Men of Inspiration: Sherlock Holmes

"My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.”, for instance, how to dress exceptionally well while solving the world's most diabolically evil mysteries crafted by maniacal university professors bent on global domination....and then keeping my fanbase for over 100 years.

You know the name.  The books. The radio shows.  Over the years it's been brought to life in film by some of the greatest names IMDB has to offer.  Perhaps it's even been used against you in an ironically derogatory manner after you observed something about a situation that the rest of the present company found agonizingly obvious.  Whatever the case, (Get it? Case? Ha!) the brilliance and charisma of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's flagship character, Sherlock Holmes, is unmistakable as well as timeless.  Not to mention, the guy's a super snazzy dresser.

Over the last century, there have been innumerable incarnations of Doyle's character--some bearing the iconic name, and some not.  All, however, bring the genius, sophistication, and downfalls of the character into new light.  And so, for this post I give you the 3 most popular modern television interpretations of Mr. Holmes and the style tips from each of them you can steal.  Elementary, my dear readers. Let's begin:

1.  Elementary (CBS)
Yes, yes, I know.  "Watson is a GIRL! Horrible premise! BBC is so much better!  Blah, blah, blah." 

I get it, alright?  And in fact I'd probably agree with you on many of your points.  But the truth is, Elementary's Sherlock is actually pretty darn cool AND just plain fun to watch. Sure, other networks across the pond may have done undeniably better work with the story arcs than its American counterpart, but I'm a fan of Jonny Lee Miller's interpretation and I think he does a delightful job at bringing a new spin to the legend.

Of course, there's also the matter of his style, which I particularly like for all it's disheveled and grungy glory.  One of my particular favorites, is his consistent use of the hipster-ish (but also characteristic of a detail-obsessed personality) Full Dress Shirt Button-Up. Take a note from Mr. Holmes, and ditch the tie while anchoring the look with the finer details like a vest, blazer, and leather boots.  It's a look that's classy but sugar-coated with an air of genius-level rebellion to conventional rules.
Patterned shirt from Express, Blazer from TopMan, Klepac black boots from ALDO

2. House M.D. (FOX)
So like I said, these are some of the many television incarnations (not in-name only) of Sherlock Holmes, and one of the absolute best in my opinion is that of Dr. Gregory House in Fox's late House M.D.  To be honest, this was one of my favorite television shows of all time and it's one that made no secret of its similarities and overall basing of its characters on that of the Sir Conan Doyle's literary masterpieces.  One glowing aspect of House's character was his constant struggle with dependence on narcotics--a very similar vice to that of Sherlock Holmes with his addiction to cocaine and morphine in the original works.

House's style was also that of apathy and rebellion--most of which consisted of blazers over t-shirts and jeans.  This style is insanely easy to pull off and is therefore a look you'll see nearly anywhere on guys with slightly more style than a dung beetle on burrito night. Try amping up the details with a jolt of color in your jeans and a patterned pocket square to tie it all together.  But only throw in the cane if you have a doctor's note to back it up.
3. Sherlock (BBC)  
Lastly, and perhaps best of all is ,of course, the Mother Country's newest rendition of her native hero, BBC's Sherlock. Cumberbatch's Holmes is an absolutely brilliant modern take on a character steeped in internal turmoil yet consistently dismissive of anything remotely resembling genuine human attachment or feeling.  And with an episode length more like a full-length motion picture at 90 minutes each, his mysteries are exponentially more detailed, intriguing, and riddled with twists and turns that keep audiences enthralled in Holmes and Watson's every move. (not to mention one of the most demented and obsessively sadistic portrayals of Moriarty that I've ever seen)

And the man's style? Impeccable (he is British afterall).  The Sherlock of modern London embraces the classics and the trendy, with expertly tailored suits, mid-century-esque topcoats, and surprisingly colorful scarves.  In fact, there's hardly anything on which to improve in this look--it's already that dapper.  Perhaps just toss in a slightly more patterned shirt and maybe a pocket square on your jacket and you're ready to hit the streets of London looking the part of an international super legend.
Houndstooth topcoat and black suit from Zara, Shirt from Express

And with that my friends, there is nothing more to do than to send you on your way with your new-found inspiration.  I therefore leave you with a charge from the man himself....

"Come, Watson, come!' he cried. 'The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!'

Cheers and Happy 2013,


  1. Just coming from London and dying over all the great men's fashion, I love this post. I've reread it a few times and want to dress like all of the above examples every day.

    Always a pleasure.

  2. What a great post! You have summerized all of my ideas about Sherlock Holmes movie adaptations. In sober fact, I am fond of BBC series regardless awesomeness of Hugh Lorie. Arthur Conan Doyle has invested in modern cinematograph. At least, as a prime scriptwriter.