Friday 27 January 2012

Fred Astaire, Style Icon

Isn't it always the way?  When there's nothing in the news to blog about, I have itchy keyboard fingers but give me three or four posts in my Drafts and I procrastinate.  So I must thank Missy Vintage for giving me an idea for something else to blog about while I wait for vintage news pick up again.  Over on her blog MV has been looking at her "style icons" - ladies from the past who inspire and personify style and glamour - and the thought occurred to me, "why don't I do that for the chaps?".  Already I've touched upon one such fellow, Bertie Wooster (and I shall return to him again in due course) but to begin with we'll start at the top, with Number 1, Mr Style himself - the great Fred Astaire.

All images courtesy of Doctor Macro

In many ways embodying the elegance and refinement of the Thirties, Fred Astaire certainly kept right up-to-date with the latest fashions of the day and his influence can still be felt today not only in dance, film and music but also in men's style.  Have not the top hat, white tie and tailcoat of formal evening wear become inextricably linked to this man, and rightly so?  If you're ever lucky enough to attend an event that requires such a dress code, would you not feel even the slightest inclination to break into a little song-and-dance routine?  I know I would!

But even Astaire himself professed to liking the casual look more and in this he also excelled.  The word "casual" is bandied about a lot these days but in its modern interpretation generally looks awful.  But with Fred Astaire it is the exact opposite.  Tailored sports jackets and blazers, coloured shirts, ties and cravats, and classic slacks, the latter with that traditional Astaire touch - the tie as a belt.  And no man since has been able to make the humble cardigan look quite so stylish(!).

The thing about the Fred Astaire "look" is that it's still relatively easy to obtain the clothes to get it, but it remains almost impossible to get close to his style - that's his personality, ease and fluidity of movement which I feel sure no-one will ever get close to matching again.

To get to within a thousandth of the sophistication and stylishness displayed by Fred Astaire is every right-thinking chap's dream.  We may well achieve that, but nothing more.  Pure, unadulterated Astaireness is unattainable.  We can at least console ourselves with the knowledge that this incredibly elegant individual has been captured on film for us to enjoy and marvel at to our hearts' content.

The world is a better place for Fred Astaire having been in it and as long as his films exist we can forever be reminded of the epitome of male style.

His grace, panache and pure gentlemanliness are still an inspiration and I always have and always will look to him for sartorial ideas.  Mr Astaire, we salute you!


  1. That video made my day! The ending is perfect, too.

  2. Oh I do love Mr Astaire. Pleased to see him listed as a style icon :)

  3. I totally love him too. Such an incredible dancer and sooooo much style. I love watching his films, such an inspiration. The tie belts are wonderful. Lovely post, thanks Claire

  4. Great post, he made a casual look just as stylish as that top hat, white tie and tails, fab! X

  5. A genuinely elegant man - Fred was the epitome of style.

  6. So true- it's the dance, not the clothes, that 'make' the style!


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