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Signature style: Channel your inner Indiana Jones for the ultimate rugged look

Men's fashion: How to tap into your inner adventurer

Few male icons have held more sway over a generation of men than Indiana Jones. Actually, one of his biggest competitors is Han Solo; maybe Harrison Ford has been on to something for the last five decades. Anyway, when it comes to the adventurous man, Indiana Jones is the pinnacle of excellence. Of course, we talk all the time about his adventures, but why do we never talk about his style?

Here’s the truth about all you men in the Adventurer archetype on the Signature Style Venn Diagram: You have no time for frills, and anything you add to your life must work for you. You have missions, whether that’s building a fire, clearing an outcropping, or braving the dangers of the always dreaded gender reveal party. Here’s how you can walk the path of Indiana Jones and turn your wardrobe into the greatest asset you have for your adventures.

Indiana Jones
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Functional fashion

The Adventurer is the kind of man who doesn’t have time to wait for the world to be right. Instead, he makes it right by bending it to his will using brute force or the mastery of all he is and all that is around him. That’s why every item he gets for himself has to add value to his life in more than just a fashionable way. He values his gear and his wardrobe for their function, not how trendy they are. While this can lead to some of his looks being outdated, if he’s careful with what he chooses, his wardrobe will be filled with timeless classics that never go out of style. This means choosing items of the highest quality and those that are most versatile and functional.

Indiana Jones has one of the most famous functional outfits in all of cinema. From his classic fedora to his timeless leather jacket, every piece of the outfit was made for traversing the most challenging environments on the planet (and fighting the Nazis, of course). His shirt is a spin on the safari shirt, breathable and dependable. The khaki pants are military style and some of the most traditional pants for the man riding into battle; they’re lightweight and flexible, making it easier to kick bad-guy butt. And, of course, the boots are made by one of the most famous boot makers in the world, Alden. They even made Indiana his own boot, renaming the 405 the Indy Boot. $600 is a small price to pay for a boot named after you.

Indiana Jones
Everett Collection Inc. / Alamy

Get your staples

The most essential part of building your functional men’s apparel wardrobe is getting the staples you can depend on, those timeless classics that never go out of style and work well for your life. Here’s how to build your beginner adventurer wardrobe. 

  1. The jacket. Of course, a custom-made WWII-era bomber jacket like Indiana Jones wears, the height of men’s style, would sure be a great addition to a wardrobe, but dropping thousands on a coat can be cost prohibitive. Instead, there are dozens of great coats for the Adventurer type that will last decades. Whether you’re Indiana Jones or not, every adventurer needs a great leather jacket
  2. The watch. Another excellent investment for the Adventurer to make is a great timepiece. There are a lot of options the outdoorsman can choose from. A field watch is a versatile option for the Adventurer; as the first wristwatch widely manufactured during WWI, this watch is just as timeless, sharp, and relevant to men’s fashion as it was a century ago. 
  3. The boots. You don’t need to drop $600 on a pair of boots named after you to have footwear for the next decade. Dozens of boot manufacturers make great long-term options, from Doc Martins to Thursday Boots. When scaling the world’s landscapes or taking long walks in new cities to explore your surroundings, a great pair of boots will be your best friend. 
Indiana Jones
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Elevate your outfit to adapt

If you remember every Indiana Jones movie, he always has a moment when he ditches the outdoorsman clothing and dons something more elegant, from a tweed suit in the first movie, the white dinner jacket in the second, to the single-breasted tan suit in Venice in the third. Even though Dr. Jones is an adventurer first, he’s also a man of the world and, as such, can fit in anywhere.

Just because you’re a man of the wild who values function over fashion doesn’t mean you can’t dress to the nines when the situation calls for it. While you can start with a tweed suit or even a sport coat to pair with your comfortable chinos, here’s a helpful tip to keep you feeling like you: Take one of your staples to the next level of dress. Just because you’re wearing a suit to a wedding doesn’t mean you can’t wear that cool field watch to represent that more adventurous side of yourself.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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