When you think about classic Hollywood cool, a few names come to mind—and somewhere at the top of that pantheon of exemplary looking men is Paul Newman. A cut above the rest in both appearance and personality, he was an Academy Award winning actor, director, environmentalist, activist, philanthropist, race car driver, and is even the face of a damn fine line of salad dressing. His company Newman’s Own, actually donates all proceeds to charity, so far having donated nearly 430 million dollars to various charities.
For many in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Newman was the epitome of cool, having starred in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Cool Hand Luke” (a movie literally named after his innate coolness), and “The Hustler.” On and off-stage, Paul had an impressive resume, but we’re here to look at his contributions to the world of men’s fashion.
Take a look at what VK Nagrani has to say about Paul’s style and its influence.
1. A Suit That Fits
Not many men could pull off a suit quite like Paul Newman. He knew very intimately how a well tailored suit complemented his form. Notice how in the picture above he goes for a single-breasted jacket with wide padded shoulders that accentuate his athletic build. The slim, squared-off tie completes a look that impresses in the office or dazzles on a night out on the town.
2. Bold Jackets
Paul had a pretty broad selection of unconventional jackets and coats that only added to his own particular brand of anti-establishment cool. He was a racecar driver, so he would often incorporate racer jackets into his look. In the picture above, he’s in his natural habitat: cool and nonchalant, smoking a cigarette and not really looking all that interested, with a flight jacket suggesting he could take off at any moment. Paul also had an extensive collection of army jackets that would throw some new interest into the classic jeans-and-boot ensemble of the time.
3. Wear a Watch. At. All. Times.
For men, the range of jewelry that is typically acceptable is limited almost exclusively to the watch, and at times, cufflinks. A wristwatch is a handsome accessory and can be used to illustrate style, taste and status. Paul had a watch for every occasion, and this is something that we should factor into our daily style as well. From the picture above you can see his informal style, a well-fitted Oxford dress shirt under a deep V-neck pullover, some casual jeans and a wristwatch with a nice leather band accentuating the entire look.
There was something special and raw about Paul Newman. He didn’t have the shattering and unequivocal heat of his contemporary Marlon Brando, nor the unabashed smolder of his junior, James Dean. Rather, Paul Newman was somewhere in the middle, in a world that is ambivalent and uninvolved with what anyone thinks.
Keep tabs on the VK Nagrani Blog for more fashion lessons we can learn from our icons of yesteryear.