Cary Grant dressed like the film stars of old, containing more than a hint of Douglas Fairbanks Sr; his sporty-but-elegant style gave him an edge over other leading men of his day. A classic Grant ensemble would be a grey Prince of Wales checked double-breasted suit, the slightest hint of a pocket square, a sober tie and a buttonhole. For it’s day, this was understated.
Grant belonged in his clothes in a way that countless others do not. And it was not something to be taught. Try finding a picture of him in anything other than an impeccably tailored suit – they simply do not exist. His more casual outfits in films like ‘To Catch A Thief’ – nautical jumpers, neckerchiefs, slacks and espadrilles – also seem more Grant than anything I have seen.
The stylish medium grey Glen check suit from North by Northwest, as worn by Grant’s protagonist Roger Thornhill/George Kaplan, is probably considered one of his best – certainly his most well known. Designed by Kilgour, it is unusual for having no vent at the back. The suit is complimented by a classic white shirt and matching grey silk tie.
Grant’s attention to detail with accessories is typically faultless. Always a keen interest of his, the selecting of that perfect neckerchief or pocket square; here he expertly offsets the ever-so-slightly boxy finish of his jacket with rounded silver cufflinks. Likewise his dark cognac shoes cleverly contrast with the combined colour palette the suit (blue on charcoal grey). A pair of matching socks finish off the ensemble nicely. As a footnote: Grant, by this stage in his career had it written into his contract that he could keep all the suits made for his movies. Nice.
Cary Grant’s sense of style is so revered that Richard Torregrossa has compiled an entire book devoted to the subject. To be honest Cary Grant has always deserved such treatment, such was the individuality of his look, and such was the flair of his appearance.
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