Have you ever watched Bullit? I’m talking shaggy hair, midnight blue turtleneck, shoulder holsters, ready to roll. Pure style that defined that era.
Or the original Thomas Crown Affair? (not the one played by Remmy Steele, who proved that being just a tad too slick ruins the appeal of a bad-ass like 007). Those 3 piece suits were so natty Cary Grant himself couldn’t have pulled it off any better.
Steve McQueen was neither tall nor big, nor was he exceptionally good looking, but there was a brutish charm about him (See also Daniel Craig, who is set to give Sean Connery a run for his money as best Bond ever). What set him apart as a true style icon in the latter half of the 20th Century? Look at the way he wears his clothes. I mean, for godssakes, he can wear a grey sweatshirt and look fucking good in it. He puts thought into what he puts on, and then goes on with his day, robbing banks (Thomas Crown), riding a bronco(Junior Bonner), riding motorcycles (just about everywhere) or racing in Le Mans. The result is a masuline dissheveled look. I mean a man wears clothes so he can do shit, not so he can walk down the catwalk in Milan. To me, he helped define American style in the rebellious era (take a look at Marlon Brando and JFK someday too).
His hallmark style included 3-piece suits, Persol sunglasses, leather jackets, flat front chinos and a staple I’ve grown to love, the grey sweatshirt (watch him tear across the German countryside on his motorcycle in the Great Escape).
His off-screen persona emitted the same adventurous, rebellious style he played so well. He did his own stunts, raced dirt bikes, designed a bucket seat for race cars.
He was the real deal.