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Keeping Up Appearances With Paul Feig

The director of A Simple Favor, starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, talks the importance of style in the film

First impressions weigh heavily on Paul Feig. The film director, producer, actor and screenwriter is known as much for his hit movies—among them Bridesmaids, Spy and Ghostbusters (2016)—as for his natty fashion sense, typified by his adherence to a dress code of impeccably tailored suits. “I don’t feel comfortable dressing down unless I’m around the house getting work done,” Feig confesses, but there’s a deeper question he grapples with when getting dressed: “Do I want to present myself to the world like this?”

This debate underpins Feig’s new film, A Simple Favor. It’s Feig’s first thriller, in which Blake Lively plays Emily, an enigmatic fashionista with a fondness for three-piece pinstriped suits, ornate walking sticks and Serge Gainsbourg. Emily’s style, patterned after Feig’s own tastes in clothing, is crucial to how she moves about her world—and, according to Feig, applies to all of us. “What has been lost or people don’t seem to care about is how you present yourself to the world visually,” Feig says. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

This is the reason he always wears suits on a movie set. “I want some kind of imagined glamour in my world,” says Feig, who reveres old Hollywood images of well-suited directors such as Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.

But as the adage goes—and A Simple Favor reveals—image isn’t everything. “Obviously we all want to be judged by our personality and character. That’s the most important thing in the world,” Feig says.

For Paul Feig, accessories are the key to transforming plain suits into elegant menswear. These are his top three must-haves.

1. Pocket Silk: “Get several different colors, and don’t be afraid of bold colors or patterns—or of doing something that doesn’t necessarily match your tie or suit,” Feig says.

2. Boutonnière: “Any kind of lapel adornment is a nice way to pop color, and you can play with competing colors,” he says.

3. Tie Bar: “You have to have fun with how you wear it. You obviously don’t want it to be wider than your tie. You can get away with ones that are shorter than the width of your tie if you do them jauntily.”

Main image credit: C Flanigan/Getty Images