Secretly, virtually every man craves an invitation to a black tie event simply for the excuse to dress up in a smart tailored suit and emulate one of his idols. For generations, black tie attire has been associated with sophistication and personal achievement, and some of the most stylish, iconic men in history have cut a dash in a well-tailored suit, white shirt and black bow tie. Take a look at five of our favourite black tie icons – who do you most seek to emulate?
The original James Bond and one of cinema’s most fondly remembered leading men, Sean Connery breathed life into Ian Fleming’s spy character on the silver screen. More often than not, he did so while immaculately dressed in black tie attire. There are numerous reasons why you might remember those early James Bond films – Ursula Andress emerging from the ocean in a bikini, John Barry’s iconic score and the immortal Aston Martin DB5 – but the defining image has to be Connery dressed to the nines in a tailored suit and black tie.
While the Rat Pack were all stylish, handsome and well-dressed men, Old Blue Eyes was undoubtedly the biggest draw of the bunch. Despite his slightly chequered personal life, Frank Sinatra remains one of the most respected singers of all time, and was a style icon throughout his ‘50s and ‘60s heyday. Sinatra brought sharp Italian tailoring to a global stage, and who wouldn’t want to emulate his black tie style today?
It would be a struggle to name many more inspirational in many ways than Muhammad Ali. The man that brought a gloss of intellect and wry humour to the boxing ring was a style icon as well as a World Champion, and following his retirement from the ring was more likely to be seen sporting an immaculately tailored suit and black tie than a pair of Everlast trunks.
Cary Grant, the archetypal English gentleman, had a glittering Hollywood career that spanned three decades. Unfortunately, and incredibly, Grant was passed over for major honours throughout his entire career, despite being nominated for the Oscars’ best actor category twice and for the Golden Globes five times. Eventually, it was another of our black tie icons who awarded Grant with his much-deserved Academy Award, when Frank Sinatra presented him with an honorary Oscar in 1970. Cary Grant will be remembered as much for his glorious tailored suits and black tie attire as for his glittering acting career, however.
John F Kennedy
At this remove, it’s hard to appreciate just how much of a revelation JFK was when he won the presidency in 1961. Just 44 years old when voted into office, Kennedy was a spring chicken by presidential standards, and his charming smile and confident repartee won him as many admirers as his policies and rhetoric. Before his tragic death at the hands of the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, Kennedy had marked his presidency with a number of excellent suits and sharp tailoring. While Jackie Kennedy is remembered as being a particularly glamorous First Lady, President Kennedy was just as stylish in his own way.
We don’t know about you, but these five black tie icons have us itching to try on a few bespoke suits and see how we look in a bow tie. If you’re looking to cut a debonair dash this year, contact us to enquire about our bespoke suits today.