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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Most Elegant (Old) Hollywood Actors

I was reading a modern Best Dressed Hollywood list the other day, when my eyes pounced on this: many consider Johnny Depp to be the best-dressed actor of our time.

Colour me obtuse, but I just don't see it.

Johnny Depp might be a maverick not only in the quality and variety of his film roles (to my mind, he is the better actor of his generation, than Sean Penn. He certainly has more range)...

...but he is not an elegant man.



I think the problem is, after the social norms of dressing up were broken during the Vietnam counter-culture era, that our times confuse "original" with "well-dressed".

(If that is the case, then Depp-mentor Tim Burton would be an elegant man, and he's just a scarecrow in sneakers)

It's true, however, that I have a certain look I associate with elegantness, and this definitely plays a role in my choices below.

But I'd like to think that I can give a person their due, even if they don't dress as gorgeously as say, George Clooney, or Sean Combs.

Having been raised by a man who was a clotheshorse -- though he would never admit it since there is a certain embarrassment for a man to admit he's interested in clothes (it smacks of pantywaistedness). Someone who bought but one suit per year, but that suit took a fortnight to be fitted right by his favourite Savile Row tailors: I know something about men and elegance.

In my choice for husband, I'd rather be attracted to a poor guy who I can smarten up and will look fantastic, than a rich slob who looks perpetually like he's just rolled out of bed.

The men below are not my ideals, nor are they my guides as to what men should be. That clearly should always be tied to character.

But you can say, that I greatly admire their style.

It's not enough to be well-dressed. You need to have a flair about yourself, which shows the world you care about presentation.

And perhaps there never was a time which gathered together so many men whose sole purpose was to be elegant, than Old Hollywood -- save perhaps the Court of Versailles.


THE TEN MOST ELEGANT (OLD) HOLLYWOOD ACTORS


10. CLARK GABLE





A lot of people today underestimate Clark Gable's impact on sartorial splendour, but in his day, there were few actors who embodied the Hollywood STYLE better than he.

Not only did this ex-truck driver look impeccable in evening dress, but he was a triple threat in period costume (he WAS Rhett Butler), down-home cowboy khakis, and WWII flight jackets.

As if you doubt this choice, you have only to realise that only two American men in the Twentieth Century had more influence on men's fashion, than he. One is listed below, at number 5, and more anon about that. The other, was John F. Kennedy, who killed the hat (there's even a song by Buck 65 called that, heh).

As for Clark, when he took off his dress shirt in "It Happened One Night" and revealed he wasn't wearing an undershirt, as was the polite custom of the day, sales of undershirts plummeted. It's a wonder Sears Roebuck survived.

No matter what clothes you put him in, to echo the scarf-slung Billy Crystal Fernando Lamas-a-like, he looked mahvellous.


9. ROBERT MONTGOMERY





I admit, it was a toss-up at Number 9 between Claude Rains, Herbert Marshall, Tyrone Power or Robert Montgomery.

Not only does this go to show that the Old Hollywood choices were endless, but that they are so interchangeable in these lists, as to be plug-and-play genius.

However, Bewitched's dad makes the grade because (a) he was American, and I want to show scoffers that men in this country once had a sense of style that didn't include Dockers, NBA shirts, and fatty-men shorts; (b) as well as honouring a man who sadly, didn't always have a good view of himself, so kudos to Robert Montgomery for being a splendidly kitted out survivor.

This is the man who had a tailor on 24-duty whenever he shot a film, just in case Edith Head or Adrian didn't provide him with the right look for a role. Now that's elegance personified.

(And also, is it me, or does Freddie Prinze, Jr. bear an uncanny resemblence to Robert Montgomery, physically?)


8. LAURENCE OLIVIER





Few men have combined such grace, beauty and talent, more than the young Laurence Olivier. This man had it all, and what's more, people recognised it.

I admit, I didn't think the look he had from the 1950s to the 1960s did anything for him in terms of elegance, especially those hideous horn-rimmed, black spectacles he wore for much of the time, but by the 1970s he had settled into the grand seigneur role he portrayed so well in both A Little Romance, and especially the mouth-wateringly luscious, Brideshead Revisited.

But his chiseled, British Adonis looks never failed him, and were the best supporting actor to his starring wardrobe.

When people point to Jude Law, or Orlando Bloom in terms of British men who lead in both good-looks and good dress sense, I sigh and pine away for the days of the best Hamlet of our times.


7. ERROL FLYNN





Ahh, Errol Flynn. So complex, so controversial, so damned elegant.

This Tassie was a complete chameleon, able to change his appearance to suit whatever role was at hand. Perhaps no other actor has been as dashing, and as comfortable in costume, since at least Douglas Fairbanks Sr., than Errol Flynn.

But as testament to his avowed good looks, he was also very careful about his appearance off-camera, too.

This is the man who spoke as knowledgeably about the cut of his suits, as Clark Gable spoke of gun racks. Never to be outdone in macho brio, though, Flynn was at his finest at the helm of his sloop, Sirocco.

Perhaps his life was fantastical, in not the best sense, but one thing is for sure: the term In Like Flynn could easily have been said about his flying visits to Saville Row shops, as his sexual swordsmanship.


6. WILLIAM POWELL





See Faces. I've blogged about William Powell's innate elegance before.

Me, I just can't get over the fact that this kid from Pittsburgh, PA was so dashing, so magnificently poised, that you turn around today, and wonder, where the heck did American guys like him go, you know?

Because as this blogpost is living testament to, they certainly existed in droves before.

I confess that I have a crush on William Powell -- to my mind, the light-hearted wonder, and sparkling repartée that was The Thin Man series, has never been equaled on film.

One has to credit part of this sensibility to that incomparable Democrat shill, Myrna Loy, but so much of the timing and elegance the film embodied, was all William Powell.

His kind of gentleman, is much missed.


5. RUDOLPH VALENTINO





Then, as now, Rudolph Valentino is a hard sell for men.

Especially for "Anglo-Saxon" men, Valentino represents the oily, slightly effeminate foreigner type, in possibly its most exaggerated characteristics.

Valentino was not content to be an exceptionally dapper man, oh no, he had to be a trend-setter, making cigarette smoking, wrist-watch wearing, and Brilliantine slicked back hair such a byword for macho deportment, that you can see shades of that even today, in many countries.

(Saddam Hussein must've memorised the Valentino playbook)

What many men hated, of course, was equally adored by women. Thinking of Valentino's arms was threatening, and yet not (somehow), to scores of Twenties flapperites.

I suppose at the end of the day, this ex-gigolo, and sometime rent boy, was so accomodatingly "other", that you really couldn't be afraid of a man wearing a turban.

I am endlessly fascinated by Rudolph Valentino, and I credit my love of Italian men, to him.


4. DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JR.





If Doug Fairbanks, Jr. is remembered at all today, it's because of his Prisoner of Zenda role, and being the second husband of then up-and-coming, Joan Crawford. That, and being the namesake son of the most famous swashbuckler in Hollywood history -- Doug Fairbanks, Sr., of course.

And that is a crying shame.

I have a confession to make: Doug Fairbanks Jr. is the only gentleman on this list, that I personally "met".

I saw him one day, in Jermyn Street, not too far away from the Floris emporium, on his way down the street. This must've been around 1995, when he was already a very elderly man.

But as long as I live, I will never forget the exquisite fit of his blue blazer, the colour of shantung red of his tie, and that beautifully groomed, pencil-thin, grey moustache, which was like a punctuation mark of elegance, about his person.

I took this scene in literally in a few seconds, and if that was the case in such a short time, one can only imagine what it must have been, to be in his presence for a while.

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was not just a pretty face in smart clothes.

A genuine WWII flying hero, he won the "U.S. Navy's Legion of Merit with bronze V (for valour), the Italian War Cross for Military Valor, the French Legion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre with Palm, and the British Distinguished Service Cross".

And for good measure, he was knighted by the Queen's father, George VI, with the KBE, in 1949.

The quintessential American hero, with a wardrobe the Duke of Windsor would've been proud to own.


3. DAVID NIVEN





I have this recurring dream.

There is a "World's Most Perfect Man" contest going on, and whilst people are putting forth names like Jesus Christ (no fair, He should've been disqualified! Is that thunder I hear?), Sir Isaac Newton, Frederick the Great, Mahatma Gandhi, in my dream, I am eagerly pencilling in "David Niven".

If you've never heard of, or are a little hazy about this British-born actor, who moved to Hollywood after a stint at Sandhurst, followed by the Highland Light Infantry, he followed a American actress' injunction to go to America, because "no one can speak English there".

For over 50 years, David Niven was the walking poster boy of elegance mated with masculinity, which sadly, many of the men I list here sometimes lacked (or were perceived to lack).

Not only that, but he was known as perhaps the world's best raconteur, weaving story after hilarious story for his captive dinner time audiences.

Never just a lightweight actor, this Oscar-winner also left everything he had in Hollywood, when Britain was flung into war against Germany in 1939.

He was so fierce about British expats doing their bit for their country, that he was alleged to have refused to speak to Rex Harrison (whom he felt tarried in his enlistment), and wouldn't countenance working with the mellifluous James Mason, because the latter was a pacifist.

And note, as living testament that elegant men stick together, Doug Fairbanks Jr. was Niven's eldest son's godfather; he counted Laurence Olivier as a dear friend; and Errol Flynn was once his housemate.

They rented a bungalow in Santa Monica owned by the equally splendid, Rosalind Russell, which they dubbed "Cirrhosis-By-The-Sea".

God, I love this man.


2. FRED ASTAIRE





In choosing the photographs for this blogpost, I wanted to make SURE that not one man was shown in white tails and topper...save Fred Astaire.

There are two reasons for this.

(A) You don't have to be dressed to the nines to be shown to be elegant.

(B) There is no one more iconic in this garb, than was Fred Astaire.

It is wearing these duds that Fred Astaire and his more-than-able leading lady, Ginger Rogers, danced our worries away in the 1930s (which to my mind, is the single-most elegant decade of the 20th Century).

The son of an Austrian emigré, young Frederick Austerlitz and his sister Adele, branched out when she was married to a British nobleman, propelling him to Hollywood where his screentest read, "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little."

I would love to have seen the expression of that Hollywood flunky after watching Top Hat.

I recommend one book about Fred Astaire, in regards to his sartorial acumen, Fred Astaire Style.

Interestingly, it doesn't mention the Duke of Windsor, who in HIS wardrobe memoirs, the very unknown The Windsor Story, the ex-King remembers giving a letter of introduction to his tailor to a young American actor. He promptly bought over 2 dozen trousers, and had countless numbers of shirts run up.

You guessed it, it was Fred Astaire.

Though few men can copy Astaire's style, there appeared this in a recent GQ Style Guide:

Q: I’ve noticed pictures of Fred Astaire in which he’s wearing what appear to be brightly colored and patterned belts tied around his waist. What are they, and where did he get them?

A: They’re neckties. Astaire would often tie a veteran silk cravat around his waist as a belt. Not everyone can get away with this kind of accessorizing. To carry off this look successfully, you should be able to dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee or run like the wind.


Quite.


1. CARY GRANT





What Fred Astaire was to top hat and tails, is what Cary Grant was to the dinner jacket.

With his $500 haircuts (in 1957 money!), his impeccable lines, and almost too-perfect manicure, Cary Grant might be said to be a little too effete for your average man today.

But just like a bottle of 1961 Chateau Latour, Cary Grant is not only more appreciated as his image ages into the new century, but there is an easy acknowledgement that he was charming enough to allow him his eccentricities.

Born humble Archie Leach in Horfield (Bristol), he rose one day to be the American Film Institute's 2nd Greatest Male Star of All Time, after only Humphrey Bogart.

Fans adored his distinctive patter, which made comics and imitators millions in hommage (as well as propelled a wonderfully comedic turn by Tony Curtis, in Some Like It Hot).

There was no one like Cary Grant, and one seriously doubts, there will ever be another like him.

In real life he was rather shy, and had severe doubts about his qualities, saying ""I have spent the greater part of my life fluctuating between Archie Leach and Cary Grant, unsure of each, suspecting each."

But it seemed that no one understood his unrepeatable Cary Grantness, better than he.

"Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant."

Cary Grant need not have worried. He was the crème de la crème of famous, elegant men.

After him, the deluge.


AFTERWORD


Let me know if you agreed with my choices. There are many more elegant men that I could have chosen, after all.

But few, in my opinion, as outstanding as these.

Labels: , , ,

47 Comments:

  • Though I do agree with your idea of elegance of men, one has to remember that is wasn't the man himself who dressed those that you chose as your ideals, it was the studios. And, as you know, those same studios no longer have control of today's reigning celebs so therefore they cannot cultivate elegant men.

    I think that we need to take into consideration the men who dress themselves, such as your father, and in doing so we have to look beyond the movie stars of yesteryear. But, I also believe that elegance goes far beyond the clothes. It is in the manner in which he treats himself AND those around him as well as how he carries himself and both public and private.

    I think a good example of men of elegance in the last, say, 25 years are as follows (and not necessarily in this order):

    John Kennedy, Jr.
    George Clooney
    Leonard Bernstein
    Barak Obama
    Mikhail Baryshnikov
    Oscar de La Renta
    Filipe of Asturias (Prince of Spain)
    Andy Garcia
    Michael Buble
    Wayne Tatusko (my laywer)

    Can you think of others?

    By Blogger Lost but not alone, at Thu Feb 01, 10:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • BTW...Have I told you how much I enjoy your blogs? I want to thank you for the insights, the sharing of your thoughts and ideas, the lovely words that get me through another day of cubicle life. Kudos to you.

    By Blogger Lost but not alone, at Thu Feb 01, 10:27:00 am GMT-5  

  • Hmmm...I can post here but not at Althouse...

    Today is Clark Gable's birthday! I stopped at #10 to post this. You are sooooo right about Gable. I completely adore Mr. Gable. My grandmother remarried after my dad's father died to a man named John Clark. They named their summer beach retreat "Clark's Gables" which I just love.

    Like Connery, he never does an accent. But he is such a man's man that there's plenty of masculine pulcritude left over for people like me. I just love him and you surely hit the nail on the head with his mention on your list. Now...on to read the rest of your massive missive.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Thu Feb 01, 10:27:00 am GMT-5  

  • Although I have great fondness for the late '80's Henry V, and even consider it a technically superior film, Larry Olivier is so stunningly handsome in the '44 version, it's incredible!

    Good call on the underrated Bob Montgomery!

    Flynn: The Platonic Form of cad!

    Niven is outstanding! He just lacked the archetypal role like Gable or Bogie had...

    Astaire wasn't all that fond of wearing evening clothes! Nor did he exercise! He didn't even like going for a walk! When Fred and Ginger fought, they would call each other by their real last names, Austerlitz and McMath. Ginger called him a "spiritual Episcopalian." Grant and Ginger were quite close; He has expressed regret he didn't marry her after she broke up with Lew Ayres...

    I have hoarded a few Astaire stories...

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Feb 01, 11:40:00 am GMT-5  

  • Though I do agree with your idea of elegance of men, one has to remember that is wasn't the man himself who dressed those that you chose as your ideals, it was the studios.

    Absolutely! But you have to agree that whatever it was that they were given, they wore so well.

    That to me is a salient characteristic of elegance -- your body's intrinsic ability to make anything you wear look sleek, and FITTING.

    And, as you know, those same studios no longer have control of today's reigning celebs so therefore they cannot cultivate elegant men.

    Sadly, so very very true.

    It's not that I miss the studios, because I recognise how constricting they were.

    But those old immigrant Jewish men who ran the studios had an innate understanding that you have to IMPROVE people; to make them presentable; to make them worthy of admiration.

    That sometimes included changing their names to sound more "Anglo", as well as getting rid of their accents, and teaching them something about manners and dress.

    After Vietnam, none of this was ever possible, because that generation believed that all of this is as a slap to the face of a person, an admitting that there is only one way a person is presentable, and that's to be in some way, upper-class.

    The studio system produced all the men you see here (even Larry Olivier, to an extent), and I'm sorry, but today's crop of male stars doesn't begin to compare to them, by a long shot.

    That tells you something.

    I think that we need to take into consideration the men who dress themselves, such as your father, and in doing so we have to look beyond the movie stars of yesteryear.

    Oh yes. :)

    But my scope was only Old Hollywood, because it's an hommage to it.

    But, I also believe that elegance goes far beyond the clothes. It is in the manner in which he treats himself AND those around him as well as how he carries himself and both public and private.

    Couldn't agree more.

    I think a good example of men of elegance in the last, say, 25 years are as follows (and not necessarily in this order):

    Ooh! Let me see.

    John Kennedy, Jr.

    RIP.

    My mother considers him the most beautiful, perfect example of well-bred manliness that existed in the past 40 years.

    He was perfect.

    George Clooney

    I deeply appreciate George Clooney's old-fashioned elegance. He looks and acts in public, like an honest-to-goodness film star. Everything else is as nothing, compared to that gift he gives the eye.

    Leonard Bernstein

    Interesting. Lenny, eh? Can't say I know much about his elegance.

    I'd put forward George Balanchine, of his generation and milieu.

    Barak Obama

    Gorgeous. His lines are impeccable, and I see from the two memoirs I read, that his father was just as dapper as he. The way he crosses his legs, one over the other, is his father all over.

    Obama is truly an elegant man (as was Kerry)...but, and few people say this, so is George W. Bush, especially when he wears his suits.

    He has the most wonderfully cut suits...by a French tailor in Washington! Just like JFK, pere. :)

    Mikhail Baryshnikov

    It's no fair with dancers. They have such control over their body, and that is half of being elegant, right there.

    I would put forward George Zoritch, the old Ballet Russe premier danseur. Ahh, the lines...

    Oscar de La Renta

    Right! Another good example was Bill Blass, who was kind enough to host my mother and me in his Palm Beach home. His wardrobe would've made my dad envious. ;)

    Filipe of Asturias (Prince of Spain)

    Excellent choice! His father dresses well, but Felipe is elegant, and that's an interesting distinction.

    I'm sure he gets it from his mother's side, since Doña Sofia has been voted best-dressed woman in Spain innumerable times. Her and the late Bibi Samaranch.

    Andy Garcia

    Lovely choice. I know where he gets his guayaberas done! More blogging on that later. ;)

    Michael Buble

    Aha? I think he has a sense of style, and history. Not sure if he's innately elegant, but I will suspend my opinion now that you point him out.

    BTW, his fellow Gen-X-something crooner, Harry Connick Jr., I would say is very elegant.

    A New Orleans boy, who like all boys from French backgrounds, knows how to appreciate fresh, crisp shirts.

    Wayne Tatusko (my laywer)

    LOL! Fantastic.

    Can you think of others?

    Yes.

    Kofi Annan
    Ryan Phillipe
    Michael Parkinson (the British Johnny Carson, and speaking of which...)
    Dick Cavett
    Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece
    Dr. Geza von Habsburg (of Christie's)
    Baron Cody Franchetti
    Will Smith

    Many many others, which I will post when I think of them -- these were mind-association links. :)

    Thanks for your wonderful reply, Lost. And for the compliment you pay me below.

    It took over 3 hours to compose this post, and it was worth every moment after reading what you wrote.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 02:33:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hmmm...I can post here but not at Althouse...

    I think I've worked that out, and perhaps you suspect the same, Ruth Anne.

    Blogger now limits access to large blogs, which I don't recall them doing before the Golden Globes...

    Thus, my blog is small in access, but Althouse's is of course, a top 500 one. It makes sense, right?

    Today is Clark Gable's birthday! I stopped at #10 to post this.

    No way! That is amusing. He was an Aquarian eh? Tough people. Somewhat crazy too. ;)

    You are sooooo right about Gable.

    Very underrated, considering his abilities not to mention FAME of yesteryear. Maybe that's why.

    I completely adore Mr. Gable.

    He's wonderful. Such raw masculinity he projects from that screen.

    I recently, and finally!, got the 4-disc commemorative Gone With The Wind. I can't wait to check out the featurettes, just for him.

    And BTW, I once saw Carol Burnett on Johnny Carson via Youtube. I love Carol, she's one of my heroines, but she said something I deeply disagree with.

    They were talking of Rhett versus Ashley, and she said she loved Clark Gable, but that she preferred Leslie Howard.

    UGH! That blond Hungarian, Englishman manqué!

    Well, not I, brother. I mean, sister.

    My grandmother remarried after my dad's father died to a man named John Clark. They named their summer beach retreat "Clark's Gables" which I just love.

    Fantastic! And since one day, I hope to live in Coral Gables...maybe near the DeSoto fountain...ask your grandma if I can name my home that too. :)

    Like Connery, he never does an accent.

    That's exactly who Connery reminds me of, in presence: Clark Gable.

    Of today's crop of actors, I would say Brendan Frasier projects the same kind of easy masculinity, but his career went down the dumps after God's Monster.

    But he is such a man's man that there's plenty of masculine pulcritude left over for people like me.

    LOL, what a wonderful turn of phrase.

    I just love him and you surely hit the nail on the head with his mention on your list. Now...on to read the rest of your massive missive.

    With my compliments, and happiness that you enjoyed Number 10. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 02:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Although I have great fondness for the late '80's Henry V, and even consider it a technically superior film,

    I'm forced to agree, with sadness! Olivier's celluloid Henry V was a little boring. :(

    My grandparents saw his stage version, and were blown away they told me, so it's sad he wasn't able to capture the magic on film.

    Larry Olivier is so stunningly handsome in the '44 version, it's incredible!

    Si! Lovely in Rebecca too, which made a believer in me, of his talents. Before I was, was he really all that good in his heydey?

    Yes, he was.

    Good call on the underrated Bob Montgomery!

    Sigh. Poor old Bob. He and Bill Powell exchanged the well-to-do parts for years. ;)

    Flynn: The Platonic Form of cad!

    LOL!

    Niven is outstanding! He just lacked the archetypal role like Gable or Bogie had...

    I agree, though I have to say his parody of himself in "Murder By Death" was outstanding.

    The film was awful, but it was that kind of awful good, like Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline with Audrey Hepburn, which you just enjoy for the people in it. ;)

    Astaire wasn't all that fond of wearing evening clothes! Nor did he exercise! He didn't even like going for a walk!

    Right. I read he hated evening dress, sigh! Such a letdown, when you find out such things.

    BTW, my dad HATES ties. He said they were invented to make men suffer by a torturous soul (funny, I don't think of Beau Brummel in torturer's terms ;).

    But he has never left his home to go to work, or little else in fact, without a tie. Some men, just know what is proper.

    When Fred and Ginger fought, they would call each other by their real last names, Austerlitz and McMath.

    No way, fantastic, thanks!

    Ginger called him a "spiritual Episcopalian."

    Oh dear, the Frozen Chosen as President Clinton so tactlessly put it at the Coretta Scott King funeral...

    Grant and Ginger were quite close; He has expressed regret he didn't marry her after she broke up with Lew Ayres...

    Ahh, Lew Ayres. He was like James Mason in his pacifism, only Mason didn't have the conviction of helping out as a medic, during the war.

    I have hoarded a few Astaire stories...

    Love to hear 'em.

    Thanks, as ever, for your reply. I gave you a mini-gift yesterday, but you gave me a bigger one, today, Ron. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 02:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • You can buy a man the most expensive designer suit available, if he doesnt know how to carry it - because you dont wear a good suit, you carry it - he's just going to look like a man in an expensive suits. All of those men you mentioned above knew how to carry a suit. They never looked awkward, constrained, uncomfortable.

    I also dont think you can make a man elegant. he either is, or isnt. he either knows how to be himself in an elegant suit or not.

    By Blogger Val Prieto, at Thu Feb 01, 03:57:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Disappointed not to see Tyrone Power on your list, though the rest are super. In most if not all of the books on style, Power is mentioned. Both he and Gary Cooper went to an exclusive suit-maker, Caraceni, in Italy, and both were known for their elegance. In fact, there's a clothing line coming out soon called The Legends Collection which will include both men. I don't really see either man interchangable at all with Robert Montgomery (though I'm a huge fan of all three).

    By Anonymous Marcia, at Thu Feb 01, 04:41:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oye, muchachon! Que casualidad. ;)

    I hope you have the champers on ice, because ya, ya, we'll be imbibing...

    You can buy a man the most expensive designer suit available,

    The British gentleman with the impossibly upright carriage at European Fashion Warehouse near the Falls would be my dad. ;)

    He's elegant, yes, but cheap.

    if he doesnt know how to carry it - because you dont wear a good suit, you carry it - he's just going to look like a man in an expensive suits.

    Right, like all those stockbrokers and bankers you see, in downtown Miami.

    God, the ties, the ties...how little men think about their ties, somehow.

    I love Sylvester, Tweety-Bird, and Winnie the Pooh, but Jesus guys, not with the $3400 Armani suit, you know?

    And BTW, no offence, but the young Cubiche YUCAs (Young Urban Cuban Americans) are the worst about that. They all look like car salesmen, with the damn ties.

    All of those men you mentioned above knew how to carry a suit. They never looked awkward, constrained, uncomfortable.

    Exactly, you hit the nail on the head, Val.

    I also dont think you can make a man elegant. he either is, or isnt. he either knows how to be himself in an elegant suit or not.

    I also agree about that -- elegance is innate, a word I used upteen number of times on this post.

    I think that one can FOR SURE smarten up a man, tidy him up, make him shine like a brand-new penny, and sometimes the results are startling.

    But elegance, is something else.

    The good thing about elegance, however, is that it's not tied to class or money.

    There was a young blond chap at my college in Oxford, who used to serve at High Table.

    He had a white shirt, black trousers, and a black pinny, but the WAY he wore them, was elegance incarnate.

    My eyes used to follow him around the dining hall, although he never noticed...or maybe he pretended not to notice, since of course, being graceful about others' faux pas is also a sign of elegance.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 04:43:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hey Marcia, thanks for commenting. :)

    Disappointed not to see Tyrone Power on your list, though the rest are super.

    As I say, Number 9 was a plug-and-play choice, with Tyrone Power being a very possible selection.

    Other elegant men could have included Robert Taylor, Adolphe Menjou, John Barrymore, even Montgomery Clift.

    (I personally don't think that Rock Hudson was elegant -- although my mother does...to me, he was trying too hard to be the American Cary Grant)

    Ty Power was a gorgeous man, perhaps the most beautiful Hollywood star of his time, and that's saying something.

    In most if not all of the books on style, Power is mentioned. Both he and Gary Cooper went to an exclusive suit-maker, Caraceni, in Italy, and both were known for their elegance.

    Nice! I didn't know that, thanks for the info.

    Yes, Gary Cooper was another choice at Number 9 -- Gary Cooper in tweeds...drool.

    In fact, there's a clothing line coming out soon called The Legends Collection which will include both men. I don't really see either man interchangable at all with Robert Montgomery (though I'm a huge fan of all three).

    Ah well. :)

    Perhaps you figured out that I kinda erred on the side of the actor who doesn't get much print these days, and that's a shame.

    I mean, who remembers Doug Fairbanks, Jr, today, right?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 04:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Another possibility at Number 9 was Vincent Price -- the pseudo-Englishman born in Missouri.

    Lovely presentation, all around.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 04:51:00 pm GMT-5  

  • God, the ties, the ties...how little men think about their ties, somehow.

    I try to think as little of my ties as humanly possible. I so despise the collar snakes that I've gone totally with banded collars. Ties are no longer necessary!

    And I've been told that I clean up well...

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Thu Feb 01, 04:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I try to think as little of my ties as humanly possible.

    When I was a kid, my dad had a huge walk-in closet in our flat in Belgravia (we soon moved to one in Holland Park, which was as pokey as a cupboard...).

    I remember running my little hand over his tie-rack, in the various shades of blue, grey, and black, which he favoured. Not a yellow tie in the joint, like Ricky Gervais.

    Interestingly, my least favourite was the Guards Tie. I think, even today, that it's hideous and boring.

    If I were a man, I think my favourite article of clothing would be the tie.

    But then, it's like an accessory, isn't it, and that's very fashion forward for women.

    I so despise the collar snakes that I've gone totally with banded collars. Ties are no longer necessary!

    Boo! ;)

    And I've been told that I clean up well...

    Well, at least that, else you and I will never be seen in public!

    P.S.: I've 'cleaned up' only two of my boyfriends. I suppose it's true that I don't want a rich slob, but also, I don't want a guy who just hasn't a clue -- then you have to play the virago role, and bully him around about his looks, and well, who needs the aggravation?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 01, 05:06:00 pm GMT-5  

  • A couple of F&G stories:

    Rogers was a Christian Scientist who never visited a doctor, ever, and used to say little prayers before dance takes. This led to lifetime friendships with more religious members of the crews...

    She also never drank, and had a soda fountain installed in her Beverly Hills house, back when that was novel.

    Fred and Gene Kelly used to hang out together in social situations pretending to talk business just to duck the inevitably requests from women to dance. "They wanted us to fly them around the room, not knowing how hard that was!, " said Kelly.

    Fred's wife actively discouraged female guest to their home, out of the notion that they would try to steal Fred away....

    Best F&G post-film moment together? The '67 Oscars. They were supposed to present the Best Screenwriter Oscar, coming from opposite sides of the stage and meeting at the podium. But Fred met up with Ginger on the same side, and talked her into dancing out to the stage, which they did to a standing ovation! Talk about scene stealing!

    Perhaps a few more later!

    Speaking of your #1, did you play my audio file sent to you yet? It would fit in nicely, if we still had Audioblogger around!

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Feb 01, 05:42:00 pm GMT-5  

  • In general I agree with you (though I've always thought Astaire should be number one on a list like this) but let's draw a distinction between the roles that people played in the movies and who they are in real life.

    In particular I am thinking of a guy who played absolutely the opposite of elegance in the movies-- Charlie Chaplin, who was one of the most charming and elegant men there was in person.

    There are also people who are apparently great actors on screen and boorish beyond belief off the screen (Tom Cruise springs to mind, although to be honest he's always played a bit irritating to me).

    Another modern actor who I consider elegant (though his primary exposure in Star Trek didn't allow him to show all of it) is Patrick Stewart.

    i darth aggie:

    Sometimes women have to wear heels, and sometimes we have to wear that noose around our neck. It's the way things are. I've learned to get used to it. And I own some very nice ties (and not a single Rush tie among them, thank you, nor would I ever wear one of those ties that is supposed to look like a trout.)

    By Blogger Eli Blake, at Fri Feb 02, 01:56:00 am GMT-5  

  • Updated pic:

    Rudy Valentino

    Hotcha mama!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 03:11:00 am GMT-5  

  • Rogers was a Christian Scientist who never visited a doctor, ever, and used to say little prayers before dance takes.

    Heh. There is a famous "take" that Astaire made Rogers do, after she had done a dance with him more than two dozen times, without pause.

    The take he liked was the one where her own purse slapped her full on her mush, as she twirled around.

    That woman must've had such a constitution...

    This led to lifetime friendships with more religious members of the crews...

    That's great, but as a physician's daughter, I'm not too partial to Christian Scientists...no offence to anyone here, but you know how it is.

    She also never drank, and had a soda fountain installed in her Beverly Hills house, back when that was novel.

    Nice! Reminds me of:

    I heard that a famous rocker (Jon Bon Jovi? Or was it Alice Cooper...), had a full Starbucks shop installed in his home, and even took the official Starbucks server course, with course diploma and everything. :)

    Fred and Gene Kelly used to hang out together in social situations pretending to talk business just to duck the inevitably requests from women to dance. "They wanted us to fly them around the room, not knowing how hard that was!, " said Kelly.

    Hehe.

    The endless comparisons between these two men...for the record, I appreciate both. Kelly's more working-class versatility, and the oozing professionalism of Fred Astaire.

    Can't one?

    Fred's wife actively discouraged female guest to their home, out of the notion that they would try to steal Fred away....

    I bet!

    Best F&G post-film moment together? The '67 Oscars. They were supposed to present the Best Screenwriter Oscar, coming from opposite sides of the stage and meeting at the podium. But Fred met up with Ginger on the same side, and talked her into dancing out to the stage, which they did to a standing ovation! Talk about scene stealing!

    Holy Moses, you're kidding. I'm off to Youtube to see if it's there, thanks Ron! :)

    Perhaps a few more later!

    Do!

    Speaking of your #1, did you play my audio file sent to you yet? It would fit in nicely, if we still had Audioblogger around!

    To paraphrase Lou Costello:

    I'm a baaaaaaad girl, Ron. But I will. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 03:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • In general I agree with you (though I've always thought Astaire should be number one on a list like this)

    The thing of it is, as Astaire grew older, he seemed to favour rather dowdy tweeds, and did away with ties altogether in favour of Hermes-type scarfs (!).

    And he is on record for saying that he never cared for his de rigueur white tie and tails, Eli...

    AFAIK, Cary Grant ADORED his tuxes, and looked IMPECCABLE until his dying day -- like Joe DiMaggio.

    So I gave Cary Grant top spot, because of that.

    but let's draw a distinction between the roles that people played in the movies and who they are in real life.

    Surely.

    But that was one of my greatest criteria -- in fact, I barely cared if the actor was sartorially natty on the silver screen.

    I chose each and every person, because of his splendour IN REAL LIFE.

    In particular I am thinking of a guy who played absolutely the opposite of elegance in the movies-- Charlie Chaplin, who was one of the most charming and elegant men there was in person.

    Yes, he was.

    And like so many of his time and background, he knew that his accent had to be "improved" -- I have heard the real Chaplin speak, and he sounds quite posh, quite unlike someone from his background would've, in Britain.

    There are also people who are apparently great actors on screen and boorish beyond belief off the screen (Tom Cruise springs to mind, although to be honest he's always played a bit irritating to me).

    Really? I never heard that Tom Cruise was boorish off-screen.

    But I can't help but note that you insinuated he is "apparently a great actor"...WHAT?! :)

    Tom Cruise is a cringingly foul actor -- and I say this as a rah-rah admirer of Top Gun, one of the best popcorn movies EVER.

    Cruise also was one of the first actors to eschew the formal dinner jacket in favour of a normal business suit (albeit with silk black tie), on occasions such as the Oscar.

    Oh God, no.

    That is immediate cause in my book, for elegant man disbarrment.

    Another modern actor who I consider elegant (though his primary exposure in Star Trek didn't allow him to show all of it) is Patrick Stewart.

    Big time! Good call. Also, Christopher Lee.

    Sometimes women have to wear heels, and sometimes we have to wear that noose around our neck. It's the way things are. I've learned to get used to it. And I own some very nice ties (and not a single Rush tie among them, thank you, nor would I ever wear one of those ties that is supposed to look like a trout.)

    Rush as in Limbaugh, or frat rush week? :)

    If the former, thank God. Rush Limbaugh has execrable taste in clothing.

    But Bill O'Reilly is quite elegant.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 03:29:00 am GMT-5  

  • There is an Old Hollywood connexion to this next couple, but they are not actors.

    After the movie, Rasputin and the Empress came out, which had starred the three Barrymore siblings, the producers were sued by the real-life participants in the film, which strongly alleged that a niece of the Tsarina, had been ravaged by the monster, Rasputin.

    That woman was perhaps one of the most innately elegant women that ever lived...and her husband, one of the most elegant men who ever lived.

    Felix and Irina Yussupov

    And for good measure, so was her second-cousin once removed, and fellow Rasputin assassin, Grand Duke Dmitri.

    Butter. All of them.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 03:47:00 am GMT-5  

  • That new Valentino pic...at first I thought that was me...In my mind's eye...then I thought, "Wait, I don't surf!"... :)

    Yes, the infamous take where Fred gets hit in the face is from "Let's Face The Music and Dance," which is my single favorite(for reasons I'll give if you want!) of their 33 dances together! (BTW, in their 9 films at RKO, F&G spent literally a year -- 8 hours a day, 368 days on the clock -- just in dance rehearsal time with each other!)
    Fred got belted with the whirling beads from her gown sleeve.

    That woman must've had such a constitution... Astaire has said that one of the major problems he had in rehearsal was that he had to play "counseler" to some of his partners who, through anxiety, would break down over their ability to dance a number. But, said Fred, "never Ginger. She'd sooner punch you than admit she couldn't do something."

    that '67 Oscar thing? Sigh, believe me I have looked. I have a few stills...

    The Smithsonian has most her clothing from the RKO days, but try finding pics of it on their website! I'm sort of curious what colors things actually were...

    Yes, Ginger's lack of medical care I think led to a lot of pain the last 10 years of her life. She did wind up in a wheelchair. She did do a book tour for her autobiography, (which she also did the audio book reading for!) when she was quite infirm... I think she lasted to 84 out of sheer cussedness...

    I remember picking up the Entertainment Weekly with her two page obit, and then...you turn the page...and the very next page begins this cover piece on Ms. Sandy Bullock, then staring in While You Were Sleeping. So goes the wheel of life....

    By Blogger Ron, at Fri Feb 02, 05:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh, I should pass on tales of F&G's actual hot-and-heavy romance in 1930 sometime...

    By Blogger Ron, at Fri Feb 02, 05:18:00 am GMT-5  

  • Although I certainly agree with you that the men in your top ten list are elegant, I can not entirely endorse everything you wrote.

    In the first place, it is very well possible to praise somebody without covering someone else with disdain.
    Therefore, to my opinion the Depp-comparison could have been left out of your article.
    The examples of elegant gentlemen you mentioned, are (or were) one by one excellent enough to do without deriding comparisons with contemporary collegues.

    Second: from the examples of elegant men you mention, I take that you have a very specific personal definition of the value "elegant".
    After all, these are all men from a certain time period, with generally the same style.
    I perceive elegancy in a different way.
    To me it's an inner refinement, that will show up anyway - no matter what clothes.

    I saw Depp once, at an airport.
    He was dressed grungy as they call it; a style you obviously don't perceive as elegant.
    I do, however I don't dress that way myself.
    It can appear as a sort of wrecked elegancy, but only when the inner refinement is strong enough to shine through.
    Then it suddenly becomes a highly attractive sort of laissez-faire.

    With Depp it is that way, I think.
    It really wouldn't matter a thing what clothes he is wearing.
    One could take a garbage-bag, cut a couple of holes in it, pull it over his head and he would still appear so in tune with himself, that the next day the fashion designers would be ordering large amounts of garbage bags.

    Quite a serene person.
    It shows up especially in the way Depp treats people around him.
    Even a hysterically crying fan (pulling at him, initially) asking for an autograph, was treated gently and respectfully, with the result that the young lady calmed down immediately.

    Depp excused himself that he couldn't stay any longer and talk to everyone in the group of bystanders; his plane was about to leave.

    There is definitely an oxymoronical touch to that.
    In spite of a (very!) old shirt, being soft-spoken, polite and gentle to people from the audience, even while carrying luggage.
    That's what I call elegant.
    No good looks or an expensive suit will ever beat that.
    It's elegancy from within.

    Yours sincerely,

    Elke,
    The Netherlands.

    By Anonymous Elke, at Fri Feb 02, 05:58:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh, and, even though this was completely unplanned, F&G are buried with 100 feet of each other in Hollywood...

    By Blogger Ron, at Fri Feb 02, 11:10:00 am GMT-5  

  • I've 'cleaned up' only two of my boyfriends.

    My dear Victoria, aren't you supposed to do that? well, at least once a relationship has progressed to some point? think of it as a way of marking your territory...

    Eli:

    Sometimes women have to wear heels, and sometimes we have to wear that noose around our neck. It's the way things are.

    And I reject both. There's no good reason for either, other than some notion of fashion.

    Given a choice, I'll wear that tie before exposing a woman to heels that cause physical damage to their ankles and knees (and possibly their spine). I think a significant number of heel styles are simply ridiculous.

    Just say "no" to heels and ties. Unless you have a heel or tie fetish...

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Fri Feb 02, 01:31:00 pm GMT-5  

  • That new Valentino pic...at first I thought that was me...In my mind's eye...then I thought, "Wait, I don't surf!"... :)

    UH-HUH. ;)

    Yes, the infamous take where Fred gets hit in the face is from "Let's Face The Music and Dance," which is my single favorite(for reasons I'll give if you want!) of their 33 dances together! (BTW, in their 9 films at RKO, F&G spent literally a year -- 8 hours a day, 368 days on the clock -- just in dance rehearsal time with each other!)
    Fred got belted with the whirling beads from her gown sleeve.


    That's it! Not Ginger as I wrote.

    "never Ginger. She'd sooner punch you than admit she couldn't do something."

    Dude, she was a Texan. There's a reason Lance Armstrong is too.

    that '67 Oscar thing? Sigh, believe me I have looked. I have a few stills...

    Yeah, I looked on Youtube. Nothing. Lots of Top Hat, but not this wonderful reference.

    I remember picking up the Entertainment Weekly with her two page obit, and then...you turn the page...and the very next page begins this cover piece on Ms. Sandy Bullock, then staring in While You Were Sleeping. So goes the wheel of life....

    God always provides, Ron.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 03:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh, I should pass on tales of F&G's actual hot-and-heavy romance in 1930 sometime...

    Squeeze me? So at least some of their antipathy was based on a failed affair??

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 03:57:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Although I certainly agree with you that the men in your top ten list are elegant, I can not entirely endorse everything you wrote.

    Aww, man, Elke. Don't be such a stick in the mud!

    Relax, be happy. These folks don't care about my opinion, capiche? ;)

    In the first place, it is very well possible to praise somebody without covering someone else with disdain.

    Teach me. I am your willing disciple, Mistress Elke.

    Therefore, to my opinion the Depp-comparison could have been left out of your article.
    The examples of elegant gentlemen you mentioned, are (or were) one by one excellent enough to do without deriding comparisons with contemporary collegues.


    Elke, come on. Let me ask you, are you always this PC when reading other people's writing?

    Do you shake your fist at Mr. Blackwell's Worst-Dressed List, and curse the heavens for making him hurt these famous people's dress sense?

    This is a funny blog, written by a girl who (though it may appear that she does) doesn't take herself that seriously.

    Don't you take me that seriously, either, please.

    Second: from the examples of elegant men you mention, I take that you have a very specific personal definition of the value "elegant".

    Why, surely. Don't we all?

    After all, these are all men from a certain time period, with generally the same style.
    I perceive elegancy in a different way.


    Elke, what part of "Most Elegant (OLD) Hollywood Actors" did you not understand?

    Obviously, it's about a specific time period, about specific men, and what specifically they might've worn.

    Specifically.

    To me it's an inner refinement, that will show up anyway - no matter what clothes.

    Agreed. But how do you think I disagree with this?

    I saw Depp once, at an airport.
    He was dressed grungy as they call it; a style you obviously don't perceive as elegant.


    No I don't. Grungy is foul. It forms the very antithesis of elegance because, and I hope you're sitting down when you read this, it's fussy.

    Elegance is simplicity.

    (BTW, I once saw David Ginola at Heathrow, too. He was wearing merely a Nike type cling white t-shirt, and some blue jeans...but OH how he wore them! So elegant)

    I do, however I don't dress that way myself.

    Bully for you.

    It can appear as a sort of wrecked elegancy, but only when the inner refinement is strong enough to shine through.

    That's great, but this wasn't a blogpost about morals, or inner elegance.

    It was specifically (there's that pesky word again) about outer elegance.

    You think I countenance the fact that Errol Flynn was a statutory rapist, or that I approve of Robert Montgomery's alcoholism?

    (Oh my God, I so dissed Robert Montgomery by judging him! What kind of a criminal am I!)

    Then it suddenly becomes a highly attractive sort of laissez-faire.

    Right. It was a post about dress sense, and elegance, not a beatification ceremony at the Vatican.

    With Depp it is that way, I think.

    Lovey. You know this first-hand, do you?

    The fact that he's been in the clink for trashing his hotel room a few times, doesn't worry you about his inner elegance, does it?

    I mean, I could care less about that aspect of Mr. Depp, as you can see, I consider him a better actor than even the sainted Mr. Sean Penn.

    But since you're flinging around criteria, and stuff, I just wanted to make sure about your own judgement.

    It really wouldn't matter a thing what clothes he is wearing.

    Yes, it does. We have to look at him.

    One could take a garbage-bag, cut a couple of holes in it, pull it over his head and he would still appear so in tune with himself, that the next day the fashion designers would be ordering large amounts of garbage bags.

    Methinks you rather like Johnny Depp.

    Quite a serene person.

    Meconfirms.

    It shows up especially in the way Depp treats people around him.

    Mestartstogetnervous.

    Even a hysterically crying fan (pulling at him, initially) asking for an autograph, was treated gently and respectfully, with the result that the young lady calmed down immediately.

    I would have kept yelling in his face. I mean, MY GOD IT'S JOHNNY DEPP! *screams*

    Depp excused himself that he couldn't stay any longer and talk to everyone in the group of bystanders; his plane was about to leave.

    That's nice...

    There is definitely an oxymoronical touch to that.
    In spite of a (very!) old shirt, being soft-spoken, polite and gentle to people from the audience, even while carrying luggage.
    That's what I call elegant.
    No good looks or an expensive suit will ever beat that.
    It's elegancy from within.


    ...but he's still a slob.

    Yours sincerely,

    Elke,
    The Netherlands.


    I am a kidding person, Elke. Don't take my words so much to heart.

    Come back anytime, where you will get the same bad treatment, I mean!, the same courtesy in reply.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 04:12:00 pm GMT-5  

  • My dear Victoria, aren't you supposed to do that? well, at least once a relationship has progressed to some point? think of it as a way of marking your territory...

    Every woman, IRA Darth baby, changes her husband, and that change is particularly felt in his wardrobe.

    First, men hate shopping for themselves. Second, women are controlling harridans.

    Or, we just don't want to be dressed up to our eyeballs, and have a guy look like death warmed up, next to us.

    But what I meant is that there are some men that...well...maybe they clean up nicely, but I don't want to be the one putting on the rubber gloves, ya know?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 02, 04:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "an innate understanding that you have to IMPROVE people"

    Well, now they "improve" the starlets. A poor trade, I think.

    "Gary Cooper"

    Dead on. Even John Doe gets great suits.

    I don't watch much movie peripheral stuff, so I've no idea how current stars dress in real life, but the only one whose clothes I've found myself admiring onscreen is Ralph Fiennes. Like that fantastic movie about tweeds and flannels -- The End of the Affair.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sat Feb 03, 02:50:00 am GMT-5  

  • Well, now they "improve" the starlets. A poor trade, I think.

    You mean, fake boobs and the like?

    The first thing Studios used to do to you, was to see if you're teeth passed muster. If they didn't, they'd put caps on you, like it or not.

    Then, they'd give you the once over physically. As everyone knows, Rita Hayworth (of Spanish descent) had to have her hairline raised with painful electrolysis. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

    So in effect, Hollywood has always sought to improve, prettify, and make more admirable.

    Dead on. Even John Doe gets great suits.

    True. And he was elegant in real life (his evening dress was flawless).

    Interestingly, a lot of the better dressed men came from good backgrounds.

    Cooper was the son of a judge. Montgomery's parents were NY socialites (as was the natty, but not elegant Humphrey Bogart), Doug Fairbanks, Jr, well, you know, Rudolph Valentino came from impoverished but noble background, William Powell and David Niven both came from upper-middle class families, Astaire was Austrian and they never look bad. Only dear old Archie Leach and Clark Gable came from working class neighbourhoods, which goes to show, anyone can look good, regardless of the way you were raised.

    I don't watch much movie peripheral stuff, so I've no idea how current stars dress in real life, but the only one whose clothes I've found myself admiring onscreen is Ralph Fiennes. Like that fantastic movie about tweeds and flannels -- The End of the Affair.

    Good call. And LOL about the End of the Affair.

    More elegant actors, today, include:

    James and Edward Fox
    Pierce Brosnan
    Terrence Howard
    Ben Affleck
    Jake Gyllenhaal
    David Hyde-Pierce
    Kevin Spacey
    Kevin Kline
    Brendan Routh (the new Superman)
    Alan Rickman
    Hugh Laurie

    The list today isn't endless, and elegance means something else, but these men up top consistently dress with a sence of style and occasion.

    But I just hate superficial people who look at someone, say if he's a British man which to them means elegance incarnate, and say, oh he's elegant!

    Like Jeremy Northam, who is as much of a slob offscreen as he is impeccable onscreen, and even Rupert Everett, who goes around in Simon Cowell black tees, unshaven. Ick.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 03, 01:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hello Victoria,

    Thank you for your meticulous reply.
    It's written in the same pitch you wrote about Depp.
    I consider that to be an honour.

    And yes, I quite like the guy.
    I've always been particularly fond of those "not-going-to-walk-anybody's-lines"-people, those who refuse categorically to sell out on integrity, and who are willing to pay the price for it.
    Especially when they have a strong own idea of what line they ARE going to walk.

    "The fact that he's been in the clink for trashing his hotel room a few times, doesn't worry you about his inner elegance, does it?
    [...]
    But since you're flinging around criteria, and stuff, I just wanted to make sure about your own judgement."


    Having travelled a rather bumpy road myself, I don't judge people that easily for what they were like in the past.
    I just comment on what I see now.
    See, not think, or being told.
    And I liked what I saw at that airport.
    First hand, lovey.

    By the way, the guy seems to have been in the klink for, er, redesigning a paparazzi as well.
    Jesus, I really hope he did that well-dressed and with a lot of inner-refinement-sort-of-elegance, otherwise you will be hammering on me, I fear.

    "but he's still a slob."

    Er, yes.
    An elegant slob (speaking of oxymorons).
    And one that doesn't need a studio to control him, and from there to cultivate him.
    Hurray.

    "Elke, what part of "Most Elegant (OLD) Hollywood Actors" did you not understand?"

    Oh, mind you, I got that very well.
    The brackets around "old" allowed you to go into that, to my opinion completely unnecessary, deriding comparison with a contemporary collegue.
    I reckon you're really content with that little invention?

    "I would have kept yelling in his face. I mean, MY GOD IT'S JOHNNY DEPP! *screams*"

    Hm, not for me, thank you.
    I'm insusceptible to fame, thank God.
    Fame holds no human qualities or values; just quantities.
    How many people do like someone, how much money her daddy has, etc.
    When I was in the place of some famous person (that sentence seems to be fucked-up to me; probably due to literally translating from Dutch), I would rather be around people that liked me for personal reasons, than because of a quantitative analysis such as fame.
    And I tend not to do to other people, what I wouldn't like to be done to myself.
    Just personal reasons to keep on the safe side; no intentions of holier-than-thou.

    So at that airport, I stood a little apart and watched the scene.
    That brought me a little salute and a wink as Depp left for his plane.
    I returned both the salute and the wink.

    Enough for me.
    A salute and a wink of and oxymoronical, elegant slob that I hold high. :-))

    By the way, my personal favorite from your list is David Niven.
    I always felt that he mastered the touch to dress for the occasion, while maintaining a distinct personal style.
    Never overdressed.
    *URRGHL* - overdressed.
    But you of course already got it, that I'd rather prefer underdressed if I had to choose. ;-)

    By Anonymous Elke, at Sat Feb 03, 05:03:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hello Victoria,

    Thank you for your meticulous reply.
    It's written in the same pitch you wrote about Depp.
    I consider that to be an honour.


    I will respond in a little more serious tone, below, because though your English is flawless, Elke, I want to make sure you understand my (very minor) points, even if you never return to the blog again, though I hope you will.

    In this time of war, and fraticidal bickering, we average citizens around the world should be clear as to our intent when communicating with each other.

    That's one of the ways blogs are of service to humanity -- to allow the frank exchange of views with all and sundry.

    (How's that for pompous? Okay, serious, serious, come on Vic, pull yourself together!)

    And yes, I quite like the guy.
    I've always been particularly fond of those "not-going-to-walk-anybody's-lines"-people, those who refuse categorically to sell out on integrity, and who are willing to pay the price for it.
    Especially when they have a strong own idea of what line they ARE going to walk.


    I do too, Elke. I admire rebels, but being decorous by nature, I admire their causes more than their actions, at times.

    I'm not sure if I can get my point across much better than that, since I'm describing a feeling, but perhaps you understand me.

    Having travelled a rather bumpy road myself, I don't judge people that easily for what they were like in the past.

    The problem with your words is that you feel I have judged Johnny Depp in passing, in the first lines of my blogpost -- not just as a dresser, but later, as a person.

    Listen, Elke, I love Johnny Depp's range as an actor, and where others were panning him for his emotional outbursts, I told my friends that demons are what makes artists great.

    I don't put myself in his shoes, because I haven't lived his life, but I think you have taken my blogpost (even more puzzingly, just the first few lines of it), and perhaps the purpose of my blog, a little too seriously.

    God knows, that is never my intention, unless you notice that my tone in a blogpost, is very sincere, and specifically serious (see the Holocaust Memorial post, below).

    Otherwise, it's meant for fun. I can't impress that enough on you.

    I just comment on what I see now.
    See, not think, or being told.


    Good. But by profession and disposition, I am am historian.

    The purpose of an historian is to take the whole sweep of a person's life into context, not just first-hand experiences (if that were the case, no one would be able to know anything, or write about it, since we cannot know history first-hand all the time).

    And it's on the record that poor Johnny has punched reporters, and wrecked his hotel rooms, more than a few times. We won't mention his intrapersonal relationships, or his avowed dislike of his homeland, which make his words seem very superficial about them.

    Is what you saw the real Johnny, that elegant-on-the-inside man? Or is it also the guy who goes into such a rage, as to destroy a hotel room to the 10,000s of thousands of dollars?

    Obviously, it's both.

    And I liked what I saw at that airport.

    Good deal. He sounds a champ.

    First hand, lovey.

    Please excuse my earlier typo, Elke. It wasn't 'lovey', but should have read "lovely".

    We British start off a sentence like that at times, which I hoped you might get even with the typo, but I see perhaps you didn't.

    (When a situation is a little tense, it's important not to make sure people understand your exact meaning, don't you agree?)

    By the way, the guy seems to have been in the klink for, er, redesigning a paparazzi as well.
    Jesus, I really hope he did that well-dressed and with a lot of inner-refinement-sort-of-elegance, otherwise you will be hammering on me, I fear.


    The thing of it is, his slovenliness is not a character indictment, but it shows you that his public presentation, not always the kind you witnessed, goes with his sloppy attitudes in dressing, at times.

    Is a person much more likely to be cultivated, elegant, refined in manner, when he dresses well?

    No. Of course not.

    Recently, the Crown Prince of Italy PUNCHED his cousin Amedeo, Duke of Savoy full on the face during the Prince of Asturia's wedding.

    Vittorio Emanuele is one of Europe's best dressed men. His manners are on the surface, suave. But he's an utter UTTER cad. Of that there is no doubt.

    So you see, my few comments about Johnny Depp do not take into account how he is in real life -- that doesn't interest me.

    In mentioning him in passing how he is seen as a well-dressed or elegant man, I simply say, no way.

    Elegance is surely more than choosing the right colours and ties to wear -- but there are words to describe that, since elegance is usually a question of clothes or design.

    What perhaps you mean is...

    Er, yes.
    An elegant slob (speaking of oxymorons).


    ...that Johnny Depp has grace.

    You don't need to look good to have grace. Grace is about acting, not just being, and that's how Depp behaved in that airport scene.

    Kudos to him.

    And one that doesn't need a studio to control him, and from there to cultivate him.
    Hurray.


    By this I see that you believe that changing someone is almost fascist, and an imposition of someone's else values on that person.

    Perhaps, but for centuries that was a way of creating well brought up people -- something which we have lost, and lost badly, in the modern age.

    Johnny Depp is hardly the poster child for this malaise, but I do put it to you that a little polish on the man, would not have gone amiss.

    Having ideals, or convictions, isn't only for rebellious, coarse or diamond-in-the-rough acting people, though sometimes those are the people who are elevated as more honest, because there is no "show" about them.

    As you can imagine, I find this sentiment distasteful, because in some way, it implies that I and peopel who think like me, am not genuine.

    Don't be so quick to dislike people who are controlled -- even if you yourself are one such controlled person.

    What they lack in rebellious spontaneity, they more than make up for authenticity of character.


    Oh, mind you, I got that very well.
    The brackets around "old" allowed you to go into that, to my opinion completely unnecessary, deriding comparison with a contemporary collegue.


    Fair enough.

    I reckon you're really content with that little invention?

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that, so I will not go into it.


    Hm, not for me, thank you.
    I'm insusceptible to fame, thank God.
    Fame holds no human qualities or values; just quantities.
    How many people do like someone, how much money her daddy has, etc.
    When I was in the place of some famous person (that sentence seems to be fucked-up to me; probably due to literally translating from Dutch), I would rather be around people that liked me for personal reasons, than because of a quantitative analysis such as fame.
    And I tend not to do to other people, what I wouldn't like to be done to myself.
    Just personal reasons to keep on the safe side; no intentions of holier-than-thou.


    Elke, I was kidding. Using sarcasm, irony, comedic timing...you know?

    See, what I mean about sometimes words not being readily understood and thus perhaps leading to unneeded trouble?

    ...but won't the joke be on me if what you said in this paragraph is a joke too, hah!

    So at that airport, I stood a little apart and watched the scene.
    That brought me a little salute and a wink as Depp left for his plane.
    I returned both the salute and the wink.

    Enough for me.
    A salute and a wink of and oxymoronical, elegant slob that I hold high. :-))


    Graceful. Poised. Polite even. But not elegant, Elke, please. It's an oxymoron too far.

    By the way, my personal favorite from your list is David Niven.
    I always felt that he mastered the touch to dress for the occasion, while maintaining a distinct personal style.
    Never overdressed.
    *URRGHL* - overdressed.


    Interestingly, there are few men in Britain that have a better reputation than does David Niven.

    He's the guy everyone wanted to be, but were aware they could never really be, because he was so effortlessly genuinely impeccably...elegant.

    A bit like...

    But you of course already got it, that I'd rather prefer underdressed if I had to choose. ;-)

    ...this lady: Audrey Hepburn.

    One day, when I was a young girl, I opened a magazine and some the elegantissima Audrey Hepburn down on her haunches, in the dirt in Africa, wearing a pair of khakis, some sneakers, and a demin shirt.

    And I tell you, I have never seen her looking more elegant, than in that picture.

    No, I'm not going to lie and say that she looked better than in The Nun's Story, or Breakfast at Tiffany's, or Sabrina.

    She didn't.

    But she had a radiance, a simplicity, a sense of occasion and yet a majesty, that I honestly don't think, Elke, we will see on this earth again.

    Johnny Depp doesn't have this majesty, this sense of occasion, this need to present himself at his best, in a sartorial sense, but it seems, based on your one anecdote...that he at least has a sense of kindness and appropriateness in public.

    That is what I miss, and that is the only reason that I wrote this post.

    And this massively long reply to you, so that you can understand my point.

    That no matter how lovely, charming and graceful a person Johnny Depp is, a person like Audrey Hepburn was all that, AND SHE STILL KNEW HOW TO ATTIRE HERSELF WELL IN PUBLIC.

    That's all.

    No need for a Judgement in Nürnberg about the topic.

    Just two viewpoints which are at odds with each other, but which hopefully, both you and I have gotten our points across to each other, at last.

    I wish you well, Elke. Thanks for coming to Sundries to reply to my post.

    Come back anytime.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 03, 07:21:00 pm GMT-5  

  • As you can imagine, I find this sentiment distasteful, because in some way, it implies that I and peopel who think like me, am not genuine.

    ARGH! What on earth -- such a complete lack of grammar, and syntax in this reply.

    But I'm tired of writing further, having had a long day, so just like the post on the Duggar Family, I hope you will forgive these typos.

    Seize the meaning, not the spelling! En guarde!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 03, 07:30:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The Audrey photo in Africa got de-hotlinked.

    So here's another one.

    And here's a picture of her with a young fan, who caught her in the middle of the street and asked for a photo.

    Who says the Dutch aren't polite huh? ;)

    Now I know it's not fair to compare Audrey Hepburn to Johnny Depp, but you know, she's got timeless, ethereal, unbelievable amounts of class.

    He's just nice.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Feb 04, 12:58:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Speaking of "Dutch" . . .

    No room for this actor on your list?

    (I heard somewhere that he did a few things after his acting career ended . . .)

    By Blogger XWL, at Sun Feb 04, 03:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Heh, XWL, I didn't want to be accused of being too partisan (moi?).

    But yes, Reagan certainly had a style about him. He knew how to wear clothes.

    However, as he grew older, he became a little stuffier, in that awful 1950s starched shirt way. The 60s were much of the same.

    It was really only in the late 70s and of course, the 80s, that he recaptured some of that elegance, that he had promised as a youthful B-actor.

    He was dashing, to me, without exactly being elegant.

    I thought his ideological antithesis, Melvyn Douglas (remember Helen Gahagan Doughlas ;), was much more elegant, TBH.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 06, 03:03:00 pm GMT-5  

  • William Powell is deluxe. He played about six different personalities in "I Love You Again" and was believable to the core. The screen sizzles when the Clark Gable scenes are playing in "Manhattan Melodrama," but Myrna Loy goes home to William Powell. Who wouldn't want to? At the end of the day, William Powell was trustworthy and that's a key element in "elegance." Trustworthy -- didn't Audrey Hepburn fall for Cary Grant's lines every time in "Charade"?

    Another elegant man was Joseph Cotten. He is to die for (and many women did) in that houndstooth sport coat in "Shadow of a Doubt."

    And Charles Boyer. Ooh, la, la!

    By Blogger lohwoman, at Fri Feb 16, 01:30:00 pm GMT-5  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger lohwoman, at Fri Feb 16, 07:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Aack! I forgot a key thing about the divine William Powell.

    When we watch something from our collection of Powell-Loy flicks, my husband points out, "She (meaning Myrna) even looks good in waders," or, "She even looks good in an icebag."

    Well, how about Nick Charles in those white silk pajamas? Elegant!

    By Blogger lohwoman, at Fri Feb 16, 09:12:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Well, wheeeeeere's Johnny? One of television's most beautifully turned out men, Johnny Carson's attire was as slick as his wit. No list is complete without him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 21, 10:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Cary Grant, I grew up watching his films, always impeccable

    By Blogger Candid Cool, at Sat May 12, 06:25:00 pm GMT-4  

  • michael caine :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 10, 07:24:00 am GMT-4  

  • gregory peck

    By Blogger Kristin, at Fri Apr 18, 05:34:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Plzzzzz, u cant miss out Rock Hudson and Gregory Peck from this list.....!!

    By Blogger MonAmi, at Sat Nov 22, 09:39:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm loving the comments, just as much as the original post. This is all I'm going to say.

    http://img2.allposters.com/images/77/039_25514.jpg

    Absolute perfection.

    By Blogger Kimber, at Sun Nov 01, 02:27:00 pm GMT-5  

  • tyrone power, cary grant, james stewart.

    By Blogger virna medina, at Sun Jul 04, 09:11:00 am GMT-4  

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