Historically speaking, film icons like McQueen, Brando and Dean played a key role in determining how a man stocked his wardrobe. And while Hollywood A-listers still hold considerable sway today, with the rise of a new TV age, where budgets and production quality are on par with the big screen, we’re seeing fictional characters becoming increasingly influential when it comes to men’s fashion and style.
Today, we salute five of the small screen’s most popular leading men, and show you how to take inspiration from their signature look.
1. Jon Snow, Game Of Thrones
Since Game of Thrones first aired on HBO in 2011, the plot twist-laden medieval epic has raised the hopes of men everywhere of one day being as sexy, courageous and powerful as its iconic lead characters.
Jon Snow, with his athletically lean build, aristocratic good looks and that tangle of curly brown hair, is the fantasy series’ man that every man wants to be. The bastard son of Eddard Stark, Snow is played by British actor – and genuine descendant of Charles II – Kit Harington, who, since debuting on the show, has gone on to land magazine covers and front fashion campaigns worldwide.
Though hardly fitting for modern-day battlefields (a boardroom or restaurant queue), elements of Snow’s warrior wardrobe resonate with a new direction in menswear, which values worn and weathered over preened and polished.
Now, we’re not suggesting you recreate the look to a ‘T’ – unless of course it’s a fancy dress party rather than the bar for a couple of drinks that you’re headed to – but why not take inspiration from Snow’s masculine, all-black leather and fur ensembles?
If wearing the lot together is a little too ‘warrior king’ for your taste, then pick and choose the pieces that appeal most. Try an edgy leather jacket from specialist brands such as AllSaints or Saint Laurent, a striking faux fur-collared overcoat layered over your modern-day armour (suit) for the morning commute or a simple pair of worker/motorcycle boots at the weekend.
However, if it’s Snow’s now-famous flowing locks you’re after, then you better book yourself an appointment with a professional hairstylist.
Inspired By Looks
Key Pieces: Leather jackets/trousers, fur/shearling collars, worker/motorcycle boots, overcoats, coated denim, black casual staples.
Key Themes: All-black and monochrome outfits, rugged and hard wearing materials, powerful/striking silhouettes.
Get The Look
- Allsaints Schaller Tochigi Denim Jacket
- Allsaints Track Leather Jacket
- Asos Biker Jacket In Faux Shearling
- Asos Shirt In Long Sleeve With Twist Marl Check
- Zara Pique Sweatshirt
- Allsaints Faxley Crew Tshirt
- Nudie Jeans Tight Long John Slim-fit Organic Dry-denim Jeans
- Saint Laurent Slim-fit Leather Trousers
- Nudie Jeans Fairtrade Organic Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
- Zara Relaxed Fit T-shirt
- Allsaints District Boot
- Common Projects Bball Leather High Top Sneakers
2. Don Draper, Mad Men
Undoubtedly one of TV’s most sartorially adept characters of recent years, Mad Men‘s Donald Francis ‘Don’ Draper, played by Jon Hamm, is just as famous for his sharp suiting as he is for his enigmatic identity and extramarital exploits.
Partially based on Draper Daniels, a real life former creative director at Leo Burnett agency’s Chicago branch during the 1950s, Draper divides his time between chasing women, swilling whiskey and coming up with the odd genius advertising campaign.
Yet Draper’s biggest success has perhaps been off-screen, with the character responsible for sky-rocketing classic suiting to an unprecedented level of popularity and driving forward menswear’s new-found obsession with all things tailored.
As well as the Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers power tailoring he relies on for powwows, Draper’s got his off-duty looks down pat, integrating well-cut smart-casual pieces such as check sport coats, fitted navy polos and even the odd Hawaiian shirt into his downtime ensembles.
To emulate Draper’s timeless style, look to British and Italian tailoring labels such as Hackett and Zegna, who both offer plenty of classic-cut, single-breasted two-piece suits in shades of grey, charcoal and black that will ensure you look sharp and refined on a daily basis. If the budget won’t quite stretch that far, consider high street gentleman’s outfitters such as Reiss, Charles Tyrwhitt and T.M.Lewin for more affordable alternatives that still look the part.
Beyond the suiting, the finishing touches are especially important to the Madison Avenue mogul: crisp white point collar shirts, perfectly polished shoes, silk ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, aviator sunglasses and felt fedoras, along with immaculate grooming and a neat hairstyle to top it all off.
Inspired By Looks
Key Pieces: Classic-fit suits, checked sports coats, smart-casual staples, Hawaiian shirts, formal accessories, structured headwear, straight-fit chinos.
Key Themes: Neat and polished appearance, short and tidy hair, clean shaven, timeless colour palette, style standards don’t slip (even when off-duty).
Get The Look
- Reiss Harvey Modern-fit Suit
- T.m.lewin Dalton Charcoal Sharkskin 2-button Regular Fit Suit
- Grey Apsley Sharkskin Classic Fit Business Suit
- White Ottoman Slim Fit Shirt
- Gieves & Hawkes Brown Slim-fit Check Wool Silk And Linen-blend Blazer
- Borsalino Felt Fedora Hat
- Uniqlo Men Light Cotton Check Jacket
- Uniqlo Men Dry Shirt Collar Short Sleeve Polo Shirt
- Polo Ralph Lauren Printed Linen And Cotton-blend Shirt
- Turnbull & Asser Silk Pocket Square
- Reiss Edinburgh Leather Oxford Shoes
- Turnbull & Asser Ribbed Silk Tie
3. Ben Wyatt, Parks And Recreation
Parks and Recreation‘s nerdy, neurotic and straight-laced Ben Wyatt, played by Adam Scott, demonstrates what ‘geek chic’ really is: suits, plaid shirts and skinny ties, rather than comedy spectacles and obnoxious slogans emblazoned on cheap T-shirts.
While Wyatt’s fairly safe approach to style isn’t going to be featured in an edgy magazine editorial any time soon, his foolproof check shirt and tie combinations (sometimes teamed with a suit, other times worn under a Harrington jacket) are easily emulated to produce a clean-cut, everyday aesthetic that all men can pull off.
If you’re looking to this list for a little business-casual inspiration, then Wyatt is your man. Shop gingham button-downs from the likes of Thomas Pink, J.Crew, Charles Tyrwhitt and Uniqlo, suits and ties from Drake’s, T.M.Lewin or Reiss and classic Harrington jackets from heritage brands such as Baracuta, Ben Sherman and Ted Baker.
Inspired By Looks
Key Pieces: Suits (especially in slightly less corporate shades such as brown, camel and beige), Harrington jackets, flannel check and cotton gingham shirts, slim-cut chinos, skinny ties, Oxford button-downs.
Key Themes: Business-casual looks, dressed up chinos and casual jackets, check shirts matched with solid or striped ties.
Get The Look
- J.crew Brown Ludlow Slim-fit Wool Suit Jacket
- He By Mango Cotton Linen-blend Suit Blazer
- G9 Original
- Nn.07 Harry Lightweight Weather-resistant Harrington Jacket
- Reiss Tullum Heavyweight Twill Chinos Grey
- He By Mango Straight-fit Cotton Chinos
- Austin Reed Regular Fit Navy Melange Gingham Shirt
- J. Crew Secret Wash Shirt In Grape Gingham
- J. Crew Thomas Mason For J.crew Ludlow Shirt In Manchester Red Gingham
- Topman Burgundy Knitted Tie
- Jack & Jones Rich Tie
- Moss London Navy Plain Skinny Tie
4. Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock
To coin a fashion phrase, Sherlock is the very definition of ‘classic with a modern twist’ – a contemporary TV adaptation of the much-loved detective series penned by Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century.
Though Benedict Cumberbatch, the acclaimed British actor who plays the shrewd protagonist, perhaps isn’t the most likely of style icons with his slender frame and unsymmetrical face shape, his on screen character’s distinguished style has come to be revered the world over.
The detective’s wardrobe is dapper, made up of statement overcoats, well-tailored suits and a seemingly endless series of slim Dolce & Gabbana shirts.
Learning to dress the Sherlock way means keeping it classic, but favouring the best of the best when it comes to quality – in the show, Cumberbatch wore a particularly iconic dark grey, double-breasted coat from Belstaff, while the suiting was from Spencer Hart.
Tap this sleuth’s style with a double-breasted overcoat and slim-cut suit from a revered British tailoring brand such as Hackett, Dunhill, Hardy Amies, Richard James or Gieves & Hawkes. Complement this sharp base with a series of slim-fitting shirts, a block-colour scarf (Sherlock‘s is a navy Paul Smith number), and a pair of Oxfords or brogues from traditional shoemakers like Tricker’s, Edward Green or Church’s.
As for your downtime? There’s only one choice: a luxurious silk dressing gown and pyjama set from loungewear specialist Derek Rose.
Inspired By Looks
Key Pieces: Overcoats, slim suiting, block-colour scarves, well-made shoes, deerstalker hat, silk robe.
Key Themes: UK designers and brands, British heritage aesthetics, country meets city dressing, hardy materials (tweed, herringbone, wool, etc.), luxurious loungewear.
Get The Look
- Selected Herringbone Overcoat
- Derek Rose Otis Fleur-de-lis Silk Dressing Gown
- Asos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In 100% Wool
- Black Clarendon Twill Slim Fit Business Suit
- Gieves & Hawkes Grey Slim-fit Wool Suit
- Burberry London Grey Slim-fit Silk Linen And Wool-blend Tweed Blazer
- Harrods Of London Single-breasted Flecked Wool Coat
- Cos Slim-fit Cotton-poplin Shirt
- Reiss Comet Concealed Placket Shirt Navy
- Churchs Hong Kong Leather Oxford Shoes
- J.crew Cosmos Cashmere Scarf
- Churchs Diplomat Leather Oxford Brogues
5. Jax Teller, Sons Of Anarchy
And now for a serious change of pace – from quintessential London luxury to the anarchic Californian cool of US outlaw biker gang series Sons of Anarchy.
Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, played by Newcastle-born Charlie Hunnam, serves as Vice President of the outlaw motorcycle club SAMCRO, which protects and controls the fictional town of Charming through a combination of tight knit relationships, bribery, and a little violent intimidation.
Jax’s style is, for want of a better descriptor, straight up badass. Chock-full of all-American workwear classics – from sleeveless biker jackets and plaid shirts to hard wearing baggy jeans – Teller’s wardrobe is the modern-day urban equivalent to a lawless frontier cowboy’s.
To lend your own look a little more attitude, you’ll need a sturdy, heavy cotton or flannel plaid shirt, a few classic white, black and grey crew neck T-shirts, a quality hoodie in navy, and a leather biker jacket or cut-off to layer over it all.
Add to that a pair of low-rise, straight-cut selvedge jeans in deep indigo, and you’re in the gang. For extra points, add a tattoo or two, a wallet chain, a handful of rings that mean business and a pair of totally incongruous but unquestionably cool box-fresh white Nike Air Force Ones.
Inspired By Looks
Key Pieces: Straight-cut selvedge denim, neutral crew neck tees, thick hoodies, leather jackets, biker boots, white chunky leather trainers, plaid shirts.
Key Themes: Classic American workerwear, durable fabrics, distressed detailing, masculine jewellery, unkempt grooming and hair, a don’t f*ck with me attitude.
Get The Look
- Edwin Ed-55 Jeans In Red Listed Navy
- Allsaints Kane Leather Biker Jacket
- Levis Trucker Vest
- Reiss Imperial Raw Edge T-shirt White
- 7 For All Mankind Zip Through Hoodie
- James Perse V-neck Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Saint Laurent Silver-plated Eagle Ring
- Levis Vintage 1947 501 Rinsed Regular-fit Selvedge Jeans
- Neighborhood Plaid Cotton-flannel Shirt
- Nike Air Force 1 Trainers
- Belstaff Trialmaster Leather Boots
- Dsquared2 Fashion Chain
Finally, bear in mind there’s a reason the people who select what these characters wear are called ‘costumiers’ – mimic any of these looks exactly and you’re on a one-way road to endless jibes and finger pointing.
Instead, opt to incorporate a little of the character you deem your best fit, and let us know how it goes below.
What other TV characters inspire your look on a daily basis?