Henry Cavill is one sharply dressed man.
If he were any sharper we’d be missing an eye as we greet him on a chilly airfield just outside Exeter, where the Hollywood star has arrived to be shot for the latest issue of ShortList MODE.
This time around, our biannual fashion glossy takes its cues from luxury travel and adventure, so it’s not long before our cover star is disembarking a private plane, wrapping his hands around the steering wheel of a Rolls Royce and generally looking and acting how a movie star should.
Don’t be too fooled though, Cavill is flesh and bone just like the rest of us. He’s not from Krypton, he’s from Jersey, and knows all too well the sartorial dilemmas that can beset the modern man in day-to-day life.
So given his next film, Guy Ritchie’s big screen remake of The Man From UNCLE, will see him playing a dapper spy, we thought it apt to quiz him on his own wardrobe…
When’s the last time he dressed to impress? What clothing would be never throw in the rubbish? Have his muscles ever ripped anything he’s owned? You know, all the normal stuff…
Can you remember your first tailored suit?
I know it was Dunhill. I worked with Dunhill for a couple of fragrances, so they did my first suit. I can’t remember the details, but I remember being extraordinarily proud of it because it was Dunhill – a lovely English company.
What’s your most treasured piece of clothing?
Most treasured piece of clothing? This shirt (a navy and green check), by the way, I love. It’s made by a shirt-maker called Anto in LA. I wear this all the time. I love it, it hardly ever wrinkles and you can wear it for anything. Yeah, this is definitely a regular item. I would be very sad if I had to let it go. Otherwise it’s my Tom Ford jacket, which is really warm. A sort of beaver fur jacket, suede. Very heavy, very luxurious. It’s the kind of thing which, if you take it on the piss with you, you have to keep it over your arm the entire time, because people will spill stuff on it. You don’t want that.
What clothes do you like to travel in?
That varies enormously. I do like travelling in this kind of stuff [jeans and a blue checked shirt] because it’s comfortable and you can get photographed in it. That’s the thing. When you’re getting off a plane, when you’ve got hundreds of paparazzi, you’re looking like crap anyway. If you get photographed wearing a shirt and tie, you’ve clearly made a lot of effort in between stepping off the plane and walking through customs. So this kind of stuff is comfortable, it’s my everyday gear. You could sleep in it.
Choose three travel accessories to take on a trip.
What kind of trip?
Let’s say you’re travelling from London to LA.
I’m trying to think of gadgets [ShortList: skincare stuff?] Not on the plane, I’m so worried it’s going to get robbed by security. I travel really light. I normally take my Microsoft Surface with me, so I can work and read books and scripts. So, Microsoft Surface, travel adaptor and… headphones. A good pair of headphones, for watching a movie or listen to your own music or just shutting the world out. Or you can pretend you’re listening to music, so nobody bothers you.
When was the last time you dressed to make an impression?
Well, there’s the obvious things like BAFTAs, but that’s a given really. You’re probably talking more personally, like if I was to impress someone. Problem is, I’ve been living out of a diminished wardrobe for so long now because I’ve been travelling. I’ve only just got back and I still don’t have all my gear back yet from storage. And my house is being refurbished, so I don’t have that space. I’m living out of one suitcase. So if anything, I would normally say, ‘Okay, I’m going to wear my nice jacket today’. I’ve got a lovely Tom Ford jacket. I guess that would be dressing to impress? But I don’t have much in the way of options right now. It’s not like I just throw a suit on to go to dinner with someone, because these days, if I was to throw a suit on to go to dinner with a girl, she would probably think I was a weirdo. Or she would feel horribly underdressed.
Have your muscles ever ripped anything you’ve owned?
[laughs] Yes. Yes they have. Who wrote that question?
This is from our online editor.
Is that a he or a she?
Yes, actually, at the end of Man of Steel, I had a suit tailored for the Immortals premiere. At that stage, I was at my very leanest. It was just after shooting my shirtless scenes. At the very end of the movie, I put that suit on again for a photoshoot we were doing and I ripped the seams, the inside seams, just because my thighs were that much bigger.
Budgie smugglers or swimming shorts?
[laughs] Definitely, definitely swimming shorts. More like a parrot smugglers. A Macaw or something. Perhaps a large bird of prey. Bald eagle. There you go.
What’s your biggest fashion faux pas?
I make them all the time. There was this one time I got this brown suit. Brown and pinstripe. I thought it was going to work. And it probably would have worked if it was fitted properly, but because it wasn’t fitted properly, and looked a bit boxy, I just looked like a really bad gangster. But then someone might read this and think, ‘No, what about that other thing he wore?’ and I’ll be like. ‘I loved that!’
Do you ever buy the same item more than once?
Sometimes jeans, but I’ll buy two in the beginning. I recently found 7 For All Mankind jeans fit perfectly, and I’ll buy two of each jean. Because once you wear a pair of jeans like three times, you then have to wash them to get them back to their original shape, otherwise they’ll be all baggy, and I’m not a baggy jean kind of guy.
What do you wear to bed?
Hmmm. What do I wear to bed?
Yeah, a cape. Honestly, it varies depending on where you are, how hot it is. In hotel rooms, it’s always good just to have a pair of jocks on just in case. You know, the fire alarm goes off, the cleaning lady comes in…
Finally, give us one piece of fashion advice.
Don’t try to be fashionable. Wear what you like.
The Man From UNCLE is out in cinemas from 14 August; ShortList MODE is out this Thursday