The Thin Man Goes Home – Nick Charles’ Houndstooth Sportcoat

William Powell as Nick Charles in The Thin Man Goes Home (1945).

William Powell as Nick Charles in The Thin Man Goes Home (1945).

Vitals

William Powell as Nick Charles, retired private detective

Sycamore Springs, Summer 1944

Background

Although it isn’t one of the better films in the Thin Man series, The Thin Man Goes Home offers us a glimpse of Nick Charles’ pre-detective home life in “Sycamore Springs”, an idyllic small town somewhere in New England, in an attempt to ground the man we’d before known only as a wise-cracking, hard-drinking urbanite.

The Thin Man Goes Home, released in early 1945 when the world was still at war, was the fifth in the six-film series that had rapidly began losing momentum. After a strong start, each movie progressively lost the trademark wit of the original, replacing it with family-friendly hijinks and – most notably – less booze. Nick Charles’ shady Greek origins (the family’s original surname was Charalambides in Hammett’s novel) were replaced by a WASPy neighborhood in small town U.S.A. Although it is curious that Nick and Nora leave their young son at home, especially given the series’ new direction in favor of family.

Despite this, any Thin Man movie is generally better than half of today’s cinematic output. In honor of today, the 122nd anniversary of William Powell’s birthday, I wanted to pay tribute to this great actor whose urbane sense of style and wit contributed so much to early Hollywood.

(Plus, one thing many people don’t know is that William Powell hails from my hometown of Pittsburgh. Evidently, the Pittsburgh accent wasn’t as common back in Powell’s day…)

What’d He Wear?

Nick Charles, who never appears anywhere without a sharp suit or dinner jacket, stays fashionable even in the more relaxed agrarian atmosphere of his hometown.

Nick certainly outdresses the town's local characters.

Nick certainly outdresses the town’s local characters.

Since The Thin Man Goes Home was filmed in black and white, it’s impossible to determine exactly what colors are on Nick’s clothing, but a few educated guesses can be made based on what was trendy.

Nick’s sportcoat is black and white houndstooth wool. Houndstooth, also known as dog’s tooth, is a very popular design consisting of duotone broken checks. Although other color options certainly exist, black and white is typically the most popular and – based on the contrast of Nick’s jacket – is a likely candidate for the jacket seen in the film.

If this doesn't tell you what houndstooth is, then I can't help you. Go look inside a dog's mouth. I hope it's not rabid.

If this doesn’t tell you what houndstooth is, then I can’t help you. Go look inside a dog’s mouth. I hope it’s not rabid.

The houndstooth pattern originated in the Scottish Lowlands during the early 19th century. By the 1930s, it had become popular among the wealthy, particularly on men’s coats and suits. It makes sense that an upper class gentleman like Nick would wear houndstooth, especially when not in a formal atmosphere.

The sportcoat is single-breasted with a 3-roll-2 button front; Nick only fastens the center button and lets the notch lapels roll over the top button. The shoulders are slightly padded and the darted front is especially visible with the houndstooth pattern warping at the waist line. The jacket also has 3-button cuffs and a ventless rear.

tmgh-CL-jkt2

Nick’s sportcoat has all of the features of a nice jacket appropriate in both town and country. There are three patch pockets – two on each hip and one on the left breast, which Nick embellishes with a white linen handkerchief.

Nick pairs his sportcoat with medium-colored trousers, likely medium gray, constructed of a baggy lightweight wool. They have a very high rise and single forward pleats. The trousers have no rear pockets, but there are on-seam side pockets.

In lieu of a belt or suspenders, Nick prefers to just hold up his pants when not wearing a jacket.

In lieu of a belt or suspenders, Nick prefers to just hold up his pants when not wearing a jacket.

Nick’s trousers have a very slim waistband with an extended tab in the front and a button tab in the rear. I’ve never seen this particular sort of rear waistband closure before, but it appears to have a button fastened over a fishmouth rear to allow for suspenders. The trousers are tailored to fit with no belt loops or side tabs.

Has anyone ever seen this sort of rear waistband closure before?

Has anyone ever seen this sort of rear waistband closure before?

As usual, Nick wears a white shirt with fashionable large spread collars, a front placket, and squared French cuffs worn with oval cuff links.

Nick investigates.

Nick investigates.

Underneath, Nick’s white sleeveless undershirt can be seen.

Nick’s tie is a silk abstract-patterned tie that was popular in the era. It has a dark ground and a geometric pattern in both light and dark colors. The tie has a wide base and a short length with the tip barely meeting the top of his high-rise trousers.

Although a short tie looks much better when worn under a buttoned jacket.

Although a short tie looks much better when worn under a buttoned jacket.

On his feet, Nick wears a pair of dark leather cap-toe balmorals. Black would be a reasonable color for a black and white houndstooth jacket and gray trousers, but brown is also a fine option for the country; also, the shoes in the film don’t look dark enough to be black.

Nick changes socks a few times during these scenes, wearing medium-colored (gray?) socks for the outfit’s first appearance and later changing into a pair of very dark (black?) socks.

Nick's footwear throughout these scenes including his gray socks (upper right) and black socks (lower right).

Nick’s footwear throughout these scenes including his gray socks (upper right) and black socks (lower right).

When he heads into town, Nick dons a dark felt trilby with a very slim self-band and a pinched crown.

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Go Big or Go Home

Nick and Nora were always a very cosmopolitan couple, but Nick doesn’t let fatherhood or a trip home to family interrupt his fashionability. A black and white houndstooth sportcoat, white shirt, abstract tie, and medium gray trousers was the height of casual men’s fashion in the mid-1940s. Prior to this era, sportcoats and blazers were reserved almost exclusively for holidays or extremely casual situations, but the Depression and World War II caused a remarkable change toward acceptance of casualwear and soon men were wearing sportcoats in the city and even while conducting business.

“Bugsy” Siegel, one of the era’s most infamous fashionplates, was famously photographed in police headquarters while chomping on a cigar and deflecting questions. Though Nick technically falls on the opposite side of the law, his fashion sense reveals why gangsters and hoodlums always had a soft spot for him even after he’d put them in prison.

Nick Charles and "Bugsy" Siegel had more in common than one would think! Bugsy's outfit was so recognized that Warren Beatty sported the same thing while playing the gangster in Barry Levinson's 1991 film.

Nick Charles and “Bugsy” Siegel had more in common than one would think! Bugsy’s outfit was so recognized that Warren Beatty sported the same thing while playing the gangster in Barry Levinson’s 1991 film.

Interestingly, Powell’s jacket is even more similar to Bugsy’s with its three-button front and the inclusion of a white pocket square.

How to Get the Look

Whether you’re an urban gangster or an ex-cop heading home with his family, it’s hard not to look good in a houndstooth sportcoat.

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  • Black & white houndstooth single-breasted sport coat with notch lapels, 3-roll-2 front, patch breast pocket (with white linen handkerchief), patch hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
  • Medium gray lightweight wool single forward-pleated trousers with extended front waist-tab, button-tab rear, on-seam side pockets, and cuffed bottoms
  • White button-down dress shirt with a large spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Dark silk necktie with geometric patterns and short, wide bottom
  • Oval metal cuff links
  • Dark brown leather cap-toe balmorals
  • Medium gray dress socks
  • White sleeveless undershirt
  • Dark felt trilby with slim self-band and pinched crown

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the entire film series.

The Quote

Nick Charles: A couple of weeks on this cider and I’ll be a new man.
Nora Charles: I sort of like the old one.
Nick Charles: Why, darling, that’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me since the time I got my head caught in that cuspidor at the Waldorf.

Footnotes

Not all of Nick Charles’ behavior is as admirable as his crime-solving…

#YesAllWomen

#YesAllWomen

Rusty’s Light Gray Summer Suit in Ocean’s Eleven

Brad Pitt as "Rusty" Ryan in Ocean's Eleven (2001).

Brad Pitt as “Rusty” Ryan in Ocean’s Eleven (2001).

Vitals

Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, hustler and casino heister

Las Vegas, Summer 2001

Background

Whether you’re in town for a few crazy nights with friends or a multimillion dollar casino heist, you don’t want to look like a piker in Vegas.

What’d He Wear?

Rusty Ryan, one of the flashier dressers in Danny Ocean’s crew, accompanies Danny to casino big shot Reuben Tishkoff’s pad in a luxurious light gray summer suit in lightweight soft cotton. In some angles, the suit has the bright Nevada sun shining directly on it, so some people assume the suit to be white. These people are wrong, although Rusty is certainly the type of guy who would (and could) wear a white suit.

The suit was clearly tailored specifically for Pitt and was aimed to accentuate his shoulders. The jacket shoulders are padded with roped sleeveheads, and the jacket tapers down to his waist. Curved front darts extend out from each armpit down the front of the jacket, and a ventless rear keeps the fit close around the torso. It is a very retro style, evoking suits of the 1930s with a touch of modern luxury.

Suit Details

The details – surgeon’s cuffs, padded shoulders, slanted pockets, 1-button front – make Rusty’s suit more distinctive than the usual light gray summer suit.

The jacket sleeves are too long, extending nearly to the base of his thumb and fingers. The 4-button cuffs are functional “surgeon’s cuffs”; Rusty leaves the last two buttons undone to indicate as much. This is also a common trait for Daniel Craig’s James Bond. Leaving surgeon’s cuffs unfastened has been described as very sprezzatura gesture, telling the world that one is wearing a bespoke suit without actually having to say anything and risk being called a braggart. This sort of stylish nonchalance can be seen as pretentious so if you plan on doing it, make up for it by being courteous and understated in other aspects of life. (i.e. Don’t be that asshole who parks his BMW across three parking spots then steps outside to “Check on my Beemer” every five minutes while bragging about out-lifting your trainer.)

Rusty’s jacket is single-breasted with a single button front closure. The rounded peak lapels are wide with a long and high slanted gorge, another very 1930s detail. There is a welted breast pocket, and the flapped hip pockets slant toward the rear. Edge stitching is present throughout, from the lapels and pockets to the edges of the lower quarters.

Contrasting Looks

You can tell a lot about each man based on their clothing in this scene. Rusty is hip and slightly impractical, but he can get away with it. Danny is cool, calm, and professional as well as grounded. Reuben is outdated, tacky, and larger than life… and he can afford to be.

Rusty’s flat front suit trousers are very simple and clean-looking. The waistband is simple with no belt loops or visible fastening tabs, yet another indication that the suit was custom-fitted for Pitt. There are single front darts and a straight fit through the legs to the plain-hemmed bottoms.

No pockets are visible due to the nature of this short scene as Pitt leaves the jacket on the whole time, but the trousers offered with a replica suit (mentioned below) have slanted hip pockets and a single button-through jetted rear pocket. I can’t say for certain if that is at all reflective of the actual movie suit, but it’s reasonable to assume that these trousers are similarly-styled.

Rusty wears a blue, gray, and white striped silk shirt from Anto of Beverly Hills. The shirt’s black plastic buttons fasten down a plain, placket-less front. The spread collars are large with a dark blue inside lining. The shirt’s cuffs are never clearly seen either in the scene or on the auction page, but they appear to be unfastened French cuffs, something that the rakish Pitt somehow manages to get away with doing all the time. The Anto shirt was made specifically for Pitt in the film with “BP” and “Feb. 2001″ stitched on the tag.

Clooney and Pitt

Clooney and Pitt.

The Heritage Auction I have been referring to can be found here with the following description:

Includes a light grey cotton suit and a striped silk Anto dress shirt with the initials “BP” sewn inside the collar, worn by Pitt in the hit 2001 heist movie.

Pitt’s outfit in the film sold for $2,151 on April 14, 2007. I found this to be a surprisingly low amount for such a snazzy suit worn in a major film by such a famous star.

Unfortunately, I can find very little information about Rusty’s shoes in the scene. Zooming in on them in the brief glimpse we get, they appear to be brown leather with dark laces and plain toes. Rusty likely wears them with light-colored socks in either a gray or brown tone.

Feet

At least he’s not wearing flip flops.

Rusty’s accessories are much more recognizable. Throughout Ocean’s Eleven, he wears a thick silver ring on his right ring finger with a small, dark stone, and he wears a smaller silver pinky ring on his left hand. Pitt is also well-known to be a fan of Oliver Peoples sunglasses, often wearing them in his films. Ocean’s Eleven is no exception, with Rusty wearing a pair of Oliver Peoples “Whistle” sunglasses with a rounded brushed chrome frame and dark gray lenses. He wears these sunglasses both in this scene and while visiting Saul in St. Petersburg.

Accessories, including Oliver Peoples sunglasses

Earlier, I mentioned a replica of the suit available for purchase online. Like most costume replicas, it wouldn’t be an exact match for the distinctive and stylish suit in the film, but for $299, it could do in a pinch or for a costume-related outfit. The “white” suit is available from the Celebrity Suit Shop. As I warn, a few details are off (this jacket has 3 cuff buttons, etc.), and I can’t personally testify to the suit’s quality, but I want to be thorough and make sure it gets a mention!

How to Get the Look

Like many outfits worn by Brad Pitt, it’s important to recognize that most women would find the man attractive in even the worst clothing. He can make anything look stylish, which can be very endangering for a man who doesn’t know his own sartorial limits. Still, a look inspired by this suit should be a safe and comfortable summer bet.

The exact suit worn by Pitt in the film, sold by Heritage Auctions in April 2007.

The exact suit worn by Pitt in the film, sold by Heritage Auctions in April 2007.

  • Very light gray soft lightweight cotton two-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with wide peak lapels, 1-button front, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, 4-button “surgeon’s cuffs”, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, curved front darts, and ventless rear
    • Flat front darted trousers with plain waistband, straight legs, plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Blue, gray, and white silk button-down shirt with large spread collars (lined in dark blue silk) and unfastened double/French cuffs
  • Light brown leather plain-toe shoes
  • Light-colored dress socks
  • Oliver Peoples Whistle sunglasses with rounded brushed chrome frames and dark gray lenses
  • Thick silver ring with dark stone on right ring finger
  • Silver pinky ring on left hand

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Reuben: Look, we all go way back and uh, I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place and I’ll never forget it.
Danny: That was our pleasure.
Rusty: I’d never been to Belize.

The Death of John Dillinger – 2009 Style

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009).

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009).

Vitals

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, doomed Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, July 1934

Background

While 1973’s Dillinger took a “just the facts” approach to retelling the life of bank robber John Dillinger (albeit with very exaggerated facts), Michael Mann’s Public Enemies painted the farmboy-turned-criminal as a more mythical figure. This seems to be the trend in recent years.

Forty-some years ago, the cinematic John Dillinger and Clyde Barrow were depicted as Robin Hood-type folk heroes who were cornered by relentless authorities and shot without warning. Now, each man has almost knowingly walked into their fatal scenarios, accepting death with a smirk. Last year’s miniseries about Bonnie and Clyde showed Clyde realizing that he and Bonnie were a destructive force, practically turning themselves in. Depp’s Dillinger goes to see Manhattan Melodrama and watches as Clark Gable tells William Powell:

Die the way you lived, all of a sudden, that’s the way to go. Don’t drag it out.

While the real Dillinger indeed viewed Manhattan Melodrama minutes before he was killed, it is doubtful that he was thinking, “Good point, Clark. I sure don’t mind if I get shot and killed tonight. At least it would be all of a sudden!”

What’d He Wear?

With an interesting divergence with the trousers, Depp’s Dillinger wears essentially the exact same thing that the real Dillinger was reported to have been wearing the night he was killed in front of the Biograph.

For his night out at the movies with Polly and Anna, Dillinger dresses fashionably but practically to combat the extreme sumer heat with a straw boater and linen trousers. He doesn’t wear a jacket, serving the double purpose of keeping him cool and evading suspicion (as gangsters would wear jackets even in warm weather to conceal their weapons).

Dillinger spruces himself up for the night out, wearing a white broadcloth dress shirt just like the real Dillinger wore. It has a spread collar, a front placket, a breast pocket, rear side darts, and button cuffs. The silk red tie that Dillinger wears with it is wide and short – correct for the period – with a subtle square pattern.

Dillinger and Anna leave the theater. She is concerned, he is cool. Inset photos show the texture of his shirt and the deco pattern of his tie.

Dillinger and Anna leave the theater. She is concerned, he is cool. Inset photos show the texture of his shirt and the deco pattern of his tie.

Dillinger’s trousers, which he wears throughout the entire day, are tan linen with single reverse pleats. The trousers have a generously fit through the legs, which is essential for linen trousers to have their intended effect of keeping cool without sticking to the skin. Luckily for Dillinger (and Depp), large-fitting trousers were fashionable in the ’30s anyway.

Dillinger nonchalantly steps into the office filled with men whose sole purpose in life is to capture and kill him.

Dillinger nonchalantly steps into the office filled with men whose sole purpose in life is to capture and kill him.

The long trousers rise to Depp’s natural waist, where there is a plain black leather belt holding them up. Like the actual belt Dillinger was wearing at the time of his death, the belt closes in the front with a simple silver-toned buckle.

The trousers have jetted rear pockets and on-seam side pockets, of which Dillinger makes good use. He carries his pistol, the appropriately-named Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, in his right side pocket.

Some men carry a lucky penny or a rabbit's tail. Dillinger prefers his luck to come in a more tangible form, notably one measured by caliber.

Some men carry a lucky penny or a rabbit’s tail. Dillinger prefers his luck to come in a more tangible form, notably one measured by caliber.

In his left trouser pocket, he carries his gold pocket watch. This watch is attached to a gold chain which is clipped to Dillinger’s left trouser belt loop.

Dillinger doubles up with both a wristwatch and a pocketwatch.

Dillinger doubles up with both a wristwatch and a pocketwatch.

 

The watch has a white face with black Roman numerals and a gold cover. I can’t make out the manufacturer, but someone with Blu-Ray capabilities may have more luck. Dillinger’s actual watch at the time of his shooting was a yellow gold 17-jewel Hamilton watch with a photo of Polly Hamilton inside the cover. While Public Enemies doesn’t make the same mistake as 1973’s Dillinger by making Billie and Polly the same person, it still places Billie’s photo inside the watch. Perhaps poor Polly Hamilton will get her due in another thirty or forty years.

Public Enemies ignores Polly Hamilton in favor of the more romantic notion of placing Billie Frechette's photo inside Dillinger's watch.

Public Enemies ignores Polly Hamilton in favor of the more romantic notion of placing Billie Frechette’s photo inside Dillinger’s watch.

Dillinger’s real Hamilton pocket watch, carried the night he died in 1934, was auctioned for just under $42,000 in December 2009 with several other of his personal belongings. According to David Mycko:

The Hamilton pocketwatch that Dillinger carried the night he was gunned down, thanks to WorthPoint.com.

The Hamilton pocketwatch that Dillinger carried the night he was gunned down, thanks to WorthPoint.com. Note that it is much more modern-styled than the watch in the film.

Dillinger’s Hamilton is a 12 size Gentleman’s dress watch with a good quality 17 jewel movement housed in a quality goldfilled hinge back open-face case made by the Keystone Watch Case Co. also located in Lancaster, Pa. While not a watch capable of rail road timekeeping, the watch was in keeping with Hamilton’s standing as a watch company that produced quality at a standard above the rest. Hamilton was very successful at mass producing these “Banker’s Watches” in dozens of different styles, shapes and various case metals, white and yellow gold, platinum, and goldfilled. The “bottom end” was 17 jewels while the top end was 23 jewels and five adjustments. Hamilton’s “bottom end” watches were comparable to other watch companies medium and high end watches.

The site also mentions a Waltham open face pocket watch, given to Dillinger by his father, which was sold in the same auction. Although the watch may have had more sentimental value to Dillinger as a gift from his dad, it only sold for about 10% the price of the Hamilton.

Dillinger wears a pair of white leather loafers with brown hard leather soles. We don’t see much of the shoes, but the socks are definitely thin silk black with a high rise.

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The consequences of wearing black socks with white shoes…

A behind-the-scenes shot of Depp enjoying a glass of wine in his trailer after what looks like a long day of shooting reveals the socks as well as the black knee pads, black boxer briefs, and off-white undershirt that he wore under his clothing. Evidently the knee pads were to protect him when taking Dillinger’s fatal fall. These would have been well-concealed by the baggy trousers. As the character wears a sleeveless undershirt, the long-sleeve undershirt was likely to serve as more of a sweat-catcher to keep the white dress shirt clean during numerous takes.

Although we never see him actually put it on, Dillinger has a light brown sueded leather money belt with a zip pouch on the table next to him while getting ready. This is likely Mann’s nod to the controversy surrounding how much money Dillinger had on him at the time of his death; some suspected that the East Chicago police involved stole money from the corpse.

Baron Hats created a straw boater specifically for Public Enemies, now on display in Baron’s Hollywood Hat Museum. The boater is light brown straw with a wide black ribbon and a slightly rounded crown.

Heavy lies the crown...

Heavy lies the crown…

Dillinger also wears his standard accessory throughout the film, a thick gold ring with a dark ruby asscher-cut flat stone on his right ring finger.

As he did in real life, Dillinger takes an extra precaution to hide his face when going to the movies. He wears a pair of gold octagonal-framed glasses with dark gradient lenses. The lenses aren’t as dark as his other sunglasses as that would be additionally conspicuous for a nighttime movie.

Corey Hary, c. 1934.

Corey Hary, c. 1934.

Earlier in the day, Dillinger wore a more casual light seafoam green shirt with thin tonal stripes and a white inner lining on the front placket. The shirt also has a breast pocket and button cuffs, which Dillinger often rolls up. He also leaves the top button undone.

Dillinger meets with Alvin Karpis both in the finished film (left) and behind the scenes (right). Karpis was a fascinating outlaw - depicted throughout the book Public Enemies - whose career is certainly deserving of a film of its own.

Dillinger meets with Alvin Karpis both in the finished film (left) and behind the scenes (right). Karpis was a fascinating outlaw – depicted throughout the book Public Enemies – whose career is certainly deserving of a film of its own.

Dillinger also wears a different pair of sunglasses during the day. These have round tortoiseshell frames and dark brown lenses and are better suited to daytime wear than the metal-framed ones he wears in the evening.

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He also wears a gold wristwatch on a black strap earlier in the day. The watch’s large dial is white with Roman numerals. He definitely wears it when running his errands during the day and while getting ready for the evening, but he appears to have taken it off for the movies.

Dillinger, prior to realizing just how redundant it is to wear both a wristwatch and a pocketwatch.

Dillinger, prior to realizing just how redundant it is to wear both a wristwatch and a pocketwatch.

While shaving and getting ready before the movies, Dillinger wears a brown dressing gown with shawl lapels over his white sleeveless undershirt and linen trousers.

A robe should be manly. Brown is never a bad choice.

A robe should be manly. Brown is never a bad choice.

How Does It Compare?

As noted in Friday’s post, Special Agent Daniel Sullivan’s report from Dillinger’s death scene was transcribed by Inspector Samuel Cowley in a memo to Hoover, listing all of Dillinger’s clothing and effects at the time he was killed. This memo, as found at retired FBI Larry E. Wack’s definitive website Faded Glory: Dusty Roads of an FBI Era, lists Dillinger’s final attire as:

  • 1 white broadcloth shirt, Kenilworth brand.
  • 1 red printed necktie, bearing tag of Paul Boldt & Sons, 2724 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1 pair gray pants containing laundry mark in pocket, No. 355 (40).
  • 1 black belt with silver buckle – no monogram.
  • 1 pair white buckskin Nunnbush [sic] shoes, size 9-D, manufacturer’s number 369…105721.
  • 1 pair black socks; no manufacturer’s name.
  • 1 pair red Paris garters.
  • 1 pair shorts (Hanes), white in color, with blue stripes, size 34, bearing manufacturer’s identifying number 186A-350SE-34.
  • 1 gold ring with ruby set, containing the following inscription on the inside of the ring: “With all my love, Polly”.
  • 1 yellow gold 17 jewel Hamilton watch, works No. 344347, case No. 0558384. In the rear of the case of this watch was a picture of a young woman, which has been identified as that of the girl friend who attended the Biograph Theater with Dillinger on July 22,1934. The name of this girl is Polly Hamilton.

The film also uses confirmed details from first hand reports in books like G. Russell Girardin’s Dillinger: The Untold Story and Bryan Burrough’s Public Enemies, such as the breast pocket on Dillinger’s shirt, his straw boater, and his metal-rimmed dark glasses.

The real Dillinger, dead in the Chicago police wagon.

The real Dillinger, dead in the Chicago police wagon.

Public Enemies checks off all of the necessary items on the list, although the choice of tan linen trousers deviates from the “gray pants” mentioned in Sullivan’s report. Unlike 1973’s DillingerPublic Enemies also keeps the correct season in mind when dressing Dillinger, giving him the correct accessories of a straw hat and white loafers.

Mann’s film addresses the controversy regarding whether or not Dillinger was carrying a gun: Mann asserts that he was. Furthermore, Mann and his team arm Dillinger with the same weapon he was reported to have been carrying, a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, likely chambered in .380 ACP.

Dillinger's Colt pistol and money belt, moments before heading out to the Biograph.

Dillinger’s Colt pistol and money belt, moments before heading out to the Biograph.

Sullivan’s FBI report states that Dillinger’s pocket inventory at the time was:

  • 2 keys, one of which was manufactured by the Independent Lock Company; the other key appeared to be for a door.
  • 1 automatic pistol, .380 caliber.
  • 1 extra loaded automatic clip of .380 caliber. This clip was filled with Remington U.M.C. cartridges.
  • 1 white handkerchief in a brown border.

Due to the reasonable pocket size allowed by the high rise and wide fit of 1930s trousers, Dillinger is able to comfortably conceal a compact semi-automatic pistol in his pants pocket. Some say that Dillinger was unarmed when he was killed, but this doesn’t sound like a reasonable decision for the most hunted man in the country who had shot his way out of multiple situations before. Although Dillinger probably reached for his Colt when he was cornered, it was futile against several determined men who already had guns aimed in his direction.

How to Get the Look

Public Enemies (and Dillinger himself) offer a comfortable suggestion for a warm summer evening date to the movies, although a straw boater hat may be tough to come by and it takes a very confident man to pull off white loafers in 2014.

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  • White dress shirt with large spread collar, front placket, breast pocket, button cuffs
  • Tan linen flat front trousers with on-seam side pockets, jetted rear pockets, belt loops, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Dark red silk square-patterned necktie
  • Light brown straw boater with wide black ribbon
  • White leather plain-toe loafers
  • Black dress socks
  • White sleeveless undershirt
  • Gold-framed octagonal sunglasses with dark gradient lenses
  • Gold pocket watch attached via gold chain to his trousers’ belt loop
  • Thick gold ring with dark ruby flat stone, worn on right ring finger

If you prefer a more casual look, try a seafoam button-down shirt with no tie. Keep it extra sporty with a wristwatch and tortoiseshell sunglasses as well. The boater is a big hit with the retro-minded, but make sure you’re not mistaken for a conventioneer.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

Footnotes

Public Enemies successfully takes on the notion of Dillinger wearing sunglasses for a nighttime movie without making him look totally ridiculous. Unlike the 1945 film Dillinger, where Lawrence Tierney just looks completely absurd…

Dillinger45Sunglasses

The Death of John Dillinger – 1973 Style

Warren Oates and Michelle Phillips as John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, respectively, in Dillinger (1973). The film inaccurately portrays Polly Hamilton as an alias for Billie Frechette; in reality, Polly was an entirely different person.

Warren Oates and Michelle Phillips as John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, respectively, in Dillinger (1973). The film inaccurately portrays Polly Hamilton as an alias for Billie Frechette; in reality, Polly was an entirely different person.

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, doomed Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, July 1934

Background

Although it had been founded in 1908, the FBI had existed for more than a quarter of a century without grabbing major national attention. There were many major successes, but the recent crime wave of bank-robbing desperadoes tarnished the agency’s image and, in turn, turned outlaws into folk heroes.

One of these “folk heroes” was John Dillinger, a 31-year-old Indiana native who had recently embarrassed national law enforcement by reportedly breaking out of jail with a wooden gun. Although they had Dillinger in their sights for the better part of a year, the FBI – then known as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) – had no legal jurisdiction to take him down. Dillinger’s crimes – ranging from bank robbery to alleged murder – were all certainly major, but none violated any federal law. Then, it was realized that Dillinger had stolen the Lake County sheriff’s car during his escape. By driving the stolen automobile across a state line, Dillinger violated the Dyer Act.

The Dyer Act, also called the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, was passed in 1919 to combat the growing threat of trafficking stolen automobiles. If a person was found guilty of violating the Dyer Act, they would be sentenced with imprisonment up to ten years, a hefty fine, or both. In Dillinger’s case, the BOI determined that his punishment would be execution.

Four months later, on Monday, July 22, 1934, Dillinger – who had risen to “Public Enemy #1″ in the eyes of the fedral government – was shot and killed by agents led by Chicago SAC Melvin Purvis outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. He was famously led to his death by “the lady in red”, a Romanian-born madam named Anna Sage. This weekend commemorates the 80th anniversary of this first major nationally-known success by J. Edgar Hoover’s national crime division.

Today’s post will focus on the death as depicted in the 1973 film Dillinger directed by John Milius and starring Warren Oates as Dillinger. Next Tuesday, the actual anniversary of Dillinger’s death, will look at the more fact-based treatment of that night in Michael Mann’s 2009 biopic Public Enemies.

(NB: Monday marks my 25th birthday, so I may interrupt the Dillinger extravaganza with some self-serving post. It is my blog, after all!)

What’d He Wear?

Although it is well-documented that Dillinger died on a hot summer night, the Dillinger costumers chose to portray the evening as a cold one, with Melvin Purvis and his agents bundled up in overcoats; even Dillinger himself is outfitted in a warm wool three-piece suit.

Oates’ Dillinger death suit is gray pinstripe with a very ’30s cut. He wore a gray pinstripe three-piece suit earlier in the film, but this suit has a single-breasted jacket as opposed to the earlier suit’s double-breasted jacket. The earlier suit also had much bolder pinstripes.

Most details of this suit come from production photos since the scene is brief and dark in the finished film. The jacket has peak lapels, a 2-button front, and 2-button cuffs. There is a welted breast pocket and flapped hip pockets. The rear of the jacket is hardly seen, but it appears to be ventless.

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This was not an uncommon sight outside movie theaters after people were forced to sit through Battlefield Earth.

The suit’s vest is single-breasted with six buttons all fastened down the front to the notched bottom. Oates wears flat front matching pinstripe trousers with a high rise and cuffed bottoms with a full break. Certain elements of the trousers, including the slightly flared legs and frogmouth front pockets, are more ’70s than ’30s, at least based on any documentation I’ve seen.

Oates wears a plain white button-down dress shirt with a large spread collar, front placket, and button cuffs. A wine red tie completes the ensemble.

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A gentleman always escorts two dates to the movies, especially if your girlfriend’s madam needs to chaperone you.

All of Dillinger’s accessories in the scene are also black. Dillinger wears black leather cap-toe balmorals and black dress socks. His hat is a black felt fedora with a wide black ribbon.

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Although this is a very Dillinger-esque suit and evokes something he certainly would have worn in real life, it is too “warm” for the desired July setting.

How Does It Compare?

In real life, Dillinger was dressed much more appropriately for a hot summer evening. Immediately after the shooting, all of Dillinger’s clothing and effects were inventoried by Special Agent Daniel Sullivan. Sullivan’s report was, in turn, transcribed by Inspector Samuel Cowley in a memo to Hoover. Thanks to the excellent Faded Glory: Dusty Roads of an FBI Era website, Cowley’s report can be read and Dillinger’s clothing – from his shirt to his garters – can be pictured vividly eighty years later.

(Faded Glory: Dusty Roads of an FBI Era is a fantastic site maintained by retired FBI agent Larry E. Wack, chronicling the rise of the nation’s most famous law enforcement agency.)

According to Sullivan’s report, Dillinger’s final attire was:

  • 1 white broadcloth shirt, Kenilworth brand.
  • 1 red printed necktie, bearing tag of Paul Boldt & Sons, 2724 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1 pair gray pants containing laundry mark in pocket, No. 355 (40).
  • 1 black belt with silver buckle – no monogram.
  • 1 pair white buckskin Nunnbush [sic] shoes, size 9-D, manufacturer’s number 369…105721.
  • 1 pair black socks; no manufacturer’s name.
  • 1 pair red Paris garters.
  • 1 pair shorts (Hanes), white in color, with blue stripes, size 34, bearing manufacturer’s identifying number 186A-350SE-34.
  • 1 gold ring with ruby set, containing the following inscription on the inside of the ring: “With all my love, Polly”.
  • 1 yellow gold 17 jewel Hamilton watch, works No. 344347, case No. 0558384. In the rear of the case of this watch was a picture of a young woman, which has been identified as that of the girl friend who attended the Biograph Theater with Dillinger on July 22,1934. The name of this girl is Polly Hamilton.

Unlike the 1973 film’s romantic assertion that Polly Hamilton was just an alias for Dillinger’s loyal sweetheart Billie Frechette, Polly was an entirely different person who was either a waitress or prostitute (or both) in Chicago. Dillinger came to know her through his association with madam Anna Sage, and Polly became Dillinger’s last girlfriend while poor Billie wasted away in prison for “harboring” him.

More details come from first hand reports in books like G. Russell Girardin’s Dillinger: The Untold Story and Bryan Burrough’s Public Enemies. For instance, we learn that the shirt had a pocket and that Dillinger also wore a straw boater hat and metal-rimmed dark glasses, although there seems to be some dispute as to whether the rims were silver or gold. Burrough also states that the lightweight trousers were checkered, but Girardin’s account declares that they were part of a gray suit with a green pinstripe that Dillinger had worn new on July 11th with the suit jacket and a bright green necktie.

The real Dillinger, dead in the Chicago police wagon.

The real Dillinger, dead in the Chicago police wagon.

The 1973 film got enough right that they obviously did their homework. White shirt, red tie, gray patterned suit pants… The costumers merely “winterized” the outfit with a jacket and vest and black warm-weather accessories like a fedora and oxfords rather than a straw hat and white loafers.

This brings us to one of the more controversial questions of the night: was Dillinger carrying a firearm?

Oates as Dillinger, drawing his pistol.

Oates as Dillinger, drawing his pistol.

Sullivan’s FBI report states that Dillinger’s pocket inventory at the time was:

  • 2 keys, one of which was manufactured by the Independent Lock Company; the other key appeared to be for a door.
  • 1 automatic pistol, .380 caliber.
  • 1 extra loaded automatic clip of .380 caliber. This clip was filled with Remington U.M.C. cartridges.
  • 1 white handkerchief in a brown border.

The “automatic pistol” referred to would almost definitely be a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, which was chambered in both .32 ACP and the slightly more powerful .380 ACP; the latter designated as “Model 1908″ based on the year of its introduction. Now… was he actually carrying one?

I can’t claim to know for sure. People tend to agree with one of the following points:

  • Dillinger was armed. The gun was taken from him by the FBI after his death, but it was misplaced and a different version of the same model was later displayed at FBI headquarters.
  • Dillinger was unarmed and shot down by agents without giving him a chance to surrender.
  • It wasn’t Dillinger at all; a relatively innocent man (“Jimmy Lawrence” is usually the name given) was set up and killed to allow Dillinger to escape.

The latter theory has inspired many books and even a film, but I don’t lend much credence to it. I tend to believe the first theory, that Dillinger was armed, likely tried to draw his gun, and that the gun was misplaced after the FBI took custody of it.

Many people believe the second theory, that Dillinger was unarmed, because a) they want to and b) the FBI did indeed display a gun that they claimed was taken from Dillinger’s corpse… except the gun wasn’t manufactured until five months after he died. The pistol in question, a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless in .380 ACP, had serial number 119702. An easy trace of the weapon proved that it was first sold by the Colt company to L.H. Kurz Company in Des Moines on December 19, 1934. Basic logic and simple math tells us that there’s no way Dillinger was carrying a weapon made five months after his death.

It’s likely that the FBI, in all of the hype of the era and without computers or an easy documentation system, simply mislabeled the weapon. It’s very hard for me to believe that someone as careful as Dillinger, who had shot his way out of many similar scrapes before, would even consider going anywhere unarmed, even if he was more confident with the recent plastic surgery he had undergone.

The film arms Oates’ Dillinger with his standard sidearm throughout the film, a Star Model B pistol (filling in for the .45-caliber M1911A1 for blank-reliability reasons), showing him draw it from under his arm. There were no compact pistols used at all during the production, aside from a Colt Detective Special snubbie that Richard Dreyfuss briefly wields as “Baby Face” Nelson, so the Star Model B is the next best thing, I guess.

How to Get the Look

Although it’s inaccurate based on the actual season and attire at Dillinger’s death scene, Warren Oates wears a conservative but noteworthy suit for his date to the movies. If you want to tribute Dillinger on a cold winter day at the movies, Oates has you covered.

Michelle Phillips, Warren Oates, and Cloris Leachman. The latter, who was in the middle of filming The Mary Tyler Moore Show when Dillinger was produced, had two short but crucial scenes as Anna Sage - "The Lady in Red".

Michelle Phillips, Warren Oates, and Cloris Leachman. The latter, who was in the middle of filming The Mary Tyler Moore Show when Dillinger was produced, had two short but crucial scenes as Anna Sage – “The Lady in Red”.

  • Gray pinstripe wool three-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with peak lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Single-breasted 6-button vest with notched bottom
    • Flat front trousers with frogmouth front pockets, cuffed bottoms
  • White dress shirt with large spread collar, front placket, button cuffs
  • Wine red necktie
  • Black fedora
  • Black leather cap toe balmorals
  • Black dress socks

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

Footnotes

If you found this interesting, stay tuned next Tuesday to see how Johnny Depp’s attire in Public Enemies compared during the death scene. If you’re not interested, then I need to be a better writer.

Casino Royale: Bond’s Blue Sunspel Polo in Bahamas

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006).

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, recently reactivated British secret agent

Bahamas, July 2006

Background

After a brief lesson in How Not To Vacation 101 (getting a beautiful bedmate killed, stabbing an international arms dealer in the middle of a museum, being mistakenly arrested as a potential plane bomber, and checking his work e-mail), James Bond is taken back to the Bahamas via helicopter to meet with “M” and discuss his future.

What’d He Wear?

Following his adventure in Miami, Bond returns to the Bahamas via helicopter, dressed far more casually than he was for his initial arrival. Although casual, it is still a classically simple look and provides Bond with his first on-screen polo shirt since the Connery era. The outfit is very fitting for the warm climate and can be easily adapted for any man.

The navy blue fitted polo shirt was originally tailored by Sunspel for Daniel Craig in the film, and it is still offered as Sunspel’s “Riviera” shirt. The name comes from the initial design, which was based on an elegant 1950s Sunspel shirt made for the Italian Riviera. The shirt was designed in England but manufactured in Turkey.

Is there any existing fanfic that has Bond and M hooking up while in the Bahamas?

Is there any existing fanfic that has Bond and M hooking up while in the Bahamas?

According to the Sunspel site:

Originally tailored for Daniel Craig for his role as James Bond in Casino Royale, the Riviera Polo has continued to be one our most popular styles. Crafted from a breathable cotton mesh, the Riviera has a clean, contemporary aesthetic with minimal detailing. An undoubted modern classic.

The fitted shirt is 100% combed cotton, which is both very soft and very strong, warp-knitted on traditional lace machines. The mesh-like texture keeps the shirt lightweight and breathable in the intense summer heat of the Bahamas. It has short sleeves, a wise choice for the Caribbean. There is a single patch pocket on the left breast.

Just a fair warning - there is about a 99% chance that this shirt won't make you look like Daniel Craig. If you have the same workout regimen as Orson Welles, there's really no help that a nice polo can provide.

Just a fair warning – there is about a 99% chance that this shirt won’t make you look like Daniel Craig. If you have the same workout regimen as Orson Welles, there’s really no help that a nice polo can provide.

The polo can be purchased from the Sunspel site for $128 (or £80) in a multitude of colors, including navy, gray melange, stone gray, charcoal, black, ivory, moss green, russet red, cobalt, and sky blue (which James Bond Lifestyle compares to the shirt worn by Connery in Dr. No). For more information about this polo and the other Sunspel shirts provided for Casino Royale, visit James Bond Lifestyle.

Unlike some other manufacturers of Bond’s on-screen clothing, Sunspel is wise to continue manufacturing this shirt as it remains popular even eight years later. It is a timeless and nearly perfect polo shirt, just as appropriate in 2014 as it would have been in 1954. While Craig is able to look good with the shirt untucked, wearers should also keep in mind that certain polo shirts look even better when tucked into the trousers for a streamlined look without the potential for belt line bunch-ups.

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(In case you’re curious, the last time Bond had worn a polo on screen, it was the navy blue Fred Perry polo with his white swimming trunks in Thunderball. Evidently, Bond prefers blue polos to any other color.)

Bond wears a pair of khaki casual trousers woven in a cotton blend with moderate stretch. They are similar to the Levi’s STA-PREST jeans he would later wear in Quantum of Solace with their angled slash pockets, right side coin pocket, and patch rear pockets – all with studs – but they are more lightweight and constructed of a finer material. Some commenters believe that these may also be a pair of Ted Baker trousers, as Ted Baker sourced several other items for Casino Royale. The slightly flared bottoms are plain-hemmed.

Bond meets with the film's rudimentary version of "Q".

Bond meets with the film’s rudimentary version of “Q”.

Bond’s belt is dark brown leather, likely with a squared clasp. He clips his suede cognac Vega IB339 holster, a right-hand-draw IWB holster for his Walther P99, to the right rear of his belt, which tucks the pistol securely in place inside his trousers. The IWB (for inside-the-waistband) holster is a slick and reasonable option for a man who chooses to carry a sidearm with or without a jacket. Casino Royale marks the first appearance of Bond using an IWB holster, replacing his trademark shoulder holster which would make its return in Skyfall.

The actual Vega holster and rubber stunt P99 used in the film. Unlike some earlier Bond films, where he only had his pistol when he needed it in a Chekhov's gun-type scenario, Casino Royale realistically shows Bond carrying even in a non-combat situation.

The actual Vega holster and rubber stunt P99 used in the film. Unlike some earlier Bond films, where he only had his pistol when he needed it in a Chekhov’s gun-type scenario (i.e. certain scenes in From Russia With Love), Casino Royale realistically shows Bond carrying even in a non-combat situation.

Although not a perfect match to the belt, Bond still wears brown-toned shoes: a comfortable-looking pair of suede 2-eyelet chukka boots. In the brief glimpse we get as he steps off the helicopter, it appears that Bond wears brown socks that are slightly darker than the shade of his boots.

Though they didn't get as much screen time as the rest of the outfit, Bond's chukka boots can nicely be spotted in an alternate shot taken behind-the-scenes during the helicopter sequence.

Though they didn’t get as much screen time as the rest of the outfit, Bond’s chukka boots can nicely be spotted in an alternate shot taken behind-the-scenes during the helicopter sequence.

Bond wears his first of two pairs of Persol sunglasses while in the Bahamas. This is his “Bahamas” pair, the gunmetal gray satin metal-framed Persol 2244-S with brown lenses and acetate arms, “characterized by a dynamic double bridge and by the exclusive Meflecto system with two cylinders,” according to  James Bond Lifestyle. His specific color option is 834/33.

When not wearing them, Bond hangs his Persols from the front of his shirt. Although some may argue that using the shirt's breast pocket may be more practical, it is very unflattering (which totally defeats the purpose of wearing designer sunglasses in the first place).

When not wearing them, Bond hangs his Persols from the front of his shirt. Although some may argue that using the shirt’s breast pocket may be more practical, it is very unflattering (which totally defeats the purpose of wearing designer sunglasses in the first place).

Last but certainly not least (especially in terms of expense), Bond also wears his first of two Omega watches, his sporty Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Size” 2900.50.91 with a stainless steel case and black dial under domed anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The large black rubber strap is reasonable for diving, and the watch – water resistant down to 2,000 feet – makes sense given Bond’s location in the Bahamas.

These are really the only two gadgets Bond has in the film, other than Chekhov's in-car defibrillator.

These are really the only two gadgets Bond has in the film, other than Chekhov’s in-car defibrillator.

When he travels to the more inland destination of Montenegro, he wears the more formal Seamaster Professional Diver.

How to Get the Look

Bond sports a timeless casual look for warm weather. Like many of the casual looks featured on here for hotter climates, it pairs a simple shirt with a pair of light trousers to feel comfortable but still look impressive against the abundance of tourists decked out in fanny packs, cargo shorts, and tube socks.cr8-crop1

  • Navy blue knitted combed cotton mesh short-sleeve polo shirt with a 2-button placket and breast pocket
  • Khaki cotton blend jean-like trousers with angled slash pockets, coin pocket, patch rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Dark brown leather belt
  • Brown suede 2-eyelet chukka boots
  • Dark brown socks
  • Vega IB339 suede cognac IWB holster for Walther P99 pistol
  • Persol 2244-S gunmetal gray satin metal framed sunglasses with brown lenses (option 834/33)
  • Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Size” 2900.50.91 on a large black rubber strap

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film.

The Quote

M: I would ask you if you could remain emotionally detached, but that’s not your problem, is it, Bond?
Bond: No.

The Tailor of Panama: Andy Osnard’s Linen Suit

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (2001). His right arm is folded behind his back; he is not playing an amputee.

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (2001). His right arm is folded behind his back; he is not playing an amputee.

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard, sleazy and shrewd MI6 agent

Panama City, Fall 1999

Background

The Tailor of Panama, John Boorman’s darkly comic adaptation of John le Carré’s spy novel, presents Pierce Brosnan as we’d never seen him before.

“Yeah, a hard-drinking MI6 agent who beds women in exotic locales. Real switch-up for him,” you say, dubiously.

Of course, Brosnan’s character Andy Osnard could best be described as the anti-Bond. Though a stupid marketing campaign at the time led people to believe Pierce would be playing the dashing spy just under a different name, Osnard is far more fitting of M’s GoldenEye appraisal as a “misogynist… relic of the Cold War” than Bond ever was. Bond may be a bit of a womanizer, but he always put his loyalty to his country and the mission first. Osnard is far more opportunistic, callously playing his assets like pawns as a very realistic – if somewhat satirical – le Carré-esque spy. He still has Brosnan’s trademark charm, but it’s the charm of a shrewd, back-stabbing cad.

What’d He Wear?

Unlike Bond, Osnard looks as though he hasn’t visited a tailor in years… until he begins working with Harry Pendel, of course. He has several suits which go through heavy rotation throughout the film. The first and least-seen is a rumpled gray suit that he wears for the brief introduction at the MI6 office. The ill-fitting suit is more Columbo than James Bond, even if the gray suit/blue shirt-and-tie color palette recalls promotional photos for The World is Not Enough.

Next, we see him flying to Panama for his mission, wearing a similarly ill-fitting check blazer. This jacket would become one of his go-to garments during the film. There were a few more one-scene casual ensembles, but the most prominent outfit that Osnard wears is a tan linen suit, one of the most popular summer wardrobe choices for gentlemen. (Of course, Andy Osnard is far from a gentleman.)

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The suit is actually a blend of linen and cotton, cut in the full style of the ’90s that would’ve still made sense to be hanging in Osnard’s closet by the fall of 1999. Both the jacket and the trousers are fully cut to provide a loose hang in the tropical climate.

The suit jacket is single-breasted and, as part of the very casual suit, is considerably unstructured when compared to most suit jackets. The casual nature of the suit is further indicated by the ventless rear.

Catherine McCormack looks absolutely disgusted by Pierce here. Ha.

Catherine McCormack looks absolutely disgusted by Pierce here. Ha.

The jacket has notch lapels, which breaks high on the chest, with the top button aligning with Osnard’s breast pocket. The jacket fastens with three brown-toned buttons, spaced widely apart to accommodate the higher stance.

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The 3-button cuffs match the buttons on the front, as they should (even on such a casual suit). There is also a welted breast pocket and flapped hip pockets. Additional jacket features include stitched edges and a plain tan silk lining.

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The suit trousers are equally as loosely cut as the jacket. They are flat front with on-seam side pockets, and jetted rear pockets that close with a button (although Andy lazily keeps them unbuttoned… very fitting for his character). The trouser bottoms are plain-hemmed with a full break.

If you don't like this suit, chances are you're really not gonna like when Osnard slips into the check blazer next to the safe.

If you don’t like this suit, chances are you’re really not gonna like when Osnard slips into the check blazer next to the safe.

Rakish though he may be in some manners of dress, Osnard does not violate the best-known rule of men’s fashion: his shoes and his belt match. The belt is brown leather with a brass squared clasp.

It's okay to be a couch potato if you at least wear a nice shirt and trousers.

It’s okay to be a couch potato if you at least wear a nice shirt and trousers.

Osnard’s shoes are brown leather plain-toe monk shoes with a brass buckle. Monk shoes are a surprisingly formal choice for a suit like this, as they’re considered to bridge the gap between the über-formal oxfords or balmorals and the informal derbies or bluchers. A pair of light cream ribbed socks ease the transition from trouser bottom into his shoes.

And, of course, Osnard would have an office with a hammock in it.

And, of course, Osnard would have an office with a hammock in it.

Osnard’s pale blue shirt is lightweight cotton with a voluminous fit that both matches the large fit of the suit and serves to keep him cool in the Panamanian climate. It closes with white buttons down a front placket, with Osnard leaving at least the top two unbuttoned at all times. The shirt has a breast pocket, which he often uses to place his cigarettes.

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The shirt is long-sleeved with pleats at the top of the sleeve where it meets the shoulder. Further down the arm, Osnard keeps his gauntlet plackets unbuttoned, although he wears the rounded cuffs either buttoned or rolled up to his elbow. The cuffs have two buttons with one buttonhole to close.

The roominess of the shirt is enhanced by the center box pleat in the rear, the most common option for off-the-rack shirts. Osnard, unlike Bond, would be the type of agent to pick up his shirts off the rack rather than going to a shirtmaker like Frank Foster. This rear pleat is the least formal, and it allows the greatest degree of movement for most wearers.

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Accessory-wise, Osnard doesn’t overdo it. He sticks to the basics of a wristwatch and sunglasses with a ring adding just the right amount of jaunty personality to his look.

Osnard’s wristwatch has a stainless round case, white face, and a black leather strap. I can’t identify it myself, but some readers *cough cough* who are greater experts in the wristwatch field may be able to lend a hand. *COUGH*

*COUGH!*

*COUGH!*

His sunglasses also remain a mystery. The frames are silver with black rubber temples and dark lenses. Brosnan is known to be a Persol fan in real life, but I’m almost positive these are not any model that Persol ever released.

Geoffrey Rush's cream suit seen here is also a favorite of mine from the flick.

Geoffrey Rush’s cream suit seen here is also a favorite of mine from the flick.

Osnard’s other main accessory is a gold monogram ring on his left pinky. I don’t have the Blu-Ray version so I can’t tell for sure, but I’ll lay you eight-to-five the monogram on the ring is “AO”.

Any of you know if this actually works when cracking a safe?

Any of you know if this actually works when cracking a safe?

We never see him wearing it, but it’s also worth mentioning that Osnard carries a light cream Panama hat in one scene when he enters Harry’s shop. The hat has a slim black band and would accompany this suit very nicely.

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Go Big or Go Home

I can’t speak from any personal experience, but I’ve heard that a spy must be pragmatic – dispassionate enough to make difficult decisions without allowing too much emotion in but smart enough to know how to handle people. As Sidney Reilly says in Reilly: Ace of Spies, you must be able “to see life as a bit of a game.” Andy Osnard takes the game a bit too far.

Finding himself on a downgraded assignment in Panama after an affair with a foreign minister’s mistress, Osnard disregards his superior’s warning of the Panamanian government’s corruption and, in fact, sees the move as an opportunity. After he begins working with Harry Pendel, a tailor of both clothing and misinformation, Osnard eventually realizes that Pendel is actually using him for his own gains. The men’s games grow wider in scope, involving Pendel’s wife, his friends, and – eventually – the governments of England and the United States.

Andy Osnard: Without the Yanks to hold our hands, London will pull the entire project.
Harry Pendel: Why?
Andy Osnard: Because in matters of intelligence, dear Harry, as in most matters merry England sucks on the American hind tit. It’s called “The Special Relationship”.

Rather than seeing that they have gone too far, Osnard recognizes the opportunity for financial gain.

Long story short (and spoiler alert!), Osnard ends up making it out of Panama with more than a million dollars in a briefcase and the help of the British ambassador.

Ambassador Maltby: I’ll walk you to your plane.
Andy Osnard: Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
Ambassador Maltby: I think it desperately unlikely.

Osnard’s brands are Marlboro Light cigarettes, and – as far as we can tell – 12-year-old Glenlivet single malt Scotch… neat, of course.

Considering some of his other vices, smoking and drinking are actually two of Andy Osnard's more admirable habits.

Considering some of his other vices, smoking and drinking are actually two of Andy Osnard’s more admirable habits.

How to Get the Look

Osnard dresses for comfort rather than aesthetics, but there’s something to respect a man who still incorporates a suit into his tropical wear. Osnard’s attire is many steps down from Harry Pendel‘s immaculate suits, but – all things considered – he still looks far better than those vacationers who opt for fanny packs and floppy hats.

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  • Tan linen blend loose-fitting suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted semi-structured jacket with notch lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Flat front trousers with on-seam side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Pale blue cotton button-down shirt with point collar, front placket, and 2-button cuffs
  • Brown leather monk loafers with brass buckles
  • Light cream ribbed socks
  • Brown leather belt with brass squared clasp
  • Stainless wristwatch with a round white face on a black leather strap
  • Gold monogram ring, worn on left pinky
  • Steel-framed aviator sunglasses with dark lenses and black rubber temples

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie and read le Carré’s book.

The Quote

It’s dark and lonely work, Harry. Like oral sex, but someone has to do it.