Cary Grant wasn’t always the dapper and elegant gentleman whose name is synonymous with classic men’s style. He was once Archibald Leach, a young miscreant from a tough upbringing whose mother spent much of his life locked away in a sanitarium and whose father re-married and forgot him in the shadows as he began a new family.
It wasn’t until Archie Leach reached Hollywood that he became known as the iconic Cary Grant, a leading man known for his savvy sense of style and his charmingly sophisticated grace. Tucked under the suits and smile was a frightened young man who changed his stars in search of the life most men only dream about.
Perhaps Grant’s greatest attribute was his humility and that despite forgetting the name Archibald Leach, he never forgot the modest and painful existence he once knew. So while most of Hollywood’s leading men were having bespoke suits crafted for them by the world’s most renowned tailors, Grant was happy to shop the shelves of department stores and discount racks.
“Some of my suits are ten to twenty years old, many of them ready-made and reasonably priced,” Grant famously wrote in an article he penned called Grant on Style. “I believe that American ready-made clothes are the best ready-made clothes in the world: that the well-dressed American man makes a better appearance than the well-dressed man of any other country,” he remarked.
Grant walked the talk. Most of the photos we ogle are of him in the same quality suits found at stores like Macy’s, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A Bank. Mistakingly, many men assume he is wearing the finest bespoke garments money can buy. Instead, many of them are suits he’s had for ten or twenty years. They come directly from the rack, and sure, while some are custom, they weren’t purchased based on the name of the tailor or heritage maker, but rather simply based on the aesthetic appeal and whether Grant thought they looked good.
Cary Grant was known for remarking many times over that he never felt like a well-dressed style icon. He was never ostentatious. He refused to follow the trends. Instead, he stuck with what he called the middle of fashion. They weren’t trendsetting outfits, and yet they were rarely conservative. The trousers were never cut too loose or with a slim fit; the lapels never slim or too wide. He stuck in the middle, focusing on classic styling principles that never went out of style.
“Simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste.” – Cary Grant.
proc. by Movies