Style Evolution: Beckham
By Matt Glazebrook and Gavin Jewkes, 2 May 2015
Few have weathered (or embraced) the sartorial storms of trends past like David Beckham, who, incidentally, celebrates his 40th birthday today. To mark – arguably – the world’s best dressed man’s passage into his fifth, gloriously well-attired decade on earth, we’re taking a look at his style highlights and the outfits that have marked him out as one of the most influential dressers in history. Join us, won’t you…
The late 90s were a big time in David Beckham’s stylistic and professional development. So much so, that he was still paying tribute to the era in the mid-2000s, here channelling Never Ever-era All Saints with some seriously baggy cargo trousers.
Even the most generous among us would concede that Becks’ early forays into fashion contained as many misses as hits. Arguably the point that he transitioned from entertaining experimenter to style icon was when he began to embrace a more classical menswear approach. Here he is in 2008, setting the dress code for fashionable but high-end restaurant waitstaff for years to come.
Not that he abandoned his comfy casuals, slinging a slouchy hoodie over a smart shirt/tie and jeans combo in 2009, and somehow making it work.
By 2010, things were beginning to get directional for David. Directional in a good, hoodie-and-trenchcoat, Kanye-before-Kanye sort of way, as opposed to the cornrows/sarong/unisex leather twinsies version of his younger days.
After two decades as Britain’s most celebrated tonsorial experimentalist, our man really seems to have settled on subtle variants on the slick-back/quiff 50s standard in recent years. All things considered, this is a wise decision.
Continuing his strong coat game, Becks added spectacles into the mix in 2011, as well as grown up luggage and a scarf for a handsome 'Swedish dad on a city break' feel.
Despite giving up professional football, Beckham retains a passion for sporty activity (witness his current SoulCycle obsession) and sportswear-inspired threads. His current vibe is definitely health goth, but two years ago it was more health hi-vis in bright orange.
Unsurprisingly, Becks has hooked up with many brands over the years. Perhaps the most fruitful collaboration has been with Belstaff – a meeting of minds in which they gave him some lovely expensive leather jackets to wear, and he went around looking brilliant in them.
With his football-and-SoulCycle honed physique, classically masculine grooming and, let's be honest, that handsome mug, one thing David’s never struggled with is filling out a tuxedo.
And so to today, where Lord David of Beckham alternates between looking predictably great in suits, and an off-duty wardrobe that mines rugged menswear staples like denim shirts, work boots, lumbersexual check shirts. It’s a confident, classy approach that should see him well as he settles into life as the world’s best-dressed 40-year-old.