American Gangster: Frank Lucas’ Wedding Suit

Denzel Washington and Lymari Nadal as Frank Lucas and Eva Lucas in American Gangster (2007).

Denzel Washington and Lymari Nadal as Frank Lucas and Eva Lucas in American Gangster (2007).

Vitals

Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, heroin kingpin

Harlem, Summer 1971

Film: American Gangster
Release Date: November 2, 2007
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: Janty Yates

Background

For BAMF Style, the week leading up to Valentine’s Day always means a Week of Weddings, focusing on how some of the greatest on-screen tough guys dress up for their big day.

American Gangster depicts the rise and fall of heroin trafficker Frank Lucas and his disputed claims of smuggling dope home in the caskets of American servicemen who had died during the Vietnam War. He meets the Puerto Rican beauty queen Eva (her real name was Julianna) at his nightclub, and the two are soon married.

What’d He Wear?

If Casino and American Gangster tell us anything, it’s that gangsters in the early ’70s wore white-on-white ties under black peak-lapel single-breasted suits for their nuptials.

Frank Lucas walks down the aisle in a very distinctive black wool dinner suit with satin accents at nearly every turn. The single-breasted jacket has sharp peak lapels with satin facings. Both the welted breast pocket and the rear-slanted welted hip pockets have satin-faced besoms. To provide some extra celebratory pop to his jacket, Frank has a white boutonnière pinned to his left lapel and a white silk handkerchief – with black edges – folded into his breast pocket.

The new Mr. and Mrs. Lucas greet their friends and family and fellow gangsters.

The new Mr. and Mrs. Lucas greet their friends and family and fellow gangsters.

All of the buttons on Frank’s dinner jacket are flat plastic with a metallic sheen. The jacket is worn closed in the front with a single button, and there are four buttons on each cuff.

The flat front suit trousers have side pockets. They have a large, comfortable fit throughout down to the slightly flared plain-hemmed bottoms which have a full break over Frank’s black leather slip-on loafers, a surprisingly informal choice of footwear for such an important day in Frank’s life.

This brief glimpse at Frank's surprisingly informal shoes also shows off his jacket and shirt cuffs.

This brief glimpse at Frank’s surprisingly informal shoes also shows off his jacket and shirt cuffs.

In honor of the traditional purity symbolized in most weddings, Frank wears all white beneath his suit. His textured dress shirt has a large spread collar and French cuffs. This appears to be the same shirt he had worn earlier with a brown suit during his arrest.

Frank faces off against a conniving Trupo.

Frank faces off against a conniving Trupo.

Frank’s silk necktie is an ivory shade warmer than his white shirt and waistcoat. He ties it with a wide Windsor knot and fastens it into place high on his chest where the vest breaks. His tie pin, like his cuff links, is round and black with silver edges.

AGfl9w-CL2-Tie

Although false-back vests were already popular by the time of Frank’s wedding in the summer of 1971, his white silk paisley-printed waistcoat appears to be the real deal with a high-fastening 6-button single-breasted front and a full back.

Frank's mysterious white silk vest...

Frank’s mysterious white silk vest…

When he’s sitting in front of the fire at home after having taken off his jacket, the shoulders appear to have the thin straps indicating a false-backed vest, but the shot of Frank ascending his spiral stairs clearly shows a fully-backed vest.

Go Big or Go Home – Wedding Edition

The Venue

Frank and Eva enjoy a nice service at a Baptist church and Harlem until…

Notable Guests

…that bastard Detective Trupo shows up and ruins everything with his veiled threats.

How to Get the Look

This production photo makes me wonder if Frank's suit is actually midnight blue, which would make sense...

This production photo makes me wonder if Frank’s suit is actually midnight blue, which would make sense…

Frank’s wedding attire is far more black and white than his dubious morality.

  • Black wool formal suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 1-button dinner jacket with satin-faced peak lapels, satin-faced welt breast pocket, satin-faced slanted welt hip pockets, and 4-button cuffs
    • Flat front trousers with side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Ivory paisley-printed silk single-breasted 6-button vest with notched bottom
  • White textured silk shirt with large spread collar and double/French cuffs
  • Ivory silk necktie, tied in Windsor knot
  • Silver-edged black round cuff links
  • Silver-edged black tie pin
  • Black patent leather plain-toe loafers
  • Black dress socks

Although not typically one for flashiness, Frank lets himself enjoy the celebratory nature of the day by pinning a white boutonnière to his lapel and folding a black-trimmed white silk display kerchief into his jacket breast pocket.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Before you say anything about me or about my wife, understand this is the most important day of my life, detective.

Bogart’s Ivory Dinner Jacket in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a 1942 studio portrait to promote Casablanca.

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a 1942 studio portrait to promote Casablanca.

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, cynical “gin joint” manager and former arms dealer

Casablanca, Morocco, December 1941

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

Background

Although remembered today as one of the greatest romances to grace the screen, the Los Angeles Times‘s Bob Strauss was most accurate when he declared Casablanca a “near-perfect entertainment balance” of comedy, romance, and suspense. In fact, the movie has become so engrained as a romance classic that few recall just how badass it actually is.

Take the leading male: Rick Blaine. Played by Humphrey Bogart (which already lends plenty of BAMF credibility), Rick is more cynical than any of the private eyes that Bogie ever played on screen. He owns a bar with an illegal gambling den and maintained a successful side racket of running guns to Ethiopia, in addition to packing his own pistol on most occasions.

When Ilsa, the love of his life, walks back into his bar after nearly two years, he takes to the bottle… and he does so with gusto. The bitter Rick refuses to help Ilsa’s crusading resistance leader husband, to which she responds by drawing her own gun. After sorting out conflicted feelings, old flames, and a bullet or two in the gut of a Nazi, Rick finally manages to find closure with his old love while paving the way for further shady business ventures. The end.

With just over a week left until Valentine’s Day, Rick Blaine provides a classic, dapper look sure to make your special lady swoon on this most hated of holidays. Good luck, fellas.

What’d He Wear?

For the first few decades of the dinner jacket’s existence, black or midnight blue wool was the standard. It wasn’t until the early 1930s when travelers in warm, tropical climates began to abandon darker colors in favor of the less formal “white” dinner jacket. Technically colored in shades of white like ivory or cream, these lighter dinner jackets provided a comfortable alternative for gentlemen in warm tropical heat who didn’t want to endure their vacation in heavy, dark wool.

Rick Blaine, operating his club in the heat of Morocco’s largest city, wears an ivory summer-weight worsted dinner jacket as part of his nightly attire. The classic image of Bogie, clad in his ivory dinner jacket with a glass of Bourbon in front of him and cigarette smoking from his hand while half of his scowling, embittered face is cloaked in a shadow, has become an icon.

Cheer up, Bogie!

Cheer up, Bogie!

Rick’s dinner jacket is double-breasted with a 4-on-1 stance of white plastic buttons. The wide shawl lapels are appropriately self-faced, and the shoulders are padded with roped sleeveheads. There are four buttons on the cuff of each sleeve. The back is ventless.

Everybody comes to Rick's...

Everybody comes to Rick’s…

Rick’s jacket also has three external pockets: two straight jetted hip pockets and a welted breast pocket with a white silk handkerchief poking out. Since his jacket is double-breasted and he always wears it closed, Rick likely wears no cummerbund or any sort of waist covering that would just be an added layer of uncomfortable warmth in the Moroccan heat.

Two slightly different men in two very different white jackets.

Two slightly different men in two very different white jackets. (Gotta love the way Bogart holds his cigarettes…)

Magnoli makes a “replica” of the jacket in either wool or a wool blend with a few different touches that differentiate it from the classic Bogart jacket, such as three functional cuff buttons instead of the four seen in the movie. Magnoli offers several options, including color, fabric, and lapel facings.

Rick’s trousers are the same dark wool formal trousers – likely black – that one would wear with any dinner jacket. They have a black satin side stripe down each leg to the plain-hemmed bottoms.

Rick wears a white dress shirt with a long-pointed turndown collar. Soft turndown collars are the preferred option for pairing with a warm-weather dinner jacket due to the shared relaxed vibe that both garments exude. The double cuffs on Rick’s shirt are fastened with white disc links, and white buttons fasten down the front placket.

Rick beats himself at yet another chess game.

Rick beats himself at yet another chess game.

A black silk thistle-shaped bowtie is neatly tied at Rick’s neck. The tie is surprisingly small compared to the size of Rick’s shirt collar and jacket lapels.

A proud moment for this club owner.

A proud moment for this club owner.

Rick’s shoes are best seen in production stills, but they appear to be black patent leather cap-toe balmorals with black dress socks.

Bogie strikes a Captain Morgan pose... perhaps not realizing that he would, in fact, be playing a Captain Morgan in To Have and Have Not two years later.

Bogie strikes a dignified Captain Morgan pose on the set… perhaps not realizing that he would, in fact, be playing a Captain Morgan in To Have and Have Not two years later.

All of Bogart’s usual accessories are present. His father’s gold ring – with two rubies and a diamond – is on the third finger of his right hand, with replicas available from Royalty and Hollywood Jewelry and Amazon.

Man, he is having a rough night!

Man, he is having a rough night!

Bogart also wears his Longines Evidenza wristwatch. The Evidenza was released in 1941, so Bogie’s – with its tonneau-shaped gilt case and dark brown leather strap – would have been relatively new at the time Casablanca was filmed.

Go Big or Go Home

While you’d be wise to avoid any sort of doomed romance like Rick and Ilsa, there’s no reason why your Casablanca-themed date shouldn’t end with you getting the girl instead of sending her off in an airplane to go help the resistance effort while you spend your time glad-handing corrupt public officials. The first thing you’ll want to do is set the mood.

Drinking alone is not a good way to set a romantic mood!

Drinking alone is not a good way to set a romantic mood!

Since you probably don’t have a jovial piano player at your beck and call, you’d be well-advised to get a classic version of “As Time Goes By” playing for your date. You could even take it a step further and play it on the piano yourself, but it may end up awkward for your date to stand there for three minutes while you fiddle around on the keys.

What to Imbibe

Next – libations. Rick drinks Bourbon (the fictional Kentucky Hill brand) and cognac (appears to be Cognac Vieux from Lehman ses Fils), but the film also prominently features the French 75 cocktail when Yvonne is ordering at the bar with her new boyfriend.

So what the hell is a French 75? I tried to order one once at Red Lobster and was flatly rejected. (True story. At least I filled up on Cheddar Bay Biscuits.) Although it may not look it and its non-Ron Swanson-approved ingredients may lead you to believe otherwise, the French 75 is one of the more badass cocktails because it’s named after a gun. A fucking big gun. A 75mm field gun, to be precise. The French Canon de 75 modèle 1897.

Doesn't really look like it was named after a massive gun, right?

Doesn’t really look like it was named after a massive gun, right?

The French 75 was developed during World War I (yet another BAMF point in its favor!) as, essentially, a fancier version of the Tom Collins cocktail but replacing the carbonated water with champagne… which is about as fancy as replacing water can get. The legendary Harry MacElhone, a god amongst barmen, first developed the cocktail at the New York Bar in Paris. The name came from the kick of the drink, which imbibers compared to being shelled by a 75mm field gun.

Though it was developed in 1915, the French 75 became the toast of the Roaring Twenties as a popular order at the Stork Club in New York. Harry himself first listed the drink in print as “the 75” in the 1922 edition of Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails (consisting of gin, Calvados, grenadine, and abstinthe!), but it wasn’t until five years later – in Judge Jr.’s Here’s How – that the now-common recipe of gin, sugar, lemon juice, and champagne was listed. Finally, the “French 75” name appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930, fifteen years after MacElhone first mixed it.

So how would you make yours?

Combine three parts gin, two dashes of simple syrup (or a teaspoon of superfine sugar), and 1.5 measures of lemon juice into an ice-filled cocktail tumbler. Shake it all until it’s very cold, then strain it into a chilled Collins glass or champagne flute. (In case you can’t tell, you’re gonna want this drink to be cold!) Finally, top it up with six measures of champagne. G.H. Mumm was the champagne of choice throughout Casablanca, and it’s a fine spirit for you to include in your concoctions as well.

Some folks add a lemon twist for garnish and an extra citrussy pop. Some customize theirs a step further by swapping out the gin for cognac, although this is technically called a King’s Peg in some circles.

How to Get the Look

With Rick Blaine’s iconic formalwear, Humphrey Bogart shows us why being a cynical tough guy doesn’t mean foregoing elegance.

CasaBogieTux-crop

  • Ivory wool double-breasted dinner jacket with 4-on-1 button front, shawl lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
  • Black wool formal trousers with black satin side stripe, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White dress shirt with long-pointed turndown collar, front placket with white buttons, double/French cuffs
  • Black silk bowtie
  • White disc cufflinks
  • Black patent leather cap-toe balmorals
  • Black dress socks
  • Longines Evidenza gilt-cased wristwatch on dark brown leather strap
  • Gold ring with two rubies and diamond
  • White silk pocket kerchief

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine…

Footnotes

I haven’t been able to find any information about what happened to Bogart’s dinner jacket, but the black dinner jacket worn by S.K. Sakall as Carl the waiter was auctioned by Bonham’s in November 2014, fetching $3,750.

Although filmed and released in 1942, it’s interesting to note that Casablanca is set in early December 1941 as Rick dates a check for December 2nd, a decision by the screenwriter to add plausibility to Rick’s motivation. It’s also interesting to wonder what the super-neutral American Rick would have done just days later after his own country was pulled into the war. (Supposedly, a scene was planned of Rick and Renault joining the Allies for the 1942 invasion of North Africa, but Rains’ unavailability meant this scene was wisely scrapped and the ending remained untouched.)

The Sopranos: Christopher’s Blue Herringbone “Made Man” Suit

Michael Imperioli as Christopher Molitsanti on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: "Fortunate Son").

Michael Imperioli as Christopher Molitsanti on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: “Fortunate Son”).

Vitals

Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, newly “made” mob soldier

New Jersey, Fall 2001

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Fortunate Son” (Episode 3.03)
Air Date: March 11, 2001
Director: Henry J. Bronchtein
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

This suit had been requested a few weeks ago, and – as both a huge fan of The Sopranos and a kindred spirit of the tragic Christopher Moltisanti character – I was more than pleased to delve a little deeper into the suit and scene where Christopher finally “gets his button” for Mafia Monday.

Christopher’s two passions – the Mafia and the movies – come to yet another head in “Fortunate Son” when he finally receives the call to look sharp and be ready in an hour… he’s getting made. Having decided a season earlier in “D-Girl” to pass up his dream of a career in Hollywood (although it’s dubious that his misspelled screenplays would have turned any heads), Christopher is finally given the opportunity to dedicate his life to the most infamous criminal organization in America. Despite his excitement, Chris’ habit for watching too many movies keeps him on his toes and especially wary of any of his fellow Mafioso riding behind him during the journey.

Silvio chides him for it (“He sat on one asscheek the whole way over!”), but many real-life mob associates have been summoned to secret ceremonies only to never be seen alive again.

Luckily for Christopher, this was a genuine summons and he soon finds himself happily embraced by Tony Soprano in a New Jersey basement. Christopher and fellow inductee Eugene Pontecorvo are then told:

You know why we’re here. So, if you got any doubts or reservations, now is the time to say so. No one’ll think any less of you… ’cause once you enter this family, there’s no getting out. This family comes before everything else. Everything. Before your wife and your children and your mother and your father. It’s a thing of honor.

While this would become a problem for poor Eugene by the sixth season, Christopher is very eager to finally join the ranks of La Cosa Nostra. In yet another indication that the showrunners have done extensive research, Christopher and Eugene’s fingers are then pricked by a needle to draw blood before Tony places a photo of St. Peter in each of their hands and initiates them into the mob code of omertà:

Now, as that card burns, so may your soul burn in hell if you betray your friends in the family.

What’d He Wear?

He told me to look sharp and meet him at Modell’s in half an hour.

After years of loyal service, the Soprano crime family is finally “opening the books” for Christopher Moltisanti, and he wants to look his best for the occasion. This is the sole appearance of the navy blue herringbone two-piece suit that he chooses for such a momentous day, and the way it shines in certain light indicates that it is likely made from silk or at least a silk blend.

Chris becomes wary of a potential bad omen during the ceremony.

Chris becomes wary of a potential bad omen during the ceremony.

Christopher’s suit, as well as the ones worn by Tony, Paulie, and Silvio during the same scene, are among the more than 5,000 artifacts exhibited at the Museum of Television.

Christopher’s single-breasted suit jacket has notch lapels that roll abruptly to the top of the three-button front. The flapped hip pockets sit straight on his waist line, and a cream silk handkerchief puffs from the welted breast pocket. The jacket has padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and long double side vents.

Chris's suit jacket, shirt, and tie as well as a "continuity photo" taken on set of Imperioli, all sourced from the Museum of Television.

Chris’s suit jacket, shirt, and tie as well as a “continuity photo” taken on set of Imperioli, all sourced from the Museum of Television.

The low rise trousers have belt loops for Christopher’s black leather belt. The plain-hemmed bottoms have a long break that drapes over his shoes.

Find me a shirt and tie to go with this. Not the Camelia, though; Paulie’s got one just like it.

Whether it was he or Adriana who picked it out, Christopher’s monochromatic shirt and tie combination evokes the look of a classic movie gangster… before it was more commonly associated with Regis Philbin. This is the most important day of Christopher’s criminal life, and a movie buff like him is going to revert to what he knows to guarantee that he looks the part.

Had there been a little more time, Christopher and Paulie could've gotten some shopping done before leaving the shopping center.

Had there been a little more time, Christopher and Paulie could’ve gotten some shopping done before leaving the shopping center.

His cream dress shirt has squared French cuffs, which Paulie instructs him to show off – “Shoot your cuffs” – before they get into the car. A pair of small black, gold-trimmed links fasten the cuffs into place.

Christopher’s tie is also a cream silk, matching both the shirt and the pocket handkerchief in his suitcoat’s breast pocket.

Sops303ChrisMade-CL3-Tie

He told me to shine my shoes…

Although the shoes don’t receive much screen time, it’s important to these guys that Christopher maintains his appearance from top to bottom. Despite only having an hour to get ready and meet Paulie at Modell’s, Christopher takes the time to ensure that his black leather bluchers are shined to gangland standards.

His socks go unseen, but Christopher’s habit for hanging around the house in his underwear tells us that he likely wore one of his usual white sleeveless undershirts under his suit as well as a pair of gray boxer shorts. We also see his gold St. Christopher medallion, worn on a thin gold necklace around his neck.

A nice touch of realism comes from this look inside Christopher's closet, where we see familiar pieces like his red sportcoat.

A nice touch of realism comes from this look inside Christopher’s closet, where we see familiar pieces like his red sportcoat.

After briefly switching to a Rolex DateJust for the second season, Christopher once again wears a yellow gold Cartier tank on his left wrist for the third season. This particular wristwatch, an 18-karat Cartier Tank Française, has diamonds embedded in the right and left sides of the square case. The square dial is white with Roman numerals, and it is worn on a gold chain-link bracelet.

Good thing Chris wasn't wearing polyester or that open flame might've caused more trouble than he expected.

Good thing Chris wasn’t wearing polyester or that open flame might’ve caused more trouble than he expected.

Go Big or Go Home

Always ambitious but never quite motivated enough, Christopher was clearly going to spend a lazy day at home in his underwear. Hanging out with Adriana, drinking a bottle of Bud, and rolling a joint were the only items on his to-do list before his Motorola StarTAC rings and Paulie delivers the exciting news.

A day in the life of a low-level mob associate.

A day in the life of a low-level mob associate.

Christopher zips into action as soon as he realizes the significance of the call. If even he can be ready for anything in an hour’s notice, what’s your excuse?

How to Get the Look

Christopher presents a more subtle look than we’ve seen on him, employing only two solid colors – blue and cream – for his big day.

Christopher receives some needed sartorial advice from the always dapper Paulie Walnuts.

Christopher receives some needed sartorial advice from the always dapper Paulie Walnuts.

  • Navy blue herringbone silk suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 3-button jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, double rear vents
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Cream dress shirt with point collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Cream silk necktie
  • Small black gold-trimmed cuff links
  • Black leather belt
  • Black leather bluchers
  • Black dress socks
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Gray cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistband
  • Thin gold necklace with a round gold St. Christopher medallion
  • Cartier Tank Française gold wristwatch with diamond-crusted square case, white dial, and gold link bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the entire series, and check out the third episode of the brilliant third season if you want to see The Sopranos‘ take on the “getting made” ceremony.

The Quote

May I burn in hell if I betray my friends.

Gene Hackman’s Tweed Suit as Buck Barrow

Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons as Buck and Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons as Buck and Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Vitals

Gene Hackman as “Buck” Barrow, bank robber, ex-convict, and family man

Texas, May 1933

Film: Bonnie & Clyde
Release Date: August 13, 1967
Director: Arthur Penn
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

Happy birthday to Gene Hackman, who turns 86 years old today!

Bonnie and Clyde marked the first major role for Hackman, who had spent much of the ’60s as a struggling actor who shared rooms with fellow struggling actors Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall. 1967 turned out to be a banner year for the friends and roommates, earning Hackman and Hoffman their first Academy Award nominations.

Hackman brings an easygoing charm to the role of the more famous Clyde’s older brother Buck, and the film gets many of the “on paper” details right about Buck. As Clyde’s older brother, he had more experience tangling with the law and spent the first few months of Clyde’s criminal career in the Texas state prison. He had escaped once, but – as Hackman tells Warren Beatty’s Clyde – it was his new wife Blanche that talked him into returning to prison to serve out the rest of his sentence, and he would be pardoned 15 months later. Buck and Blanche journeyed to visit Bonnie and Clyde, ostensibly for a reunion and possibly for Buck to try and talk Clyde into following his good example. Of course, the murder of two Joplin policemen during this reunion meant Buck would be wanted again as well, and the brothers led the motley “Barrow Gang” in a string of small-town stickups and kidnappings over the next three months.

Buck and Blanche enjoy some tender moments, both in real life and on film.

Buck and Blanche enjoy some tender moments, both in real life and on film.

The charismatic Buck that Hackman portrays is far from the dangerous and serious criminal that had become so well known to Dallas police. Born Marvin Ivan Barrow in March 1903 in west Texas, the adventurous boy quickly gained a reputation for his restless spirit and was given the nickname “Buck”. Buck’s restlessness, combined with poverty and any existing psychological factors, made the young man’s descent into crime inevitable. The impressionable Clyde, six years younger and always looking up to Buck, would certainly follow in the same path. In November 1929, two weeks after Buck made the acquaintance of a lovely young Oklahoma girl named Blanche Caldwell, Buck was shot, wounded, and captured during a holdup in Denton, Texas. Clyde, who had been one of his accomplices, got away. (Perhaps if the family would have had the foresight to observe Clyde’s ability to run away from trouble while Buck was constantly being captured, they would have endowed the younger brother with the “Buck” moniker.)

While he enjoyed a joke as much as any other good ol’ boy, Buck was still a serious, deadly criminal who didn’t hesitate to pick up a shotgun or one of Clyde’s trademark Browning Automatic Rifles to fire back at the police when the gang was cornered. He was certainly the triggerman in at least one of the two Joplin policemen’s deaths, and he alone was responsible for the death of Henry D. Humphrey, the city marshal of Alma, Arkansas who nearly captured Buck and gang member W.D. Jones after a failed robbery.

(Blanche, who was still alive when Bonnie and Clyde was released in 1967, was incensed at her portrayal by Estelle Parsons and was embarrassed that she had taken her husband Eddie with her to see the film. She had previously approved the script and was fond of Warren Beatty, but Blanche said the finished product made her look like “a screaming horses’s ass!” Of course, Parsons had the last laugh as she was the only cast member to receive an Academy Award for her performance.)

What’d He Wear?

A curious choice for a warm Texas day, Hackman’s Buck accompanies Bonnie and Clyde on a bank robbery while wearing a brown Donegal tweed three-piece suit with light brown horn buttons on the jacket and vest. (Clyde himself wears a brown herringbone tweed suit, so perhaps the day was colder than it looks!)

"Aw, let's host a lighthearted kidnapping," is basically the subtext of this scene.

“Aw, let’s host a lighthearted kidnapping,” is basically the subtext of this scene just before the gang abducts a young couple at gunpoint.

Buck’s single-breasted suitcoat has notch lapels (with a buttonhole through the left lapel) that roll to the top of the jacket’s 2-button front. It has a breast pocket and straight hip pockets with flaps, although the flaps are often tucked in. The shoulders are padded with roping at the sleeveheads and 2-button cuffs. The lining is burgundy-colored, and a single vent cuts up the back to ease some of Buck’s more acrobatic bank robbery maneuvers.

Buck was very sweet but sometimes thickheaded, not realizing he didn't need to put his hands up when he's the one actually robbing the bank.

Buck was very sweet but sometimes thickheaded, not realizing he didn’t need to put his hands up when he’s the one actually robbing the bank.

Buck’s suit has a matching single-breasted vest with a single-breasted, 6-button front. It has four welt pockets and a notched bottom. Although Buck never takes off his suit jacket during these scenes, the tan-colored back lining can be seen when he leaps over the bank counter.

"Show us on the elderly security guard where the bank robber touched you..."

“Show us on the elderly security guard where the bank robber touched you…”

Much of the men’s costuming in Bonnie and Clyde is mixed-and-matched from various suits and outfits, adding a sense of verisimilitude since these people were constantly on the move, washing their clothes in rivers and streams when they couldn’t take the chance to visit a small-town laundry. Buck previously wore the tweed trousers from this suit while hanging out with the gang in Joplin, paired with his leather flight jacket and a blue chambray shirt. These low rise trousers have a flat front with on-seam side pockets but no back pockets. The legs are slightly flared with narrow turn-ups.

DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!

Although suspenders or braces are traditionally worn with three-piece suits, a true Texan like Buck wears a big brass horseshoe-shaped belt buckle on his tan tooled leather belt. Belts were also becoming more common on men’s trousers during the previous decades as waist lines began to fall lower.

Buck’s dress shirt looks solid white in most shots, but close-ups reveal subtle thin gray stripes. The shirt has a front placket and 1-button rounded cuffs.

In his role as "a grand host", Buck re-buttons his vest when the gang has "company".

In his role as “a grand host”, Buck re-buttons his vest when the gang has “company”.

Buck wears a solid red silk tie that reveals its surprisingly short length when he opens his vest while counting money after the bank job.

Even Buck and Blanche fell victim to common marital squabbles like which partner should receive the greater portion of the proceeds from a bank robbery.

Even Buck and Blanche fell victim to common marital squabbles like which partner should receive the greater portion of the proceeds from a bank robbery.

On his feet, Buck sports a pair of brown calfskin leather medallion wingtip bluchers with black socks.

Though he didn’t wear it during the heist itself, Buck’s hat is a black felt wide-brimmed fedora with black grosgrain edges and a red grosgrain ribbon.

BuckTweed-CX-Hat

Hackman recalls a story from the set when he noticed an old Texan farmer behind him, staring at him. The man said, “Hell, Buck would’ve never worn a hat like that.” Hackman turned to him and responded with, “Maybe not.” The farmer stepped forward to introduce himself by saying, “Nice to meet you. I’m one of the Barrows.”

Go Big or Go Home

The bank robbery that serves as the centerpiece of the movie would have been pure fantasy for the real Clyde, who hardly ever left a bank without more than a few hundred dollars clenched in his fist while tellers, guards, and police fired wild shots all around him. Clyde is given a heroic moment of allowing a poor farmer to keep his own cash since it doesn’t belong to the bank, an apocryphal story often attributed to either John Dillinger or “Pretty Boy” Floyd.

Buck is also given a Dillinger-esque moment when he swiftly leaps over the tellers’ cage in a stunt borrowed often times in real life by John Dillinger, who had himself lifted it from watching Douglas Fairbanks in The Mark of Zorro.

Hackman channels Dillinger channeling Fairbanks.

Hackman channels Dillinger channeling Fairbanks.

And, of course, the always considerate Buck wouldn’t think to leave the scene of a crime without picking up a little something for his wife; Buck filches a pair of sunglasses from an elderly security guard for his wife, Blanche. This would turn out to be a fortuitous gift as Blanche is only a few weeks away from being nearly blinded!

Awh!

Buck’s finger on the trigger could have made the excitement of gift-giving a little more tragic in the wrong circumstances…

How to Get the Look

BuckTweed-cropAlthough perhaps a bit warm for its context, Buck looks every bit the countrified gentleman for he and his brother’s small-town bank holdup.

  • Brown Donegal tweed suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 2-button suit jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Single-breasted 6-button vest with four welt pockets, notched bottom, and tan-lined back
    • Flat front low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • White gray-striped dress shirt with front placket and 1-button rounded cuffs
  • Red silk short necktie
  • Tan tooled leather belt with curved brass horseshoe-shaped buckle
  • Brown calfskin leather medallion wingtip bluchers
  • Black dress socks
  • Black felt fedora with red grosgrain ribbon

The Gun

Although both Clyde and his brother preferred .45-caliber Colt M1911 pistols, the .45 ACP blank round was notoriously unreliable in semi-automatic handguns at the time Bonnie and Clyde was filmed. Buck’s preferred sidearm throughout the film is thus a Colt New Service revolver, also chambered in .45 ACP.

A production photo of Gene Hackman with Buck's Colt New Service.

A production photo of Gene Hackman with Buck’s Colt New Service.

The New Service was first produced by Colt in 1898 to fill both government and civilian contracts. The swing-out cylinder was still in its relative infancy after having been introduced for the 1889 model New Army & Navy revolver. For nearly fifty years, the Colt New Service was produced in a variety of heavy calibers from .357 Magnum and .38 Special up to .44-40 Winchester and .455 Webley. As a large-framed service revolver, barrel lengths ranged between 4″ and 7.5″.

The Colt New Service was first produced in .45 ACP during World War I when supplies of the M1911 pistol were unable to meet troop demands. The M1917 was developed, with Colt adapting its New Service and Smith & Wesson adapting its .44 Hand Ejector to fire .45 ACP cartridges loaded from half-moon clips.

Buck is seen with a few other weapons during the film, but the New Service appears to be his sidearm of choice. He fires a double-barreled shotgun during the Joplin gunfight, he holds a blued Smith & Wesson on Frank Hamer when they briefly capture the lawman, and he is seen loading Bonnie’s nickel-plated Smith & Wesson after the bank robbery featured in this scene. Hackman also holds a Winchester lever rifle in some promotional photos for the film, but these are never seen in the gang’s arsenal (either in the movie or in real life).

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the Ultimate Collector’s Edition. I also recommend reading Frank Ballinger’s page, Bonnie & Clyde’s Texas Hideout, the ultimate web source for Barrow gang knowledge and artifacts.

I also was lucky to recently watch an episode of American Experience with a very good friend of mine who has been interested in learning more about the outlaw duo, and I found myself very pleased to be able to watch it without having to interject with corrections or commentary of my own! (Also, I think she’s now seriously considering bank robbery as a vocation.)

The Quote

We’re the Barrow boys!

Terry Leather’s Herringbone Coat in The Bank Job

Jason Statham as Terry Leather in The Bank Job (2008).

Jason Statham as Terry Leather in The Bank Job (2008).

Vitals

Jason Statham as Terry Leather, fledging bank robber and former car salesman

East London, September 1971

Film: The Bank Job
Release Date: February 29, 2008
Director: Roger Donaldson
Costume Designer: Odile Dicks-Mireaux

Background

Based partially on some possibly true events (or at least theories) surrounding the famous Baker Street robbery of 1971, The Bank Job is a fun caper flick from 2008 that stars Jason Statham in a decidedly less Statham-esque role than usual, leading a team of non-violent petty criminals chosen by the British government to burglarize a bank.

Of course, it’s not that simple as Statham’s crew isn’t even aware that they’re working for the government and wedging themselves between a sadistic London gangster and a militant revolutionary.

What’d He Wear?

We first meet Terry Leather when he is, appropriately enough, wearing a pretty badass brown leather coat. For much of the heist planning, including casing the bank with his ex-model ex-girlfriend Martine (Saffron Burrows), Terry wears a knee-length wool topcoat in a fine black and white herringbone.

THE BANK JOB

Terry spends much of his day looking far too suspicious for a man trying not to garner much attention while casing a bank.

Terry’s herringbone coat is double-breasted with a 6-on-3 button front. It is styled similar to a longer length pea coat with its large lapels, double-breasted front, plain cuffs, and slanted welt handwarmer pockets. The single vent up the back splits the coat to just below his waistline.

THE BANK JOB

Terry and Martine case the Baker Street branch of Lloyds Bank.

Since he typically only wears one layer beneath the coat, Terry drapes a scarf around his neck to battle the London fall weather. Terry’s olive green silk scarf has a pattern of white squares. Each square has an olive dot in the center.

THE BANK JOB

Recruiting “The Major”.

Both of Terry’s shirts worn under his topcoat are black, solidifying his status as a competent movie criminal. His first is a black long-sleeve polo shirt, constructed from a soft material that may be acrylic, with a 2-button collar. He also wears this shirt for a date with his wife under a brown flannel single-breasted sport coat.

THE BANK JOB

Sadly, Terry looks happier when planning or committing a crime than he does on an evening out with his wife.

As things get closer to crime time (as well as slightly later in the fall), Terry pulls out all the criminal stops and dons a black lightweight turtleneck jumper.

THE BANK JOB

The herringbone coat provides a nice contrast against the starkness of the black turtleneck.

Terry avoids the stereotypical movie criminal look of a black shirt and black trousers while managing the same effect by wearing a pair of charcoal pants instead. These flat front trousers have a full, straight fit like his others, and the bottoms are plain-hemmed.

THE BANK JOB

THE BANK JOB

Terry again wears brown leather shoes, although these are darker than the calfskin 3-eyelet bluchers seen with the leather coat. His lined gloves are also brown leather.

Terry’s watch is the iconic TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph, introduced as the Heuer Monaco in 1969 and made famous two years later when it appeared on Steve McQueen’s wrist in Le Mans. The Monaco, with its stainless rectangular case and blue dial with two white sub-dials, is one of the most recognizable watches in the world. The version that Statham wears is an anachronistic modern TAG Heuer, though, rather than the more period-correct Heuer that would have been available in 1971.

How to Get the Look

Terry stays classy and comfortable while scoping out Lloyds Bank for his ragtag team’s eventual takedown.

BJhbone-crop

  • Black & white fine herringbone wool double-breasted 6×3-buttoning topcoat with large lapels, slanted welt handwarmer pockets, plain cuffs, and single rear vent
  • Black long-sleeve soft polo shirt with 2-button collar
  • Olive green silk scarf with white square motif
  • Charcoal gray flat front trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Dark brown leather shoes
  • Dark brown leather lined gloves
  • Plain gold wedding band
  • TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph wristwatch with stainless rectangular case, blue dial, and black leather strap

For more of a Sterling Archer-approved stealth look, swap out the polo for a black turtleneck/tactileneck jumper.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Look honey, I’m going to be working some strange hours over the next week or two, so don’t ask me what I’m doing because I don’t want to lie to you.

Don Draper’s Brown Hershey Pitch Suit

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, presenting a pitch to Hershey executives in "In Care Of" (Episode 6.13) on Mad Men.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, presenting a pitch to Hershey executives in “In Care Of” (Episode 6.13) on Mad Men.

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, suddenly honest Madison Avenue ad man

New York City, Fall 1968

Series: Mad Men
Episodes: “Favors” (Episode 6.11) & “In Care Of” (Episode 6.13)
Air Date: June 9, 2013 (Episode 6.11) & June 23, 2013 (Episode 6.13)
Directors: Jennifer Getzinger (Episode 6.11) & Matthew Weiner (Episode 6.13) 
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After Winter Storm Jonas had most of us on the East Coast huddling in whatever warmth we could find this weekend, it’s time to head back to work. In the spirit of Jon Hamm’s recent Golden Globe win for the final season of Mad Men, let’s head back to the office appropriately suited up.

In Mad Men‘s sixth season finale, SC&P receives an RFP from Hershey’s and hotshot creative director Don Draper is assigned the pitch. Little do Jim Cutler and the other partners know that Hershey’s chocolate bars played quite a role in Don’s formative years… and not one they’d want to advertise. In his usual fashion, Don wows the Hershey folks with his pitch but then realizes he can’t pass up the chance to make his personal connection. After telling the execs a story about growing up unwanted in a whorehouse with only Hershey bars giving him comfort and solace, he commits the unforgivable sin (in the advertising world, at least) of telling these potential clients that they have no need for a campaign:

If I had my way, you would never advertise. You shouldn’t have someone like me telling that boy what a Hershey bar is. He already knows.

It came as no surprise to anyone working in the ad game that Don was gently suspended indefinitely without pay shitcanned in the episode’s finale.

What’d He Wear?

Perhaps a subliminal choice to associate himself with Hershey’s brown chocolate or perhaps a reflection of his own rural, “homespun” upbringing that he crafts into his pitch, Don sports a warm medium brown suit for his meeting with the Hershey executives in “In Care Of” (Episode 6.13). The suit also shows up briefly at the end of “The Better Half” (Episode 6.09) and prominently in “Favors” (Episode 6.11) when Don returns home from work and joins Dr. Rosen for an Old Fashioned.

Although brown was traditionally reserved for country outings, it had become well-accepted in American offices by the 1960s as Don stylishly shows us.

Although brown was traditionally reserved for country outings, it had become well-accepted in American offices by the 1960s as Don stylishly shows us.

The suit jacket is single-breasted with slim notch lapels that roll over the top button to create a 3-roll-2 button effect. A slanted buttonhole is stitched through the left lapel. As usual, Don wears a neatly folded white pocket square in his welted breast pocket. The jacket also has straight flapped hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and a single rear vent. The shoulders are padded with roped sleeveheads.

Don shows off his brown suit with enthusiasm (left, in "Favors") and with more somber disdain (right, in "In Care Of").

Don shows off his brown suit with enthusiasm (left, in “Favors”) and with more somber disdain (right, in “In Care Of”).

Don’s trousers are also similarly styled to his other suits with a plain front and plain-hemmed bottoms. They have side pockets and jetted back pockets. He wears a slim black leather belt with a small square silver buckle.

A rare moment of Draper panic is quickly mollified when paired with his cool, post-work libation habit.

A rare moment of Draper panic is quickly mollified when paired with his cool, post-work libation habit.

Although Don had a clear preference for white dress shirts through most of the series’ early run, he wears a light ecru shirt with this suit, softening the harsh contrast between brown and white. When he opens his collar in “Favors” (Episode 6.11), the white crew neck undershirt poking out beneath provides additional contrast to prove the true color of Don’s dress shirt.

Don in prime Don mode: drink in hand, cigarettes in pocket.

Don in prime Don mode: drink in hand, cigarettes in pocket.

The shirt has all of Don’s usual features: a narrow point collar, front placket, double cuffs, and – of course – a breast pocket for his cigarettes. (In this case, they’re Old Gold; he stopped smoking Lucky Strikes sometime after losing their account at the end of the fourth season.) He fastens the French cuffs with a set of black rectangular links with silver edge trim.

Each tie worn with this outfit is striped, with the stripes crossing from the right shoulder down to the left hip. For the suit’s brief appearance at the end of “The Better Half” (Episode 6.09), the tie’s cream, orange, and dark brown stripes are all equal width as they alternate down the length of the tie.

Throughout “Favors” (Episode 6.11), Don wears a slim black tie with double sets of thin yellow stripes.

"Favors" (Episode 6.11)

“Favors” (Episode 6.11)

For the fateful client pitch in “In Care Of” (Episode 6.13), Don’s slim tie has a blue ground with sets of five light gray stripes of varying widths. The gray stripes are spaced apart by black stripes.

"In Care Of" (Episode 6.13)

“In Care Of” (Episode 6.13)

Don appears to be wearing black leather bluchers with dark brown dress socks, although his feet aren’t clearly seen in any of these episodes.

Dawn watches as Don marches off to an uncertain fate.

Dawn watches as Don marches off to an uncertain fate.

Don’s iconic Omega Seamaster Deville returns from the previous season. The stainless Omega has a black dial with a date indicator window at the 3:00 position and is worn on a black textured crocodile strap. According to the Christie’s auction from December 2015: “The watches were leased to the show by vintage watch specialist Derek Dier, who has supplied watches to the movie industry, noted musicians, actors, writers, artists, international dignitaries and Fortune 500 CEOs. Mad Men Property Master Ellen Freund worked with Dier to select the watches.”

The actual Omega worn by Jon Hamm both as Don Draper and on the April 2013 cover of Entertainment Weekly.

The actual Omega worn by Jon Hamm both as Don Draper and on the April 2013 cover of Entertainment Weekly.

The Christie’s page further describes the watch as: “Signed Omega, Automatic, Seamaster, De Ville, Ref. 166.020, Movement No. 23’943’081, Circa 1960.” The watch eventually sold for a whopping $11,875.

How to Get the Look

Don Draper could teach modern ad men a thing or two about dressing to evoke a prospective client’s product… although I would leave out the bits about growing up in a whorehouse and pilfering from the johns’ pockets.

MMHershey-crop

  • Brown wool suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 3-roll-2-buttoning suit coat with slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Light ecru dress shirt with slim point collar, front placket, breast pocket, and double/French cuffs
  • Dark tie with thin light R-down-L stripe sets
  • Black rectangular cuff links with silver trim
  • Black slim leather belt with small square silver buckle
  • Black leather bluchers
  • Dark brown dress socks
  • White cotton short-sleeve crew neck undershirt
  • Omega Seamaster Deville wristwatch with stainless 34 mm case, textured black crocodile strap, and black dial with date indicator

Do Yourself a Favor and…

We now live in a wonderful world where the entire series of Mad Men can be purchased in one transaction. However, if you’re only looking for these episodes in particular, check out the series’ sixth season.

The Quote

I was an orphan. I grew up in Pennsylvania in a whorehouse. I read about Milton Hershey and his school in Coronet magazine or some other crap the girls left by the toilet, and I read that some orphans had a different life there. I could picture it. I dreamt of it… of being wanted. Because the woman who was forced to raise me would look at me every day like she hoped I would disappear. Closest I got to feeling wanted was from a girl who made me go through her johns’ pockets while they screwed. If I collected more than a dollar, she’d buy me a Hershey bar. And I would eat it alone in my room with great ceremony… feeling like a normal kid. It said “sweet” on the package. It was the only sweet thing in my life.

Footnote

Last weekend, Jon Hamm brought home his second Golden Globe for portraying Don Draper. Despite being nominated six times (and already bringing home one win in 2008), the GGs fudged it up a bit and apparently printed the name John Hamm on the actual award.

Tony Soprano’s Tabasco Sauce Polo

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 5.02: "Two Tonys").

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 5.02: “Two Tonys”).

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, March 2004

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Rat Pack” (Episode 5.02)
Air Date: March 14, 2004
Director: Alan Taylor
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

I’m not sure why, how, or who decided it, but today – January 22nd – is considered to be National Hot Sauce Day in America.

Today’s post is a short one but appropriate given today’s “holiday”.

What’d He Wear?

During a brief scene in the Bada Bing’s back office in “Rat Pack” (Episode 5.02), Tony Soprano holds a brief meeting while wearing a shirt loudly celebrating Louisiana’s venerable pepper-based condiment.

The black cotton polo shirt is printed with images of the iconic Tabasco sauce bottle with bursts of red peppers all over the shirt. The shirt has three white buttons, both left open by Tony, below the solid black collar. The end of each short sleeve is solid black and elasticized. From what I can tell, this is the shirt’s only appearance on the show.

Tony angrily shows off his love for one of America's favorite sauces.

Tony angrily shows off his love for one of America’s favorite sauces.

The McIlhenny Company, which has produced Tabasco sauce since its inception in 1868, also officially manufactures clothing and other goods bearing Tabasco branding. As this episode aired in 2004, it’s hard tracking down information on this exact shirt, but it’s almost definitely an example of a McIlhenny-produced shirt. Some similar items can be found on eBay for any curious hot sauce aficionados out there.

The rest of Tony’s outfit is all black: his reverse-pleated trousers, his leather bluchers, and his dress socks.

Tony kicks back.

Tony kicks back.

Tony also wears the rest of his usual mobbed-up jewelry, including his yellow gold Rolex President Day-Date on his left wrist, the gold chain bracelet on his right wrist, and his gold pinky ring with a ruby and diamond on his right hand.

Although we can’t see it in this scene, we can assume that Tony is also wearing his usual gold open-link chain necklace with a pendant of St. Jerome.

His trusty Rolex stays on his left hand even when his wedding band isn't.

His trusty Rolex stays on his left hand even when his wedding band isn’t.

How to Get the Look

Who knew Tony was so passionate about Tabasco sauce that he actually owned a shirt colorfully dedicated to celebrating it?

  • Black Tabasco-printed cotton short-sleeve polo shirt with 3-button collar
  • Black reverse-pleated trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Black leather bluchers
  • Black dress socks
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Rolex President Day-Date 118238 yellow gold wristwatch
  • Gold open-link chain bracelet
  • Gold pinky ring with ruby and diamond stones
  • Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the entire series, and give yourself an extra dose of hot sauce with dinner tonight!