He was born at the start of the 20th century to immigrant parents, Gary Cooper went on to be one of the biggest and brightest stars of Old Hollywood. He began his work as an extra in silent films and rose to fame by using his style and good looks as a way of standing out. He began to encompass what it meant to be the “everyman against the world” – taking roles in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Meet John Doe and Sergeant York. Gary Cooper was great at portraying the subtle conflicts the average man goes through in his life, yet with a dash of debonair that is singular all to himself.
Keep reading to see some of the key lessons we here at VK Nagrani learned from the hero of Old Hollywood himself – Gary Cooper.
1. Create a Focal Point
Here Cooper is with grey flannel trousers and signature striped socks, with a gorgeous narrow and low point collar. Cooper was a fan of large lapels, the popularity of which comes and goes with the trends, but the man knew to accentuate the focal point of his outfit and really make it his own signature style.
You can think about the focal point of your outfit as the cherry on a sundae, or putting a diamond on a platinum ring. You’re probably already looking really good, but this is going to be a little bit of something more to really seal in that look. For men, these focal points are usually the combination of your tie and a matching lapel.
Cooper was born to English immigrant parents, but was raised in Helena, Montana – a frontier town at the time. This mash up of cultures gave him a pretty unique perspective on style. Growing up in a cowboy frontier town, he was exposed to the the bold and vibrant Mexican fabrics that were commonplace among ranchers. On the other side of his genealogy, Cooper was raised with elements of Edwardian England and was just as comfortable in tweed and three-piece suits. He was a man who loved to mix different textures, colors and patterns in a way that only he could pull off.
2. Personality is Key
When looking back at the heroes of Old Hollywood, none of them are revered merely for their ability to dress well. Back in his day, the popularity of having personal make up artists, stylists and costume designers was only just beginning and stars of his caliber often would dress themselves. This is a far cry from the stars of today, who are constantly being primped and done up by other people based on what is trending right now, instead of paving the way themselves by being unique and bold.
Gary Cooper is lauded for his style, but more so than that, he is remembered for what he represented – moral integrity and a steep aversion to excess. Cooper was the iconic embodiment of what the everyman of his time was – understated, elegant yet retaining a simple masculinity that was both elusive to the common person, but still very attainable if you were willing to be bold.
Keep reading the VK Nagrani Blog to see more Lessons in Style from legends of the past.