x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dressing like a man for all seasons

Brando, Eastwood, Newman: they're considered the style icons of cinema. But for me, no one has looked so sublimely sharp as Back to the Future's George McFly.

Brando, Eastwood, Newman - they're considered the style icons of cinema. But for me, no one has looked so sublimely sharp as George McFly.

George who? He's Marty McFly's pop, played by Crispin Glover, in the first Back to the Future film in 1985. As the weak target of Biff the bully, George couldn't stand up for himself. If only his courage was as spot-on as his clothes: he threw a blue tweed blazer, accented with grey patterns on the collar and sleeves, over a crisp white shirt and chinos. In the film's prom sequence, he donned nothing less than a cream tuxedo. His style couldn't have been more clear: classic and clean.

My favourite look from George is a light purple slouch sport coat, which he paired with a powder blue Oxford shirt. Easy peasy; proof that good style isn't about the bells and whistles.

An unstructured sports coat is a piece to own. Constructed like performance wear but styled like a proper jacket, it allows for mobility and breathability, something you can take from the office to dinner, to brunch the next day. If you have to sprint out for a midday dose of caffeine, you won't look pathetic, sweat dripping off your brow due to the stifling heat. Laid-back and low-key, it has a mischievous quality to it, like you just rolled out of bed looking like a million bucks.

An unstructured blazer doesn't have to be cut slim or skinny - I know many guys wary of those words - just make sure it's correctly cut for your frame. You can wear it with anything, whether over tees or shirts buttoned to the neck, with jeans, corduroys, cargos or khakis - bar swimming trunks. Same goes with the shoes: it works well with formal browns, loafers, double monks or athletic kicks.

Stick to neutral-hued coats. Keep in mind that the lighter the tone, the more possibilities for matching. H&M sells a handsome camel cotton blazer for Dh199, while Massimo Dutti has a grey linen option for Dh699. Big spenders can turn to Paul Smith (a lightweight navy gingham for Dh2,155), Yves Saint Laurent (a blue cotton piece for Dh2,390) or Gant by Michael Bastian (a light blue pincord for Dh3,600).

The unstructured jacket is understated but well-fitting, just as dashing today as it was during McFly's time. Style like that trumps fashion. More than that, George reminds us that clothes reveal a lot about a man. Unlike big screen hustlers fond of fist fights and shoot-outs, his unentitled masculinity demonstrated that real men tread on the proper side of the law - of life and of dress.


James Gabrillo is the assistant Arts & Life editor at The National