Bogart’s Trench Coat and Suit in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942).

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942), surrounded by friends and foe.

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, cynical “gin joint” manager

Casablanca, Morocco, December 1941

Film: Casablanca
Release Date: November 26, 1942
Director: Michael Curtiz

Background

Before Casablanca was released in 1942, Humphrey Bogart had spent the majority of his career in secondary roles as sniveling bastards. His first major role in The Petrified Forest saw him as a Dillinger-esque armed robber far more interested in his six-shooter than romance. He was the foil to Jimmy Cagney’s criminal “hero” in Warner Brothers gangster flicks like Angels With Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties, and it wasn’t until 1941 when he finally received star billing in both High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. The latter film is often considered his breakout role as the cynical P.I. Sam Spade, but it wasn’t until a year later with Casablanca that he would finally be a romantic lead.

The role of Rick Blaine was perfect for Bogie, finally allowing him to develop a romantic depth to his character’s cynicism. Casablanca was never intended to be anything out of the ordinary, despite the cavalcade of stars and writers involved in its production. Many, including those at Warner Brothers, considered it to be a mere copy of the now-forgotten 1938 film Algiers. The film exceeded all expectations and is considered to be one of the few true masterpieces in cinema. It took home the three major production Oscars in 1943 for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard E. Koch, and an uncredited Casey Robinson), and shines a contemporary look at World War II.

What’d He Wear?

They say April showers bring May flowers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still get plenty of rain in May. It’s hard to look cool when it’s raining, but Bogie’s now-iconic trench coat provides the perfect basis for doing just that. Add a wet fedora and a dangling cigarette, and this could be the beginning of a beautiful wardrobe.

Rick heads to his mid-day meeting with Ferrari.

Rick heads to his mid-day meeting with Ferrari.

Of course, Bogie isn’t nude under that trench coat; he’s wearing a suit. Colorized images – and the controversial digitally colorized version of the film – have shown his suit to be anything from taupe to blue, but I think a tan shade of taupe makes the most sense given the desert context. Whatever light color the two-piece suit is, it appears to be made from a lightweight wool.

The suit coat is single-breasted with large notch lapels. The notches are gently rounded rather than pointed, and the left lapel has a buttonhole. The lapels roll down over the top button, revealing two of the three dark leather cluster buttons on the suit’s front. The four buttons on each cuff are also dark leather clusters.

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Bogie’s suit coat shoulders are padded to give the small-framed actor a more imposing presence, which any man would certainly need against Sydney Greenstreet! The three outer pockets are large patches with rounded bottoms, and a white linen handkerchief casually pops out from the breast pocket. The jacket’s rear is ventless.

Rick and Ilsa's day at the market.

Rick and Ilsa’s day at the market.

The suit trousers are very fitting for the early ’40s with their high rise, single forward pleats, and generous fit that slightly flares out toward the cuffed bottoms. Bogie often places his hands in the slanted side pockets.

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The slim leather belt worn through the trousers’ thin loops appears to be the same light color as the rest of the suit, fastening through a simple front clasp.

Rick meets with Ferrari.

Rick meets with Ferrari.

Bogart’s white dress shirt has a spread collar with long, edge-stitched points. The collar’s long points look fine with the jacket on, but behind-the-scenes photos reveal a nearly disco-length collar when he takes the jacket off. The shirt also has double cuffs, but they fall short under the jacket sleeves and are hardly visible in the film itself.

Director Michael Curtiz and co-star Claude Rains watch Bogie take on co-star Paul Heinreid at chess.

Director Michael Curtiz and co-star Claude Rains watch Bogie take on co-star Paul Heinreid at chess.

Rick wears two ties with this suit. The first, for his visit to Ferrari, alternates dark and medium-colored stripes crossing diagonally down from the right to left.

Bogart goes from a scene with Sydney Greenstreet to one with Ingrid Bergman. Marked improvement.

Bogart goes from a scene with Sydney Greenstreet to one with Ingrid Bergman. Marked improvement.

The second tie, which he sports with the iconic raincoat and fedora for the finale, is a dark ground littered with small dotted squares.

See that big collar? Looks a little better with a suit coat, doesn't it?

See that big collar? Looks a little better with a suit coat, doesn’t it?

And now we get to the coat itself. Now synonymous with ’40s film noir P.I.s (despite the fact that Bogart was a bar owner, not a P.I. in Casablanca), Bogart’s topcoat is a standard khaki cotton gabardine drill trench coat with a 6×3 double-breasted front. It is on the shorter side for a trench coat, extending down to his knees.

Bogart takes on the Nazis.

Bogart takes on the Nazis.

The coat worn by Bogart in Casablanca was made by Burberry, which shares Acquascutum’s claim for the invention of the trench coat. Burberry’s claim is likely the more valid of the two, with Thomas Burberry having submitted a similar design for an Army officer’s raincoat to the British War Office prior to World War I. Thomas was also the inventor of gabardine in 1880, which is used in the construction of the traditional trench coat to provide its resistance to water.

The coat has wide edge-stitched lapels with small buttons under both sides of the collar. The epaulettes also close with a button on a pointed strap where the shoulder meets the collar. The storm flap extends to both sides of the chest and to a point in the back.

CasaSuit-CL3-Trench2

Magnoli calls these “Golden era” lapels.

Like most trench coats, there is a belted waist in addition to the button front, tied through a buckle. There are three metal D-rings across the back of the belt. Each raglan sleeve also has a buckled strap at the cuff. There are two slanted outer hand pockets, which appear to be open with no buttons or flaps.

♫... into the wild blue yonder... ♫

♫… into the wild blue yonder… ♫

Trench coats grew popular during World War I as a practical and comfortable military alternative to great coats or rubber jackets when fighting in the front line trenches. After the Second World War, the military connotations of the trench coat lent it a respectability for business outerwear, but at the time of Casablanca – set in 1941 and released in 1942 – it would’ve still been primarily a military garment. Although Rick himself never actually served in an official military, he had indeed been involved in war as a pro-Ethiopian gun runner and a Loyalist fighter during the Spanish Civil War. It’s very likely that he would’ve come across the trench coat during his dealings with the military and found its practicality attractive, especially as waterproof outerwear in a warm climate country like Morocco.

CasaSuit-CL3-Trench3

Magnoli Clothiers, known for their film costume replicas, has created the “Casablanca Bogart Trenchcoat” in cotton canvas, available for $595. Offered in a range of colors from tan to black, it features “Long pointed Golden-Era style collar, Full-length working epaulettes, Dropped D-rings at back, Stitch-hemmed cuffs”, all accurate reflections of the coat worn by Bogie in the film. The Magnoli trench even features the movie’s 6-button front rather than the traditional 10-button front.

Bogart’s wide-brimmed fedora is dark felt, likely either dark gray or dark brown, with a high pinched crown and a wide black grosgrain ribbon.

CasaSuit-CL4-Hat

Bogart’s shoes don’t receive much screen time, but it looks like he is wearing a pair of dark brown leather plain-toe slip-ons. The full break of the trousers keeps the socks out of view, but he’s probably wearing a pair of light-colored breathable cotton socks.

CasaSuit-CL5-Shoes

Bogart was able to incorporate his usual jewelry and accessories for Rick Blaine. His wristwatch is a Longines Evidenza, which had just been released in 1941 and was seen on a dark brown leather strap on Bogie’s left wrist through much of his career. The tonneau-shaped gilt case had “H.B.” inscribed on the inside.

Bogart for Longines.

Bogart for Longines.

He also wears his usual gold ring with two rubies and a diamond on the third finger of his right hand. Replicas are available at Royalty and Hollywood Jewelry in Naples, Florida as well as on Amazon.

CasaSuit-CX2-ring

What to Imbibe

There’s something about the way Humphrey Bogart pronounces the word “bourbon”, somehow stressing each letter rather than the more common and certainly bastardized “berbin” that one hears in bars these days. The Bourbon whiskey found throughout Casablanca has a Kentucky Hill label.

Rick and Ferrari make peace over a bottle of Kentucky Hill.

Rick and Ferrari make peace over a bottle of Kentucky Hill.

I have yet to discover whether or not this was an actual Bourbon of the era. Regardless, the “brand” was revived in 2012 for the second season of American Horror Story when Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe), having been overtaken by Satan, uses ” a bottle of, um, Kentucky’s” to lure the troubled Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) back to drink.

!

!

(In case you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, this is about halfway through “Dark Cousin”, the seventh episode of American Horror Story: Asylum.)

The brand is likely not real and is a prop house’s attempt to mimic the look of the venerable Heaven Hill brand of Bourbon, which has been producing continuously since 1935. Interestingly, and sadly, the distillery chugged along for sixty years until the evening of November 7, 1996 when a fire broke out in an aging warehouse and spread to other buildings and vehicles, consuming 90,000 barrels of bourbon and creating a “river of fire” from the warehouses.

In addition to its multiple Bourbon brands (including Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, J.T.S. Brown, and Fighting Cock), Heaven Hill also produces a variety of other low-priced booze, ranging from whiskey and gin to tequila and brightly-colored, fruit-flavored liqueurs.

How to Get the Look

This is the classic Bogart look, oozing with cynicism and failed romance. Wear it if it’s raining or if you just feel like being extra cool.

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  • Light taupe lightweight wool suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted suit coat with large rounded notch lapels, 3-roll-2 button front, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Single-pleated high rise trousers with belt loops, slightly slanted side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
  • Khaki cotton gabardine drill waterproof Burberry trench coat with long point-collared lapels, 6×3 button double-breasted front, slanted hip pockets, buttoned epaulettes, front and back storm flap, belted waist (with three rear D-rings), and buckle-strapped cuffs
  • White dress shirt with long-pointed spread collar and double/French cuffs
  • Dark maroon ground silk necktie with small dotted square motif
  • Dark gray felt wide-brimmed fedora with high pinched crown and wide black grosgrain ribbon
  • Dark brown leather plain-toe slip-on shoes
  • Taupe cotton dress socks
  • Tan leather belt
  • Longines Evidenza gilt-cased wristwatch on dark brown leather strap
  • Gold ring with two rubies and diamond

All colors are obviously a guess, but these are what I always imagined for the outfit.

The Gun

Although he carries a 1911 on all of the film’s artwork, the 5’9″ Bogart knew that he would look more menacing with a smaller sized gun. Thus, Casablanca‘s armorers handed him a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, a nearly ubiquitous compact pistol of the era.

The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless was another of John Browning’s popular designs. It was introduced in 1903 – hence its nomenclature – and originally chambered for the .32 ACP (7.62×17 mm) round; a .380 ACP version was produced simultaneously from 1908 onward. Nearly 600,000 examples of the Model 1903 were produced through World War II when production wrapped in 1945 in the wake of the demand for more modern double-action pistols. The Colt 1903 uses a single-action trigger with a blowback action.

Stick 'em up!

Stick ’em up!

Despite its name, the Colt Pocket Hammerless actually does have a hammer, but it is totally concealed by the slide in order to ease draw from inside a pocket. Pocket carry became more and more common in the early 20th century after the industrial revolution when urban carry evoked images of an undercover detective or pinstripe-suited gangster rather than Wyatt Earp or Jesse James. The Colt 1903 was a fine solution to anyone looking to conceal a reliable handgun, offering a then-generous capacity of nine rounds (one in the magazine, one in the chamber) in one load.

The Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless is small but substantial, weighing just around 1.5 pounds with a barrel shy of 4 inches long. To compare, the full-size 1911 is about a pound heavier with an inch longer barrel. The Walther PPK, which emerged in the ’30s as a spiritual competitor to the 1903, was the same size and weighed only 3 ounces less. The modern equivalent of the Colt 1903 Hammerless would be the Kel-Tec P-32, which can take a 7 or 10 round magazine of .32 ACP in a pistol that weighs 9.4 ounces when fully loaded, firing through a 3-inch long barrel; the P-32’s polymer construction makes it weigh less than half the mass of an unloaded Model 1903!

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Still, the innovations of a polymer frame and a reliable subcompact mechanism were decades away when Rick Blaine decided he needed an intimidating but easily concealed sidearm. The Colt Model 1903 was a perfect choice for the former American gun runner who likes to have a couple aces up his sleeve.

I had always wanted a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless of my own. Although I mention much more practical weapons, I’d always been attracted to their historical relevance and pleasing aesthetics. I finally managed to get one, imported from Texas, in December 2011. I haven’t tried Bogie’s firing from the hip, but my .32 Model 1903 is truly a point-and-shoot masterpiece; with little-to-no recoil, the round hits its desired target with every shot.

My 1917-manufactured Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, prior to my first stripping and cleaning.

My 1917-manufactured Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, prior to my first stripping and cleaning. (If anyone is curious, my Bersa Thunder 380 can be spied in the open nightstand drawer with my old Uncle Mike’s IWB.)

For anyone curious, my particular Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless is a blued Type III model, manufactured in 1917, with integrated barrel bushing and black checked hard rubber grips. I stripped and cleaned it after I first received it, and – with regular oiling – it fires like a dream.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Paul Newman’s Blue Suit as Harper

Paul Newman as Lew Harper in Harper (1966).

Paul Newman as Lew Harper in Harper (1966).

Vitals

Paul Newman as Lew Harper, wisecracking private eye

Los Angeles, Late Summer 1965

Film: Harper
Release Date: February 23, 1966
Director: Jack Smight

Background

The beginning of Harper is classic hard-boiled private eye stuff as we see our titular hero waking up in his shitty apartment cum office, pulling on his clothes, and drinking bad coffee (from a filter pulled out of the trash, no less) before slipping on his shoulder holster and heading out in his old roadster to a better part of town where the better class of people turn out to be worse in every other way.

While we’re used to Hollywood’s traditional tough guys like Bogart and Mitchum in roles like that, it was a refreshing turn of pace to see Paul Newman take on the lead role in one of my favorite cinematic subgenres. Philip Marlowe he ain’t, and he’s the first to acknowledge it when the grieving wife played by Lauren Bacall offers him a drink:

Sampson: Drink, Mr. Harper?
Harper: Not before lunchtime.
Sampson: I thought you were a detective.
Harper: New type.

Examples like that show how perfectly the legendary screenwriter William Goldman was able to adapt Ross Macdonald’s The Moving Target from the 1949 source novel to the screen in 1966. Only seventeen years had elapsed, but it was a much different world than the more noir-friendly world of the ’40s where one could expect a gumshoe in a trench coat on every other screen. Contending with movies that were consistently pushing the envelope for sex and violence, the double entendres of the classic noir era wouldn’t be enough to attract audiences from the era of “free love”. Goldman, Newman, and director Smight pulled together to make Harper a “new type” of detective in the spirit of Marlowe and Sam Spade without becoming an instant anachronism.

What’d He Wear?

Other than his brown accessories, Harper utilizes various shades of blue when building his wardrobe for his first day on the new job. Harper’s two-piece suit is a muted navy blue wool with a subtle blue tonal windowpane overcheck.

A nice blue suit plays nicely with Paul Newman's legendary blue eyes.

A nice blue suit plays nicely with Paul Newman’s legendary blue eyes.

The suit jacket is single-breasted with slim notch lapels that roll easily down to the 2-button front, which Harper keeps unbuttoned to fit with his informality. The low welted breast pocket slants slightly forward and each of the hip pockets sits straight with a slim flap. Like most standard American business suits, there is a single rear vent.

Harper

Harper’s jacket also has roped sleeveheads and 3-button cuffs.

Harper

Harper’s matching suit trousers rise high on his waist with flat fronts and a straight fly. The belt loops are slim and high, certainly high enough to accommodate a wider belt than the one he wears. Only the on-seam side pockets of the trousers are seen. The bottoms are cuffed.

Harper

Harper wears the same brown leather belt and shoes with this suit as he does with his brown plaid sport coat and brown suit. Both are the only non-blue items featured in this outfit. His plain toe derbies are cordovan, a shade darker than the belt.

Harper's work takes him to some interesting places, and his shoes often bear the brunt of the environs.

Harper’s work takes him to some interesting places, and his shoes often bear the brunt of the environs.

When we first meet Harper during his banal morning routine, he rolls out of bed wearing a white ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt, plain white cotton boxers, and thick white cotton tube socks. He seems to wear the same undershirt and boxers with his suit, but he wisely changes into dark dress socks – either navy or, more likely, black.

Insert Chandler-esque P.I. monologue here.

Insert Chandler-esque P.I. monologue here.

Harper wears a pale blue lightweight poplin short-sleeve sport shirt with a camp collar that spreads to fit a tie when he buttons it to the throat. I – and many others – often deride the short-sleeve shirt and tie look as belonging in the unflattering domain of office nerds (here and here) or high school principals, but Harper wisely keeps his suit coat on. The fact that L.A. can be very warm in summers and the fact that he’s Paul Newman also give him some extra passing points.

Harper mulls over whether or not to dress like a high school principal today. "Yep," he decides. "What the hell?"

Harper mulls over whether or not to dress like a high school principal today. “Yep,” he decides. “What the hell?”

The shirt has two patch pockets – one on each chest panel – and white plastic buttons down the plain, placket-less front. His tie is a solid dark shade of blue-gray silk, tied neatly in a four-in-hand and just kissing the top of his belt.

Although with the jacket on, you'd never know.

Harper’s wristwatch remains a mystery, although it gets slightly better exposure in these scenes. It has a round stainless case with a black dial and a black leather strap.

Although Pamela Tiffin is much more of a draw for the eye than a wristwatch.

Although Pamela Tiffin is much more of a draw for the eye than a wristwatch.

Harper’s only other piece of jewelry is a plain silver ring, which I assume is Newman’s own wedding band (not to be confused with Newman’s Own salad dressing), and is worn on the third finger of his left hand.

Harper

Under his suit coat, Harper straps on a brown leather shoulder holster, rigged to carry his 2″-barreled .38 Special snubnose revolver.

Go Big or Go Home

Although his music isn’t used in the film, Miles Davis’ 1959 masterpiece album Kind of Blue comes to mind when watching Newman nonchalantly navigate his ’55 Porsche through the hip backdrop of mid-’60s L.A… especially in this sequence, where Newman is wearing multiple kinds of blue and heads to a jazz bar.

And at that jazz bar, Harper gets himself a can of Tabor beer, which shows up several times throughout the story… did we ever establish if this was a real brand?

Harper enjoys a Tabor and some jazz.

Harper enjoys a Tabor and some jazz.

Whether it’s real or not, the exchange when Harper orders a beer is worthy of any pulp novel and should be kept in mind anytime one has to deal with a troublesome bartender…

Bartender: It’s two after six. We don’t serve domestic after six. Only imported.
Harper: Terrific. Keep the change.
Bartender: There is no change.
Harper: Keep it anyway.

How to Get the Look

Not including his eyes, Newman uses various shades of blue to great effect when establishing Harper’s role.

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  • Navy blue tonal windowpane wool suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 2-button jacket with slim notch lapels, slanted welt breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Flat front high-rise suit trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, cuffs/turn-ups
  • Pale blue short-sleeve sport shirt with spread camp collar, two chest pockets, and plain button front
  • Dark blue-gray silk necktie
  • Brown leather belt with round brass clasp
  • Dark cordovan leather plain-toe derby shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Stainless wristwatch with a round case and black dial on a black leather strap, worn on left wrist
  • Plain silver ring, worn on left ring finger

The Gun

Harper is a detective, so his preferred sidearm of a Colt Detective Special is reasonable. The Detective Special is ubiquitous in early crime films… and early crime in general, favored by both sides of the law for its concealability, reliability, and six round cylinder of popular and powerful .38 Special ammunition.

Harper packs his Detective Special... although, as a hard-boiled noir detective, he won't be holding onto it for the whole story.

Harper packs his Detective Special… although, as a hard-boiled noir detective, he won’t be holding onto it for the whole story.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. I also still need to read Ross Macdonald’s source novel The Moving Target; any of you that have beat me to it should contribute your thoughts here!

The Quote

You got a way of starting conversations that ends conversation.

Bond Style – A Double-Breasted Blazer in GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995).

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995).

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government secret agent

Monte Carlo, April 1995

Film: GoldenEye
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming

Background

In London, April’s a spring month. The same is true in Monte Carlo, the “international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth” (according to The New Encyclopædia Britannica‘s 15th Edition), where April temperatures remain steady in the mid-50s°F range. Already sophisticated, Bond fits in nicely with this world of the elite as he tracks Xenia Onatopp, the Georgia-born (country, not state) femme fatale with connections to the Janus crime syndicate.

After Xenia’s night of passion gives new meaning to the term “thunder thighs”, Bond sneaks aboard the yacht where Xenia hosted her deadly tryst. Once he discovers the dead Royal Canadian Navy admiral (named “Chuck” rather than Charles?), Bond realizes Janus’s plan to steal the prototype Tiger helicopter. He takes off across the harbor, but it’s too late; Xenia has already escaped with the stolen helicopter. Foiled again!

What’d He Wear?

Much of the clothing in this scene was also worn the day previously when we first catch up with 007 racing his classic DB5 along the windy mountain roads of Monaco, nine years after the prologue. In that scene, he was dressed comfortably for “a pleasant drive in the country” with a day cravat and a navy jumper. The next morning, for his investigation aboard the yacht, he ditches the jumper and day cravat for an elegant dark navy double-breasted blazer. Matt Spaiser provides a nice breakdown of this outfit on The Suits of James Bond.

I typically disregard a navy blazer, blue shirt, and khakis as too much of a “white man” look, but James Bond’s deviation from the norm keeps him looking cooler than your average off-the-rack yuppie. (Readers of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey series are likely familiar with Corey’s preference for a navy blazer, blue “sport shirt”, and khakis. While John Corey is far from being a yuppie, his NYPD cop vibe is much different than that of a sophisticated British secret agent.)

The navy blue worsted serge Brioni “Plinio” blazer is double-breasted with six brass buttons on the front with two to button, both left unfastened. The wide peak lapels – each with a buttonhole – sweep down to just below his waist line; the jacket’s slightly longer fit, the long lapel roll, and the fact that Brosnan keeps the blazer unfastened can make it look very large.

Bond takes in his surroundings.

Bond takes in his surroundings.

Bond’s blazer has a welted breast pocket and flapped hip pockets, just above the lowest button axis. The rear has double vents, allowing our action hero an even greater range of movement as he hops off and on various boats throughout this sequence. The action required of Bond here is likely another reason why he keeps the jacket open; not only does it allow him better access to his holstered Walther PPK, but it would be cumbersome for him to unbutton his jacket for a stunt, re-button it to look “good” while entering a room, unbutton it for a fight, etc., etc.

The blazer also has four scaled-down brass buttons on each cuff that match the six on the front.

Shining brass buttons make piloting a speedboat even classier.

Shining brass buttons make piloting a speedboat even classier.

The double-breasted blazer pops in and out of fashion every twenty years or so. Both George Lazenby and Roger Moore had sported them in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Man with the Golden Gun (respectively), and my most recent post from April 20th shows Roger Sterling wearing one as he joins Don Draper at a Hollywood party on Mad Men.

Bond wears a French blue semi-solid cotton shirt with white buttons down the front placket. His cuffs are rounded with a single button and edge stitching. The collar is left open with the top two buttons of the shirt undone. It’s almost definitely the same shirt from the DB5 sequence earlier.

GE4-CL-Shrt

The trousers are also almost definitely the same pair of sand-colored Brioni Snello wool khakis. They are triple-reverse pleated (hello, ’90s!), which is an excessive amount of pleats (some may say one too many… as a flat front advocate I say three too many), but there’s no denying that it would make that initial leap over the side of the yacht much easier.

GE4-CL-Trousers

Seriously, how many times does Bond leap on and off of various boats in this scene? At least three, right?

The trousers’ side pockets are slanted with edge stitching, and there is a jetted right rear pocket that closes with a button. The bottoms are cuffed with standard size turn-ups, and they break high over his shoes. His belt is brown leather with a gold or brass clasp.

More points are awarded to this outfit for matching the belt to the shoes. Through a special product placement deal, GoldenEye landed several pairs of Church’s shoes for Bond. The pair featured in this and the earlier DB5 sequence are Church’s Chetwynd shoes, a pair of full brogue oxfords in “walnut brown” Nevada leather. More information about these shoes can be found on James Bond Lifestyle.

I'm not sure how much Church's paid to get their shoes in GoldenEye, but if this is the best look we get of them... it may not have been the best investment.

I’m not sure how much Church’s paid to get their shoes in GoldenEye, but if this is the best look we get of them… it may not have been the best investment.

The exact shoes worn by Brosnan were auctioned by Christie’s in their “Film and Entertainment Memorabilia” auction on December 19, 2007 in London. The final sale price was £1,080 ($2,174 in real money), and simply described as “A pair of Church’s brown leather brogues, both inscribed inside in an unknown hand in blue ballpoint pen with wardrobe details (illegible) – worn by Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in the 1995 United Artists/Eon film GoldenEye” and accompanied by a letter of provenance.

Bond wears light brown socks that are a shade too dark to perfectly carry the leg line from the trousers into his shoes.

GoldenEye was the first Bond flick to place an Omega watch on its hero, first in the form of a stainless Omega Seamaster Professional 2541.80.00 with a blue bezel, blue dial, date window, and stainless steel bracelet. It’s water resistant up to 300 meters, which is wise when spending so much time seaside. The precision movement is Omega’s 1538 quartz movement; Bond switches from quartz to the automatic movement 2531.00 Seamaster Professional in the next film, Tomorrow Never Dies.

When I know I'm going to be getting into a fight, I tend to take off my watch. I'm not fighting on millionaires' yachts docked in Monaco, though.

When I know I’m going to be getting into a fight, I tend to take off my watch. I’m not fighting on millionaires’ yachts docked in Monaco, though.

It’s difficult to ascertain whether or not Bond is wearing his black leather Galco Executive holster for the PPK. While he probably is, the double-breasted blazer manages to conceal most of his torso even while blowing around in all of the action sequences.

How to Get the Look

007 offers an elegant variation of the standard blue blazer and khakis for his seaside adventures in Monte Carlo.

  • Dark navy blue worsted serge double-breasted 6×2 brass button Brioni Plinio blazer with wide peak lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pocket, 4-button cuffs, and double rear vents
  • French blue cotton semi-solid dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and rounded 1-button cuffs
  • Sand-colored wool Brioni Snello triple reverse-pleated khaki trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, jetted button-through right rear pocket, and cuffed bottoms/turn-ups
  • Brown leather belt with gold clasp
  • Walnut brown Nevada leather Church’s Chetwynd full brogue oxford shoes
  • Light brown dress socks
  • Black leather Galco Executive RHD shoulder holster, for Walther PPK
  • Omega Seamaster Professional 2541.80.00 with stainless steel case, blue bezel, blue dial, and stainless steel bracelet

The Gun

No surprises here, just Bond’s trusty Walther PPK. GoldenEye marked the last film where Bond’s standard PPK was his only issued sidearm until Quantum of Solace brought it back thirteen years later.

Gun drawn, dark jacket, and sun creeping in through the blinds... this is as film noir as Bond gets.

Gun drawn, dark jacket, and sun creeping in through the blinds… this is as film noir as Bond gets.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

Footnotes

To read Matt Spaiser’s expert analysis on The Suits of James Bond, check out his post here.

Don Draper Smokes Hashish in a Cream Linen Sportcoat

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in "A Tale of Two Cities", Episode 6.10 of Mad Men.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in “A Tale of Two Cities”, Episode 6.10 of Mad Men.

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man

Los Angeles, August 1968

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “A Tale of Two Cities” (Episode 6.10)
Air Date: June 2, 2013
Director: John Slattery (yes, Roger Sterling)
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

I thought it was appropriate to commemorate the smokers’ holiday of 420 by checking out Don’s first experience with hashish. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Don enjoying the happy plant (remember Midge’s friends in the first season?), but it’s certainly significant for him.

“A Tale of Two Cities” finds Don and Roger with Harry in L.A. The title may lead some to assume that the “two cities” are naturally L.A. and New York, but I believe the second city is Chicago (rather than New York) due to the 1968 Democratic National Convention providing the episode’s backdrop. While police are taking on protestors in the Windy City, Don and company head to a hip Hollywood party… arriving in style in Harry’s beautiful (but unappreciated) red Mustang convertible.

What’d He Wear?

Don’s linen sport coat and slacks is a much more timeless look than Roger’s hip swinger attire, but it’s still firmly rooted in the fashion of his early ’60s heyday. However, both Don and Roger arguably look better than Harry with his “man-of-the-moment” LA hipster get-up that would become sadly dated in months. You can tell so much about each man just by seeing how they dress for a party.

How to look stylish, fashionable, and trendy - respectively - in 1968. Despite what some may say, these three words are not synonyms.

How to look stylish, fashionable, and trendy – respectively – in 1968. Despite what some may say, these three words are not synonyms.

Don always wisely dresses for his environment, so shifting from New York City to a warm summer party in Los Angeles makes his cream-colored linen sport coat a respectable choice. The jacket is likely a linen blend, as it appears less prone to wrinkling even after a day spent drinking and getting high.

This sort of activity would cause more of a wrinkle in his pants than his jacket anyway.

This sort of activity would cause more of a wrinkle in his pants than his jacket anyway.

Don’s sport coat is single-breasted with a two-button front and edge-stitched notch lapels. The shoulders are slightly padded with roped sleeveheads and three buttons on each cuff made from the same light brown horn as the front buttons. The jacket has three outer patch pockets: one on the left breast and one on each hip.

Don can't help but to look awesome in any setting, regardless of his comfort level.

Don can’t help but to look awesome in any setting, regardless of his comfort level.

The sport coat has double rear vents that are a reasonable length, bridging the super short vents of the earlier decade and the longer 12″ vents that would become popular in the ’70s.

Since it’s a party, Don lets himself go crazy by not wearing a white shirt for once… instead, it’s a pale ecru. Otherwise, the shirt is styled exactly like his dress shirts for work with its double cuffs, front placket, breast pocket, and slim, moderately spread collar.

Don’s slim necktie is silk with a brown silk ground. The tie’s light blue stripes cross R-down-L with a double dark brown “shadow” stripe above each one. The light blue keeps the look from being too monochromatic and evokes the bright sky and water around him. It’s a smart look.

Maybe it's just me, but Don looks far better than the hippies around him.

Maybe it’s just me, but Don looks far better than the hippies around him.

The trousers Don wears with his sport coat are brown with a low rise no higher than the second button on his jacket, an unfortunate decision since the jacket pulls slightly when he has it buttoned and it reveals a bit of shirt and tie underneath. He keeps his jacket on throughout the party (even during his dive into the pool) so not much else is seen besides the belt loops, slanted side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms. The slightly flared bottoms (and I mean slightly) are the only sign of the approaching decade in Don’s wardrobe. His slim leather belt is dark brown with a rounded rectangular brass clasp.

Don’s tasseled loafers are also dark brown leather. It’s a good thing he’s far from Bert Cooper’s office because he wears the loafers without socks.

Don420-CL5-Shoes

I’d walk away from this conversation too, Don.

Returning from his trip to Hawaii are Don’s space age Ray-Ban Olympian sunglasses with their curved gold rectangular frames and wide dark green lenses. The Olympian is no longer produced by Ray-Ban, but Old Focals wisely saw that any Mad Men product would soon be in demand, so they produced the “Draper” model as a nod to the character. The Old Focal Drapers are 5.75″ wide with 2.5″ wide lenses that are 1.5″ tall.

Don’s left hand is rarely out of his pocket (seriously!) so it’s tough to see if he is wearing his iconic stainless Omega Seamaster Deville on the black crocodile strap. The elegant Seamaster Deville was a luxury watch before the Seamaster was positioned as a diver’s watch, but one hopes that the water resistant case would have withstood Don’s unwise late night, hashish-induced swim.

Go Big or Go Home

…or go for a swim!

Don isn't as prepared for this dip in the water as he was when he was in Hawaii in the season premiere.

Don isn’t as prepared for this dip in the water as he was when he was in Hawaii in the season premiere.

Don and Roger complain about riding in Harry’s ’66 Ford Mustang…

Don: There’s no one from GM in Los Angeles? Get rid of that car!
Roger: And get us something with a roof. I don’t want to show up to a meeting with bugs in my teeth.

…but I think Don’s primary concern is knowing that he’ll look too cool. Frankly, no one in their right mind would complain about riding around southern California in a candy apple red Mustang convertible on a hot summer day. This particular Mustang, with its “pony” interior, was lent to the production by Classic Auto Rental Services and powered by Ford’s 289 cubic inch “Windsor” V8 engine.

Like any good party hostess, Harry’s friend Cindy has music ongoing during her Hollywood bash, all from 1968, including songs you’ve heard before (Jeannie C. Reilly’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.”), songs you may have heard before (The Leaves of Grass’s “All This is Right”), and songs you probably haven’t heard before (“Electric Hand” by Pretty).

In the spirit of 420, this party also marks Don’s first experience with hashish. After responding “I don’t know yet,” to a PYT asking if he likes it, he coolly takes a puff, nodding his approval with such a masculine assurance that the drug lobby had to be pretty thrilled with this episode.

Draper takes a hit of some evidently good shit.

Draper takes a hit of some evidently good shit.

Of course, his subsequent reaction and out-of-body dive into the party’s swimming pool would not have been greeted as enthusiastically.

How to Get the Look

Seriously, Don? It's a Mustang. Quit complaining.

Seriously, Don? It’s a Mustang. Quit complaining.

Headed to a party this summer? If you care about making a good impression (whether you plan on getting high or not), Don provides a relatively easy example for you to follow. Just make sure you actually pack swimming trunks if you plan on heading into the pool.

  • Cream linen single-breasted 2-button sport coat with notch lapels, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double rear vents
  • Light ecru dress shirt with slim collar, front placket, breast pocket, and double/French cuffs
  • Brown silk necktie with light blue R-down-L shadowed stripes
  • Brown flat front low rise trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Dark brown leather belt with rounded rectangular brass clasp
  • Dark brown leather tasseled loafers
  • Ray-Ban Olympian gold rectangular-framed sunglasses with dark green lenses
  • Omega Seamaster Deville wristwatch with stainless 34 mm case, textured black crocodile strap, and black dial with date indicator

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the sixth season.

William Holden in The Wild Bunch

William Holden as Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch (1969).

William Holden as Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch (1969).

Vitals

William Holden as Pike Bishop, grizzled bandit gang leader

Coahuila, Mexico, Spring 1913

Film: The Wild Bunch
Release Date: June 18, 1969
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Costume Designer: James R. Silke

Background

We’ve got to start thinking beyond our guns. Those days are closing fast.

…is what Pike Bishop wisely tells his men, an aging group of outlaws still anachronistically robbing banks and trains on horseback with a six-shooter on their hips. Pike knows the times are changing, and it doesn’t take a water-cooled machine gun or a Mexican general’s Packard to drive the point home to them.

Today would have been the 97th birthday of William Holden, who starred in classics like Sunset BoulevardStalag 17SabrinaThe Bridge on the River Kwai before taking on the role of the anachronistically self-aware Pike Bishop. Holden was one of many actors considered by Sam Peckinpah for the role; Lee Marvin had actually been cast but then turned it down to accept the higher-paying lead in Paint Your Wagon. It turned out well for Holden, who developed the character into one of the greatest movie badasses of all time… as even that sterling news source MTV agreed.

And Holden was right up there with some of the other great Hollywood tough guys, sharing the screen with Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, and Edmond O’Brien, plus familiar Western faces like L.Q. Jones, Strother Martin, and Dub Taylor. The film was helmed by the best of the ‘tough guy movie’ genre, Sam Peckinpah. It’s telling of his dark personality that Peckinpah, who both directed and co-wrote The Wild Bunch, restricted the primary roles to men, relegating females to mostly prostitutes… and duplicitous ones who’ll shoot you in the back, at that.

Interestingly, 1969 was the same year for another Western focused on the transition from the horseback to the modern era – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But while Newman and Redford were romanticizing the period, bantering about international travel, and riding around with Katharine Ross on bicycles, the Wild Bunch were cutting it up in Mexico with whores, making shady deals with revolutionaries, and eventually massacring an entire town… basically for pride.

And it’s that final gunfight – known in film lore as “Battle of Bloody Porch” – that people remember best. The violence remains controversial nearly fifty years later, even to an audience who has grown used to seeing exploding heads and gore on screen. Peckinpah explained the allegory of his violence being an everyday occurrence in the Old West to serve as catharsis to the then-current reality in Vietnam:

The point of the film is to take this façade of movie violence and open it up, get people involved in it so that they are starting to go in the Hollywood television predictable reaction syndrome, and then twist it so that it’s not fun anymore, just a wave of sickness in the gut … It’s ugly, brutalizing, and bloody awful; it’s not fun and games and cowboys and Indians. It’s a terrible, ugly thing, and yet there’s a certain response that you get from it – an excitement – because we’re all violent people.

It is, after all, Pike that kicks off the “Battle of Bloody Porch”. Sure, General Mapache drew first blood by slicing Angel’s throat, but Pike retaliated – fairly, according to his code – by shooting him down. The situation diffuses. Pike and his gang look around – the town is at their mercy. In response to Commander Mohr’s quizzical look, Pike tells him to go to hell by blasting a hole into him as well. And it is only then, when Pike kills outside his code, that all hell breaks loose. And does it ever.

What’d He Wear?

The Wild Bunch‘s status as a revolutionist Western is reflected in the characters and their costumes. This world isn’t full of “the good, the bad, and the ugly”; the West was simply roaming with good assholes, bad assholes, and ugly assholes. The good assholes are the guys like Robert Ryan’s Deke Thornton who “gave his word to a railroad” to make good on his past crimes and track down Pike’s gang. The ugly assholes are the trigger-happy bounty hunters like L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin’s Old West take on the ambiguously gay duo.

There’s no room for John Wayne or Tom Mix in their ten-gallon hats, leather vests, and red kerchiefs in this universe. The closest thing we’ll get to a hero is the black-suited Pike Bishop… one of the bad assholes in The Wild Bunch‘s West.

Pike’s Everyday Attire

Pike’s standard look is a white shirt with a black vest and black trousers. Holsters aplenty with a dirty hat to match his boots. All of his clothing has seen more action in the last year than most men will see in ten lifetimes.

I bet you've never even robbed a train before. Yet another thing where Pike's clothing has you beat.

I bet you’ve never even robbed a train before. Yet another thing where Pike’s clothing has you beat.

Pike wears a white shirt because it’s all he has.It’s not a dress shirt per se, although he later wears it with a suit.  He didn’t go to Macy’s and spend minute in front of a rack of shirts deciding whether or not he wanted a breast pocket… nor does he spend hours trying to rub out the ring around the collar. Hell, he doesn’t even care that he has a collar. He wears clothes because he has to, and these are the ones he’s got, goddamnit.

The white heavy twill shirt’s soft turndown collar is slim with edge stitching and a moderate spread. The large white plastic buttons down the front placket match the single buttons on each squared cuff. There are no pockets on the front, and the rear has side darts.

Pike stocks up on liquid courage.

Pike stocks up on liquid courage.

Pike’s black wool trousers are almost definitely part of his suit that he wears when first riding into Agua Verde. They are flat front with belt loops and front pockets that slant slightly back on the horizontal axis just below his belt line. They have a straight cut through the leg to the high, plain-hemmed bottoms.

Tector, Lyle, Pike, and Dutch prepare to take on a town.

Tector, Lyle, Pike, and Dutch prepare to take on a town.

Trousers fitted for belts were not yet popular for urban types, but more rugged Westerners and bandits like Pike would’ve been used to them by this point. In addition to his gun belt, Pike wears a thick black leather belt for his trousers with a solid steel round clasp in the front. The belt serves a dual purpose, both holding up his trousers and giving his shoulder holster something to attach onto.

Pike wears a black vest that appears to be constructed from thick but soft cotton throughout most of The Wild Bunch. It is single-breasted that shawl lapels that roll down to a six-button front, although Pike always leaves his vest open to access the holster beneath it; if Pike did button it, the bottom would be flat without a notch or break.

WBPike-1CL4-Vest

Pike’s vest has two patch pockets with rounded bottoms. The back is likely satin with no adjustable strap.

Pike’s riding boots are well-worn black leather (likely ostrich) with pointed toe caps. Although the shafts have inlay stitching (as one typically sees with cowboy boots), Pike covers his boots with his trousers. A set of silver iron spurs are worn on his boots with brown leather buckled straps.

Pike's boots are made for riding. And that's just what they'll do.

Pike’s boots are made for riding. And that’s just what they’ll do.

As one would also expect from a rugged Western bandit, Pike wears his ubiquitous dirty, wide-brimmed hat. Unlike his predecessors in the genre, it’s no ten-gallon hat, cattleman’s hat, or a “boss of the plains” but rather a more updated fedora-style brown beaver hat with a pinched front crown, thin dark brown leather band, and upturned brim.

Nothing about Pike isn't manly.

Nothing about Pike isn’t manly.

Knudsen Hat Company manufactures a style appropriately called the “Bill Holden” and based on Pike’s hat from the film. This particular hat has a 4.5″ crown and a 3.5″ brim; I’m not sure how closely this resembles the specifications of Pike’s film-worn hat, but it looks pretty close. With a 20-22 week wait time for each of Knudsen’s custom-made hats, you should expect to wait half a year before actually receiving yours. It’s wise to remember that patience was a virtue in the Old West… even as cars and semi-automatics were replacing horses and six-shooters.

Occasionally, Pike ties a black kerchief around his neck under his shirt to catch sweat. Train robberies can be especially sweaty situations when conducted under a hot Mexican sun.

His kerchief serves as a practical sweat-catcher rather than a flashy "hey, look I'm in a Western!" purpose.

His kerchief serves as a practical sweat-catcher rather than a flashy “hey, look I’m in a Western!” purpose.

It’s no secret that Pike is a well-armed guy. As a man hunted day and night, he’s never without at least two sidearms and one long gun. His primary weapon, the venerable .45-caliber Colt M1911 semi-automatic pistol*, is carried in a brown leather tanker holster under his left arm. The open-top holster is secured into place on the left side of his trouser belt with a brown leather strap crossing his chest and back over his right shoulder.

Pike's tanker holster is worn securely under his left arm.

Pike’s tanker holster is worn securely under his left arm.

* Yes, I know his M1911 is actually a Star Model B; I’ve said it enough in other posts. I’ll get to that later.

Pike wears his second piece, a .45-caliber Single Action army revolver, holstered on his right hip in a classic brown leather gun belt. The thick belt fastens in the front through a reinforced ranger-style brass octagonal-shaped buckle and has loops all around his waist to hold his .45 Long Colt rounds. Two strings on the bottom of the holster can be used to tie it securely around Pike’s thigh, but he ignores them and lets them dangle.

Despite being armed with no less than three guns, Pike takes a bad hit.

Despite being armed with no less than three guns, Pike takes a bad hit.

One scene finds the gang camping out for the night. Despite the nearby fire keeping them warm, Pike tosses on some extra layers to ward off the cold desert night. He wears a blue-gray flannel button-down shirt over a cream henley (or possibly a union suit) with three buttons showing through the opening. Most notable here is his brown trail jacket with its single-breasted front and darker brown camp collars and cuffs.

One of Pike's many fireside chats with Dutch Engstrom.

One of Pike’s many fireside chats with Dutch Engstrom.

The Suit

When Pike dresses up, he can arguably be called a 1913 precursor to Reservoir Dogs with his simple black sack suit, white shirt, and slim black tie. Sure, it’s a Westernized version with his hat, gun rigs, and riding boots, but you get what I mean. (Plus, both Mr. Pink and Mr. Blonde did wear cowboy boots.)

Pike cleans up well... sort of.

Pike cleans up well… sort of.

Pike is the only member of the main cast who undergoes any real change of costume during the film’s main narrative besides the army uniforms donned for the opening bank raid. The trousers appear to already be part of his suit, and the matching black jacket is single-breasted with a low 3-button front stance. The suit coat also has large notch lapels, 2-button cuffs, a welted breast pocket that slants slightly forward, and flapped hip pockets.

Pike rides into Mexico, appropriately dressed for meeting fellow criminals but not necessarily for horseback.

Pike rides into Mexico, appropriately dressed for meeting fellow criminals but not necessarily for doing so on horseback.

Strangely, the suit coat also has a ventless rear which makes both riding on horseback and carrying a hip holster more difficult, especially when he keeps it buttoned.

Pike’s black necktie is very slim and very short with a flat bottom. The knot is relatively small, and the shortness of the tie matched with the low button stance of the jacket often causes it to flip up while he’s riding.

A small tie for a big man.

A small tie for a big man.

Although the black suit/white shirt/black tie combo often is called the Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction look (this post not excluded), the outfit certainly was well-used by Sam Peckinpah for his criminal male leads. Three years after The Wild Bunch, Steve McQueen’s “Doc” McCoy would wear something very similar when taking down a Texas bank in The Getaway.

Go Big or Go Home

In case you can’t tell, I love The Wild Bunch. It may be a long, raw, and more-than-borderline misogynist opera of violence on the surface, but it’s important to remember Peckinpah’s desired theme of condemning violence by showing its ugliness. Unfortunately, he was such a damn good filmmaker that this was and is often lost on audiences. The famous finale, of course, is what sticks out in most people’s minds. What most of these people aren’t seeing are the strong themes present throughout.

Theme #1 – War is Hell

The film’s protagonists are a group of gun-toting Americans that are actually sporting military uniforms when we meet them. Of course, any illusion that these men are legitimately soldiers is quickly shattered during the deadly opening robbery that forces our boys to head south into Mexico… foreign territory. Pike and his gang are pragmatic opportunists; they see the advantages to working with the corrupt General Mapache and eventually steal from their native country’s Army in order to get him his prized machine gun. Of course, all goes to hell when a series of double-crosses leads to the Wild Bunch facing off against Mapache. Pike acts, and Mapache dies. Conflict over? Sure. But then Pike gets that itch in his finger and takes out Commander Mohr, the German advisor. This sets off the final battle which sees most of both the Bunch and Mapache’s troops wiped out… as well as plenty of civilians. Women, children, old folks… no one is safe when the bullets start flying, whether they’re the Bunch’s bullets or those of the revolutionary soldiers. The My Lai Massacre didn’t become public knowledge until about six months after The Wild Bunch released, but Peckinpah was a Marine vet who served in Asia during World War II. He knew the horrors of war, and he knew that the reality of combat could only get worse.

Pike's on his way to getting his hands on some much more powerful weaponry.

Pike’s on his way to getting his hands on some much more powerful weaponry.

Theme #2 – Times are Changing

One more obvious theme of The Wild Bunch is the classic fight of old vs. new. Butch and Sundance addressed it with a bicycle, and the Wild Bunch address it with guns. Pike himself realizes “those days are closin’ fast”, but what would you expect guys like Pike, Dutch, Tector, and Lyle to do? Switch careers? Sell bonds on Wall Street? Hell, no. These guys are career criminals, but there’s not much place for them anymore in the world of 1913. Even when they leave the U.S. for the more primitive Mexico, they’re confronted by gleaming Packards and water-cooled machine guns… stuff that would’ve blown Jesse James’ mind.

Theme #3 – Honor Among Thieves

Although Peckinpah set out to expose the ugliness of violence, he also was clearly trying to show how the importance of honor was shifting from generation to generation. Older guys like Pike and Dutch follow a code, and even the slightly younger Dutch is at odds with Pike’s stiff – and hypocritical – adherence to ethics.

Pike: What would you do in his place? [Deke Thornton] gave his word.
Dutch: He gave his word to a railroad.
Pike: It’s his word.
Dutch: That ain’t what counts! It’s who you give it to!

Peckinpah equates ethical strength with physical strength, and thus the most moral are the last to meet their inevitable fate. The young and aptly-named Crazy Lee, who has no qualms about murdering a room full of civilians ranging in age and gender, is the first of the gang to go. Once we get to the finale, the moral code starts taking the Bunch down. Angel, the youngest remaining gang member, certainly lives by a code and adheres to it… but he does so with brash violence, and he is the first to go. Next are the Gorch brothers, with Tector only slightly balancing Lyle’s wild bloodlust. Finally, we get Pike and Dutch, steadfast to the end. Although they were fighters, Peckinpah is sure to linger on the shot of Pike’s unfired Single Action Army, still in his holster. We know he fired a hell of a lot of bullets during the battle, but he still left one gun untouched. It’s significant that this is the Single Action Army, a gun symbolic of the “honorable” Old West… finally left behind in the wake of more modern and more violent technology.

WBPike-LS-Holster

And the oldest gang member, Freddie Sykes? His age implies the strongest moral fabric, and he goes on to join the “good asshole” Deke Thornton as they “ride off into the sunset”.

David Weddle notes in his 1994 book If They Move, Kill ‘Em! that: “Like that of Conrad’s Lord Jim, Pike Bishop’s heroism is propelled by overwhelming guilt and a despairing death wish.” Pike’s got a murky past, that we know. When he abandons a gang member at the beginning – even though Lee was a bloodthirsty young killer – he suffers from guilt:

When you side with a man, you stay with him, and if you can’t do that you’re like some animal.

That line included, nearly everything out of Pike’s mouth is worthy of inclusion in the badass quotes hall of fame, whether it’s an insult:

Well, why don’t you answer me, you damn yellow-livered trash?

… a word of encouragement:

C’mon, you lazy bastard.

… or a sign that he’s ready for the inevitable:

Dutch: They’ll be waitin’ for us.
Pike: I wouldn’t have it any other way.

WBPike-crop

Pike – literally dressed to kill.

How to Get the Look

Pike dresses for action rather than style. He just happens to look badass while doing so.

  • White twill shirt with slim spread collar, front placket, rear side darts, and squared 1-button cuffs
  • Black soft cotton single-breasted vest with shawl lapels, 6-button front, flat bottom, two lower patch pockets, and satin back
  • Black wool flat front suit trousers with slanted front pockets and straight, plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Black neck kerchief, worn under shirt
  • Brown beaver pinched-crown hat with dark brown leather band and upturned brim
  • Black leather trouser belt with round silver clasp
  • Black ostrich leather stitched-shaft riding boots
  • Brown leather buckled boot straps with iron spurs
  • Brown leather ranger-style gun belt with brass buckle and right hip holster, for Single Action Army
  • Brown leather tanker holster worn under left arm, for M1911-style pistol

The Guns

The Wild Bunch is a classic “gun movie” for firearms enthusiasts, and it has even spawned “Wild Bunch shooting” where guys meet up to fire 1911s as well as classic rifles and shotguns in the spirit of the film’s Old West-meets-modern-weaponry tradition.

Old vs. new is all over The Wild Bunch, and it is especially prominent with the film’s use of firearms. Pike himself has an almost Newtonian approach; for each of his classic Western guns, he also uses what was then its cutting edge equivalent. He balances out his classic Single Action Army revolver with the new military .45 semi-automatic; he carries a Winchester lever-action rifle (a la John Wayne) but also uses the newer pump-action 12-gauge Winchester shotgun. And then, of course, there’s the machine gun.

The Wild Bunch continued the cinematic gunplay revolution that Bonnie and Clyde had started two years earlier. While Bonnie and Clyde horrified and intrigued its viewers with its stark depiction of violence, Peckinpah amped it up for his film and stated that he wanted the audience to come away with “some idea of what it is to be gunned down”.

Warner Brothers, which had also produced Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 and all the best gangster flicks of the ’30s, had always used the same sound effect for its guns, regardless of the type of weapon featured. Peckinpah knew this was bullshit, and thus The Wild Bunch became the first major Warner Brothers production where each gunshot appropriately matched the weapon that fired it.

There’s even an anecdote from the set about Peckinpah firing a live revolver into a wall during production after being exasperated with the squibs provided by his crew. After screaming “That’s the effect I want!” it became clear that this would be no ordinary Western. And how.

Star Model B

You’ve seen me say it in posts about The GetawayDillinger, Three Days of the Condor, and The Untouchables, but The Wild Bunch was the film that set the industry standard for using the Spanish-made Star Model B in place of the 1911 pistol. 1911s had been popping up in movies since their inception, but the .45-caliber blank round’s notorious unreliability meant that few were seeing any on-screen action. The use of the then-groundbreaking semi-automatic pistols was a major plot point in The Wild Bunch, and the men use their pistols so frequently that it would have been ridiculously impractical to outfit the cast with blank-firing .45s, so the Star Model B was placed into each gang member’s holster (a tanker holster in Holden’s case).

WBPike-GUN1-StarB

Pike kicks off a bloodbath.

Some 1911s were certainly used in non-firing scenes, but there are hardly any non-firing scenes in The Wild Bunch anyway. Cimmaron Firearms  has even developed a “1911 Wild Bunch Combo” that sells for $842.23, consisting of a Cimarron 1911 based on the original WWI pistol and a tanker holster like the one carried by Pike. Once I scrape together the reasonable $842.23 asking price, I’d certainly take them up on their offer.
Be like Pike!

Be like Pike!

(A few things need to be said in conjunction with this section so you don’t think I’m giving the film too much credit. The Sand Pebbles (1966) was probably the first major production to use the Star Model B as the 1911, but not nearly to the degree of action that The Wild Bunch did. Also in 1966, The Professionals saw Lee Marvin packing a genuine 1911 in another Western set during the Mexican Revolution. Both great films.)

Single Action Army

And what would any good Western be without a classic Colt Peacemaker? Seen in the hands of every Western star from John Wayne to Clint Eastwood, it makes sense that our aging hero would still carry one forty years after it was new. Double action revolvers were standardized by this point, but an old-timer like Pike is definitely going to pack a Single Action Army… and you know a man is a real man when his backup weapon is a single-action .45 revolver.

Gun safety advocates may criticize Pike's finger on the trigger of his revolver, but the hammer isn't cocked and Pike likely follows the Old West tradition of keeping an empty round under the hammer anyway.

Gun safety advocates may criticize Pike’s finger on the trigger of his revolver, but the hammer isn’t cocked and Pike likely follows the Old West tradition of keeping an empty round under the hammer anyway.

Pike’s SAA in particular is a “Quickdraw” model with a 4.75″ barrel. I can’t say for certain if the manufacturer is Colt since so many other makers made their own replicas by 1969. It’s worth noting that the three most mature active members of the gang – Pike, Dutch, and Tector – each carry a secondary SAA while the younger and more wild guys – Lyle, Angel, and Crazy Lee – stick to just semi-automatics.

Winchester Model 1897 Riot

Pike’s primary assault weapon – and the one he chooses for the climatic showdown against Mapache – is a Winchester Model 1897 pump-action shotgun with a cut-down “riot”-length barrel. Shotguns were not unfamiliar in Westerns (remember the crude sawed-off double-barreled shotgun Walter Brennan carried in Rio Bravo?), but the more modern pump-action wasn’t popular until the late 1890s when Winchester rolled out its Model 1897. Pump shotguns had been around for at least fifteen years prior, but the Model 1897 put that type of weapon on the map.

Don't let this happen to you! Never turn your back on an armed Mexican prostitute, especially if you've just killed her john.

Don’t let this happen to you!
Never turn your back on an armed Mexican prostitute, especially if you’ve just killed her john.

The exact Winchester ’97 used by Holden was auctioned in April 2005 by Movie Madness as part of their “Profiles in History” set. The Wild Bunch featured both the Winchester Model 1897 and the newer Winchester Model 1912 in the gang’s hands. The major difference is the presence of a hammer: the Model 1897 has one while the Model 1912 does not. It is the newer, hammerless Model 1912 that Crazy Lee carries around the payroll office; it is the older Model 1897 that Pike prefers.

(It’s worth noting that the Mexican whore who shoots Pike is armed with a Luger, likely acquired due to the heavy German military influence the revolution was receiving. More signs of Peckinpah showing his work!)

Winchester Model 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine

While the Winchester ’97 shotgun may have been new to Westerns, the classic Winchester lever-action rifle certainly was not. The Wild Bunch places a Winchester Model 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine in the hands of both sides of the law.

WBPike-GUN4-Win92

This would be a perspective from the criminal side of the law.

The Winchester Model 1873 kicked off Winchester’s late century domination of the lever-action rifle game and has joined the aforementioned Single Action Army as one of the guns said to have “won the West”. Both the Model 1873 and its younger progeny, the Model 1892, have a near-ubiquitous presence in Westerns. To point again to John Wayne (and Rio Bravo), it was a ’92 Saddle Ring Carbine with a customized large lever loop that the Duke carried through many of his roles.

Browning M1917

And, finally, we come to the Browning M1917, the water-cooled machine gun that the gang steals from its own army for Mapache before turning it against Mapache’s own troops. While it was technically anachronistic by four years, the recoil-operated machine gun had existed for thirty years by the time of the events in the film with Germany’s Maxim machine gun.

Take that, innocent people of Agua Verde!

Take that, innocent people of Agua Verde!

Like the 1911 and both Winchesters featured above, the M1917 is a John Browning design that was adopted by great effect by the U.S. military for several wars. Browning had originally filed his patent to develop a recoil-powered automatic gun in 1900, but it wasn’t until ten years later that he developed his water-cooled prototype that would eventually become the M1917. (Since this would have been 1910, I suppose one could argue that the Bunch got their hands on the prototype… but it’s unlikely.)

Although Browning was hard at work on his machine gun, the U.S. Army Ordnance Department didn’t give his innovation much thought until the U.S. was plunged into war in April 1917. Instantly, the government was at Browning’s doorstep and a test was scheduled at the Springfield Armory within the month. The M1917 stunned the testers with its reliability as they watched the weapon fire 20,000 rounds without incident, but the testers were blown away (not literally!) when the second trial featured more than 48 minutes of continuous firing from the M1917. Needless to say, the U.S. Army adopted the M1917 as its principal heavy machine gun. Nearly 43,000 had been manufactured by the time of the armistice in November 1918.

The M1917 itself is a water-cooled machine gun that feeds from a 250-round fabric belt of .30-06 Springfield rifle ammunition and is often served by a crew. The initial M1917 had a firing rate of 450 rounds per minute, but the updated M1917A1 variant could fire up to 600 rounds per minute. An aircraft-mounted variant also became popular as the war in the skies continued to accelerate.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. For an example of operatic violence, at least watch the Battle of Bloody Porch. It’s no spoilers to see what happens; this is a Peckinpah film, and these are bad guys. No one gets out alive.

The Quote

We’re not gonna get rid of anybody! We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be! When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal, you’re finished! We’re finished! All of us!

Although "sticking together" is admittedly easier when you're armed to the teeth.

Although “sticking together” is admittedly easier when you’re armed to the teeth.

Footnotes

According to Wikipedia: “On May 15, 2013, The Wrap reported that Will Smith was in talks to star in and produce the remake. The new version involves drug cartels and follows a disgraced DEA agent who assembles a team to go after a Mexican drug lord and his fortune.” Christ, I hope this isn’t true…

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

Californication – Hank Moody on a Plane (Season 5)

David Duchovny as Hank Moody outside LAX on Californication (Episode 5.01, "JFK to LAX", 2012).

David Duchovny as Hank Moody outside LAX on Californication (Episode 5.01, “JFK to LAX”, 2012).

Vitals

David Duchovny as Hank Moody, womanizing novelist and screenwriter

New York City, Spring 2012

Series: Californication
Episode: “JFK to LAX” (Ep. 5.01)
Air Date: January 8, 2012
Director: John Dahl
Costume Designer: Alison Cole

Background

I don’t often find myself traveling for work; my first business trip for this job was in March 2012 to Phoenix, Arizona, and I just returned from my second, a weekend in D.C. hosting a client conference. With the news of new episodes of The X-Files coming, this was as good a time as any to check back in with BAMF Style hero Hank Moody. Since I’ve been hopping on and off of planes, I also figured we could take an updated look at Moody’s airborne style. (My first post about Hank Moody on a plane focused on his travel to and from New York in the first season episodes “California Son” and “Filthy Lucre”.)

For a third twist of relevance, the first time I actually saw Californication‘s fifth season premiere was in my Phoenix hotel room three years ago. I’d been too busy to catch it during the first two months, but I managed to snag some downtime while idling away the hours in my room at the Courtyard Phoenix Chandler.

The fifth season premiere first finds Hank on a date… or technically avoiding a date, as he nervously smokes in the bathroom of a hip-looking NYC bistro. Having settled on a solid break-up speech, he heads out to end things with the lovely Carrie (Natalie Zea) before she ends up calling him out in front of the whole restaurant:

This man’s a monster! He likes to fuck women in the ass and then tell them that he just wants to keep it casual.

Needless to say, she dumps her martini in his face and takes to heels while he takes one on the chin. On his way elsewhere – my best guess is a bar – he receives a call from Runkle “with the prospect of a significant payday”. He takes the job, sight unseen, to avoid “a bunny boiler situation” with Carrie. This leads him onto a plane where he has a chance encounter with a voluptuous R&B singer, not yet knowing that his new gig is writing a shitty action movie for the singer’s volatile rapper boyfriend… and certainly not knowing that he just made his prospects a little cloudier by making out with her in the plane’s bathroom. Only Hank.

Of course, Hank and Carrie’s “bunny boiler situation” literally heats up as she burns down his apartment, likely ruining an impressive collection of both books and black t-shirts and once again leaving Hank stranded on his least favorite coast.

What’d He Wear?

Getting to see Hank in his native environment – New York City – for the first time since the second season flashback shows us just how little his style changed from coast to coast. In this case, though, his preference for all black fits in much more with the city’s slick atmosphere.

The most notable change in his wardrobe, which sticks for the rest of the show, is a cool black leather jacket that seems to have taken the place of the familiar brown smoking jacket as his outerwear of choice. The jacket is constructed of soft leather with a shirt-style collar, silver zip front, and slanted slash hand pockets. Each cuff closes with a silver-toned snap, and the waistband is free of any adjusters, tabs, or additional snaps. Stitching is present on all seams and down each of the front panels and down the rear to create a tri-panel back.

Hank fits in perfectly in the streets of the Big Apple.

Hank fits in perfectly in the streets of the Big Apple.

A stunt version of the jacket was auctioned by ScreenBid in July 2014 with “2 SIZES TOO BIG FOR DAVE” written inside. Considering that the jacket was a size 44, we can reasonably deduce that the jacket sported by Duchovny on the show is a size 40. Also considering that the stunt jacket was made by Dolce & Gabbana, we can again reasonably deduce that Duchovny wore a D&G as there’s no viable reason why the show would spring for a similar-looking D&G jacket for stunts but not for its lead character!

The stunt-used D&G jacket (left) and the Amazon-sold replica (right).

The stunt-used D&G jacket (left) and the Amazon-sold replica (right).

Amazon is currently selling a replica of Hank’s leather jacket. Marketed by BlingSoul as simply the “Hank Moody Leather Jacket”, the $189 real leather jacket appears to be a pretty accurate replica of the one Duchovny wore from seasons five through seven on the show with all favorable reviews from buyers, at least as of April 2015. The only noticeable external difference is that the Amazon jacket features a “T”-style three-panel back; Moody’s jacket on the show has a three-panel back, but it is divided down each shoulder blade.

The rest of the outfit is all Hank’s signature look. He wears a black short-sleeve James Perse crew neck t-shirt the whole time.

The three men's attire say volumes about their characters: Runkle is a businessman, Stu is sleazy, and Hank is casual. (Note the reversed jewelry for Hank... I'm coming to that.)

The three men’s attire say volumes about their characters: Runkle is a businessman, Stu is sleazy, and Hank is casual. (Note the reversed jewelry for Hank… I’m coming to that.)

You can get your own from the James Perse website for $50, which is – admittedly – a lot of money for a plain black cotton t-shirt. Based on auctioned versions, we know Duchovny wears a size 2, JP’s equivalent to a ‘medium’. The site describes the shirt, style #MLJ3311, as:

Short sleeve crew with binded neck. Lightweight Jersey is an extremely soft knit made by specially treating the cotton fibers before they are spun into a yarn. This fabric breathes well and has a nice drape.

In New York City, he adds a layer with a “slightly darker black” (thank you, Archer) long-sleeve crew neck t-shirt over the short-sleeve shirt. The layering is reasonable given NYC’s naturally chillier climate than L.A. Once he arrives in L.A., he drops the outer layer and wears only the short-sleeve t.

Hank mulls over his non-future with Carrie.

Hank mulls over his non-future with Carrie.

Always an advocate of denim (“the people’s fabric”, as he earlier told a snooty country club attendant), Hank wears a pair of jeans in a very dark blue wash. The stitching on the pockets and seams appears to be rust brown-colored thread. I can’t tell if this is one of his Earnest Sewn pairs or not, but the brand has certainly been positively identified with Californication.

Hank meets Sam.

Hank meets Sam.

Hank’s shoes are his usual Timberland “Torrance” sueded leather Chelsea boots, colored in medium brown. We don’t see his socks in this episode, but he wears black socks 99% of the time so we can assume the same here.

Hank also wears his usual accessories in the usual places, at least for the New York scenes. His silver spinner ring is present on his right index finger, and the left wrist sports both black leather bracelets that we’ve come to know and love – the larger one studded with silver hexagons and circles and the thinner one consisting of a tied black woven braid. (As you’ve also doubtlessly come to know, you can find Hank’s bracelets at Urban Wrist.)

However, something strange happens after Hank returns to L.A. The silver ring is now on his left index finger, the black studded bracelet is now on his right wrist, and the thin leather braided bracelet is nowhere to be seen.

What the hell? A ring on his left finger and the bracelet on his right wrist? Let's discuss.

What the hell? A ring on his left finger and the bracelet on his right wrist? And WHERE is the braided leather bracelet? Let’s discuss.

At first, I assumed this was the result of an image reversal, but background evidence and Hank’s own finger tattoo prove that he’s simply wearing these objects on the wrong hands. Is it possible that both Duchovny and the wardrobe folks forgot how Hank wears his famous jewelry? The show had been on a year-long hiatus, after all? Or was the plan to eventually reverse the L.A. scenes to make up for something else? Either way, it’s mystifying to anyone who notices.

An additional mystery is the appearance of a pair of tortoise wayfarer-style sunglasses that Hank wears in – I believe – this episode only. He had worn his dark Izod 725 shades in the first four seasons, occasionally sporting a pair of thicker-framed Oliver Peoples in some episodes of seasons 3 and 4 (Duchovny’s own, I understand). After this episode, he wore black-framed Ray-Ban aviators for the rest of the show’s run.

Based on the temple logos and the distinctive 21mm folding bridge, I believe Hank’s sunglasses in this episode are a pair of classic Persol PO 0714 sunglasses in color code 24/57 with tortoise “Havana” plastic frames and large, 54mm wide crystal brown polarized lenses. Whether I’m right or not, you can pick up your own pair of these Persols here. It was a pair of these sunglasses, with smaller blue 52mm lenses, that Steve McQueen made popular in The Thomas Crown Affair.

Gotta be Persol, right?

Gotta be Persol, right?

If I’m wrong about Hank’s sunglasses, or if someone has more information about them, do us all a favor and let me know!

Go Big or Go Home

The first frame of the episode sets up both Hank and Californication as entities that don’t care about social norms. With a flick of his red Bic, Hank lights up a cigarette while nervously constructing the perfect break-up speech… of course, it turns out to be inside the bathroom of a New York City restaurant, and New York was one of the first states to implement a statewide smoking ban (in 2003, if you’re curious) that would certainly include restaurant bathrooms. (Although, of course, California’s 1995 act made it the first state to pass a statewide smoking ban.)

Smoke 'em if you got 'em... even if it could mean a $2,000 fine.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em… even if it could mean a $2,000 fine.

Hank stays true to his drink of choice – Scotch, neat – whether in the New York eatery or on his mile-high journey to L.A.

All wet.

All wet.

The most surprising change is Hank’s telecommunication technology. For the first three seasons, he’d stuck with his Motorola RAZR before upgrading to a BlackBerry Bold for the fourth season. Interestingly, season four premiered six months after I switched from a flip phone to a BlackBerry Bold…

Now, in season five, he’s got an iPhone 4S. Again, an eerie coincidence for me as I had just switched from the BlackBerry to an iPhone 4S the day before the business trip where I first saw this episode. Hank and I even use the same case, a hard plastic black SPECK with dark gray rubber edges and buttons. While I’d like to think it’s Hank mimicking me, I will shamelessly admit to borrowing his “Who callin’ my phone?!” greeting.

Even Hank isn't above a selfie.

Even Hank isn’t above a selfie.

The show’s use of music has always been impressive, and one of my favorite tracks featured on the show was Paul Oakenfold’s remix of The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” in the second episode. Another Doors remix is used to kick off “JFK to LAX”; this time, it’s a remix of “Love Me Two Times” by Infected Mushroom.

While a badass song in its own right, it’s also a cheeky implication of the “two times” – or two ways – that Hank has been “loving” Carrie.

The episode also introduces two of the better recurring characters from the show’s later seasons: RZA as Samurai Apocalypse, an absurd but talented rapper who pushes Hank into writing Santa Monica Cop for him, and the stunning Meagan Good as Kali, Samurai’s girlfriend and – naturally – an eventual love interest for Hank.

Hank manages to avoid his John Candy prophecy and how!

Hank manages to avoid his John Candy prophecy and how!

How to Get the Look

Hank’s updated look for 2012 is admittedly more versatile – and accessible – than the smoking jacket that had defined his style for four seasons.

Cali501-crop

  • Black soft leather Dolce & Gabbana jacket with shirt-style collar, silver zip-front, slanted side pockets, and snap cuffs
  • Black cotton long-sleeve crew neck t-shirt
  • Black cotton short-sleeve crew neck James Perse t-shirt
  • Dark blue denim bootcut jeans
  • Brown sueded leather Timberland “Torrance” Chelsea boots
  • Black socks
  • Black boxer briefs
  • Persol PO 0714 folding-bridge sunglasses with “Havana” tortoise plastic frames and brown polarized lenses (color code 24/57)
  • Silver spinner ring, worn on right index finger
  • Black leather bracelet with silver hexagonal and round studs, worn on the left wrist
  • Thin black braided woven leather bracelet, also worn on the left wrist

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Watch the series, and – if you want to see this episode – pick up the fifth season.

The Quote

Usually, I get on the plane, and I’m seated next to John Candy or Ruth Gordon… if I’m lucky. But I end up next to the most beautiful woman in the tri-state area, and I go and spill a drink in her lap. Nice work, huh?

Real Men Wear Pink: DiCaprio as Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013).

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013).

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, eagerly romantic millionaire and bootlegger

Long Island, NY, Late Summer 1922

Film: The Great Gatsby
Release Date: May 10, 2013
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Costume Designer: Catherine Martin

Background

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the original publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece The Great Gatsby by Charles Scribner and Sons on April 10, 1925. Now considered to be a literary classic and a top contendor for the mythic “Great American Novel”, the story explores themes of the decadent excess, romantic idealism, and degrees of social change that defined America in the Roaring Twenties. Sadly for Fitzgerald, the novel was best appreciated in retrospect; it sold only 20,000 copies its first year, and Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940 believing that his masterpiece was rejected and forgotten. At his funeral, Dorothy Parker wept and muttered “the poor son-of-a-bitch”, echoing Owl-Eyes’ epitaph for Gatsby himself.

If only Fitzgerald hadn’t had that last candy bar*. The Great Gatsby experienced during World War II, likely as people were nostalgic for the “good old days” before the war. Although it had already been filmed once in 1926, a major movie adaptation starring Alan Ladd was made in 1949. The story then catapulted into public awareness, giving birth to countless stage productions, motion pictures, and high school essays.

* Fitzgerald was eating a Hershey bar at the time of his fatal heart attack. It didn’t kill him, but – like Mama Cass’s ham sandwich – the story of his death is rarely told without mention of the candy bar.

The first time I read The Great Gatsby was the summer before 7th grade. My sister, four years older than I, was reading it to prepare for her high school English class… she’s that kind of overachiever. Once she finished the book, she tossed it my way and said, “Here. It’s about the ’20s. You’ll love it.” And how. I finished it in two nights while our family was vacationing in Nags Head, and from there on, my interests in literature, the ’20s, and sartorialism shifted into high gear. I changed by AIM screenname (in 7th grade, this was the summation of a person’s worth) from the bland ‘ketchupaintbad’ to ‘Gatsby722′ before finally settling on ‘Speakeasy804′, which I used well into my college years. I got my hands on as much background information as I could, reading all about Fitzgerald’s influence from Petronius’ character Trimalchio and the Long Island parties that Fitzgerald had attended before submitting the book, hoping for a last minute title change to Under the Red, White, and Blue.

I was always intrigued by the 1974 film – bolstered by my fanship of Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola, and Lois Chiles – and I approached the news of the Baz Luhrmann adaptation with… let’s call it trepidation. The trailers did little to settle my nerves. Sure, parties were a part of the novel, but the message is one against extravagance. And Fitzgerald himself called the ’20s the “Jazz Age” so you’re scoring it with rap?

Luckily, I gave in and went to see it early in its run with my girlfriend and my sister. The framing of Nick Carraway in a nut house narrating the whole thing threw me off, but once we got to the scene in Myrtle’s apartment, I was hooked. The style drew me in, and I allowed myself to enjoy a non-literal adaptation well-suited for the modern day without losing the period setting. Leo made an excellent Gatsby, and he has been quoted saying that he was drawn to the character because he was:

The idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby’s one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.

For an interesting coincidence, it’s doubly appropriate to post about Leonardo DiCaprio today as April 10, 2015 marks the 103rd anniversary of the Titanic leaving Southampton its fateful maiden voyage. (If I have to explain why that’s relevant to Leonardo DiCaprio, then you’ve been living under a rock for quite some time. Please get out from under this rock.)

What’d He Wear?

“An Oxford man!” [Tom] was incredulous. “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.”

I hadn’t gone twenty yards when I heard my name and Gatsby stepped from between two bushes into the path. I must have felt pretty weird by that time, because I could think of nothing except the luminosity of his pink suit under the moon.

Those are the only descriptions that F. Scott Fitzgerald gives of Gatsby’s notorious pink suit in Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby, and yet both major film adaptations have grasped it. Costume details in novels are rarely paid much heed when they hit the big screen, but there is something so essential about the fact that Gatsby wears a pink suit for what is arguably the story’s climax.

Even his detractors must admit that DiCaprio looks every bit the Fitzgeraldian romantic hero.

Even his detractors must admit that DiCaprio looks every bit the Fitzgeraldian romantic hero.

The pink linen three-piece suit sported by Robert Redford in the 1974 film is a fine example of updating period tailoring for the times. While undeniably ’20s-inspired, Redford’s suit ultimately looks like a product of 1974. Forty years later, Catherine Martin and her costume team created a near-perfect replication of a 1922 suit for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby.

The Suit and Accessories

Gatsby’s Brooks Brothers suit is soft light pink woven linen with a subtle and widely-spaced white pinstripe. Although the suit is pink enough to provide fodder for Tom’s famous “Oxford man” scoff, it’s not so glaringly pink that a fashionista like Daisy doesn’t take him seriously. Let’s start with the jacket.

Gatsby’s suit jacket is single-breasted with a low 3-button stance. When he rises, he fastens only the top button, typically draping the rest of the jacket behind his arm to place his hand in his pocket. It’s a very dignified, practiced pose, and it is very telling of a man who wants to exude elegance and class. Both the front and cuff buttons are made of white plastic.

Gatsby aims for the image of dashing, romantic dignity.

Gatsby aims for the image of dashing dignity.

The jacket’s peak lapels have a long slanted gorge but a short gorge seam; there is also a buttonhole on the left lapel. The designers were in luck when creating the jacket as slim, single-breasted, peak lapel suit coats are back in style just as they were 90 years ago.

GG13pink-CL1-Suit-JktLapels

Gatsby’s suit coat has soft shoulders and roped sleeveheads. Each sleeve is very long and mostly covers the shirt cuff beneath it. The most distinctive aspect of the sleeves are the Edwardian-style turnback cuffs, which were still en vogue in the early 1920s. The turnback cuff has never regained its popularity on suit cuffs, although James Bond notably wore them on his first dinner jacket in Dr. No. Just above the sleeve cuff, Gatsby has two functioning “surgeon’s cuff” buttons.

Rich people touching rings.

Rich people touching rings.

Many aspects of Gatsby’s suit coat also evoke a country hacking jacket, which makes sense as Gatsby was planning to spend the afternoon at the Buchanan residence rather than out in the heart of New York City. Both the long single rear vent and the rear-slanting flapped hip pockets are characteristics commonly seen on a hacking jacket. (For another 007 example, Sean Connery wore a brown tweed hacking jacket in both Goldfinger and Thunderball.) In addition to the slanted hip pockets, Gatsby’s suit coat also has a welted breast pocket that slants forward.

Gatsby channels his inner Perry Mason... or perhaps his courtroom Frank Abagnale.

Gatsby channels his inner Perry Mason… or perhaps his courtroom Frank Abagnale.

Gatsby’s suit has a matching vest (or waistcoat) with five white plastic buttons – like those on the jacket – that button down to a wide notched bottom. The vest was made to fit exactly so that DiCaprio can wear all five buttons fastened rather than leaving the bottom one open.

Gatsby comforts Daisy, who is sadly cut off here by the necessity of placing two images side-by-side.

Gatsby comforts Daisy, who is sadly cut off here by the necessity of placing two images side-by-side.

Unlike the Redford suit from the ’74 movie, this vest is single-breasted with no lapels. I’ll get around to a full contrast of those later. DiCaprio’s waistcoat has four welted pockets – two on top, two on bottom.

Finally, we get to Gatsby’s pants. The flat front suit trousers rise just above his natural waist, still considerably low for the era. The frogmouth pockets are placed lower on the trouser fronts so that Gatsby can easily place his hands in them without interrupting the vest bottom. Below the hips, the trousers have a straight leg cut all the way down to the medium break, plain-hemmed bottoms. They are roomier throughout the hips and seat to account for the suspenders.

Although linen can wrinkle like a bitch... especially after being worn for nearly 24 hours straight.

Although linen can wrinkle like a bitch… especially after being worn for nearly 24 hours straight.

The suit trousers are another sign that the design team was doing their homework. Gatsby wears his trousers with suspenders, as most three-piece suit trousers should be worn. To account for the suspenders, the trousers are fitted with buttons along the inside of the waistband rather than using the less-accurate and less-attractive clips. Since he would only be wearing suspenders, the trousers seen in the film have no belt loops.

Gatsby’s suspenders (call them braces if you must, Englishmen) are blue with short light blue diagonal stripes crossing down from left to right.

GG13pink-CL1-Susp2

They have silver adjusters, a black triangular leather crosspatch in the back, and black leather hooks in the front and back.

GG13pink-CL1-Susp1

Gatsby’s lightweight silk dress shirt is striped in white and pale pink. Although not yet fashionable in 1922, his large, soft turndown collar is attached to the shirt and fastened into place with a silver pin under the tie knot. It buttons down a front placket and closes around each wrist with a button cuff.

After a ruffled day, Gatsby sports a suspiciously Jack Dawson-like look by the end of it all.

After a ruffled day, Gatsby sports a suspiciously Jack Dawson-like look by the end of it all.

His collar pin is a “barbell” style with two spheres on each side of the collar where it pokes out. As he’s not a hooligan, Gatsby would have had this shirt ready-made with holes for the barbell pin… something one would hardly find off-the-rack these days. But that’s what good bespoke shirt-makers are for, isn’t it?

Gatsby lays on the charm.

Gatsby lays on the charm.

Gatsby continues the pink into his silk tie, consisting of thick maroon and salmon pink stripes crossing down from left to right. The tie was one of the few items from the outfit that Brooks Brothers offered an exact replica of… although it has since stopped manufacturing and selling it.

Gatsby gets extra points for perfectly matching his pocket square to a stripe in his tie without daringly - and garishly - going after both stripes.

Gatsby gets extra points for perfectly matching his pocket square to a stripe in his tie without daringly – and garishly – going after both stripes.

Gatsby wears a maroon silk pocket square in his suit jacket’s breast pocket that perfectly calls out the maroon in the tie. While some consider anything but a white pocket square to be rakish rather than elegant, Gatsby’s choice is certainly bold and stands out more than a white handkerchief would against such a light-colored suit.

Gatsby’s two-tone spectator shoes are also very distinctive. These wingtip balmorals have a tan leather toe cap and heel cap with a chocolate brown vamp. The 4-eyelet throat and laces are also tan. The soles are hard brown leather.

Gatsby strutting his stuff (left) and sitting his stuff (right).

Gatsby strutting his stuff (left) and sitting his stuff (right).

What makes the shoes especially notable is their color reversal; typically, the other parts of the shoe are the darker color. Even the earlier spectator shoes worn by Gatsby in the film follow this pattern. Instead, we’re seeing the lighter tan on the outer parts like the caps and the darker brown on the inside vamp.

With several sock color options at his disposal, Gatsby opts for a pair of tan dress socks with a broken brown stripe down each side. Some may argue that pink socks would have been a better choice to continue the leg line from trouser to shoe, but this isn’t The Birdcage.

Gatsby certainly knows how to accessorize for the day out. The popular men’s summer hat for the first few decades of the 20th century was unquestionably the stiff straw boater. Gatsby’s hat has a wide dark blue grosgrain ribbon that has two thinner light blue stripes – one across the top, one along the bottom. It’s the same boater he wore with his caramel brown suit when driving Nick into the city to meet Wolfsheim a few months earlier.

This screencap just oozes "old sport"-ness.

This screencap just oozes “old sport”-ness.

To battle the sun, Gatsby also whips out the dark brown tortoiseshell-framed Bottega Veneta sunglasses from the same earlier scene. The appearance of sunglasses here is not anachronistic; sunglasses had been around in some variation for a few decades prior and began to boom in the early 1920s as movie stars were seen wearing them (either to avoid detection by fans or due to the harsh lights of early Hollywood studios).

Gatsby’s mysterious stainless wristwatch is glimpsed on his left wrist throughout the scene. Though disproved to be the anachronistic Jaeger-LeCoultre, the watch still remains to be identified. According to a post on Watches In Movies, it was custom-made for the production. Hopefully that settles the debate, but it’s surprising that it hasn’t received more attention. The details appear to be a stainless rectangular case with a white dial and a stainless bracelet with a deployable clasp.

Perhaps this angle of the watch's clasp will shed some light on the issue. And perhaps not.

Perhaps this angle of the watch’s clasp will shed some light on the issue. And perhaps not.

The scene offers a fine view of Gatsby’s bulky silver pinky ring that adorns the little finger on his right hand throughout the movie. The dark surface features a black “starburst” design that shines differently in varying light.

Gatsby's magic ring.

Gatsby’s magic ring.

Brooks Brothers’ “Gatsby Collection”

Brooks Brothers developed their “Gatsby Collection” in tandem with the film’s release, also creating a “Fitzgerald Fit” to allow the fads of the 1920s to seamlessly meet the 2010s. Brooks Brothers was also known to be a preferred brand of Fitzgerald’s, so it makes sense that they would team up.

The limited time collection featured several pieces from the movie, including a variation of the iconic pink suit. The suit on sale isn’t an exact replica; most obviously, only a two-piece version was offered for sale. The jacket was indeed single-breasted with wide peak lapels, although it only had a 2-button front, side vents rather than a single vent, and all pockets were straight rather than slanted. The cuffs were missing the distinctive turnback, although they were “left unfinished for preparation of functional buttonholes”.

Anyone manage to pick one up while these were still in stock?

Anyone manage to pick one up while these were still in stock?

Most of the Brooks Brothers collection is no longer available, but the trousers can still be found (as of April 2015) online. Like the jacket, the trousers are similar but not exact to the film’s garment; the collection’s trousers indeed have inside suspender buttons, but they also have an exposed waistband button and belt loops.

Redford vs. DiCaprio

This isn’t so much an issue of who wore it better; both Redford’s 1974 suit and DiCaprio’s 2013 suit share little in common other than the fact that both are pink linen three-piece suits with single-breasted jackets. For some, that’s enough. BAMF Style dives further.

Who pulls off pink better?

Who pulls off pink better?

The Suit – Redford wears a solid pink linen suit. The single-breasted jacket has a 2-button front, large notch lapels, a welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, ventless rear, and plain 3-button cuffs. His trousers are pleated with a lower rise and held in place with a white belt. DiCaprio wears a pink pinstripe linen suit. The single-breasted jacket has a low-fastening 3-button front, moderate peak lapels, slanted breast and hip pockets, single rear vent, and 2-button turnback cuffs. His trousers have a high rise, flat front, frogmouth pockets, and are appropriately fitted for suspenders. Advantage: DiCaprio, for a more timeless interpretation of ’20s fashion.

The Vest – Redford’s vest has a low-fastening double-breasted front with wide, sweeping peak lapels and a 6×3 button front. DiCaprio’s vest is a more traditional single-breasted 5-button version with a notched bottom. Advantage: Redford, for the uniqueness and certainly ’20s-inspired design.

The Shirt – Redford wears a white shirt with attached club collars and single cuffs fastened by gold links. DiCaprio wears a white and pink striped shirt with button cuffs and a soft collar fastened into place by a silver bar. Advantage: Tough call but let’s say Redford, although the collar should probably be detachable.

The Tie – Redford wears a blue printed silk tie. DiCaprio wears a striped silk tie that calls out both the maroon pocket square and the light pink of the suit. Advantage: DiCaprio.

The Shoes – Redford wears plain white shoes with cream socks. DiCaprio wears two-tone brown spectator shoes with tan socks. Advantage: DiCaprio, especially for the unique aspects.

The Accessories – Redford wears a white newsboy cap. DiCaprio wears a straw boater and period-inspired brown-tinted sunglasses. Redford’s pocket square is a white puff, while DiCaprio sports a maroon handkerchief that picks out the maroon in his tie. Redford’s pocket watch is probably more period-correct, but DiCaprio’s Gatsby wears a custom-made wristwatch… a reasonable acquisition for an early ’20s millionaire with military service under his belt. Advantage: DiCaprio.

So who won the sartorial battle of the Gatsbys? BAMF Style concedes that DiCaprio is taking home the pink at the end of the day, although we can all agree that Redford was certainly no slouch.

Go Big or Go Home

The easiest way to emulate Gatsby is to throw out a brightly-colored suit and call everyone “old sport”. It’s not a good idea out of context, as you’ll inevitably be punched in the face, and – thus – get blood all over said suit, but maybe you’ll be cast in your own production. DiCaprio delivered the line “old sport” 51 times during the film, with Joel Edgerton running a distant second with 2 occurrences of “old sport”… both in mocking.

What to Imbibe

Although Tom brings the makings for Mint Juleps, the men seem to stick to straight whiskey for the long, hot confrontation at the Plaza Hotel. In this case, it’s a bottle of Bourbon which appears to carry a fictional “Camp Perry” label… although there were so many distilleries that didn’t advertise during the ’20s (for obvious reasons) that Camp Perry may indeed be a true brand of booze from the era.

Gatsby realizes that his day isn't going quite as planned.

Gatsby realizes that his day isn’t going quite as planned.

If reading about a Mint Julep on a hot summer afternoon’s gotten you all geared up to read more about them, head on over to my Goldfinger post where a dapper suited James Bond breaks the well-crushed ice with Pussy Galore.

How to Get the Look

To steal a sartorial statement from Vesper Lynd, there are pink suits and then there are pink suits. DiCaprio’s Gatsby wears the latter.

GG13pink-crop

  • Light pink pinstripe woven linen Brooks Brothers suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with peak lapels, low 3-button stance, forward-slanting welted breast pocket, rear-slanting flapped hip pockets, 2-button turnback cuffs, and long single rear vent
    • Single-breasted vest with 5-button front, four welted pockets, and notched bottom
    • Flat front trousers with inside suspender buttons, frogmouth front pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White and pink striped silk shirt with soft turndown collar and button cuffs
  • Maroon and salmon pink diagonally-striped silk necktie
  • Silver “barbell”-style collar pin
  • Blue striped suspenders with silver adjusters and black leather hooks and crosspatch
  • Tan and brown 4-eyelet two-tone leather wingtip balmoral spectator shoes
  • Tan dress socks with broken brown side stripes
  • Straw boater with a navy blue striped grosgrain ribbon
  • Round tortoiseshell-framed Bottega Veneta sunglasses with brown tinted lenses
  • Silver pinky ring with dark “starbust” face, worn on right pinky
  • Stainless wristwatch with a rectangular white face and stainless deployable-clasp bracelet, worn on left wrist
  • Maroon silk pocketsquare, worn in jacket breast pocket

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. Of course, you should read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book too.

Gatsby scholars would also be intrigued by Maureen Corrigan’s excellent book, So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures, published last year. I received it as a Christmas gift from my sister (as you can see, she and I have a strong Gatsby gonnegtion!), and it’s a marvelous and personal look at how the book is more relevant than ever 90 years later. One of my favorite lines from the book so far concerns this particular scene as Corrigan points out: “Who leaves an airy mansion on the Long Island Sound to drive into Manhattan on the hottest day of the year?”

The Quote

The only respectable thing about you, old sport, is your money. Your money, that’s it. Now I’ve just as much as you. That means we’re equal.