How to dress like Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen in neutral and white clothes

Famously referred to by many as the ‘King of Cool’, Steve McQueen‘s impeccable style and timeless way of casual dressing is arguably what has made the Hollywood actor a true American icon for men’s style.

And whilst the bygone decades of the 50s, 60s and 70s seem like a distant memory, his approach to menswear never fails to tire to this very day. No doubt, a rare quality which is why so many men regardless of age continue to be captivated by the iconic “anti-hero” images of McQueen who go on to emulate his style…


Steve McQueen Persol and jacket

The signature pieces

We’ve talked about how lightweight jackets are an essential part of the modern gentleman’s wardrobe, and here Mr McQueen shows us why. He teams his navy Barracuta Harrington with a matching cable knit jumper, which allows the tartan lining of the former to be the focal point.

These Persol shades have become synonymous with the late star, and the brand even produces a model named after him, attesting to his status as a true icon of style.


How to dress like Steve McQueen
How to dress like Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen wearing neutral chinos and blazer, resting against a vintage car

Weekend style

McQueen was every bit as stylish off the screen as he was on it, and he had the inimitable trait of being able to look good in practically anything he wore. It was his smart casual attire that really set him apart though.

The particular outfit he’s donning here is everything you could want from a weekend get-up, as it’s laid back yet smart enough to be worn for a multitude of occasions. If you don’t already own one, we suggest investing in a wear-with-everything blazer which smartens up any outfit. It would easier to buy than a 1957 Jaguar, after all.

Reiss blazer
Orlebar Brown knitwear
How to dress like Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen wearing double denim

The denim

Double denim is a notoriously difficult move to pull off, but of course, McQueen did it effortlessly. The trick is to use different shades of denim, so go with an indigo pair of jeans and a distressed vintage denim shirt, which creates a much-needed visual contrast.

A keen motorcyclist, Steve McQueen was often seen wearing sturdy leather boots, which complete the rugged aesthetic of this masculine look. 

How to dress like Steve McQueen
Levi's denim jeans
Steve McQueen wearing Thomas Crown suit

The suit

Steve McQueen’s tailoring in The Thomas Crown Affair is the stuff of legends. Throughout the film he looks every bit the millionaire businessman, especially here, in his signature grey three-piece with square-bottom waistcoat.

Notice the broadly cut shoulders of the jacket, the pleated trousers and the perfectly dimpled tie; these all add up to create an outfit that is as sophisticated as it is powerful.

And if you’re really serious about your sartorial investments, consider Savile Row‘s world renowned bespoke options for the ultimate 3-piece.

Reiss 3 piece suit

Reiss wool jacket, £250, matching trousers £110 and waistcoat, £110

Steve McQueen wearing white t-shirt jeans and converse shoes

The attitude

Barring James Dean, no man has ever looked as good in a t-shirt and pair of jeans. Just admire this picture for a second.

We can all attempt to mirror McQueen’s style of dressing, but his nonchalant attitude is something much harder to replicate. In every photo he looks completely at ease, not only with what he’s wearing but also himself, and this is something that we should all strive towards.

How to dress like Steve McQueen
Nudie Jeans
How to dress like Steve McQueen

Further Reading