Tagged: Casual Suits

To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant’s Gray Summer Blazer

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955).

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955).

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Cary Grant as John Robie, retired cat burglar and jewel thief

Cannes, French Riviera, Summer 1954

Film: To Catch a Thief
Release Date: August 5, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Summer is officially here!* Anyone looking for a way to stand out in your summer duds should take a cue from Cary Grant, which is never a bad idea when it comes to style.

Grant himself never understood why he was regarded as such a fashion icon, as he explained to GQ during his now-classic editorial from 1958:

I’m often asked for advice or an opinion about clothes, and I always try to answer the best I can, but I’m not inclined to regard myself as an authority on the subject. Many times during my years in films, some well-meaning group has selected me as best-dressed man of the year, but I’ve never understood why. The odd distinction surprises me: first, because I don’t consider myself especially well dressed, and, secondly, I’ve never, as far as I can compare the efforts of others with my own, gone to any special trouble to acquire clothes that could be regarded as noticeably fashionable or up-to-date.

Perhaps it’s just his modesty talking, but it’s damn near impossible to watch any Cary Grant film without wanting to add a few more well-tailored suits and sport coats to your wardrobe. One of my favorite films that shows off Grant’s impeccable style is To Catch a Thief, one of Hitchcock’s most charming flicks due to its relatively low stakes and the pairing of two of his favorite leads – the debonair Cary Grant and the elegant Grace Kelly. Both Grant and Kelly get a chance to show off their comedic and romantic chops against the stunning backdrop of a summer in the French Riviera.

Grant brings his style A-game to some of his outfits in the film, including a fine gray business suit and a sterling example of black tie for an evening of gambling and romancing. One of his most unique and remembered ensembles is the gray blazer, day cravat, and slacks worn for his day out with Grace Kelly.

* At least it’s summer for us folks up in the Northern Hemisphere…

What’d He Wear?

Do I have any special do’s and don’t’s about clothes? I can’t think of any rules about clothes, since there really aren’t any…

… and thus spake Cary Grant himself, again from the 1958 GQ editorial. If any man deserves to be a snob about clothing, it’s Cary Grant, and here he is saying just the opposite as he follows the Outback Steakhouse maxim of “no rules, just right”.

Still, just because he’s no snob doesn’t mean he’s a slob. John Robie dresses for his excursion to the beach – and subsequent scenic picnic – in a gray flannel blazer, white cotton shirt over a dotted day cravat, tan slacks, and tassel loafers. This distinctive look is both masculine and timeless, following Grant’s own sartorial maxim of dressing like a man for all ages.

TO CATCH A THIEF

The gentleman’s gentleman.

Robie’s gray blazer is constructed from a lightweight flannel. Summer-weight flannel can be difficult to find on modern clothing, so a comfortable hopsack woven blazer would also work nicely.

The blazer is single-breasted with sharp notch lapels – with a buttonhole in the left lapel – and three gold buttons on the front.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Robie avoids the tourist swimmer’s dilemma of walking through the lobby soaking wet by changing his clothes at the beach.

Grant causes some controversy among sartorial purists by the way he buttons his blazer in this sequence. The decided “rule” for 3-button jackets is “sometimes, always, never” from top to bottom. Grant spends the first few scenes in the Carlton Hotel with all three buttons fastened. This becomes especially noticeable and awkward when Robie wears his hands in his trouser pockets in the Stevens’ hotel room and bunches all three buttons together.

One might be tempted to criticize this gesture, but one should also keep in mind that:

a) Grant did say “there really aren’t any” rules about clothing, and
b) Cary Grant will forever be a classic example of the charismatic and romantic leading man that makes every woman’s heart flutter. Neither you nor I have any room to talk.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Grant brazenly ignores some major sartorial “rules” while a disapproving John Williams looks on behind him.

As I mention in my North by Northwest post (which, as my first post, could use some serious revision!), Cary Grant had a habit of placing his hands in his pockets and thus preferred double vents on his suits. This blazer isn’t helped by its short single rear vent when Grant keeps his hands in his pockets in the hotel room – as seen in the above screenshots.

The blazer sleeves have roped sleeveheads and two gold buttons at the end of each cuff. The natural shoulders have a slight concave like the “pagoda” shoulder structure.

TO CATCH A THIEF

In keeping with its informal context, the blazer’s three external pockets are all large patch pockets with rounded bottoms – one on the left breast and one on each hip.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Thanks to Grant’s long torso and 6’2″ frame, the blazer bunching doesn’t look as bad when he’s standing up.

Grant wears a plain white cotton shirt underneath his blazer with a front placket and rear side darts. The cuffs are very large and close with a single centered button with no button on the open gauntlet. Although he advocated wearing subtly elegant links on French cuff shirts, Grant was also a believer in the simpler button cuff, saying in his GQ editorial:

Button-cuffed shirts are simplest to manage…

TO CATCH A THIEF

Grant goes cravat-less when alone in his suite.

The shirt’s large collar is structured with a moderate spread and elongated points, though not to the extent seen on shirts earlier in the decade. Some sources believe Grant wore a button-down collar shirt in this sequence due to how well the collar stays contained under his jacket, but it is clearly a standard collar that keeps in place without the help of buttons or tabs. The length of the points and a little bit of TLC is all that the shirt collar needed.

TO CATCH A THIEF

A pensive John Robie.

Under his shirt collar, Grant radiates a sense of countryside cool with a dark navy blue day cravat. The day cravat adds subtle elegance – the key to Grant’s timeless style – while practically serving to catch any sweat. Essentially a loosely-tied scarf worn under the shirt, the day cravat is the most comfortable and casual form of neckwear that adds a gentlemanly devil-may-care touch to any outfit.

John Robie’s day cravat is dark navy with small white pin-dots. Primarily only the dots are seen under the collar, but occasionally the cravat slips up on his neck and the white diagonal stripes (left-down-to-right) are seen peeking out under the dots.

TO CATCH A THIEF

The lower half of Robie’s resortwear retains the simple sophistication of the top. The stone-colored trousers rise fashionably high on Grant’s torso and appear to be a comfortable and soft summer-weight material like a linen twill blend. Grant himself advocated cotton poplin suits and trousers, as specified in the 1958 editorial:

During summer, I’ve taken to wearing light beige, washable poplin suits. They’re inexpensive and, if kept crisp and clean, acceptable almost anywhere at any time, even in the evening… Learn to dispense with accessories that don’t perform a necessary function. I use belts, for example, only with blue jeans, which I wear when riding, and content myself with side loops, that can be tightened at the waistband, on business suits.

TO CATCH A THIEF

These double forward-pleated trousers may be the very style that Grant had in mind with the belt-less waistband that fastens on the sides with button tabs. The extended waistband in the front also closes on the right with a double-button closure.

The trousers also have four outer pockets: a deep, slightly slanted hand pocket on each side and two jetted rear pockets that close through a button.

TO CATCH A THIEF

I wish we had gotten a scene of Cary Grant water-skiing as the SKI NAUTIQUE sign advertises. That would’ve just been cool.

Grant’s trousers have a luxurious roomy fit throughout the hips and legs with slightly flared bottoms that add a gentle swagger to his walk. The bottoms are cuffed despite Grant’s personal belief against their practicality:

A tip about trousers. Trouser cuffs seem to me unnecessary, and are apt to catch lint and dust. However, whether you prefer cuffs or not, ask the tailor to sew a strip of cloth of the same material, or a tape of similar color, on the inside at the bottom of the trouser leg where it rubs the heel of the shoe. It will keep your trouser-bottoms from fraying.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Robie and Francie enjoy a nice stroll down to their local villa.

Robie wears brown loafers, specifically a pair of apron toe tassel loafers in saddle tan calfskin leather with interwoven leather lace on the sides. Grant was known to be an advocate of softer-heeled driving moccasins, but these are standard loafers with hard leather soles. He wears them with a pair of tan ribbed cotton dress socks that nicely carry the leg line between the trousers and the shoes.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Robie forgets he has no brake pedal on the passenger side.

Robie’s single accessory is a thin gold chain around his neck with a round gold pendant. Due to the day cravat, we only see it when he’s swimming.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Conjugating a few irregular verbs…

And while he is swimming, Robie sports a pair of beige cotton bathing trunks with an elastic waistband. The shorts are longer than the skimpier mens’ swimming trunks of the era, and they still rise high to Grant’s belly button. Although cotton swimming trunks aren’t very common these days, you can still find vintage pairs like these similar Jantzens.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Evidently, both Cary Grant’s and Grace Kelly’s outfits from this scene were auctioned by Debbie Reynolds for Profiles in History in 2011, described as “key costumes by Edith Head, from the romantic scenic drive in a convertible overlooking Cannes,” although I haven’t been able to find the results or any additional auction details.

A few parting words from Grant himself:

Don’t be a snob about the way you dress. Snobbery is only a point in time. Be tolerant and helpful to the other fellow – he is yourself yesterday… If a man wears the kind of clothes that please him, then – providing they’re clean and don’t shock society, morals, and little children – what is the difference as long as that man is happy?

Go Big or Go Home

If To Catch a Thief were remade sixty years later, the contemporary title would probably be #FirstWorldProblems. An infamous ex-cat burglar who now lives tending vineyards in France is forced to go on the run… to the French Riviera, of course, where he stays at the exclusive Carlton Hotel in Cannes. The Carlton Hotel is still thriving with rates ranging anywhere from $1,500 to $7,600 for a single night.

TO CATCH A THIEF

They’ll leave the light on for you.

While at the hotel, the burglar meets a glamorous American socialite, Frances Stevens, and her wealthy mother. After an impromptu kiss (which makes Robie declare he was “awed by its efficiency”), Francie takes Robie down to the beach where she memorably trades barbs with his jealous teenage French accomplice, Danielle:

Robie: Say somthing nice to her, Danielle.
Danielle: She looks a lot older up close.

Francie decides that this fella ain’t so bad, even if he is a cat burglar (as she quickly deduces) and takes him out in her blue Sunbeam Alpine roadster for a car chase and subsequent picnic.

TO CATCH A THIEF

After she deftly dodges a pursuing car, Francie stops at a beautiful spot overlooking Alpes-Maritimes where she confronts her date with the knowledge that he is, in fact, John Robie the jewel thief and that she, in fact, doesn’t care. (Despite having the most jewels of anyone in the Riviera!)

TO CATCH A THIEF

Not the typical American tourists…

Putting any serious discussions aside, Francie pulls out some beer and fried chicken to have a decidedly American picnic. Despite being unmasked as a career criminal, Robie can’t help but to dig in.

TO CATCH A THIEF

…although they are enjoying a typical American lunch.

My knowledge of 1950s beer bottle labels isn’t what it should be… does anyone know what brew Cary and Grace are sipping here?

How to Get the Look

Especially in later films like To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant always showed off his sense of style with timeless clothing. With the help of legendary costume designer Edith Head, Grant shows off an ideal resortwear outfit for his daytime outing with Francie.

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  • Gray flannel single-breasted blazer with 3 gold front buttons, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 2 gold cuff buttons, and short single rear vent
  • Stone-colored double forward-pleated summer-weight high rise trousers with front waistband double-button tab, button-tab side adjusters, slanted side pockets, button-closing jetted rear pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • White cotton shirt with large point collar, front placket, rear side darts, and rounded button cuffs
  • Dark navy blue pin-dot day cravat
  • Saddle tan brown calfskin leather apron-toe tassel loafers
  • Tan ribbed cotton dress socks
  • Small gold pendant on thin gold chain

Cotton swimming trunks are pretty rare these days but a light color – like the beige pair worn by Grant at the beach – is a nice way to show off a strong tan.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Don’t let the robbery spoil your day. It’s only money, and not even yours at that!

Scarface: Tony’s Tan Suit and Cadillac

Al Pacino stands next to a bright '63 Caddy convertible as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983).

Al Pacino stands next to a bright ’63 Caddy convertible as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983).

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Al Pacino as Tony Montana, hotheaded Cuban-American cocaine dealer

Miami, August 1981

Film: Scarface
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris

Background

BAMF Style is continuing Car Week with the second grand American convertible from the automotive golden era – the 1963 Cadillac Series 62 owned by Tony Montana in 1983’s Scarface. Ironically, we first see this Caddy while Tony is actually shopping for a different luxury car, the silver 1979 Porsche 928 4.5L that he adds to his growing collection.

The ’63 Caddy convertible is clearly Tony’s favorite, though, driving it to show off his status even though Elvira pointedly tells him:

It looks like somebody’s nightmare.

What’d He Wear?

Tony Montana wears this lightweight tan suit twice in the film, once when car shopping with Manny and Elvira and later during his arrest. It’s very much an ’80s-styled suit with its low-gorge notch lapels, low 2-button front, and padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads. All buttons are tan plastic to match the suit itself.

SCARFACE

The salesman knows he has no place in the Tony vs. Manny battle for chest hair exposure supremacy.

The jacket also has 3-button cuffs, long double rear vents, straight flapped hip pockets, and a welted breast pocket for Tony’s display handkerchiefs. When he goes car shopping, he wears a cream-colored silk handkerchief in the pocket. The red handkerchief he wears during his arrest perfectly matches his red silk shirt worn for the occasion.

The ’80s-ness of it all extends to his large-fitting low rise suit trousers which have a flat front and plenty of room throughout the hips. The side pockets are slanted, and there is a jetted pocket on the right rear. The slightly flared bottoms are plain-hemmed with a full break.

SCARFACE

Elvira is not impressed.

Tony wears a thin brown leather belt with a small gold squared claw-style buckle through the trousers’ slim belt loops.

With both outfits, Tony wears a pair of tan sueded leather summer shoes with raised heels and pointed cap toes. His socks also appear to be tan or cream, although they’re rarely seen under the full break of the trouser legs.

SCARFACE

Tony swaggers around his new acquisition… both of them.

The first shirt worn with this suit – in the car shopping scene – is a baggy soft brown shirt with a large collar, breast pocket, and button cuffs. Tony ignores the top few dark brown plastic buttons down the plain front, as per his usual style.

SCARFACE

*Beep Beep*

He’s even less modest with his second shirt, an even baggier red silk shirt that also has a plain button-down front and button cuffs. It may be the same shirt he wears with his white double-breasted suit in Colombia. Either way, he chooses to accentuate it with a matching red silk handkerchief in his jacket breast pocket. This flashier shirt makes the first look seem very understated by comparison.

SCARFACE

Nothing about this look says “subtle”.

Two-Gun Tony is also carrying when he’s busted. He keeps a snubnose .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model 36 “Chief’s Special” revolver in a brown leather shoulder holster under his left arm. He sticks his primary sidearm, a .32-caliber Beretta Cheetah 81, in the back of his waistband. Evidently, Tony is allowed to keep his firearms after he is arrested (!) since he later has them both on in his lawyer’s office – more properly carrying the Beretta in an IWB for that scene.

SCARFACE

Spoiler alert: the drug dealer gets arrested at one point.

Tony wears one of his many Omega La Magique gold wristwatches with this suit. A flashy, appearance-driven criminal like Tony would be sure to pick up the latest fashionable watch, and the La Magique was first introduced in 1981, positioned as one of the thinnest watches of the era. This particular watch has a gold rectangular case and a very small black round dial that would require 20/20 vision to read properly.

Although we know he has a few different La Magique watches with differently colored dials to match his various suits and shirts, he only wears the black-dialed model with this suit.

Although we know he has a few different La Magique watches with differently colored dials to match his various suits and shirts, he only wears the black-dialed model with this suit.

On his right wrist, he wears his usual silver chain link bracelet. His right hand is also decked out with both of his big gold rings; the 3rd finger ring has a diamond and the pinky ring has a square-cut ruby. Both of Tony’s necklaces – the larger Cuban-style chain and the slimmer, lower-hanging rope necklace – are yellow gold.

SCARFACE

How welcoming!

Tony keeps his reputation as a sporty ’80s guy with a pair of black acetate teardrop-framed sport aviators with amber gradient lenses. zeroUV offers a similar pair for only $9.99.

How to Get the Look

Buying a new car anytime soon? Show the salesman you mean business by wearing your finest Miami drug kingpin suit, and don’t be afraid to dress it up with extensive and expensive jewelry.

Sc83tan-crop

  • Tan lightweight suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted suit jacket with notch lapels, low 2-button stance, welted breast pocket, flapped straight hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double rear vents
    • Low rise flat front suit trousers with thin belt loops, slanted side pockets, jetted right rear pocket, and plain-hemmed flared bottoms
  • Brown soft button-down shirt with large collar, breast pocket, plain front, and button cuffs
  • Tan sueded leather cap-toed summer shoes
  • Brown slim leather belt with small gold squared claw-shaped buckle
  • Omega La Magique wristwatch on left wrist with gold expanding bracelet, gold rectangular case, and round red dial
  • Stainless link bracelet, worn on right wrist
  • Gold ring with diamond, worn on right ring finger
  • Gold ring with square-cut ruby, worn on right pinky
  • Black acetate teardrop-framed sport aviators with amber gradient lenses
  • Two yellow gold necklaces

Don’t forget the cream silk display handkerchief!

The Car

… I mean, it’s got a few years, but it’s a cream puff.

Tony obviously has a soft spot for his butter yellow 1963 Cadillac Series 62 convertible. GM had been using the “Series 62″ appellation since 1940 when it was the lowest level offered by Cadillac. The torpedo-styled cars – with a Body by Fisher – quickly gained attention, and the Series 62 remained a sleek and popular model for nearly 25 years.

Poor Tony overshoots the "opulence" part of the American dream a bit much...

Poor Tony overshoots the “opulence” part of the American dream a bit much…

After a series of updates and facelifts through the ’40s and ’50s, Cadillac rolled out its final generation of the C-platform Series 62 with a design from GM’s chief designer Bill Mitchell in 1961. Each year saw slight changes both internally and externally; the 1963 model – as driven in Scarface – featured lower profile tailfins (by era standards) to create a longer, bolder look. Cadillac emphasized an even more luxurious ride for its 1963 model, insulating the floor and firewall to keep noise from the revamped and lighter weight 390 cubic inch V8 out of the inner compartment.

1964 was the final year of the Cadillac Series 62 before the model was renamed the Calais. The engine was expanded to 429 cubic inches, boosting horsepower to 340. No convertibles were offered in ’64, and sales bottomed out at 35,079… an 18-year low and a huge dip from the car’s apex of popularity in 1956.

Oh... my.

Oh… my.

1963 Cadillac Series 62

Body Style: 2-door convertible

Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

Engine: 390 cubic inch (6.4 L) Cadillac OHV V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor

Power: 325 hp (242 kW; 329 PS) @ XX rpm

Torque: 430 lb·ft (580 N·m) @ XX rpm

Transmission: 4-speed GM Hydra-Matic automatic

Wheelbase: 129.5 inches (3289 mm)

Length: 223 inches (5664 mm)

Width: 79.7 inches (2024 mm)

Height: 56.6 inches (1438 mm)

Despite its powerful Cadillac V8 under the hood, it would take a lot more than 325 horsepower to push the 4,544-pound car into high speeds. Acceleration was low, taking more than 10 seconds to hit 60 mph with a dismal 17.6 second quarter mile drag time. But a car like this isn’t driven for performance… it’s driven for showing off. Sounds about right for Tony Montana, doesn’t it?

And show off he does. Not only does the outside of the car attract attention with its bright yellow paint job, but the custom interior’s tiger-print upholstery is truly… unique.

If you want your own and size isn’t important to you, a 1:24 die-cast model replica is available for sale (and it even includes a little Tony Montana!) If die-cast metal isn’t your thing and you want something “cuter”, there’s always a toy like this.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the deluxe DVD gift set… which also comes with a copy of the original Scarface from 1932!

The Quote

You wanna play that way with me, I play with you.

Rusty’s White Striped Suit in Ocean’s Thirteen

Brad Pitt as "Rusty" Ryan in Ocean's Thirteen (2007).

Brad Pitt as “Rusty” Ryan in Ocean’s Thirteen (2007).

Vitals

Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, casino heister and hotel manager

Las Vegas, June 2007

Film: Ocean’s Thirteen
Release Date: June 8, 2007
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley

Background

Happy Memorial Day! I hope all you gents out in BAMF Land will be celebrating the holiday with an outdoor cookout… or possibly planning a multi-million dollar casino heist with your buddies.

In either case, it’s safe to wear white again.

What’d He Wear?

Rusty meets with his con artist cohorts Danny Ocean and Roman Nagel while wearing the loudest outfit of the trio. While Danny and Roman prefer all black, perhaps in accordance with the shady nature of their planning session, Rusty aims more for climate and style than criminal purpose. Rusty’s suit is white-on-white tonal pinstripe in lightweight silk. As usual, Rusty wears his suit without a tie.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

The criminality of Rusty and Danny’s venture is evident by the noiresque shadows over them.

The perfect fit of the suit confirms my belief that the mid-2000s was a sartorial high point in recent years, bridging the extra-baggy ’90s and overly slim suits seen today. Then again, it would be a challenge for any costumer to make Brad Pitt look bad.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

A brighter-lit shot from the same angle shows more aspects of Rusty’s suit jacket.

The suit jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels (and a buttonhole through the left lapel). The shoulders are padded with roped sleeveheads.

Rusty’s suit coat closes in the front with a single brown horn button, although he leaves it open for the whole of the sequence. The sleeves have fully-functional 4-button “surgeon’s cuffs”, although he only leaves three fastened, following the rakish pattern set by Daniel Craig’s James Bond to mark a bespoke suit. It’s a flashy gesture that fits a flashy dresser like Rusty.

In addition to the welted breast pocket, Rusty’s suit coat has flapped hip pockets that slant rearward like a hacking jacket. Unlike a hacking jacket, it has double rear vents.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

The product placement train keeps rolling as the Stella Artois-drinking Rusty provides a Dell laptop for Roman.

The flat front suit trousers rise low on his waist. They have two frogmouth front pockets and jetted rear pockets. The waistband closes with an extended squared hook closure tab in the front, although the trousers are meant to be worn with a belt.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

Although Rusty wears white chino trousers with a few other outfits in Ocean’s Thirteen (including with his mustard sportcoat at the airport), these are clearly a different pair that matches the suit as evident by the tonal pinstripe and the frogmouth front pockets that differ from the on-seam side pockets on the other chinos.

A stylish guy like Rusty isn’t going to ignore the matching belt and shoes rule, although we don’t get much of a look at the latter. His distressed leather belt is caramel brown with dark brown gradient edges and a thin squared gold buckle. The brief glimpse we get of his shoes offers what may be light brown leather with cream dress socks.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

And there you have it. The only look we get at Rusty’s feet in this outfit.

Some men might opt for a more subtle shirt to offset such a loud suit… not Rusty, though. Rusty wears a gold shirt with a distinctive metallic sheen. It has a large collar that he wears open with the top two buttons undone, buttoning the rest down the placket-less front. He also wears the rounded barrel cuffs unbuttoned, typically rolling up his sleeves when the jacket is off.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

Rusty is no slave to sartorial conventions by any means, but when he sports a white suit, brown supplements, and a gold shirt, it makes sense that he’d keep his jewelry all gold for a consistent palette. He wears his usual thin gold necklace with a gold pendant, mostly concealed by his shirt here.

His watch is a gold Rolex GMT Master II with a black bezel and black dial, secured to his right wrist on a gold link bracelet.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

Rusty proudly shows off his GMT Master.

The watch is on his right wrist here, but it rotates with the rest of his accessories and shows up on his left wrist for the closing scene of the movie. His multiple rings also rotate from hand to hand and finger to finger. In this scene, he wears a gold ring with a flat amber stone on his right ring finger (although this production photo shows it on a different hand.)

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

I’m not sure what the context of this photo is, but it’s almost definitely from the filming of this scene.

The production photo also ignores the gold pinky ing that Rusty wears on his left hand.

Go Big or Go Home

The scene could also double as a beer ad as two of the coolest men in Hollywood wear sharp suits and plan a slick casino heist all while enjoying bottles of Stella Artois.

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

Brad, Stella, and George.

How to Get the Look

Once again, Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan offers a flashy, distinctive outfit that many can attempt, but few will actually pull off.

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  • White-on-white tonal pinstripe lightweight silk tailored suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 1-button front, welted breast pocket, rear-slanted flapped hip pockets, 4-button “surgeon’s cuffs”, and double rear vents
    • Flat front low rise trousers with belt loops, frogmouth front pockets, jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Gold sheen dress shirt with large collar, plain front, and unbuttoned barrel cuffs
  • Caramel brown leather laced dress shoes
  • Cream dress socks
  • Caramel brown leather belt with dark brown gradient edges and squared gold buckle
  • Rolex GMT Master II wristwatch with a gold case, black bezel and dial, and gold link bracelet, worn on right wrist
  • Gold ring with brown stone, worn on right ring finger
  • Gold pinky ring, worn on left pinky
  • Thin gold necklace with a round gold pendant

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie, or even the whole series.

Goodfellas – Henry’s “Half Mick, Half Guinea” Green Suit

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990).

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990).

Vitals

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, New York mob associate and club owner

Queens, NY, June 11, 1970

Film: Goodfellas
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

Background

As Morrie Kessler’s favorite “half mick, half guinea”, it’s nice to see Henry Hill channeling his Irish side with a green suit while out at a bar. In particular, his bar – The Suite Lounge in Queens. (In reality, the scene was filmed at the Lido Cabaret at 7320 Grand Avenue in Maspeth.) Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day, and unfortunately for Billy Batts, an angry Joe Pesci was around.

This scene, one of the most iconic of the film, marks the shift in tone between the “glamour” of the wiseguy era in the ’60s and the harsh and violent reality of the ’70s as it all comes crashing down. The first portion of the film may explain why Henry’s biggest ambition was to be a gangster as we see an endless parade of sharp suits, champagne on the house, and big-haired and bosomy mistresses.

After Billy Batts, the suits are replaced by prison uniforms (or worse, polyester disco shirts), the champagne becomes drugs, and the mistresses become strung-out coke whores who stab you in the back. The scene and its repercussions teach us an important lesson: don’t kill, kids.

What’d He Wear?

For Billy Batts’ release party (and subsequent murder) in his bar, Henry Hill wears a green suit with a distinctive shine that implies either silk or possibly a mohair/silk blend. The suit is a two-piece with moderate features appropriate for 1970, a sartorial transition period between the ultra-slim ’60s and excessively wide ’70s.

The suit jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels that roll down to the low 2-button stance. Both the buttons on the front and the two buttons on each cuff are constructed of dark plastic, likely black. The shoulders are slightly padded with roped sleeveheads.

Obviously, Henry's attempts as a conflict mediator leave something to be desired.

Obviously, Henry’s attempts as a conflict mediator leave something to be desired.

Henry’s suit coat has a welted breast pocket and two flapped hip pockets that slant slightly back. The double rear vents rise to Henry’s natural waist.

The flat front suit trousers rise high on Henry’s waist with a straight fly and sharp creases down each slightly tapered leg to the plain-hemmed, full break bottoms. The slanted side pockets are visible, but Henry only removes the jacket when digging Batts’ grave so it’s hard to determine the rear pocket situation. He wears a slim black leather belt through the trousers’ belt loops.

Henry's suit is illuminated as Jimmy takes care of the Billy Batts situation.

Henry’s suit is illuminated as Jimmy takes care of the Billy Batts situation.

Henry wears a black shirt, a popular choice for a casual suit on a night out. He leaves the top two white plastic buttons undone; the rest are buttoned down the front placket. Broken white edge stitching is visible on the shirt’s wide placket in close-up shots.

Poor Henry looks so tired, and then Jimmy and Tommy make him go and dig a grave.

Poor Henry looks so tired, and then Jimmy and Tommy make him go and dig a grave.

The shirt’s long sleeves close with a single button, and the straight hem is revealed when Henry untucks the shirt to dig Batts’ grave. The material is hard to determine, but it appears to be polyester.

His leather shoes are also black, and – although they don’t receive much screen time – they appear to have a cap toe and a lace-up throat. He also appears to be wearing black socks, which I think is a good choice as the green suit isn’t neutral enough to warrant green socks.

GF61170-CL-feet

The gold watch on his right wrist is supposedly a Rolex Day-Date, although I can’t tell for sure from the angles we are given. It is certainly a gold case with a round white dial on a flat gold bracelet; I have typically seen Day-Dates worn on thicker link bracelets, but it’s possible that this was swapped out for Henry.

Henry's watch is best seen as he goes to investigate the rumbling from his trunk.

Henry’s watch is best seen as he goes to investigate the rumbling from his trunk.

Henry sticks with gold jewelry, also wearing his usual pinky ring on his right hand and his plain gold wedding band on the third finger of his left hand.

Underneath, he is likely wearing one of his usual white ribbed cotton sleeveless A-shirts.

Go Big or Go Home

Since Henry doesn’t actually do any killing in this scene (glossing over his enabling, clean-up, and other general accessory duties), it’s fine to have a Henry Hill-style night out. We’ve already got the outfit down, so now all you need is the right cigarettes, the right car, and the right music.

And, of course, the right breakfast.

And, of course, the right breakfast.

Henry’s smokes of choice are soft packs of Winston Full-Flavor filtered cigarettes with a gold lighter. At the time, Winston was the most popular cigarette brand in the United States, holding its position from 1966 until 1972 when it was eclipsed by Marlboro, who has remained the market leader to this day. It’s also somewhat telling that Henry’s cigarette brand was in its prime whenever he was… and it lost its popularity once things got bad (prison, drugs, killings, witness protection, etc.).

I know it’s not Car Week, but I have to show my appreciation for Henry’s fine choice in American machinery. For the bulk of the film, Henry drives a dark brown 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix with a white hardtop.

Henry's '68 Pontiac, parked in front of his goomah's place.

Henry’s ’68 Pontiac, parked in front of his goomah’s place.

’68 was a special year for the Grand Prix, a transition between the first two generations of body styles and the final year for the B-body platform full-sized Grand Prix. Since the convertible model had just been discontinued, the only option was the 2-door hardtop coupe, which Henry drives here. Engine options were the standard 400 cubic inch V8 with 350 horsepower, but an optional 428 was available with base 375 horsepower or a High Output (HO) 390 horsepower version. In reality, Hill drove a new 1970 Buick Electra, but all that you really need to take away from the scene is that the trunk was pretty much ruined after hauling Batts’ rotting corpse back and forth.

And finally, the music. Goodfellas has one of the greatest soundtracks of any movie, and this scene features two classic songs that nicely indicate the scene’s tone-changing effect on the rest of the film. The party is seen in high gear to the upbeat 1963 track “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” by the Phil Spector-produced group The Crystals.

Hours later, when Tommy returns to kill Batts and set the crew on its fatal course, the darker and deeper “Atlantis” by Donovan is used to punctuate the brutal murder.

Bonus points to anyone who can quickly – and correctly – pronounce Barabajagal, the name of Donovan’s 1969 album that contained the song.

What to Imbibe

Billy Batts: Give us a drink. And give some to those Irish hoodlums down there.
Jimmy Conway: Only one Irishman here, Billy.
Billy Batts: On the house. Salud.
Jimmy Conway: Top of the mornin’.

Whiskey is the order of the night for Jimmy and his crew, although he, Henry, and Tommy are more often seen drinking Crown Royal (Canadian), Cutty Sark (Scotch), or J&B (Scotch again) than anything Irish. Since Jameson will likely be flowing at your local bar on March 17th, feel free to down a shot or two with your local Irish hoodlums.

St. Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so it's unclear whether or not to bring your wife (Saturday) or your mistress (Friday).

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so it’s unclear whether or not to bring your wife (Saturday) or your mistress (Friday).

Now go home and get your fuckin’ shinebox.

How to Get the Look

Henry keeps his night out look flashy but simple using only three colors: green, black, and gold.

GF61170-crop1

  • Green silk suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped slanted hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and double rear vents
    • Flat front high rise trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, and plain-hemmed tapered bottoms
  • Black polyester shirt with white buttons, white edge-stitched front placket, and button cuffs
  • Black cap toe leather laced shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Black slim leather belt with small silver square clasp
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Rolex Day-Date with a gold case, white round dial, and flat gold bracelet
  • Pinky ring, worn on right pinky
  • Plain gold wedding band, worn on left ring finger

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me that was better than being president of the United States. To be a gangster was to own the world.

Footnotes

Curious about what really happened to Billy Batts? It’s not that different from what Goodfellas shows us, although the film wisely condenses the action to one night rather than over the course of a couple weeks. As found on Tommy DeSimone’s Wikipedia page

Scorsese directs Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and Frank Vincent. Interesting to note that Vincent is wearing jeans with his suit coat, shirt, and tie.

Scorsese directs Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and Frank Vincent. Interesting to note that Vincent is wearing jeans with his suit coat, shirt, and tie.

In the book Wiseguy, Henry Hill said they threw a “welcome home” party at Robert’s Lounge, which was owned by Jimmy Burke, for William “Billy Batts” Bentvena (confused as William Devino), a made man in Carmine Fatico’s crew (the same crew John Gotti was a part of) in the Gambino crime family.

Bentvena had just been released from prison after serving a six year term for drug possession. Hill states in Wiseguy that Bentvena saw DeSimone and asked him if he still shined shoes and DeSimone took this as an insult. Hill also said that Bentvena provoked DeSimone because he wanted to impress some mobsters from another crime family. A couple of minutes later when that issue was going to be forgotten, DeSimone leaned over to Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke and said “I’m gonna kill that fuck.” Hill saw that he was serious about it. A couple of weeks later, on June 11, 1970, Bentvena went over to “The Suite” owned by Hill in Jamaica, Queens to go drinking with DeSimone’s crew, including Hill, DeSimone, and Jimmy. Later that night DeSimone took his girlfriend home and Burke started making Bentvena feel comfortable. Twenty minutes later, DeSimone arrived with a .38 revolver and a plastic mattress cover. DeSimone walked over to him at the corner of the bar and attacked Bentvena. Before Bentvena was attacked, Jimmy Burke tightened his arms around Bentvena and he was pistol whipped with the .38 revolver. He was so inebriated that he couldn’t defend himself.

In the book Wiseguy, Hill said that before DeSimone started to beat Bentvena, DeSimone yelled, “Shine these fucking shoes!” DeSimone killed Bentvena not only because he had insulted him, but also because Burke had taken over Bentvena’s loanshark business while Bentvena was in prison. According to Hill, Bentvena had been complaining to Joseph N. Gallo about getting back this racket. Not wanting to return the business to Bentvena, Burke knew sooner or later Bentvena would have to be killed. After the beating, the three men put Bentvena into the trunk of Hill’s 1970 Buick Electra and later while the three men were driving on The Van Wyck Expressway, they discovered that Bentvena was not dead. Later, they visited DeSimone’s mother’s house to get a knife, lime, and a shovel. Later in the drive, closer to their destination, Hill said it had been an hour of DeSimone driving and he kept getting mad about the noises in the trunk and finally slammed the brakes and leaned over for the shovel and that Burke and DeSimone “didn’t actually shoot him, they just stabbed him, thirty or forty fucking times, fucking horrible.”

Hill does not mention a knife, but claims Burke and DeSimone finished Bentvena off by beating him with a tire iron and the shovel, respectively and the men later buried him under a dog kennel. At the time of the murder in 1970, Bentvena was 49 years old and was a respected and a feared made man in the Gambino crime family, as well as a personal friend of future Gambino boss John Gotti. Murdering a made man without the official consent of his family’s leadership was an unforgivable offense in the Mafia code of omerta, especially by a rival family and a mere associate such as DeSimone, and it was this murder (after the Gotti crew definitively tied DeSimone to the killing) that led to DeSimone’s own murder as retaliation.

Johnny Cash in All Black (Walk the Line)

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

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

Vitals

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

Los Angeles, January 1968

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

Background

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

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

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

What’d He Wear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cashblack-CL-vest

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

cashblack-CL-feet

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

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

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

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

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

Johnny Cash is a man on a mission.

Johnny Cash is a man on a mission.

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

How to Get the Look

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

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

Do Yourself a Favor and…

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

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

The Quote

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

Just Curious…

Even Johnny Cash celebrated with birthday cake!

Even Johnny Cash celebrated with birthday cake!

Ryan O’Neal in The Driver

Ryan O'Neal in The Driver (1978).

Ryan O’Neal in The Driver (1978).

Vitals

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

Los Angeles, Spring 1978

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

Background

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

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

What’d He Wear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Driver takes aim.

Driver takes aim.

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

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

The Driver hits the accelerator in his '74 Galaxie.

The Driver hits the accelerator in his ’74 Galaxie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shirt is long-sleeved with mitred button cuffs.

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

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

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

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

Go Big or Go Home

And speaking of this crucial moment of badassery…

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

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

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

Don't fuck with Driver.

Don’t fuck with Driver.

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

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

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

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

How to Get the LookDriver78-crop

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

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

The Car

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

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

Driver78-Car1-truck1

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

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

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

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

1973 Chevrolet C-10 StepsideDriver78-Car1-truck2

Body Style: 2-door pickup truck

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

Power: 275 hp (205 kW; 278 PS)

Torque: 468 lb·ft (635 N·m)

Transmission: 4-speed Saginaw Muncie SM465 manual

Wheelbase: 117.5 inches (2984 mm)

Length: 191.5 inches (4864 mm)

Width: 79.6 inches (2022 mm)

Height: 69.8 inches (1773 mm)

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

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

The other cars worth mentioning are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Driver78-Car4-Pontiac

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

Do Yourself a Favor and…

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

The Quote

Lotta crooks around these days.

The Cream Suit in Layer Cake

SPOILER ALERT! Some photos in this post sorta give things away out of necessity. If you’re familiar with the film, great. If you’re not… eh, maybe wait a bit before reading this one.

Daniel Craig in Layer Cake (2004).

Daniel Craig in Layer Cake (2004).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as an unnamed London drug dealer (“XXXX”, for simplicity’s sake)

London, Summer 2004

Background

As summer comes to a close, so will the seasonal focus on how to wear a good summer suit. There have been a range of styles, from fashion-forward mod suits (Michael Caine in The Italian Job) to double-breasted three-piece affairs (J.J. Gittes and Chalky White).

At the end of Layer Cake, Dan Craig has effectively negotiated the dangerous London drug underworld to announce his retirement, even with the prospect of taking over staring him in the face. Unlike so many gangsters – both real and cinematic – “XXXX” decides he’s made enough and had enough, and he chooses to retire and drive off into the sunset (or the afternoon sun) with his new girlfriend. Unfortunately, he may have made one careless mistake too many…

What’d He Wear?

A few years earlier, fellow Bond-actor-in-non-Bond-role Pierce Brosnan wore a similar ensemble as crooked MI6 agent Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (which I wrote about exactly one month ago). Brosnan’s suit was more tan than cream, but – like Craig – it was a linen and cotton blend worn with a light blue open-neck shirt and brown shoes. While Brosnan’s look was intentionally sloppy, Craig shows how well it can be pulled off for a casual summer outfit.

When given the chance to walk through double doors, use both doors. Be that guy.

When given the chance to walk through double doors, use both doors. Be that guy.

Of course, it helps that Craig’s suit was tailored by Richard James of Savile Row. According to Richard James’ blog:

The brief for Craig’s wardrobe… was ‘slim, contemporary Savile Row suits and definitive, well cut casual wear.” A suitable look, it was thought, for a character who professes, “I’m not a gangster, I’m a businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine.”

Craig’s jacket is single-breasted with a long fit and a slightly pulled in waist. The slim notch lapels, which have swelled edges, roll down to the high 2-button front stance. The shoulders are lightly padded, and the cuffs are 4-button.

XXXX enjoys the life of a retired drug dealer.

XXXX enjoys the life of a retired drug dealer.

There is a welted pocket and the flapped hip pockets slant back like the traditional hacking jacket. The long fit and long single vent also indicate hacking jacket-inspired construction.

Craig’s matching suit trousers are flat front with a low rise best seen when he is leaning on a pillar outside the Stoke Park Country Club. The waistband has an extended hook-closure tab in the front and buckle adjusters on the sides. The side pockets are slanted, and there is a single jetted rear pocket on the left. The plain-hemmed bottoms fall with a long break over his boots.

Casual Dan.

Casual Dan.

Craig also wears the same boots as he wore throughout the rest of the film, a pair of dark brown (or “chestnut”) leather Chelsea boots with brown elastic side gussets and tall-heeled black soles. As many costume detectives have found out, these are R.M. Williams’ “Henley” boots.

This is what I meant about photos with spoilers :-/ If you've never seen Layer Cake before, then I apologize for revealing that XXXX is so embarrassed about spilling ketchup on himself during lunch that he faints outside.

This is what I meant about photos with spoilers :-/
If you’ve never seen Layer Cake before, then I apologize for revealing that XXXX is so embarrassed about spilling ketchup on himself during lunch that he faints outside. It’s shocking.

Chelsea boots are a nontraditional option for summer suits, especially in such a dark color, with tan oxfords or loafers typically worn. However, brown definitely works better than black would, and a utilitarian like XXXX – classy though he maybe – would wear a shoe that is practical and comfortable.

His socks remain unseen due to the trouser break and the height of the boots, but they would likely be tan or taupe.

Craig wears a light blue poplin shirt with a large 2-button spread collar. It has white buttons down the front placket and French cuffs secured by walnut oval-shaped links with silver trim.

The 2-button collar enjoyed plenty of popularity in the mid-2000s when large collars were back in style. Now, it's hard enough to fit a single button on the pencil-thin collars on some currently trendy shirts.

The 2-button collar enjoyed plenty of popularity in the mid-2000s when large collars were back in style. Now, it’s hard enough to fit a single button on the pencil-thin collars on some currently trendy shirts.

The only accessory Craig openly wears during the scene is his stainless wristwatch, possibly a Rolex Datejust, with a stainless bracelet and black dial.

A classy watch and cufflinks help make a casual suit pop.

A classy watch and cufflinks help make a casual suit pop.

Go Big or Go Home

Continuing the idea that Layer Cake directly led to Daniel Craig’s consideration – and eventual hiring – as James Bond, it must be pointed out that the location chosen for the finale is the Stoke Park Country Club in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. (That’s in England, in case you’re geographically disabled.)

Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller outside the Stoke Park Country Club.

Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller outside the Stoke Park Country Club.

“Stoke Park… that sounds familiar,” you say to yourself. Since you’re reading this blog, you’re probably familiar with the film Goldfinger. Stoke Park Country Club hosted James Bond and Auric Goldfinger’s gripping golf game that climaxed with Oddjob removing a statue’s head with a single toss of his bowler hat.

How to Get the Look

Some men eschew going tieless with a suit, but XXXX proves that it’s not always such a bad thing.

Unfortunately, the classic R107 Benz doesn't make it into the finished film. No reason why you shouldn't still get one, though!

Unfortunately, the classic ’86 300SL doesn’t make it into the finished film. No reason why you shouldn’t still get one, though!

  • Cream linen-cotton blend two-piece suit from Richard James of Savile Row, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with extended waistband tab, buckle side adjusters, and plain-hemmed bottoms with full break
  • Light blue button-down shirt with large 2-button spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Walnut oval cufflinks with silver trim
  • Dark brown (“chestnut”) leather R.M. Williams “Henley” Chelsea boots with brown elastic side gussets
  • Rolex Datejust wristwatch with stainless case/bracelet and black dial

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film.

The Quote

My name? If you knew that, you’d be as clever as me.