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Steal His Style: David Oyelowo

Born in 1976 in Oxford, England, David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo has quickly become a film icon in our homes over the past few years. In 2011 and 2012, he played supporting roles in hit films like Middle of Nowhere, Lincoln and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In 2014, he made waves in the acting world with his role as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film Selma. He was nominated for the first time as Best Actor (Drama) for the Golden Globe Awards. He then received a nomination and won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the same role in HBO’s Nightingale.

It isn’t just his acting career that we’ve come to love, however. It’s his style as well. On the red carpet, there’s no one who makes a bigger splash than David with his true-to-himself way of dressing. Want to know his secrets? Let’s take a closer look at his style and the man behind the style.

David Oyelowo: Early Years and Career

David was born to Nigerian parents and was raised under the Baptist doctrine of Christianity. He was born in Oxford and lived in Tooting Bec until he was six. At this time, he parents moved the family to Lagos, Nigeria for work. During this time, Oyelowo attended a boarding school. When he turned fourteen, the family moved back to London and lived in Islington.

David later attended the City and Islington college, where he took a theatre studies course. His teacher was so impressed with his talent that he suggested David become an actor. For a year, Oyelowo was enrolled in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) art foundation course. Three years later, in 1998, he finished his theatre training.


As with most actors, David began his career on the stage. In 1999, he played the title character, Oroonoko in the play Volpone. In 2001, he made a name for himself, however, when he played King Henry VI in This England: The Histories with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This was the first time a black actor had played a king in such a major Shakespeare production. As a result of his acting, he won the Ian Charleson Award.

After this, Oyelowo moved onto television acting, performing in hit roles like Danny Hunter in Spooks from 2002 to 2004. He also has roles and cameos in other TV series and films like Born Equal, As Time Goes By and Small Island. He also starred in the original HBO film Nightingale.


His film career began in 2012 with Middle of Nowhere. He’s also made appearances in The Paperboy, Five Nights in Maine and The Butler. One of his newest films is Disney’s Queen of Katwe.

In 2016, David was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the field of drama.


David Oyelowo: Style Icon

While his acting career may just be beginning, this film star has already gotten our attention with his impeccable satirical sense. In fact, there’s a lot we can learn from his style simply by looking at his wardrobe on the red carpet. Here are just a few things you can learn from him.


  • Taking Away Can Add- This phrase may not quite make sense at first. After all, how can taking away anything add anything to your style? Oyelowo does it all the time. Consider the classic dinner suit, for instance. Oyelowo wore one on the red carpet with the inside filled with the lyrics to a favourite song by Martin Luther King. While this stood out, something else did too. Instead of wearing a traditional dickie bow, he eliminated it altogether. This made the entire ensemble feel smooth and approachable rather than stuffy and formal. Consider this the next time you’re putting on men’s suits. What is one small, insignificant thing that you can change to make your suit feel more like you? Is it the colour of your tie? The pattern of your pocket square? Even the smallest details matter to the whole.


  • Bend the Rules- David is not one for black tie. In fact, it seems like he goes out of his way to avoid the traditional black tie dress code as often as possible. While this makes him stand out, it does so in a good way because he replaces his black tie attire with monochromatic hits. You’ll often see him on the red carpet wearing a subtle gold, light blue or white three-piece suit. While he may have a different look than the rest of the actors, his polished appearance makes it work. Consider this the next time you want to bend a few style rules. If you’re going to do it, be sure your overall look is flawless.


  • Make it Pop- On the rare occasion that David does wear black tie appropriate attire, he finds other ways to make his ensemble pop, like a brilliant suit pattern, a bold tie choice or a glimmering metallic fabric choice. While you may not want to dress head-to-toe in metallic blue, there are ways you can add to your traditional look and stand out from the crowd. Accessories, like ties and pocket squares, are the best and most subtle way to do so. For men just starting out in the world of style, these choices are also the easiest to work with. Once you have those mastered, consider a fun patterned option over a solid suit. While subtle, patterns add a layer of interest to your entire outfit that others will notice.


Are you ready to embrace your style? Consider taking a few tips from David Oyelowo, a style icon that knows how to stand out and look brilliant both on the red carpet and just walking down the street. Use this tips to alter how you think about your wardrobe so you can make your mark when it comes to your personal style choices.


By Brook Taverner 5 December 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments