80s phase, involving a penchant for day-glo leggings and kneepads.
Bryan Ferry (image via LA Weekly)
If you are wondering who pretty much owns the louche, just-woke-up-in-the-back-of-a-Rolls-with-an-Eastern-Eurpoean-model look — wonder no more. TRUE FACT (hence the capital letters): Bryan Ferry married his son’s ex-girlfriend. BONUS TRUE FACT: That son, Otis, is a British fox-hunting activist. Pro fox-hunting activist.
David Beckham (image via ITV)
Becks sure looked pretty sharp cruising up the Thames during the Olympic opening ceremonies. And in the everyday, he masterfully manages to avoid much of the flamboyance his fellow soccer players (excuse me: footiers) display, opting for sharp, trim suits. For proof, see image top of post (via Peter Lindbergh/People), and lament, as we all do, that we are not him.
Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on Twitter @pauldanielbeer.