When you first hear the name Cousteau, you probably think of a red cap. It’s a look that will forever be tied with Jacques Cousteau — thanks to its ubiquity in his films and the immortalization of it by Wes Anderson in 2004’s A Life Aquatic. Cousteau’s red cap was an early form of adventure style, a pragmatic piece (early divers needed warm hats because the air coming to their helmets was frigid) that became a symbol. His great-grandson Philippe understands this. He says function, comfort, and sustainability are top of mind when he dresses — but so is the symbolism in what we wear. Take Philippe’s accessories — a ring from Peru, a necklace made from beads collected around the world, and, of course, a dive watch. He dresses to let us know that he is an adventurer, a world traveler proselytizing about conservation, climate change, and our global community. He also happens to look good doing it.
Name: Philippe Cousteau
Occupation: Ocean explorer, filmmaker, social entrepreneur
Kids’ Ages: 1 and 3
How would you describe your style?
For casual-relaxed California rock and roll chic, think boots, Henley’s, vests, leather jackets, and jeans, think Outerknown and John Varvatos. For formal, I go with tailored classic Italian three-piece suits, always with a pocket square, linen pants, open-neck shirt — Zegna is my favorite.
How do you choose your morning outfit?
Whatever is functional for the day. From sitting at home playing with the kids to going out to meetings, to heading off to Antarctica for an expedition, every day is different but one thing is always consistent… be comfortable and timeless. I always like to find small touches that are unique to me, a ring I got at a monastery in Peru, a necklace made from beads collected on various adventures around the world, but fundamentally I want something that is comfortable and functional.
Where and how do you shop?
Sustainability is always top of mind for me. The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters on Earth, so we always try to think about where our clothes come from and we never shop fast fashion. I would rather spend 100 bucks on a T-shirt from John Varvatos that will last me a decade (I have several that have) than 20 bucks on a T-shirt that falls apart in a year or so.
What did your dad or a father figure wear that influenced you?
My father and grandfather both wore lots of blue, collared shirts with epaulets and pockets, which were very much influenced by classic nautical style. To this day I tend to wear collared blue shirts with that same tailored style.
How did your style change when you became a dad?
If anything, I became even more aware of my choices and their impact on the planet. My whole life is dedicated to building a better world for all children, but when you have your own it becomes even more urgent and personal, and I always have an extra shirt ready to go because accidents happen!
What’s one style rule you think more men should follow?
Tailoring is not just for suits! A good tailor can take in the seat of that old pair of jeans, shape a shirt to fit you better, and for a few bucks, you can make almost any garment look custom and really fit you well. Also, find a good cobbler. I have some nice boots that cost a lot of money, but it was worth it. As the soles wear out, I just have them replaced instead of buying new ones. Most of my nice shoes are over a decade old and still look great. One more thing, I am a big believer in pocket squares. In a world where standing out is important to get noticed, a simple pocket square can transform a boring suit into something special and unique.
Get The Look
Three Piece Suit - Paul Smith (Every man needs a great three-piece suit, get yours here)
Shirt - Zegna (Get a crisp white button-down shirt here)
Jewelry - Various pieces handmade by Phillipe (Add accessories like these layered bracelets here)