“Angles Are Attitudes”: Men’s Style Tips From Pop Culture’s Greatest Fashion Icons

Brooks Brothers has unveiled its new limited-edition men’s clothing line, created in collaboration with The Great Gatsby costume designer Catherine Martin. Gatsby isn’t the first pop culture project to reinvigorate interest in the distinctive and discerning man of the Roaring Twenties. The gentlemen of Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey have recently donned wingtip shoes, white waistcoats, and straw boaters. With the “dreamlike world of pristine green laws and lavish parties” in mind, we gathered great fashion tips from ten cultural icons to learn the secrets of sharp-dressed men.


Cary Grant

Influential style icon Cary Grant stole all the handsome during his heyday as one of Hollywood’s definitive leading men. The actor wrote a 1967 article for This Week magazine, which we spotted on GQ, discussing the finer points of men’s fashion. Here are a few of Grant’s best-dressed tips:

  • “I’ve purchased dozens of suits over the years and they all have one attribute in common: they are in the middle of fashion… In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose, the coats neither too short nor too long.”
  • “It’s better to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones… The same applies to suits, so permit me to suggest you buy the best you can afford even though it means buying less.”
  • “How do I feel about ties? If I had only one to choose, then I think a black foulard, not too wide nor too narrow, is best, as it’s acceptable with most clothes. An expensive tie is not a luxury — the wrinkles fall out quicker and the knot will hold better.”
  • “Learn to dispense with accessories that don’t perform a necessary function.”
  • “Do see that your socks stay up. Nothing can spoil an otherwise well-groomed effect like sagging socks.”
  • “Don’t be a snob about the way you dress. Snobbery is only a point in time. Be tolerant and helpful to the other fellow — he is yourself yesterday.”
  • “Wear, not only your clothes, but yourself, well, with confidence. Confidence, too, is in the middle of the road, being neither aggressiveness nor timidity. Pride of new knowledge — including knowledge of clothes — continually adds to self-confidence.”