Movie Star Style

Posted on March 15, 2023

by Simon Kneen

With the current awards season coming to a close after the Oscars, I am reminded how much film and movie stars have had an influence across menswear. If today, to grab attention beyond a screen performance, an actor’s personal style is often heavily guided by professional stylists, the personal style of a few actors, prior to the era of stylist-controlled red carpets, has always inspired me and my work in menswear. Today movie stars seem to try a little too hard for me in attempt to create their style, but the following actors I have always considered naturally stylish and my own personal stand out icons, that I consider the all-time go-to for timeless menswear style.

Cary Grant always cut a tall, slender figure when on the screen from his early appearances and into the later part of his career. His work with Hitchcock in To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly is a particularly good moment for Mr. Grant’s timeless style. His mid-grey cut suits worn with plain black accessories, were at the time were very modern, and you can see the influence on many other films and television series such as Mad Men. The starched white shirt framed and lit his chiseled chin perfectly, which matched his always-groomed dark hair creating the perfect cinematography for his good looks.

Mr. Fred Astaire had an innate style that came from his natural elegance of movements not only when he danced carelessly across the screen but also for acting scenes in front of the camera. Often seen in top hats and tails tap dancing across the stage, I personally loved his more nonchalant style in a tweed sportscoats and flannels. He could tilt a hat and carry off a boutonniere unlike any other for me and I have always studied his style as a reference to menswear.

Mr. Paul Newman has always been known for his striking eyes and moody screen presence. I have always found him great inspiration for casual style from his early films such as HUD or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof he could portray more gritty characters in such a believable way and knew the importance of his costumes and how they enhanced his on-screen character. He had a big influence in fashion of the time wearing denim and western style shirts. Off-screen, he was an avid racer of cars which added to his bad boy allure and, ultimately, his iconic movie star status. Whether he wore a plaid shirt with a pair of worn jeans or a beautifully cut sportscoat, he could dominate the screen in a way that few have been able to match.

Marcello Mastroianni was Italy’s favorite leading man and appeared in many European films of the period. He helped define the contemporary Latin lover and consequently contemporary menswear. His black suit and knitted tie worn with thick-rimmed spectacles or sunglasses are still an influence to designers such as Tom Ford and Prada. Mastroianni often played alongside Sophia Loren or famously with Anita Ekberg in the Fellini classic La Dolce Vita. He wore trench coats and structured sartorial menswear by Brioni bringing the roman tailor to notoriety around the world.

Alan Delon, the French film star, was lesser known stateside, but in Europe, his success came from an early age from the 1950s through the 1970s. He could wear an open-neck shirt unlike any other, and his shirtless figure was often used to promote films he starred in. He is seen as a French national treasure, and his roles in Visconti movies or alongside Romy Schneider and Bridget Bardot cemented him as style royalty among fashion followers. When I think of the French Riviera or the Cannes Film Festival, I picture Alan Delon hanging out in an outdoor cafe sipping Pastis and lighting an ever-present Gitanes as the symbol of smoldering summer style.

There are many more movie stars, that I admire and watch for styling guidance across the ages of cinema, but I owe these gentlemen a large debt of gratitude for helping me understand men’s style and influencing my work across my career.

Movie Star Style

Modern Casual Style

Audio: Listen to Simon Says >

The word “casual” can conjure up a myriad of images, especially when it comes to men’s clothing. For most guys, casual means “anything but dressed up,” and more likely refers to things you would wear at home or doing yard work. You know, those sloppy ill-fitting cover-ups like those worn-through cargo shorts left over from college, or a promo polo the local hardware store once gave away as a summer gift to clients. Well, allow me to reintroduce you to the J.Hilburn custom-made casual experience, where we have captured the modern essence of relaxed dressing that is anything but the aforementioned.


Modern casual style has crept into every modern man’s wardrobe with a new polished appearance that makes this side of his closet ready for the boardroom and business meetings, and not at all for mowing the lawn. The modern casual look has, however, made golf attire perfectly suitable for his time on the golf course as well as wearing comfortably for lunch out after the game. The polo shirt effortlessly replaces any dress shirt under a sportcoat while looking both polished and relaxed. The dress shirt itself has softened in styling to include more tech fabrics (our super successful Canclini and Ratti qualities), open necklines, and fun prints rather than serious stripes or classic solids.

Another go-to piece for a modern guy is the 5-pocket pant and its cousin, the chino. These are fast becoming must-have pant styles for in-the-know guys living on-the-go lives where the lines between on the clock and off the clock are ever more blurred. Outfit styling itself has also evolved to incorporate untucked shirts, sockless ankles and even white tennis shoes he can wear with a suit or a short and look perfectly dressed either way.

Versatility is the key word, with guys looking less for work uniforms but still wanting the ability to wear pieces across the old rule book of menswear. This trend started way back in the mid-nineties with casual Fridays introduced into corporate America. Then, through the evolution of tech industries and modern desk work combined with the recent pandemic years, historians will look back on the present day as a time when menswear was evolving into a comfort-driven wardrobe characterized by the fadeout of rigorous categories worn only for one specific type of occasion: suits for work, denim for weekends, etc. The sportcoat itself is worn for many more occasions than just at the club, with guys looking for suits that can be worn broken down and individually outfitted back to other parts of their wardrobes.


Layering a J.Hilburn knit under a sportcoat, whilst not revolutionary, is made possible through our custom-made approach to fit and preferences. You can create polished styles in wools, cottons and cashmere blends, all with the added performance of stretch technology. Our neck styles can be personalized with button choices for tone-on tone looks, and placket closure options for subtle differences between our polos and all that off-the-rack sameness. The covered placket is one of my personal favorites as it hides the button closure for a clean modern look that you cannot find anywhere else. Collar points that make knits look like shirts are a great option for those who can’t let go of a dress shirt look, and you can add button-through fronts and cuff styles that are all borrowed from dress shirt styling.

In pants, it’s not always possible to find a 5-pocket pant in a range of chino-like fabrics and performance stretch qualities in every department store’s inventory. Then add in the hassle of the hunt for the perfect fit in these pants, particularly for the tall guys and the shorter guys (like me), and the slim guys or rounder guys (like me). The custom-made 5-pocket is an absolute must for most body types that don’t fit some algorithmic stock buy of mall shopping—and let’s be honest, most of us don’t.

This cross-pollination of styling options is the true essence of what I consider modern in a man’s wardrobe today, and sharing with our Clients, this evolving modernity should come naturally to all of us. As personal Stylists, we must share and explain to Clients the importance of breaking some old barriers. Perhaps the best method will be to start slowly, offering advice and direction as only a personal Stylist can. Let’s ditch those sloppy ill-fitting polos, those baggy jeans and those old cargo shorts, and upgrade into our Clients into custom-made casual. I know they will thank us for it.

Fall/Winter 2022 Collection launch

Audio: Listen to Simon Says >

Most designers live in the future. We are always designing for things that are going to happen at some future point in time, so it isn’t unusual to find me thinking of the first fires of fall and blustery November days when the actual temperature outside is touching the triple digits in the middle of summer.


With the Fall/Winter 2022 Collection launch, I am living the excitement of the upcoming season, but I am also thinking of next Spring as I wrap up the designing process for Spring/Summer 2023 and start to kick around the first ideas for next Fall – yes, Fall/Winter 2023! This rhythm has been part of my life for the length of my career, with moments of designing 14 separate collections a season and others working on a fast fashion calendar of turning around product over six-week periods in 600 stores worldwide (that one was exhausting!)

2022-0803-Simon Says_01

For each new season, I love to absorb myself in the new mood or atmosphere and let the creative flow begin, and this current season started off last year after being in England visiting family for the first time since before the pandemic. It was a slightly different England, with many outdoor spaces created around the local villages to grab a coffee or have a meal. The local market towns were pretty quiet compared to their typical bustling crowds. I didn’t realize how much I missed the freedom of travel and being in places I know so well. Everything seemed new and fresh because of the change in everyone’s lives, but there was undoubtedly a little bit of nostalgia biting at my emotions on the trip. Leaning into this combination of past and present, the overall themes of heritage and modernity drove the inspiration for the new Fall/Winter 2022 collection.


Between our Annual Summit a few weeks ago and yesterday’s launch, I have had a lot of positive feedback on the collection preview. It was a real treat to see our Stylists react so enthusiastically to certain pieces. I, of course, modestly love the whole collection, but there are a few standout styles that stir my own emotions. I connect with them pretty strongly, as I feel they express the season’s mood particularly well.

2022-0803-Simon Says_02

LP124 is what I affectionately call The Pink Suit. I love how our friends at Loro Piana have managed to make a rose pink suit relatively wearable by working a mid-grey into the tone of dusty pink. The color is exactly that combination of classic grey with a fun and unexpected modern tone of pink – do you see the connection to my mood for the collection?


The wool stretch in pants is another quality from Loro Piana that makes me stop a moment and admire the rich salt-and-pepper texture of this perfectly weighted fabric that has a touch of country charm. It looks exactly like the type of refined casual fabric that I think our Clients will respond to, if my own feelings are anything to go by. The saturated colors of many of the sportcoats look so rich to me, reminding me of a Christmas pudding with all those deep berry colors — the dark brown and brandy sauce richness are just totally yummy. I just love the way the Sondrio cotton pants play off these tones, with each color working so effortlessly off every sportcoat in the new collection. The light catches this sueded cotton so uniquely, creating a unique effect that I consider quite special and beautiful.

2022-0803-Simon Says_03

Our wool shirt jackets are simply marvelous, capturing the tradition of a sportcoat pattern but worn in a modern way with casual styling that, for me, fits perfectly into many of life’s moments. I can imagine myself feeling cozy and warm on a chilly day while off to a meeting, comfortably driving one of my cars, and knowing I will show up looking stylish and personalized. Though I never seek compliments, I have a feeling that the shirt jacket probably will receive a few, resulting in me directing the giver of such a kind sentiment directly to one of you, our exceptional personal Stylists.

2022-0803-Simon Says_04