Tagged: Casual Suits

Johnny Cash in All Black (Walk the Line)

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005).

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005).

Vitals

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, badass but troubled country rock musician

Los Angeles, January 1968

Film: Walk the Line
Release Date: November 18, 2005
Director: James Mangold
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Tailor: Pam Lisenby

Background

Columbia Exec: Your fans are church folk, Johnny. Christians. They don’t wanna hear you singing to a bunch of murderers and rapists, tryin’ to cheer ‘em up.
Johnny Cash: Well, they’re not Christians, then.

The terrific 2005 biopic Walk the Line features a great scene of Cash rebooting his career as a prison performer (and reformer) when he confidently strides into Columbia Records and announces his plan to record an album live from Folsom Prison. He dudes himself up appropriately in all black and is the most self-assured as we’ve seen him throughout the film.

To honor Johnny Cash’s birthday (he would have been exactly 83 years old today), here’s a look at Joaquin Phoenix’s take on “the Man in Black”.

What’d He Wear?

Columbia Exec: And what’s with the black? He looks like he’s going to a funeral!
Johnny Cash: Maybe I am.

…although some may consider this look a bit too badass for a funeral.

Cash suits up for his meeting by donning his trademark attire, black from head to toe. His three-piece wool suit is black with very thin tonal stripe that shine under certain light.

The suit jacket is single-breasted with a fashionable late ’60s cut. The slim notch lapels glide down to the single button closure at his waist. There is a welted breast pocket and the flapped hip pockets, including the right side ticket pocket, slant backwards.

Cash oozes cool as he nonchalantly tells Columbia Records exactly what he plans to do.

Cash oozes cool as he nonchalantly tells Columbia Records exactly what he plans to do.

His suit jacket has roped sleeveheads, 1-button cuffs, and long double rear vents. The lining is only briefly seen when he is putting on his jacket, but it is a very bright red silk that contrasts heavily with the rest of the outfit.

The suit has a matching waistcoat, although not much is seen of it as the low-fastening garment is mostly covered when he wears the jacket buttoned. It has slim notch lapels like the jacket. The same bright red silk lining on the inside of the jacket also adorns the back of the vest.

cashblack-CL-vest

Cash’s flat front suit trousers have plain-hemmed bottoms with a very short break over his feet. His shoes are a very mod pair of black calf leather plain-toe loafers. They are very simple with no perforations, cap toes, side gussets, etc. Naturally, he wears a pair of black dress socks. This is no time for a “hint of color”.

cashblack-CL-feet

I’ve found an affordable pair of similar loafers from Cole Haan; the Copley 2 Gore Loafer in black leather is currently offered from Jos. A. Bank’s site for only $148 if you’re looking for a reasonable pair. They also come in brown leather, but what color do you think Johnny would pick?

While he wears a white shirt for the eventual Folsom Prison performance, he wears a black silk shirt here. Like the suit, it has a thin tonal stripe, although this stripe is spaced further apart than on the suit. The shirt has a large collar, which he wears open, and no front placket. The shirt’s French cuffs are fastened by silver square links. Naturally, each link has a large black raised square in the center.

Note the contrasting black striped suit and shirt as he buttons up for the day.

Note the contrasting black striped suit and shirt as he buttons up for the day.

To maintain his aloof appearance (and perhaps battle his withdrawal), Cash keeps his sunglasses on throughout nearly the entire scene. They are a pair of black acetate wayfarers with dark green lenses, likely a classic pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers before they started placing the logo on the temples and lenses.

Johnny Cash is a man on a mission.

Johnny Cash is a man on a mission.

June Carter: You wear black ’cause you can’t find anything else to wear? You found your sound ’cause you can’t play no better? You just tried to kiss me because “it just happened?” You should try take credit for something every once in a while, John.

How to Get the Look

They didn’t call him the “Man in Black” for no reason.

  • Black wool tonal-striped three-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with slim notch lapels, 1-button front, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, slanted right ticket pocket, 1-button cuffs, and long double rear vents
    • Low-fastening single-breasted waistcoat with slim notch lapels
    • Flat front trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Black silk tonal-striped shirt with large collar, no placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Silver square cuff links with raised black centers
  • Black calf leather plain-toe loafers
  • Black dress socks
  • Black acetate wayfarer-style sunglasses

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie and, for cryin’ out loud, listen to Johnny Cash!

If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, friends of mine host Johnny Cash Day at the Elks Club on the North Side every September. More information is available on their Facebook page, but I can personally say that it’s an incredible event that celebrates his life, music, and style… plus there’s cheap beer and awesome bands. Even if you’re not in Pittsburgh, you should come to Johnny Cash Day.

The Quote

January 13. I’ll be at Folsom Prison with June and the boys. You listen to the tapes. You don’t like ‘em… you can toss ‘em.

Just Curious…

Even Johnny Cash celebrated with birthday cake!

Even Johnny Cash celebrated with birthday cake!

Ryan O’Neal in The Driver

Ryan O'Neal in The Driver (1978).

Ryan O’Neal in The Driver (1978).

Vitals

Ryan O’Neal as “The Driver”, professional getaway driver

Los Angeles, Spring 1978

Film: The Driver
Release Date: July 10, 1978
Director: Walter Hill
Costume Designers: Jack Bear, Robert Conwall, and Jennifer L. Parsons

Background

The Driver is a perfect example of European-influenced, American-made, existential ’70s cinema featuring the male anti-hero so frequently seen throughout the decade. A laconic criminal not without his own set of ethics set in a bleak world filled with morally questionable characters, Ryan O’Neal’s unnamed protagonist follows in the footsteps of guys like Vanishing Point‘s Kowalski.

Writer, director, and all-around tough guy Walter Hill’s auteurism clearly shows through in this terrific and über-cool neo-noir where talk is cheap, and those doing the most of it typically have the least to say.

What’d He Wear?

The morally murky world of The Driver doesn’t define its characters by the traditional white hat vs. black hat costuming, despite The Detective’s insistence on referring to The Driver as “Cowboy”. Both men, the relentless and borderline dirty policeman and the code-driven but still criminal driver, sport black suits as their uniforms. In fact, all of the major characters wear the same clothing throughout the film, despite it taking place over a number of days.

Although very much styled of its era with the huge lapels, collars, and flaring trousers, The Driver’s suit is as understated as one would expect from him. While a suit like that would attract attention in 2014, he would have blended seamlessly into an L.A. night in 1978, perhaps only drawing a few female heads for being Ryan O’Neal.

or a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style warehouse full of anonymous boxes...

or a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style warehouse full of anonymous boxes…

The suit jacket is single-breasted with three black horn buttons in the front that he leaves open for the duration of the film. It fits O’Neal nicely with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and a suppressed waist. Like many traditional American business suits, it has a single rear vent.

Since this is the ’70s, the suit jacket also has a set of massive notch lapels that extend nearly to the shoulders. There is a wide buttonhole and edge stitching present on both lapels.

Many men in the '70s eschewed parachutes in favor of using their own suit lapels to gravitate from high places.

Many men in the ’70s eschewed parachutes in favor of using their own suit lapels to gravitate from high places.

Driver’s jacket has three patch pockets – one chest, two on the hips. Each cuff has 3 buttons to match the front buttons.

Driver faces the harsh light of Bruce Dern's wrath.

Driver faces the harsh light of Bruce Dern’s wrath.

Driver’s suit trousers are flat front with a low rise and wide belt loops to accommodate the large black leather belt he wears. This belt closes in the front through a large squared silver clasp.

Driver takes aim.

Driver takes aim.

In a further indication of the era, Driver’s trousers flare out to the plain-hemmed bottoms.

The Driver wears a pair of thick black leather shoes with black laces and heavy black soles. Naturally, he also wears a pair of black socks.

The Driver hits the accelerator in his '74 Galaxie.

The Driver hits the accelerator in his ’74 Galaxie.

Driver’s light blue shirt is also a unique part of the outfit. Rather than a traditional dress shirt, Driver wears a lightweight utility-style shirt with large collars and flapped chest pockets on each side. The pockets are low on the shirt, lining up with the fourth button down, and they close with a single button on a rounded flap.

This promotional lobby card for The Driver presents the best image of the shirt, which remains covered by the jacket through the entire finished film.

This promotional lobby card for The Driver presents the best image of the shirt, which remains covered by the jacket through the entire finished film. (The woman in the photo is Ronee Blakley, playing “The Connection”.)

The shirt also has a distinctive set of white plastic buttons down the front placket. After the top collar button, there are two chest buttons placed very close together, which he leaves undone. The rest of the buttons are spaced normally down the shirt.

Note the unique "double buttons" on his chest. Was this something popular in the '70s?

Note the unique, closely-spaced “double buttons” on his chest. Was this something popular in the ’70s?

The shirt is long-sleeved with mitred button cuffs.

The Driver is light on accessories, wearing only a simple square-shaped watch on his right wrist. This watch has a silver case, white dial, and black alligator strap.

The last thing a good getaway driver wants is a clunky watch getting in the way of rapid behind-the-wheel movement. Actually, the last thing a getaway driver wants is probably to get caught, but you know what I mean.

The last thing a good getaway driver wants is a clunky watch getting in the way of rapid behind-the-wheel movement. Actually, the last thing a getaway driver wants is probably to get caught, but you know what I mean.

Driver also sports pair of black-framed aviator-style sunglasses with dark lenses for a crucial moment of badassery.

Go Big or Go Home

And speaking of this crucial moment of badassery…

A particularly sleazy criminal in the film, known as “Glasses”, pulls a gun on The Driver after a job.

Glasses: Can’t get over the mistake you made. You’ve been set up, you know.
The Driver: By a cop.
Glasses: That’s right. He’s waiting for you right now at the wrong place. Me and my buddy don’t wanna show up. You two hot-shots have both been set up, haven’t you? You know what always amazed me about you? A guy with your attitude… never carries a gun. (cocks hammer) That’s stupid… very stupid.

As Glasses raises his own .45 to kill, The Driver reveals his own ace in the hole – a Single Action Army revolver and the precision to fire off three well-aimed and fatal shots from the hip, knocking Glasses dead to the ground.

Don't fuck with Driver.

Don’t fuck with Driver.

Though he’s got a reputation with The Detective as a “cowboy” (and, appropriately enough, carries a cowboy-style SAA), The Driver has managed to keep the upper hand over his criminal associates by gaining an Andy Griffith-like reputation as an unarmed getaway driver. When a sleazeball like Glasses thinks he can get the drop on The Driver, The Driver seizes the opportunity and blows him away with three almost impossibly quick shots. As Tuco says in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: “When you have to shoot, shoot – don’t talk!”

The Driver is otherwise a consummate professional. He does his job efficiently, adhering to his own set of ethics and not getting in anyone’s way if they’re staying out of his.

As a super ’70s flavor to an otherwise subtle film, an interesting soundtrack choice in one of the film’s scenes is a disco-infused cover of The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day” by Julie Budd, credited only as Julie. Julie’s version of “One Fine Day” reached #93 on the U.S. charts in 1976.

When not out on the road evading cops or crooks, Driver holes himself up in a cheap motel room with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and a case of Coors Banquet beer… just as any tough, down-on-his-luck ’70s anti-hero should.

How to Get the LookDriver78-crop

The Driver wears a simple, strong, and utilitarian look very befitting for a man whose primary occupation is the execution of nighttime crime.

  • Black wool suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with wide notch lapels, 3-button front, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops, flared plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Light blue lightweight shirt with large collars, flapped chest pockets with button closure, white buttons down front placket with unique “double buttons” at chest, and mitred button cuffs
  • Black leather laced shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Silver-cased wristwatch with white square face on black alligator strap
  • Black-framed aviator sunglasses with dark lenses

The Car

Not surprisingly for a film called The Driver and about a getaway driver, quite a number of cars are prominently featured throughout the movie. The Driver really runs the gamut, showing no particular favor to any one make or style.

When we first meet Driver, he’s picking up a blue ’74 Ford Galaxie sedan. After the Galaxie does its job – or rather Driver does his job – he coolly leads it to its destruction. When a gang asks him to show off his skills, he does so, systematically destroying an orange 1970 Mercedes-Benz sedan with his parking garage maneuvering. A bank robbery and subsequent double-cross places him in the driver’s seat of a brown ’77 Pontiac Firebird, and the final act of the film finds him in the unlikely but spirited red 1973 Chevrolet C-10 Stepside pickup truck.

Driver78-Car1-truck1

Chevrolet, which had been producing pickup trucks since the mid-1920s, introduced its full-size light-duty line in 1960 as the C/K series. “C” trucks were two-wheel drive while the “K” indicated four-wheel drive. 1973 was the first year for the third generation of GM trucks that incorporated radical body design changes for more rounded lines; hence this 1973-1987 era informally known as the “Rounded Line” generation for Chevy and GMC trucks.

There were two types of C-10 pickup models available in 1973. One, designated the “Fleetside” by Chevy (and “Wideside” by GMC), featured a full width pickup box with both steel and wood floors available. The simpler, narrower model was the “Stepside” (or “Fenderside” for GMC) with steps, exposed fenders, standalone tail lamps, and only wood floors.

As the rear-wheel-drive model, the C-10 pickup featured an independent front suspension system with contoured lower control “A” arms and coil springs. The rear suspension system was GM’s new Load Control system, consisting of a rear live axle with dual stage Vari-Rate multi-leaf springs and offset shock absorber.

The C-10 Stepside in The Driver is fitted with Chevy’s big-block 454 cubic inch V8 engine, a top performer that had become legendary as the powerhouse in the ’70 Chevelle. In the three years since the Chevelle’s heyday, however, the 454 was detuned to the LS4 454, a lower performing engine rated at 275 horsepower as opposed to the 450 horsepower of the LS6.

1973 Chevrolet C-10 StepsideDriver78-Car1-truck2

Body Style: 2-door pickup truck

Engine: 454 cu. in. (7.4 L) Chevrolet “LS4″ big-block V8

Power: 275 hp (205 kW; 278 PS)

Torque: 468 lb·ft (635 N·m)

Transmission: 4-speed Saginaw Muncie SM465 manual

Wheelbase: 117.5 inches (2984 mm)

Length: 191.5 inches (4864 mm)

Width: 79.6 inches (2022 mm)

Height: 69.8 inches (1773 mm)

At least two different C-10 trucks were used during the filming of The Driver. The primary truck, featured in most action scenes, clearly had a Hurst T-handle four-on-the-floor manual transmission. Other shots show a truck with the column-shifting 3-speed Turbo Hydra-matic automatic transmission. Given The Driver’s reputation and talent, it’s most likely that he was meant to be driving the manual transmission version with the automatic version on hand for some stunt or backup work.

The truck, stolen from The Driver’s duplicitous confederates, has California license plates 1E49974.

The other cars worth mentioning are:

The blue 1974 Ford Galaxie 500 pillared hardtop sedan with an automatic transmission, featured during the opening chase.

The '74 Galaxie, about to meet an inglorious end.

The ’74 Galaxie, about to meet an inglorious end.

The “racing orange” 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 S sedan that Glasses and his associates use to test The Driver.

Teeth: How do we know you’re that good?
The Driver: Get in.

Although O'Neal did much of his own driving, certain scenes called for a stuntman if for no other reason than insurance purposes. Here is one of the few instances where a stunt driver's face is clearly seen behind the wheel.

Although O’Neal did much of his own driving, certain scenes called for a stuntman if for no other reason than insurance purposes. Here is one of the few instances where a stunt driver’s face is clearly seen behind the wheel.

And, finally, the dark brown 1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit that The Driver is contracted to handle for the gang’s daytime bank robbery. This car, with California plates 487 BAK, serves The Driver well until he abandons it in the warehouse after his confrontation with Glasses.

Driver78-Car4-Pontiac

Interestingly, other than the occasional Fury patrol car, The Driver seems to eschew Mopar vehicles while allowing prominent screen time for Ford, GM, and even foreign vehicles.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. A lo-res version also appears to be on YouTube in its complete form.

The Quote

Lotta crooks around these days.

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.

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 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.)

topPBs-CL-suit1

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.

topPBs-CL-shrt1

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.

topPBs-CL-shrt2

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!*

Update! BAMF Style super-commenter Teeritz heard the cough-to-arms and has identified the watch as an Omega DeVille Co-Axial, appropriately dated from the late ’90s. As Teeritz explains:

Hard to really tell from the picture, but the lugs appear to be slightly sculpted and that’s why I’m thinking that it’s a DeVille. Plus the fact that Brosnan was an Omega ambassador back then.

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.

Another Update! Ron, another great BAMF Style commenter, noted that these are likely a pair of Fossil sunglasses, which notably had wider metal arms like these in the late ’90s. Thanks, Ron!

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.

topPBs-CX-hat

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.

topPBs-crop1

  • 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, likely an Omega DeVille Co-Axial
  • Gold monogram ring, worn on left pinky
  • Steel-framed Fossil sunglasses with dark lenses, wide arms, 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.

George Jung’s White Leisure Suit in Blow

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001), from New Line Cinema.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001), from New Line Cinema.

Vitals

Johnny Depp as George Jung, international cocaine dealer

Miami to Colombia, Summer 1977

Background

Pablo Escobar: So, you’re the man, huh? Who takes fifty kilos and make them disappear in one day.
George Jung: Actually, it was three days.

As a multimillion dollar-earning international drug dealer, George Jung was well-known to the drug culture and law enforcement by the time Bruce Porter’s 1993 book, Blow, was released. However, it was the Ted Demme-directed 2001 film of the same name that brought Jung’s life into the mainstream with Johnny Depp in the lead role.

At the time of the film’s release, “Boston George” himself was serving time as federal inmate #19225-004 at the Federal Correctional Institution, La Tuna in Anthony, Texas. Jung was transferred to Fort Dix and scheduled to be released on November 27, 2014, but he was released early on June 2, living in a halfway house as he readjusts to society.

Although the world has changed plenty in the twenty years since Jung was imprisoned last, he is emerging into freedom as famous as he ever had been. Twitter was ablaze the night of June 2nd with users declaring their plans to watch Blow in honor of Jung’s freedom.

What’d He Wear?

One of the most iconic scenes of the film features Depp’s Jung confidently strutting into the Miami airport with bags full of cash after selling fifty kilos of cocaine in three days. Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” plays as Jung – all in white with rock star hair and bushy sideburns – strolls up to the Colombian drug thugs and hands them their money. His easy confidence makes the otherwise tacky outfit look cool, and his self-assured façade only crumbles when he is informed that he will be loaded onto a plane to Colombia with the sweaty mustachioed smugglers. Despite this turn of events, Depp does what few men were able to do even forty years ago; he manages to look cool in a leisure suit.

George takes in his glamorous surroundings.

George takes in his glamorous surroundings.

Although now associated with kitschy ’70s disco culture, leisure suits actually emerged on the west coast just before World War II as summer casual attire among the Hollywood elite, thus giving them the name of “Hollywood suits”. Prior to the Hollywood suit, casual men’s attire often ranged from English khaki safari jackets to the heavier tweed Norfolk jacket. The functions of both jackets were combined to create what is now referred to as a leisure suit. The popularity of the leisure suit remained dormant until the end of the swinging ’60s when the counterculture began taking over and synthetic materials were a manufacturing boom. These two phenomena collided and the leisure suit took off as an informal and youthful alternative to the business suit, which was seen as too conservative. Leisure suits boomed during the ’70s, showing up everywhere in films and television until dying out quickly at the beginning of the next decade.

Jung wears several leisure suits over the course of Blow, but it is his cream-colored suit for his “airport strut” that is considered to be the most iconic. This leisure suit is made of woven texturized polyester. The jacket is a safari-style jacket with large shirt-style collars and five large gray-and-white plastic buttons down the front, although Jung keeps his jacket open throughout the sequence. The single buttons on each squared cuff and on the epaulettes (or “shoulder straps”) match those on the front of the jacket.s

blowLS-CL-jktDet

There are four mitred patch pockets on the front of the jacket, with two large lower pockets on the hips and two smaller pockets on each side of the chest. The pockets have inverted box pleats and close with a button through the pointed flaps. Like the collars and epaulettes, the pockets have stitched edges.

The rear of the jacket is clean save for curved vertical seams that extend out from each armpit and curve downward down the rear of the jacket. They are similar to the seams found on the front of Michael Caine’s suede jacket in 1969’s The Italian Job, except Caine’s jacket featured the curved seams on the front.

George's pat-down upon his arrival at Pablo Escobar's cocaine headquarters is far less invasive than a modern TSA search.

George’s pat-down upon his arrival at Pablo Escobar’s cocaine headquarters is far less invasive than a modern TSA search.

Although some men often wore contrasting trousers with leisure suit jackets, Jung’s trousers match the cream textured polyester of his coat. They are flat front with a moderate rise and belt loops for his matching cream leather belt, which fastens in the front through a squared gold clasp. The bottoms are plain-hemmed and, unique for the era, do not have much flare. The front pockets are frogmouth-style pockets, which were commonly seen on men’s casual trousers during the 1960s and 1970s.

blowLS-CL-pants

Although leisure suits could be worn with any shirt – including some men opting for a shirt and tie for a more formal look – Jung chooses to wear a white ribbed mock turtleneck (or roll-neck) jumper. The jumper is lightweight enough that Jung can wear it comfortably tucked into his trousers.

It's a daring look, but most airports have a rule now that if you strut through wearing a white leisure suit and jumper, they have to play "Black Betty" over the speaker system.

It’s a daring look, but the TSA just passed a guideline that if a person struts through an airport wearing a white leisure suit and jumper, the airport must play “Black Betty” over the speaker system or risk losing their license.

We only see them when he first enters the airport terminal, but Jung wears a pair of white leather plain-toe bluchers with squared toes. His socks remain unseen, but they are likely a cream-colored dress sock to continue his leg line into his shoes. Plus, any other color of socks would be unexpected given his total white/off-white look in this scene.

You don't want to ruin a look like this by wearing black shoes.

You don’t want to ruin a look like this by wearing black shoes.

The single visible accessory of Jung’s ensemble is a pair of super-’70s sunglasses, which could’ve come straight off of Elvis Presley’s face. The particular model is Polaroid Cool-Ray 420 Fast Back, with “420” being especially telling given Jung’s early career commodities. These sunglasses have dark lenses and solid aluminum frames with a copper tint.

Just when you thought things were already tacky enough...

Just when you thought things were already tacky enough…

Due to their association with ’70s artists like Neil Young and bloated Elvis, Fast Backs have remained popular for disco-oriented attire. Cheap plastic versions are sold at nearly every dollar store around, but genuine vintage pairs can still be found online for reasonable prices.

Go Big or Go Home

Pablo Escobar: Our business here today is cocaine, yes?
George Jung: Si. Yes it is.
Pablo Escobar: I need to find an Americano who I can trust. One with honor, intelligence…
George Jung: You need an Americano with balls, Señor Escobar.
Pablo Escobar: Yes, and balls, Mr. George.

While selling drugs is not a good idea – and the movie eventually shows us that – George’s ability to work with people and conduct business in a manner to benefit everybody is worth lauding. Pablo Escobar mistrusts the shifty Diego despite being one of his own countrymen, but George’s honesty and self-assuredness impress him enough to allow the three to enter into an association providing drugs to the largest market of buyers in the world at the time.

If you pause during the hectic "Blinded By the Light" montage, you can see George and Diego cracking open some fresh Coronas with El Patrón.

If you pause during the hectic “Blinded By the Light” montage, you can see George and Diego cracking open some fresh Coronas with El Patrón.

Of course, what most people remember instantly about this sequence isn’t George’s mind for business… it’s the badass effect of watching the white-suited Depp striding through the airport with Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” underscoring each step.

While it may be best remembered as a Southern rock anthem thanks to Ram Jam, the song’s origins can be definitively traced to blues singer and ex-convict Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter in the early 20th century. Before that, the song’s meaning becomes cloudy. Some link it back to an 18th century marching cadence about a flintlock musket, while other interpretations provide a more penal link with “black betty” being either a penitentiary transfer wagon or a whip. In American Ballads and Folk Songs, John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax’s 1934 volume about American ballads and folk songs (interestingly enough), it is said that:

Black Betty is not another Frankie, nor yet a two-timing woman that a man can moan his blues about. She is the whip that was and is used in some Southern prisons. A convict on the Darrington State Farm in Texas, where, by the way, whipping has been practically discontinued, laughed at Black Betty and mimicked her conversation in the following song.

The first recording of the song was a year earlier, in 1933, when convict James Baker led a group of fellow inmates at a Sugar Land, Texas prison in an a capella field recording for the Library of Congress. Lead Belly himself recorded the song in New York City for the Musicraft record label; this recording ended up on Lead Belly’s 1939 five-disc Negro Sinful Songs anthology.

“Black Betty” remained in the domain of blues musicians until 1977, when the band Ram Jam released a hard rock version on their self-titled album. The album reached #34 in the Billboard Pop Albums chart in the U.S., and the song became an instant hit, reaching #18 in the charts. The song drew criticism from civil rights groups NAACP and Congress of Racial Equality, calling for a boycott.

Of course, the boycott didn’t stop anything. The use of Ram Jam’s version in Blow revived its popularity, and “Black Betty” has found its way into at least thirty different films, television shows, and advertising campaigns since Blow‘s release in 2001, not to mention countless usages at sporting events.

How to Get the Look

While most people would be rightfully laughed at for wearing a leisure suit in public (especially an all-white one), Depp manages to make it look cool. Perhaps this may inspire false confidence for some retro-minded men, but hey, it probably won’t kill you to try.
blowLS-crop1

  • Cream textured polyester leisure suit, consisting of:
    • Safari jacket with shirt-style collars, 5-button front, epaulettes, 1-button cuffs, four button-flapped patch inverted box pleat pockets on chest and hips
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops, frogmouth front pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White ribbed lightweight wool mock roll-neck jumper
  • Cream leather belt with gold squared clasp
  • White leather plain-toe bluchers
  • Cream dress socks
  • Copper aluminum-framed vintage Polaroid Cool-Ray 420 Fast Back sunglasses with dark brown lenses

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film and read the book too!

The Quote

So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It’s always the last day of summer and I’ve been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I’ll grant you I’ve had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they’re making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there’s almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door.

Dean Martin’s Blue Striped Sport Coat in Ocean’s Eleven

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon in Ocean's Eleven (1960).

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon in Ocean’s Eleven (1960).

Vitals

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon, lounge singer and part-time casino heister

Las Vegas, January 1960

Background

Tomorrow would’ve been the 97th birthday of a true icon from a past era… Dean Martin.

In the film that helped cement the Rat Pack’s place in history, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin play two old army pals who team up with nine fellow ex-commandos to take down five Las Vegas casinos on New Year’s Eve. Ocean’s Eleven is mostly an excuse for these actors to get together to drink, smoke, chase dames, and sing, but that’s all we really want to see them do anyway.

Dean plays his naturally calm, cool, and collected self in the guise of “Sam Harmon”, a lounge singer who reluctantly joins the plan. Since it is Dean Martin, after all, he wears a black tuxedo for the heist itself, but he spends the majority of the film leisurely taking a drink in a casual sport coat and slacks.

What’d He Wear?

There are right ways and wrong ways to wear a dark blue blazer and slacks. This is Dean’s way, and for a cool day where you want to look simultaneously classy and casual, it’s the best way.

In this scene, heist plotters Danny (Sinatra) and Sam (Dino) are meeting with Duke Santos (Cesar Romero), a suave ex-gangster who plans on brokering a deal between the thieves and the mob-backed casino owners. In his casual sport coat and tie, Dean nicely bridges the very casual cardigan worn by Sinatra and the gray business suit worn by Romero.

Dean’s flannel sport coat in this brief scene is a blue version of the brown striped sport coat worn earlier in the film. They’re exactly the same, right down to the details, the fit, and the tonal stripe, except that this jacket has a blue-gray ground and dark blue tonal stripes.

Frank 'n' Dean.

Frank ‘n’ Dean.

There are three patch pockets, with two large hip pockets and one breast pocket, accented with a burgundy silk handkerchief that puffs out charmingly lazily over the top.

The sport coat has slim notch lapels and a single-breasted front with a low 2-button stance. Dean buttons only the top button, leaving it fastened while both sitting and standing. It has slightly padded shoulders and hangs nicely on Dino’s athletic frame. There are two short vents in the rear, keeping him cool while wearing a flannel jacket in the desert.

Vegas

While many men immediately pair khakis or light brown slacks with a dark blue blazer, Dean wears a pair of light gray casual trousers. Some deride the look as too similar to a security guard’s uniform, but Dean’s unique jacket and colorful flairs throughout keep the look refreshing yet classic.

The light gray trousers rise high on his waist and fit generously down to the plain-hemmed bottoms without being baggy. They have slanted side pockets, which Dean’s hands use to great effect in looking cool, and a jetted button-through pocket on the right rear side.

Vegas

Dean wears one of his usual white button-down shirts. The lightweight material and loose fit keep it voluminous and comfortable in warm weather without bunching up under the jacket. The button-down collars are more appropriate here than when he wears them with a suit or tuxedo since this is a more casual look. The shirt also has a front placket and buttoned cuffs.

The large collars of the shirt provide a noticeable contrast to the small and tight tie knot of Dean’s necktie. The silk tie is very slim with wide burgundy, blue, and forest green stripes in the American direction from the right shoulder down to the left hip. This tie shows up two other times in the film: with a suit for the funeral finale and in a continuity error with the brown sport coat.

Dean also wears his usual accessories in the scene, although barely seen since they’re both on his left hand and his left hand spends the majority of this scene in his pocket. There is a bracelet on his left wrist and a silver ring on his pinky.

Are they comparing bracelets?

Are they comparing bracelets?

Dean is only filmed from the socks up in this scene, so he is either not wearing any shoes or he is wearing the same black leather oxfords that he wears with his gray suit in the finale. Although we don’t see his shoes, we do get a glimpse of his black silk dress socks when he is lounging in the hotel room before Duke’s arrival.

Go Big or Go Home

Naturally, the stress of meeting with a gangster after a multi-million dollar casino robbery can only be alleviated with a stiff drink. In this scene, Dean wisely pours himself a glass of Scotch, neat. The Scotch actually appears to be a late 1950s bottle of The Macallan. While Dean was most typically seen indulging in J&B (including in this film!), no man in his right mind would turn down a glass of single malt Macallan.

If you're going to drink, drink with friends. Especially if those friends are fellow Rat Pack members.

If you’re going to drink, drink with friends. Especially if those friends are fellow Rat Pack members.

Alright, so you’ve got a cool drink in your hand and you’re relaxing in a Vegas hotel room with your pals… what’s next?

Music, obviously. And what better music would accompany three swingin’ fellas (not in the weird ’70s way with mustaches and robes) than Dean Martin’s 1960 album This Time I’m Swingin’!

This Time I’m Swingin’! was recorded over three sessions at Capitol Studios in Hollywood just after filming had wrapped on Ocean’s Eleven. Dean sports a blue striped flannel sport coat on the album cover that looks exactly like the one worn for this brief scene in the film.

The album is one of Dean’s masterpieces, assisted by the brilliant arrangements and backing orchestra conducted by the legendary Nelson Riddle. The three sessions were recorded in one week in mid-May 1960, with twelve of the thirteen songs being used. The one song cut was “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”, now iconic due to its use in films like Goodfellas. The song was deemed too racy at the time of its release due to naughty lyrics like:

The room was completely black
I hugged her and she hugged back
Like the sailor said, quote
“Ain’t that a hole in the boat”

…despite the tragic abundance of current songs with lyrics like “pop ‘dat pussay”, which are released these days without a second thought. “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” is featured in the film when a tuxedo-clad Dean sings and plays piano along with vibraphonist Red Norvo.

I'm sure Dean Martin was swinging long before this album.

I’m sure Dean Martin was swinging long before this album.

Although “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” didn’t make the final cut when the album was released on October 3, 1960, it still features twelve classic standards from great songwriters of the era like Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Jimmy McHugh, Jule Styne, and Jimmy Van Heusen, all infused with Dean’s particular brand of effortless cool:

  1. “I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me”
  2. “True Love”
  3. “You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You”
  4. “On the Street Where You Live”
  5. “Imagination”
  6. “Until the Real Thing Comes Along”
  7. “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”
  8. “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”
  9. “Someday (You’ll Want Me to Want You)”
  10. “Mean to Me”
  11. “Heaven Can Wait”
  12. “Just in Time”

The album is perfect for mixing up highballs while entertaining a late night guest or just enjoying a summer cruise in the car with the windows down.

How to Get the Look

Dean manages to add a refreshing twist to the standard classic outfit of a blue sport coat and gray trousers.

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  • Dark blue tonal-striped single-breasted sport coat with slim notch lapels, patch breast and hip pockets, 2-button front, 2-button cuffs, and double rear vents
  • Light gray flat front trousers with a high rise, slanted side pockets, jetted right rear button-through pocket, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White lightweight casual button-down shirt with button-down collars, white buttons down a wide front placket, and buttoned cuffs
  • Slim burgundy, blue, and green striped silk necktie
  • Black leather oxfords
  • Thin black silk dress socks
  • Burgundy silk handkerchief, worn “puffed” in breast pocket
  • Silver pinky ring (on left pinky)
  • Silver chain bracelet (on left wrist)

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. The album This Time I’m Swingin’! is also a must-have for Dean Martin fans.