Capt. Michael Corleone, USMC

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).

Vitals

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, USMC Captain, WWII hero, and Mafia son

Long Island, NY, September 1945

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 15, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

On the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, BAMF Style is looking at one of cinema’s most notorious fictional war heroes from the Pacific Theater of World War II: Michael Corleone.

(Just so we’re clear, BAMF Style believes that the true heroes of World War II are those that did not go on to become mob bosses.)

What’d He Wear?

Michael’s USMC Uniform

Michael arrives at his sister’s wedding wearing his traditional Marine “greens”, the winter service uniform worn from September through April. Although appearing brown on screen, the uniform – now known as the Service A (or “Alpha”) – is forest green wool in a color specific to the Marine Corps, dating back to its introduction in 1912. At the time, the winter service uniform was standard in garrison and on leave and liberty. Since the iconic dress blues were temporarily ceased for most of WWII, a Marine not wearing his utility uniform would almost always be seen in his winter service greens.

As an officer, Michael would have the option to wear either the heavyweight kersey wool uniforms issued to all enlisted men, or he could purchase one in gabardine or wool serge. His uniform at Connie’s wedding appears to be the latter.

Kay and Michael share some vino.

Kay and Michael share some vino.

The uniform jacket is single-breasted with a close, tailored fit. It closes with three black metal buttons, each embossed with the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (EGA) logo, on the chest. Just below the three buttons is an attached belt cut from the same green cloth as the jacket with a brass buckle, which was added as an alternative to the Sam Browne belt in 1943. The cloth belt differs the coat from the enlisted coat, which was worn with a “fair leather” cordovan garrison belt. The single vent extends up to the belt in the back.

Michael probably didn’t get many opportunities to eat Italian cuisine or dance while fighting in the Pacific.

Michael’s jacket also has the four-pocket layout that has remained consistent on USMC service coats for more than 100 years. The two chest pockets are box-pleated with pointed flaps. The larger hip pockets are bellows-style patches, also with pointed flaps. Each pocket closes on a smaller black metal EGA button. His medals are worn above the left chest pocket, but we’ll get to those later.

Michael also wears two black EGA screw-back collar devices on his coat’s notch lapels. The epaulettes (or “shoulder straps”) button close to the neck with the same small black EGA buttons found on the pocket flaps. Michael wears the double silver bar insignia, indicating his Captain rank, on the epaulettes.

Check out the pointed sleeve detail!

Check out the pointed sleeve detail!

The sleeves of the service uniform coat are plain without buttons although each cuff features a pointed appliqué of the same fabric as the rest of the coat.

Diane Keaton remains stoic as Al Pacino goofs around on set.

Diane Keaton remains stoic as Al Pacino goofs around on set.

A proud Marine, Michael never removes his coat or otherwise alters his appearance during the wedding party. All that are seen of his trousers are the plain-hemmed bottoms, although it’s safe to assume that they have the same belt loops and straight side pockets that are standard on all service uniform pants.

Michael wears the standard khaki uniform shirt worn through all seasons. It has a convertible collar, front placket, and two patch pockets on the chest that close through pointed button flaps. The long sleeves have gathers at the rounded single-button cuffs. Summer shirts were 100% cotton, but khaki shirts worn with the winter service uniform were typically wool or wool blend. Michael’s khaki tie, or “field scarf” in USMC parlance, is made from the same material as his shirt. Collar pins were standard issue before WWII as “battle pins”, but these were discontinued on Valentine’s Day 1942 for the duration of the war. Thus, Michael wears no collar pin behind his tie knot.

The last time Michael wears a hat before he’s entrenched in the Mafia is when he arrives at the wedding wearing his green peaked combination cap, known to Marines as a “barracks cover”. The cap is all forest green to match the rest of the uniform, save for the black visor and black EGA device above the peak. USMC barracks covers also feature a quatrefoil – a lace cross – on the crown, a tradition from the early days of the Marine Corps when fellow officers needed additional distinction for safety from their own sharpshooters. The other approved headwear for the service uniform is the soft green “piss cutter” garrison cap.

The hat doesn't get much time on screen, but it showed up in plenty of promotional photography.

The hat doesn’t get much time on screen, but it showed up in plenty of promotional photography.

Michael’s footwear consists of brown leather low quarter service shoes with black calf-length wool socks.

Michael's shoes are best seen as he jumps out of the family photo to bring Kay into it. Ballsy move for a girlfriend that the family has never met.

Michael’s shoes are best seen as he jumps out of the family photo to bring Kay into it. Ballsy move for a girlfriend that the family has never met.

Michael wears a sterling silver ID bracelet on his right wrist and a plain, military-issued watch on his left. The watch is likely a steel Hamilton or the like with a black dial and brown strap.

GfMikeUSMC-CX-Bracelet

Michael’s Medals

Now, we’ll take a look at Michael’s hard-fought medals, indicative of his reputation as a war hero as he so humbly brags to the congressional committee in The Godfather, Part II. In fact, let’s start there. Michael tells the committee that he “was awarded the Navy Cross for action in defense of my country.” While the Navy Cross is indeed issued for extraordinary heroism to servicemembers in both the Navy and the Marine Corps, Michael’s uniform in The Godfather only displays the Silver Star.

Michael is a well-decorated hero.

Michael is a well-decorated hero.

The Silver Star is awarded for “gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States”, and the ribbon consists of an Old Glory red center stripe with white, ultramarine blue, and white stripes extending outward on each side. It was first awarded in 1932 and is available to any uniformed servicemember, including a Marine like Michael.

Next on the row is the Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon, consisting of equal stripes in navy blue, old gold, and apple red. The medal was established in August 1942 for “distinguishing oneself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy of the United States” and is offered to both USN and USMC servicemembers that risked their lives to save others. JFK had famously received the medal for his duties as the doomed PT-109’s commanding officer.

Filling out the top row of Michael’s awards is the Purple Heart, famous from countless war films as a decoration for “being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces”. Needless to say, Michael’s Purple Heart is from a wound; had he been killed, The Godfather would have been a much more boring film. The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members, originally designated as the Badge of Military Merit by George Washington in 1782, and first awarded in February 1932. Interestingly, the first Purple Heart recipient was Douglas MacArthur, whom had reopened work on commissioning the design the previous year in his role as U.S. Army Chief of Staff. The ribbon is purple with a thin white stripe on each end.

Graphic representations of all of Michael's ribbons.

Graphic representations of Michael’s ribbons.

The first service ribbon on the bottom row is the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, awarded to all U.S. military servicemembers who served between December 7, 1941 and March 2, 1946 in the Asiatic-Pacific theater area. The ribbon is gold with a white-red-white triple stripe pattern on each side and a thinner blue-white-red triple stripe in the center. Michael’s particular ribbon has two campaign stars, indicating his performance in two of the 48 recognized Naval and Marine campaigns in the Asiatic-Pacific theater during World War II.

Michael’s next ribbon is the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (EAME), showing that not only did he see Pacific action, he was also well active in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Other than the geographic component, the medal’s parameters include the same dates for all U.S. servicemembers as the Asiatic-Pacific medal. Michael also has two campaign stars on his ribbon, which includes brown (African sands), green/white/scarlet red (Italy), green (European fields), and the same triparted blue, white, and red central ribbon from the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (which had been originally used on the American Defense Service Medal). On the other side is the same green and brown but with a white/black/white tristripe to represent Germany.

The third ribbon on the bottom row is the World War II Victory Medal, established by Congress on July 6, 1945 and awarded to all active service members who served in the U.S. military between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946 as Truman didn’t officially declare an end to hostilities until this date. The ribbon has an Old Glory red ground with double rainbows of blue, green, yellow, red, yellow, green, and blue on each side, representing the pattern used in the World War I Victory Medal.

To the best of my knowledge, Michael’s awards and service ribbons are consistent for a Marine officer who joined and fought in several World War II campaigns. Although Marines did primarily fight in the Pacific theater during the war, there were a few thousand that served in European campaigns, although it is perhaps a stretch that Michael would have two campaign stars for his efforts there. However, Mario Puzo’s book does state that Michael had his photo printed in Life magazine, so he must have been an exemplary officer. The first chapter states:

But when World War II broke out, Michael Corleone volunteered for the Marine Corps. He defied his father’s express command when he did so.

Don Corleone had no desire, no intention, of letting his youngest son be killed in the service of a power foreign to himself. Doctors had been bribed, secret arrangements had been made. A great deal of money had been spent to take the proper precautions. But Michael was twenty-one years of age and nothing could be done against his own willfulness. He enlisted and fought over the Pacific Ocean. He became a Captain and won medals. In 1944 his picture was printed in Life magazine with a photo layout of his deeds. A friend had shown Don Corleone the magazine (his family did not dare), and the Don had grunted disdainfully and said, “He performs those miracles for strangers.”

When Michael Corleone was discharged early in 1945 to recover from a disabling wound, he had no idea that his father had arranged his release. He stayed home for a few weeks, then, without consulting anyone, entered Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and so he left his father’s house.

This isn’t exactly consistent with the film, where Michael’s arrival at Connie’s wedding is evidently the first time that anyone has seen him since he left college in December 1941 to head off to the war.

Go Big or Go Home

Michael, you never told me you knew Johnny Fontane!

Michael’s bright-eyed girlfriend Kay Adams is thrilled to see the romantic crooner, played by Al Martino, show up at Connie’s wedding to sing “I Have But One Heart” as a personal favor to the Don. Michael hints at the history between the two men with the vague line, “My father helped him with his career.”

After some prodding by Kay, Michael tells the story:

Michael: When Johnny was first starting out, he was signed to a personal services contract with this big bandleader. And as his career got better and better, he wanted to get out of it. But the band leader wouldn’t let him. Now, Johnny is my father’s godson. So my father went to see this bandleader and offered him $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the bandleader said no. So the next day, my father went back, only this time with Luca Brasi. Within an hour, he had a signed release for a certified check of $1,000.
Kay: How did he do that?
Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Kay: What was that?
Michael: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.
Kay:
Michael: That’s a true story.

Although the names have been changed to protect the guilty, Michael is correct; the story is indeed, true. (Or at least believed to be.)

Fontane and Sinatra

Fontane and Sinatra

Mario Puzo famously borrowed from American criminal history when writing The Godfather, and it’s well-known that Johnny Fontane is the story’s de facto Frank Sinatra. Like Sinatra, Fontane is an Italian-American vocalist who attained heartthrob status in the ’40s with mobs of girls screaming everywhere he goes. Also like Sinatra, Fontane was a notorious womanizer whose career was revived after he landed a film role that brought him back into the spotlight for the rest of his life.

The “brains or signature” story is also a part of Sinatra lore, just swap out the names Johnny Fontane, Luca Brasi, and “this big bandleader” for Frank Sinatra, Willie Moretti, and Tommy Dorsey, respectively. Sinatra had spent the better part of 1939 rising from a Hoboken hotshot to a popular singer with Harry James’ orchestra. James was an affable trumpeter who was more than happy to allow the talented Sinatra’s star to rise. When the far more prestigious Tommy Dorsey came calling for Sinatra in November, James graciously let Sinatra out of his one-year contract to join Dorsey and continue his rise to stardom.

Unfortunately for the swaggering young Sinatra, Dorsey had a well-earned reputation as a strict and mercurial bandleader. Under the terms of the Dorsey-penned contract, a third of all of Sinatra’s lifetime earnings would go straight to Dorsey with an additional 20% divided among Dorsey’s manager and Sinatra’s agent, leaving 47% of his earnings – before taxes and union fees, of course – to Sinatra. Frank continued to grow more and more popular, spending thousands of what little he made trying to legally break his contract. As Sinatra wasn’t Sinatra yet, unions and industry insiders tended to side with the more powerful Dorsey rather than the green Sinatra.

Luca Brasi and Willie Moretti.

Luca Brasi and Willie Moretti.

In desperation, Sinatra went to Jules Stein, the founder of MCA and a personal friend of both Al Capone and Bette Davis. It was the former connection that proved most useful to Sinatra as Stein called in the colorful Jersey mobster Willie Moretti, who went to Dorsey with an offer of $60,000 cash. The proud Dorsey turned him down, despite later saying he recognized the smart deal due to the fickle nature of popular music.

Dorsey may have had a reputation for being volatile, but he had nothing on Willie Moretti. One night after a show in the summer of 1942, Moretti stormed into Dorsey’s dressing room and shoved a pistol into Dorsey’s mouth, demanding that he sell Sinatra’s contract to him with the words “Sign it or else!” One dollar later – $59,999 shy of Moretti’s original offer – Sinatra was free of his obligations to Dorsey and formally left the band on September 3, 1942, replaced by Dick Haymes. Officially, MCA did pay $60,000 to Dorsey for the release of Sinatra’s contract. After Dorsey paid the taxes on the sixty grand, it went straight from his bank account to Moretti.

While parts of the story have been questioned, there’s no doubting that it jives with the personalities of each man involved. But as Michael sums up:

That’s my family, Kay. That’s not me.

How to Get the Look

Everyone is pleased to see Michael as he enters the wedding wearing the sharp service uniform of a U.S. Marine.

GFMikeUSMC-crop

  • Forest green wool serge U.S. Marine Corps service uniform, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted belted jacket with notch lapels, three EGA black metal button front, two button-flapped box-pleated chest pockets, two button-flapped bellows-style patch hip pockets, button-down epaulettes/shoulder straps, and single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops, straight side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Khaki wool long-sleeve shirt with convertible collar, front placket, two button-flapped patch chest pockets, and rounded single-button cuffs
  • Khaki wool necktie
  • Brown leather low-quarter service shoes
  • Black wool calf socks
  • Forest green peaked combination cap (“barracks cover”) with black EGA device
  • Sterling silver ID bracelet
  • Steel military-issue wristwatch with black dial and brown strap

Michael proudly wears a captain’s insignia with two rows of awards and service ribbons – as well as black EGA collar devices – on his uniform coat. U.S. Marine Corps uniforms are traditionally simple without the divisions and additional patches that are found on the uniforms of other military branches.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the series, but be forewarned that only the first two films are masterpieces while the third… is not.

Footnotes

Plenty of information about WWII-era USMC uniforms came from WW2 Gyrene.

Peaky Blinders – Tommy’s Gray Striped Herringbone Suit

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Birmingham, England, Fall 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episode: Episodes 1.01 – 1.05
Air Date: September 12, 2013 – October 10, 2013
Director: Otto Bathurst (Episodes 1.01 – 1.03) & Tom Harper (Episode 1.04 & 1.05)
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie

Background

BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders is often compared to Boardwalk Empire or The Wire, an unfair comparison as the show stands up excellently on its own and the creator – Steven Knight – has even admitted that he’s never seen either show. One could argue that Peaky Blinders would certainly appeal to watchers of both shows, taking the urban grit of The Wire and the post-WWI family gangsterdom of Boardwalk Empire and launching them both across the pond to settle in Birmingham, England.

The Peaky Blinders were indeed a real name for an urban subculture in late 19th century England, named for the razor blades stitched into gangsters’ flat caps. When the gangster would get into an argument, he could whip off his cap and swing the razor-edged peak against an offender’s eyes… hence the name. The show takes some historical liberties with the gang, pushing their dominance further into the 20th century and centering it around the fictional Shelby family, led by bitter war veteran Tommy and his tough older sister Polly.

The show also depicts the Peaky Blinders as a more organized group of criminals than the glorified street urchins that the real members appear to have been. Although my knowledge of 19th century English street gangs is admittedly lacking, everything I’ve read makes the real Peaky Blinders sound more like the simplistic violent thugs from Herbert Asbury’s Gangs of New YorkPeaky Blinders prefers to present us with a family of ambitious mobsters and bookmakers who aren’t afraid to resort to violence – albeit, very gruesome violence in some instances – when it advances their business.

While Tommy Shelby could hardly be called the show’s moral compass, he relies on his wits just as much as his excitable brothers rely on their razor-sharp caps. Tommy is the conflicted anti-hero we’ve come to know and love thanks to predecessors like Tony Soprano, Walter White, Don Draper, Jimmy McNulty, Boyd Crowder, and “Nucky” Thompson to name a few. With Tommy, it’s hard to tell if he’s being driven by pride, anger, or bitterness (count how many times in an episode he mentions being “in France”!), but it’s safe to assume his criminal motivation comes from a powder keg of all three.

What’d He Wear?

Peaky Blinders introduces us to its protagonist immediately as Tommy Shelby rides a black horse through the dirty streets of 1919 Birmingham. He rides a gray striped herringbone tweed three-piece suit that serves as his main suit through most of the first season, appearing in the first five episodes. Tommy only wears four distinct suits in the show’s first season, with this one receiving a bulk of the screen time.

Straight Outta Small Heath.

Straight Outta Small Heath.

The simplicity of Tommy’s suit keeps it stylish for both 1919 gangsters and 2013 audiences. While every era is given to sartorial excesses, a no-nonsense dresser like Tommy avoids them for a utilitarian but fashionable day-to-day outfit. In an interview with Clothes on Film, the show’s costume designer Stephanie Collie discusses:

Cillian’s [suits] were all made by a great tailor called Keith Watson. He is amazing. I’ve been using him for years and years. He started off in the ’60s, working in Savile Row. This is where he learnt his trade; he’s a brilliant cutter. Cillian went to him to do all his fittings and they worked out perfectly. Cillian is a perfect model size too, so that was helpful. The best thing was how much the boys loved their clothes, and I think you get a feel of that by the way they walk; they have a swagger about them.

Indeed, Tommy’s suits give Cillian Murphy an athletic, lean silhouette that make him appear taller than his 5’9″ height on screen. This particular suit is gray herringbone tweed with a dark stripe in the cloth. All buttons on both the jacket and the waistcoat are covered in the same tweed suiting.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Tommy confers with Danny Whizz-Bang before a potential tragedy.

Tommy’s single-breasted suit jacket has notch lapels that roll over the top button, leaving two covered buttons revealed. He keeps a white linen pocket square neatly and unostentatiously folded in the welted breast pocket, and the flapped hip pockets sit straight on his waist.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Tommy makes the rounds of Birmingham on foot and on horseback.

The jacket fits comfortably with straight shoulders, a shallow chest, and a pulled-in waist. The back is ventless and the sleeves extend down from roped heads on the shoulders to the two widely spaced cuff buttons, also covered in the same herringbone tweed cloth.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Tommy’s matching vest (let’s say waistcoat, since it’s such a British show) is single-breasted with shawl lapels and a 6-button front. The lowest button, placed on the notched bottom, is left undone. The back of the waistcoat is dark burgundy silk lining with an adjustable strap.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Tommy seeks solace from a bottle of Bushmills.

Tommy places his gold Waltham Railroad open-faced pocket watch in the left of his waistcoat’s two welted hip pockets. It attaches to a gold fob through the waistcoat’s third buttonhole.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Note the details: sleeve garter, waistcoat lining, and trouser pockets (or lack thereof in the rear).

Costume designer Collie recognizes in her discussion with Clothes on Film that the trousers may have been the least historically accurate element of the suits. While the real Peaky Blinders were known to wear bell bottoms, Collie outfitted Tommy and his crew in straight leg trousers that maintain the lean, contemporary fit of the rest of the suit:

I would never want to use anything that’s historically wrong, but we heighten things to make them more relatable. So, trousers were quite short then, but we just thought we’d lift them a bit more. It’s not the end of the world if that’s not exactly how they were worn. Everything had to be sharp and smart for us.

Tommy stages a murder.

Tommy stages a murder.

The plain-hemmed trousers indeed have a short break, best seen when Tommy is on horseback. The straight fit continues up the leg through the waist, kept clean with a plain flat front with frogmouth pockets and no pockets on the back. Trousers rose high in 1919, a fact that Collie was more than happy to incorporate into the men’s suits:

I’ve said this before, but fashion always repeats itself. Three-piece suits look good on everyone. High-waisted trousers are the best thing a man can ever wear.

While much of Tommy’s wardrobe is still accessible in 2015, the hardest item to accurately recreate would be the shirt. Detachable collars were still the norm up through the 1930s, and even a street gang like the Peaky Blinders (at least on the show) adheres to the fashion by wearing both shirts and collars.

All of Tommy’s shirts are styled similarly with a white collar band, white buttons down a front placket, and attached single cuffs. His cuff links are simple brass oblongs, and he also wears brass link-style arm garters on his forearms.

If you're paying attention, you already saw the sleeve garters - right?

If you’re paying attention, you already saw the sleeve garters – right?

Most of his shirts are striped, although he does briefly wear a solid light blue shirt in the second episode.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Tommy’s first shirt on the series is white with a thin but bold purple stripe.

A production photo of Cillian Murphy in the first episode.

A production photo of Cillian Murphy in the first episode.

After that, Tommy wears a white shirt with a light gray stripe that he wears in the first, second, third, and fifth episodes. This, for all intents and purposes, is the Tommy shirt that would be the best way to start emulating the Peaky Blinders’ gang leader.

When worn without a collar, this shirt is totally open since there's no button in place at the neck.

When worn without a collar, this shirt is totally open since there’s no button in place at the neck.

Finally, the first and fourth episodes also feature Tommy wearing a pale blue shirt with fine blue and gray stripes.

Tommy declares war.

Tommy declares war.

Tommy’s collar throughout the first season is a stiff white detachable club collar – distinctive for its rounded ends – with no spread. He holds it into place with gold studs through the front and back, although only the front stud is exposed.

Tommy curiously never sports a tie in the first season. It was a conscious decision by Collie, who told Clothes on Film that:

Normally, of course, a man would have always worn a tie with a stiff collar, but we thought with Cillian Murphy especially that we wouldn’t do that, to keep everything sort of paired down, plus he’s got that beautiful face – what else do you need?!

…but it still leaves the question – why wouldn’t he do that? Is it Tommy’s way of rebelling against the uniforms that restricted him during the war and doom him to this day? Or is it a more practical decision, giving opponents one less thing to grab and use against him during a fight? (Boardwalk Empire fans will recall the way Eli Thompson utilized a necktie in the fourth season finale.)

Tommy holds his slim club collar in place with a gold stud.

Tommy holds his slim club collar in place with a gold stud.

The more rugged Al Swearengen on Deadwood went so far as to ignore wearing a shirt altogether, typically just wearing his dirty union suit under his gray striped three-piece suit. Then again, Swearengen didn’t care much what people thought about him… Tommy Shelby isn’t vain, but he doesn’t run Birmingham, either. He still needs to look passable to gain entry into certain high places.

Tommy Shelby’s preferred footwear is a pair of black leather combat-style cap-toe half boots with front lacing through nine eyelets. They resemble the “boondockers” issued by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps during World War II.

His socks are gray and rise high enough on his calf that his leg isn’t exposed when riding horseback pulls the short break of his trousers up even higher.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Switching to the other end of the axis, we come to the “peaky blinder” itself – Tommy’s mixed barleycorn tweed newsboy cap. Tommy’s cap differs from a standard flat cap by the button on the top center of the plump, paneled crown which – like the suit buttons – is covered in the same tweed as the rest of the cap.

PEAKY BLINDERS

The titular peaky blinder itself!

Tommy’s razor is stitched in just above the cap’s peak. Although brown and gray wools make up the majority of the hat, brighter threads of red, yellow, green, and blue are mixed in.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Hence the title.

Tommy combats the brisk Birmingham fall weather with a white striped henley-style pullover undershirt. Tommy’s cotton undershirts typically have a red-striped front bib with four large white buttons. They are long-sleeved and often peek through the cuffs of his dress shirts.

As the weather cools down in the fifth episode, set in November, Tommy braces for the Birmingham chill by donning his topcoat, a black herringbone wool single-breasted overcoat with large notch lapels and a 3-button front, which he almost always leaves open. It has large hip pockets with the flaps tucked in, roped sleeveheads, a long single vent in the back, and black silk lining that differentiates it from the red-lined topcoat he wears in the second season.

PEAKY BLINDERS

The coat is best seen during the Shelbys’ confrontation with the Lee brothers in the second episode when Tommy wears it with his distinctively darker charcoal herringbone suit.

A surprising affectation for such a taciturn gangster and relatively simple dresser, Tommy also sports a simple gold ring on his left pinky. He adds a second ring to the other hand in his second season.

Stephanie Collie summed up her thoughts on Peaky Blinders style in her Clothes on Film Q&A:

These men probably only had maybe one or two suits, which is how we worked as well. Cillian has literally only got one or two suits throughout, but hopefully you don’t even notice that because you’re engrossed in the story. The clothes are there to be part of the story, but you don’t want anyone to go “oh, wow!” when they see them. They can never be more important than what’s going on in the scene.

For more about Peaky Blinders style at Clothes on Film, check out this page.

Go Big or Go Home

Although the Peaky Blinders are undoubtedly British and often don’t see eye-to-eye with the Irish, Tommy sure has a thing for Irish vices. (Of course, Cillian Murphy himself is Irish, so that helps.)

His preferred brand of whiskey is Old Bushmills, made to this day at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland, considered to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world with more than 400 years of continuous production under its belt. You can still pick up a bottle of Bushmills… especially if you want to piss off the Catholics willing to shell out a few extra dollars for Jameson. (Not that I have anything against Jameson!)

Tommy takes a drag from a Sweet Afton while enjoying his Bushmills at the Garrison.

Tommy takes a drag from a Sweet Afton while enjoying his Bushmills at the Garrison.

Tommy also notably smokes Sweet Afton cigarettes in every episode. Outside of its appearance as Margot Tenenbaum’s favorite cigarette in The Royal Tenenbaums, Sweet Aftons are little known in the United States. Another Irish brand, Sweet Aftons were introduced in 1919 by the Dundalk company P.J. Carroll & Co., which has since become a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. The name comes from Robert Burns’ poem “Sweet Afton” to appeal to the Scottish market. The brand has since been discontinued, although Peaky Blinders fans can catch Tommy Shelby lighting one a constant string of them (actually herbal white-filtered cigarettes in a Sweet Afton case) with Morelands safety matches.

And finally, the most notable of all of Tommy’s Irish vices is Grace Burgess, the devious RIC secret agent that infiltrates the Garrison pub and steals his heart… even after he nearly pimps her out to Billy Kimber. But we’ll get to that later.

Of course, whatever you do is instantly made more badass if you’re listening to the show’s theme song, “Red Right Hand” from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 1994 album Let Love In.

How to Get the Look

The Peaky Blinders rule Birmingham on the series, and its members aren’t afraid to show it in their swagger. A tweed suit is practical and comfortable for cooler weather, and – if worn correctly and accessorized well – it can project a more rugged image than the classic professorial connotation. You might want to check local laws and regulations about sewing a razor blade into your cap, though…

PeakyTomS1Gray-crop

  • Gray striped herringbone tweed three-piece tailored suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 3-roll-2 covered-button front, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 2 covered-button cuffs, and ventless back
    • Single-breasted waistcoat with shawl lapels, 6 covered-button front, notched bottom, welted hip pockets, and dark burgundy silk back lining with adjustable strap
    • Flat front high-rise trousers with frogmouth front pockets, straight leg, and plain-hemmed short break bottoms
  • White-and-gray striped cotton collarless shirt with front placket, white collar band, and single cuffs
  • White detachable stiff club collar
  • Brass oblong cuff links
  • Brass chain-link arm garters
  • Black herringbone wool single-breasted topcoat with large notch lapels, 3-button front, flapped hip pockets, and long single vent
  • Black leather 9-eyelet front-laced cap-toe “boondocker” half boots
  • Gray tall socks
  • Striped suspenders
  • White cotton long-sleeve henley undershirt with red-striped bib and 4-button front
  • White cotton boxer shorts
  • Gray & brown mixed barleycorn tweed newsboy cap
  • Waltham gold railroad pocketwatch, worn on gold chain with fob
  • Gold pinky ring

The Gun

Tommy Shelby’s personal sidearm is a Webley Mk VI revolver, appropriate for a British war veteran of World War I that would have been issued the weapon. Introduced in 1915 and adopted that same year by the British military, the Mk VI was the final and most successful iteration of the Webley .455 service revolver.

Tommy gives Grace a hands-on tutorial in firing a Webley revolver, not realizing that she's no stranger to shooting others.

Tommy gives Grace a hands-on tutorial in firing a Webley revolver, not realizing that she’s no stranger to shooting others.

The first Webley break-top revolver was adopted for British military service in November 1887 and was distinctive for its 4″ barrel and “bird’s beak” grips. The modified Mk II and Mk III models followed, but no major differences came until the Mk IV was developed for the Boer War. The Mk IV used better steel, an updated blast-shield, and a barrel-affixed cylinder axis. The “Boer War” Model Mk IV lasted from July 21, 1899 (Ernest Hemingway’s birthday) until December 9, 1913, when the Mk V was ruled out. As England quickly found itself at war, a better service revolver would be needed. The Mk VI was adopted on May 24, 1915 and featured a long 6″ barrel and squared target grips.

Tommy whips out his Webley during a showdown with Freddie Thorne.

Tommy whips out his Webley during a showdown with Freddie Thorne.

Although replaced by the Enfield No. 2 .38-caliber revolver in 1932, the .455 Webley Mk IV remained in favor with British troops well into WWII due to their reliability and power. The automatic extraction with the break-top action allowed for quick, easy reloading and the .455 Webley round remains one of the most powerful cartridges to be chambered in a top-break revolver. Although he may be bitter about his military service, Tommy Shelby couldn’t have chosen a better sidearm for his violent rule of the Birmingham underworld.

Mr. Pink would have a few angry words about whether or not Tommy and Freddie were acting professional...

Mr. Pink would have a few angry words about whether or not Tommy and Freddie were acting professional

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the first season when it’s released in October, or catch the first two seasons on Netflix!

The Quote

If they want them back this bad, they’ll have to pay. That’s the way of the world. Fortune drops something valuable in your lap, you don’t just dump it on the bank of the cut.

Quantum of Solace – Bond’s Polo and Cream Jeans in Haiti

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Quantum of Solace (2008).

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Quantum of Solace (2008).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government secret agent

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Summer 2008

Film: Quantum of Solace
Release Date: October 31, 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley

Background

Quantum of Solace ostensibly picks up minutes after Casino Royale left off (offering no feasible explanation of Bond’s radically different suit, though) and quickly establishes itself as the more action-oriented yin to the introspective Casino Royale origin story’s yang. The sequel was determined to feature every kind of chase possible; we are immediately treated to a pulse-pounding car chase along the mountains of Italy before the opening credits, and Bond finds himself engaged in a desperate foot chase through the town of Siena immediately following.

After a few relatively calm minutes of exposition in London, Bond is dispatched to follow up on a lead in Haiti where he engages in a deadly knife fight, motorbike chase, and – ultimately – a motorboat chase. All that remains is an air chase and, don’t worry, that’s coming later.

What’d He Wear?

Just before the release of Quantum of Solace in the fall of 2008, Duncan Campbell from James Bond Lifestyle managed to get some answers from the film’s costume designer, Louise Frogley, about some of the looks that Daniel Craig and his co-stars would be sporting in the latest Bond adventure. According to Campbell:

Louise wanted to keep Daniel’s casual wear almost like a uniform. So for example, the most published photos are in the blue jacket and jeans. All the casual outfits are a variation on this.

The mentioned blue jacket and jeans were worn with a polo and chukka boots during the film’s climactic action scene in Bolivia. Earlier in the film, Bond indeed wears a variation of this, also sporting a dark polo, dark jacket, and chukka boots with jeans – although these jeans are a dressier pair of cream jeans more appropriate for a warm summer day in the Caribbean climate. Matt Spaiser also wrote an extensive breakdown of this classy casual outfit on his blog, The Suits of James Bond.

Bond wears a black Tom Ford short-sleeve polo shirt designed similarly to the popular blue Sunsel polo that Daniel Craig had worn in Casino Royale. The fine cotton pique knit shirt has a two-button placket, worn unbuttoned, and a breast pocket with a rounded-bottom. The shirt has a short fit with two short vents on each side that separate the slightly longer back from the shorter shirt front.

Edmund Slate shows no respect for a fine shirt.

Edmund Slate shows no respect for a fine shirt.

The shirt’s color, specifically whether or not it is black or a dark navy blue, is debated by some. The Rittenhouse Archive costume cards, specifically card QC22, would seem to answer this question. The cards have been posted to the AJB007.co.uk forum, and one is still available on eBay as of August 6, 2015. Given this information, I’m sticking to my guns with my belief that the shirt is black.

The costume cards for this outfit's shirt, pants, and jacket. What do you think? Black or blue?

The costume cards for this outfit’s shirt, pants, and jacket. What do you think? Black or blue?

After Edmund Slate so rudely slashes Bond’s shirt (and his torso), Bond is forced to clean himself up before heading back into public. Luckily for him, Slate is a man of style who happens to wear the same size clothing as 007! In Slate’s closet, Bond finds a black polyester motorcycle jacket that zips over the bloodied polo to hide any evidence of the fatal fight. In addition to the zip front, the jacket has a large shirt-style collar, vertical welted hand pockets, and set-in sleeves. The cuffs close on a single button, and there is a small tab on the right and left sides of the waistband that adjusts the fit on one of two buttons.

Bond meets Camille.

Bond meets Camille.

The jacket is reportedly from Y-3, Yohji Yamamoto’s fashion line with Adidas, with style number #609980 eventually representing the Quantum of Solace jacket on the market for a brief time in late 2008. Bond’s jacket was slightly modified from the commercially-available version with the Y-3 logo on the back right shoulder hidden or removed and the left collar tab folded back. According to some, the waist-length jacket is actually made of Gore-Tex, a lightweight, waterproof fabric designed to be worn in all weather to repel rain while absorbing water vapor. (The scientific name for Gore-Tex is polytetrafluoroethylene – or ePTFE – and it was co-invented by William L. Gore and his son Bob in 1969.) Whether Bond’s jacket is truly Gore-Tex or not, it’s almost certainly constructed from a synthetic waterproof poly-fiber.

Although some questions surround the manufacture of the shirt and jacket, Bond’s pants in Haiti have been widely confirmed to be a pair of cream-colored Levi’s 306 STA-PREST jeans. Unlike traditional denim jeans, the 306 STA-PREST jeans are a diagonally-ribbed twill weave in a cotton and polyester blend. The non-stretching qualities of the strongly-woven blend keep the slim fit and tapered legs intact and free of wrinkles to complement Dan Craig’s muscular physique.

After this, poor Bond was probably banned from the Hotel Dessalines.

After his deceptions and deadly fights on site, poor Bond was probably banned from the Hotel Dessalines.

The now-discontinued cream color was only available in the U.K. and Belgium, according to Campbell’s post, where he states that they are “as told to [him] by Louise and David Zaritsky – Levi’s 307 STA-PREST trousers (almost a chino style trouser) in cream.” Campbell accurately describes the STA-PREST jeans as resembling chino trousers, and the most obvious visual differentiation is the STA-PREST’s jean-style five-pocket layout including two angled slash front pockets, right side coin pocket, and two back patch pockets. More information about the cream Levi’s from Quantum of Solace is available at James Bond Lifestyle.

Bond wears the same Prada 2c 4099 2 belt with these pants as he does later with his blue jeans in Bolivia. The belt is made of black cross-hatched Saffiano leather, a texture characteristic of both Prada and Ferragamo belts according to James Bond Lifestyle, and it closes through a square steel single-claw buckle.

QoS3Haiti-CL3-Pants2Belt

Bond also wears the same shoes as he wears later in Bolivia, a pair of dark brown sueded leather Church’s Ryder III chukka boots with two lace eyelets and Dainite® studded rubber soles that give him extra traction when running from motorbike to motorboat. He wears these boots with a pair of brown ribbed cotton socks that flow nicely from the boots up the legs.

Badass!

Badass!

These chukka boots appear to be Bond’s casual footwear of choice in Quantum of Solace. As Frogley told Campbell: “The Church’s Ryder III brown desert boots are the ONLY ones he sports in Quantum of Solace,” quelling any rumors that he wore other colors or boot makers in the film.

Interestingly, Bond always wears a black belt with his brown chukka boots. This is considered a faux pas by many, although it wasn’t the first time Craig’s Bond had done so; in Casino Royale, Bond wears a black belt with his brown chukka boots when he arrives in the Bahamas wearing a gray linen suit. Personally, I believe it’s more important that an outfit has a more consistent flow rather than sticking to arbitrary matching rules. Bond’s black belt nicely reflects the black top half of the outfit while the brown boots and socks soften the warm tones of the cream jeans. A stylish man like Daniel Craig knows how to dress, and the team of costumers outfitting him for the Bond series isn’t going to make a decision like that without thinking it through. If it looks good, it is good, and that’s the case here.

The inevitable Omega on Bond’s wrist is the same Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronometer 2201.50.00 that he wears throughout Quantum of Solace. The 42mm case and deployment clasp link bracelet are stainless steel. The round dial is black with a 3:00 date window and luminous hour markers and hands. The specific number of Bond’s watch, which was auctioned by Christie’s three years ago for £34,850, is #81087613. This Omega is the only one that 007 sports during Quantum of Solace, a reasonable decision given his rogue status for most of the film’s short timeline.

Disclaimer: Omega does not endorse breaking and entering.

Disclaimer: Omega does not endorse breaking and entering.

Bond’s sunglasses are also the same silver-framed Tom Ford TF108 aviators that we see throughout Quantum of Solace, worn with both suits and casual wear. These Italian-made sunglasses are on a semi matte rhodium frame with black temple tips and smoke blue lenses (19V).

QoS3Haiti-CX-TFSunglasses

Okay, now I’m thinking the shirt might be blue. Dammit.

Like the watch, Bond’s sunglasses were also sold at the “50 Years of James Bond” Christie’s auction in 2012 and fetched a decent £23,750, far more than the original $400 asking price.

Go Big or Go Home

The Haitian scenes (and M’s reaction to them) establish Bond as more ruthless than we’ve seen him before, willing to kill on his path for both answers and vengeance. To be fair, M is a bit harsh when she criticizes Bond’s methods. He honestly has no choice but to kill Mitchell and Slate as both men were attacking him with deadly force in each situation.

While the earlier Mitchell fight was a more traditional Bond-style battle with running, suits, guns, and exotic, setting-specific background action, the brawl with Edmund Slate in his room at the Hotel Dessalines is a dirty, violent fight more in the style of Jason Bourne than the Bond we’re used to. It makes sense that a 21st century agent would need to be trained for brutal hand-to-hand combat, and it’s a welcomed piece of realism unseen in the Bond series since the Orient Express melee between Sean Connery’s 007 and Robert Shaw’s Red Grant in From Russia with Love.

For those interested in getting their hands on Bond-ian props, the knife that Slate uses when attacking Bond is a Masters of Defense (MOD) Harkins Triton Out-the-Front automatic knife, as identified by James Bond Lifestyle. The plain-edged dagger extends to 8.45 inches long when the double-action black tungsten-coated 154CM stainless steel blade is flipped out to its full 3.6-inch length. The handle is milspec-anodized aircraft aluminum.

A less deadly device featuring in this scene is Bond’s Titanium silver edition Sony Ericsson C902 Cyber-shot cell phone with a slide-out lens cover and 5MP camera that Bond uses throughout Quantum to capture images of his foe to send back to MI6 for identification. More info about the tie-in phone available to promote the film can be found at James Bond Lifestyle.

QoS3Haiti-cropHow to Get the Look

Bond’s Haiti casual attire is an easily adaptable outfit to be comfortable but look stylish in an informal situation, especially one that may include some unexpected action.

  • Black waterproof Y-3 motorcycle jacket with large collar, zip front, vertical welted hand pockets, 1-button cuffs, and 2-button adjustable side tabs
  • Black cotton pique knit Tom Ford short-sleeve polo shirt with 2-button collar placket and rounded breast pocket
  • Cream cotton/polyester blend ribbed twill weave Levi’s 306 STA-PREST jeans with zip fly, belt loops, two angled slash front pockets, right coin pocket, and patch back pockets
  • Dark brown Church’s Ryder III sueded leather 2-eyelet chukka desert boots with Dainite® studded rubber soles.
  • Brown ribbed cotton socks
  • Black cross-hatch Saffiano leather Prada #2C-4099-2 belt with square steel single-claw buckle
  • Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronometer stainless steel wristwatch with steel bracelet, black face, and black bezel
  • Tom Ford TF108 aviator sunglasses with semi matte silver rhodium frame, black temple tips, and smoke blue 19V lenses

A very dark blue jacket and/or polo would probably also be a fine substitute for Craig’s black. Who knows… it may even be more accurate!

The Gun

Bond gets his hand on Slate’s case before he leaves the hotel and discovers a photo of Camille with a Smith & Wesson M&P 360 revolver, a not-so-subtle indication that Slate was hired to kill Camille.

"I think someone wants to kill you."

“I think someone wants to kill you.”

No longer available on the market, the M&P 360 is a scandium alloy-framed snubnose revolver designed from Smith & Wesson’s small J-frame series and meant for lightweight and easy concealment. It weighs less than a pound when unloaded – 13.3 ounces to be exact – and conceals easily with a 1.875″ barrel. The finish is matte black with black synthetic rubber grips.

Chambered for five rounds of .357 Magnum (or .38 Special +P) in its stainless steel cylinder, the M&P 360 would be a better choice for personal protection than for an assassin, especially since Slate’s weapon is already in a case and evidently not meant to be carried. Although “hammerless” revolvers are considered more practical for concealed carry, the M&P 360 with its exposed hammers offers a smooth, even trigger pull in both single-action and double-action modes, although firing the latter with the more powerful .357 Magnum tests the weapon’s accuracy (depending on the shooter’s stability, of course).

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

I don’t have any friends.

Will McAvoy’s Tan Cotton Sportcoat

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (2012).

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (2012).

Vitals

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, crusading TV news anchor and managing editor

New York City, Summer 2011

Series: The Newsroom
Episodes:
*
 “The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn” (Episode 1.08, aired August 12, 2012, dir. Lesli Linka Glatter)
* “The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate” (Episode 1.09, aired August 19, 2012, dir. Alan Poul)
* “The Greater Fool” (Episode 1.10, aired August 26, 2012, dir. Greg Mottola)
Costume Designer: Hope Hanafin

Background

The final three episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom find Will McAvoy in the midst of a rough summer. McAvoy is a brillianter-than-thou TV news journalist who had enjoyed popularity for years before he was reinvigorated to “do the news” right. This personal mission of his is equally inspired, bolstered, and hindered by his idealistic and talented executive producer Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer)… whom he also used to date before a messy breakup marred by some Paul Schneider-induced infidelity.

More than a year after McAvoy reinvented his news program to the chagrin of his ratings-hungry corporate overlords, he sells his soul to save the show’s popularity by focusing on the Casey Anthony trial rather than the more relevant news in the world. No wonder he needs therapy.

What’d He Wear?

A man of considerable vanity, Will McAvoy isn’t going to let summer heat get in the way of his fashion sense. Will finds a comfortable way to dress up his casual summer attire by donning a loosely-structured tan cotton sport coat with his usual button-up shirt and dark jeans.

Will shows off three different looks with his tan cotton sport coat and brown jeans.

Will shows off three different looks with his tan cotton sport coat and brown jeans.

Will’s tan jacket has a single-breasted 3-button front with notch lapels. The left lapel has a non-functioning diagonal slit serving as a decorative “buttonhole”. Edge stitching is present on all of the jacket seams from the notch lapels to the pockets. The breast pocket is a rounded patch, and the hip pockets are flapped. The 3-button cuffs match the same dark brown buttons on the front.

Will ignores Reese Lansing (Chris Messina), who appears to be auditioning for a musical.

Will ignores Reese Lansing (Chris Messina), who appears to be auditioning for a musical.

The jacket has a naturally loose and cooling fit due to its lack of structure, enhanced by the natural shoulders and rear vent. It is unlined with a pen pocket and flapped inside pocket on the left.

NewsWMtcs-CL1-Jkt3

Will always wears this jacket with a pair of dark brown cotton jeans. These are more subtle than the usual denim jeans and thus more passable as a dressier pant. They still have the same features as standard jeans: belt loops and the five-pocket layout (two slanted front pockets, coin pocket on the right, and two rear patch pockets) with rivets along the seam joints.

Will gives his psychiatrist a run for his money.

Will gives his psychiatrist a run for his money.

Will’s brown leather belt is a lighter shade of brown than his jeans. It fastens in the front through a rectangular steel single-claw buckle. This belt and jeans combination seems to be a particular favorite among Will’s first season casual wear.

Will first wears this jacket in “The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn” with a dark royal blue casual shirt. This shirt has a soft slim collar with dark buttons down the plain front. Underneath the buttons is a strip of four broken pale blue stripes, concealed when the shirt is buttoned although the top of the stripes are revealed as Will doesn’t button the collar.

A royal blue casual shirt in "The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn".

A royal blue casual shirt in “The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn”.

This royal blue shirt, which also has no pockets, makes another appearance two episodes later in the season finale, “The Greater Fool”. Based on the way the shirt wrinkles, it appears to be made at least partially of linen, perhaps a linen-cotton blend.

In the next episode, Will brings out a white multi-stripe shirt that he’d also worn in a few previous episodes with a blue sweater and jeans. The stripes are best described as double sets of brown and light blue vertical stripes that criss-cross on the inner collar and cuffs for a crooked check pattern.

Will looks beleaguered as usual in "The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate".

Will looks beleaguered as usual in “The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate”.

This cotton shirt is structured more like a traditional dress shirt and features a large point collar, breast pocket, and plain front with mother-of-pearl buttons. Interestingly, Will buttons the mitred cuffs but leaves the gauntlets unbuttoned. Although this shirt appears in other episodes, he only wears it with the tan cotton sport coat in “The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate”.

Will shows up in the “News Night 2.0” studio during the season finale, “The Greater Fool”, wearing another dark blue shirt with the tan sport coat and brown jeans, except this shirt has muted blue and brown stripes. It is similarly styled to his first shirt with its soft collar, plain front, button cuffs, and no pockets.

Will hovers over Maggie's Dell in "The Greater Fool".

Will hovers over Maggie’s Dell in “The Greater Fool”.

In case you haven’t caught on, Will’s casual wardrobe tends to be a happy mix of browns and blues. Since he wears a brown belt, a fashion horse like Will follows the rules and also wears brown leather shoes – in this case a pair of pointed-toe penny loafers. Although we barely see them in these episodes, he usually wears a pair of brown dress socks with these shoes and jeans.

NewsWMtcs-CL4-Feet

Will’s wristwatch has been identified as a Breguet Classique in white gold on a black alligator strap.

Thought you can't really tell from this screencap... I'm pretty sure it's a Breguet.

Thought you can’t really tell from this screencap… I’m pretty sure it’s a Breguet.

It’s likely the Classique 5157BB/11/9V6 which boasts a “silvered gold dial, hand-engraved on a rose engine” with a 38mm sapphire-backed case according to the Breguet site.

How to Get the Look

Will McAvoy gives us a sophisticated way to dress down for the summer while still looking professional enough for an office gig.

Now it's Will's turn to audition for that musical. At least we know he likes them.

Now it’s Will’s turn to audition for that musical. At least we know he likes them.

  • Tan cotton unstructured single-breasted sport coat with notch lapels, 3-button front, patch pocket, flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and single rear vent
  • Royal blue linen-cotton blend shirt with soft collar, plain front, and button cuffs
  • Dark brown cotton jeans
  • Brown leather belt with rectangular steel single-claw buckle
  • Brown leather pointed-toe penny loafers
  • Brown dress socks
  • Breguet Classique 5157 white gold 38mm case wristwatch with a silvered gold dial on black alligator leather strap

If you want a spot of color or some variety, Will would certainly approve of a striped shirt… as long as those stripes connect with other colors in the outfit.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the first season, or just check out the whole series.

The Quote

I’m not crazy about being interviewed in print. Print journalists play it fast and loose with exclamation points. “I love the news” becomes “I love the news!” Suddenly, I’m deranged.

The Sundance Kid’s Brown Corded Jacket

Robert Redford as The Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Robert Redford as The Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Harry Longbaugh, aka “The Sundance Kid”, laconic and sharp-shooting American outlaw

Colorado, Fall 1898

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Release Date: October 24, 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Last year, we celebrated Robert Redford’s 78th birthday (and Throwback Tuesday, which I’ve decided can be a thing) by breaking down the Sundance Kid’s traveling suit when he and Butch Cassidy pack up and head to Bolivia. This year, for Bob’s 79th, we’ll look at his main outfit leading up to that – a badass assortment of Western wear that epitomize American outlaw style at the turn of the century.

What’d He Wear?

Although the film’s audience would be hard-pressed to call either Butch or Sundance a true villain despite their criminal vocations, Sundance is certainly the darker-demeanored of the two, reflected by his attire. In Bolivia, he wears a black suit and black hat. While still conducting his banditry in the U.S., he wears all black save for a brown corduroy jacket. By default, he becomes the film’s personification of the “black-hatted outlaw” trope although his easy charm differentiates him from more villianous contemporaries like Lee Van Cleef in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The one major non-black part of his American banditry outfit is the brown wide-waled corduroy jacket. The jacket looks as well-traveled as Sundance himself, providing him comfortable and surprisingly fashionable outerwear that allows a wide range of motion for a man whose job includes jumping on and off of moving trains.

SUNDANCE

Even a taciturn bandit like Sundance has to laugh sometimes.

Though it’s a casual jacket, Sundance’s corduroy coat is cut like a suit coat with the only major difference being his jacket’s shirt-style collar, faced in black leather. It has five buttons down the front and plain cuffs. A special Western touch is the yoke that stretches horizontally across the upper back and slants down the chest from the upper portion of the sleeves. It’s simpler than the traditional pointed yoke, fitting Sundance’s understated style and sense of humor.

Sundance’s jacket also has straight flapped hip pockets and a long single rear vent.

SUNDANCE

There’s no denying that the Sundance Kid is good at what he does.

Butch would also wear a corduroy jacket when the two pick up their career in South America, but Butch’s garment is a lighter brown example of a more traditional sport coat with notch lapels.

SUNDANCE

Paul Newman, Redford, and Katharine Ross on set.

The rest of Sundance’s attire is all black. He wears a black cotton long-sleeve work shirt with black buttons down the front placket. The two chest patch pockets have mitred lower corners, and the cuffs close on a single button. The contrast between Sundance’s shirt and much darker pants indicates that the shirt may just be a very dark shade of charcoal, but let’s call it black for the sake of practicality.

The much darker pants I mentioned are black flat front trousers with slanted front pockets and a straight leg fit down to the plain-hemmed bottoms. Sundance wears a wide black leather belt through the trousers’ tall belt loops, fastened through a large steel single-claw buckle.

Sundance’s gun belt is also wide black leather, slung around his waist with the actual holster for his Single Action Army laced around his left hip… as Robert Redford is left-handed. The cartridge loops for Sundance’s .45 Colt ammunition are located along the right side of his gun belt.

Sundance also shows his fondness for black hats, perhaps to reflect his darker personality. The black “cowboy” hat worn with this outfit is black felt with a flat crown and a relatively short brim that only slightly curls at the edges. It’s not the same hat he wears in Bolivia, which is differentiated by its much thicker ribbon. Rather than a ribbon, this hat has only a slim black band that is tied on the left side.

SUNDANCE

Sundance sticks to his color theme by wearing a pair of black leather riding boots.

SUNDANCE

The aftermath of too much dynamite.

Sundance is sparse with his accessories, wearing only a pair of pale yellow leather riding gloves when he needs them. Robert Redford also wears his usual silver ring on the third finger of his right hand, a gift from Hopi Indians that he had received in 1966 and has worn in “every film I have done since 1968,” as he told the Hollywood Reporter. A look at Redford’s filmography tells us that this was the first movie he made since 1967’s Barefoot in the Park, so it’s likely that this is also his first movie wearing the ring that his fans would see in every subsequent film.

 Go Big or Go Home

Arguably one of the finest and funniest moments in the film finds Butch and Sundance weary from days of relentless pursuit from Joe LeFors and his lawmen. Once we finally learn who those guys are, the two determine their best alternative is to escape by any means possible. After attempting to lose the posse by falling down a hillside, the two outlaws find themselves at a rocky ledge, overlooking the Animas River in Colorado.

SUNDANCE

Butch weighs their options, but Sundance knows he only has one desired option: to fight.

Up to this point, Sundance has been the voice of reason to the more amiable, easygoing Butch. Butch plans on running off to Bolivia… Sundance laughs him off. Butch suggests joining the U.S. Army to fight the Spanish-American War… Sundance laughs him off. As Butch weights their fight vs. flight options, Sundance wryly counters with:

They could surrender to us, but I wouldn’t count on that.

Once it’s determined that the posse is “going for position” and plans to shoot at them, Sundance prepares to fight. He checks his gun, takes aim, and – Butch halts. What if they jump? “Like hell we will,” refuses Sundance after a glimpse down to the water. This fits with his character, whom we know to be an accurate shot and a man of action. Butch persists.

Butch: I’ll jump first.
Sundance: No.
Butch: Then you jump first.
Sundance: No, I said!
Butch: What’s the matter with you?
Sundance: I can’t swim!

The sudden revelation is embarrassing, and Sundance knows it. Newman and Redford play the scene beautifully, allowing the statement to land before Redford gives a bashful nod… and Newman breaks out in laughter.

Of course, the true mortality of this situation forces its way back in as Butch slows himself down to realize, “the fall will probably kill you.” The men resign themselves to whatever fate awaits. They remove their jackets, pick up their holsters, and…

Oh-h-h-h-h-h-h-h, shiiiiiiiiiit!

How to Get the Look

Sundance manages to pull off a rustic combination of black and brown, although attempted copycats should keep in mind that he was a turn-of-the-century train robber. If you’re comfortable giving off that vibe, go for it.
SundanceUS-crop

  • Brown wide-waled corduroy jacket with black leather faced shirt-style collar, 5-button front, flapped hip pockets, and single rear vent
  • Black cotton work shirt with two chest patch pockets, front placket, and button cuffs
  • Black flat front straight-leg trousers with tall belt loops, slanted front pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Black wide leather trouser belt with large steel single-claw buckle
  • Black wide leather gun belt with Ranger-style buckle, cartridge loops, and left-side holster with tie
  • Black felt cowboy hat with flat crown, slim tied band, and flat brim
  • Black leather riding boots
  • Pale yellow leather riding gloves
  • Silver tribal ring

The Gun

Few guns have received as much widespread recognition or as many nicknames as Colt’s venerable Single Action Army revolver. Whether you prefer the dubious moniker of “Peacemaker” or the more accurate “Gun That Won the West” (a title it shares with the Winchester rifle), there’s no denying that you’ve seen a Single Action Army if you’ve ever seen a Western movie in your life.

While filmmakers are probably a bit overly anxious to arm their outlaws with Colt Peacemakers, it’s documented that the Colt .45 was indeed the preferred sidearm for both Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, particularly while in the United States. During one of his first arrests, when he was merely a 20-year-old horse thief, Harry Longbaugh (the future “Sundance Kid”), had three six-shooters taken from him. Ten years later, he was a “professional” bandit, riding with Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch and packing a Single Action Army.

 

SUNDANCE

Sundance prepares to fight; Butch prepares to jump.

Whether intentionally or not, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid also correctly depicts Sundance’s preferred model of Single Action Army: the 4.75″-barreled “Quickdraw” or “Civilian” model. The SAA was offered in three standard barrel lengths – Cavalry (7.5″), Artillery (5.5″), and the Quickdraw (4.75″) – with shorter or longer barrel options available by special order. WesternLeatherHolster.com visited the Crook County Museum in Sundance, Wyoming this spring and actually discovered a holster that may have belonged to the Kid himself, remarking that the holster had been modified specifically for a revolver of that size: “cut down from 7 1/2″ to 4 1/2″ with rivets at the trigger guard and toe to keep the gun at the exact position the shootist wanted it to be”.

Butch and Sundance were proponents of the Colt .45 throughout their long career, although Thom Hatch’s book (which I mention below) reports that each man carried a Browning pistol and a Mauser carbine rifle during their final robbery in San Vicente, Bolivia in November 1908. Perhaps the two outlaws were more adaptable with the times than the movie suggests?

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

For a good read, I highly recommend Thom Hatch’s recent book about the duo: The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Hatch’s book goes into plenty of detail about Butch and The Kid, including the guns they carried, Butch’s favorite whiskey (Mount Vernon rye), and the most likely story surrounding their now-famous demise.

The Quote

Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?

Nucky Thompson’s Golf Attire

Steve Buscemi as "Nucky" Thompson on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 2.05: "Gimcrack & Bunkum").

Steve Buscemi as “Nucky” Thompson on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 2.05: “Gimcrack & Bunkum”).

Vitals

Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, crooked city politician and influential mob bootlegger

Atlantic City, Memorial Day 1921

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Gimcrack & Bunkum” (Episode 2.05)
Air Date: October 23, 2011
Director: Tim Van Patten
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn

Background

As summer starts winding to a close, make sure you schedule some time this weekend to hit the links with your pals.

In Boardwalk Empire‘s second season, Nucky and political pals Harry Daugherty and Jess Smith blow off some steam after a Memorial Day ceremony by getting out onto the green. Things are tense for Nucky as his old protégé Jimmy Darmody is vying for power in the city, his Attorney General ally is more concerned with his weight than Nucky’s legal situation, and the unreliable Jess Smith is trying to use Nucky for a shady partnership. And that’s all just before they leave the clubhouse.

Nucky Thompson: Do you actually enjoy golfing?
Harry Daugherty: I enjoy being a man with the time to play it.

Maybe golf isn’t so relaxing after all.

What’d He Wear?

Although he doesn’t stick within the boundaries of traditional golf attire – which includes the very antiquated knickers – Nucky still dresses for the links like a stylish, respectable gentleman of the decade would and still incorporates his usual colorful flourish. As usual, none of his garments are a solid color or pattern – even his socks!

When we meet Nucky and his political comrades in the golf club’s locker room, he is buttoning up a Glen plaid cotton sleeveless cardigan (go ahead, call it a sweater vest). The pattern consists of a series of large-scaled brown and tan Glen checks. All edges – along the neck line, around the shoulder holes, and on the two lower pockets – are brown trim. The pattern stops mid-shoulder and the entire back is the same brown as the trim. It fastens with five brown plastic buttons down the front to the notched bottom.

NUCKY

Nucky’s sweater vest – rather than a sleeved sweater – is a wise choice for Memorial Day, allowing his arms a greater range of movement and keeping him cooler as the Atlantic City weather gets warmer.

Ralph Lauren produced a very similar sweater, described as a blend of 61% cotton, 24% cashmere, 10% silk, and 5% linen. It’s still available on Amazon for $125.80 (as of July 31, 2015), and looks exactly like the vest worn by Nucky, right down to the brown trim and plaid detail throughout. There are always a few examples available on eBay as well (including the auction where I found the following photos of the same garment.)

NUCKY

Thanks to Ralph Lauren, you too can dress like Nucky on the green!

The only major noticeable differences are that Nucky’s buttons are solid brown plastic and his vest’s Glen check is larger scaled. Otherwise, I fully endorse this Ralph Lauren sleeveless cardigan for your Nucky Thompson-style golf outings.

Nucky wears one of his favorite shirts, a light blue cotton dress shirt with a fine white windowpane. It has white buttons down a plain front and white contrasting French cuffs that he fastens with round silver cluster links. The cuff gauntlets also close with a single white button over each wrist. (For another example of this shirt in action, check out Nucky’s red windowpane suit three episodes later in “Two Boats and a Lifeguard”.)

NUCKY

Nucky offers one of his oft-seen “quit fucking around” glares.

With the shirt, he wears one of the custom-designed white “keyhole cutout” collars that were designed by John Dunn and his team for Nucky’s shirts in the early seasons. The collar is similar to the “Tyfold” collar developed by Cluett, Peabody, & Co. in 1903, and it is held in place with a gold bar under the tie knot. In this case, that tie is a series of muted brown and navy diagonal stripes separated by a fine tan shadow stripe. Nucky’s tie stripes run from his right down to the left.

Nucky’s trousers are actually part of a light brown wool three-piece suit that he wears occasionally throughout the second season, though not in this particular episode. The suit’s pattern consists of a subtle brown triple-striped windowpane check. The trousers themselves are flat front with an adjustable rear strap and a fishmouth in the back, intended to be worn with suspenders or braces, which Nucky likely has on under his vest. The side pockets are slightly slanted and the jetted rear pockets close through a single button. The trouser bottoms are cuffed with standard turn-ups.

NUCKY

Nucky wears a pair of two-tone spectator shoes in brown and cream leather. Since cleats were not yet common on golf shoes, Nucky’s 5-eyelet oxfords are likely just a standard pair of shoes without any rubber nubs on the sole. In addition to the laces, the brown parts of the shoe are the caps, counters, throat, and tongue. The quarters are cream.

His light brown socks rise up his calves with solid bands around the top. The rest of the socks have a darker brown square motif that resembles a classic Native American pattern.

NUCKY

Although we see Nucky raise his trousers to the top of his socks, it’s just to tie his shoes. His pants are undoubtedly regular suit trousers rather than golf knickers.

Nucky literally tops off his look with a straw flat cap in a tan basket weave. The open weave of the straw would be very cooling for an active morning on the golf course.

Don't even think about getting between Nucky Thompson and his golf cap!

Don’t even think about getting between Nucky Thompson and his golf cap!

To the best of my knowledge, the shot of him putting it on his head is the only time the cap features on the show.

How to Get the Look

It’s hard to imagine someone in 2015 getting so dressed up for a sport where courses are now allowing players in t-shirts and shorts to play, but it’s also nice to imagine a throwback to a more gentlemanly era. Sure, the deals made on the links may have been just as crooked as they are today, but at least the gents tried to look classy while doing so.

  • Brown & tan Glen plaid sleeveless cotton cardigan sweater with 5-button front, notched bottom, and welted hip pockets
  • Light brown (with brown triple-stripe windowpane check) flat front suit trousers with slanted side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, fishmouth back with adjustable strap, and cuffed bottoms
  • Light blue (with white windowpane) cotton dress shirt with detachable white “keyhole” cutout collar and white double/French cuffs
  • Dark brown and navy blue R-down-L striped necktie with tan shadow stripes
  • Gold collar bar
  • Silver cluster cuff links
  • Brown & cream two-tone leather 5-eyelet spectator oxfords
  • Light brown (with brown square motif) socks
  • Tan straw basket-woven flat cap

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the second season, or just get the whole series!

The Quote

The world doesn’t owe you anything. I don’t care who you are.

Footnotes

Having Christopher McDonald as Harry Daugherty tell Nucky that “I enjoy being a man with the time to play [golf]” could possibly be a fun nod to McDonald’s role as “Shooter” McGavin in Happy Gilmore.tumblr_llg81rYTI61qdasbeo1_500

Michael Caine as Alfie – Blue Mohair Suit

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins in Alfie (1966).

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins in Alfie (1966).

Vitals

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, charming part-time car service driver and full-time cad

London, Fall 1965

Film: Alfie
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

Poor Michael Caine is forced to learn the hard way that there’s more to life than shagging “birds” and getting sloshed in Alfie.

After nearly ten years as an actor, Caine was finally receiving his due when he got the part of Alfie Elkins. He’d had two great roles over the previous two years in Zulu and The Ipcress File, and Alfie was his time to shine. After his roommate Terence Stamp (who had played Alfie on Broadway) passed on the role, Caine was approached and swept the screen with what became his breakthrough role as the philandering playboy. Caine’s “controversial” Cockney accent solidified his authentic portrayal of a common man, and it led to his first Academy Award Best Actor nomination and his second consecutive BAFTA nomination.

What’d He Wear?

As an unrepentant ladies’ man (at least for most of the film), Alfie Elkins needs to dress to impress. This navy blue mohair blend suit is one of the most commonly seen outfits he sports on screen. Tailored by Douglas Hayward, the suit keeps Alfie looking modern and trim among the “swinging ’60s” London set with a slim fit and slim features from the jacket’s lapels and pockets to the tie and trouser legs. Alfie himself praises the suit when undressing for a medical exam:

This suit don’t weigh nothing. It’s a new Terylene and mohair. You don’t feel as though you got nothing on at all!

Of course, he may be trying to subconsciously elicit images of nudity in the nurse’s mind, but he’s absolutely right about mohair wearing cool due to its moisture wicking properties. By contrast, the luxurious fabric also insulates well during winter to keep its wearer at a desired temperature. While Alfie’s suit indeed shines under certain light, it doesn’t have the luster of pure mohair; Alfie’s description of “Terylene and mohair” (Terylene is just a brand name of polyester) is probably spot on.

Alfie shows off his finest Douglas Hayward-tailored duds.

Alfie shows off his finest Douglas Hayward-tailored duds.

Alfie’s suit is a fine example of how a suit can be tailored for a slim fit without looking tight and pulling at the wrong places. As Caine shows when he undresses for his exam, he is in average shape, but his suits make him look more trim thanks to Hayward’s expert hand. Jumping ahead to Skyfall in 2012, the very athletic Daniel Craig was placed in a series of ultra-slim-fitting suits in an effort to evoke the classic look of ’60s Bond, but he often looked as though he was about to burst a seam or a button.

Alfie66Blue-CL2-Jkt-1

Alfie finds himself near a children’s playground… hardly his comfort zone.

The single-breasted jacket has slim notch lapels – with a buttonhole on the left lapel – that roll over the top button to the center of the three buttons. The shoulders are padded with roped sleeveheads and each sleeve ends with a 4-button functioning “surgeon’s cuff”.

Alfie’s jacket has a breast pocket with a slim welt and hip pockets that slant gently backwards with narrow flaps. The back has a single vent.

Alfie reacts to some news in his flat.

Alfie reacts to some news in his flat.

The trousers rise considerably low for the era with narrow belt loops around the waist, through which he wears a narrow black leather belt. The extended front tab closes with a hook over the straight fly. The front pockets are slanted, and the rear pockets are jetted. Hayward keeps his fit consistent with a tapered leg down to the plain-hemmed bottoms that end with a short break.

Out of context, this was a pretty hilarious screengrab.

Out of context, this is a pretty hilarious screengrab.

A fashionable fellow like Alfie knows to match his shoes to his belt, and his black leather ankle boots are no exception. His dark dress socks – probably black or possibly navy blue – are often seen due to the trousers’ short break.

Alfie wears a white cotton poplin shirt with a long button-down collar. The decision for a very British character like Alfie to wear a button-down collar is surprising given its heavily American roots, although it was in England that John E. Brooks developed what was initially called the “polo collar” due to its appearance on polo players’ uniforms.

Although I don't think Alfie has playing polo on his mind.

Although I don’t think Alfie has playing polo on his mind.

Alfie’s shirt has squared single-button cuffs, a plain front, and rear side darts. As we see when he untucks the shirt, the hem is curved toward the front and back. (Alfie wears no undershirt, although untucking the shirt does reveal his white underwear briefs!)

Alfie66Blue-CL3-Shirt2

Alfie’s tie is also dark blue, and it nicely pairs with the cool hue of the navy blue suit. However, the tie is a shade lighter than the suit color; when wearing similarly-colored suits and ties, many men prefer to wear a darker tie than their suit. The slim knit tie is knotted with a small four-in-hand and has a flat bottom just above the trouser waistband.

In his ideal world, Alfie's tie wouldn't spent much time in place. Nor would the rest of his clothing.

In his ideal world, Alfie’s tie wouldn’t spent much time in place. Nor would the rest of his clothing.

Earlier in the film, when Alfie is picking up this suit from the dry cleaner he’s shagging, he wears a sky blue shirt with a slim spread collar and a multi-colored striped tie. This is his preferred shirt and tie with the gray pick suit he wore into the dry cleaner’s; he later wears the gray suit with this shirt-and-tie combo during the pub brawl that leads to his breakup with Annie.

"There was this manageress of a dry cleaners. And I was getting a suit cleaned in the bargain. Well... you can't turn something like that down."

“There was this manageress of a dry cleaners. And I was getting a suit cleaned in the bargain. Well… you can’t turn something like that down.”

I’m sure a more experienced eye would be able to identify Alfie’s stainless wristwatch, but the visible details are a simple black dial and a steel bracelet with a deployment clasp. If I had to guess, I’d say it was an Omega Seamaster Automatic like this one based on the rice-grain bracelet.

Alfie keeps all his accessories on and around his left hand.

Alfie keeps all his accessories on and around his left hand.

Alfie completes his look with a gold pinky ring on his left hand, set with a brown oval stone.

Evidently a fan of the fabric, Michael Caine would go on to sport another Hayward-tailored blue mohair suit in Get Carter five years later.

Go Big or Go Home

Alfie’s behavior leaves very little to be desired, and I think it’s fair to say that’s the point of the story. He’s a cheeky cad who refers to women as “birds”, abandons the girlfriend he knocked up, and engineered his married mistress’s abortion. He gets his comeuppance in the form of total disillusionment, although I’m sure some of the jilted ladies along the way wouldn’t have minded something a little more extreme.

How to Get the Look

Another relatively simple look where the true value is in Douglas Hayward’s expert tailoring for the times. He created a look that was perfect for a hip womanizer in swinging London that still resonates today thanks to his timeless craftsmanship.

Alfie66Blue-crop

  • Navy blue mohair blend suit, tailored by Douglas Hayward, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with slim notch lapels, 3-roll-2 button front, welted breast pocket, rear-slanted flapped hip pockets, 4-button functioning cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Flat front tapered-leg trousers with slim belt loops, on-seam side pockets, jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White cotton poplin shirt with long button-down collar, plain front, and squared button cuffs
  • Dark blue slim knit necktie with flat bottom
  • Black narrow leather belt with small gold metal single-claw buckle
  • Black leather ankle boots
  • Black dress socks
  • Stainless wristwatch with a black dial on steel deployable-clasp bracelet
  • Gold pinky ring with a brown oval setting

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

I was wearing a navy blue lightweight suit, in a material called Tonik, made by Dormeuil, and I didn’t want it spoiling. I don’t care whether a bird uses Max Factor matte film or Outdoor Girl from Woolworth’s, if she starts purring up against your lapel, it won’t look the better for it.