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)

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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…

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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)

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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.

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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

Tony Rome’s Yellow Turtleneck and Ford Galaxie

Frank Sinatra slides behind the wheel of a 1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner with Jill St. John in Tony Rome (1967)

Frank Sinatra slides behind the wheel of a 1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner with Jill St. John in Tony Rome (1967)

Vitals

Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, private investigator and compulsive gambler

Miami Beach, Spring 1967

Film: Tony Rome
Release Date: November 10, 1967
Director: Gordon Douglas
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry

Background

BAMF Style’s biannual Car Week is back! For the first post of this summer’s installment of Car Week, let’s check in with Frank Sinatra in the sunny setting of late 1960s Miami Beach, where he plays the beer-swilling, boat-dwelling private eye Tony Rome. Continue reading

The Spy Who Loved Me: Bond’s Safari-Inspired Sportcoat

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, suave British MI6 agent

Cairo, Egypt, August 1977

Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Tailor: Angelo Vitucci

Background

The Spy Who Loved Me was released 40 years ago today on July 7, 1977. As James Bond himself, the late Sir Roger Moore, noted in his highly entertaining 2012 book Bond on Bond: “The date on the posters read 07/07/77. Jim’s lucky numbers.” The day seems like an appropriate time for BAMF Style to celebrate the uniquely fashionable Bond so charmingly portrayed by Sir Roger during his 12-year tenure as 007. Continue reading