Style Clinic: William Baldwin's "Sharper" Upgrade in Time for His Cannes Movie's Premiere
Ahead of the festival debut of Nicolas Winding Refn's Amazon series 'Too Old to Die Young,' in which he stars alongside Miles Teller, Baldwin is trying to break free of "what my brother Alec refers to as my Communist Party uniform of jeans and T-shirts" with help from The Hollywood Reporter's men's style consultant, Andrew Weitz.
For an admittedly "jeans and T-shirts guy," as he puts it, actor and producer William Baldwin concedes that right now might be a good time to step things up sartorially.
Starting with the Cannes Film Festival premiere of the first two episodes of Amazon series Too Old to Die Young from Nicolas Winding Refn, it's a busy season for Baldwin. While potentially promoting with co-star Miles Teller the "very dark, very stylized" L.A. crime series (debuting this summer), Baldwin, 56, will be shooting another, unnamed project in France. He's also returning to one of his most iconic roles alongside Donald Sutherland in Backdraft 2, a Netflix sequel to the 1991 blockbuster, as he awaits second-season renewal of Northern Rescue on the streamer.
With all that in the offing, it seemed the moment to match Baldwin up with THR contributing editor Andrew Weitz (who dresses scores of top industry insiders via his consultancy The Weitz Effect) for a style upgrade to suit summer months that can bring everything from network meetings to a European holiday. "I was joking with Andrew that if he can get me to dress just a little bit sharper, he'll save my marriage," says Baldwin, who lives with wife Chynna Phillips and their three teenage children, Jameson, Vance and Brooke, in Montecito. "My wife is getting so bored after 25-plus years of me wearing what my brother Alec refers to as my 'Communist Party uniform' of blue jeans and T-shirts." Responds Weitz: "What's cool about Billy is he knows who he is, he knows his age and where he's been. He said, 'Listen, I could really use some style help in up-leveling.' "
While trawling through a few Beverly Hills stores with Baldwin, Weitz assured him that his uniform works, as long as there's "more tailoring — jeans that are tapered a little below the knee for a streamlined shape — and an investment in shoes, like some great sneakers." For a proper fit, they consulted New York-based tailor Nigel Curtis, who comes to town every six or eight weeks to customize clothes for Angelenos. Navy denim is best, advises the style consultant, while T-shirts should be slimming, not baggy, and "hug biceps and not be too long in the body," with crewnecks that aren't flimsy-looking.
But for any summer occasion requiring more finesse than Baldwin's default outfit, Weitz put together two next-level looks, first choosing a summer-weight wool suit in a faint windowpane plaid in brown and blue. Weitz paired it with a linen and cotton sweater-knit polo shirt in the same tone — even if the actor ditches the jacket, the effect is still elegant. Unlined brown suede loafers from Summer Walk, the elite shoe line from Loro Piana, contrast well with the suit.
"There's a lot you can do with a suit like that," says Weitz. "It's relaxed for a day screening, and you could swap out the polo for a button-up shirt to dress it up." If traveling, packing the suit with a polo, an extra button-down and additional trousers makes for a week's worth of outfits.
Baldwin needed no convincing. "It's not my go-to, but it still looks like me in the mirror," he says. "What the fuck, it looks fantastic! This is exactly the kind of stuff that I should be going for."
For the second look, Weitz approximated the casual chic of a European resort. He chose Loro Piana linen trousers in a natural shade styled with subtle single pleats (not double — this is not the '80s), to give the look a continental ease. Along with a cream cotton summer sweater and white sneakers with rust laces, it made for a sharp look when paired with a bomber jacket from Canali. "I could just throw that on quickly to meet my wife for lunch or go to an appointment," says Baldwin. "It's like a phrase I used to hear years ago — that it is fashionable without trying. It doesn't come across like you are consciously trying to impress, but still has the same exact effect."
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Updated May 10 at 3:44 p.m. This story first appeared in the May 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.