The Attire of an Architect | Le Corbusier


I can’t necessarily tell you what Le Corbusier looked like, but I can damn well tell what he wore. The straight pipe. The oval glasses. The dark bow tie. The double breasted suit. The white pocket square. Like one of the fifty-eight buildings he designed throughout his five-plus decade career as an architect, Le Corbusier’s style was a careful construct, stringing together a stringent set of elements in an altogether unique manner. For as much as it has become a tired adage, it was not the pieces that Le Corbusier (born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris) wore, but rather the way in which he wore them.


Le Corbusier rarely deviated from his basic sartorial template, therefore it was the way in which he composed these pieces that was so extraordinary. His taut bow ties were adorned with a variety of neat patterns that oft required closer inspection. His array of broad six-on-two double breasted suits slung comfortably around his shoulders, with low peak lapels and fine textures. These suits were always finished with a white pocket square, never crisply folded, but always prominent His spectacles, with lenses that resembled a rock’s glass and frames as thick as bold text were the punctuation mark of his style, a signature that almost bordered on self caricature. And of course there was the pipe, rigid and dramatic almost like a horizontal “L” with the tail cut off which Le Corbusier would drag on intermittently, only adding to his natty persona.

For a man who is largely considered to be one of the forefathers of modern architecture, I can fault no one for overlooking Le Corbusier’s stylistic prowess, but much the same way that his buildings are studied today, there is a lot to be learned from his unflappably refined attire. –JG








Comments on “The Attire of an Architect | Le Corbusier

    Arsen on December 24, 2013 2:04 PM:

    Albeit I’m not a bow tie fan, the article was written well enough to make me more interested in Le Corbusier. I’m curious, how did you come to the idea of writing about him?
    Merry Christmas Eve,

    BlueTrain on January 2, 2014 11:43 AM:

    No offence to anyone but I see nothing particularly special about the way he dressed, which was pretty much the way a million other men dressed then. The bow tie is a little unusual but my late father-in-law only wore bow ties. In fact, in the class picture of my first grade class something like 60 years ago, the principal of the school was dressed exactly the same, including the glasses–but with a necktie instead of a bow tie.

    Schackart on January 4, 2014 10:30 AM:

    What BlueTrain said.

    chris on January 6, 2014 8:51 AM:

    Did the principal of the school make several nude sketches of Josephine Baker?
    Le Corbusier did.

    Jake Gallagher on January 6, 2014 2:45 PM:

    If you can’t see what sets Le Corbusier apart, then you might need to borrow his glasses.

    tekton on January 21, 2014 1:28 PM:

    what JG said…

    Richard Conlan on January 23, 2014 11:06 AM:

    Interesting read. I’m surprised you didn’t mention that bow ties were almost a uniform in professions involving a drawing board–architects, illustrators, etc.–for the very practical reason that they won’t get in your way when you lean over.

Comments are closed.