From Archie to Cary: The Making of a Style Icon

By Meredith Varner 

Over the past few years I have been watching more old movies as a way to shake up my Saturday nights, and as I look over the ones I have watched they all have something in common: Cary Grant. I must confess I have a gigantic schoolgirl crush on him, and the fact that he would be 108 today makes no difference to me. Despite this confession I feel that I am not alone in my sentiments. Cary Grant had a timeless style and always played the dapper gentleman which lead to him becoming a legend for both men and women.

He was born in England in 1904 with a given name of Archibald Leach; he came up with “Cary Grant” as a stage name later after movingto America in 1920. He has inspired men’s fashions for decades now and his influence does not seem to be slowing down at all. He took classic pieces and tailored the garments to his specific body type so everything always looked perfect on him. He was self-conscious about his neck so he always had tailors widen the collars of his shirts and put higher armholes in his suit jackets. Cary spared no expense when it came to tailoring because he always thought it would be worth the price.

 In all of his movies Cary managed to look immaculate at all times. His timeless looks can be transmitted into any decade and still look great. One of the great things about his style was that he knew what looked good and what was classic, therefore he did not fall victim to some of the unfortunate trends earlier in the century.

While the flower children of the 60’s were proclaiming peace and free flowing fabrics, Cary stuck to his timeless tailored suits. And when leisure suits plagued our nation during the 70’s Cary had enough sense to stay far away from all that polyester. To this day Playboy and GQ are writing articles about how the modern man can achieve Cary Grant style.

One of the secrets to this success is the advice his father gave him, “Let them see you and not the suit. That should be secondary.” When looking back over Cary’s life he really did take this advice to heart and the modern man in 2012 can as well. Cary Grant has become a style icon because he always wore the clothes and not the other way around. His suits became a kind of second skin and because he was so comfortable in them he was able to shine with confidence. George Clooney has been compared to Grant as the modern, sexy, leading man that all the ladies love. But, as great as Clooney is, Cary had a timeless elegance that will always be one of a kind.


To read more about Cary Grant:

An affair to remember (1957) is cary grant’s birthday [Web]. (2011). Retrieved from 

The 50 most stylish men of the past 50 years. (2007, October). GQ, Retrieved from

Cary grant- biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Cary grant as dressed by dq [Print]. (2009). Available from

Cary grant’s suit [Web]. (2008). Retrieved from

Everybody wants to be cary grant [Web]. (2011). Retrieved from

Quotable cary [Print]. (2005). Available from

Schwarz, B. (2007, January). Becoming cary grant. The Atlantic, Retrieved from