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Introducing the Kempt 100

  • Kempt Staff


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...


0109kempthundred1Woody 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.

0109kempthundred2Jean-Paul Belmondo The takeaway: Don’t fear the turtleneck.

0109kempthundred3Humphrey Bogart The takeaway: Of all the bow ties in all the world... this is the one yours should emulate.

0109kempthundred4Marlon Brando The takeaway: Don’t fear the mock turtleneck. (Okay, maybe fear it a little.)

0109kempthundred5George 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.

0109kempthundred6James Dean The takeaway: Greatest hair in the game.

0109kempthundred7Alain Delon The takeaway: Leave big and baggy swimsuits to surfers in the ’90s. Accessorize with a Bardot if at all possible.

0109kempthundred8Clint Eastwood The takeaway: Fit is king. Now go on, dance a little.

0109kempthundred9Colin Firth The takeaway: A stealth icon. Sure, he rocks Tom Ford tuxes now, but Mr. Darcy’s always had a certain low-key elegance.

0109kempthundred10Clark Gable The takeaway: Don’t have the perfect pocket square (or belt, or tie) handy? Improvise.

0109kempthundred11Ryan 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.

0109kempthundred12Toshiro 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?

0109kempthundred13Peter O’Toole The takeaway: Nothing pairs well with black tie like a mischievous gleam in your eye.

0109kempthundred14River 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.


0109kempthundred15Richard Avedon The takeaway: If you want to capture elegance, you have to start with yourself first.

David BaileyDavid Bailey The takeaway: Women love a man with a big, huge... belt buckle.

0109kempthundred17Peter Beard The takeaway: A great coat will take you everywhere.

0109kempthundred18Le 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.”

0109kempthundred19Andy Warhol + Jean-Michel Basquiat The takeaway: Throwing on a jacket and a tie doesn’t mean you have to think like a square.