Starring as Ian Curtis in the Joy Division biopic ‘Control’, and taking a lead role in the newly released remake of ‘Brighton Rock’, Sam Riley is a young British actor who’s really carving out an iconic status for himself. Also moonlighting as a model for Burberry, the 31 year old is blessed with the striking boyish charm of someone 10 years his junior, and the acting prowess of someone with many years more experience. I’ve been a fan of Sam Riley ever since I saw him star in ‘Control’, but it wasn’t just his critically acclaimed acting skills that caught my eye – it was his sharp, effortless style. Sure, he’s starred in some pretty stylish movies, and being adorned head to toe in Burberry sure helps – but Sam Riley’s got a certain ‘je ne se quois’ that all great style icon’s need. With a cigarette (ala James Dean) hanging out his mouth, coat collars flicked up – could we be witnessing the birth of a new alternative style icon?
A former musician (Sam fronted indie band ’10,000 Things’), Riley’s just one of a string of young British actors who are raising the style bar. You only have to check out my review of GQ’s Best Dressed Men Of The Year to see what I mean – Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Holt, and some bloke called Robert Pattinson are just a handful of young Thespians leading the way with styles that are uniquely British.
So why does Sam Riley stand out for me? On the face of it he isn’t doing anything ground breaking with fashion. He’s not donning too many bright, outrageous outfits. He’s not trying to attract too much attention. And he certainly isn’t wearing a sarong. But I think that just adds to his super cool persona. Part normal laid back Northern lad, part acting A-lister, Sam Riley combines the boy next door look with something far cooler, while still avoiding pretentiousness. He’s arty, but not overboard, he’s preppy, but not geeky, and he’s northern without being Vernon Kay.
Ok, so before I dig myself into a man-crush shaped hole here, what specific items does Riley make his own? We’ve got all the classics – the pea coat, the long trench, the black skinny suit, the simple dark coloured shirt – all widely available items, combined to offer something that’s sleek, simple and undoubtedly looks great. He wears the oversized look really well (particularly with his jackets), he has a strong military theme running through his outerwear, and the smart tailoring keeps him masculine despite his skinny frame. Sam Riley shows all of us how fashion doesn’t necessarily have to be outrageous to be striking, and that simple, timeless key items can go a long way – it’s almost as if he was born to live in black and white (though he’s not afraid of a bit of colour too). He’s not an obvious choice, and he may not be everyone’s cup of fashion tea, but for if you’re looking for an icon who wears stylish basics well – then Sam Riley is your man.
We have recently discussed the importance of following trends or striving for individuality, and Sam manages to have a striking look just by utilising timeless KEY items we should all have in our wardrobes. Statement jackets such as pea coats, trenches and overcoats can transform an ordinary look into a stylish, stand out outfit and the beauty is that when you invest in a piece like this, it will last you years without ever going out of style.
Sam’s key piece in nearly every look we have found is an amazing (always slightly oversized) jacket/coat, and suddenly it becomes his trademark and a piece that is unique to him and his personal style – you should also be trying to find that key piece/accessory that projects your personality and who you are in order to do the same.
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