Nine Unlikely Style Icons from Cult Movies
These guys may not always be the bravest, or the coolest, or even human. But every one of them has their own unique style that left an impression, no matter how long their actual screen time...
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When it comes to the best-dressed men in movies, it’s always the usual suspects: James Bond, Steve McQueen, blah blah blah...
But what about the oddballs, the men whose fashion sense is a little more unusual? The slightly off-centre guys, the renegades who like to influence, not imitate. We’ve picked nine of our favourite male characters from cult movies with their own unique sense of style. They may not always be the hero, but these characters each have a powerful look of their own that could certainly liven up your wardrobe.
Jesus Quintana (The Big Lebowski)
By day he may be an apologetic pederast, but by night Jesus Quintana is a lean, mean bowling machine that absolutely nobody ****s with. His bowling uniform is a lesson for every man in how to commit to a single colour. Not since Prince or Jack Nicholson’s Joker has anyone made purple look this good.
Eli Cash (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Eli Cash always wanted to be a Tenenbaum. Instead he became the wild man of quasi-Western fiction, writing novels in an obsolete vernacular and appearing on magazine covers holding poisonous snakes. Wilson takes the Jon Voight ‘Midnight Cowboy’ look and updates it for the 90s, with an added dash of face-paint and mescaline, for a triumph of ‘Old West’ meets ‘Upper-West Side’. Eli Cash may not be a genius, but he sure looks good with a fringed jacket hanging off his shoulders.
Withnail (Withnail & I)
Richard E. Grant’s magnificent Withnail has become an icon for ‘resting’ actors and heavy-drinking students everywhere. But he also epitomises the moment where poverty and the final days of the 60s meets a timeless tailored English style. Throughout the film Withnail flounces, lurches, lunges and oozes from hangover to hangover, resembling an aristocratic weasel who’s fallen on hard times. The tumbledown grandeur of the military coat, untucked shirt, straggly tie and a boot with a flapping sole gives Grant a classic dishevelled elegance. This is the ultimate look for anyone thinking of going on holiday by mistake (although accessories such as a bottle of lighter fluid are optional).
The Boppers (The Warriors)
The Baseball Furies may be the most downright terrifying gang in The Warriors, but in the ‘best-dressed’ stakes they’re no match for The Boppers. Based in West Harlem, the gang patrols their territory in dress shirts, purple waistcoats and matching fedoras for a ‘Shaft’ meets ‘Studio 54’ look that even their main rivals The Hurricanes don’t want to mess with. These guys are both lovers AND fighters, so if you want to hang with the gang head down to Club 45 or the Black cat Lounge and ask for Big Moe.
Howard the Duck (Howard the Duck)
Whilst the mid-1980s saw hair metal taken to its most ridiculous, spandex-trousered extremes, many bands rebelled with far more formal stage attire. Following on from the preppy/geek look of New Wave bands like Talking Heads, Howard the Duck made his stage debut with the band Cherry Bomb wearing a magnificently 80s suit/jacket/tie combination that ‘China Girl’-era David Bowie would have been proud of.
David Wooderson (Dazed and Confused)
Matthew McConaughey’s David Wooderson is one of the greatest movie characters of the 1990s. In theory, the slightly sleazy stoner who still hangs around with high school kids should be creepy - but by the end of the movie there’s no one else you’d rather go get Aerosmith tickets with. From his blonde hair helmet and barely-there moustache to his salmon pink jeans, vintage Amboy Dukes t-shirt and the cigarette pack tucked in the sleeve, Wooderson’s look is all about L-I-V-I-N, man.
Lloyd Dobbler (Say Anything)
For some characters, a 1980s boombox is a mere accessory. For John Cussack’s Lloyd Dobbler, it’s the entire ballgame. Combined with a brown overcoat and a look of quiet dignity, the boombox – held aloft and playing Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’ for the whole world to hear - becomes the ultimate gesture which few women can resist. This outfit is literally the ‘look of love’ for a generation of hopelessly romantic moviegoers.
Data (The Goonies)
The combination of an oversized military jacket covered in patches, jeans, an orange backpack and white Nike hi-tops is a winner, but what make Data truly dapper are the accessories. It’s the hand-carved ‘007’ belt buckle with the winch inside; the belt attached with ‘Bully Blinders’; the boxing glove on a spring; ‘Slick Shoes’; and the timeless style classic ‘Pinchers of Peril’. Combine this with a boombox which plays the James Bond theme, and you’ve got the coolest kid in the Goon Docks.
New Jersey (The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension)
The Honk Kong Cavaliers were perhaps the most stylish team of scientists/musicians to ever save the worlds from an inter-dimensional alien threat. Each member – Rawhide, Reno Nevada, Perfect Tommy, Pinky Carruthers and Buckeroo Banzai himself – looked good, but one particular member looked goooood.
Banzai’s surgeon / keyboard player New Jersey, makes his entrance wearing a ten gallon hat, a red Western shirt, a white neckerchief and furry chaps, along with cow-print luggage and a boombox. There is literally no reason why he’s dressed like this, and no explanation is ever given. It’s just Jeff Goldblum wearing an unnecessary cowboy outfit for the entire film, and that’s what makes it amazing.
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