Lessons In Style from: Humphrey Bogart

When watching a Humphrey Bogart picture, you can’t help but feel this innate sense of what “cool” used to be in a time now long passed. He was pretty late to the game: 37 by the time of his first big role, and 41 before he received any acclaim for his work. In his early days, he was typecast as the original gangster type, but something else emerged from his performances.

He was believable as a down-and-out drinker and roustabout, but there was something distinctly uptown about his demeanor, as if perhaps in another life he came from money, but now it’s gone with no clear way home and he’s going to sit in this gin joint and simmer until something changes. Whether he was acting as a detective or a crook, Bogart was always convincing on both sides of the law.

With that said, it’s pretty easy to see why we at VK Nagrani think Humphrey Bogart oozes cool and is rife with a few style lessons.

1. The Bowtie is Cool

ca. 1949 --- Humphrey Bogart in the movie . --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

When thinking about rough-and-tumble, hard-boiled, hard-drinking, antihero detective types, you probably aren’t imagining a patterned bowtie. Yet, it shows that the bowtie is not only for Doctor Who cosplayers, and that bold, fearless swagger can make just about any style look good.

2. Standout with a White Tux


It looks like it might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship when Bogart paired a bright white tuxedo with a simple black bowtie to create the look that sets his “Casablanca” character Rick Blaine apart from the patrons in his club. It’s an iconic look that hasn’t changed much in the seventy-something years since the film came out. It’s a daring leap that only some can pull off, but Bogart makes it seem so very simple.

3. Simple Can Look Great Too


In his hit movie “The Big Sleep,” Bogart played Philip Marlowe, a man who presumably paid little attention to how he looked. Note the simple single breast jacket, the plain tie, the no-frills shirt. This combination took minimal effort to pull off and probably only cost him a few minutes gathering them from the store in haste to catch up with some crooks. The lesson here is simple: you don’t have to spend a lot of time complicating or adding to your wardrobe to have a great timeless look.

Humphrey Bogart was an exemplary man with confidence up to his mug. He knew what it meant to be comfortable. He was authentic.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a three-piece suit or a tee with blue jeans, if you’re uncomfortable with your clothes, it’s not a stretch to assume that you’re going to look uncomfortable to match. If you’re going to put the effort in to dressing better, make sure you can back it up with a cool, comfortable attitude that tells the world that “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Stay caught up with the VK Nagrani Blog to see more icons we can learn style lessons from.


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My work is about far more than creating clothing and a responsibility to myself, the consumer and the human existence. I do not design clothing, I engineer a wardrobe that offers versatility, function and sophistication. I am more focused on raising the bar and creating a timeless aesthetic. Trends are futile. For those that seek the exquisite, you will truly enjoy my work. After all, it was created with you in mind.​​

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