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  • Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher, Features Editor, MR PORTER

Some of the best-dressed men of all time are figments of the collective imagination. However, the fact that they've only ever existed on celluloid takes nothing away from the power of their style. In many ways it's the brief duration of their existence that has immortalised their sartorial perfection, because they'll never be snapped by a paparazzo while looking out of shape and unshaven, or appear at the Oscars wearing a skinny tie and trousers that are two inches too long. These fictional characters are like a concentrated shot of style, and untroubled by the vagaries of dressing every morning they will remain elegant, sharp and well dressed, even as real men age, thicken, wear trousers with an elasticated waistband, and die.

So what is it that we can learn from these guys? There's no single style here, even if there's a clear bias towards a better-dressed past, and the characters themselves range from intrepid and well-qualified archaeologists to impetuous stuntmen, and even extraterrestrials. However, there are a couple of common threads; the first is that we should dress in a way that expresses our personality, and the second is that feeling comfortable in one's clothes is a prerequisite for projecting charisma. These are the two things that every guy should strive for in his dress: authenticity and ease. It's hard to feel the latter if you aren't striving for the former.

Having established these benchmarks it's time to put them into practice. So, the next time you're trying on a jacket or a pair of trousers, just ask yourself, "Is this something that Sir Sean Connery's James Bond could have worn?" (Feel free to insert the name of the fictional character who you find most sartorially inspiring.) Whether you're in the market for a new suit or a pair of swimming trunks, it's an almost foolproof test.