Paul McCartney at 80: A fun fashion life

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Paul McCartney at 80: A fun fashion life

Renowned musician and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has always had a playful sense of style. To celebrate your birthday on Saturday, we remember your best fashion moments.

While the former Beatle may be known for his immeasurable contribution to music, Paul McCartney also has a well-documented penchant for fashion. Thanks in large part to the late Linda McCartney, an American photographer and the musician’s first wife, the sometimes eccentric and always fun outfits worn by McCartney have been immortalized forever – from his classic 1970s lapel shirts to knit vests.

The Liverpool star’s life and times can also be traced through his tailoring choices. Starting with ’60s suits during Beatlemania and moving on to her solo career – where ensembles got more colourful, bold and individual; like McCartney’s debut look for the 1973 James Bond film “Live and Let Die,” which included a velvet-trimmed tuxedo jacket, bare chest, and bow tie collar.

Anywhere was a runway for McCartney — including the airport runway, where he was often photographed boarding and exiting jets in purple-lensed aviator sunglasses or decorative Western shirts with a child perched on his hip. As captured by Linda, the musician eschewed tailoring when offstage and instead opted for a more casual, country-inspired wardrobe filled with fisherman knits, cockerel boots and flying jackets when he’s with the family.

Her fun, down-to-earth fashion sense was eventually passed on to her daughter, Stella McCartney – the revered British designer known for collections that prioritize sustainability. “They were both my fashion icons,” she said of her parents during an interview with British newspaper The Times last year. “They never compromised, never tried to look nice to anyone else.”

As McCartney turns 80, here are some of his most striking looks over the years.

McCartney wears a scarf with a striped blazer and purple pants at a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, May 19, 1967, London. Credit: Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

The singer on set in Cornwall for the Beatles documentary

The singer on set in Cornwall for the Beatles documentary “Magical Mystery Tour” in 1967. While the original designer of this Fair Isle vest is unknown, it has since been replicated by fans across the internet. Credit: Images by David Redfern/Getty

There's a casual, effortless side to the singer's look, as shown here in a photo with McCartney's then-girlfriend Jane Asher and their Old English Sheepdog in Glasgow, Scotland, December 1967.

There’s a casual, effortless side to the singer’s look, as shown here in a photo with McCartney’s then-girlfriend Jane Asher and their Old English Sheepdog in Glasgow, Scotland, December 1967. Credit: Daily Express/Photo Archive/Getty Images

In 1968, McCartney puts a twist on the classic with a see-through polka dot shirt.

In 1968, McCartney puts a twist on the classic with a see-through polka dot shirt. Credit: Watford/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Traveling couldn't stop a good outfit.  Here in 1971, at Gatwick Airport near London, McCartney wears a highly decorated Western shirt with his wife Linda and two children Mary (left) and Heather (right).

Traveling couldn’t stop a good outfit. Here in 1971, at Gatwick Airport near London, McCartney wears a highly decorated Western shirt with his wife Linda and two children Mary (left) and Heather (right). Credit: Central Press/Getty Images

Post-Beatles, in 1971, on the family farm in Scotland, McCartney adopts a more modest, country-inspired wardrobe.

Post-Beatles, in 1971, on the family farm in Scotland, McCartney adopts a more modest, country-inspired wardrobe. Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images

The former Beatle donned another vibrant jersey for his 1972 TV appearance. While performing his theme song for the new Bond movie

The former Beatle donned another vibrant knit for his 1972 TV appearance. As he played his theme song for the new Bond movie “Live and Let Die,” McCartney paired a beaded necklace with a funky vest. Credit: Bettmann File/Getty Images

Taken alongside his wife Linda in 1972, McCartney dresses up as a kookier and kookier after establishing a new pop group called Wings.

Taken alongside his wife Linda in 1972, McCartney dresses up as a kookier and kookier after establishing a new pop group called Wings. Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images

Pattern clashes, t-shirts worn over shirts, and a laissez-faire approach to style produced some of McCartney's most interesting looks, like this one during a studio visit in 1973.

Pattern clashes, t-shirts worn over shirts, and a laissez-faire approach to style produced some of McCartney’s most interesting looks, like this one during a studio visit in 1973. Credit: Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

McCartney had a vibrant sweater collection, including this blue, white and red number that featured an embroidered ski sweater on the front, taken in 1973.

McCartney had a vibrant sweater collection, including this blue, white and red number that featured an embroidered ski sweater on the front, taken in 1973. Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images

A red carpet look to remember: At the 1973 premiere of

A red carpet look to remember: At the 1973 premiere of “Live And Let Die,” for which McCartney’s band Wings provided the title song, the singer donned a suit jacket – shirtless – and wore a necklace that turned into a bow. tie instead of the real thing. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Graphic meshes and striking shirts were a mainstay of the ex-Beatle, pictured here with British rock group Wings at Abbey Road Studios in 1974. Left to right: keyboardist Linda McCartney, singer and bassist Paul McCartney, drummer Geoff Britton, guitarist Denny Laine and guitarist Jimmy McCulloch.

Graphic meshes and striking shirts were a mainstay of the ex-Beatle, pictured here with British rock group Wings at Abbey Road Studios in 1974. Left to right: keyboardist Linda McCartney, singer and bassist Paul McCartney, drummer Geoff Britton, guitarist Denny Laine and guitarist Jimmy McCulloch. Credit: Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Never missing an opportunity to accessorize, McCartney is photographed wearing a scarf around his neck during a photo shoot in 1975.

Never missing an opportunity to accessorize, McCartney is photographed wearing a scarf around his neck during a photo shoot in 1975. Credit: Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A classic biker jacket never goes wrong, as McCartney demonstrated here in 1980 on his farm near Rye, Sussex.

A classic biker jacket never goes wrong, as McCartney demonstrated here in 1980 on his farm near Rye, Sussex. Credit: David Harris/Keystone/Getty Images

Always playful, McCartney wore a Hawaiian shirt and blazer to accept his Ivor Novello Award at London's Grosvenor House from Russian actor Yul Brynner in 1980.

Always playful, McCartney wore a Hawaiian shirt and blazer to accept his Ivor Novello Award at London’s Grosvenor House from Russian actor Yul Brynner in 1980. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Young Stella McCartney is carried by her father, who wears a pair of sunglasses at an airport in 1988.

Young Stella McCartney is carried by her father, who wears a pair of sunglasses at an airport in 1988. Credit: François Lochon/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Paul McCartney wears a tangerine scarf and purple turtleneck in 1987.

Paul McCartney wears a tangerine scarf and purple turtleneck in 1987. Credit: Rino Petrosino / Mondadori Portfolio / Getty Images

In 1993, the singer ditched the lapels of the 70s and moved with the times.  Here, during a rehearsal for his New World Tour at London's Docklands Arena, McCartney poses in an oversized '90s denim jacket and a printed T-shirt.

In 1993, the singer ditched the lapels of the 70s and moved with the times. Here, during a rehearsal for his New World Tour at London’s Docklands Arena, McCartney poses in an oversized ’90s denim jacket and a printed T-shirt. Credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images

A good suit jacket is a staple, especially when dressed in a plain T-shirt.  McCartney is pictured in 1993 at Paris Bercy's Palais Omnisports.

A good suit jacket is a staple, especially when dressed in a plain T-shirt. McCartney is pictured in 1993 at Paris Bercy’s Palais Omnisports. Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Later in his career, as pictured here in 1999 before playing a show in Liverpool, McCartney still managed to look mellow in slouchy tailored suits.

Later in his career, as pictured here in 1999 before playing a show in Liverpool, McCartney still managed to look mellow in slouchy tailored suits. Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

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