Introducing the Kempt 100
With the new year still new, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on the style icons who inspire us most at Kempt. And after some exhaustive research and some painful cuts—better luck next time, Mr. Hockney—we’ve narrowed it down to a final list of the 100 best-dressed men of the past 100 years.
We’ll be unveiling the list over the next few weeks. It’s divided into three sections: Gods, Legends and... The Others. We’ll be starting with The Others—specifically, some of the actors, artists and photographers who didn’t quite qualify for God/Legend status. (Yes, including a certain salt-and-peppery actor-writer-director-producer-Nespresso-pitchman.)
Herewith, our definitive list of the 100 best-dressed men of the past 100 years. Or at least the start...
Woody Allen The takeaway: Ignore trends. Be yourself. When the world’s rocking wide collars and flared pants, sticking to a shirt and tie is never a bad move.
Jean-Paul Belmondo The takeaway: Don’t fear the turtleneck.
Humphrey Bogart The takeaway: Of all the bow ties in all the world... this is the one yours should emulate.
Marlon Brando The takeaway: Don’t fear the mock turtleneck. (Okay, maybe fear it a little.)
George Clooney The takeaway: A tad overrated (sartorially speaking), if only because being called the best-dressed man of the ’90s is a backhanded compliment. Still, Clooney might be the reason men stopped fearing the suit around the turn of the century.
James Dean The takeaway: Greatest hair in the game.
Alain Delon The takeaway: Leave big and baggy swimsuits to surfers in the ’90s. Accessorize with a Bardot if at all possible.
Clint Eastwood The takeaway: Fit is king. Now go on, dance a little.
Colin Firth The takeaway: A stealth icon. Sure, he rocks Tom Ford tuxes now, but Mr. Darcy’s always had a certain low-key elegance.
Clark Gable The takeaway: Don’t have the perfect pocket square (or belt, or tie) handy? Improvise.
Ryan Gosling The takeaway: In five years, he could be a sartorial legend—or he could wind up wherever Clive Owen is these days. That said, no one understands better right now just how a suit should fit.
Toshiro Mifune The takeaway: You know how people say true style is timeless? Well, if we didn’t tell you who this was, would you think it was photographed in the ’60s or the 2010s?
Peter O’Toole The takeaway: Nothing pairs well with black tie like a mischievous gleam in your eye.
River Phoenix The takeaway: It doesn’t matter how long your hair is or what you did last night—throw on a tux and no one will notice.
Richard Avedon The takeaway: If you want to capture elegance, you have to start with yourself first.
David Bailey The takeaway: Women love a man with a big, huge... belt buckle.
Peter Beard The takeaway: A great coat will take you everywhere.
Le Corbusier The takeaway: We’ll let the man himself do the talking: “Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.”
Andy Warhol + Jean-Michel Basquiat The takeaway: Throwing on a jacket and a tie doesn’t mean you have to think like a square.
- Kempt Staff