Christian Bale Turns 46: A Look Back At His Best Style Moments

31 January 2020
Christian Bale, American Psycho, The Dark Knight, Armani, Equilibrium, Public enemies, Hollywood
To mark the American Psycho actor's big day, we present five of his most stylish characters

Christian Bale turns 46 today. Famous for his intense method acting, which includes extreme physical transformations that turn him into the fascinating characters he plays onscreen, the Academy Award-winning English actor has the rare ability to excel in both box office hits and independent films.

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But what’s perhaps less talked about is Bale’s consistent and easy sense of style. A huge amount of work goes into costume design but where Bale is concerned, something else is happening when he steps on screen. It’s the intangible difference between him and someone who isn’t a movie star: the way he wears the clothes, how the camera reacts to his proportions. But let’s not get too Bret Easton Ellis just yet. Point is, costume or not, Bale’s characters are among cinema’s most stylish.

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American Psycho (2000)

An obvious one, sure, but Bale’s portrayal of the brand-obsessed, narcissistic serial killer, Patrick Bateman, in American Psycho has become iconic. Quoted (ironically or not) by just about everyone who’s ever been interested in suits, Bale’s Bateman gave life to Bret Easton Ellis’ seemingly unfilmable novel and ensured we could never listen to Huey Lewis and the News in the same way again.

Equilibrium (2002)

This tech-noir thriller may have been ill received, but we’ll be okay if this is what the future of dressing has in store (especially if it’s one that still looks like this if it was conceived in 2002). Bale wears the beautiful, Nehru-collared frock-coats better than anyone.

The Dark Knight (2008)

If rich-and-sometimes-contemptible-New Yorker is the look you’re going for then obviously Bale’s version of Bruce Wayne is your guy. Like him or not, it’s hard to argue with a wardrobe full of custom-made Armani. We’d even go as far to say he looks better here than in American Psycho.

Public Enemies (2009)

In this 1930s crime drama, Bale plays real-life FBI agent Melvin Purvis chasing notorious bank robber John Dillinger. Just like the film, Bale’s wide-lapelled suits, long collared shirts and slicked back hair are a whopping success.

Out of the Furnace (2013)

A brooding and violent tale of misplaced masculine rage, Scott Cooper’s modern western is a compelling, if depressing, watch. Bale’s Russell, a steel mill worker, is dressed in plain white T-shirts and work pants. Simple and understated, the costume allows Bale’s characterisation to do the work.