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Paul McCartney at 80: A life of fun-loving fashion

Renowned musician and former Beatle Paul McCartney has always had a playful sense of style. To celebrate his birthday on Saturday, we take a look back at his 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. Largely thanks to the late Linda McCartney, an American photographer and the musician’s first wife, the sometimes kooky and always frolicsome outfits worn by McCartney have been immortalized forever — from his classic 1970s long-lapel shirts to loud knitted sweater vests.

The Liverpudlian star’s life and times can be traced through his sartorial choices, too. Starting with the sharp ’60s suits during Beatlemania and following into his solo career — where ensembles grew more colorful, daring and individual; like McCartney’s premiere look for the 1973 James Bond film “Live and Let Die,” which included a velvet-trimmed tuxedo jacket, bare chest and bow-tie necklace.

Anywhere was a runway for McCartney — including the airport runway, where he was often photographed boarding and exiting jets sporting purple-lense aviator sunglasses or decorative Western shirts with a child perched on his hip. As captured by Linda, the musician steered clear of tailoring when off-stage and instead opted for a more casual, country-inspired wardrobe filled with fisherman knits, wellington boots and flying jackets when around family.

His fun-loving, down-to-earth fashion sense was eventually passed down to his 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 cool for 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 trousers at a release party for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, May 19, 1967, in London. Credit: Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

The singer on-set in Cornwall for the Beatles documentary "Magical Mystery Tour" in 1967. Although the original designer of this Fair Isle sweater vest is unknown, it has since been replicated by fans all over the internet.

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

There's an effortlessly cool, casual side to the singer's look, as shown here in a picture with McCartney's then girlfriend Jane Asher and his Old English Sheepdog in Glasgow, Scotland, December 1967.

There’s an effortlessly cool, casual side to the singer’s look, as shown here in a picture with McCartney’s then girlfriend Jane Asher and his Old English Sheepdog in Glasgow, Scotland, December 1967. Credit: Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images

In 1968, McCartney gives a twist on classic with a transparent polka dot shirt.

In 1968, McCartney gives a twist on classic with a transparent polka dot shirt. Credit: Watford/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Traveling couldn't stop a good outfit. Here in 1971 at Gatwick Airport near London, McCartney dons 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 dons 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 at their family farm in Scotland, McCartney embraces a more parred down, country-inspired wardrobe.

Post-Beatles, in 1971 at their family farm in Scotland, McCartney embraces a more parred down, country-inspired wardrobe. Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images

The former Beatle donned another vibrant knit for his TV appearance in 1972. While performing his theme tune for the new Bond movie "Live and Let Die," McCartney paired a beaded necklace with a funky sweater vest.

The former Beatle donned another vibrant knit for his TV appearance in 1972. While performing his theme tune for the new Bond movie “Live and Let Die,” McCartney paired a beaded necklace with a funky sweater vest. Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

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

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

Pattern clashes, T-shirts worn on top of shirts and a laissez-faire approach to styling produced some of McCartney's most interesting looks, like this one during a visit to the studio in 1973.

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

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

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

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 -- no shirt -- and wore a necklace-turned-bow-tie instead of the real thing.

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 — no shirt — and wore a necklace-turned-bow-tie instead of the real thing. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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

Graphic knits and striking shirts were a mainstay for the former Beatle, pictured here with British rock group Wings at Abbey Road Studios in 1974. Left to right: Keyboard player 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 neck scarf during a shoot in 1975.

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

A classic biker jacket never goes amiss, as demonstrated by McCartney here in 1980 at his farm near Rye, Sussex.

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

Always playful, McCartney styled a Hawaiian shirt and blazer to collect his Ivor Novello award at Grosvenor House in London from Russian-born actor Yul Brynner in 1980.

Always playful, McCartney styled a Hawaiian shirt and blazer to collect his Ivor Novello award at Grosvenor House in London from Russian-born actor Yul Brynner in 1980. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A young Stella McCartney is carried by her father, who dons a pair of sunglasses at an airport in 1988.

A young Stella McCartney is carried by her father, who dons a pair of sunglasses at an airport in 1988. Credit: Francois 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

By 1993, the singer had ditched the '70s lapels and moved with the times. Here during a rehearsal for his New World Tour at the Docklands Arena in London  McCartney poses in a typically '90s oversized denim jacket and graphic tee.

By 1993, the singer had ditched the ’70s lapels and moved with the times. Here during a rehearsal for his New World Tour at the Docklands Arena in London McCartney poses in a typically ’90s oversized denim jacket and graphic tee. Credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images

A good suit jacket is a staple, especially when dressed down with a simple T-shirt. McCartney is pictured in 1993 at the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy.

A good suit jacket is a staple, especially when dressed down with a simple T-shirt. McCartney is pictured in 1993 at the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy. Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Later in his career, as pictured here in 1999 before performing a gig in Liverpool, McCartney still managed to look suave in slouchy tailored suits.

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

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