Rouge. Dandy. Rake. Fop. Player. Throughout the ages, there have been many words to describe the archetypal role that Chuck Bass plays in the CW series Gossip Girl. Boasting untold wealth yet content to spend his life using his conniving wit to do nothing more than seduce women and destroy his enemies, Chuck is one of those characters that embodies what you might wish to do if you were able to indulge your darker desires. While The Gentleman cannot fully endorse all of Chuck Bass’ behavior, I can endorse his unique sense of style. Gossip Girl, and in particular Mr. Bass, have placed a renewed focus on classic men’s Ivy League-inspired style, and for that reason Chuck Bass is this week’s Style Icon.
Chuck’s wardrobe is intriguing in that it begins with men’s clothing in the New England tradition but deviates wildly in its mixing of patterns and colors. We’re going to break down a couple of outfits worn by Chuck that I particularly like and explain how you might replicate something similar without having Chuck’s budget. One thing to keep in mind: many of the pieces that Chuck wears are extremely unique. First, we’ll start off with a look donned by Ed Westwick… the actor who plays Chuck Bass.
Chuck on the Beach
Photo Credit: Teen Vogue
Chuck Bass always represents classic style wherever he goes… and Ed Westwick likes to emulate that, but with a British-inspired twist. Here we find Ed wiling the day away at the seashore. He’s sporting a wonderful turquoise sailor-striped t-shirt, madras (that check pattern) shorts and a straw trilby hat. Just outside the frame of this picture, he completes the look with a pair of boat shoes. The first thing I noticed about this outfit is the unusual striped shirt and checked shorts combination. I would not usually recommend such a clash, but it seems to work for Ed. Maybe it’s because the madras shorts are subtle and the blue complements the sea-green stripes. This serves to distract the eye from the inherent busy-ness of the combination. His easy style keeps you guessing whether he spent hours putting together this wardrobe or merely threw it together while hungover after a night of carousing (like his TV alter ego). Either way, here is how The Gentleman might reassemble something similar:
I was impressed to find a great sailor shirt similar to what Ed is wearing at American Eagle for only $20. The turquoise is very close to what Ed is sporting (perhaps a bit less green), though it lacks the breast pocket and features a v-neck instead of a crew neck (making it a touch less traditional). Fortunately, the eagle logo is tucked far away at the bottom of the shirt, which is easy to hide, making this an excellent option for Ed’s beach tee.
This madras short from J.Crew is extremely similar to the one that Ed is wearing on the beach. It retails for $62, which is a bit more than this Gentleman would like to spend on a pair of shorts. However, if last year’s sales are any indication of this year’s, all of J.Crew’s shorts will be under $40 by mid-June. Look to scoop it up then.
A trilby hat is like a fedora except it boasts a narrower brim. Straw trilbys have been all over the place the past few summers, including on Ed’s head. We’ll turn again to J.Crew to find a smart straw trilby to replicate what Ed is wearing. J.Crew has three different shades of straw for their trilby. I like this one the best for the look that Ed is going for. It retails for $40, which is not a bad price considering the quality of the hat. I wore the heck out of mine last summer, and it still looks great this year.
Complete the look with a pair of classic Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes for $65 (The Gentleman can recommend no other deck shoe) and a glass of your favorite champagne, and you’re ready to hit the seashore with Ed.
At the Black and White Party
Photo Credit: TV Fanatic
Here we find Chuck Bass at a Black and White party in the Hamptons. I like this outfit because summer style is typically awash in a sea of pastels, so black and white really stand out.
Here, Chuck is wearing a very eccentric white peak-lapel tuxedo with black satin trim on the lapel and trouser stripe with an equally quixotic tiny black ascot. The Gentleman may have met his match with this outfit. There is no way that he can exactly replicate this very unique tuxedo – on a budget or not. My intuition is to go with a white linen suit and pair it with a white dress shirt. I’d then add a black silk pocket square and a slim black neck-tie with a pattern of some sort on it.
For a change of pace, I turn the challenge over to you, readers. Have you spotted an excellent white suit at H&M? A striking black pocket square? Let me know if you find anything! Until then, have fun imagining how Chuck Bass, pampered playboy, might spend his summer dashingly on a budget.
Next week: The Gentleman takes a trip to the Caribbean in search of a scent…