‘National Treasure’ is a term thrown around a lot in the media and is often applied to highly dubious recipients (Gok Wan is certainly something but a national treasure? I’m not so sure.) But with a film career spanning five decades and a record list of Academy nominations to boot, few could argue with attributing the label to cinema legend Michael Caine. Not happy with just being a distinguished member of film royalty however, Caine’s refined fashion sense has also helped to establish the Elephant & Castle native as an enduring icon of British style.

In the second instalment of our Style Icon series we consider some of the looks that have made Mr. Caine so synonymous with British cool.

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The Italian Connection

When you think of Caine’s style you invariably think of films such as The Italian Job and Alfie where he plays characters who are impeccably presented yet effortlessly cool and grounded. This comfortable approach to dressing worked just as well off the screen as on for Michael and was largely inspired by the London tailor Doug Hayward who masterminded all of Caine’s suits for The Italian Job. Hayward became influential during the 1960s by combining the tailoring heritage of Savile Row with a more relaxed and casual Italian style. The aesthetic suited Caine perfectly and the photo above is an excellent example of a well fitted suit that looks entirely comfortable and not in the least bit stuffy. Thanks to Hayward this casual Italian influence became a hallmark aspect of Caine’s style. (Have a watch of the video below to hear Sir Michael and Bond himself Roger Moore discuss the genius of Hayward.)

 

 

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Bold Frames

One of the most iconic features of Michael Caine’s style are his bold dark frames, worn for such films as The Ipcress File, that have helped him become of the worlds most recognisable actors. Paired with other typical mod accessories such as slim knitted ties and loafers the end result enhanced Caine’s sharp, refined aesthetic. Throw in a slim wool suit as in the photo below and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a sophisticated look. Forget all that ‘geek chic’ and ironic hipster nonsense, bold frames are a timeless style staple for the visually impaired amongst us.

 

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Colour Pattern and Punch

To take your cues from the italiano-cockney style of Caine you’d need to be unafraid of a bit of bravado and colour. Bold choices in colour, material and pattern are a key aspect of Michael Caine style and explain why his suits in The Italian Job are such scene stealers. The combination of stripes and brazen pattern with the sand suit below is certainly not for the faint-hearted but it’s these bold choices, taken with confidence, that make Caine such a iconic and dapper dresser.

 

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Key Ingredients of Michael Caine Style: Sharp tailoring, casual Italian influence, fitted suits and jackets, mod touches such as loafers and roll necks, thick rimmed specs, cockney accent.


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About The Author

Admirer of classic style and design with an unhealthy obsession for good coffee.

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