When Kingsman: The Secret Service hit cinemas in 2014, men around the world weren’t quite aware of the effect the film would play in the so-called ‘renaissance of menswear’, specifically in men’s tailoring. While the unique script and over-dramatized violence were a hit, it was the penchant for style that the lead characters, Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and his subsequent prodigy – who could have been any of us 20 something year olds – ‘Eggsy’ (Taron Egerton), exuded throughout the film that truly captured our attention.
Suddenly, guys wanted to dress well again. We wanted to wear suits wherever the opportunity presented itself. We were more considerate when it came to where our clothing was bought from and how it fit to our bodies. We began to re-embrace menswear staples like the double-breasted suit as these timeless sartorial traditions came back in vogue. Without spitballing hyperbole, we dare say that the Kingsman franchise taught a league of young men how to dress well, what it meant to dress well, and ultimately, the feel-good aura you get when doing so.
Two films later, the movies continue to maketh boy into man and are now set to release the latest explosive instalment, The King’s Man, which serves as a prequel to both Kingsman: The Secret Service and the 2017 follow up Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
When looking at the style and aesthetic of the Kingsman franchise and its dashing (and effortlessly cool) characters, can we assume that the movie acts as a welcomed reminder that, perhaps, the evolution of menswear hasn’t actually evolved that much in 100 years? Rather, certain styles have been lost on a generation/s of men, lying dormant for decades in lieu of jeans, cargo pants, and god-awful polyester?
Because, while The King’s Man takes place in the early 1900s on the precipice of World War 1, it’s funny to think that in over 100 years since, the fashion of yesteryear is just as relevant today as it was back then. Sure, formality was more of a prerequisite when fronting the public, and the compositional pieces of a suit might have changed somewhat – jackets are shorter, waistcoats aren’t as frequent, and pants have become standardised. But for the most part, suiting remains untouched, with the exception of, perhaps, the evolution of silhouettes.
The King’s Man‘s award-winning costume designer, Michele Clapton, seems to think the same.
“I loved researching and really immersing myself in the period. Within that, I love the idea that you can find a way to express your taste or the character’s taste,” Clapton told BH in an interview last year.
“We always look at photographs of people or paintings of people from history, and you think, ‘Oh, that’s how they dressed.’ I think there’s huge artistic license within the period. As long as you don’t take costumes from the future in a period piece, you can plunder the past.”
Kingsman has done an extraordinary job at rehashing certain trends from the past and adapting it for the modern man of today. You only need to see the exceptional success of MR PORTER’s luxury Kingsman collection (which is now in its third iteration) to know that there is a want for this style; for good quality items that were adorned in some shape or form by our grandfathers and their fathers before them.
The Kingsman capsule, which just launched two weeks ago on MR PORTER coinciding with the film’s approaching release, does exceptionally well to touch on items of the period drama, modernising it in a way that’s totally relevant to the modern man. The collection features eight tailoring pieces that reflect the timeless aesthetic and functionality of the menswear/military dress crossover from the costumes in The King’s Man. Inspired by the manufacturing traditions of Savile Row – the spiritual home of the Kingsman films – the collection features collaborations from specialist heritage brands to recreate silhouettes and styles made relevant for contemporary outfitting.
This connection between the present and the past still reigns true for dressing like a gentleman in 2022. Here’s how to do it the Kingsman way.
“You’re going to need a new suit“
…proclaims Ralph Fiennes’ lead character, the Duke of Oxford. And he’s not wrong. Whether you’re entering an unofficial secret independent intelligence agency, or just heading to your best mate’s wedding, the need for a properly-tailored, properly-styled suit is a non-negotiable in 2022.
While the style of suit seen in The King’s Man is that fitting of the early 1900s era, who’s to say this style can’t translate in today’s climate? MR PORTER’s Kingsman capsule proves otherwise, offering modern men a chance to purchase numbers like the Conrad three-piece mélange wool suit in a subtle pinstripe, or the Archie Double-Breasted Prince of Wales Checked Wool Suit.
And while we’re on the topic of double-breasted suits, this is one style that the Kingsman franchise has been able to bring back into the fold exceptionally well. A feast for the eyes, the DB, as it’s colloquially known, is a statement jacket that teams with a pair of matching trousers and should be worn buttoned up, much like the military jackets that inspired them. Classic, elegant and always relevant.
Oxfords not brogues
A famous line from the first Kingsman film – and one that has acted as a moniker for the Kingsman brand since – the words ushered by Harry to then trainee Eggsy certainly bares a lot of truths in today’s climate.
The Oxford dress shoe dates back to well over two centuries, where it’s said that students of Oxford University coined its name. Not only are Oxfords the most formal of dress shoes, but they are effortlessly stylish, always elegant, and the quintessential English shoe that can be worn to an array of semi-formal to formal occasions.
Off the rack never looked good on anyone
When it comes to suiting, Clapton emphasises the absolute imperative of made-to-measure garments.
“Make sure you find the right size. I think that’s really important. Men are more notorious for lying about their waists than women are, insisting they’re a 32 when they’re a 36. So I think size is really important. I can’t stress the importance of cut and fit. So many men walk around with the wrong sized clothing.”
There’s nothing more unsightly than an ill-fitting suit. Too large and you’ll look as if you’re fronting the courthouse for a Prohibition-era court hearing. Too small and you’ll equally ruin the complete aesthetic of what you’re trying to achieve.
When suiting up, Clapton goes on to add “it comes down to attention to detail, too; wear an interesting tie! It doesn’t have to be loud, it can be quite discreet. A set of cufflinks look great, also – so much better than a buttoned shirt. It’s also the style of shoes. If you wear narrow trousers, make sure you have a good pair of boots to go with it.”
Otherwise, it’s oxfords, not brogues.
Manners. Maketh. Man.
The gentlemanly code that Kingsman’s Harry Hart lives and breathes by, manners – and good ones at that – are the ultimate sign of a gentleman. To sharpen up your etiquette, you can’t go past reading a classic novel, watching a classic film, or just binging the past two Kingsman films in anticipation of The King’s Man’s Aussie release. Although this is a time-based suggestion, you’ll pick up a range of tips, advice and ideas that you will undoubtedly be able to put to good use, in not only helping you find your inner Kingsman, but to evolve your overall style.
The King’s Man hits cinemas January 6th, 2022.
This article is proudly presented in partnership with the Twentieth Century Studios. Thank you for supporting the brands who support Boss Hunting.