Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Cary Grant

I’ve always wanted to dress like Cary Grant!  I can’t image CG bumming around his house in ragged jeans and flip-flops – although I’m sure he was just a regular guy and did as he pleased and dressed as he pleased when not in front of a camera or in the public eye.

His movies define classis film, weekend marathons of “Hello Darling….” lines in comedic and dramatic scenes.  Turner Classic Movies does a great service to star-gazers of the mid century while in our downtime Saturdays and Sundays.  Nothing like a winter afternoon of TCM with pop corn, beer and your faithful dog laying at your feet.

I wish I could find more color photos of this well-dressed icon of Hollywood – there must be some in a cans and big envelopes – yet to be discovered in old buildings and offices, perhaps even private collections.

For me, Cary Grant defines the well-dressed man.  Again, I wish there were more full framed shots – but these are all I could find.

I did a bit of processing on these photos with some of the latest photographic enhancing software.  Subtleties in the photos intended, hopefully I didn’t wreck any of them.

I hope you enjoy them.

From AskMen.Com

Selecting Cary Grant as a style icon is hardly groundbreaking. He’s considered by many to be the most influential dresser of all time. However, this dashing leading man wasn’t born on
Hollywood’s red carpet. It all started when an uneducated Archibald Leach from working-class Bristol became a troupe-touring teenage stilt-walker in the U.S. and decided to permanently leave England behind to pursue a stateside stage career. Naturally, good looks didn’t hurt his case for being written into history’s fashion annals. However, it takes real bravado to completely reinvent yourself. Grant realized that in order to transform from a peon into a prince, he needed not only to change his name, but also to dress the part.

Grant’s initial fashion inspiration was fello
style icon Fred Astaire whose look was defined by bold, bright colors as well as an expert integration of the casual with the formal. In the end, you would be hard-pressed to find two men ar
more opposite on the style spectrum. Grant eventually developed a subdued, monochromatic aesthetic where the focus was on fit and proportion rather than quirky color. The lines of his suits, shirts and shoes all blended together in ha
mony to draw your eye to the real moneymaker: his movie-star face. But like everyone else, Grant had some serious flaws, like a broad neck and oversize head. He often wore shirt collars turned up to disguise his neck, and his suits and topcoats were tailored with padded shoulders that were wide-set and squared-off to match the proportion of his massive mug. Turning flaws into fashion: that’s what sets Grant apart from everyone else.

You don’t need celebrity looks to learn a thing or two from Cary Grant. His sense of style is so revered that an entire book Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style is devoted to discussing it. You have to ask yourself: What could a man who became famous over half a century ago teach the modern guy about how to dress today? In short; everything. Cary Grant is a style icon because he is timeless and perhaps more relevant than ever in an age where slovenliness and bad behavior can lead to fame. Grant was definitely a suit-and-tie guy, and even his casual looks often included an ascot. However, every man -- yes, even the bad boys -- should own at least one good suit like the Topman Special Edition Grey Suit. Forget about color and pattern and look for a suit that simply fits your frame. A slimmer-cut jacket with equally trim trousers makes just about every guy look like a star regardless of the size and shape nature gave you. Grant typically opted for a single, inverted pant pleat, but a flat-front trouser is optimal for looking fit even if you’re lugging around a few extra pounds. Grant also wore his jacket sleeves high to expose about ¾ of an inch of bright white cuff. It’s a subtle detail, but striking enough that it almost reads as an accessory. It’s the mark of someone who truly understands fit and fine tailoring, and Grant did it all before celebrity stylists even existed.

Source story:  AskMen.com

Mini biography 

Once told by an interviewer "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant". Grant is said to have replied: "So would I." His early years in Bristol, England, would have been an ordinary lower middle class childhood except for one extraordinary event. At age 9, he came home from school one day and was told his mother had gone off to a seaside resort. She was in a mental institution for years and he never was told. From the age of 9 until his late 20s, he didn't see his mother at all. He left school at 14, lying about his age and forging his father's signature on a letter to join Bob Pender's troupe of knockabout comedians. He learned pantomime as well as acrobatics as he toured with the Pender troupe in the English provinces, picked up a cockney accent in the music halls in London, and then in July 1920 he was one of the eight Pender boys selected to go to America. Their show on Broadway, "Good Times", ran for 456 performances, giving Grant time to acclimatize. He would stay in America. The opening Hollywood chapter is titled "She Done Him Right". Mae West wanted Grant for She Done Him Wrong (1933), because Grant combined virility with the aura and bearing of a gentleman. Grant was young enough to begin the new career of fatherhood when he stopped making movies at age 62. One biographer said Grant was alienated by the new realism in the film industry. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he had invented a man of the world persona and a style -- "high comedy with polished words". In To Catch a Thief (1955) he and Grace Kelly were allowed to improvise some of the dialogue. They knew what the director, Alfred Hitchcock, wanted to do with a scene, they rehearsed it, put in some clever double entendres that got past the censors, and then the scene was filmed. His biggest box office success was another Hitchcock 1950s film, North by Northwest (1959) made with Eva Marie Saint since Kelly was by that time Princess of Monaco. 
IMDb mini-biography by
Dale O'Connor daleoc@worldnet.att.net


The Glengarry Sporting Club said...

As far as I am concerned, Cary Grant wrote the book on modern style whether he meant to or not. "To Catch A Thief" is a fine example of the kind of film in which scene after scene find him looking perfectly effortless. (It doesn't help that he's opposite Grace Kelly in that one either.) Great post.

Silk Regimental said...

TGSC - Grace Kelly and Cary Grant were quite a team - good lookin' and great actors - Alfred Hitchcock knew a winning team and that made Hitch successful. Thanks for commenting!

gringo jack said...

Yes, a great post. Ditto on "To Catch a Thief." I would venture to say that what sets Grant apart from modern clothes horses Clooney and Pitt is that CG never lets the clothes run away with him. He is himself, and the clothes seem to flow out of from that, as a logical extension. That's very difficult to do.

Preston said...

I've not a clue of such a life as portrayed by Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. However the style fascinates me and I've certainly enjoyed your experiences you've shared. You and I are as different as day and night and I guess this is what I so enjoy about you. Your willingness to share what I know nothing about but am curious to know...