James Gandolfini : A Big Man with Big Style

James Gandolfini


While around the world people are remembering James Gandolfini, we too are remembering him, but not just as an acclaimed actor, but as a well built man who was comfortable in his own skin.

Having featured previously in our best dressed lists, today we are going to explore his style changes over the years and the key style notes we can take away from his legacy.

While the characters he chose to play tended to be quite brusque at times, Gandolfini himself, was known for being a gentle man who played his cards close to his chest. In interviews he was self-effacing and somewhat baffled by the fame which surrounded him.

During an interview with Vanity Fair (2009) he famously stated (his opinion on acting):

“Standing in public in other people’s clothes, pretending to be someone else. It’s a strange way for a grown man to make a living.”

Despite finding it strange, he continued to enjoy a long and rich acting career. However, whether he liked it or not, Gandolfini will always be known by his most infinite role as Tony Soprano.

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A role he seemed to be born to play, Gandolfini was soon associated as the mobster with style. An unashamedly large built man who can look great in a well-fitted suit or a simple polo shirt, he incorporated the right clothes for his build based on a perfect fit.

During his time as Tony Sopronao, his style revolved around sharp, peak-lapel suits and French cuffs appropriate for mob boss sit-down formality but via voluminous colour-blocked Nat Nast bowling shirts, patterned polos, wife-beater undershirts.

For a less intimating but still all together mobster- inspired style, why not try rocking a pinstripe suit next time the occasion demands? Or if this isn’t for you, why not try a pair of braces over your formal shirt? This style was embraced during the 1920’s but is currently experiencing a revival thanks to the Great Gatsby fever.

In his personal life Gandolfini embraced his frame and wore a look of comfortable simplicity. By sticking to classic cuts and colours, he ensured his style was timeless and appropriate for any occasion, which becomes especially significant when any picture of you could go global at any moment thanks to the relentless paparazzi.

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When it came to the red carpet, Gandolfini chose to wear items which were tailored to his frame. He utilized the versatility of classic cuts and patterns, and by knowing which looks suited him he was able to build a collection of outfits which landed him as a style icon for big and tall men everywhere. He was often seen wearing casual button down shirts paired with chinos or jeans, a look which he wore with confidence.

A gentle giant who put bowling shirts back on the map and a brilliant enigmatic actor,  he will be missed .

James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr. 1961-2013

james-300x225Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best

The Man-drobe: Building the Ultimate Closet.

As the Wallabies devastating loss to the British and Irish Lions over the weekend established, there are some things in life which are sadly, beyond our control.

The lasting impression we potentially leave in a chance encounter is however, not one of these things.

Being introduced to a potential employer, meeting that new mate with season tickets or just a stranger in the street, all these situations provide the opportunity to influence and impress.

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While, we all know how important first impressions can be, Forbes.com goes further to outline:

The moment that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes a thousand computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you friend or foe? Do you have status and authority? Are you trustworthy, competent, likeable, and confident?”

While this statement may encourage a chorus of image crusaders to protest, the sad truth is, presenting a impressive exterior is paramount to getting to the next stage which allows the individual to dazzle with their persona. Even former FBI counter intelligence agent Joe Navarro blogs expansively on the power of presentation.

Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of meeting. These decisions are based almost entirely on visual impressions alone, therefore, taking your man-drobe seriously, is essential.

First Step: The Clean out.

If you read the above line and immediately had an inner panic attack, don’t stress. This process is less of a clean out and more of a culling of no longer essential items, like for example, that much-loved band shirt bought in your teens, which no longer resembles an item of clothing, or those ruggers from your rugby days, so stained their original color has long been forgotten.

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To ensure you have a grasp on your man-drobe essentials, you must first see what you already own.  Be ruthless, lay out your items on a bed or any area which allows you to take a step back and look at them, and then cull any items you haven’t worn in over two years.

Separate the items you use religiously, and decide if they are due for a dry clean, or perhaps an upgrade. Any styles that you find yourself wearing over and over, look into purchasing similar styles and building up a collection of “go-to” outfits, which you know look impressive and most importantly, you feel comfortable in.

Second Step: The Essentials. 

The next step once you have edited down your current , now is the time to step back and see what you really need.

There will always be space for those ultimate comfy pants (the ones your partner keeps trying to mysteriously throw away), but in order to found a Man-drobe full of impression leaving outfits, there needs to be room for the essentials.

The Top Five:

1) A Navy Sports coat

Effortless, and timeless, this will take you through the years and is versatile enough to go with almost any outfit.

2) The Classic White Dress Shirt

Generally reserved for special occasions, a classic white dress shirt will ensure you are never caught under dressed, but don’t be afraid to pull this one out on the weekends: paired with cargo shorts, this makes for a classic and effortless impression.

3) The Everyday Shoe

These shoes can and have literally be worn with everything. They are comfy enough to support you through most social occasions and after they have been molded to your individual foot, guarantee you will find yourself making excuses to wear these babies.

4) Khaki Chinos

The backbone of any mans modern wardrobe, chinos make a fine alternative to jeans and offer a more versatile look that can be adjusted to meet the requirements of any occasion in virtually any climate. Lightweight and stylish, they can be matched with a simple t-shirt in summer or a matching jumper in winter.

5) A Simple Tie

Not too wide or too short, and in a classic color scheme. For big and tall men, it is essential to get a tie which is of the correct length and width, as incorrect measurements will be obvious. Ron Bennett Big Mens Clothing has a great selection to choose from.

Any one of these items will find themselves on high rotation in any Man-drobe, with preparing for any occasion becoming a pleasure rather than a stressful stand off with an over cluttered closet.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones Best

Suits, Union and a Winning Mentality

Suits, Union and a Winning Mentality

With the Wallabies match against the British & Irish Lions looming ever closer, the focus on these players’ lives will intensify in the coming week both on and off the field.

Remarkably this year, the attention seems to be drawing too the teams personal appearance, as the two teams take the fight off the field and go head to head in the style stakes.

In a recent interview with TheDailyMail UK, British & Irish Lions Tour Manager, Andy Irvine, stated:

‘Everybody knows that the importance of a winning mentality in sport is paramount, and there are several factors that contribute to this. The 2013 Lions will be some of the best dressed sportsmen in the history of The Lions – and we believe that this winning mentality off the field will translate to a strong performance when the Four Nations come together as one on the field.’

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(L-R) Lions trio Tom Croft, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe   (fr) Richard Hibbard in his new Lions blazer

This is a challenge our Wallabies are sure to meet with passion, as they have proven in the past they are no stranger to style, stepping up to the fashion plate with their own arsenal of crisp tailoring, classic silhouettes and elements of bond-esk panache.

Israel Folau

For these men, as well as countless others across Australia, size is no longer their biggest asset when endeavoring to find suitable attire for their big night.

Having larger than average measurements (for e.g. Manu Tuilagi of the British Lions has a collar size measuring 20.5in and Welsh prop Adam Jones had a chest size spanning an impressive 51.5in), means that articles need to be tailored to allow for a comfortable fit.

With more Sports stars appearing in fashion campaigns, on the cover of style journals and branching out into their own businesses outside of sport, it is no wonder they are trying harder than ever to impress in the spotlight.

For the everyday man, this serves to highlight the growing demand for fashion which meets the big and tall standards of todays ‘Average Male’.

As the fashion industry slowly adapts to this change, durable, well-made clothes that are flattering and well cut become more essential than ever and when it comes to stylish clothes tailored to the king-sized man, Ron Bennett is the undisputed king.

But tailors and suits aside, with anticipation rising in the wake of the countdown to the first Test against the British and Irish Lions, the Wallabies are sure to prove a force to reckon with, both on and off the field.