James Bond is potentially one of the most well known and well dressed ladies’ men in history. From his smooth talk and quick wit to his ability to stay calm under pressure, he defeats villains left and right and manages to still look amazing while doing it. Many actors have emulated his style to tangle with bad guys and ladies alike. Though he may have preferred his martinis shaken, he certainly stirred up some strong emotions from his female fan base. But even before James Bond and his signature tuxedo ever came to be (his first appearance wasn’t until 1953), many other dapper gentlemen had already graced the silver screen. Men such as Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Fred Astaire had a flair for style and showed it off for all to see. In some of their most iconic movies, their characters knew exactly just what to do and say to get the girl.
Humphrey Bogart was and still is a big name in Hollywood heartthrob history. In all of his films he played the strong silent type with emotions hidden behind that stoic mask. He always remained classy in different suits and coats. In Casablanca (1942), one of his best known films, he plays Rick – a tough bartender with a broken heart and a questionable past.
When first meeting Rick, it is clear that he is a no nonsense man. He never shares a drink with customers and runs his business firmly. But as the story unfolds and you learn of his heartbreak, you can almost hear the collective “awe” from the majority of the female population. When he first appears on screen wearing a black tuxedo bow tie in stark contrast to his crisp white tuxedo, it’s no wonder Ingrid Bergman along with the other leading ladies swooned. Even in a trench coat and fedora hat, he is hard to resist.
That Casablanca love affair sparked all kinds of conversations. I’m sure many women have discussed what they would have done in the situation. It certainly made for an interesting road trip conversation in the movie, When Harry Met Sally (1989). Ilsa (Bergman) may have been able to walk away from him but I’m not sure many others could. Though he did not technically get the girl in this movie, he managed to win the hearts of every woman who was watching. In many other films, he also played slightly mysterious characters but he always remained well dressed. Personally I loved him in the Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Another famously fashionable silver screen star is Cary Grant. From comedies like Arsenic and Old Lace and His Girl Friday to the intrigue of North by Northwest, this sharp dressed man had many faces to show – each as attractive as the one before. Though his characters varied, his classic look did not. In His Girl Friday, he plays Walter Burns, a newspaper editor who lost his wife due to his one track career oriented mind. When said ex-wife is looking to remarry, he makes it his mission to stop this from happening and win her back. Along with his snappy dress suit, fedoras grace his head in many of his pictures. It was a classy look back then and is personally a favorite look for me as well.
Though I think his character is more infuriating than charming in His Girl Friday, he clearly knows his ex-wife. Even after all he puts her through, she lands right into his arms at the movie’s end.
Another man who is known to make a woman’s heart flutter is Frank Sinatra. Besides making women swoon over his crooning, Frank Sinatra dazzled ladies on the big screen as well. Along with fellow members of the Rat Pack, he certainly knew how to dress. In the original Ocean’s 11, he played Danny Ocean, the leader of a group determined to rob five casinos. The classic coat and tie look in different shades of browns and grays did not only look good on the big screen, but in the real world as well. In Guys and Dolls, Sinatra manages to string along a poor girl for a 14-year long engagement. Though he is portrayed as a crooked gambling bum, he remains stylish and wears this look well in his pinstripe suit and fedora. And even after all the trouble he has caused, she still decides to marry him in the end.
Lastly but certainly not least, is the ever charming Fred Astaire. With his signature tuxedo tailcoat and top hat, he always looks ready for a night out in the city. In the film Top Hat, he falls hopelessly in love with a young woman who, because of a case of mistaken identity, wants nothing to do with him. He spends most of the film trying to tap dance his way into her heart. Often seen with a black formal scarf and a walking cane, Fred Astaire is the epitome of a sharp dressed man. After straightening out all the misunderstandings, he lands the girl and they dance off into the sunset. No seriously, that actually happens.
Being well dressed not only creates a favorable look, but can also instill confidence. These leading men may not have been international men of mystery but they certainly didn’t need that to sweep a girl off her feet. ZZ Top was not kidding when he said that every girl is crazy bout a sharp dressed man.
If you’ve never seen any of these classic films, you now have a few to add to your library. Though it may not be practical nowadays to wear some of these items on a daily basis, there is no harm in sprucing up your wardrobe every now and then. It may be worth it to take a leaf out of their book, and try a new debonair look to show off your charm.