Patrick Redfern’s White Dinner Jacket

Two years ago, I broke down the great off-white dinner jacket worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger. For your end-of-summer fancy soiree (which I assume you’re hosting), the white or off-white dinner jacket should always be an option.

Nicholas Clay as Patrick Redfern in Evil Under the Sun.

Nicholas Clay as Patrick Redfern in Evil Under the Sun (1982).

Vitals

Nicholas Clay as Patrick Redfern, philandering Latin teacher

a remote Mediterranean island, Summer 1937

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

1982’s Evil Under the Sun is a lavish adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1941 novel, jumping on the popularity of its successful predecessors Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile by stacking together a star-studded cast, dressing them up in expensive period costumes, and dropping them into a murder mystery in an exotic locale.

Since the original novel was set on an English island, the filmmakers evidently decided they could weasel much more camp value out of a warm island palace, and the secluded hotel in Devon was scrapped in favor of a regal resort in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. Quiet intrigue gave way to flamboyant grandstanding as a delightful cavalcade of stars chewed the scenery against a backdrop of murder and Cole Porter.

Nicholas Clay was one of the film’s many stars, playing Patrick Redfern, a charismatic if inattentive husband who grows more and more nefarious as each brogue-covered layer is stripped away by master detective Hercule Poirot.

What’d He Wear?

For the resort’s cocktail hour, Redfern is appropriately dressed in an ivory dinner jacket just as white-toned dinner jackets were coming into fashion. The Black Tie Guide, which should be considered the definitive online guide to men’s formalwear, notes that:

White dinner jackets premiered alongside the mess jacket in resorts like Palm Beach and Cannes, albeit with much less fanfare.  Constructed of cotton drill, linen or silk they were originally worn with either black or white trousers of tropical weight wool.  Their popularity at tropical locales grew slowly but surely and by the time the mess jacket had become passé in 1936 they were as common as traditional dark coats.  In its August 1936 issue, Esquire defined the quintessential warm-weather formal evening wardrobe: “This year, the big swing is to single- or double-breasted [light colored] dinner jackets, collar and self lapel facings.  These are worn with[black] tropical dress trousers, patent leather oxfords or pumps, a white, soft shirt with either soft or laundered collar and a black dress tie.”

As the film is set in a tropical locale in 1937, Redfern’s double-breasted, light-colored, self-faced dinner jacket, soft white shirt, black dress tie and trousers, and patent leather oxfords hit the Esquire nail on the head. The character, a supposedly humble schoolteacher who hides great wealth and is much more fashionable than his dowdy wife, would be the sort of guy who would wear exactly what Esquire prescribes when heading to a tropical island.

Redfern nails it while Poirot's eccentric taste prevents him from even entering the same sartorial arena.

Redfern nails it while Poirot’s eccentric taste prevents him from even entering the same sartorial arena.

As Esquire indirectly stated, the white dinner jacket implied a drop in formality that is reflected throughout the outfit.

Redfern’s dinner jacket is ivory lightweight wool with a 4×1-button double-breasted front. The substantial shawl lapels are self-faced – rather than grosgrain or satin-faced – and roll cleanly to his waist. The waistline is only slightly suppressed, more of an indication of the 1980s boxy fit than the 1930s athletic fit. Still, Clay’s athletic silhouette is kept intact by the jacket’s correct ventless rear, darted front, and long natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads.

Redfern enjoys cocktail hour.

Redfern enjoys cocktail hour.

The buttons, including the 4-button surgeon’s cuffs, are all white plastic, again a less formal option than mother-of-pearl. The welted breast pocket is embellished with a white silk handkerchief poking out; a red carnation pinned to the left lapel further enhances the ensemble. The hip pockets are jetted, as they should be.

Since the jacket is double-breasted and worn less formally than most black tie ensembles, a cummerbund is optional although still the standard option for resort formalwear. Redfern keeps his jacket buttoned at all times so it is left to speculation whether or not he wears a cummerbund. It’s likely that he would, as the Black Tie Guide continues:

By 1937 The New Etiquette was describing the [cummerbund] as a “popular and chic” waist covering for informal evening wear at resorts.  “It is meant for hot weather to obviate the necessity of having the harness of a waistcoat over the shoulder and back when it might be uncomfortably warm.  On the right people at the right time it is decorative and correctly in the spirit of colorful gaiety.” As the author alluded, the cummerbund could be used to infuse warm-weather formal wear with color and even patterns.  Most often though, black silk continued to be de rigueur for waist coverings worn with the white dinner jacket.  The pleated formal sash could also be correctly matched with a black tuxedo according to the book’s author, but only when those tuxedos were worn at resorts; the acceptance of cummerbunds year round was still at least a decade away.

Redfern’s formal trousers are black with flat fronts and a silk braid running down each side. He often places his hands in the on-seam side pockets, and the plain-hemmed bottoms slightly flare out with a short break.

Redfern’s shirt also indicates the relaxed formality of his outfit. It is white with a plain (not piqué or pleated) front and mother-of-pearl buttons (not studs). He wears a set of round golf cuff links through the double cuffs. Under the shirt’s soft turndown collar, Redfern wears a black silk “thistle”-shaped (or “semi-butterfly” or “hourglass”) bow tie that is clearly not a pre-tied version, which deserves a thumb’s up. Also, the thicker tie is good for someone with Clay’s large face and strong features.

Mrs. Redfern knows not to trust her husband when he starts employing his Roger Moore eyebrow.

Mrs. Redfern knows not to trust her husband when he starts employing his Roger Moore eyebrow.

On his feet, Redfern wears a pair of black patent leather cap-toe balmorals with raised heels. With the stitched toe cap on the uppers, this balmoral is more commonly seen as a business shoe and not with a formal outfit like a dinner suit. However, both the casual nature of his ensemble and the shiny patent leather excuse this choice.

Redfern eyes the cocktails being passed around as he lounges in the hotel parlor.

Redfern eyes the cocktails being passed around as he lounges in the hotel parlor. He looks somewhat out of place next to his gaudy-dressed cast mates and surroundings.

 

Also, this less formal jacket and shirt would look very strange with the pinched bow pumps considered to be “proper” with black tie. Redfern wears thin black dress socks, as he should.

His watch has been identified by Roman and Will – two great commenters here – as a vintage Gruen Curvex on a black alligator strap. With its large Arabic numerals and oblong silver case, it is a more casual watch than most would accept with black tie, but it works here.

Redfern's watch, now almost definitely identified as a Gruen Curvex. (Thanks, Roman and Will!)

Redfern’s watch, now almost definitely identified as a Gruen Curvex. (Thanks, Roman and Will!)

Go Big or Go Home

The white 4×1-button double-breasted, lapeled dinner jacket says plenty about its wearers. The most famous wearer was Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca, but a similar jacket also showed up on Emilio Largo, one of the more stylish Bond villains.

Bogie in Casablanca, Adolfo Celi as Largo in Thunderball, and Clay. (Largo image sourced from The Suits of James Bond.) Clay steps up his game by adding a red carnation.

Although Largo and Redfern, as a terrorist and a murderer respectively, qualify more as villains than Rick Blaine, each of the three men carries a mischievous charm and a devil-may-care attitude as they conduct their shady business among fellow patrons of an exotic bar/casino/hotel.

Despite posing as a man of modest means, Redfern is still able to afford a leisurely week at such an exclusive Mediterranean resort… although it is his Broadway diva mistress that buys his room, so that sort of negates it. However, he still lives lavishly while there, indulging in numerous cocktails and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.

Although I have no idea what the hell his wife is sipping on here.

Although I have no idea what the hell his wife is sipping on here.

The Redferns are eventually revealed to be a horribly deceptive couple of whom even Frank and Claire Underwood would disapprove. The casting of Jane Birkin as Redfern’s supposedly “plain Jane” wife Christine is interesting, especially given the start of her career as a mod icon and symbol of Swinging London.

Christine plays her part well, looking continuously haggard and beleaguered as her husband enjoys the attentions of Diana Rigg as the doomed diva. (Interestingly, Rigg is eight years older than Birkin. I guess the Redferns targeted cougars.)

Much of my enjoyment of this guilty pleasure piece of celluloid comes from the soundtrack. The score consists entirely of Cole Porter hits, masterfully arranged by John Lanchberry. Unfortunately, most of the tracks are unavailable on YouTube, so I can’t share any here. The first cocktail hour is scored by “Longing for Dear Old Broadway” (from The Pot of Gold, one of the earliest shows written by Porter) and “You Do Something to Me”. “You Do Something to Me” is one of Porter’s most popular songs, and it became a standard in the songbooks of legends like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

Here is Leo Reisman and his Orchestra performing “You Do Something to Me” in 1929, the year Porter penned it for Fifty Million Frenchmen.

How to Get the Look

Though his behavior shouldn’t be copied, Patrick Redfern’s casual and comfortable tropical black tie sets a fine example for anyone who wants to class up a warm holiday.eutsprw-crop

  • Ivory double-breasted 4×1-button dinner jacket with large shawl lapels, welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, 4-button surgeon’s cuffs, and ventless rear
  • Black flat front formal side-braided trousers with on-seam side pockets and slightly flared plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White plain front shirt with front placket, mother-of-pearl buttons, and double/French cuffs
  • Black silk “thistle”-shaped bow tie
  • Gold round cuff links
  • Black patent leather cap-toe balmorals
  • Black thin dress socks
  • Gruen Curvex wristwatch in an oblong silver case on a black alligator strap

To be extra natty, pin a red carnation to your left lapel and tuck a white silk handkerchief into the breast pocket.

Do Yourself A Favor And…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

It’s funny to think if Giuseppe Verdi had been an Englishman his name would have been Joe Green.

Don Draper’s Gun Club Check Sportcoat

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, drowning his sorrows in badassery in "The Good News" (Mad Men, Ep. 4.03).

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, drowning his sorrows in badassery in “The Good News” (Mad Men, Ep. 4.03).

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, recently divorced Madison Avenue ad man (although I guess it’s safe to call him Dick Whitman here…)

Los Angeles, December 1964

Background

Ah, poor Don Draper*. By the third episode of Mad Men‘s fourth season, “The Good News”, Don has just gone through a divorce and is managing a tenacious relationship with his kids, he’s alienating co-workers either by yelling at clients or sleeping with secretaries, and his best friends consist of a softcore dominatrix and the driest, most British person in his office.

To put his troubles behind him during one of the loneliest times of the year, Don plans a trip to Acapulco for New Year’s, ostensibly to lose himself in a sea of cocktails and bikini-clad girls. Don gets an early start to his hedonistic journey by stopping over for a night in Southern California to visit Anna Draper, the one woman who really knows him and still loves him. Of course, his troubles are compounded when he learns that Anna is dying.

* Some sarcasm intended. He’s not an easy guy to feel bad for.

What’d He Wear?

As each season of Mad Men progresses through the 1960s, Don’s checkered sport coats become louder and louder. This progression reaches its apex halfway through season 5 when Don struts into the Campbell home wearing an eye-catching plaid sport coat that would be horrifying on anyone else, but Jon Hamm still manages to look debonair.

For Don’s New Year’s journey to California in “The Good News”, he ditches his gray business suit and opts for a very classy sport coat with a gun club check.

Dick + Anna '64

Dick + Anna ’64

Originally known as “The Coigach” when it was developed in Scotland as a regional (or “district”) check, the American Gun Club embraced and adopted this distinctive pattern in 1874. According to Gilt:

There was a time when the gun club check—a pattern marked by alternating broken bands in two or more colors on a light background—bore no relationship to armed recreation. Wearing it actually meant that you were a gamekeeper or other worker in the Coigach district of Scotland’s Northwest Highlands. At that time (about 1847 to the mid 1870’s) it was quite appropriately known as the Coigach, one of a series of “district checks” fashioned for particular Scottish estates.

GQ article breaks down the traditional colors seen with gun club check:

The fabric’s signature motif was created by four colors (traditionally black, red-brown, light gold, and pine green) intersecting to create boxes of various sizes. The resulting pattern was quite geometric up close, but from afar read like a landscape of the countryside’s color palette.

Gilt goes on to explain:

At first, [gun club check] referred exclusively to the Coigach’s distinctive weave, which featured black and red bands alternating evenly on a white field. Over time, though, the term became a catchall for any type of similar pattern.

Don’s jacket fits the above criteria with a light yellow cream ground and an alternating pattern of black, rust brown, and light blue intersecting boxes for the true “gun club check” look. While a yellow jacket might be too loud for some men, the overcheck actually manages to keep it subdued and grounded rather than tacky.

Gun club check isn't just for the shooting range. (In fact, most guys at my shooting range hardly ever have sleeves on their shirts, much less checked sport coats.)

Gun club check isn’t just for the shooting range. (In fact, most guys at my shooting range hardly ever have sleeves on their shirts, much less checked sport coats.)

The sport coat itself is constructed of a twill-woven wool that is lightweight enough to be comfortable in the warm climate of Southern California. Gun club check is often seen on heavier fabrics like Harris tweed, but that would be too warm in a city that doesn’t get much cooler than 50°F around this time of year. Plus, an urbanite like Don wouldn’t have much use for a Harris tweed jacket while in either L.A. or New York.

Don’s jacket has a single-breasted, 2-button front with slim notch lapels. The padded shoulders have roped sleeveheads. The three patch pockets – one of the left breast and one on each hip – further indicate the jacket’s casual nature. It has 2-button cuffs, a short rear single vent, and an overall shorter fit that was fashionable in 1964. All in all, very fine work from the show’s deservedly esteemed costume designer Janie Bryant.

Stephanie fortifies for her dance with Don.

Stephanie fortifies for her dance with Don.

GQ promoted a Brooks Brothers example that looks like a heavier version of Don’s jacket. It’s not a spot-on match, but it’s hard to go wrong with Brooks Brothers.

Don nicely calls out the blue overcheck with a blue short-sleeve shirt. While many men eschew short-sleeve shirts with sport coats – or short-sleeved shirts in general – it is an effective look for a confident, well-built man in a warm climate (which certainly defines Don Draper in California). The shirt also has a very subtle blue overcheck.

No means no, Don.

No means no, Don.

Don’s blue shirt has white buttons down the front placket and smaller white buttons to fasten down the slim collar. The sleeves have narrow cuffs, and there is a pocket over his left breast for his always-present Lucky Strikes.

mm403gc-CL-shirt-full

Don wears a pair of charcoal flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and cuffed bottoms that break high over his shoes. He wears his usual slim black leather belt that fastens in the front with a small dulled silver buckle. The belt matches his shoes, which are definitely black leather and either have a plain toe or a split toe. I believe I see a strap over the arch, indicating loafers, but this could just be the light and my eye playing tricks on me. Since slip-on loafers are more casual and this is a more casual outfit, I would prefer wearing loafers over oxfords.

mm403gc-CL-shoes-pants

Either way, he wears thin dark dress socks – likely in black also – that effectively carry the leg line from the trouser bottoms into his mysterious shoes.

The dark gray trousers are a good choice for winter, even in the warm winter of L.A., but Don also has a pair of khaki chinos in this sequence that would work equally as well with this jacket. His chinos also have belt loops and cuffed bottoms as well as on-seam side pockets and jetted rear pockets that close with a button.

Painting the house is no excuse for wearing shabby pants.

Painting the house is no excuse for wearing shabby pants.

Underneath, Don wears his standard underwear of white crew neck short-sleeve cotton t-shirt and white cotton undershorts with an elastic waistband and single-button fly. Some people may prefer a bit more clothing while hanging around the house, but Anna has no complaints: “I’m not going to fight watching Dick Whitman paint my living room in his shorts.”

Although painting the house apparently is an acceptable excuse for not wearing pants at all.

Although painting the house apparently is an acceptable excuse for not wearing pants at all.

If someone does fight the image of you in your underwear, it’s time to put on some pants.

Don also swaps his businessman image by leaving his fedora at home and opting for a straw trilby during his afternoon evening in the sun.

mm403gc-CX-hat

The fourth season also marks a new watch for Don, his third out of four worn throughout the show. This one is a Rolex Explorer I, the classic Rolex luxury sport watch that has remained nearly identical since its introduction in 1953. Don’s Explorer, confirmed by the Arabic 3, 6, and 9 markers on the black dial, has a stainless case and bracelet.

The Rolex Explorer adds a manly touch to a night of introspection.

The Rolex Explorer adds a manly touch to a night of introspection.

Although some consider the Explorer’s continued diameter of 36 mm to be a bit too small, the Explorer is undoubtedly a masculinely minimalist and utilitarian watch that was a fine choice for Draper’s wrist. I would’ve been sorrier to see it go if it hadn’t been replaced by the equally awesome Seamaster Deville from the fifth season onward.

Go Big or Go Home

Harkening back to his simpler Dick Whitman roots, Don joins Anna and her young niece Stephanie for a night of beer and bar food at a local L.A. roadhouse (“that place with the beer and abalone”).

After some banter and a little more info about Dick/Don’s backstory – did we know he had a few nonconsecutive years at City College before this? – Stephanie gets up to enjoy some Jan & Dean. This was 1964, after all, and harder rock from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were just gaining popularity in the U.S. Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes were just getting started, and The Beach Boys were still singing about surfing instead of drugs. “Sidewalk Surfin'” was about as hardcore as a politically-forward yet mainstream girl like Stephanie would get.

Of course, it is Patti Page’s “Old Cape Cod” that manages to get Don onto the dance floor. After Anna declines due to her leg, Don affectionately but respectfully guides Stephanie across the dance floor as he gives her a brief music lesson.

Don: So you picked this song because it’s old? That doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Stephanie: It’s kind of corny.
Don: I think it sounds like she’s inviting us to a very beautiful place where there’s no surfing at all.
Stephanie: Have you ever been there?
Don: No. But every time I hear this song, I want to go.

The conversation tells us just how much the times are changing. The song, while clearly of a more classic era, was recorded in 1957 and was still only seven years old at the time of the scene. Yet for Stephanie, who grew up during the advent of rock, it may as well be from the ’40s. Still, it’s a great song, and it even found a place in Die Hard 2 nearly twenty years earlier. (Stephanie’s questionable taste is further explored three seasons later when she shows up seven months pregnant with a drug dealer’s baby. But more on that later…)

Tom and Lorenzo, who have a reputation for excellent Mad Men episode reviews, broke down this scene and the significance of the song in their post:

Stephanie gets up to play a song on the jukebox and she picks Patti Page’s 1957 hit, “Old Cape Cod,” as a way to tease the two older people into dancing. “If you spend an evening you’ll want to stay,” go the lyrics, which are referencing Don’s own feelings at the moment. He’s only there for the night, but it’s the first time we’ve seen Don smile since before the Kennedy assassination. He’s enjoying himself in this place with these people.

mm403gc-LS-dance

Tom and Lorenzo also comment on how Don’s night worsens after this brief moment of bliss:

Of course he’s still Don Draper, with all his demons intact, which means he makes a clumsy and – dare we say it? – almost embarrassing play for the half-his-age Stephanie later that night when he drives her home. Once again, he strikes out. Not just because Stephanie’s not interested, but because she’s got a bomb to drop: Anna doesn’t have much time left to live because she’s got cancer and worse, she doesn’t know it. Don is devastated and angry. Later, when he gets back to Anna’s place, he tenderly lifts her sleeping form off the couch and carries her to bed.

How to Get the Look

Don keeps his “California casual” look business-like but fresh. A few details are concessions to the era, but the look is dead-on for a fashionable gentleman turning heads in 1964 L.A.

mm403gc-crop

  • Gun club check (yellow cream with black, rust red, and light blue check) single-breasted sport coat with slim notch lapels, 2-button front, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and short rear vent
  • Blue (with subtle blue overcheck) short-sleeve shirt with slim button-down collars, front placket, breast pocket, and cuffed sleeves
  • Charcoal gray flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and cuffed bottoms
  • Black leather slim belt with dulled silver buckle
  • Black leather full-strap penny loafers
  • Black thin dress socks
  • White crew neck short-sleeve cotton undershirt
  • White cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistband and 1-button fly
  • Rolex Explorer I with a stainless case, black face, and stainless bracelet
  • Light brown straw trilby with a slim black ribbon

This is a much more practical version of the yellow check sport coat and blue Hawaiian shirt he wears in Hawaii two seasons later if you’re not into the whole tropical thing.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the fourth season.

The Quote

Trust me, I work in advertising.

This sentiment doesn’t go over well with young radical-to-be Stephanie, who exclaims, “You’re kidding me. It’s pollution!” Don coolly retorts: “So stop buying things.”

Andy Garcia in The Untouchables

Andy Garcia as George Stone in The Untouchables (1987).

Andy Garcia as George Stone in The Untouchables (1987).

Vitals

Andy Garcia as Giuseppe Petri, aka “George Stone”, honest Chicago police recruit and expert marksman

Chicago, September 1930

Background

A contemporary interview from People magazine at the time of The Untouchables‘ release was very flattering to Garcia:

Andy Garcia really doesn’t have much of a part in The Untouchables. His big moments come at the beginning, when he angrily jams a gun barrel into Sean Connery’s neck, and at the end, when he coolly kills one of Al Capone’s henchmen from a prone position. Of quiet demeanor, Garcia’s minor character has no love scenes and little to say. Yet Garcia’s rich portrayal of Treasury agent George Stone, the Italian-American T-man with a chip of ice on his shoulder, adds up to much more than the sum of his minutes onscreen. He’s The Untouchables‘ quicksilver gunslinger, the deadly rookie who’s a natural pistolero.

Garcia’s character, particularly his background, are a nod to the political correctness of the original 1950s TV series’ inclusion of Nick Georgiade as Agent Rico Rossi, who served primarily to show the audience that not all Italian-Americans are mafioso.

What’d He Wear?

Stone has a very unique off-duty look that contrasts well with the other characters and could translate well throughout the decades. Both he and Malone, the two Chicago PD officers, prefer more casual everyday attire than feds Ness and Wallace in their dark three-piece suits. It isn’t until the final scene, when Capone is put away and Prohibition is on the verge of repeal, that we finally see Stone wearing a suit.

Cops.

The newly-formed “Untouchables” squad prepares for their fisrt raid.

Stone’s suede blouson is copper brown. It has a zip front, which is slightly anachronistic as the zipper was not truly considered proper for garments for another decade. A more era-correct choice would have been a button front. The cuffs each close with a single button.

The blouson has shirt-style collars and large patch pockets on the chest with flaps.

Stone's jacket.

Stone’s jacket.

Stone wears a pair of gray wool trousers with a generous fit that slightly flares toward the bottoms, which have cuffs (or turn-ups). The high-rise trousers are flat front with belt loops, but Stone prefers to wear suspenders. His suspenders (or braces, if you will) are brown leather with belt-like gold square clasps in lieu of the standard sliding adjusters.

Stone's pants.

Stone takes aim.

The trousers have slightly slanted side pockets and a right rear pocket that closes with a button on a pointed flap.

Underneath his jacket, Stone wears a very distinctive chocolate brown vest constructed of a smoother, finer suede than the jacket. It has a single-breasted 4-button front with a very small notched bottom and swelled edges. There are two very shallow hip pockets, mostly useful for carrying a book of matches or similarly-sized item.

The rear of the vest is also unique; it is soft tan wool – possibly cashmere? – with a widely-ribbed waist.

Stone's vest.

Stone’s vest.

When Stone first reports to duty with the squad, he wears a yellow intricately-striped shirt with a soft point collar, patch pockets on both sides of the chest, and button cuffs – rolled up. His tie has a black ground with small yellow oval capsules (encapsulating some small red design), tied into a tight knot. The wider bottom of the tie is held into place by a gold “squiggle”-shaped tie clip.

Stone and the fellas.

Stone and the fellas.

Following that, he wears a similar shirt in light blue with all of the same features – the stripes, the point collar, the button cuffs, and patch pockets. He also introduces a new tie with this shirt, featuring a diamond-shaped interlocking pattern of red, green, orange, and black. He also wears a fancier gold tie clip with a diamond.

Andy Garcia talking directly into the camera was the 1987 version of Justus D. Barnes firing into the camera at the end of The Great Train Robbery. Audiences believed that Garcia was truly in the theater with them.

Andy Garcia talking directly into the camera was the 1987 version of Justus D. Barnes firing into the camera at the end of The Great Train Robbery. Audiences believed that Garcia was truly in the theater with them.

Stone sports a pair of well-worn dark brown split toe bluchers on his feet with a pair of black socks.

Stone's feet.

Stone in action.

Like Ness, Stone wears a fedora throughout with a slim grosgrain ribbon. Stone’s hat is light brown felt with a matching band.

Stone's hat.

Stone chats up a potential witness.

Stone carries his service revolver in a black leather shoulder holster under his left armpit. Various grooves are cut into the leather to adjust the fit of the black straps.

Stone's holster.

Stone would never be allowed in a Chipotle these days.

Stone’s watch is never clearly seen, but it has a small stainless case, a square black dial, and it is worn on a black leather strap on his left wrist.

Stone on the phone.

Not an unfamiliar image to fans of The Untouchables TV show.

How to Get the Look

Stone’s look differentiates him from the rest of the characters in the film and has many elements that would still be fashionable today.

untGS-crop

  • Copper brown suede zip-front blouson jacket with flapped patch chest pockets and 1-button cuffs
  • Chocolate brown suede vest with 4-button front, shallow hip pockets, and tan cashmere rear
  • Gray wool flat front trousers with belt loops, slightly slanted side pockets, button-flapped right rear pocket, and flared cuffed bottoms
  • Light-colored striped shirt with soft point collars, chest patch pockets, and button cuffs
  • Black and red ornately-patterned necktie with a tight knot and wide bottom
  • Gold tie clip with a diamond
  • Dark brown split toe bluchers
  • Black dress socks
  • Brown leather belt-style suspenders with gold square clasps
  • Light brown felt fedora with thin grosgrain ribbon
  • Black leather RHD shoulder holster for 4″-barreled Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver

The Gun(s)

As the squad’s top marksman, Stone gets his hands on plenty of firearms over the course of one week. His police issue revolver is a Smith & Wesson Model 10 (known as the “Military & Police” model before the numbering system began in the 1950s). The Smith & Wesson .38 is one of the most venerable handguns in existence, still in production 115 years after its inception with more than 6,000,000 examples having been produced.

Stone aims his Smith & Wesson.

Stone aims his Smith & Wesson.

Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the Chicago Police Department actually issued a competing revolver, the Colt Police Positive Special, to its officers from the 1910s through the 1940s. The Police Positive was developed in 1907 as Colt’s response to Smith & Wesson’s quickly growing popularity in the police firearms market. It replaced Colt’s earlier New Police, a .32-caliber model that had been selected by Teddy Roosevelt to be carried as the first official NYPD revolver. The Police Positive Special, chambered in the same .38 Special cartridge as the Smith & Wesson, was rolled out the next year. Although production of the lower-caliber Police Positive ended after World War II, the Police Positive Special continued in production until 1995. With 750,000 revolvers built, the Police Positive Special remains Colt’s most widely produced revolver.

Although the Smith & Wesson is Stone’s issued sidearm, he does use a few Colt revolvers on the side. When we first meet him, he is training with a Colt Official Police, the upgraded version of the Police Positive. He also keeps his personal backup, a nickel-plated first generation Colt Detective Special with white pearl grips, in the small of his back. He notably draws his backup when confronting Malone during his initial recruitment and during the train station shootout, when he tosses it to Ness.

Two-Gun Andy.

Two-Gun Andy.

Stone is shown to be an expert with both sidearms and long arms. He is given a shotgun during the first raid, a hammerless Winchester Model 1912 pump-action 12-gauge. In Canada, Stone also proves himself to be proficient with the Thompson M1928 submachine gun, the ubiquitous symbol of the era.

Stone, well-armed for other operations.

Stone, well-armed for other operations.

Interestingly, the only LEOs shown handling Tommy guns are the police officers Stone and Malone; g-men Ness and Wallace stick to shotguns. This is perhaps a reflection of the era police officer’s firearm training vs. that of a federal agent.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Sundance Kid’s Gray Wool Traveling Suit

Paul Newman, Katharine Ross, and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Paul Newman, Katharine Ross, and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Harry Longbaugh, aka “The Sundance Kid”, American outlaw and sharpshooter

Colorado to Bolivia (via New York City), Spring 1901

Background

For Throwback Tuesday (that’s a thing, right?), BAMF Style is focusing on another BAMF hero – Robert Redford, who celebrated his 78th birthday yesterday – in the role that arguably shot his career into megastardom.

As Harry Longbaugh, alias “The Sundance Kid”, Redford played a level-headed – if pessimisitc – ying to the optimistic dreamer Butch Cassidy played by Paul Newman. Butch and the Kid were outlaws, killers, and thieves, but William Goldman’s script, George Roy Hill’s direction, and Newman and Redford’s bickering chemistry reinvented the two bandits’ image.

After being hunted by relentless lawmen across several states, Sundance begrudgingly agrees to accompany Butch to Bolivia, which Butch pitches as some sort of promised land despite knowing very little about it. The pair also take Etta Place, Sundance’s wife (common law?) who seems to have an “agreement” of her own with both men.

Sundance: Well, I think I’ll get saddled up and go looking for a woman.
Butch: Good hunting.
Sundance: Shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. I’m not picky. As long as she’s smart, pretty, and sweet, and gentle, and tender, and refined, and lovely, and carefree…

What’d He Wear?

For the journey, Sundance sports a gray tweed worsted wool suit with a black bowler hat. This is the more casual of his two suits, and it would be a very comfortable suit for the rigors of fin de siècle travel.

Likely uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a suit, Sundance almost never wears it correctly, usually leaving a button or two unfastened whether on the vest, the shirt, or both. He looks especially rakish when leaving Colorado with Butch and Etta with the jacket’s pocket flaps half-tucked in, the tie knot loose in the shirt’s open collar, and only one button of the vest fastened. As Vesper tells Bond in Casino Royale, he wears his suit “with such disdain”.

In Sundance's defense, wearing a suit like this would make it a lot easier to hurry through the TSA checkpoint.

In Sundance’s defense, wearing a suit like this would make it a lot easier to hurry through the TSA checkpoint.

This suit coat (incorrectly referred to as a “blazer” at one point in the description) was auctioned in October 2007 by Heritage Auctions for $2,987.50. Although it appears very gray in the film, the auction photos appear more of a brownish gray. The auction describes Redford’s jacket:

Redford’s wardrobe in the film featured this worsted wool jacket; its Western Costume Co. tag in the lining lists Redford’s name alongside his chest measurement (41″, by the way) and sleeve length. In excellent condition, the blazer is a great remnant from one of the most beloved films ever made.

Sundance's suitcoat as seen on Heritage Auctions' site.

Sundance’s suitcoat as seen on Heritage Auctions’ site.

The sack coat is single-breasted with a high-fastening 4-button front. The swelled-edge notch lapels roll gently over the top button, creating a 4-roll-3 effect. The jacket has a welted breast pocket and flapped hip pockets. The shoulders are slightly padded, and the waist is suppressed to present more of an athletic profile. The jacket sleeves are pleated at the shoulder with a seam running down to the ceremonial 2-button cuffs. (A third button appears to have been added for the coat by the time it was auctioned.)

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The suit vest, or waistcoat or whatever you want to call it, is single-breasted with short notch lapels and four welted pockets. It fastens with six buttons down the front to a small notched bottom.

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Before TV, people used to just watch other people while drinking their beer.

The suit trousers rise high on Redford’s waist. They are fitted with very straight legs down to the plain-hemmed bottoms which have a short break over his boots.

What kind of piker just wears a t-shirt to an amusement park? Certainly not Sundance and Butch.

What kind of piker just wears a t-shirt to an amusement park? Certainly not Sundance and Butch.

Sundance’s white shirt is very modern given the scene’s 1901 setting. It buttons down a front placket and has squared button cuffs.

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The soft turndown collar has a wide spread; this is one of the more anachronistic parts of the outfit, as dress shirts with attached collars wouldn’t be developed for mass production for at least twenty more years.

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Drunk.

Sundance’s tie is dark red silk with brown paisley teardrop patterns. It is relatively slim and falls to just above the waistline.

Sundance wears his gold watch in the lower left pocket of his vest, connected to a gold chain attached to one of the vest’s buttonholes.

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Being a Westerner who doesn’t give much of a shit about convention, Sundance wears his plain black leather calf-high riding boots whether he’s out west, enjoying the rides in a New York City amusement park, or arriving at a train station in the Bolivian countryside.

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Sundance primarily wears a black bowler hat (which we Americans also call a “derby hat”), but he also sports a gray tweed newsboy cap that nicely matches his suit when jaunting through Coney Island.

Preparing for his role as Gatsby?

Preparing for his role as Gatsby?

In case you worried that a three-piece tweed suit with a high-fastening jacket and vest wasn’t warm enough, Sundance also wears an ivory union suit underneath with a three-button henley-style top.

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If Sundance walked into a crowded modern day grocery store wearing his underwear, he would probably still be the 3rd or 4th dressed guy.

Go Big or Go Home

Although they’re toasting to one of Butch’s pipe dreams that Sundance naturally shits on, seeing Butch and Sundance toast their mugs of beer on the porch of an old west brothel is one of the great buddy moments in film history.

Cheers!

Cheers!

At first, Sundance’s manner of seduction is horrifying, involving implied violence and a drawn Single Action Army, until it becomes obvious that this is part of his and Etta’s routine to “keep it fresh”, so to speak.

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Sundance definitely exerts some behavior that is not admirable, however. For one thing, he is a very grumpy traveler. Butch manages to stay positive, but Sundance really just shits on everyone’s vibes!

Butch: All Bolivia can’t look like this.
Sundance: How do you know? This might be the garden spot of the whole country! People may travel hundreds of miles just to get to this spot where we’re standing now. This might be the Atlantic City, New Jersey of all Bolivia for all you know.
Butch: Look, I know a lot more about Bolivia than you know about Atlantic City, New Jersey, I can tell you that-!
Sundance: Aha! You do, huh? I was born there; I was born in New Jersey. Was brought up there, so…
Butch: You’re from the east? I didn’t know that.
Sundance: The total tonnage of what you don’t know is enough to shatter-
Etta: I’m not sure we’re accomplishing as much as we’d like here.
Sundance: Listen, your job is to back me up, because you’d starve without me. And you, your job is to shut up!
Butch: (to Etta) He’ll feel a lot better after he’s robbed a couple of banks.
Sundance: (to himself) Bolivia!

How to Get the Look

Either due to Sundance’s fashion-forward sense or master costume designer Edith Head’s brilliant blend of a classic suit and modern style, this gray tweed suit translates reasonably well more than 100 years after the scene was set. The hat might get a few strange looks and the union suit would probably make you sweatier than you’d like, but it’s hard to deny that the suit looks good.

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  • Gray-and-brown worsted wool pick three-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted sack coat with notch lapels, 4-roll-3 button high-fastening stance, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, ventless rear
    • Single-breasted vest with short notch lapels, 6-button front, four welted pockets, and notched bottom
    • Flat front high rise trousers with straight leg and short-break plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White button-down shirt with spread collar, front placket, and squared button cuffs
  • Dark red silk necktie with brown paisley teardrop patterns
  • Black leather calf-high riding boots with raised heels
  • Black bowler hat
  • Gold pocket watch, worn in left vest pocket through vest buttonhole
  • Off-white long-sleeve henley union suit with 3 white buttons

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

What could they have here that you could possibly want to buy?

 

The Cream Suit in Layer Cake

SPOILER ALERT! Some photos in this post sorta give things away out of necessity. If you’re familiar with the film, great. If you’re not… eh, maybe wait a bit before reading this one.

Daniel Craig in Layer Cake (2004).

Daniel Craig in Layer Cake (2004).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as an unnamed London drug dealer (“XXXX”, for simplicity’s sake)

London, Summer 2004

Background

As summer comes to a close, so will the seasonal focus on how to wear a good summer suit. There have been a range of styles, from fashion-forward mod suits (Michael Caine in The Italian Job) to double-breasted three-piece affairs (J.J. Gittes and Chalky White).

At the end of Layer Cake, Dan Craig has effectively negotiated the dangerous London drug underworld to announce his retirement, even with the prospect of taking over staring him in the face. Unlike so many gangsters – both real and cinematic – “XXXX” decides he’s made enough and had enough, and he chooses to retire and drive off into the sunset (or the afternoon sun) with his new girlfriend. Unfortunately, he may have made one careless mistake too many…

What’d He Wear?

A few years earlier, fellow Bond-actor-in-non-Bond-role Pierce Brosnan wore a similar ensemble as crooked MI6 agent Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (which I wrote about exactly one month ago). Brosnan’s suit was more tan than cream, but – like Craig – it was a linen and cotton blend worn with a light blue open-neck shirt and brown shoes. While Brosnan’s look was intentionally sloppy, Craig shows how well it can be pulled off for a casual summer outfit.

When given the chance to walk through double doors, use both doors. Be that guy.

When given the chance to walk through double doors, use both doors. Be that guy.

Of course, it helps that Craig’s suit was tailored by Richard James of Savile Row. According to Richard James’ blog:

The brief for Craig’s wardrobe… was ‘slim, contemporary Savile Row suits and definitive, well cut casual wear.” A suitable look, it was thought, for a character who professes, “I’m not a gangster, I’m a businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine.”

Craig’s jacket is single-breasted with a long fit and a slightly pulled in waist. The slim notch lapels, which have swelled edges, roll down to the high 2-button front stance. The shoulders are lightly padded, and the cuffs are 4-button.

XXXX enjoys the life of a retired drug dealer.

XXXX enjoys the life of a retired drug dealer.

There is a welted pocket and the flapped hip pockets slant back like the traditional hacking jacket. The long fit and long single vent also indicate hacking jacket-inspired construction.

Craig’s matching suit trousers are flat front with a low rise best seen when he is leaning on a pillar outside the Stoke Park Country Club. The waistband has an extended hook-closure tab in the front and buckle adjusters on the sides. The side pockets are slanted, and there is a single jetted rear pocket on the left. The plain-hemmed bottoms fall with a long break over his boots.

Casual Dan.

Casual Dan.

Craig also wears the same boots as he wore throughout the rest of the film, a pair of dark brown (or “chestnut”) leather Chelsea boots with brown elastic side gussets and tall-heeled black soles. As many costume detectives have found out, these are R.M. Williams’ “Henley” boots.

This is what I meant about photos with spoilers :-/ If you've never seen Layer Cake before, then I apologize for revealing that XXXX is so embarrassed about spilling ketchup on himself during lunch that he faints outside.

This is what I meant about photos with spoilers :-/
If you’ve never seen Layer Cake before, then I apologize for revealing that XXXX is so embarrassed about spilling ketchup on himself during lunch that he faints outside. It’s shocking.

Chelsea boots are a nontraditional option for summer suits, especially in such a dark color, with tan oxfords or loafers typically worn. However, brown definitely works better than black would, and a utilitarian like XXXX – classy though he maybe – would wear a shoe that is practical and comfortable.

His socks remain unseen due to the trouser break and the height of the boots, but they would likely be tan or taupe.

Craig wears a light blue poplin shirt with a large 2-button spread collar. It has white buttons down the front placket and French cuffs secured by walnut oval-shaped links with silver trim.

The 2-button collar enjoyed plenty of popularity in the mid-2000s when large collars were back in style. Now, it's hard enough to fit a single button on the pencil-thin collars on some currently trendy shirts.

The 2-button collar enjoyed plenty of popularity in the mid-2000s when large collars were back in style. Now, it’s hard enough to fit a single button on the pencil-thin collars on some currently trendy shirts.

The only accessory Craig openly wears during the scene is his stainless wristwatch, possibly a Rolex Datejust, with a stainless bracelet and black dial.

A classy watch and cufflinks help make a casual suit pop.

A classy watch and cufflinks help make a casual suit pop.

Go Big or Go Home

Continuing the idea that Layer Cake directly led to Daniel Craig’s consideration – and eventual hiring – as James Bond, it must be pointed out that the location chosen for the finale is the Stoke Park Country Club in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. (That’s in England, in case you’re geographically disabled.)

Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller outside the Stoke Park Country Club.

Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller outside the Stoke Park Country Club.

“Stoke Park… that sounds familiar,” you say to yourself. Since you’re reading this blog, you’re probably familiar with the film Goldfinger. Stoke Park Country Club hosted James Bond and Auric Goldfinger’s gripping golf game that climaxed with Oddjob removing a statue’s head with a single toss of his bowler hat.

How to Get the Look

Some men eschew going tieless with a suit, but XXXX proves that it’s not always such a bad thing.

Unfortunately, the classic R107 Benz doesn't make it into the finished film. No reason why you shouldn't still get one, though!

Unfortunately, the classic ’86 300SL doesn’t make it into the finished film. No reason why you shouldn’t still get one, though!

  • Cream linen-cotton blend two-piece suit from Richard James of Savile Row, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with extended waistband tab, buckle side adjusters, and plain-hemmed bottoms with full break
  • Light blue button-down shirt with large 2-button spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Walnut oval cufflinks with silver trim
  • Dark brown (“chestnut”) leather R.M. Williams “Henley” Chelsea boots with brown elastic side gussets
  • Rolex Datejust wristwatch with stainless case/bracelet and black dial

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film.

The Quote

My name? If you knew that, you’d be as clever as me.

J.J. Gittes’ Cream Suit in Chinatown

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown.

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974).

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Background

Last Friday, I covered the charcoal business suit Robert Shaw wears in The Sting. While it’s a terrific suit for the era, it wouldn’t be very comfortable during warm summer months. For a great summer suit with a ’30s vibe, look no further than Jake Gittes in Chinatown.

What’d He Wear?

The Gentleman’s Gazette accurately pegs down how the later years of the 1930s marked the transition into more fickle men’s fashion with trends changing annually instead of every few years:

In 1937, the thirties suit style was fully established. It did not have any resemblance to the suit of the twenties, yet is was distinctly not 1940′s fashion either. Shoulders were natural, drape was omnipresent and trousers were full cut. Although the clothes shown are more than 75 years old, you could absolutely wear these combinations today!

Gittes, a cynical but flashy fashionplate, was the epitome of 1937 masculine style. While white and cream suits can often be called impractical, so are Gittes’ methods. His cream three-piece suit, constructed from lightweight wool, exudes luxury and gives his clients the impression that he is successful – and secure – enough to afford to wear such an impractical suit.

Interestingly, he only wears this suit for days spent in the office; he opts for more traditional business suits in gray pinstripe and check while out conducting his investigations, perhaps aware of the unwanted attention that a cream suit would garner.

The suit also serves to introduce Gittes’ character. The first shot of the film is of his work – an unsavory series of photographs featuring an adulterous wife’s unholy assignation in the great outdoors as her cuckolded husband moans in agony at each image. Gittes sharply eases his customer’s concerns, oozing lines that drip with cynicism as he reclines behind his desk.

This is what a man should look like when he's at the office.

This is what a man should look like when he’s at the office.

The suit jacket is double-breasted with a 6×2 button front and 4-button functional “surgeon’s cuffs” on the sleeves. Gittes often buttons his suit, but he typically only fastens the lower button, giving the wide peak lapels a more luxurious roll down the torso. The lapels have a short-seam horizontal gorge that pulls apart, almost resembling a “cran necker” lapel.

The jacket has open patch pockets on the hips and a welted breast pocket, which Gittes always embellishes with a silk handkerchief. In the opening scene, the handkerchief is plain white; a few days later, he opts for one in light blue with a brown border.

Gittes’ jacket is very distinctively a product of the 1930s with its pleated “bi-swing” action back, which keeps the athletic profile of a suppressed waist while allowing relaxed arm movements. The profile is further enhanced by front darts, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and a belted rear.

You hardly see smart features like this anymore. No wonder so many men hate wearing suits these days.

You hardly see smart features like this anymore. No wonder so many men hate wearing suits these days.

The suit has a matching vest (or waistcoat) that isn’t clearly seen due to camera angles and Gittes’ habit of keeping his jacket closed most of the time. It is definitely a single-breasted vest with no lapels, and it appears to have either five or six buttons down the front. The rear lining is cream silk with no adjustable strap.

Gittes’ cream suit trousers also don’t receive much screen time, but they are likely pleated like his others and in keeping with the era’s trends. The bottoms are plain-hemmed.

The first shirt Gittes wears with this suit, while spending the day in his office with various clients, is pale yellow with large point collars and French cuffs. He pairs it with a striped silk tie with cinnamon red, mustard orange, and taupe stripes in the American right-down-to-left direction.

Note Bruce Glover in the background as one of Gittes' assistants. Glover had played obnoxiously campy hitman Mr. Wint in the obnoxiously campy Diamonds are Forever three years earlier.

Note Bruce Glover in the background as one of Gittes’ assistants. Glover had played obnoxiously campy hitman Mr. Wint in the obnoxiously campy Diamonds are Forever three years earlier.

A few days later, Gittes returns to the office after a confrontation at his local barbershop, now wearing a white shirt with dark red stripes. Like the other shirt, it has large point collars with a narrow spread and rounded French cuffs, now fastened with brown oblong cuff links. His tie has a dark – possibly black – ground with brown clusters of red floral patterns.

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Like the rest of his lower half, Gittes’ shoes and socks are barely seen outside of a quick shot while he reclines in the barber’s chair. He appears to be wearing a pair of cordovan leather split toe derbies with tan dress socks.

They're only briefly seen, but Gittes' cordovan derbies keep everything grounded.

They’re only briefly seen, but Gittes’ cordovan derbies keep everything grounded. Inset is a pair of split toe derbies from Rider Boot’s 2008 collection.

Gittes wears a cream lightweight summer fedora with a very wide striped ribbon in black, dulled green, and lavender. This is an alternative to the more traditional Panama hat or a straw boater, mixing elements of both hats and adding a narrow brim and a tall, pinched crown.

The hat... you can take or leave.

The hat… you can take or leave.

Go Big or Go Home

Like any private eye should, Gittes stocks his office with enough whiskey and cigarettes to temporarily subdue any client’s concerns. His office cabinet has a bottle of Old Crow bourbon and a bottle of Old Overholt rye. Gittes opts for the Old Crow when pouring out a shot for the cuckolded Curly and, naturally, himself.

Correction from the above caption - this is what a man should look like when he's at the office.

Correction from the above caption – this is what a man should look like when he’s at the office.

Gittes likes to think of himself as a classy man, so you might be wondering, “Old Crow? You mean that bottom-shelf stuff that goes for $7.99?”

Well, yes. But there are two things to consider here:
1) Curly isn’t exactly Walter Winchell. Serving him bottom-shelf stuff won’t ruin a reputation, plus he’s probably used to it.
2) Old Crow’s pre-Prohibition reputation was similar to that of Pappy Van Winkle these days.

Old Crow is one of the oldest continuing Bourbon brands in the U.S., originally distilled by Scottish immigrant Dr. James C. Crow in the 1830s. Before his death in 1856, Dr. Crow used his twenty years of distilling to develop new procedures that revolutionized whiskey making and “Crow” – soon known as “Old Crow” – became the preferred whiskey of American badasses like Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Clay, and Mark Twain. The popularity of the whiskey led to W.A. Gaines and Company keeping the name after Dr. Crow’s death, manufacturing it according to his original recipe.

Fred Minnick managed to sample some original Old Crow, distilled in 1908 and bottled in the spring of 1925, at a Filson Historical Society tasting in 2013. Accompanying the Old Crow was a bottle of Broad Ripple from the 1930s and a “newer” bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle from the ’70s.

An Old Crow ad from 1939, before it was purchased by Jim Beam (now Beam Suntory).

An Old Crow ad from 1939, before it was purchased by Jim Beam (now Beam Suntory).

Excerpt from Fred’s site:

…Old Crow was the whiskey by which all others were judge. Since then, Jim Beam purchased the brand, where it plays second or third fiddle to the company’s flagship whiskey. “Jim Beam should be put on trial for what they did to Old Crow,” [Bourbon historian Mike] Veach says. In this 17-year-old version, we see why Old Crow was such a big deal. The complex nose is rich with caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, cigar box and raisins. A few minutes later the whiskey opens up and the caramel becomes more pronounced with new hints of walnut, tobacco and toffee. The nose just didn’t quit, and prepared me for a whiskey that starts right on the tip of your tongue with spice and just trickles back, lining every inch with the expected notes we found in the bouquet with apple and dried apricot joining the party. After a great two-minute or so finish, I don’t want to move onto to the next whiskey. I wanted to sit by a fire and talk with my friends, Veach, and Josh Durr about why this whiskey is so awesome. Could it change as it opens up? Should we have decanted this? Alas, we cannot stay with this whiskey forever. We must move on to Broad Ripple.

According to Minnick, the Old Crow and Old Rip Van Winkle maintained their quality, but the Broad Ripple – one of the last “medicinal whiskey” bottles from the Prohibition era – wasn’t as pleasing to the palate:

The taste sent Broad Ripples of old cough syrup down my throat. I gave the taste one more shot, and I can’t lie, the whiskey tasted exactly like a Moth Ball cake with Robitussin icing.

Fred concludes, as I paraphrased earlier, that:

Pappy Van Winkle is the Old Crow of its time. Let’s hope it doesn’t fade in time like Old Crow.

In 1937, Old Crow likely would’ve had the same reputation and taste that it was so proud of before Prohibition. Thus, Gittes’ proud ownership and consumption of Old Crow makes sense.

Gittes maintains his manly habits by going to a barber for his cut and shave, where he reads the paper, hears dirty jokes, and isn’t afraid to get into a fight or two. The joke that Gittes overhears is a special highlight of the film, especially given the poor context of his retelling:

So there’s this guy, Walsh, do you understand? He’s tired of screwin’ his wife. So his friend says to him, “Hey, why don’t you do it like the Chinese do?” So he says, “How do the Chinese do it?” And the guy says, “Well, the Chinese, first they screw a little bit, then they stop, then they go and read a little Confucius, come back, screw a little bit more, then they stop again, go and they screw a little bit… then they go back and they screw a little bit more, and then they go out and they contemplate the moon or something like that. Makes it more exciting.”

So now, the guy goes home and he starts screwin’ his own wife, see. So he screws her for a little bit and then he stops, and he goes out of the room and reads LIFE magazine. Then he goes back in, he starts screwin’ again. He says, “Excuse me for a minute, honey.” He goes out and he smokes a cigarette. Now his wife is gettin’ sore as hell. He comes back in the room, he starts screwin’ again. He gets up to start to leave again to go look at the moon. She looks at him and says, “Hey, whats the matter with ya? You’re screwin’ just like a Chinaman!”

How to Get the Look

A cream three-piece summer suit will definitely get attention. Just make sure you have J.J. Gittes’ confident swagger before wearing it out into public.

No one plays cheeky as well as Nicholson.

No one plays cheeky as well as Nicholson.

  • Cream lightweight wool three-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Double-breasted jacket with 6×2 button front, peak lapels, welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 4-button “surgeon’s cuffs”, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and pleated “bi-swing” action belted rear
    • Single-breasted vest with 6-button front and no adjustable rear strap
    • Pleated trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Pale yellow or white-and-red striped button-down shirt with large point collars and double/French cuffs
  • Silk patterned necktie, either:
    • Cinnamon red, mustard yellow, and taupe R-down-to-L stripes
    • Dark ground with brown and red floral clusters
  • Cream summer fedora with a wide striped ribbon and narrow brim
  • Cordovan leather split-toe derbies
  • Tan dress socks

Do Yourself a Favor And…

Buy the film.

The Quote

All right, Curly. Enough’s enough. You can’t eat the Venetian blinds; I just had them installed on Wednesday.

Footnotes

In case you’re curious, Gittes’ unfiltered cigarettes are Lucky Strike. This is seen in a quick close-up of him smoking when the accurately pre-war gold “Lucky Strike” lettering is visible.

Robert Shaw’s Charcoal Pinstripe Poker Suit in The Sting

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973).

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan, conniving Irish-American mob boss and poker host

New York to Chicago, September 1936

Background

Tomorrow would have been the 87th birthday of actor, novelist, and definitive screen villain Robert Shaw. Shaw, who kicked ass in such great films as From Russia With LoveThe Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, and Jaws, memorably played “the mark” in The Sting.

As the ruthlessly evil antagonist to Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s happy-go-lucky band of con artists, Shaw was a menacing and stylish businessman-cum-mobster who would stop at nothing to violently avenge even the slightest offense:

You see that fella in the red sweather over there? His name’s Donnie McCoy. Works a few of the protection rackets for Cunnaro when he’s waiting for something better to happen. Donnie and I have known each other since we were six. Take a good look at that face, Floyd. Because if he ever finds out I can be beat by one lousy grifter, I’ll have to kill him and every other hood who wants to muscle in on my Chicago operation.

Earlier in the film, Lonnegan lost just over a thousand dollars to Johnny Hooker (Redford) and his aging mentor Luther in a pigeon drop on the streets of Joliet. After Lonnegan ordered Luther’s death, Hooker teams up with a new aging mentor – Henry Gondorff (Newman) – to get back at Lonnegan. The first act of their revenge is set on board the 20th Century Limited, where Lonnegan hosts a high-stakes poker game.

What’d He Wear?

Lonnegan’s costuming sets himself apart from the film’s other characters. While the protagonists Gondorff and Hooker often sport single-breasted, three-piece suits, Lonnegan is decked out in true ’30s gangster fashion with double-breasted suits with knife-sharp peak lapels. Businessman that he is, Lonnegan almost always wears suits in various shades of gray to evoke business, but he accessorizes luxuriously to wink to the world and let everyone know he wields quite a bit more power than the average banker. (While Shaw looks awesomely lethal in these suits, credit is due to master costumer Edith Head, who won one of many well-deserved Oscars for her work on The Sting.)

Lonnegan hosts his 20th Century Limited poker game in a charcoal pinstripe wool double-breasted suit. His fellow players, mostly industrialists and lawyers, all fit in with their own business suits, but Lonnegan ensures that his look dominates with its dangerously wide peak lapels.

Think you're a big shot poker player? Sit across the table from a guy like this instead of one of your half-wasted frat bros who has Arby's sauce stained on his $14 shirt.

Think you’re a big shot poker player? Sit across the table from a guy like this instead of one of your half-wasted frat bros who has Arby’s sauce stained on his $14 shirt.

The double-breasted jacket has a 6×2 button front, but – like the gray pinstripe suit he wears later in the film – he only fastens the bottom button, keeping the luxurious sweep of the jacket’s large lapels across his torso intact. The lapels have long gorges slanting inward toward the center of the chest. Together with the padded shoulders, the large lapels have the desired imposing effect.

The jacket is ventless with flapped hip pockets and a welted breast pocket, which is embellished by a white silk point-folded handkerchief.

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Lonnegan’s suit trousers are generously cut like his others in the film and in keeping with the fashion of the era. The front has double reverse pleats, and the bottoms are cuffed with turn-ups. There are on-seam side pockets and jetted rear pockets that button.

Interestingly, the trousers were designed to be worn with either a belt or suspenders. Belt loops accomodate the first option, while a small fishmouth rear with two small outer buttons allow for the latter.

Lonnegan's trousers present the option to wear either suspenders or a belt. Lonnegan wisely doesn't wear both.

Lonnegan’s trousers present the option to wear either suspenders or a belt. Lonnegan wisely doesn’t wear both.

Of the two options, Lonnegan indeed opts for suspenders, wearing a striped set in this scene. The suspenders have seven stripes, alternating between dark red and light gray, with brown leather fittings. They fasten to the rear waistline of the trousers with the two small outer buttons and inside the waistband of the front.

David Niven, William Powell, and Robert Shaw. If you're not one of these three guys, don't try and grow a pencil-thin mustache.

David Niven, William Powell, and Robert Shaw. If you’re not one of these three guys, don’t try and grow a villianously thin mustache.

Lonnegan wears a white shirt with small dark blue dots scattered over the shirt. The dots are organized so that if one were to play connect-the-dots on Lonnegan’s shirt (something he’d likely consider a capital offense), it would create a grid pattern. The lightweight shirt buttons down a front placket and has a large spread collar and double/French cuffs, through which Lonnegan wears flat silver rectangle cuff links.

"Ya falla?"

“Ya falla?”

Underneath, Lonnegan clearly wears a white short-sleeve undershirt.

His tie is navy blue silk with large cream-colored polka dots, tied in a half Windsor knot. This is an inversion of the white shirt with its small blue dots. A large diamond stickpin anchors the tie about an inch or two below the knot.

Lonnegan wears a pair of black leather balmorals and black dress socks, only seen when leaving the LaSalle Street Station with Hooker and his thugs.

You can tell Lonnegan is a big shot because he's the only one in his crew (now including Johnny Hooker) wearing an overcoat.

You can tell Lonnegan is a big shot because he’s the only one in his crew (now including Johnny Hooker) wearing an overcoat.

Also seen as Lonnegan leaves the station is his distinctive buttonless camel hair overcoat. As I mentioned in my previous Lonnegan post, these coats were a major trend in the mid-1930s – particularly in Chicago – with a belted sash in lieu of buttons. In an ironic twist, the buttonless coats were manufactured to reduce costs during the Great Depression, but were marketed as luxurious alternatives to wealthy gentlemen who could actually afford more expensive coats.

Lonnegan’s overcoat has large lapels (like his suits), a long rear vent, and flapped patch pockets on his hips. He wears a black homburg during the ride home as well as a pair of pearl gray suede dress gloves.

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He may wear gloves, but he ensures that they don’t cover up his gold wristwatch.

Lonnegan wears a flat, all-gold wristwatch with a round case and expanding bracelet. His other accessory, a large diamond ring on the third finger of his left hand, matches his tie stickpin.

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This suit and tie were auctioned in November 2013 by Bonhams as Lot 123 in TCM New York’s “What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic at Auction” set. The outfit sold for a total of $4,750 and was described as:

Lonnegan's suit, as auctioned by Bonhams. Note the plain white shirt rather than the "dotted" version worn by Shaw in the film.

Lonnegan’s suit, as auctioned by Bonhams. Note the plain white shirt rather than the “dotted” version worn by Shaw in the film.

A charcoal gray and white pinstripe double-breasted wool suit with labels on each piece from Cotroneo Costume with the typed inscription, “Robert Show [sic].” Together with a navy and white polka-dot silk tie (unlabeled) and a white shirt made by Gino Pool, not believed to be screen worn.

The auction description is correct; the shirt was not screen-worn, at least not by Robert Shaw.

How to Get the Look

Whether you’re heading into a business meeting or a poker game, Lonnegan’s charcoal pinstripe suit is sure to intimidate any competition (unless you’re facing off against Paul Newman).

  • Charcoal pinstripe wool two-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Double-breasted jacket with wide peak lapels, 6×2-button front, 3-button cuffs, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, padded shoulders, and ventless rear
    • Double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops and suspender buttons, on-seam side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, and wide cuffed bottoms (turn-ups)
  • White (with dark blue dots) dress shirt with large spread collars, white buttons down front placket, breast pocket, and double/French cuffs
  • Navy blue silk necktie with cream polka dots
  • Diamond stickpin
  • Black leather balmorals
  • Black dress socks
  • Dark red and light gray striped suspenders with light brown leather fittings
  • Black homburg with a black grosgrain ribbon
  • Camel hair buttonless overcoat with large lapels, belt sash, flapped patch hip pockets, and long rear vent
  • Pearl gray suede dress gloves
  • Silver ring with large diamond on 3rd finger of left hand
  • All-gold wristwatch with expanding bracelet on left wrist

Lonnegan also wears a white linen handkerchief in his jacket’s breast pocket.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

What was I supposed to do? Call him for cheating better than me in front of the others?