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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Lessons In Style From: Steve McQueen

There is no debating it: Steve McQueen is the King of Cool. His style has been a staple in men’s fashion since he first stepped onto the world stage, emulated time and again by men looking to ditch all the bullshit and cut straight to the core of style. In the last four decades, there hasn’t been another person to come along and dramatically impact what men wear as much as Steve McQueen.

But what exactly made him the standard-bearer for men’s clothing? VK Nagrani takes a look at some lessons in style to be learned from Steve McQueen below.

1. The Suit


The suits McQueen sports in “The Thomas Crown Affair” are a perfect showcase of how a well-tailored suit can accentuate a role. He is every part millionaire businessman playboy. The broad cut of the shoulders in the jacket over the signature three-piece with square bottom waistcoat and perfectly dimpled tie. Combine all these things next to that hot car and you have a sophisticated outfit that oozes power.

2. Casual Weekend Wear


In Old Hollywood, there was a certain masculinity that you don’t find anymore. Today’s celebs don’t walk the walk quite the way they used to. Steve McQueen looked like a badass because he was a badass. He was every bit as stylish on screen as he was off of it. In the above picture, you can see that with just the right pair of sunglasses you can turn a plain white tee into a bold—just-got-off-work-at-the-ass-kicking-factory—kind of look.

3. The Canadian Tux


Double denim is notoriously hard to pull off, but with the confidence of a hundred honey badgers, Steve McQueen did it effortlessly. The secret is to use different shades of denim, so try a stonewash shirt and an indigo pair of jeans to create the contrast needed. Add some sturdy leather boots to create a rugged aesthetic that forces you to have to try to not look masculine.

4. Signature


The most important lesson that can be taken away from Steve McQueen is to add your own signature to every look you create. Lightweight jackets are an essential part of the modern man’s ensemble, and you can see why up above. The navy Barracuta Harrington with a matching knit sweater underneath highlights the lining and creates the focal point of the entire look. His real signature was the Persol sunglasses he rocked in nearly every outfit he wore.

In the great Pantheon of Style Gods, Steve McQueen is Zeus. He took a look that has seemingly been around since the beginning of modern clothes and wore them in a way that has yet to be added to in any significant way.

Stay tuned to VK Nagrani’s Blog for more style lessons from legendary men!


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Lessons In Style From Cary Grant

Throughout history there have been exceptional men who’ve inspired us by the way they lead their lives and accomplish success. This is VK Nagrani’s Lessons In Style From Cary Grant.

Few gents have garnered the following and left an impression quite like Cary Grant. The Hollywood film actor appeared in over 70 films spanning a 30 year period, including popular roles in Penny Serenade and None but the Lonely Heart, for which gained him Best Actor Academy Award nominations. But people who’ve never seen a Cary Grant film still know about Cary Grant. They know him for his clean, classic look and unwaveringly gent style. While VK Nagrani and Cary Grant probably wouldn’t have seen eye to eye on all facets of men’s fashion, or men’s designer clothing, there are certainly some fashion lessons we can agree on.

Here are some gent fashion lessons from Cary Grant any aspiring gent needs to know:

1. Do Not Overbuy

Cary Grant once said regarding men’s fashion, “All it takes are a few simple outfits. And there’s one secret — the simpler the better.”

At VK Nagrani, we’ve preached this over and over, because, not only is it economical to buy quality-made items that’ll last, it’s an easy way to make sure your wardrobe doesn’t get bogged down with rubbish clothing you never feel like wearing.

Each article of clothing a gent owns should serve a specific, consistent purpose. From the belts you wear to the medium-sized lapel suits you sport, a gent’s wardrobe is no place for that piece you wear once a year. Go capsule. But go elegant. Be sophisticated. Your closet may look a bit barer because of your minimalized wardrobe, but you’ll know each and every piece plays a vital role to your gent style.

2. Lounge in Style

After a long day or week, gents need to relax. But true gents relax in sheer style. Put on some over-the-calf socks and a quality hand-sewn robe that doubles as a piece of art. The timeless, fashionable man defies normal standards. He relaxes with a hardcopy of The Times and enjoys a nice lowball of 15-year reserve bourbon. Cary Grant did indeed have it right.

3. Don’t Skimp on the Cufflinks

Nothing beats a tailored, navy tuxedo to exude confidence and suavity. But a mistake you don’t want to make is skimping or leaving the cufflinks home altogether. Whether you want to have eyes glued to you all night with a bold cufflink, or are looking for something a little more laid back, pair that tuxedo with a quality cufflink to put that exclamation point on your gentleman spirit.

4. Get an All-Purpose Top Coat                                                        

Depending on where you live, or often travel to, an everyday, all-purpose topcoat is as essential to your gentlemen aura as a pair of underwear is to simply getting dressed. A versatile topcoat isn’t too heavy or flashy. Simplicity, quality and versatility are the key components of the topcoat. It should accentuate your body lines and be able to be worn with formal wear like suits, or a more casual look of jeans and a t-shirt.