Nov 12th 2010 By Matt Glazebrook
On paper, Steve McQueen's "Bullitt
" doesn't suggest itself as one of the coolest films of all time. A by-the-numbers crime procedural following the exploits of implausibly named maverick detective Frank Bullitt ("Jimmy Toughcop" must have been taken), Peter Yates' 1968 flick overcomes its shortcomings to rank as an ultra-stylish cult classic.
Notwithstanding one of the all-time great cinema car chases, the movie's appeal has much to do with the presence of Steve McQueen. Grizzled and macho, yet possessing a sophisticated savoir-faire, the late leading man embodied Hollywood cool and -- let's admit it -- sexiness like few others before or since. His career tendency to play himself, meanwhile, matched up perfectly with the film's impassive, enigmatic title role.
Wardrobe-wise, McQueen's Frank Bullitt favored a beatnik vibe -- turtleneck, rumpled jacket, desert boots -- that mirrored the thriller's hippie-era San Francisco setting and tied in with Yates' arty, sepia-tinted cinematography and hip, jazz soundtrack. Check out our take on the timeless ensemble below -- and for full effect channel an attitude that implies you're equally at home reading Kerouac in a coffee bar as flinging a '68 Ford Mustang around city streets in pursuit of evildoers.
Woolrich Navy Turtleneck Pullover
The turtleneck sweater is the most iconic weapon in Lieutenant Frank Bullitt's sartorial arsenal -- a hip, debonair counter to the stuffy, jacket-and-tie conformity of the boys back at the station. This number from old-school outerwear purveyors Woolrich offers a classic beatnik silhouette while being cozy enough to withstand even a San Francisco winter (or summer). ($200 from StyleBop
Kenneth Cole Reaction Blazer, Herringbone Sportcoat
This vintage-y blazer from Kenneth Cole emulates McQueen's version of Bullitt's tough-but-dapper style -- rumpled and casual without being scruffy. ($130 from Macy's
Crate Skinny Jean in Black
We'll keep things simple here: just a crisp black pant to complement, without distracting from, the rest of the look. ($101 from Revolve Clothing
Clarks Originals Suede Desert Boots in Black
Desert Boots have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity of late -- and for good reason. They're versatile, hard-wearing and boast a simple, instantly recognizable design. Plenty of brands offer their own take on this retro kick , but we would opt for the classic Clarks version. ($136 from Asos