Power dressing: how to get Harvey Specter's immaculate style

How to dress like Harvey Specter

Gabriel Macht, the actor who plays the sartorially savvy Harvey Specter in the hit US tv show Suits, gives his top five style tips for men. With vision from Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia

When it comes to no-nonsense, straight-up-and-down power dressing for serious wheeling and dealing, Harvey Specter is unquestionably your man.

The hard-nosed lawyer and corporate teeth-kicker in the TV series Suits wears a finely tailored Tom Ford three-piece like it's a suit of armour.

Impeccably groomed and chisel-jawed, opponents are on the back foot even before he reels off the first of his trademark put-downs.

Harvey Specter.

Interviewing such a figure would be imposing indeed so we're thankful to be meeting his alter ego, Gabriel Macht.

Sporting a beard and wearing a loosely buttoned navy shirt, grey flannel chinos, matching desert boots and a number of colourful bracelets, Macht is in almost every way the polar opposite to his most famous character.

Harvey Specter has been immortalised in hundreds of Instagram accounts where his boyish looks, sharp style and quick wit are dissected and canonised with an almost evangelical fervour.

Lofty role models

That Specter is regarded as a style icon comes as no surprise. Suits has just shown its fifth season on cable television and a sixth is in planning. A mix of cut-throat legal manoeuvring and witty interaction between its main protagonists, ensured it has become a firm favourite with fans.

"We really wanted to make Harvey very similar in scope to a cross between Cary Grant and Steve McQueen, where he had that romantic element from back when, but also a tough side to him. He could stare down anybody and his suit would act as armour," Macht tells Executive Style during interviews in Melbourne recently.

"In many ways it lent to the character because he's a Type A, hardened, really aggressive sort of guy. And he's a criminal. So we wanted to have that. And then slowly, as the seasons progressed, poke away at that armour. And that's what we've done."

Macht has previously been quick to point out the lack of similarities between himself and Specter.

"I like a classy suit like the rest of us. Tom Ford is great for Harvey, it's a beautiful suit but sometimes I don't wanna wear that in my personal life just because I'm not Harvey Specter. I am more of a jeans and t-shirt guy, casual is the way to go for me," he says.

Altered ego

But he also concedes that having a non-nonsense alter ego can occasionally be useful. "I'm relating to Harvey more and more as I go along . My life's changed in the last few years and the show's a hit globally, so wherever I go people recognise me. As much as I'm super-appreciative of the fandom, and the excitement for the show, I also really like my privacy and my anonymity and that's hard when you've chosen a profession like mine," he says.

"If the show does well that anonymity is taken away from you. There are times on the street where if someone stops me, I'm very appreciative but I like my privacy and I don't want my kids to be affected by it. So if I'm ever a little bit hard with anybody on the street, that's when my Harvey comes out."

As Suits has progressed and his fanbase grown, Macht has become so synonymous with Specter that it's hard to remember he was already an actor with many feature film and stage credits to his name beforehand.

When Suits comes to an end, Macht plans to take a break from TV's rigorous shooting schedules and choose some passion projects.

"When I finish Suits I think I'll take a break from television, hopefully do another film, maybe direct and definitely do some theatre," he says. "If you go back and look at the roles I played (before Suits) you'll see they are so vastly different from Harvey Specter. So I've got that in my back pocket."

Get the style

Asked for his key tips on getting Harvey's style, Macht draws on a Suits storyline to illustrate a key point.

"It helps if you've got a little money you can throw at a suit. In the first season Harvey talks to Mike and Mike says, 'yeah, I just spent 500 dollars on a suit', and Harvey figures out, 'how many suits?' and it's 'five suits'. So you can't spend $100 on a suit. You do have to throw some money at it," he says.

Check out the video above for more of Macht's tips to get Harvey Specter's look.

  • Suits Season 5 is out now on iTunes. Available on Blu-ray & DVD on May 5.