The flicks
In the Pink: Jude Law’s Alfie
By Charlie Thomas
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Smooth, sophisticated, sexy. Just three words to describe Jude Law’s title character in 2004’s Alfie, arguably the most stylish film of the early 2000s. This wasn’t a period known for its style kudos, especially when it came to tailoring, yet there Alfie was swanning around New York City in his Paul Smith and Gucci. When the film came out, it was quite something. “It’s been said that clothes speak an international language”, the character says in his introductory scene, in which we get a glimpse of his impressive wardrobe and grooming habits, which involve more than a splash of Acqua di Parma – “only below the neck”, of course.

In 2004 it would be unusual for many men to brag about their grooming habits and technique for applying cologne – this was a time before the democratisation of men’s fashion – but Alfie does exactly that. And then there are his pink shirts. Again, deep-rooted, ill-conceived notions of masculinity were prevalent in the early 2000s, all of which prevented many men from going anywhere near pink, despite it being one of the most versatile colours one could choose for a shirt. “If you ooze masculinity like some of us do, you have no reason to fear pink”, Alfie tells the camera confidently. He was right then and he’s right now.

It is of course confidence that Alfie exudes, which allows him to make his clothes look so good, a theme we’ve found to be true of many a silver screen style icon. The way he dresses is relatively simple: he favours dark designer suits, navy, grey and sometimes pinstriped. The shoulders are roped, the lapels slim and the accessories minimal. In fact, his pink shirts are a highlight. If you don’t fancy as formal a look as Alfie’s, opt for an Oxford shirt or, a Cuban collar in summer, which adds an even more casual, nonchalant feel to this already playful pastel hue. Alfie’s shirts feature spread collars, a clean, tailored fit, and double cuffs – they’re easy to wear and effortlessly spruce up a dark suit. Navy and pink is a classic combination that’s not worn enough these days. If you seldom wear a suit, a pink shirt dressed with a double-breasted blazer looks just as sleek.

But, there’s a twist in the tale. Despite all his bravado, Alfie’s suits don’t fit him perfectly. The trousers sit a little too low on his waist, his cuffs are often too long and in some shots the pulling of fabric in the wrong places is evident. Even so, Alfie’s dedication to clothes and his sheer bravura mean these details don’t really matter. Alfie is a lesson in how to make your clothes work for you. The trick, as so many of our stylish leads show, is to choose your weapons carefully, wear them with confidence and then forget about them – do this and virtually anything will look good.

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