Robert Redford is a favorite among men and women alike for his strong sense of personal style. Somehow no matter what he's wearing--be it a sweater or a suit--there is always a certain ease about him. No doubt that came to him early in life since he was born in Santa Monica and raised in Southern California. Combining lessons learned from Steve McQueen with his own innate style instincts, Redford would be responsible for helping establish the California Cool of the 70s and a casual classic look for men that continues to this day.
In my opinion, 1973's The Way We Were was what really announced his style to the world. This was especially true in the scenes that took place out in California where many of the locations were close to home, such as the Beverly Hills Hotel and in and along the water of Santa Monica Bay. His style would continue to evolve in his next movies The Great Gatsby (1974)--costume design by Ralph Lauren--and Three Days of the Condor (1975). These three movies still inspire designers today who love WASP style, including Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors. Both frequently reference Redford's style in their men's collections.
The Way We Were is the romance between Hubbell (Robert Redford) and Katie (Barbra Streisand), spanning their college years during the radical 1930s through their experience with the Hollywood blacklisting of the 1950s. Streisand's Katie is an outspoken and passionate cause-driven liberal who falls in love with Redford's Hubbell, a popular and soft-spoken WASP writer who admits to always enjoying an easy life. Unfortunately life ceases to be easy when he falls in love with Katie, and it forces Hubbell to make a difficult decision about their relationship. Though romantic, the movie definitely ends by taking a much more realistic look at the challenges of modern love.
Because the film spans a couple decades, we see the two stars in many different looks. But you'll see that it is when the couple moves to California that Redford really hits his style stride.
First wearing youthful sweaters for the East Coast prep college years of the 1930s
Serving in the military during World War II in the 1940s
Redford shows just how sexy a white t-shirt can be
With the move to California, it's West Coast prep for tennis in Beverly Hills
1950s beach casual in Malibu and Santa Monica
Classic ivory fisherman's sweater for the beach
At ease on the ocean
Classic suit for 1950s New York network television