When it comes to box office giants of the 20th Century, you’re hard pressed to find someone quite as influential as Paul Newman. The American actor, famed for his piercing blue eyes, has gained fashion icon status due to his relaxed, Western style which has influenced generations of men looking to find their own personal aesthetic. From his breakout role as Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to his portrayal of Lucas Jackson in Cool Hand Luke, Newman’s on-screen persona and off-screen demeanour captivated audiences across the globe. A household name during the golden age of Hollywood, it wasn’t just Newman’s acting prowess that garnered attention. His impeccable fashion sense also became a hallmark of his long-lasting legacy, we’ve compiled a guide to sine a light on how to channel your own version of Newman’s wardrobe.

Understanding Paul Newman’s Style

To truly master the Paul Newman look, it’s essential to understand the key elements that defined his style. Born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Newman’s fashion sensibilities were influenced by both his Midwestern roots and his experiences in the world of theatre and film. From his early days in summer stock to his later success on Broadway and in Hollywood, Newman’s style evolved, but it always remained rooted in classic men’s fashion.

The Classic Newman Outfit

The classic Newman outfit often featured well-fitted pieces, which showcased his lean physique and highlighted his polarising features. However, Newman also had a knack for effortlessly pulling off more casual ensembles. Here are some key elements of the classic Newman look:

  • Crisp, button-down shirts: Newman often opted for simple, yet stylish button-down shirts. These added a touch of sophistication to his looks, whether they were for formal or casual events. Shirts are extremely versatile and can be worn layered in the Winter or dressed down for a hot Summer day.
  • Well-tailored trousers: Trousers were always impeccably tailored, never too baggy and also not cut too slim, ultimately enhancing his statuesque figure.
  • Leather jacket: A staple in Newman’s wardrobe, a simple leather jacket added an edgy and masculine element to his classic outfits.
  • Classic footwear: Newman’s choice of footwear was often a pair of sneakers from the brand Sperry, or some casual boots and loafers. Finding and incorporating your own signature shoe can help complete a polished yet relaxed aesthetic which you can revisit time and time again..
  • Accessories: Accessories were often simple and conservative for Newman, he was an avid admirer of watches, often sporting wrist-wear over other additions such as rings. A trustworthy pair of sunglasses can help elevate outfits draw more attention, Newman knew this and frequently wore the same frames throughout his life. A high quality pair of sunglasses will not only protect your eyes from the sun, but will allow you to look like stylish in the process.

Newman’s Preference for Neutral Colours

Paul Newman’s aesthetic was characterised by a preference for neutral colours, which allowed for versatility in his outfits. Throughout his career, Newman often donned earthy tones and muted hues that perfectly complemented his rugged, yet refined image. Neutrals like beige, brown, olive, and navy were staples in his wardrobe, allowing freedom to mix and match various pieces effortlessly. The understated elegance of these neutral colours allowed him to transition seamlessly from red carpet events to casual outings, while still maintaining an air of sophisticated coolness. His preference for neutral colours played a pivotal role in defining his iconic look, showcasing a timeless sense of style that remains influential even today. Having a similar philosophy to fashion and investing in high quality basics, such a light pair of slim chinos, can allow you to create fresh and exciting outfits without constantly having to invest in new clothing.

The Newman Wardrobe Essentials

To achieve the Paul Newman look, it’s essential to incorporate some of his wardrobe essentials, which were a crucial part of his enduring style. Newman’s wardrobe consisted of timeless pieces that reflected his effortless elegance and classic taste. Here are some of the key elements that every man should consider adding to their wardrobe:

  • A well-fitted denim jacket: A staple in Newman’s collection and paying homage to his Mid-Western roots, a versatile denim jacket can be used to add the right amount of devil-may-care to any outfit. A well cut, high quality denim jacket can last for years to come, making it an ideal investment for those looking to approach and utilise Newman’s own style.
  • Turtlenecks: A fondness for turtlenecks meant Newman was often seen wearing them for formal occasions underneath his tailored outfits. These can add a touch of sophistication and offer a refined alternative to traditional shirts.
  • Classic chinos and denim jeans: These wardrobe essentials provided a solid foundation for Newman’s effortlessly cool look, allowing for endless outfit combinations. Basic colours, such as black and grey, will give you versatile daily options within your own aesthetic.

Incorporating Newman’s Look into Modern Menswear

Incorporating the classic style of Paul Newman into modern menswear means embracing traditional menswear pieces like denim, classic white tees, and jackets. Newman’s effortless cool, can be channelled through lighter tones and smart-casual combinations. Most importantly, feeling comfortable and confident in the clothing you choose will allow you to convey the same nonchalant yet refined aesthetic that Newman was renowned for.

The Relevance of Newman’s Style Today

In today’s fashion landscape, Paul Newman’s iconic style remains an inspiration, transcending generations with its effortless and classic appeal. His fusion of classic and contemporary elements continues to resonate, reflecting enduring fashion sensibilities. For the majority of men, it acts as a blueprint for those who want to look fashionable, whilst remaining elegant and smart. His style endures as a symbol of timeless male fashion in modern times.

The Newman Guide to Accessories

Accessories play a vital role in emulating the iconic Paul Newman look, with the late star often opting for subdued pieces that added to his outfits rather than becoming a messy distraction. Sunglasses were frequently part of his styling, adding depth to his outfits and working as the final touch in achieving a look worthy of an academy award. Newman kept his wrists simple, settling for subtle bracelets or watches. He was often seen wearing a timeless Rolex Daytona, to the point where it became one of the most sought after models due to his menswear influence. For the majority of men, Newman acts as a perfect model for accessorising; keeping it clean, subtle and simple will go a long way in upgrading your outfits whilst remaining casual.

How Can You Pull Off the Newman Look?

Paul Newman’s timeless allure and effortless cool can be recreated by incorporating classic, versatile wardrobe staples. To channel his laid-back charm, choose pieces which are well-fitted to your own physique, this is important if you want to appear relaxed and comfortable in your items. You don’t need to be an Emmy Award or Best Actor like he was to appear fashionable from day-to-day. Utilising basic pieces like he did, but adding your own twist can allow you to find a style that interests you, whilst still taking inspiration from the illustrious movie star.

Does the Newman Look Work for Everyone?

One of the main reasons that Paul Newman is so highly regarded in the men’s fashion scape is because his traditional look is easy to pull-off for everybody. Similar to his compatriots of the time, such as James Dean and Marlon Brando, Newman stuck to tailored and masculine ensembles that reflected his background. The aesthetic that the Color of Money star is so revered for can be worked into any wardrobe and is versatile enough to be worn through all seasons of the year.


In conclusion, mastering the Paul Newman look is all about understanding what made his style so effective and incorporating it in a modern way. Newman’s preference for classic outfits in neutral or basic colours is a timeless choice that can be easily recreated for the contemporary man. The key is to focus on wardrobe essentials and more importantly, the fit of the items. Don’t forget to pay attention to accessories, such as watches and sunglasses, which played a crucial role in creating Newman’s defining look. For a truly classic manner of dressing, it will be a difficult task to find someone more iconic than Newman to emulate.

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