How to dress like Alain Delon

One of the greatest style icons ever, Alain Delon has influenced Riviera style ever since the 1960s. Read on for how to achieve the look...

Riviera chic is all the rage at the moment; and quite right too. The sun is shining, and we’re fast approaching what will (hopefully) a glorious summer. But there’s always the big question: how to dress for such a happy season?

Well, the biggest, best and brightest style icon when it comes to that elusive Riviera look is, indubitably, Alain Delon.

Delon had his heyday in the 1960s, when he cemented his status as one of the most successful French film actors of all time (we’d strongly recommend L’Eclisse and The Leopard, for all you cultural folk). His contemporaries included Marlon Brando — and he was often described as a ‘French James Dean’.

But Delon is known more than anything else for his suave, sophisticated French style. He became a Swiss citizen in 1999: but he’s influenced gentlemen’s Riviera aesthetics ever since those heady 1960s days, when he was internationally revered for the French style icon he still is to this day. So we’ve put together a few hints and tips to kit you out with that unique, iconic Delon look. You can thank us later (when you’re on the French Riviera, hopefully).

Perfect the nonchalant look with a linen shirt

A linen shirt is the epitome of Riviera chic; and no one has ever pulled off a linen shirt better than Alain Delon. He wears them with an ease that drips casual nonchalance, and unfailingly looks effortlessly stylish. But don’t worry: Delon may be every part the style icon, but with the right linen shirt any English gentleman can pull off that chic French look, too.

Take Turnbull & Asser: so lightweight it’s almost gossamer, and with an airy structure that will keep any wearer cooler than an icebox, their turquoise linen shirt is just perfect for summer. Emma Willis has nailed that relaxed, yet elegant, look with their denim offering; crafted from lightweight Italian Linen and with mother of pearl buttons to boot. And New & Lingwood proffers a classically suave look with their lighter-than-air white classic shirt: that soft spread collar will exude dapper nonchalance at every turn.

How to dress like Alain Delon

Turnbull & Asser Linen Shirt

£250

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How to dress like Alain Delon

Emma Willis Linen Shirt

£240

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How to dress like Alain Delon

New & Lingwood Linen Shirt

£145

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Embrace the classic look with a navy jumper

A navy jumper is a staple for any gentleman. Delon knows this, and it’s safe to say he wears the navy jumper with undoubtable, envy-inducing aplomb. It’s a timeless, classical look — two attributes for which French style is well known — and it won’t look out of place in your Riviera wardrobe. Quite the opposite: a navy jumper has certain nautical undertones that make it the perfect beachside style choice, whether that’s the Mediterranean, the Hamptons or good old Salcombe.

Aurélien has, once again, pulled out all the navy-hued stops with their extrafine navy v-neck; their trademark Cashwool material guarantees the jumper will have a silky sheen and will be blissfully cool in the summer sun. Connolly‘s navy crew neck is the ultimate choice for a classical look, with its ribbed hem and cuffs creating that much sought-after slim shape. And we’re back to the v-neck with the ever-reliable (and famously sustainable) Artknit: with its relaxed fit and subtle vintage touches, this v-neck has Delon written all over it.

How to dress like Alain Delon

Connolly Navy Crew Neck

£290

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Nail Delon's Riviera aesthetic with a pair of pale chinos

Delon looks better than almost anyone we can think of in a pair of chinos — and it’s easy to assume his outstanding chino aesthetic must be down to his chic French style, and is therefore unattainable for Englishmen. Not so. Delon is, of course, the epitome of French style: but with the right pair of chinos, you’ll be such a strong Delon lookalike that you’ll have people confusing you with the man himself.

Ralph Lauren is unfailingly reliable when it comes to chinos, and they haven’t disappointed on this occasion, with their slim fit stretch pair crafted from Italian stretch cotton. Sunspel has wowed us once again, with their light stone pair: perfect for strolling along the boardwalk (French or otherwise). And Sir Plus has perfected that summer aesthetic with their tan brushed cotton pair — with that elegantly tapered fit, they’d do Delon proud any day.

To perfect that chic French look, you'll need the perfect pair of sunglasses

It would be remiss of us to wax lyrical about Delon being a Riviera style icon without drawing attention to his outstanding sunglasses game. They’re another aspect of gentlemanly style that Delon wears with a simple elegance that always looks utterly effortless and ineffably chic; and if you’re headed to the Mediterranean this summer, you’ll want to invest in a pair of the perfect sunglasses to recreate Delon’s unforgettable Mediterranean look.

The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear has crafted a pair that epitomise classic cool, with their exceptionally lightweight frames and stylish grey lenses. Oscar Deen‘s smoke-coloured pair are inspired by vintage frames from the 70s, which were historically very popular in the United States; and Cubitts has truly delivered the shade goods with their Herbrand pair: with their round shape and keyhole bridge, they’re the ultimate classic look.

How to dress like Alain Delon

The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear

£228

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How to dress like Alain Delon

Oscar Deen Carril Sunglasses

£130

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How to dress like Alain Delon

Cubitts Herbrand Sunglasses

£125

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Complete the effortlessly chic ensemble with a stylish pair of loafers

Alain Delon and Romy Schneider to the restaurant in Cannes during the festival (Photo by Daniel FallotINA via Getty Images)

Ok, so we have no idea if Delon was really wearing loafers in this photo; but it was taken in Cannes, so we’d place our bets that loafers featured pretty heavily in his wardrobe while he was there. They’re everything his world-famous aesthetic stands for, after all — unfailingly elegant, and managing to exude both a chic style and a relaxed nonchalance all in one light step. In order to achieve the full Delon look in all its Riviera glory, loafers are an absolute must. And, luckily, we know some pretty perfect pairs to kickstart your Delon-esque footwear collection…

Scarosso‘s beige loafers are the ultimate summer shoe: and their undeniable smart-casual aesthetic makes them the perfect option for a Delon-inspired wardrobe. Aurélien‘s navy yacht loafers are a must-have for any summer weekend: whether it’s a weekend spent at the beach or somewhere a little closer to home, they’ll bring the Riviera style with you wherever you go. And Crockett & Jones has excelled once again with the Solent: an unlined loafer, complete with tassels and crafted from the very finest snuff suede. They’re the ideal summer shoe: and Delon wouldn’t look too bad in a pair, either.

How to dress like Alain Delon

Scarosso Ludovico Beige Loafers

£215

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How to dress like Alain Delon

Aurélien Navy Yacht Loafers

£224

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How to dress like Alain Delon

Crockett & Jones Solent Loafers

£375

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