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Fashion Style Ryan Gosling – The Dreamer in La La Land
La La Land, about two struggling artists in Los Angeles, took me weeks to see. Sound familiar? After seeing the film, which I enjoyed, I wrote this piece about Ryan Gosling’s character Sebastian (Sebstyle )’s and attire. Since the film is in theaters, I used paparazzi or BTS photos, but I’ll add screenshots when they’re accessible. I’ll attempt to keep my clothing article spoiler-free, but beware!
Seb (Ryan Gosling) is a struggling LA artist. He’s a jazz pianist who dreams to build a club in a dying genre. Seb is stubborn and stuck in his ways, with boxes of jazz CDs by Teller, Mingus, Armstrong, and other artifacts occupying his sparse flat. Seb is practically a caricature of jazz fans, unable to alter his music like his friend Keith (John Legend). His style and jazz style reflect his love of tradition.
Seb doesn’t dress vintage or 1930s or 1940s. Many believed he did. “Well the movie takes place in 2016, so yes,” Spencer said when a buddy questioned him if Sebastian’s outfits were period-appropriate. La La Land is a tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Age, notably 1930s-1950s musicals, yet its characters don’t dress like it. No high waists, double-breasted suits, or broad lapels.
Sebastian’s style is a modern take on the mid-1950s and early-1960s, not the 1930s and 1940s. Vintage style isn’t a catch-all term. Seb wears narrow-fit suits with semi-slim lapels, slim low-waisted pants, normal point collar dress shirts, and late 1950s ties. See each era’s styles and details here. It may be different from how mainstream “dapper bros” dress nowadays, but it’s closer to what males should wear to Dapper Day.
However, Sebastian has amazing vintage-inspired style and is one of the best-dressed leading guys in recent film. Seb’s clothes are meant to reflect his character and stand out from the film’s other characters, like Golden Age Hollywood starring men.
Sebastian’s Sartorial Game
Sebastian dresses in modern slacks, sportcoats, and suits. Like Michael Arenella of New York, most vintage jazz fans I know prefer the Golden Era. Their jazz style may explain this. Seb plays jazz piano and likes little jazz ensembles from the 1950s and 1960s, thus he wears semi-saturated coats with plain jeans and shirts. Despite his late 1950s/early 1960s ties, Seb’s outfit seems current to antique lovers. Since most mainstream labels (H&M, Banana Republic, J. Crew) still embrace the slim lapel, slim fit, low waist aesthetic, it’s still a classic and easy to replicate. Seb has a good eye for fit, so everything fits.
Seb, a jazz pianist, makes little money in the film. He wears black trousers (to tone the outfit), white shirts, and colorful coats in the film. He presumably bought his jackets at H&M, BR, or J. Crew.
No pinstripes, checks, or plaids, huge lapels, peak lapels, double breasted, patch pockets, or other vintage elements are available. I would have liked to see him in pinstripes, checks, or Add to vocabulary and herringbones. The colors are basic with a little of intensity. Fred Astaire wore that in musicals! Since the film is full of color, his saturated and plain coats work great. Your leading man should stick out, right? This style and color set Seb differ from the other male characters, who wear casual clothes or boring suits.
Sebastian wears cuffless, slim, low-waisted pants. Seb’s preoccupation with “the old days” would be interesting to see in a film. Modern guys avoid high-rise, full-cut trousers with cuffs, so it works. However, he might “thrift” or buy vintage clothes to look more retro! Sebastian seems to draw inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s, while these embellishments and the predilection for saturated jackets were still prominent. Seb wants to be the 2010 Rat Pack.
His ties shine, not his colorful and saturated jackets. As mentioned, his ties are neither the foulards and stripes of the 1930s nor the colorful swing ties of the 1940s used by bandleaders like Cab Calloway. Seb wears slim, vertical ties from the late 1950s and early 1960s. If you want a 1950s-1960s look, these ties are enjoyable. I prefer a Golden Era tie because they work just as well today as they did then. Since these ties are cheap, it makes sense. Since Seb can’t afford Drake’s ties, it’s perfect!
His black/white and brown/white spectator sneakers are intriguing. Since spectator shoes were popular in the 1930s and 1940s, I find it humorous. The costuming department may have tied Seb to every jazz era by having him wear 1930s shoes, 1960s clothes, and 1950s ties.
Spectators are the classic shoe to acquire because no one wears them nowadays. Manufacturers such as Stacy Adams and Allen Edmonds still produce them, so look for them on eBay. That is where I obtained mine! It takes some guts to wear those, and unless you’re Sebastian (who has Ryan Gosling’s face), don’t. I only wear mien at vintage events and rarely in my “contemporary classic” style.
Seb’s first outfit. He performs this twice (I think), first when he plays Christmas songs at a nice restaurant and again after his 1980s cover band performance (and dances with Emma Stone’s Mia). An almost royal blue wool sport coat, black trousers, and black/white spectators are nice. It enhances his shoes and jacket, however I like grey pants. Seb’s wool jacket has a fantastic red-and-pinstripe weaving, which you can’t see here. Note his unique tie. As mentioned, it’s slim and minimalistic with a single white check and red monogram.
I love Seb’s cream blazer and dark brown pants because I love brown. It’s like the previous ensemble, with a bright jacket and black slacks, but more monotone. I love cream or khaki coats in summer chino/linen and fall/winter wools. His jacket has flecks, which makes this suit much better. It reminds me of Rich of the Armoury’s outfit, which I like owing to the lapels, patch pockets, and soft shoulder. Seb’s has more structure.
I love brown suits like this one. Sharkskin fabric was fashionable in the 1950s and 1960s, therefore it was shiny/smooth (I prefer texture). I wish the vest was longer and fuller to cover the waistline of his trousers and prevent Seb from busting out of it Hulk-style. Let’s be thankful he’s not wearing a belt with his three piece, as belts aren’t allowed (you wear suspenders instead).
If Seb had used ties with designs near the blade, the vest would have concealed them. Giving him a tie with detailing towards the knot is a sensible idea. I like his collar bar and semi-spearpoint shirt. It highlights your tie and adds “subtle retro styling”! This outfit proves that brown suits are wonderful. I think these pants match his cream jacket from the prior outfit. Artists with limited resources must develop multiple outfits!
Seb wears a three piece, collar bar, and pocket square only once in the film. At the end of the film, he changes from separates to a three-piece suit with details, reflecting his character progress.
Another montage outfit. That brown-fleck jacket is wonderful. Like the fair isle sweater vest I wore in this piece! White shirts again. It lets Seb play with his necktie more than if he wore something colored or patterned.
Seb wears a stunning white (or cream?) suit in the film’s finale. Unlike the Gatbsy film, it uses a dark striped tie tastefully. It resembles Kenji of Bryceland’s attire. I wish the costumers incorporated black (or black and white spectators) for Seb’s shoe choice in this scenario like Kenji did. Since the wingtips match the suit, it looks better.
Sebastian’s other clothes throughout the film aren’t shown. I remember his Keith and “contemporary jazz band” outfits most. His attire show that Seb dislikes that music and lifestyle. A black suit, black shirt, and piano key tie look eerily identical. Thankfully, Seb returns to his classic garb at the end of the film.
Sebastian’s Tailored Casual
Sebastian is never seen in the film wearing a tee shirt and jeans, instead opting for tailored casual when not wearing his jacket and tie. It is clear that Seb is living in a “la la world” of the past, where men wore “sport shirts” on casual days and tee shirts were considered undergarments. He wears these athletic shirts with genuine pants, not chinos or jeans! A true oddity in contemporary Los Angeles.
These types of shirts, which we’ve worn here and on Blake, are a terrific way to look retro, because regular shirts don’t have that type of collar. They’re called as “camp collars” nowadays, but I’ve always known them as loop collar shirts or generic 1940s-1960s sport shirts. The shape of the collar altered through time (it started off wide and long and later got shorter and rounder), but they all have one or two pockets (with or without flaps) and are made of cotton, linen, or gabardine. Polyester was introduced in the 1960s, so avoid it like the plague.
It looks great with high-rise trousers or denim. I wouldn’t wear them untucked because most real vintage pieces are cut quite short. Plus, instead of striving for a smooth casual 1940s style, you’ll wind up looking like you’re wearing a bowling shirt. Fortunately, Seb resembles Ryan Gosling, so he can do both and still look amazing.
I wish there were more photos of Sebastian’s casual style, but these are very accurate. It’s not much different from his sartorial styles, as his shirts and trousers are basic; his spectator shoes are unquestionably the focal point of these ensembles. The film is set in Los Angeles, and the use of these shirts is unmistakably vintage LA. Even when he’s not wearing a suit, Sebastian knows how to dress nicely and keep his passion for old school jazz alive!
Overall, this is a safe appearance that is ideal for those who want to go retro without donning a suit. Teeanime discussed this theme in this article. Fortunately for you, these shirts are fairly common on eBay. Pick simple colors and follow Seb’s lead in terms of style. Don’t go for the outrageous ones until you’ve mastered the style.
I believe we can all agree that Sebastian is one of the most stylish film characters in recent memory. He dresses in a modern rendition of 1950s-1960s sartorial style rather than full Golden Era vintage or Golden Era Style. Seb is shown wearing plain items that are slightly saturated with typical white shirts, similar to Mad Men. His ties are the actual vintage parts of his clothing, whether they are late 50s stylish minimalism or vertical patterned ties. Seb’s appreciation of “old style” continues with his fantastic casual outfit, which I believe outperforms his sartorial selections. It’s unmistakably vintage, with his usage of loop collar shirts drawing inspiration from 1940s sportswear. Simply wearing those shirts makes you look vintage, like you stepped out of a 1940s-1950s summer snapshot.
The costume designers did an excellent job creating Seb’s outfit for La La Land. It makes perfect sense in context: an obstinate man who enjoys old school jazz dresses in old school fashion. However, it has a modern fit and aesthetic that really pushes the conflict of moving with the times. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a vintage clothing collector and can spot the “not vintage” components and stylings in his outfit.
Despite a few alterations, I still liked his outfits. His sartorial and informal style are both trademarks of how men should dress when opting for a new spin on old style. Please remove the clip from suspenders, bowties, and fedoras. If you want some fun, slightly vintage individuality in your clothes, do it this way. You can also do what I do and go for a more traditional, old-school, Golden Era look.
I hope you found this information interesting! It’s a lot of pleasure for me to study and write about people’s film in movies, especially when it’s sartorial or vintage/vintage inspired. Let Teeanime know if you want me to do more of the same, or even comment on what film you want me to watch next!