Magic City: Ben the Butcher’s Yellow Shirt

Danny Huston as Ben "the Butcher" Diamond in "Sitting on Top of the World", episode 2.06 of Magic City (2012-2013)

Danny Huston as Ben “the Butcher” Diamond in “Sitting on Top of the World”, episode 2.06 of Magic City (2012-2013)

Vitals

Danny Huston as Ben “the Butcher” Diamond, sadistic and volatile Miami gangster

Miami Beach, Summer 1959

Series: Magic City
Episodes:
– “Crossroads” (Episode 2.04, dir: Ed Bianchi, aired July 12, 2013)
– “Sitting on Top of the World” (Episode 2.06, dir: David Petarca, aired July 26, 2013)
Creator: Mitch Glazer
Costume Designer: Carol Ramsey

Background

Easing into the end of July, I’m taking a look at the sunny summer style of Ben “the Butcher” Diamond, the ruthless gangster played to brutal perfection by Danny Huston on Starz’s Magic City. Continue reading

Casino – L.Q. Jones in Snakeskin and Corduroy

Today is the first day of my annual weeklong sojourn at the beach. I’m honored to present the first-ever contributor post at BAMF Style. Please enjoy the following submission by BAMF Style reader “W.T. Hatch”.

L.Q. Jones as County Commissioner Pat Webb in Casino (1995)

Vitals

L.Q. Jones as Pat Webb, cowboy Clark County commissioner

Las Vegas, Spring 1977

Film: Casino
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn

Background

I appreciate you taking the time to see a poor old civil servant.

In a rare moment of uncontrolled anger, Tangiers casino boss Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) fires his slot machine manager Don Ward, accusing him of outright incompetence or collusion with a gaming scam. Don hails from an influential Las Vegas family and is the brother-in-law of powerful county commissioner Pat Webb (played by Hollywood character actor L.Q. Jones).

Shortly thereafter, Webb makes an unannounced visit to request Sam rehire Don as a personal favor. Unfortunately, Sam fails to see the bigger issue at stake and refuses Webb’s request to disastrous effect. Although he appears in just four all-too-brief scenes, Webb leaves a lasting impression on both the viewer and eventually Sam himself.

What’d He Wear?

Pat Webb’s cowboy-themed ensemble contrasts against Sam Rothstein’s flashy silk suits, further highlighting the clash of cultures inherent between these two determined men. Commissioner Webb wears a light tan unstructured corduroy jacket, ideal for the Nevada climate, which lends an air of quiet authority and professionalism befitting his position. The jacket is minimalist and understated, with a single peak front and a simple yoke on the back. There are two large pockets with flaps on the bottom of the jacket mirroring the yoke design from the coat’s backside. The buttonless sleeves show a bit of flair through stitched-on brown suede elbow patches. The jacket has two buttons on the front, but Webb wears his coat unbuttoned, further demonstrating his folksy openness. Like the rest of the coat, the deeply cut notch lapels are conservative in their width, thereby avoiding the worst pitfalls of late ’70s fashion. Indeed, Webb’s corduroy coat, like much of his clothing, would not seem out of place in the western United States today.

Webb and Rothstein look out over the latter's Tangiers "casino empire."

Webb and Rothstein look out over the latter’s Tangiers “casino empire.”

Underneath the jacket, Webb wears a vibrant red shirt of uncertain material, but given the era, climate, and his personality, one would assume it to be made of cotton or perhaps rayon. Simplistic in design, the shirt has two large chest pockets with pointed flaps and a front placket with marbled brown buttons. More than anything, the solid red color symbolizes his power and influence as a presumably long standing member of the Las Vegas elite. Additionally, it serves as a fitting background to the obscenely large turquoise bolo tie worn in keeping with Webb’s cowboy image. The tie’s slide is likely of Native American design with a bear claw motif made from the turquoise stone and silver bear claws. Dark braided leather cords with 2″ silver bolo tips complete the look.

CASINO

Barely visible throughout the brief, but pivotal, meeting are Webb’s silver and turquoise bracelet on his right wrist and his gold wristwatch on his left.

Unsurprisingly, Webb chooses to pair his corduroy coat with a pair of neatly pressed bootcut blue jeans. Although the exact manufacturer is unknown, the smart money is on the Wrangler brand.

The flared bootcut of the jeans may distract you, but check out the gold watch shining on Webb’s left wrist.

In addition to a large leather belt worn through his jeans’ belt loops, Webb has a second smaller belt of tooled leather below his waist. Webb wears these two belts as a gunfighter would have in the Old West – one for your pants and the other for your firearm– although it is unlikely he is exercising his Second Amendment rights in a casino. The larger belt is fastened with an ornate silver oval cowboy belt buckle whereas the second belt has a standard tongue and punch hole combination closure.

Webb hooks his thumbs through the smaller belt while cooling his heels in Rothstein's outer office.

Webb hooks his thumbs through the smaller belt while cooling his heels in Rothstein’s outer office.

Webb’s rattlesnake skin cowboy boots are mostly hidden by the length of his pants. The shank of the boot is a much darker color, the details of which are further obscured by Rothstein’s desk when Webb unceremoniously throws himself into a chair.

The men's differences are as obvious as their choices in footwear.

The men’s differences are as obvious as their choices in footwear.

Webb tops off his outfit with a brown felt Stetson cowboy hat distinguished by its tall crown and rattlesnake headband. The lighter colored rattlesnake skin neatly contrasts with the darker brown of the hat, but the prominent placement of the open-mouthed snake head on the brim ensures it remains the focus.

Surprisingly, Webb wears a cowboy hat while indoors in each of his appearances – an oddity for a man who uses phrases like "little lady"– and who would normally remove his hat upon entering a building.

Surprisingly, Webb wears a cowboy hat while indoors in each of his appearances – an oddity for a man who uses phrases like “little lady”– and who would normally remove his hat upon entering a building.

The snakehead reinforces Webb’s personality and approach while discussing his less than astute brother-in-law’s firing. Webb rattles several warnings to Rothstein about the consequences of his rather public dismissal – warnings that Sam, almost fatally, chooses to ignore. Webb would later strike Rothstein by moving up his gaming license hearing and simultaneously ensuring the board members unanimously voted against him. Enraged, Rothstein embarks on a long expletive rant later broadcast by multiple TV stations. Without a license, Sam may no longer legally manage the casino and his subsequent actions bring additional scrutiny to the mob’s involvement, ultimately leading to the downfall of the local mafia, Sam and the Tangiers itself.

How to Get the Look

Western or cowboy themed attire is a timeless American look perfect for formal and informal occasions.

  • Tan pinwale corduroy single-breasted 2-button sportcoat with notch lapels, pointed Western front and back yokes, padded shoulders, brown suede elbow patches, set-in hip pockets (with pointed flaps), and single back vent
  • Red cotton shirt with spread collar, brown urea buttons on front placket, chest pockets (with pointed flaps), button cuffs
  • Blue denim jeans with tall belt loops and flared bootcut bottoms
  • Rattlesnake skin cowboy boots
  • Brown tooled leather cowboy belt with large oval two-tone silver & gold Western belt buckle
  • Brown secondary belt for your (optional where legal) six-shooter
  • Brown felt Stetson cowboy hat with tall crown and rattlesnake hat band
  • Silver and turquoise bracelet
  • Gold analog wristwatch
  • And the pièce de résistance, a bear claw shaped turquoise and silver bolo tie

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

You have got me there. Ol’ Don’s as useless as tits on a boar.

BAMF Style: My 5 Formative Movie Suits

For my birthday today (July 21, same as Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams), I hope you’ll excuse an indulgent post as I explore the suits that grabbed my attention from a young age and stirred my early interest in men’s style. Though, given the dapper white jacket that Sean Connery wore on the cover of GQ the month I was born, I should have known what direction my life would eventually take!

While not necessarily the greatest suits to every appear in the movies, these five each contributed to my interest in menswear that led to the eventual creation of BAMF Style a decade later. Interestingly, all of the featured outfits are from period films, highlighting fashion of an earlier era (the 1930s, in more cases than not) and accentuated by a musical soundtrack designed to emphasize the character and the moment.

Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974), Nicholas Clay in Evil Under the Sun (1982), Ray Liotta in Goodfellas (1990), and Robert Redford in The Sting (1973)

Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974), Nicholas Clay in Evil Under the Sun (1982), Ray Liotta in Goodfellas (1990), and Robert Redford in The Sting (1973)

Continue reading

Mad Men – “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”

 

Mad Men premiered ten years ago today on AMC, revolutionizing television and introducing the world to mysterious ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the womanizing Korean War veteran whose endless consumption of Old Fashioneds and Lucky Strikes seem to serve only to make him better at his job.

The quintessential American businessman, Draper sports a classic gray flannel suit throughout the pilot episode. Check out this slightly updated version of one of my first BAMF Style posts on the tenth anniversary of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (episode 1.01).

(Please forgive any dated references – this post first went live in October 2012!)

BAMF Style

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the Mad Men pilot episode.

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man with a dark past

New York City, March 1960

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: July 19, 2007
Director: Alan Taylor
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

If you haven’t yet seen Mad Men, most of your friends or every award show is convincing you to watch it. If you have seen it, then you likely know every episode from all seven series by heart, and you’ve been to at least two Mad Men parties.

Mad Men is a refreshing phenomenon to Americans. Refreshing especially after waves of popular TV meant Jersey Shore or Dancing With the Stars, or the inevitable and dreaded Dancing With the Stars of Jersey ShoreMad Men has style, class, and a story that is…

View original post 2,065 more words

David Niven’s Taupe Suit in Death on the Nile

David Niven as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile (1978)

David Niven as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile (1978)

Vitals

David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race, lawyer and war veteran

Egypt, September 1937

Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Following the grand success of 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express, one of the few adaptations of her work actually endorsed by Agatha Christie herself, producers rushed to find the next of her books to be adapted into a lavish, star-studded affair.

Death on the Nile was published in 1937, three years but ten books after Murder on the Orient Express, and included all of the necessary ingredients for success: the return of eccentric detective Hercule Poirot, an exotic location, and a glamorous victim among an international cast of characters… all of whom had the motive and means to commit the crime.

Poirot’s “boy Friday” to help him solve the case came in the form of Colonel Race, a steadfast Brit who first appeared in Christie’s earlier novel The Man in the Brown Suit. David Niven affably portrays the capable colonel with dignified charm and deadpan wit, often serving as the straightforward foil to Peter Ustinov’s more bombastic Poirot. Continue reading

The Day of the Jackal: A Day Cravat and an Alfa Romeo

Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal, carrying a custom rifle in front of his 1961 Alfa Romeo.

Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal (1973), carrying a custom rifle in front of his 1961 Alfa Romeo.

Vitals

Edward Fox as “The Jackal”, mysterious professional assassin

Montemorro Forest, Italy, August 1963

Film: The Day of the Jackal
Release Date: May 16, 1973
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Costume Design: Joan Bridge, Rosine Delamare, and Elizabeth Haffenden

Background

On le 14 juillet (or “Bastille Day,” as we Yanks call it), BAMF Style is exploring one of Edward Fox’s many simple but elegant casual outfits in The Day of the Jackal, where he plays an enigmatic British contract killer tasked with the assassination of French President Charles De Gaulle.

This installment of Car Week ends as it started, featuring a 1961 model year convertible. In this case, it’s the white Alfa Romeo that “The Jackal” – as our smooth assassin is codenamed – drives through Europe, including for this brief interlude as he tests his new customized sniper rifle in the Italian countryside. Continue reading

McQ’s Navy Blazer and 1973 Trans Am

John Wayne as Det. Lon "McQ" McHugh in McQ (1973), armed in front of his 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

John Wayne as Det. Lon “McQ” McHugh in McQ (1973), armed in front of his 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

Vitals

John Wayne as Lon “McQ” McHugh, taciturn Seattle PD lieutenant

Seattle, Fall 1973

Film: McQ
Release Date: February 6, 1974
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Luster Bayless

Background

It’s no Hollywood secret that McQ was originally developed as a vehicle for Steve McQueen. Five years after McQueen sat behind the wheel of a hunter green Mustang GT390 careening through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, the role of gruff Seattle police lieutenant Lon McHugh was retooled for screen legend John Wayne, who took on his first detective role at the age of 66.

Wayne, whose entire left lung had been surgically removed after a bout with cancer a decade earlier, could only walk short distances without needing oxygen – much to the chagrin of director John Sturges – but still turned in a surprisingly energetic performance as a cop who combines Dirty Harry’s stubborn grit with Bullitt’s propensity toward speeding around the city in a sporty dark green American muscle car. Continue reading