The flicks
The Gentlemen and old-school gangster style
By Charlie Thomas
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Few people riff on British style quite like Guy Ritchie. The Hertfordshire born director first burst on to the scene with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998, which saw him dress Jason Statham, Jason Flemying and Vinnie Jones as gun-toting gangsters in mod-inspired polo shirts, skinny ties and leather jackets. Then there was Snatch in 2000 with its camel overcoats, over-the-top braggadocio and of course, Brad Pitt in a leather trilby and sheepskin jacket. Ritchie went on to direct the Sherlock Holmes films, with Robert Downey Jr. as the iconic British lead, which saw a period-inspired wardrobe of frock coats, starched collars and cravats take centre stage. And then there’s The Gentlemen, released in 2019. The star-studded action comedy is full of twists and keeps you guessing until the end. One thing you’re sure about from the beginning though is the quality of the clothes on display.

Centred on Matthew McConaughey’s slick drug baron Mickey Pearson and his quest for retirement, The Gentlemen plays out like a classic Ritchie film, pulling the viewer along seamlessly as an array of stories unfold, some shockingly violent and other hilariously funny. Naturally, clothes are a big part of the movie’s overall aesthetic, helping to distil the huge personalities on display. There’s Hugh Grant and his ‘70s inspired sleaze, which sees him combine a brown leather blazer with a rollneck, jeans and red-tinted vintage Ray Bans, a look that bolsters his slippery, manipulative character. Then there’s McConaughey’s sophisticated wardrobe of tailoring. It references classic British style with its houndstooth and Prince of Wales checks all woven from luxurious wool, cashmere and silk blends. Interestingly he favours cuts that are softer and more relaxed than you might usually expect from Savile Row, in keeping with his character’s relative youth – as well as his desire to do things his own way.

Contrasting this is Henry Golding’s Dry Eye, who prefers to dress down his tailoring with casualwear. Fearlessly cocky and arrogant, his look consisting of a navy, sherpa-collared flight jacket, black roll neck and gold chain is one of the film’s standouts. But The Gentlemen’s most underrated style merchant has to be Charlie Hunnam’s Raymond Smith. Quite where a cold-blooded henchman gets an eye for design and an appreciation of clothing is a mystery, but it’s very much present throughout the film. There’s his 21st century update on the Peaky Blinders look, made up of a tweed waistcoat, navy trousers and raincoat, plus a light blue button down shirt – it’s as perfect for the office as it is useful for chasing down hoodlums on an east London estate. The film’s best outfit though is the one he wears at home. Surely inspired by Steve McQueen, Ray demonstrates the power of a good cardigan, pairing it with dark jeans, and one of his signature Oxford shirts. Relaxed yet elegant, this is smart-casual fare at its best, and is further evidence of the button-down shirt’s enduring versatility. Indeed, if you’re going to invest in just one shirt style, you could do worse than follow Ray’s lead.

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