Bradley Cooper wasn’t always cool. Starting out as an extra in the tv series Alias, before minor roles in Wedding Crashers and Yes Man, the Philadelphia-born Cooper fell a little short in the opening years of his acting career. And so did his style: shiny, polyester suits, chunky, square-toe dress shoes and bleach-tipped hair making one-too-many amateur film premieres.
Come 2012, red-carpet suits suddenly transformed. Cooper was on a winning streak with three back-to-back Oscar nominations (who could forget that desert phone call in the opening scenes of The Hangover) so Bradley Cooper’s wardrobe had to catch up. The final nail in the death-to-ugly coffin was Cooper’s crowning of People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2011. Like fine wine that gets better with age, Bradley Cooper has more than refined his palette, professionally and more importantly, aesthetically.
Breaking It Down
Not really a blazer/chino kind of a guy, nor someone who takes things too serious, it is all or nothing with Cooper’s style. That is, either rugged, confident, stylishly dishevelled or sleek and slick in a suit. And for the latter, it doesn’t matter what style (single and double-breasted or tuxedo and three-piece) but with Mr. Cooper, the trick and talent is in how the suit fits – snug, sharp and suave.
The Perfectly-Tailored Tux
Cooper wore a dark tuxedo suit with a wide black lapel courtesy of Tom Ford back in 2013, and at 2014’s SAG Awards it was all about simple charcoal and white with a Gucci tux and black velvet notch lapel. The common factor between the two? The fit. Perfectly tailored, the jacket lays un-pinched across Cooper’s broad chest; the shoulders remain flat on top and cut sharp down the arm; while the trouser leg sits perfect in length to the ankle. Given Cooper isn’t stick thin, a well-fitting suit is a perfect match to streamline any bulk.
Cooper is topcoat king and makes the rather posh jacket look easy and carefree. Double-breasted and always wool, his favourite coat often comes with a fur lined collar, worn with a casual look consisting of a sweater, plaid shirt and black jeans. When suits are involved the knee length overcoat is more subtle, acting cape like in black over a matching three-piece suit – ready for business.
The cowboy check, plaid works well with Cooper’s off-duty and television appearance wardrobe. Working the rules of plaid, Cooper chooses bigger, bolder squares for casual shirts – unbuttoned, sleeves rolled and untucked. The micro-plaid print offers subtle personality and texture under a smooth, wool suit – and donning the tailored masterpiece, Cooper is anything but a tacky cowboy from the wild west.
Cooper loves to go retro, especially when it comes to suiting. His sense of humour speaks through tailoring with bold colour choices – oxblood and burnt orange, making for a Seventies feel. Paired with a light blue Oxford shirt (always unbuttoned at the neck) and dark chocolate derby shoes, the anti-black outfit is nostalgically forty-years-ago. They tapered the suit is modernised from the Seventies flare, always in a slim fit.
Boots and Suits
From press conferences to Hollywood parties, Cooper doesn’t mind a bit of inter-occasion mixing. Dressed in a slick charcoal suit, the actor often opts for designer boots instead of dress shoes to base out formalities. To not run the risk of ill-chosen footwear, the vintage leather boot in tan and metallic hardware is paired with the more casual lilac shirt and striped tie, signifying Cooper is confident in his move of not being too serious.
Essential Cooper Fashion Items
Cooper looks to independent brand Candy & Caviar specifically for his casual plaid shirts, while Canali’s blue slim-fit business shirts slip well under a suit jacket – the spread collar detail allowing for no-tie etiquette.
The bold designs of Vivienne Westwood are Cooper’s favourite for topcoats – in an array of colour: wine, charcoal and royal blue. His shiny jackets seen in NY lately is a Parajumpers Gobi bomber. Coopers ultimate satiny, nylon cropped zip jacket comes from Dolce & Gabbana as a royal blue Harrington number. Another bomber go-to is a navy and beige jacket from Salvatore Ferragamo.
Cooper is chameleon with his suit types and cuts, and shifts through a few top designer brands. He likes Tom Ford for a luxe three-piece suit and keeps him on speed dial for a customised tux. He favours the Dsquared wool two-button suit and a blue mohair costume from Salvatore Ferragamo.
It’s all about the cashmere sweater for Cooper, which he slips over button-ups shirts with jeans for the day or chinos at night. Opt for Acne for the structure or Balenciaga for super luxury materials.
Going hybrid, Cooper pairs Red Wing’s Iron Ranger brown boots with two-piece suits for a heritage-meets-hiker look. Cooper’s more traditional oxford shoes, worn with a tuxedo or three-piece and usually in dark brown, can be found at shoemaker George Cleverley and Italy’s Berluti. Suede biker boots are Gucci-inspired and sneakers are retro-look, seen walking Beverley Hills in the olive green J. Crew X New Balance 1400 model.
Cooper never wears a suit or tux without a magnificently, metallic timepiece on his wrist – flashing it to the cameras at the Golden Globes. His go-to? The automatic-winding pilot’s watch from IWC with a substantial 46 mm stainless steel case and alligator strap. Apart this, all expression is left to woven, silk ties, which he leaves plain or striped business ties with minimal flecks of personality. He’s been known to travel with a sports-look carryall. Opt for the Herschel Supply Co. Strand Duffle bag for overnight travel.
Seldom in a clean, raw denim, Cooper likes to keep casual gear retro with vintage wash jeans. The finish remains clean, often with multiple pockets and utilitarian zips for a bit of ruggedness. Worn day and night, the versatility of Diesel’s 5 pocket denim Safado in faded, sheen black is the actor’s favourite.