A Chance to Meet and Dress like Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed - A Suitable Teen Idol

The photo above of Oliver Reed is from an 1960s annual aimed at teenage girls. Dear old Ollie looks dashing in blue v-neck sweater and red Bengal striped shirt with white collar. A timeless look that hasn't dated in the 50 years since the photo was published.

I think I have something similar of each item, but here are ways to replicate the look if you don't.

Denim Cashmere V-Neck Sweater - Scotweb Tartan Mill

Even with my glasses on, this Scottish cashmere sweater from Scotweb looks like quite a match.

Fine Red Bengal Stripe Shirt with White Collar - Hawes & Curtis

Bengal stripe shirts with fine stripes in red and with white collars are surprisingly thin on the ground for ready-to-wear. The Hawes & Curtis shirt below was as close as my army of researchers could find.

I recall a wide-striped navy Bengal shirt of mine from Hawes and Curtis' Jermyn Street shop. Made onshore, the stripes were as wide as you can get. It was in a heavy duty yet silky smooth cotton that washed and washed and just kept getting softer and easier to iron. It was an incredible shirt. I wish I knew who made that cloth. I wore it until it was frayed to buggery at collar and cuff, but at some stage you just have to let go. Grief is the price we pay for love.

Augustus Hare

We were never going to get a perfect match for the Ollie's tie, but this exquisite tie from very dear old chums the English necktie makers Augustus Hare — do see their Bow Tie Ballet — is a peerless substitute.

McLaren Blue is handmade in England with silk printed in the silk town of Macclesfield. See how the pattern picks out the blue of the sweater and the red in the shirt. It's almost as if I know what I'm talking about.

I think this combination holds up rather well against the scruffy yet methodically-composed styling of car thief asexuality applied to contemporary teen idols One Direction. 

This Charming Man

Considering the caricature that he helped to perpetuate in his later years, most would consider it remarkable to think that Oliver Reed would have been considered teen idol fodder.

As always, though, stepping behind the simplistic hero/villain pantomime narrative of the news media — which they rather scarily apply to everything including economics and geopolitics — it is clear that Oliver was an erudite, generous and quite charming man. Of course, he could be boorish, but my extensive academic research reveals that this was largely reserved for the pompous and the clamorous.


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