The saying goes that behind every good man there’s a great woman. But when it comes to A-listers, there’s a whole team at work tirelessly creating the style icons of today.
As Hollywood’s influence on the way we dress continues to grow thanks to instant social media trendsetting and global access to designer brands (along with their high-street counterparts), stylists have switched from a celebrity’s best-kept secret to an integral and celebrated part of the fashion world.
Who better to get style tips from than the men and women that help the likes of Ryan Gosling, Andrew Garfield and Tom Hiddleston make getting dressed seem like a cakewalk? No one, we thought. So we’ve distilled their advice to bring you the science behind the magic.
Ryan Gosling is the king of the red carpet, with his old-school tailoring and unconventional finishes and fabrics frequently topping best-dressed lists. And while The Gos is undoubtedly talented on screen, it’s his stylist Samantha McMillen who can take the credit for his off-screen presence.
McMillen, the former VIP PR director of Giorgio Armani, has dedicated her career to dealing with A-listers. But it’s her knack for nailing smart-casual that has won her one of the most impressive celebrity rosters, having also styled Johnny Depp, Colin Firth and Mark Ruffalo.
“You should always be yourself when creating an outfit, and never leave the house uncomfortable in anything you’re wearing,” says McMillen. “You’ll never regret investing in a check shirt. I don’t think it ever goes out of style, especially if it’s a soft flannel and you can wear it under a leather jacket and with dark denim.
“I’m not a huge fan of [roll necks]. If it’s really your thing, then go for an old-school style with a grey flannel jacket [over the top] and dark jeans.”
The only person who came close to stealing awards season headlines from Gosling this year was Andrew Garfield (and not just for planting one on Ryan Reynolds).
Having worked with him for the past few years, stylist Petra Flannery has helped the Hacksaw Ridge star earn some serious style stripes by opting for classic pieces with a fashion edge. “[Petra] basically treats me like a child and dresses me every day,” Garfield once told a press conference. But what if we don’t all have one of the world’s top stylists on speed dial?
“Start with the basics,” says Flannery. “Own things that are comfortable and that can be used as a base for looks […] a pair of jeans, a denim jacket, a worn-in chambray shirt.
“I always try to individualise my clients. Create your own personal style. Take your favourite pieces and blend them with what you love from a certain star’s style. Make it unique but subtle – being fashionable is not about being loud.”
Wendi & Nicole Ferreira
If there’s one thing Hollywood gets right most of the time, it’s classic tailoring – although not everyone thinks that’s a good thing. “The Oscars are almost too safe. Stylists are afraid to take those risks because of the risk of being made fun of,” says Nicole Ferreira, one-half of stylist duo the Ferreira sisters.
The pair was responsible for David Oyelowo’s crimson Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo at the Oscars last year, as well as Channing Tatum’s interesting yet immaculate tailoring that works with his athletic figure, rather than against it.
“Anything Channing wears trends online,” says the other half of the duo, Wendi. “Actors are now seeing themselves as individuals and setting themselves apart.”
“Men have a tendency to stick with their old suit because they have it in their wardrobe and it’s easy, but they look dated when they wear it. Stay current by changing suit styles – it’s usually the small details that make a big difference,” says Wendi.
“This summer, opt for a single-breasted, slim-fit, lightweight and breathable khaki cotton, navy linen cotton or silk-blend suit,” adds Nicole.
(Related: The Spring/Summer Suit Edit)
For us normal folk who don’t regularly tread the red carpet, the idea of getting dressed up usually makes us retract into our shell rather than go for something statement. However, according to Ilaria Urbinati, we’re playing it all wrong. “You have to look at it as if there’s room to play. There’s so much opportunity with events; you can showcase a lot of different things.”
Having made menswear her niche, Urbinati was responsible for Donald Glover’s celebrated brown Gucci suit at the 2017 Golden Globes, Rami Malek’s transformation from Mr Robot nerd to suave auteur as well as Riz Ahmed, Tom Hiddleston and Bradley Cooper’s impeccable tailoring. She points out that taking risks is not about going all out, all the time.
“I do think that men’s styling is a subtle art, I see guys take it too far. [It’s about] finding a happy medium where [an outfit] feels special and different, but it’s not a clown show,” says Urbinati.
“The menswear revolution, when men started to try and be a little bolder, happened around the time of Mad Men, and every season it gets bigger. Rami takes inspiration from vintage photos and I encourage my clients to step outside of the box in this way sometimes.
“You want to be able to look back at [an outfit] in 50 years and for it to still feel relevant, especially for a big occasion. Bear in mind how a look will age when it’s being photographed heavily. This is why vintage touches work best for things like a wedding.”
Mark Anthony Bradley
Hollywood may have the red carpet sewn up, but few do rock ‘n’ roll casual like the British. Even fewer have nailed it quite like Mark Anthony Bradley. Following a 10-year stint as contributing fashion editor of cult style publication i-D, Bradley became fashion director of Jocks & Nerds magazine and has since been responsible for the cool Britannia look of everyone from Alex Turner and Luke Evans to Chiwetel Ejiofor and Daniel Craig.
Bradley’s signature involves incorporating classic accessories such as a timeless watch, silk scarf or patterned socks with a suit. “Anyone can wear a nice suit or outfit, but it’s the finer details that define a man’s fashion sensibility,” he reasons.
“To look stylish, don’t be tempted by current trends,” says Bradley. “Unless you can utilise it to suit yourself, ensure you always dress for your body shape instead.
“If you’re considering investing in something, go for a quality pair of jeans that fit perfectly – they may be more expensive, but in the long run, great denim will serve better than anything else.
“The essential elements to make a look work are hair and shoes. I’m a firm believer that you can ascertain a man’s true style based entirely on these two fundamental elements – and you can bet women think so, too.”
Luke Evans (Jocks & Nerds Issue 22), photographed by Gavin Bond
John Legend (Jocks & Nerds Issue 21), photographed by Gavin Bond
Willem Dafoe (Jocks & Nerds Issue 18), photographed by James Dimmock
FashionBeans associate editor Natasha Daniels has spent the best part of a decade working with some of the world’s top fashion brands.
A former style adviser on Radio One and ITV, and with bylines in The Telegraph, The Times and The Guardian, she now uses her experience to keep men up to date with all the need-to-know trends and key pieces.