Throwback Style: The Guide to the Modern Mid-Century Swag

The resurgence of Noir.  If you've missed it, chances are you've also missed some of the best films of the past two decades.  While the original film noir period is considered to stretch from the 1940s to the 1950s, the sub genre of Neo-Noir has risen in the past years keeping this classic era alive and well in modern cinema.  Elements of this genre are found in numerous modern films such as Memento, Road to Perdition, L.A. Confidential, Inception, and even in the upcoming film The Adjustment Bureau.  Everything from movies, to TV shows (Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire), to comic books (Marvel Noir) have latched on to this genre because of its inherently cool, classic, throwback atmosphere.  Thankfully for this blog, this resurgence of Mid-Century class has also infiltrated the style world and brought back some of the most essential pieces for any gentleman, past or present.

Take a look at any of the movies listed above, or better yet go Google "men's style of the 1950s."  Got that?  Now check out the picture of Ryan Gosling above seen in GQ Magazine two months ago.  See any similarities?  Exactly.  The rebirth of Mid-Century style is undeniable in modern fashion.  From pocket squares to tie bars, watches to waist coats, the best way to look "of-the-moment" is to remember your roots (or dress like a crime boss version of your grandpa.)  So in the spirit of this Neo-Noir Fashion Revolution, I've compiled a list of my favorite Mid-Century throwbacks, for the classic gentleman in all of us.

1. The Streamlined Throwback Suit
The two-button has been the go-to suit for the gentlemen of the last century.  It's the simplest formula for a man to follow--dark suit, dark tie.  But one of the biggest throwbacks of late has been the resurgence of the slim tie.  Mid-century gents understood that hiding behind a paisley, bib-sized monstrosity was a waste of a good shirt.  The rebirth of sharp, slim ties has given a crisp and streamlined look to the modern suit.  It's the simplest way to charge some life back into your workweek threads.  Reach for a light, solid dress shirt, anchor it with a slim dark tie and add just the right amount of "blingage" with a 1-inch tie bar.  Punch that up with a classic white pocket square.  Avoid the puffed-out silk blossoms or jagged-edged spikey option that looks like you stuffed Bart Simpson in your pocket.  Keep it simple, like Connery above--clean, white, and square.  Just prepare for all the extra attention you'll get as your office's Don Draper.     

2.  Watch Your Head
 Perhaps one of the most misused Mid-Century throwbacks is the Sinatra hat, or the fedora.  Unfortunately, this is one of the only trends that has caught on quicker with the likes of vampire-obsessed, gothic, bohemians before the style world at large.  However, redemption has come in small forms such as Matt Damon's classic fedora in the above shot from The Adjustment Bureau.  It's all in how you pull it off.  If you find yourself tempted to purchase a department store knock-off fedora made entirely of velvet and skull and cross-bone stitching...just walk away.  Many online stores and vintage shops in New York can provide you with a head covering much more suited to the refined man.  Proceed on this trend with caution.

3.  The Trinkets
A few weeks ago a friend gave me a watch similar to the one pictured above by a company who designs replicas of antique timepieces.  Initially I found myself thinking that I would probably never have bought something like this for myself.  Now, I find myself trying to find excuses to wear it all the time.  The truth is, the piece has character, which is one of the most important elements of style.  Throw something unexpected into your normal getup.  Whether it be an antique wrist or pocket watch, saddle shoes, or horn-rimmed glasses, each has made a comeback in the last few years, among countless others, reinforcing the fact that the fashion forward gentleman never forgets his past.

While this is not at all a cumulative list of Mid-Century style revivals, the refined men of the past provide an excellent source for inspiration.  Grab a Sinatra album or GQ from the 50s .  Take your wardrobe back to a place of P.I.'s, Duesenbergs, Prohibition, and American muscle....when men where men of their word, but not to be crossed.  Get the modern, Mid-Century swag....and dress like you've got a casino to rob.  

The Original Ocean's Eleven


  1. Your Sinatra and Ocean's 11 photo are two of the 6 I have framed sitting on my desk at work. Incidentally Blue Eyes and I share a birthday. Best one yet, my friend.

  2. I have been meaning to ask you, so I will pose this question to you and your followers. I am a fairly large fellow, and find that really the only dressy role model I have seen for someone like me is Kesley Grammer and Jeffery Dean Morgan, are there more you know about that size and taste?