For a man who apparently believes in yesterday, Paul McCartney has never been stuck in the past. That’s true of his music (see his recent collaboration with Kanye West and Rihanna), and his personal style. Unlike some of his peers (Ringo, we’re looking at you), Sir Paul has never fallen into the sartorial traps that have snag so many rock icons. If they don’t get trapped in one particular decade, they dash in the other direction, trying to stay au currant by dressing like men 40 years younger than them. Paul McCartney has stayed perfectly in the moment. And, because he has always been on point, you could take Paul from any decade, put him in the present, and he’d look pretty damn good.
1. Black and White (1963)
There’s a reason the Beatles chose a uniform of matching black suits with skinny lapels and ties when they hit it big in 1963. The classic look, updated with mod details, tapped right into the youthquake of the ’60s while looking good on all four of them. Take a page out of the band’s book, but opt for a two-button jacket — rather than their favoured three or four buttons — and a knit tie to help bring it into the present.
2. At Ease (1971)
The Beatles broke up at the beginning of the ’70s, but McCartney’s style evolution was just starting. His double-breasted suit shows how formal looks can be toned down to feel relaxed and lived-in. Choosing a crisp white button-up and going without a tie and pocket square help create a confident ease.
3. Hello, Moto (1980)
McCartney gives James Dean a run for his money in his black leather motorcycle jacket. These coats can overwhelm, especially if you think you need to complete the biker ensemble. Follow McCartney’s lead. His wool gloves and slim scarf play against type. It’s a good lesson for wearing a moto jacket in any season, or any decade for that matter.
4. Bundle Up (2000)
A good overcoat is an essential for every man. McCartney already has that on lock. A neutral colour, like grey or camel, will keep the coat versatile for decades. The shoulder seams should hit where your shoulders end, just like a suit jacket. Single or double breasted is really a matter of preference (though we can’t argue with McCartney’s DB here).
5. Casual Accents (2011)
This three-piece, two-button choice is timeless. But, he dresses against the classic nature of the suit by wearing sneakers — lace-up Vans to be precise — and a patterned skinny tie. His secret to not looking sloppy: the spread-collar shirt and waistcoat, which help to keep the more casual pieces in check and proves that the man knows exactly what he’s doing.