Justified – Boyd Crowder’s Herringbone Sweater-Sportcoat

Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder on Justified. (Episode 4.05: "Kin")

Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder on Justified.
(Episode 4.05: “Kin”)


Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder, scrappy Harlan County criminal chieftain

Harlan County, Kentucky, Fall 2012

Series: Justified
Episode: “Kin” (Episode 4.05)
Air Date: February 5, 2013
Director: Peter Werner
Costume Designer: Patia Prouty


For great fall attire, one needs look no further than Justified on FX. The show’s pragmatic anti-hero, Boyd Crowder, came a long way from being the thuggish white supremacist bank robber we met back in the pilot. By the middle of the fourth season, he’s shaping up his own criminal empire in Harlan County and enjoying a romance with his deceased older brother’s widow. (It should be noted that said widow had actually shot his older brother to death with a shotgun… Boyd is evidently the forgiving type.)

With his character transformation came a major costuming transformation. Boyd can’t be pigeon-holed into a particular stratum of the criminal underworld, and his wardrobe reflects that. He needs to look respectable enough for urban mobsters like Wynn Duffy while still keeping in touch with the good ol’ boys under his employ. The result is a mishmash of rustic formality that suits Boyd’s particular brand of dapper style.

“Kin” is set in the middle of Justified‘s strong fourth season, when most of the county is searching for the enigmatic Drew Thompson without realizing he is right under their nose. When Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens heads into the hills on his search for Drew, he finds that his sometime-nemesis Boyd has the same goal.

What’d He Wear?

In “Kin”, Boyd Crowder wears a very unique garment that appears to be a cross between a sportcoat and a cardigan. It’s definitely not the plain gray wool cardigan he wore in the third season, and it’s certainly different from the rest of his sportcoats in their various shades of gray.

Although cut like a sportcoat, the distinctive shawl lapels are unlike anything I’ve ever seen on a traditional sportcoat. The collar portion of the lapel around the back of the neck is the same herringbone tweed as the rest of the coat, but the front facings of the shawl lapels are ribbed like a cardigan sweater.

Boyd sports a very unique looking lapel.

Boyd sports a very unique looking lapel.

Based on this combination, I think the best description of Boyd’s unique garment would be to call it a “sweater sportcoat”. He wears a genuine sweater-coat on many other occasions over the last few seasons, but the structure of this coat differentiates it from an actual sweater-coat.

Update! Blog commenter RM tracked down this jacket, and it appears to definitively be a Ted Baker “Ananic” jacket, described as “a rib-knit shawl collar updates a handsome three-button blazer rendered in a fine, two-tone herringbone weave” at the Nordstrom site, one of the few places I could find the jacket still posted (albeit currently unavailable).

Boyd pulls up a chair to meet with Colton in his bar.

Boyd pulls up a chair to meet with Colton in his bar.

The jacket is primarily gray woven herringbone tweed, cut like a single-breasted sportcoat with three brown horn buttons down the front. It has natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads. According to the Nordstrom description of the Ted Baker jacket, the construction is a wool/polyamide blend.

In addition to the welted breast pocket, Boyd’s coat has flapped hip pockets that slant toward the back. The jetting on the hip pockets is charcoal.

Boyd in various stages of captivity.

Boyd in various stages of captivity.

The inside front panels are lined in gray silk with a faint pattern of white dots; the back of the coat is lined with burgundy silk. There is a jetted inside pocket on each side of the gray silk lined portions of the coat.

Quite a pained expression.

Quite a pained expression. Also, the hillbilly on Boyd’s left looks like the most perfectly-cast person on TV.

Underneath, Boyd wears very similar attire as seen two episodes earlier in “Truth and Consequences” (4.03). He sports one of his many dark vests that become part of his “uniform” in the show’s latter seasons. In this case, it is a black flannel waistcoat with a single-breasted 5-button front – leaving the lowest button undone over the notched bottom – and slim fishmouth notch lapels.

There are four jetted pockets – two on each side of the chest. Boyd keeps his silver-toned brass Gotham pocketwatch in the lower right pocket of the vest, attached to a silver fob on a curb chain that loops through the fourth buttonhole. The quartz watch’s tetradecagon-shaped case has an open silver dial with black Roman numerals and a date window at 6:00.

A shot of Boyd's Gotham watch, seen earlier in the season when he first began wearing it.

A shot of Boyd’s Gotham watch, seen earlier in the season when he first began wearing it.

He doesn’t remove the coat in “Kin”, but “Truth and Consequences” gives us a better look at the vest on its own. Unlike some vests, the lapels are fully functional and extend all around the neck rather than stopping at the shoulders. A thin strip of the same flannel fabric extends down the sides of the vest, but most of the back is lined in dark gray silk.

"Truth and Consequences" (Ep. 4.03)

“Truth and Consequences” (Ep. 4.03)

In “Kin”, Boyd wears a dark charcoal cotton work shirt with a subtle tonal overplaid. The point collar is buttoned to his throat, as usual, with black buttons down the front placket. Each of the cuffs also closes with a single black button.

Also note the vest's distinctive fishmouth lapel and the coat's patterned lining.

Also note the vest’s distinctive fishmouth lapel and the coat’s patterned lining.

Most men in Harlan County seem to own nothing but jeans, with the two dueling leads Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder proving to be no exception. However, Boyd is the darker yin to Raylan’s yang, evident in the black denim jeans that he wears on a daily basis. According to The Americanologists, Boyd wears imogene + willie “Barton” slim fit, low rise jeans with bronze buttons and rivets.

Boyd finds himself in countless unfortunate situations during "Kin" (Ep. 4.05).

Boyd finds himself in countless unfortunate situations during “Kin” (Ep. 4.05).

Boyd’s jeans have a straight fit through the leg, giving the already slim Walton Goggins an even scrappier look. The bottoms of his jeans are cuffed over the ankles.

Boyd wears a distressed brown leather belt with a tarnished brass single-claw buckle. He notably uses it in “Truth and Consequences” to give the snake-bitten Jimmy something to bite on.

Jimmy finds good use for Boyd's belt in "Truth and Consequences" (Ep. 4.03).

Jimmy finds good use for Boyd’s belt in “Truth and Consequences” (Ep. 4.03).

Boyd follows the oldest rule in the sartorial book by sporting a pair of old brown leather work boots that lace up the front, a callback to his days as a miner.

Boyd's boots, as seen in "Truth and Consequences" (left) and "Kin" (right).

Boyd’s boots, as seen in “Truth and Consequences” (left) and “Kin” (right).

Boyd’s boots have heavy soles and four brass eyelets visible below the cuffs of his jeans.

How to Get the Look

justboyd405-crop2.jpgBoyd Crowder is a wily, outspoken individualist who deals with all strata of society. As he grows as a person – and as a criminal – his wardrobe reflects his personality and his position more and more, with unique garments like the sweater-ish shawl-lapeled sportcoat.

  • Gray herringbone tweed Ted Baker “Ananic” sportcoat with ribbed cardigan-style shawl lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, and gray-to-burgundy silk lining
  • Dark charcoal tonal plaid cotton work shirt with point collar, front placket with black buttons, and button cuffs
  • Black flannel single-breasted vest with slim fishmouth notch lapels, 5-button front, four jetted pockets, and notched bottom
  • Black denim slim fit jeans
  • Brown distressed leather belt with squared brass single-claw buckle
  • Brown leather front-laced work boots with brass eyelets and heavy soles
  • Gotham quartz pocketwatch in silver-toned brass case (with open silver face, Roman numerals, and 6:00 date window) on silver metal curb chain connected to silver-toned round fob

Thanks again to commenter ‘RM’ for identifying Boyd’s Ted Baker jacket. Who knew that the wily blue-collar criminal had such luxurious fashion taste?

The Gun

Boyd cycles through many different weapons throughout Justified, but the most consistent favorite of his is the classic 9mm Beretta 92FS semi-automatic pistol, as seen in “Kin”.

Boyd keeps his Beretta on the table during a meeting with Wynn Duffy.

Boyd keeps his Beretta on the table during a meeting with Wynn Duffy.

The Beretta was adopted as the M9 by the U.S. military in 1985; as a war veteran, Boyd would be quite familiar with the M9 and thus pretty comfortable keeping the Beretta as his sidearm of choice.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the entire series. This outfit comes from the fourth season, particularly the fifth episode “Kin” (and partially the third episode “Truth and Consequences”).

You can also help out the blog (and our helpful commenter ‘RM’) by hunting down the exact brand and style of Boyd’s trusty boots.

The Quote

Whole world’s a tree, Raylan. I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut.

Rebel Without a Cause – Red Windbreaker and Jeans

The poster for Rebel Without a Cause (1955), featuring James Dean as Jim Stark in his iconic windbreaker and jeans.

The poster for Rebel Without a Cause (1955), featuring James Dean as Jim Stark in his iconic windbreaker and jeans.


James Dean as Jim Stark, confused suburban high school student and loner

Los Angeles, Spring 1956

Film: Rebel Without a Cause
Release Date: October 27, 1955
Director: Nicholas Ray
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry


Today – September 30, 1955 – is the 60th anniversary of the famous fatal car crash that ended James Dean’s life at the age of 24. At the time of his death, he had only completed acting in three films (other than uncredited bit parts), but those performances made more of an impact than anyone could have guessed.

After his breakout role in East of Eden in 1955, Dean quickly followed it up with his performance as the troubled and tortured Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, a representation of teenage angst that gave a glimmer of hope to millions of teens throughout the country who were disgusted by the falsely naive and puritanical state of 1950s society. Teens could actually relate to the frustrated Jim Stark rather than the squeaky clean Andy Hardy or mischievous doe-eyed Beaver Cleaver. Dean’s electric performance captivated young audiences that began copying his style.

Unfortunately, James Dean didn’t live to see the release of the film that would give so many of his fans hope. Shortly after completing his role in Giant, Dean was scheduled to compete at a race in Salinas on September 30, 1955 in his “Little Bastard”, a brand new 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder (VIN 550-0055) purchased only nine days earlier and painted with “130” on the hood, doors, and deck lid. Rolf Wütherich, the German Porsche factory mechanic that maintained the car, encouraged Dean to drive it from L.A. to Salinas to ensure it was in racing condition. Wütherich joined Dean in the car, with Dean’s friend and stunt driver Bill Hickman driving behind them in the station wagon that Dean had originally intended to use to carry the Porsche via trailer. Hickman would later become famous as the stunt driver and actor who handled the black ’68 Charger in Bullitt. It was Hickman who gave Dean the nickname, “Little Bastard” that Dean then applied to his car.

James Dean and Rolf Rolf Wütherich in one of the last photos of the actor, taken September 30, 1955 hours before the fatal crash. Excited for the day's race, Dean raised Wütherich's hand and shouted "We're going to win! " as the photo was taken.

James Dean and Rolf Rolf Wütherich in one of the last photos of the actor, taken September 30, 1955 hours before the fatal crash. Excited for the day’s race, Dean raised Wütherich’s hand and shouted “We’re going to win! ” as the photo was taken.

At 5:45 p.m., more than two hours after both cars had received a speeding ticket, a Cal Poly student named Donald Turnupseed was driving his black and white 1950 Ford Tudor coupe east on Route 46 toward Cholame Junction. Turnupseed hesitantly pulled his Ford left over the center line to take the left fork onto Route 41. Dean, approaching the junction from the other direction, was unable to stop his Porsche in time and attempted to power steer away from Turnupseed’s Ford. Unfortunately, the Porsche slammed into the driver’s quadrant of the Ford in a nearly head-on collision, catapulting Wütherich out of the Porsche but trapping Dean inside the mangled Porsche as it flipped intot he air and landed in a gully, northwest of the junction. The heavier Ford was pushed nearly forty feet down the westbound lane of the road. Turnupseed managed to step out of his damaged car with only minor injuries. Hickman and Collier’s photographer Sanford Roth pulled up in the station wagon and joined the many passersby who stopped to help.

After the badly mutilated Dean had been extricated from the Porsche where his left foot had been trapped between the clutch and brake pedal, Hickman recalled the actor taking his last breath in his arms, and Dean was pronounced dead on arrival shortly after arriving by ambulance at the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital at 6:20 p.m. Wütherich would survive but with serious injuries and psychological trauma that would haunt him until his 1981 death.

Dean’s brief flash of stardom in 1955 shook the decade by storm before his death, shaking the long-standing tradition of the old dictating the young. Rebellion became cool, and Dean became a martyr for the movement that he unwittingly ignited but undoubtedly would have supported. Up to this point, fine clothing and dressing up was a symbol of social status. Now, fashion was redirected toward dressing down. Personal attitude became more important than fads or conformity.

What’d He Wear?

The red windbreaker, plain white t-shirt, and blue jeans sported by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause has skyrocketed to become one of the most iconic outfits in movie history, right up there with Bogart’s trench coat, Indiana Jones’ leather jacket, and 007 in a sharp tuxedo.

"The name's Stark. Jim Stark."

“The name’s Stark. Jim Stark.”

For his night out, Jim Stark dons a bright red cotton windbreaker, appropriately intense for Dean’s performance. It zips up the front with a brass YKK zipper, although Dean tends to keep his only partially zipped down at the waist. The jacket gathers at the waist like a blouson with an elastic hem that provides an athletic figure when closed. The windbreaker has two open slanted hand pockets – one on each side.

The cuffs close through a single buttonhole on one of two buttons; Dean wears his with the outer button fastened for a looser fit over the wrists.

I'm curious what effect Jim Stark's love of milk had on the dairy industry.

I’m curious what effect Jim Stark’s love of milk had on the dairy industry.

Many stories circulate about the origins of this iconic jacket. Nicholas Ray claimed that he took it from a Red Cross worker, although most now believe that it is a McGregor Anti Freeze jacket with some customizations by costume designer Moss Mabry. The original McGregor Anti Freeze was designed in 1949, and the McGregor site even acknowledges that this was the windbreaker seen in the film, saying “a certain Mr. James Dean was wearing this coat in a ‘rebellious’ movie that would make history. We can’t be absolutely sure that this was due to the coat, but what is certain is that it has stood the test of time.”

Jim Stark's timeless windbreaker.

Jim Stark’s timeless windbreaker.

McGregor updated its original Anti Freeze based on the film’s popularity and now offers the “Kirk Anti Freeze” for €199.95, constructed of “light water and wind resistant polyester with a soft wool lining” with the same adjustable cuffs and ribbed elastic hem as the film’s version. The only major cosmetic difference is that the Kirk has flaps on the slanted hand pockets, while Dean’s original Anti Freeze had open pockets.

Underneath, Dean wears a plain white cotton crew neck t-shirt with a short-sleeve “muscle cut” that shows off plenty of arm, as the sleeve ends closer to the shoulder than to the elbow.

James Dean, J.C. Penney advocate.

James Dean, J.C. Penney advocate.

Luckily for purists who require nothing less than the exact brand worn in the film, a blogger called The Undershirt Guy has taken the case of identifying the t-shirt worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Apparently, after three auctions in six years, Nate D. Sanders finally managed to sell the shirt in 2012 for $6,083. However, none of the auction descriptions say much more than that Gordon Bau, Dean’s makeup artist on his three major movies, was able to give the shirt to Claire Gaynor, who provided the letter of provenance.

(The other auctions were Heritage Auctions and Live Auctioneers.com, if you’re curious. Heritage Auctions remarked on the irony that Clark Gable’s lack of an undershirt dramatically decreased undershirt sales until Dean’s white t-shirt revived them 21 years later.)

The Undershirt Guy persisted and found a 2013 article by CNN contributor Bob Greene titled “Could James Dean save J. C. Penney?” In it, Greene comments that Dean was born in Marion, Indiana which was “smack dab in the middle of J. C. Penney country”, and thus copycats believed he favored the simple J.C. Penney “Towncraft” brand of t-shirts. While the answer is most likely lost to history, The Undershirt Guy provided a helpful alternative to all James Dean wannabes by recommending the RibbedTee Retro Fit shirt, a loose knit cotton/polyester blend going for $30 and marketed by RibbedTee as “reminiscent of the great, but no longer made Towncraft 50/50 undershirts.”

Dean’s jeans leave much less guesswork, as Dean himself advertised for his preferred Lee jeans while he was alive. The dark blue jeans sported in Rebel Without a Cause are Lee 101Z Rider denim jeans, notable being the first zip-fly jeans upon their introduction in 1926. While denim jeans had predominantly been the domain of the working man since Levi’s introduced them in the 1870s, they became the symbol for a rebellious teen counterculture in the ’50s, no doubt thanks to James Dean.


The Lee 101Z Riders worn in the film can be identified by the small black tab stitched onto the top of the right back pocket. They are of the standard five-pocket layout with two slanted front pockets, a coin pocket on the right, and two back patch pockets. The bottoms of Dean’s jeans are frayed.

Under the jeans, Dean wears a pair of black leather engineer boots, identified by the silver buckle on the adjustable leather throat strap. We never see the full length of the boots themselves since they tend to extend about 10-18″ up the leg. Engineer boots were developed during the 1930s for workers exposed to potential leg or foot injuries. They were quickly adopted by motorcycle riders for their resistance to leg burns or injuries while riding.


A blog called Vintage Engineer Boots (whose name leaves no doubt regarding their authority in this case!) visited a Madrid exhibit that showcased a pair of Chippewa engineer boots from the ’40s or early ’50s as the boots worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. With more expertise than I could ever hope to gather on my own, the blog sheds some doubt on this claim and opens it up to debate with good points on both sides. Since Chippewa Shoe Manufacturing Company was the original manufacturer of engineer boots, I think it’s conceivable that Dean wore at least one pair of Chippewa engineers in the movie.

Dean’s socks will remain a mystery, but he does wear a pair of plain white briefs that are glimpsed poking over the top of his jeans when he gets his hands on Plato’s pistol… if you’re curious about his underwear.

The simple steel tonneau-shaped wristwatch has also garnered some debate among Dean fans and watch aficionados. Although it looks like some Hamilton, Elgin, or Longines pieces of the era, I believe it is a Westclox Wrist Ben on a black leather strap. This watch, with its dark gray luminous dial, appears to be the best approximation of the one worn by Dean.

Jim's watch is best seen when he's unloading Plato's pistol.

Jim’s watch is best seen when he’s unloading Plato’s pistol.

ClockHistory.com cites that this style would’ve been produced between 1956 and 1958, but it’s the only similar-looking watch from the era that I’ve been able to track down that has only even numerals presented on the face.

Dean himself wore a much fancier watch in real life. The watch on his wrist at the time of his fatal car crash was a Le Coultre Powermatic Nautilus with a 14-carat gold case, black dial, and black alligator strap.

RWC3-cropHow to Get the Look

Ironically, Dean became a style icon by ignoring fashion and dressing with an aim towards comfort and practicality. He wasn’t a rebel because of what he chose to wear; he was a rebel because he chose not to conform.

  • Red cotton zip-front windbreaker with collar, brass zipper, open slanted hand pockets, button cuffs, and elastic ribbed waistband
    • Dean likely wore a customized McGregor Anti-Freeze jacket
  • White cotton crew neck short-sleeve t-shirt
    • Dean likely wore a J.C. Penney “Towncraft” undershirt
  • Dark blue denim straight leg jeans with zip fly, slanted front pockets, coin pocket, and patch back pockets
    • Dean wore Lee 101Z Rider jeans
  • Black engineer boots with silver buckles
    • Dean possibly wore Chippewa engineer boots
  • Stainless steel tonneau-cased wristwatch with dark gray luminous dial on black leather strap
    • Dean possibly wore a Westclox Wrist Ben watch
  • White underwear briefs

The Gun

Jim’s even more troubled buddy Plato (Sal Mineo) gets his hands on a pistol for the third act, a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer with nickel plating and white pearl grips, found in his mother’s bedroom.

Jim and Judy (Natalie Wood) do everything they can to calm the excited Plato, with Jim eventually getting his hands on the gun in a quick gambit designed to reassure Plato and disarm him.

As Plato slips on the windbreaker, Jim takes out the pistol’s magazine and removes the remaining .38 ACP rounds before handing it back to Plato because “friends always keep their promises.”

Jim slyly gets his hands on Plato's pistol.

Jim slyly gets his hands on Plato’s pistol… with good intent, of course.

The scene ends with tragic consequences as the police don’t know that Plato’s pistol is empty when he steps outside. And, technically, since Jim didn’t eject a round from the chamber – and we know that Plato has already fired it earlier in the evening so the chamber would indeed be loaded – Plato would still have one shot left.

Plato heads out with his unloaded .38 Colt pistol.

Plato heads out with his unloaded .38 Colt pistol.

The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer enjoyed 24 years of production in the early decades of the 20th century, although it is mostly forgotten today. It was one of John Browning’s early efforts at the semi-automatic pistol, a natural evolution from the Colt M1900 and the Colt Model 1902 Sporting Model – both also designed by Browning.

Like its predecessors, the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer is a short-recoil, single-action, semi-automatic pistol chambered for the obsolete .38 ACP cartridge and lacking an external safety mechanism. Externally, it resembles a simplified and more compact version of the later M1911 .45-caliber pistol with its external hammer. Although only four letters separate it from the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, the two pistols are very different.

An original Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer with pearl grips, found on ColtAutos.com.

An original Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer with pearl grips, found on ColtAutos.com.

The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer weighed just under two pounds with a 4.5″ long barrel and a seven-round box magazine. It was quite popular in its early years as a relatively light and compact pistol with a cartridge that could carry a punch. However, the more streamlined Pocket Hammerless in .32 and .380 would eclipse Pocket Hammer sales and continue to thrive well into the 1940s. Nearly 31,000 Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer pistols were produced until production ended in 1927 as more powerful rounds like the 9×19 mm Parabellum, .38 Special, and .45 ACP gained favor with handgunners.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

You can wake up now, the universe has ended.

Show us your BAMF!

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think all of you who follow and comment on this blog are some of the coolest dudes around. BAMF Style just celebrated its third anniversary (on September 26th, if you’re curious), and I couldn’t have made it this far without all of you.

To show my appreciation, I’d love to get the chance to highlight some of the looks you guys are sporting. Whether it’s based on a movie or TV BAMF or just a stellar combination you’ve found on your own, feel free to send a photo or two of an outfit that makes you proud to TheSartorialBAMF@gmail.com, along with a few words like the manufacturers, fabric, and even an anecdote about it.

It’d be my pleasure to sort through the submissions and get a post up – probably around Thanksgiving, since I’ll be literally giving my thanks – featuring all of your great style.

This one’s for you, BAMFs!


Also, check out this cool article by Guy Trebay for the New York Times, where Trebay talks about classic sprezzatura style icons like Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Cary Grant, and Marvin Gaye. Trebay even talks about McQueen’s somewhat anachronistic – but badass – attire in The Great Escape.

Jimmy Darmody’s Brown Striped Suit

Michael Pitt pours some brandy as Jimmy Darmody on Boardwalk Empire. (Episode 1.12: "A Return to Normalcy)

Michael Pitt pours some brandy as Jimmy Darmody on Boardwalk Empire.
(Episode 1.12: “A Return to Normalcy)


Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, Atlantic City bootlegger and gangster

Atlantic City, Spring/Summer 1921

Series: Boardwalk Empire
* “A Return to Normalcy”
(Episode 1.12, aired December 5, 2010, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “21”
(Episode 2.01, aired September 25, 2011, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “A Dangerous Maid”
(Episode 2.03, aired October 9, 2011, dir. Susanna White)
* “Two Boats and a Lifeguard”
(Episode 2.08, aired November 13, 2011, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “Georgia Peaches”
(Episode 2.10, aired November 27, 2011, dir. Jeremy Podeswa)
* “To the Lost”
(Episode 2.12, aired December 11, 2011, dir. Tim Van Patten)
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


The ambitious yet bitter Jimmy Darmody was a fan favorite on Boardwalk Empire, certainly a testament to Michael Pitt’s appeal since most characters that would ally themselves with Al Capone and incite a violent war against the protagonist would not be so warmly regarded. However, Jimmy Darmody was a complex onion, and the writers deserve equal credit for giving the character so many layers.

Thus, by the time Nucky Thompson pulls the trigger and declaresthat he isn’t seeking forgiveness, Jimmy was firmly planted in viewers’ minds as a sympathetic hero who had overcome the trauma of World War I and a drunken sexual congress with his own mother. However, it seems that fans were rooting for Jimmy more than Jimmy himself had been, as the character resigns himself to his fate and even coaches Nucky on how he’ll be able to live with himself after committing a murder.

Rumors have floated that Jimmy was actually killed off because Michael Pitt was difficult to work with, but showrunner Terence Winter vehemently denies the rumors and confirms that it was a creative decision in a December 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly:

The idea was to try and push things to their absolute limit, even if it makes it difficult for yourself and your writing team. If you take things to their logical extreme with the situation we created, Jimmy has betrayed Nucky, he tried to have him killed. You want to be honest about the storytelling. In the pilot, Jimmy told Nucky:”You can’t be half a gangster anymore.” We wanted with the first two seasons to follow that trajectory, where he goes full season from being the guy who doesn’t want to get his hands dirty to actually pulling the trigger himself. And what’s the strongest version of that? To pull the trigger on the very guy who told him,”You can’t be half a gangster anymore.” It’s like, “Guess what? You’re right. I can’t. And here’s me now fully becoming a gangster.” Anything short of Nucky doing it himself wouldn’t feel real, it wouldn’t be real. And it would be a cheat for us to say, “We want to keep our beloved character Jimmy Darmody alive.”

One of the things I wanted to do by design in the finale is make the audience pissed off [at the start of the episode]. I wanted people to say [when it seemed like Nucky and Jimmy would reconcile], “Oh great, after all that, it’s all going to be forgotten and Jimmy is going to be back in Nucky’s good graces.” I wanted them to think right up to the very end that Nucky is going to forgive him and take him back. It was a really hard decision. You’re sort of blowing up your own show, in some ways. Now we’re back in the writers room trying to figure out where we go from here without Jimmy Darmody.

Winter certainly succeeded, although I doubt he expected the backlash from fans. I recall many at the time declaring that they would refuse to watch the show without the Jimmy Darmody character, and several even demanded that he return for the third season… although I have no idea how that would logistically happen. Personally, I applaud Boardwalk Empire for a move that managed to be both shocking and realistic, continuing the show’s momentum as a solid criminal drama and away from the trappings of a fan-pandering show like Dexter became in its later seasons.

Michael Pitt himself had requested that, if his character was to be killed, that he go out “in the worst way possible,” as The Hollywood Reporter explained. After Martin Scorsese and Winter made their decision, they tried to call Pitt to inform him but couldn’t get through, so they unfortunately had to tell him via email that his character would be shot in the face by his old mentor.

What’d He Wear?

Jimmy ups his sartorial game at the end of the first season. He began the series in a humble brown tweed Norfolk suit and cap that made him look every bit the lackey that he was. After moving to Chicago, he picked up a snappy blue check three-piece suit to begin establishing himself as more than just “half a gangster”. Upon his return to Atlantic City in “Belle Femme” (1.09), Jimmy has refined his look from the louder Nucky-worthy blue suit with a more somber gray suit. His wardrobe continues to grow with each new step in his career.

In “A Return to Normalcy” (1.12), set in November 1920, Jimmy decides to end his uneasy and unholy alliance with Nucky and sets in motion a plan to take control of Atlantic City for himself. Jimmy sits and plots with the Commodore and Eli while wearing a brown striped flannel three-piece suit. He looks relaxed yet alert, evoking the image of one of cinema’s most notorious fictional gangsters.

Don Jimmy.

Don Jimmy.

The many shots of Jimmy with both arms on his chair as he is told to assert his power is almost definitely a homage to The Godfather, as Winter told EW: “I’m not ashamed to say Godfather is one of my favorite movies of all time, and any time I can steal from it, I always do.”

Jimmy’s brown striped suit lasted him through the rest of his tenure on the show, worn during confrontations with Nucky and meetings with potential confederates like Manny Horvitz and Chalky White. It was while wearing this suit in the season finale, “To the Lost” (2.12), that Jimmy received his fatal wounds from Nucky after a year-long power struggle.

Jimmy appears to have had two of the same suit, one version in brown stripe suiting (as featured here) and the other made from a charcoal and gray stripe. The latter suit appears in two episodes: “21” (2.01) and “Gimcrack & Bunkum” (2.05). I’ve considered that the charcoal suit may actually be this suit in different lighting, but the color contrast is too dramatic for me to say that it is the same suit. This particular suit was auctioned by Screenbid.com earlier this year.

Jimmy's suit, auctioned by ScreenBid.com. Notice that the right side is shifted up; the jacket's top button is thus hidden under the lapel.

Jimmy’s suit, auctioned by ScreenBid.com. Notice that the right side is shifted up; the jacket’s top button is thus hidden under the lapel.

The stripe effect on Jimmy’s suit is simply two shades of brown that alternate between a lighter and darker color. No pinstripes, no shadow stripes, just two different shades of brown repeating in an equal width.

Jimmy shares a moment with Joe Harper Tommy before heading off to his doom.

Jimmy shares a moment with Joe Harper Tommy before heading off to his doom.

The jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels and a high three-button stance, although he almost always wears it open. The hip pockets have wide flaps and slant slightly toward the back, with the top of the pocket aligned with the jacket’s third button. A flapped ticket pocket on the right also slants slightly back, aligned with the jacket’s center button. Jimmy also has a welted breast pocket and 4-button cuffs.

If Michael Pitt didn't have the Geto Boys in his head while filming this scene, then I don't even know anymore...

If Michael Pitt didn’t have the Geto Boys in his head while filming this scene, then I don’t even know anymore…

Jimmy’s suit nicely reflects men’s fashions of the early 1920s with its half-belted back and athletic fit that makes Michael Pitt appear even taller than his natural 5’11” height. The jacket’s shoulders are straight down to roped sleeveheads, and the back of the jacket is belted above a long single vent.


The suit’s matching vest (or waistcoat) rises high on his chest, above the jacket’s top button. It has notch lapels and a 6-button single-breasted front down to the notched bottom. Jimmy wears each button fastened. The front of the vest has four welt pockets – two on each side. The back is brown patterned silk with an adjustable strap across the bottom.

Jimmy resigns himself to his fate after getting a call from Nucky in "To the Lost" (2.12).

Jimmy resigns himself to his fate after getting a call from Nucky in “To the Lost” (2.12).

Jimmy’s suit trousers are flat front with straight on-seam side pockets and jetted rear pockets that both close with a button. They are cut straight through the leg down to the cuffed bottoms, which have a full break over his boots. All of Jimmy’s trousers are worn with suspenders, whether they’re visible or not. These trousers are no exception, and they have the adjustable back strap on the rear waistline where he attaches them.

Jimmy begins his practice of wearing a gold collar pin toward the end of the first season rather than letting his shirt collar flop in and out of his suits. Perhaps it’s his way of affecting a more professional, intimidating look, emulating the clean-looking collars of his old boss Nucky without resorting to the detachable contrast collar that was becoming more and more an indication of an older generation.

Jimmy faces off with Nucky after learning the truth about his conception in "A Return to Normalcy" (1.12).

Jimmy faces off with Nucky after learning the truth about his conception.

All of Jimmy’s shirts with this suit appear to be lightweight cotton with soft turndown point collars, front plackets, and buttoned cuffs. He tends to stick with his favorite color combinations, wearing a royal blue shirt in “A Return to Normalcy” (1.12), “A Dangerous Maid” (2.03), “Two Boats and a Lifeguard” (2.08), and “To the Lost” (2.12).

Jimmy often sports a gold tie with his blue shirt, wearing a mustard-colored knit tie in “A Return to Normalcy” and a gold printed silk tie in “A Dangerous Maid”.

For a night at Babbette's, Jimmy wears a more formal gold silk tie rather than his preferred knit.

For a night at Babbette’s, Jimmy wears a more formal gold silk tie rather than his preferred knit.

Jimmy wears a blue-gray shirt with a large turndown collar – still fastened by the gold collar pin – with the mustard knit tie when he meets with Nucky outside the funeral home in “21” (2.01).

Frenemies, 1921 style.

Frenemies, 1921 style.

In “Two Boats and a Lifeguard” (2.08), Jimmy spends the afternoon meeting with co-conspirators before “enjoying” a day on the beach with Angela. He sports a monochromatic look, wearing the royal blue shirt and a dark blue silk tie with a blue paisley “teardrop” motif.

Jimmy lights up an Old Gold. Check out that new wedding ring... not that Angela looks too happy to be part of this union.

Jimmy lights up an Old Gold. Check out that new wedding ring… not that Angela looks too happy to be part of this union.

Two episodes later in “Georgia Peaches” (2.10), Jimmy has a clandestine and unsuccessful meeting with Chalky. Now, he opts for a totally monochromatic palette by wearing his a brown shirt with a white pinstripe, the mustard knit tie, and his brown striped suit.

Chalky ain't having it.

Chalky ain’t having it.

The first appearance of this suit in “To the Lost” (2.12) finds Jimmy and Richard Harrow storming into Jim Neary’s office with fatal intentions. Blood was spilled, and Jimmy’s monochromatic maroon shirt and silk paisley tie may be symbolic, or it may be a coincidence.


After a day spent celebrating on the beach with his family and Richard, Jimmy gets a call to meet Nucky at the Atlantic City War Memorial. Nucky offers an excuse, but Jimmy sees right through it. He heads to the meeting in the last outfit of his life, sporting his favorite royal blue shirt, the brown striped suit, and a black tie with a series of green and tan abstract designs.

Jimmy lets Richard stay behind and goes off alone to meet his fate.

Jimmy lets Richard stay behind and goes off alone to meet his fate.

Ever the soldier, Jimmy still wears his black leather U.S. Army-issued combat boots, laced up the throat. Best featured in the first season, his Mk I Trench Knife is firmly fastened into the left boot via an ankle holster.

Jimmy’s wristwatch is also indicative of his service, since wristwatches were still only commonly worn by servicemen who had been exposed to this more convenient style of timekeeping during the war. Various characters would adopt wristwatches rather than pocket watches as the series goes on, but Jimmy wore his since the beginning. It has a steel tonneau-shaped case with an off-white dial and a brown leather strap.

Jimmy's watch is best seen during his times of tobacco-assisted reflection in "A Dangerous Maid" (2.03).

Jimmy’s watch is best seen during his times of tobacco-assisted reflection in “A Dangerous Maid” (2.03).

Jimmy also continues to wear his silver military dog tags, suspended around his neck on a brown cord. He typically tucks them under his white sleeveless cotton undershirt.

Although many aspects of his attire remain the same, Jimmy gets some new outerwear for 1921. In “21” (2.01), set in winter 1921, he wears a heavy gray herringbone tweed overcoat. The double-breasted coat has a 6×2 button front, which he leaves open, and extends down past his knees. Each of the wide peak lapels has a stitched buttonhole. The two chest pockets are box-pleated with flaps, and the two flapped hip pockets sit straight on his waist. The back has a V-shaped yoke across the shoulders and five darted pleats – including an “action-back” center vent – extending down to the half-belt, and a long single vent cuts up the center of the back. The sleeves are cuffed up 2″ from the edge.

Jimmy and Nucky talks shop at a klansman's funeral. Yes, a klansman's funeral.

Jimmy and Nucky talks shop at a klansman’s funeral. Yes, a klansman’s funeral.

Jimmy also gets a new hat, sporting a black beaver felt fedora with a thin black grosgrain ribbon and a narrow brim. The Screenbid.com auction also included this hat with the suit, and The Custom Hatter’s logo is clearly seen on the satin inner lining.

Jimmy's hat, auctioned by Screenbid.com and manufactured by The Custom Hatter.

Jimmy’s hat, auctioned by Screenbid.com and manufactured by The Custom Hatter.

The Custom Hatter himself is Gary White, a talented hat maker in Buffalo who has worked on several major film, TV, and stage productions and offers a range of hats on his site, custom made using rare vintage machines. The hat sported by Jimmy appears to be White’s “The Untouchable” model. White describes that his “fine-quality beaver felts are fine in rainy weather”, which is good for Jimmy since his final scene finds him sporting the fedora on a very rainy night in the summer of 1921.

R.I.P. James Darmody 1898-1921.

R.I.P. James Darmody

The one other new aspect of Jimmy’s attire this season is the plain gold wedding band, found on the third finger of his left hand. Evidently, things are going well with Angela… despite her preference for the fairer sex.

How to Get the Look

As Jimmy’s trek for power advances, so does his wardrobe. Although he’s no longer a soldier, he still wears a personal uniform of sorts, as opposed to his colorful opponent and ex-mentor. Like his clothing, Jimmy Darmody is simple but threatening.

Thompson vs. Darmody.

Thompson vs. Darmody.

  • Brown striped flannel suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 3-button jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets with flapped ticket pocket on right side, 4-button cuffs, half-belted back, and single rear vent
    • Single-breasted 6-button vest with notch lapels, 4 welted pockets, and adjustable rear strap on patterned silk lining
    • Flat front high-rise trousers with straight on-seam side pockets, jetted button-through rear pockets, rear suspender strap, and turn-ups/cuffs
  • Royal blue lightweight cotton shirt with soft turndown collar, front placket, and button cuffs
  • Mustard gold knit necktie
  • Gold collar pin
  • Black leather combat boots with black laces
  • Black dress socks
  • Black leather ankle holster for 1918 Mk I trench knife
  • Dark striped suspenders with brass hardware
  • Black beaver felt fedora with a thin black grosgrain band
  • Gray herringbone tweed double-breasted “action-back” overcoat with peak lapels, 6×2 button front, 2 flapped box-pleated chest patch pockets, 2 flapped patch hip pockets, cuffed sleeves, half-belted back, and long single vent
  • White cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Off-white cotton boxer shorts
  • Steel tonneau-shaped wristwatch on a brown leather strap
  • Plain gold wedding band, worn on left ring finger

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Watch the entire series, but if you’re especially a fan of Jimmy Darmody, invest in the first and second seasons. This suit gets most screen time during the second.

The Quote

I died in the trench, years back. I thought you knew that.

Bogart in The Big Sleep: Birdseye Wool Suit

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946).

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946).


Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, archetypal hard-boiled private detective

Los Angeles, Fall 1945

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: August 23, 1946
Director: Howard Hawks
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


The Big Sleep is often considered the apex of American film noir. Plot becomes secondary (and often disregarded) in favor of colorful characters made of private eyes, floozy femme fatales, and pornographers spitting snappy dialogue at each other against the backdrop of both the glamorous and seamy sides of the city. The same plot and characters from Raymond Chandler’s 1939 source novel are here, with the anti-Code elements like pornography and homosexuality all but removed.

Roger Ebert’s deservedly positive 1997 review, which describes the film as “a black-and-white symphony that exactly reproduces Chandlers ability… to find a tone of voice that keeps its distance and yet is wry and humorous and cares,” includes many great anecdotes about The Big Sleep‘s production. Although the relatively faithful script was punched up by writers William Faulkner, Jules Furthman, and Leigh Brackett, the studio’s insistence on reshooting certain scenes to focus on the blossoming romance between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall even further muddied the narrative waters. Ebert states: “It is typical of this most puzzling of films that no one agrees even on why it is so puzzling. Yet that has never affected “The Big Sleep’s” enduring popularity, because the movie is about the process of a criminal investigation, not its results.”

In fact, it seems that very little attention at all was paid to the results, both in the novel and the film. Ebert shares a story about Bogart showing up on the set and asking Howard Hawks, “Who pushed Taylor off the pier?” referring to the death of unseen character Owen Taylor. As Lauren Bacall noted in her autobiography: “Everything stopped” because no one knew the answer. Hawks telegrammed Chandler to ask if Taylor’s death was a murder or a suicide, and Chandler himself was stymied, later recalling, “Dammit, I didn’t know either.”

The Bogart-Bacall focus also drastically changed the film, which had been filmed and set for release in 1945. About twenty minutes were reshot and edited back in to let fans appreciate the chemistry between the two stars. According to Chandler, the decision irked director Hawks to the point that he threatened to sue. As Chandler wrote to his publisher:

The girl who played the nymphy sister was so good she shattered Miss Bacall completely. So they cut the picture in such a way that all her best scenes were left out except one. The result made nonsense and Howard Hawks threatened to sue… After long argument, as I hear it, he went back and did a lot of re-shooting.

While I take umbrage with any criticism toward Lauren Bacall, there is no denying that Martha Vickers (the “nymphy sister”) delivered a top-notch performance in both versions as the flighty young Carmen Sternwood. Vickers still featured prominently in the 1946 recut, but the “electric” performance cited by Ebert has indeed been forcibly shaved.

For a 20-year-old relatively inexperienced actress who described herself as "scared to death", Lauren Bacall did one hell of a great job.

For a 20-year-old relatively inexperienced actress who described herself as “scared to death” on set, Lauren Bacall did one hell of a great job.

Focusing on the film’s male lead, Ebert perfectly sums up what makes Humphrey Bogart so perfect for the Philip Marlowe role:

Bogart himself made personal style into an art form. What else did he have? He wasn’t particularly handsome, he wore a rug, he wasn’t tall (“I try to be,” he tells Vickers), and he always seemed to act within a certain range. Yet no other movie actor is more likely to be remembered a century from now.

Bogie had come a long way since he was a stock player at Warner Brothers, portraying the “sniveling bastard” as needed from Three on a Match in 1932 through The Petrified Forest up to his shared appearances with Jimmy Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties. He established himself in 1941 with High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon and firmly cemented himself in cinema history with Casablanca the following year. Finally, with The Big Sleep, Bogie adapted the “sniveling bastard” into a underdog we can’t help but to cheer on. It’s a high point in Bogart’s career, acting in the role he was born to play with the love of his life.

What’d He Wear?

Philip Marlowe wears three different suits over the four days of action in The Big Sleep, evidently cycling through Marlowe’s whole wardrobe as he ends up repeating his first suit on the fourth day. Since the film is black-and-white, it’s difficult to accurately determine what colors were involved in his outfits. The book is no help either, as the first paragraph of Chandler’s 1939 novel reads:

It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved, and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

… so clearly, the film didn’t use the book as a basis when dressing its protagonist in what appears to be a much more traditional combination of dark suit, light shirt, and dark tie. The attire that Marlowe describes in the book is surprisingly flashy for our cynical, straightforward private eye.

Bogart's suit colorized in brown and green.

Bogart’s suit colorized in brown (by “MsgtBob”) and green (by “BunnyDojo”).

I’ve seen a few different colorizations of stills from The Big Sleep, including a very attractive green color for this suit created by “MsgtBob” for a Worth1000.com content. However, the most convincing colorization that I’ve seen colored the suit brown, the shirt tan, and the tie a dark red, created by an artist known as “BunnyDojo”.

No matter what color it is, Marlowe’s suit on film is a dark two-piece, constructed from a birdseye wool suiting best seen when Marlowe is inspecting the empty camera at Geiger’s murder scene.

The birdseye detail of Marlowe's suit is best seen in this close-up at Geiger's crib.

The birdseye detail of Marlowe’s suit is best seen in this close-up at Geiger’s crib.

Matt Spaiser from The Suits of James Bond describes birdseye as: “a pattern of round dots on a diagonal grid… The pattern alternates two dark yarns and two light yarns in both the warp and the weft. In a larger scale the pattern looks like large circles with a dot in the centre. In smaller scales it looks like a simple pattern on dots on a diagonal grid.” Marlowe’s birdseye wool suit is an example of the smaller scale described by Spaiser, appearing solid from a distance and a grid of dots closer up.

As The Big Sleep was filmed mostly in 1945 when clothing was still mostly rationed for the war, Marlowe’s suit doesn’t feature any of the overly baggy fits or padding that were en vogue by the time of the film’s release a year later. The jacket is single-breasted with wide notch lapels. The notches themselves are large, and each lapel has a stitched buttonhole. The shoulders are lightly padded with only slight roping on the sleeveheads. The back is ventless.

Marlowe at the Sternwood residence.

Marlowe at the Sternwood residence.

Per Chandler’s description, Marlowe does wear a handkerchief in his breast pocket, but it’s a plain white linen handkerchief that he often uses to wipe his sweat in the intense heat of General Sternwood’s solarium and not the dark blue display handkerchief of the book. The breast pocket itself is welted, and the straight hip pockets are jetted with no flaps.

Marlowe’s suit jacket closes on a two-button front, but he always wears it open. There are also four buttons on each cuff.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Marlowe.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Marlowe.

The double reverse-pleated trousers of Marlowe’s suit are less minimalist than the jacket, mostly due to the fashions of the mid-1940s. They have a long rise with belt loops around the waist, secured by a slim brown leather belt. The belt appears to have some Western influence with its decorative tooling, metal tip, and the shape of its small metal single-claw buckle. He wears his keys on a chain that connects to his right front belt loop, carrying the keys themselves in the trousers’ right side pocket.

Marlowe was wise to remove his jacket in the tropical atmosphere cultivated by General Sternwood.

Marlowe was wise to remove his jacket in the tropical atmosphere cultivated by General Sternwood.

Marlowe also often keeps his hands in the on-seam side pockets of his trousers. When he takes off his jacket upon meeting General Sternwood, the pants’ baggy fit is evident around his hips and across the rear where there are two jetted pockets – the left closes with a button while the right is open. The generous fit continues through the trousers’ straight legs down to the cuffed bottoms.

Marlowe wears a light-colored cotton shirt that isn’t quite light enough to be pure white. Based on the contrast, it’s probably a lighter version of whatever color the suit is; assuming the suit is brown, the shirt is probably tan or ecru. It has a long point collar and a front placket. The square cuffs close with a single button, and the gauntlets also have a button. There is no pocket.

Before the sweat accumulated...

Before the sweat accumulated…

Marlowe’s silk tie is the simplest part of the outfit. It’s dark, short, and wide at the bottom. It has none of the vibrant prints or pizzazz that were characteristic of the decade’s later ties.

Even Bogart’s footwear deviates from Chandler’s description of Marlowe in the book. Rather than brogues and clock-patterned socks, Bogart’s Marlowe wears a pair of black calf cap-toe oxfords with plain black wool socks.

Bogie gives Bacall the boot... or, rather, the balmoral.

Bogie gives Bacall the boot… or, rather, the balmoral.

The classic fedora is now immediately associated with film noir tough guys, specifically Bogie. The Big Sleep is no exception, as he wears a dark felt snap-brim fedora with a wide black ribbon throughout the film. The “Royal Stetson” logo is clearly seen on the inside of the crown when it’s knocked off of his head during a confrontation with Eddie Mars’ thugs.

Marlowe briefly loses his hat! Chaos ensues!

Marlowe briefly loses his hat! Chaos ensues!

Bogart pokes fun at his own tough guy image when he poses as an effeminate antique book aficionado in the early stages of the investigation. He snaps up the front of his fedora’s brim and dons a pair of dark-framed sunglasses, affecting a foppish lisp as he grills Agnes about the “Ben-Hur, 1860… with the erratum on page 116″. Perhaps the lisp was a defense mechanism against his own natural lisp.



Although he only wears the sunglasses as part of a disguise (shades of North by Northwest!), Marlowe wears all of Bogart’s usual accessories. On the third finger of his right hand is the familiar gold ring with its ruby-diamond-ruby setting. Replicas are available at Royalty and Hollywood Jewelry in Naples, Florida as well as on Amazon.

All Bogart fans know this ring.

All Bogart fans know this ring.

Bogart’s square-cased watch is clearly seen, although it’s not the same Longines Evidenza seen in Casablanca. He wears it on a brown leather strap.

Not the Longines, but still elegant.

Not the Longines, but still elegant.

Marlowe also wears two different topcoats with this suit. His go-to topcoat is a Glen plaid wool knee-length coat with a single-breasted, four-button front, typically worn with just the bottom button done. It has a large collar, straight welted hand pockets, plain cuffs, and – interestingly – a ventless back.

Marlowe gets to investigating.

Marlowe gets to investigating.

However, he also encounters some rain over the course of his investigation and finds himself sporting a classic khaki trench coat. Just like the iconic one he wore as Rick Blaine in Casablanca, this belted raincoat is double-breasted with storm flaps, button-down epaulettes, slanted hand pockets, buckle-strap cuffs, and a long single vent in the back.

Shades of Rick Blaine!

Shades of Rick Blaine!

The manufacturers’ logo of Marlowe’s trench coat is visible when Norris eases him into it before he leaves the Sternwood residence, but I haven’t yet been able to identify it. It doesn’t look like either the Aquascutum or Burberry logos, but those could have been different in the 1940s.

Norris would be far more helpful if he would tell us who manufactured Marlowe's trench coat.

Norris would be far more helpful if he would tell us who manufactured Marlowe’s trench coat.

Go Big or Go Home

It’s been said (by me) that a film noir gumshoe is only as good as his daily booze and tobacco consumption. Luckily, Philip Marlowe’s got that covered in spades (pun) from the very beginning. General Sternwood enjoys brandy but is no longer allowed to imbibe for health reasons so he takes his drinks “by proxy”, and Marlowe is more than happy to indulge by taking several drams on his behalf. He learn a little more about Marlowe when he stops off at a bookstore and, after some flirtatious banter with the foxy clerk (played by a scene-stealing Dorothy Malone), mentions to her that “It just happens I got a bottle of pretty good rye in my pocket.” We see little of the bottle himself, so we’ll just have to accept Marlowe’s word regarding its quality. Still, it’s not too good that either Marlowe or the unnamed clerk are above drinking it out of her paper cups.

Marlowe offers Bernie Ohls a smoke.

Marlowe offers Bernie Ohls a smoke.

Marlowe’s cigarettes of choice are Chesterfields, unfiltered of course.

How to Get the Look

Marlowe’s suit is a perfect template for dressing a hard-boiled PI from the era. Simplicity is key – both due to wartime rationing and an uncomplicated attitude. So what if we don’t know what color it is?


  • Dark birdseye wool two-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 2-button jacket with large notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
    • Double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, straight on-seam side pockets, jetted rear pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • Light cotton dress shirt with long point collar, front placket, and squared 1-button cuffs
  • Dark short silk necktie with wide bottom
  • Brown decorative-tooled slim leather belt with small single-claw buckle and metal tip
  • Black calf leather cap-toe oxford shoes
  • Black wool dress socks
  • Dark felt snap-brim Royal Stetson fedora with wide black grosgrain ribbon
  • Dark plastic-framed sunglasses
  • Square-cased wristwatch on brown leather strap
  • Gold ring with two rubies and diamond

If it’s raining, opt for a classic khaki trench coat to combat the wetness. If it’s just a chilly night, a simple Glen plaid topcoat will add a touch of tough-guy class.

The Guns

Like most films of its era, The Big Sleep appeals to wheel-gun lovers by featuring plenty of revolvers. Marlowe himself keeps two in his car – a Colt Detective Special and a Colt Official Police.

Both the Colt Detective Special and the Colt Official Police were developed in 1927 as double-action revolvers aimed at the police market. Both were primarily chambered in .38 Special and had swing-out cylinders and exposed ejector rods. The primarily difference is the barrel length; the Official Police was developed for general police issue and offered in barrel lengths of 4″, 5″, and 6″. The Detective Special, on the other hand, was meant to serve as it was named – for plainclothes detectives. It was one of the first modern “snubnose” revolvers developed for concealment with its 2″ barrel (although rare examples made with 3″ barrels have also been uncovered).

Marlowe keeps a Colt Detective Special handy in his Plymouth.

Marlowe keeps a Colt Detective Special handy in his Plymouth.

The climax of the film finds Marlowe tied up in a house outside Rialto in San Bernardino County. He frees himself and sneaks out to his disabled car, where he flicks a switch and – PRESTO! a panel flips down with his 2″-barreled Colt Detective Special waiting for him. (Evidently, his Official Police has been misplaced.) Marlowe grabs the Detective Special and sets up a gambit for Vivian to help him corner and kill the nefarious Lash Canino.

Marlowe waits for Canino to show up.

Marlowe waits for Canino to show up.

Once Canino has been downed by Marlowe’s bullets, Marlowe has to put the last steps of his plan in motion. He arms himself with Canino’s own Colt Official Police and heads to the deceased A.G. Geiger’s house on Laverne Terrace to wait for Eddie Mars.

Marlowe holds Canino's Colt Official Police on Eddie Mars.

Marlowe holds Canino’s Colt Official Police on Eddie Mars.

It’s with this Colt Official Police that Marlowe forces Mars to get what’s coming to him in the finale. Some have cited this as a continuity error since Marlowe clearly uses the shorter-barreled Detective Special in the shootout with Canino, but it’s more than probable that he just picked up Canino’s own Official Police to ensure that he’d have a much firepower as necessary when facing off against Eddie Mars.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie as well as Raymond Chandler’s 1939 book. Who cares if you get confused by the plot? Chandler himself wasn’t sure what was going on. Just enjoy some classic hard-boiled private eye noir.

The Quote

I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners, I don’t like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don’t mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don’t waste your time trying to cross-examine me.

The Sopranos: Tony’s Black Leather Blazer

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos". (Episode 5.13, "All Due Respect")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos.
(Episode 5.13, “All Due Respect”)


James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, Jersey mob boss and conflicted family man

New Jersey, Fall 2002-2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes: multiple episodes from “Mergers and Acquisitions” (4.08) through “The Blue Comet” (6.20)
Air Dates: November 3, 2002 (4.08) through June 3, 2007 (6.20)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa


James Gandolfini was born on September 18, 1961. On what would’ve been the late, great actor’s 54th birthday, BAMF Style is finally examining a favorite look of his most notorious character: Tony Soprano.

The Sopranos did a fine job of keeping its characters’ wardrobes consistent and contextually fashionable throughout the seasons. Just as in real life, clothing is repeated on a cycle, with certain items showing up more in the colder seasons and others on warmer days.

When autumn rolled around on the later seasons of The Sopranos, Tony could often be seen wearing a garment very frequently associated with Italian mobsters – a black leather blazer. Tony is no stranger to leather jackets, wearing various styles and colors throughout the show’s run. But this particular jacket, styled and cut like a suit coat, adds an air of sinister formality and power. It was seen in the following episodes:

  • “Mergers and Acquisitions” (Episode 4.08), dir. Dan Attias, aired November 3, 2002
  • “The Strong, Silent Type” (Episode 4.10), dir. Alan Taylor, aired November 17, 2002
  • “Long Term Parking” (Episode 5.12), dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 23, 2004 – set in November 2004
  • “All Due Respect” (Episode 5.13), dir. John Patterson, aired June 6, 2004 – set in December 2004
  • “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10), dir. Steve Shill, aired May 14, 2006 – set in late fall 2006
  • “Kaisha” (Episode 6.12), dir. Alan Taylor, aired June 6, 2006 – set between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2006
  • “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17), dir. Terence Winter, aired May 6, 2007 – set in fall 2007
  • “The Blue Comet” (Episode 6.20), dir. Alan Taylor, aired June 3, 2007 – set in fall 2007

What’d He Wear?

The Leather Blazer

Tony’s black leather blazer is cut like a suit jacket and made from a soft leather, possibly an English lambskin that Gandolfini was known to prefer. At 6’1″ and roughly 275 pounds, Gandolfini would have likely worn a size 54 jacket that would serve as a blanket or cape for mere mortals. On Tony Soprano, it looks dangerous and menacingly sophisticated. The coat’s padded shoulders and roped sleeveheads enhance Gandolfini’s powerful silhouette and ensure that Tony Soprano looks intimidating whether he’s in a mobbed-up strip club or hospital waiting room.

Tony in various states of fidgeting.

Tony in various states of fidgeting.

The coat is single-breasted with a long and large notch lapels that roll over the top button of the two-button front. Both the front buttons and the four buttons on each cuff are black plastic. A slanted buttonhole is stitched into the left lapel, parallel to the lower gorge.

Tony’s leather blazer has the same welted breast pocket and straight hip pockets that one would find on a sport coat or suit coat. The flaps of the hip pockets are often tucked in to reveal the jetting, and the pockets sit straight across the same stitched horizontal axis as the lower front button.

Tony berates Paulie for his lack of taste: both in art and fashion.

Tony berates Paulie for his lack of taste: both in art and fashion.

Tony typically wears dark trousers in various shades of gray when sporting his black leather blazer. The most commonly seen pants are a pair of charcoal slacks that he wears during the jacket’s fourth and sixth season appearances. Most of Tony’s pants are styled with single reverse pleats, side pockets, and turn-ups on a full break. They all have belt loops, and he tends to wear a black leather belt when wearing his black leather blazer. Many of Tony’s pants were made by Zanella, according to the show’s costumers and several online auctions. Zanella is an especially appropriate choice for the character given its luxurious Italian roots.

Tony follows sartorial standards by wearing black leather shoes to match his jacket and belt. He usually wears a pair of split-toe bluchers, but his shoes in “Mergers and Acquisitions” (4.08) are black calf double monk strap loafers with steel buckles. He always wears black socks with his black shoes.

Tony's bluchers as seen in "All Due Respect" (5.13) and monk shoes in "Mergers and Acquisitions" (4.08). Safe to assume that both are Allen Edmonds shoes.

Tony’s bluchers as seen in “All Due Respect” (5.13) and monk shoes in “Mergers and Acquisitions” (4.08). Safe to assume that both pairs are Allen Edmonds.

Based on the sole logo and the show’s history with the brand, Tony’s monk shoes have been identified as Allen Edmonds’ “Mora” monk straps, currently available as the 2988 “Mora 2.0” on their site for $385. I haven’t been able to identify his bluchers, but if they are also Allen Edmonds, the current “Walton” model would be a fine approximation. Also $385.

Tony’s Shirts

Unlike some BAMFs on this blog who prefer a monochromatic palette, Tony isn’t afraid to let his colorful flag fly with his shirts. The rest of his outfit may consist of blacks and grays, but Tony’s shirts with this outfit vary by episode.

The first appearance of the black leather blazer finds Tony relaxing in the back room of the Crazy Horse in “Mergers and Acquisitions (4.08), enjoying a Scotch on the rocks and not enjoying a conversation with the eccentric Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano). Tony wears a light purple silk long-sleeve dress shirt with dark buttons down a plain front and buttoned cuffs.

"Mergers and Acquisitions" (Episode 4.08)

“Mergers and Acquisitions” (Episode 4.08)

Two episodes later in “The Strong, Silent Type” (4.10), Tony arrives at his uncle’s home and finds himself entranced by his uncle’s tough nurse Svetlana (Alla Kliouka Schaffer) as well as a box of Ritz crackers. He consults briefly with Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) after taking off the black leather blazer to reveal a dark gray silk short-sleeve polo shirt with a 3-button placket.

"The Strong, Silent Type" (Episode 4.10)

“The Strong, Silent Type” (Episode 4.10)

In “Long Term Parking” (5.12), Tony visits Valentina at the hospital in an all-black ensemble, including the black leather blazer, black pants, and a black silk microfiber camp shirt.

At home in "Long Term Parking" (Episode 5.12).

At home in “Long Term Parking” (Episode 5.12).

This casual shirt is short-sleeved with cream-colored broken stitching on the edges of the shirt – including the collar and the pockets – with cream rear side pleats that extend down from the yoke to the hem but slightly pulled in for collection at the waist. The patch pockets close with buttoned flaps; the black plastic buttons match those down the shirt’s plain front. The maker of this particular shirt isn’t known to me, but the broken-stitch styling is very similar to a black, olive, and cream Nat Nast shirt that Tony wears in “The Ride” (6.09).

In the next episode, “All Due Respect” (5.13), Tony replaces the black shirt and pants with an all gray look, sporting a dark gray long-sleeve dress shirt with gray single reverse-pleated trousers. The shirt has 2-button mitred cuffs, but Tony only buttons the outer button closer to his hand.

"All Due Respect" (Episode 5.13)

“All Due Respect” (Episode 5.13)

Tony’s black leather blazer makes its next appearance in the next season’s “Moe n’ Joe” (6.10) in a brief scene at the Bing when Tony returns to the office with some Dunkin’ Donuts takeout. Now, his shirts are getting more complex. The printed silk shirt worn with his outfit has a pattern of abstract black and blue squares connected on a gray grid. Many of the squares are filled with gray target-style circles, but some of the black squares have a small waffle pattern that resembles Tony’s beloved Honey Comb cereal. (And yes, I’ve done the research and determined that Honey Comb is the cereal that Tony is most frequently seen eating.) This casual shirt is short-sleeved with black plastic buttons down the plain front.

A whole lot of writing for very little screen time in "Moe n' Joe" (Episode 6.10).

A whole lot of writing for very little screen time in “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10).

Two episodes later in “Kaisha” (6.12), Tony sports another printed silk casual shirt with the black leather blazer. This shirt is long-sleeved with a black and gray deco pattern.

"Kaisha" (Episode 6.12)

“Kaisha” (Episode 6.12)

Later in the episode, Tony goes to visit Phil Leotardo at the hospital, marking the second occasion that he chooses his black leather blazer for a hospital visit. He wears a different shirt this time, a very complex gray silk casual shirt. The base of the shirt is a gray ground with a tonal silk grid with vertical overlaying stripes in varying shades of gray, blue, and tan. The plain front has iridescent buttons.

Tony has his touching heart-to-heart with Phil in "Kaisha" about a year before engineering his murder.

Tony has his touching heart-to-heart with Phil in “Kaisha” about a year before engineering his murder.

The black leather blazer makes a brief appearance in some of the final seasons’ episodes. In “Walk Like a Man” (6.17), he wears a busy-looking purple, blue, and beige printed shirt while making a phone call from his car.

The last appearances of Tony's leather blazer in "Walk Like a Man" (Episode 6.17) and "The Second Coming" (Episode 6.20).

The last appearances of Tony’s leather blazer in “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17) and “The Second Coming” (Episode 6.20).

The final appearance of Tony’s black leather blazer comes in the penultimate episode, “The Blue Comet” (6.20), when Tony wears a brown, tan, and blue plaid shirt.

Of course, Tony always wears his white ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt. A few examples auctioned from the show were made by Jockey, so it’s safe to assume that this is Tony’s preferred brand of undershirts.

Tony’s Standard Accessories

Christmas shopping for Tony Soprano must have been very easy as he makes his preference for gold accessories clear early on. He always wears a gold 18″ open-link chain necklace with a St. Jerome pendant buried in his chest hair.

Tony wears a gold pinky ring on his right hand with a ruby and diamond clustered together. On his left hand, he wears his plain gold wedding band on the third finger. On his right wrist, he wears a gold link bracelet that isn’t uncommon among movie mobsters.

Tony takes a call from Carmela in "Long Term Parking" (Episode 5.12).

Tony takes a call from Carmela in “Long Term Parking” (Episode 5.12).

Tony’s left wrist is adorned by a gold Rolex President Day-Date. Tony’s Rolex watch, seen in every season, is 18-karat yellow gold on a 36mm case with a “champagne” dial, worn on a flat Oyster three-piece link bracelet with a concealed clasp.

Of course, Tony's (literally) burned mistress is none too pleased that he's taking calls from his wife... or leaving to go back to her.

Of course, Tony’s (literally) burned mistress is none too pleased that he’s taking calls from his wife… or leaving to go back to her.

This Rolex is still available and their site claims that it is “the most prestigious Rolex model since 1956”.

A Note

Referring to a “black leather blazer” may send sartorial purists up in arms. “A blazer is wool with metal buttons!” screams purist #1. “Yes, and you can pry my navy blazer from my cold, dead hands,” threatens purist #2. Despite the protests of these purists, when you say you’re looking for a “black leather blazer”, salespeople and designers are going to know what you’re talking about. Other terms like “black leather sport coat” are clumsy and saying “black leather jacket” is too vague. If you disagree, then bite your lip and suck it up. If you’re cool to go with an industry-recognized term as I am, then more power to you for being a cool, rational person.

How to Get the Look

Tony Soprano set the standards for a new brand stylish but imposing badassery in the 21st century. His black leather blazer is a staple garment that adds a degree of toughness to even the most vibrantly printed silk shirt.

The shirt doesn't have to be black, as Tony finds gray, blue, and purple varieties work as just as easily.

The shirt doesn’t have to be black, as Tony finds gray, blue, and purple varieties work as just as easily.

  • Black lambskin leather blazer with large notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and 4-button cuffs
  • Black printed silk long-sleeve button-up shirt
  • Charcoal gray single reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • Black leather belt with steel square single-claw buckle
  • Black calf leather 5-eyelet split-toe bluchers/derby shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Rolex President Day-Date 118238 yellow gold wristwatch
  • Gold open-link chain bracelet
  • Gold pinky ring with ruby and diamond stones
  • Plain gold wedding band
  • Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant

If you want to up your Sopranos game by wearing Tony’s brands, track down some Zanella trousers and Allen Edmonds shoes. His known shirts came from a variety of manufacturers from Burma Bibas to Rochester Couture, so look for what feels best.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the entire series. You won’t regret it, and Gandolfini was a master of his craft.

The Quote

Listen to me. Now I never told nobody this, but while I was in that coma, something happened to me. I went someplace, I think. But I know I never wanna go back there. And maybe you know what I’m talkin’ about. Believe me, nobody ever laid on their deathbed wishing they saved more no-show jobs. Now, you take your time, you get better, and you get out of this fuckin’ place. But when you do, you focus on grandkids and good things. We can have it all, Phil, plenty for everybody.


Although the post is a celebration of James Gandolfini’s birthday, today is also my sister’s 30th birthday! Happy birthday, Sis!

Heat – Neil McCauley’s Charcoal Pinstripe Bank Robbery Suit

Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley in Heat (1995).

Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley in Heat (1995).


Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley, professional armed robber

Los Angeles, Spring 1995

Film: Heat
Release Date: December 15, 1995
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Deborah Lynn Scott
De Niro’s Costumer: Marsha Bozeman


My last post looked at a bank robber who relied on his wits and a team of burglars to carry out a job. Neil McCauley is far more ruthless and traditional kind of cinematic bank robber; one that you would expect a no-nonsense great like Robert De Niro to portray. After months of planning and double-crosses, McCauley’s team is ready to take down a major bank in downtown L.A.

Although Heat is often considered to be Mann’s masterpiece, it wasn’t his first go at the storyline. In fact, he’d been perfecting the story in his mind for more than 15 years. Mann was well-acquainted with former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson, who told him the story of a professional robber he was investigating in 1963. The robber’s name was Neil McCauley. As Mann describes: “one day they simply bumped into one another. [Adamson] didn’t know what to do: arrest him, shoot him or have a cup of coffee.” A failed robbery by McCauley later led to a standoff where Adamson killed him. Sound familiar?

Mann had his first screenplay drafted in 1979. He directed his first feature, Thief, in 1981 and continued reworking the script throughout the decade. When NBC commissioned him to produce a new TV series, Mann took his magnum opus, shortened it from 180 to 90 pages to make an acceptable pilot, and filmed L.A. Takedown in 19 days. The 92-minute film aired on NBC on August 27, 1989. Although it didn’t lead to a series, Mann stuck with his dream to film the entire sprawling story he had developed and, after directing The Last of the Mohicans in 1992, he finally managed to gather the massive talent and $60 million budget he needed to make Heat a reality.

The film is a perfect crime drama, weaving in each character’s personal lives and motives until archetypes are abandoned in favor of three-dimensional characters. However, the part that sticks out in the minds of most fans is the Far East Bank robbery and its fatal aftermath. After entering the bank with his two most reliable comrades, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) and Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), McCauley takes immediate command of the situation:

We want to hurt no one! We’re here for the bank’s money, not your money. Your money is insured by the federal government, you’re not gonna lose a dime! Think of your families, don’t risk your life. Don’t try and be a hero!

What’d He Wear?

It’s well-documented that Michael Mann likes to dress his professional criminals in gray suits and white shirts, giving them a look that can range from anonymous to deadly efficient as needed. Neil McCauley is no different, wearing four different gray suits throughout the film, always with a white shirt.

For the bank robbery, McCauley wears a charcoal gray wool suit with a subtle fine pinstripe. Apropos to the mid-1990s, the suit has a very large, baggy fit that – while definitely dated – also serves a practical purpose for a heavily-armed bank robber.

McCauley gets some bad news.

McCauley gets some bad news.

McCauley’s double-breasted jacket allows him to totally cover the tactical vest beneath it when closed. The front has a long 6×1 button layout, although we primarily see the suit coat worn totally open. The peak lapels have slanted gorges with a low stance at mid-chest. The welted breast pocket is even lower on the chest, implying that the jacket is at least one size too big for De Niro. Although unflattering on its own, Heat deserves credit for not glamorizing its star by placing him in a better-fitting suit when he wouldn’t practically be wearing one. Since he needs the larger jacket to fit over his tactical vest and long gun during the robbery, it makes sense that he wouldn’t waste time by changing out of it during the robbery’s hurried aftermath.

McCauley had also worn the voluminous pinstripe suit while planning the robbery.

McCauley had also worn the voluminous pinstripe suit while planning the robbery.

The suit coat also has heavily padded shoulders that extend far beyond De Niro’s natural shoulders, another sign that the jacket is sized too large for De Niro. Other details include a single rear vent, flapped hip pockets that often have the flaps tucked in, and 4-button cuffs with the buttons stitched very close to the edge.

A CU shot of McCauley donning his head mask for the robbery clearly shows 3-button cuffs, a continuity error that suggests another suit jacket was used for that shot only as every other appearance seems to show the jacket with 4-button cuffs.

So this is what they mean when they say "bank takeover"...

So this is what they mean when they say “bank takeover”…

The suit’s matching trousers also have a very generous fit, but it’s less noticeable than the jacket and likely just a result of ’90s styling rather than a practical choice since he isn’t hiding any guns in his pants… that we know of. The trousers have a low rise with single reverse pleats, and the bottoms are plain-hemmed.

In addition to the straight on-seam side pockets, McCauley’s suit pants also have jetted rear pockets that close through buttons. McCauley wears a black leather belt – with a gold squared single-claw buckle – through the trousers’ belt loops.


When in the bank, McCauley wears a lightweight mesh tactical vest with eight black velcro loops for his carbine magazines. The outer trim of the vest is also black, including the short zipper over his abdomen.

A frightening sign of a professional criminal is when he wears a vest with 240 additional rounds of rifle ammunition attached to it.

A frightening sign of a professional criminal robbing your bank is when he wears a vest with 240 additional rounds of rifle ammunition attached to it.

I’ve never seen a shooting vest that exactly resembles McCauley’s, but similar black mesh shooting vests are available from companies like Bob Allen and H2H. A very helpful follower named Justin F. emailed me a link to TGC’s replica of the “Heat Tactical Vest”, designed for airsoft shooters. TGC’s version is described as “a super light net-fabric vest with [Velcro] straps and elastic loops to accommodate up to eight M4 magazines” as well as one pistol magazine.


McCauley’s tie, also worn only during the bank robbery, is black with a slanted gray shadow grid check. Ties like these are a dime a dozen: easy to match with a simple outfit like McCauley’s and very inconspicuous.

McCauley watches Dr. Bob do his thing, slyly envying the man's clean shirt.

McCauley watches Dr. Bob do his thing, slyly envying the man’s clean shirt.

After taking the wounded Shiherlis to Dr. Bob (Jeremy Piven) for treatment, McCauley loses the vest and watches over his buddy in his shirt, tie, and trousers. The shirt is a McCauley standard for the film: white cotton with a long-pointed spread collar, front placket, breast pocket, and button cuffs.

McCauley realizes he can’t be inconspicuous in his bloodied shirt, so he quickly flips from concerned pal to ruthless commander in a second:

McCauley: Take off your shirt.
Dr. Bob: What?
McCauley: Take off your shirt.
Dr. Bob: My… my God, my daughter gave it to me for Father’s Day-
McCauley: I don’t give a shit who gave it to you, take it off!

From at point until the end of the film, McCauley wears Dr. Bob’s similarly-styled blue striped shirt, without a tie.

In a fresh shirt, McCauley is ready to take revenge before taking flight.

In a fresh shirt, McCauley is ready to get revenge before getting away.

McCauley’s shoes are a pair of black leather plain-toe oxfords with heavy black soles, worn with black dress socks. An efficient and monochromatic thief like McCauley isn’t going to draw attention to himself with the fashionable alternative of brown footwear with a gray suit.


Also eschewing fashion standards, McCauley wears a black digital wristwatch that allows him to run his team of crooks with precision, able to measure the exact time down to the second.

There are three kinds of people in the world: those that notice McCauley's watch first, those that notice his gun first, and BAMFs who notice both of them.

There are three kinds of people in the world: those that notice McCauley’s watch first, those that notice his gun first, and BAMFs who notice both of them.

While he may not care about fashion when it comes to the rest of his clothing, McCauley does spring for a pair of snazzy sunglasses. Thanks to commenter Alex, we now know that these are Revo 1402 033 sunglasses with brushed gold etched frames and amber anti-glare lenses.


[For those who heard Armani provided the sunglasses in Heat: McCauley definitely wears a pair of gunmetal-framed Giorgio Armani 634 sunglasses in the earlier scene where he tracks down Charlene Shirherlis (Ashley Judd) to a motel, but this is clearly a different pair.]

Other robbery-specific accessories worn by McCauley are the plain black skin-tight balaclava, worn to conceal all but his eyes, and the black nylon tactical gloves that close with velcro over the elasticized wrists.

Note the 3-button cuffs... is this a different suit jacket?

Note the 3-button cuffs… is this a different suit jacket?

Ski masks like these, often associated with armed robbery, can be easily found. I can’t identify the exact gloves worn by McCauley but these FREETOO gloves look like a good enough approximation.

DON’T Go Big or Go Home

Apparently, many aspiring crooks around the world didn’t learn the lesson from Heat that crime doesn’t pay, with copycat robbery attempts on armored cars, banks, and stores showing up everywhere from Colombia to Norway after the film’s release. The most notable copycat attempt was the famous 1997 North Hollywood shootout when Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu marched into a North Hollywood branch of the Bank of America on February 28, 1997. Much like the Heat criminals, the two had previously robbed an armored car that resulted in the death of a guard. They had some experience with bank robbery in the past few years, but they supposedly delayed their robbery three days until they could get their hands on the exact money-carrying bags used by Val Kilmer in the film.

The LAPD – not led by Al Pacino, I should mention – cornered Phillips and Mătăsăreanu as they exited the bank, engaging them with their Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolvers, 9mm Beretta pistols, and 12-gauge shotguns. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu fired back with illegally-modified, fully-automatic rifles while trying to escape in their ’87 Chevy Celebrity getaway car. Eleven police officers and seven civilians were wounded in the shootout, although the only two fatalities were Phillips and Mătăsăreanu.

There is some irony in the fact that one of the few criticisms of Heat was that people called the post-bank robbery gunfight unrealistic. When two wannabe McCauleys tried to pull off the same job, they met with just as much police resistance and fared just as poorly. What did they expect??

How to Get the Look

Stripping away the aspects of his outfit that were needed for a bank robbery (including the excessive bagginess!), McCauley actually wears a fine example of a ’90s business suit.


  • Charcoal pinstripe wool suit, consisting of:
    • Double-breasted 6×2-button jacket with low-gorge peak lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Single reverse-pleated low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White cotton dress shirt with long-pointed spread collar, front placket, breast pocket, and button cuffs
  • Black and gray-shadow grid-patterned necktie
  • Black leather belt with gold square single-claw buckle
  • Black leather plain-toe oxfords
  • Black dress socks
  • Revo 1403 033 brushed gold-framed sunglasses with amber anti-glare lenses
  • Black digital wristwatch

I’m hoping you won’t need a breakdown of the shooting vest, ski mask, and gloves.

The Gun

In addition to his trusty .45-caliber SIG-Sauer P220 pistol, Neil McCauley arms himself with a deadly efficient Colt Model 733 “Commando” fully-automatic carbine. This is also the long arm of choice for Chris Shiherlis, who had also carried one during the opening armored car robbery (when McCauley was armed with the similar but longer-barreled Colt Model 654, predecessor to the M4).

McCauley takes aim with his Colt Model 733.

McCauley takes aim with his Colt Model 733.

The Colt Commando was developed from the CAR-15 family of M16-based rifles sold by Colt on the civilian market during the Vietnam War era. Since the AR-15 name originally stood for ArmaLite Rifle, the original manufacturer, the CAR-15 was Colt’s attempt to re-associate the rifle with its own brand as the “Colt Automatic Rifle-15”. Now, the CAR-15 is a more generic name for any carbine-length variants of the M16 or AR-15 developed before the M4 Carbine was introduced in 1994. While the M16 line of rifles have 20″ barrels and the M4 has a 14.5″ barrel, the Colt Commando and XM177 versions of the rifle have remained popular for their compact size with 11.5″ barrels.

In its early years, the Colt Model 733 “Commando” was literally pulled together from scraps and spare parts of both M16A1 rifles and M16A2 rifles. It fires the same 5.56×45 mm NATO round as its longer M16 and M4 variants, although the shorter barrel and lighter weight means reduced accuracy, muzzle velocity, and range.

Photo courtesy of IMFDB, uploaded to that site by MoviePropMaster2008.

Photo courtesy of IMFDB, uploaded to that site by MoviePropMaster2008.

The Colt Model 733 is a smart, professional choice for the urban bank robbery shown in the film due to the close-to-medium distance fighting. In addition to the compact size, the greater muzzle flash from the shorter barrel would also increase the intimidation factor when fired, and the rifle round means greater accuracy and power than a submachine gun would offer. Val Kilmer was supposedly so proficient with quickly reloading the Model 733 that American Special Forces instructors show this sequence to their trainees for educational purposes (according to IMFDB.)

For these few moments, L.A.'s city streets belong to the McCauley crew.

For these few moments, L.A.’s city streets belong to the McCauley crew.

The actors’ proficiency with their weapons means much credit should be given to Andy McNab, the Special Forces soldier and Persian Gulf War veteran who served as a technical advisor on Heat and spent two months training the cast with firearms. McNab used a tape of L.A. Takedown to get a feel for the style of shootout that Mann desired, then extensively worked with the actors, even working with De Niro to teach him how he would carry an appropriately weighted bag full of money and a wounded Val Kilmer while still firing his automatic carbine one-handed with relative precision.

Neil McCauley knows how to watch out for a buddy!

Neil McCauley knows how to watch out for a buddy!

Of course, McCauley always has his .45 handy. In this case, it’s a blued SIG-Sauer P220 pistol with an 8-round magazine of .45 ACP.

McCauley delivers some fatal news to an enemy.

McCauley delivers some fatal news to an enemy.

Interestingly, McCauley always carries his pistol in the front of his waistband. This type of carry, known in non-PC circles as “Mexican carry”, isn’t recommended by firearms experts as it doesn’t firmly secure the weapon and it unsafely keeps it pointing in the direction of man’s most prized possession.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. And please don’t rob a bank.

Although, you can and should listen to “Force Marker”, the Brian Eno track that underlines the McCauley gang’s efficient takeover of the Far East Bank.

The Quote

He knew the risks, he didn’t have to be there. It rains… you get wet.