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Ringo Starr’s primal drumming helped ring in the explosion of 60s subculture, and ever since, his rhythm has been key to driving music into brand new territory. He’s tapped into all types of genres throughout his career, and that multifaceted approach to creation doesn’t just apply to his personal music. It applies to his personal style, too.
Being one quarter of the world’s biggest band naturally shone the spotlight on Starr’s sense of dress, but the average person probably thinks of it as being quietly in step with the rest of the Beatles. Given that the band first donned matching mod uniforms, it’s not entirely inaccurate, but Starr struck out on his own, as well — and there’s some serious style lessons to be learned from them.
Last week, Ringo released a new EP called “Zoom In,” featuring contributions from the likes of Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney. In celebration of the release, we had a rake through his earliest menswear moments and pulled out his greatest lessons for long-lasting style. Drumroll, please …
First thing’s first: you need a mod-like suit
As the decades passd, it became clear that each Beatle had his own unique style, but the signifier that kicked off their global success was the most simple ensemble of all: the slim black suit. Sure, it paved the way for the explosion of England’s mod movement, but more importantly, it took tailored clothing from the confines of a dreary office to ultra-chic gear for dancing. You can get away with wearing it for pretty much any occasion, and for a real Ringo Starr nod, make sure the front button fastening is cut high in true mod style (à la Prada).
And you should get some penny loafers, too
Ok, so Ringo’s most famous piece of footwear was a battered pair of leather Beatle boots. This you likely already know (and if you haven’t already, source a similar pair, stat) but for the sake of the warmer seasons being en route, we’ve got an alternative leather suggestion for you: penny loafers. Pictured above in 1967, Starr chose to style his supple shoes with some transparent socks (nice), blue linen trousers and an even lighter blue single breasted blazer. Sharp, seasonal and ever so slightly preppy, this is proof that Ivy-inspired style is golden.
By day, seal your ensemble with a (white) denim jacket
Someone says the name Ringo Starr, and the style part of your brain likely starts to picture formalwear and flamboyance. Indeed, Starr excelled in these departments, but occasionally, he moved away from them to embrace the essentials, too. Case in point: London, 1965, when Starr sported a stark white denim jacket with what appears to be matching white jeans. This look elevates double denim to an entirely new level and is a super easy ensemble to turn to for your next afternoon excursion. Oh, and if you’ve got the mop top to go with it, even better.
A paisley print ensures serious pizazz
In search of a new sartorial statement? Ringo’s got one for you: the paisley print. Guaranteed to give off some serious psychedelic vibes, this is a bold print, which, thanks to men like Ringo, it’s now considered a hallmark of a well-cultured wardrobe. Go for a full ensemble in the print like the former Beatle man if you dare, but should this be too much too soon, a well-crafted shirt with some high waisted twill trousers will equally do the trick.
When in doubt, a turtleneck works
There’s a reason Ringo Starr, like so many other iconic artists, owned a turtleneck sweater: because it’s the most subtle signifier of style. Simple, yes, but that’s not to diminish its effect, as it works with anything from casual jeans to smart trousers. Here, Starr preempted the seventies by pairing his with a pair of dusty corduroy trousers — a great move, especially when accessorized with a Cartier Tank-like watch. Arguably the most failsafe piece a man can own, make sure you invest in a roll neck with quality (AKA this submariner design by Husbands).
For casual elegance, get yourself a herringbone blazer
The most obvious garment in the tailoring section of Starr’s wardrobe is the simple mod suit, but his fondness for well-crafted jackets extended way beyond this early-Beatles uniform. Just look at this stunning double breasted blazer for proof. Crafted from a thick herringbone, Starr often left it unbuttoned to expose the fine details of his shirt and tie beneath (the guys of Goodfellas definitely took a tip) and, more importantly, assert a nonchalant attitude. This current design by Aime Leon Dore is strikingly similar; the only difference being the peak lapels which bring some extra pizazz.
Stripes are a failsafe all year round
We know that prints are pretty hard to pull off, so if the above paisley pattern is a bit intimidating for you, Ringo’s next best suggestion is simple: stripes. As a signature motif in mod tailoring, the drummer was an avid supporter of the streamlined design, embracing them time and time again throughout his younger years. Shown here at a press conference in Los Angeles, he chose to partner his straight cut pants with a white single-breasted blazer and polka dot shirt, proving that a print clash can definitely work. For a similar pair today, head to Atom Retro.
And the finishing touch: micro round specs
With warmer weather on the horizon, now is the time to consider your next set of shades, and if you’re wanting to wear them with Ringo in mind, there’s really only one option: a perfectly circular micro design. This style was a pure symbol of the sixties, and, matched with messy layers of hair, it clearly delivered his message of confidence by way of attire. Complete your ensemble (assembled with some of the above pieces, we hope) with a pair like these and your style score will soar.
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