Saluting Ryan Gosling’s style in La La Land

From loose cut shirts to a vintage Omega, the fashion tips Gosling's character taught us in the new musical hit.

Neil Churchill January 3, 2017

If you haven’t been to see La La Land yet, make it your weekend priority. The Damien Chazelle film is a rose-tinted musical homage to Hollywood’s golden age, set in present-day Los Angeles.

The love story between a perfectionist jazz musician (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) already has women fawning over the flowing dresses worn by Stone’s character. So in the interest of keeping things fair, we’re championing the fashion and style choices of Gosling’s character, Sebastian, which unsurprisingly suited the actor down to a T. 

In an interview with CNN, the film’s costume designer Mary Zophres said she, Chazelle and Gosling agreed that the character would reflect his appreciation for the classics in his style. That meant no jeans, t-shirts or trainers.

While La La Land is a modern day film, it is also an unapologetic throwback to Hollywood's heyday of the 1930s and '40s, so dressing like Gosling’s character may turn a few heads when you step outside, but is that such a bad thing? Besides, fashion trends often go full circle and some of these will be back 'in' before long, if they’re not already. Here’s how to replicate Gosling's look in the film. 

The loose fit

The cut, as they say, is king and you can tell all of Gosling’s clothes in La La Land were custom made. It really does make a heap of difference. 

But unlike Gosling on most chat shows, his character's shirt and trousers were never skin-hugging tight. In fact the shirts in particular had a much looser fit to them while remaining a good cut. The trousers too were more standard cut than skinny, and were always pleated in true retro style.

Last year’s Autumn/Winter fashion shows saw a trend of oversized clothing, which we at EDGAR duly questioned and are still not convinced by, but this looser custom fit should be a middle ground most can agree on.

The broken suit

We can remember Gosling wearing only one matching three-piece suit in the whole film. For the majority, his character’s staple formal wear was to mismatch his jacket and trousers, also known as a broken suit.

There’s a very fine line between pulling off this look and committing a serious fashion faux pas. The safe option is to make it obvious you’ve chosen to separate your suits and not got changed in the dark – beige trousers and a blue jacket, for instance. But Gosling plays it far closer to the line with only slight differences in the colour tones, including camel with beige and black with navy. It’s a risky tactic so beware, but very rewarding if you get it right.

Pastel colours

Both in and out of character Gosling’s always suited pastel colours. If you have a similar complexion to the Canadian heartthrob and fair hair, you may too. Pastel blues, yellows and browns instantly lend themselves to that yesteryear style, but you need to commit to an entire outfit of pastel, not just a jacket or shirt. Go all in or don’t touch it at all. 

Cuban collars

Last year saw the return of Cuban collars, as we predicted. Gosling seems to have been wearing them for a while now, since he shot The Nice Guys, and they go well with the loose cut shirts his character wears in La La Land. More often than not, his open spread collar revealed a white undershirt, which may be the only item in his character's wardrobe that we wouldn’t pinch. 

A vintage watch

This is what caught our eye the most. While his character’s outfits changed often, Gosling’s watch remained the same: a vintage gold Omega on a black strap. It was hard to tell the exact model, but judging from the lugs we’ve guessed it’s a Constellation. You don’t need to match the model, nor make it an Omega, but if you’re going to buy one new watch in 2017 make it a vintage Swiss Made model. On future re-sale value alone it will be a wise investment. 

Golf shoes

Very little from the sport of golf has crossed over into the fashion world, but the two-tone shoes with heavy broguing is a look that’s been lingering on the periphery of what’s ‘in’ for as long as we can remember. Gosling wears several pairs in the film, the white and browns being the most daring. They’re not as tricky as you may think to wear with success, but if you buy a pair be sure the rest of your outfit doesn’t look like you’ve just walked off the 18th hole. 

The little things

As obvious as the broken suits, pastel colours and loose cuts are to see, it’s the subtleties in Gosling’s character that really nail his film-appropriate fashion sense. The jackets of course have wide lapels, not Saturday Night Fever wide but wide enough, and the shoulder pads are prominent. He doesn’t wear a belt with his three-piece suit but he does when he mismatches. His ties are plain except for single motifs in the centre, with only a collar pin when he’s formal. Even his socks match his trousers.

It’s absolutely true that it’s the little things that sometimes make all the difference. But when you’re attempting a retro look such as this one, it’s the lack of little things that will give you away. As always, attention to detail is key.