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Get the Look: Capt. Virgil Hilts

Steve McQueen in The Great Escape

Sitting comfortably among Elvis Presley and Clark Gable in the royal ranks of icons nicknamed “The King”, Steve McQueen perhaps has the best handle of them all: The King of Cool. With an anti-hero persona that helped to cement his star status in the counter-culture driven decade of the 1960s, McQueen’s effortless style and rebellious spirit have helped him retain this title for more than 50 years. It all began, however, with a simple ensemble and some impeccable stunt driving in John Sturges’ 1963 war epic The Great Escape. 

For a movie based on the real life experience of 76 British soldiers escaping a high-security prisoner-of-war camp during WWII, the rugged charm of McQueen’s outfit was a surefire signal to the rest of the troops that an American had arrived. Grounded in the solid durability of the boots and cocooned in a horsehide A-2 aviator jacket, the look is a cool contrast to the uniforms of his other allied soldiers and a timeless combination that makes as much sense now as it would have in 1944. It’s the fit’s enduring appeal that landed itself on the cover of our style issue back in October. It’s also what makes us want it for ourselves. Here’s how to nail the look:

Jacket –

A classic A-2 flight jacket, as cool as the King himself. 

Sweatshirt –

Mirror McQueen’s cut off sleeves in this Universal Works navy sweatshirt.

Trousers –

Succeed in your stunts with these Sunspel stretch cotton chinos.

Boots –

Finish off the look with a pair of Crockett & Jones Eskdale II boots.