Budget Fall Fashions for 2021

Fall, the season for flannel and field-wear as presented by (clockwise, from top left) Rock Hudson in All That Heaven Allows, Dennis Haysbert in Far From Heaven, and Alan Alda, Larry Linville, and Wayne Rogers on M*A*S*H.

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons: the picturesque changing leaves, football every weekend, comfort foods and autumnal cocktails, and the parade of holidays from Halloween through Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas season.

The increasing chill in the air also makes autumn my favorite sartorial season, as we layer coats over sweaters with our boots crunching over fallen leaves, the weather still just right to consider form over function… or find the perfect balance of both.

This year, I wanted to look at a few fall fashion essentials inspired by movies and TV to get you in the autumnal mood. I forced myself to limit my finds to ten top garments that I wear and appreciate most from October through December:

  • MA-1 bomber jacket
  • Fleece-lined denim trucker jacket
  • Army-style field jacket
  • Plaid flannel work jacket
  • Pre-WWII leather flight jacket
  • Light brown corduroy suit
  • Blue denim Western-style snap shirts
  • Colorful plaid flannel shirts
  • Navy shawl-collar cardigan
  • Army-inspired OG-107 utility pants

My goal for each piece was to capture a range of at least five or six options for every budget, aiming for the ideal balance of affordability and quality. Continue reading

Zodiac: Paul Avery’s Layered Corduroy and Denim

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007)

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007)

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Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery, San Francisco Chronicle crime reporter

San Francisco, Fall 1969 to Fall 1970

Film: Zodiac
Release Date: March 2, 2007
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Casey Storm

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Last week, the volunteer investigative group The Case Breakers released their research suggesting the identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer was Gary Francis Poste, adding a new suspect to a list that includes Arthur Leigh Allen, Rick Marshall, and Ted Cruz. While many experts have been quick to disprove the Poste theory, the current zeitgeist of fascination with true crime and every other podcast inspiring waves of amateur detectives encouraged me to revisit Zodiac, David Fincher’s extensively researched thriller that has been considered one of the best movies of the 21st century… despite being outgrossed by Wild Hogs during its opening weekend.

In addition to its eponymous killer, Zodiac centers around three real-life figures—San Francisco police inspector Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Chronicle crime writer Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.)—each driven to obsession by their relentless parallel pursuits to uncover the serial murderer’s identity. Continue reading

The Many Saints of Newark: Dickie Moltisanti’s Black Striped Knit Shirts

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

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Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, slick gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Summer 1967 through Summer 1971

Film: The Many Saints of Newark
Release Date: October 1, 2021
Director: Alan Taylor
Costume Designer: Amy Westcott

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Pain comes from wanting things,” Sal Moltisanti (Ray Liotta) explains to his nephew Dickie, though it could have also been meta-messaging from David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and a frequent critic of the fans and pundits always demanding more from his magnum opus, be it answers (What happened to the Russian? Did Tony die at Holsten’s?) or more stories to be told.

Regarding the latter, Chase had expressed interest in prequel stories—if anything—to continue building the Soprano-verse. He returned to a setting that had intrigued him as far back as his days in film school: the race riots that swept through Newark in July 1967.

While much excitement was garnered when it was announced that the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael would be playing a younger version of the role his father had immortalized on the series, the central character of Chase’s prequel would be Dickie Moltisanti, the smooth mafiosi whose death prior to the events of the series left the hotheaded young gangster Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) desperately in search of a father figure.

After years of The Sopranos building up Dickie’s mythos, Alessandro Nivola delivers a charismatic and engaging performance that makes Dickie Moltisanti a particularly compelling character to finally meet, illustrating the magnetism that would have so entranced a young Tony as well as the internal demons that he would have transferred to Christopher.

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Easy Rider: Peter Fonda as “Captain America”

Peter Fonda as Wyatt in Easy Rider (1969)

Peter Fonda as “Captain America” in Easy Rider (1969)

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Peter Fonda as Wyatt, aka “Captain America”, freedom-loving biker

Across the southern United States from Los Angeles through Louisiana, February 1968

Film: Easy Rider
Release Date: July 14, 1969
Director: Dennis Hopper

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

When I learned the second Saturday of October is commemorated as National Motorcycle Ride Day, I realized I’d gone far too long without shining a sartorial lens on Dennis Hopper’s iconic cult classic, Easy Rider.

Conceptualized by Hopper, Fonda, and screenwriter Terry Southern, Easy Rider‘s chaotic production and controversial themes have been the product of considerable discussion since its release during that seminal summer of ’69. To some, it explores the death of the American dream through the concept of freedom, asking what it really means to be a free American.

Set to classic rock like The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Roger McGuinn, and Steppenwolf, we follow two bikers in their journey across the United States, from the open desert of the southwest into the close-knit conservative communities of the deep South. Hopper co-stars as the the mustached hippie rider Billy, but the arguable leader of the duo is the flag-bedecked Wyatt (Peter Fonda), celebrated by his pal as “Captain America”. After all, if a red, white, and blue-blooded Captain America can’t safely and freely ride across the nation, who can? Continue reading

Bond in Action: Daniel Craig’s Racer Jacket and Mockneck in Spectre

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

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Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent

London, November 2015

Film: Spectre
Release Date: October 25, 2015
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

WARNING! Spectre spoilers ahead!
(And, if you’ve already seen No Time to Die, please try to avoid adding any spoilers in the comments!)

Background

M: It’s good to have you back, 007.
Bond: Sir.

After waiting more than a year and a half of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, No Time to Die is finally arriving in U.S. theaters tomorrow! To celebrate on the 00-7th of October, let’s check in on the last time we saw Mr. Bond in action.

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Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy

Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy (1990)

Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy (1990)

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Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy, square-jawed detective

“Homeville”, December 1938

Film: Dick Tracy
Release Date: June 15, 1990
Director: Warren Beatty
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero

Background

Ninety years ago today on Sunday, October 4, 1931, Chester Gould’s comic strip Dick Tracy premiered in the Detroit Mirror, introducing the world—or at least Detroit—to the determined detective in his trademark yellow coat.

Despite the strip’s longevity and popularity, attempts to adapt it for the screen never came into fruition for nearly six decades until the blockbusting success of Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 proved to studios there a profitable market for comic book adaptations. Bringing Dick Tracy to Hollywood became a passion project for Warren Beatty, who starred as the title character as well as producing, directing, and attracting a cavalcade of stars to portray the colorful—and colorfully dressed—figures of the mysterious Chicago-like city where Tracy faced off against gangsters and gun molls.

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The Towering Inferno: Paul Newman’s Tan Suede Jacket

Paul Newman as Doug Roberts in The Towering Inferno (1974)

Paul Newman as Doug Roberts in The Towering Inferno (1974)

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Paul Newman as Doug Roberts, ambitious architect

San Francisco, Summer 1974

Film: The Towering Inferno
Release Date: December 14, 1974
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Paul Zastupnevich

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Alongside disco and bell-bottoms, one major cultural trend that emerged during the 1970s—for better or worse—was the disaster movie. True, the genre had existed since the early days of film, but the ’70s saw a boom in these high-budget, star-studded dramas that introduced as many calamities as the decade’s most popular celebrities could handle. After conquering air (Airport), earth (Earthquake), and water (The Poseidon Adventure), the Hollywood gods—specifically Irwin Allen—turned their attention to the one remaining element.

Thus, on the eve of National Fire Prevention Week, let’s take a look at one of the protagonists who was trapped in The Towering Inferno!

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The Sopranos: Johnny Boy’s Red Knit 1960s Shirt

Joseph Siravo as "Johnny Boy" Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: "Fortunate Son")

Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: “Fortunate Son”)

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Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano, gregarious gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Fall 1969

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

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The highly anticipated Soprano saga prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, will be released tomorrow, expanding on the universe of the fictional DiMeo crew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Michael Gandolfini has already received impressive notices in his portrayal of a teenage version of the role originated by his father, with Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga playing the young future capo’s parents, Johnny Boy and Livia Soprano.

David Chase has acknowledged that the prequel will be retconning some of the timeline that had been outlined in episodes of The Sopranos, specifically the flashbacks in episodes like “Fortunate Son”, which starred Joseph Siravo and Laila Robins as the parents of a pre-teen Tony (Mark Damiano II).

A veteran of stage and screen, Siravo died just over five months ago on April 11, 2021, at the age of 66. The actor had appeared in five episodes of The Sopranos as Tony’s charming but violent father.

As the first episode set after Livia’s death, “Fortunate Son” focuses on the respective roles of young men reacting to new responsibilities, including the recently “made” Christopher Moltisanti, Jackie Aprile Jr. trying to live in the shadows of his late “fawtha”, A.J. Soprano seemingly inheriting his father’s panic attacks, and Tony himself recalling the moment in his childhood when he was first made aware of his own father’s dangerous profession. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in America: De Niro’s Herringbone for a Heist

Robert De Niro as David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and ex-convict

Detroit, Fall 1932

Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci

Background

After premiering at Cannes in May and undergoing a truncated release stateside that summer, Sergio Leone’s controversial mob saga Once Upon a Time in America was finally released in the Italian-born director’s home country on this day in 1984. Leone’s final film, and the first he had directed in 13 years, Once Upon a Time in America marked the conclusion to his unofficial “Once Upon a Time…” trilogy.

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Wall Street: Meeting Gordon Gekko in Shirt Sleeves and Suspenders

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

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Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, smug and successful corporate raider

New York City, Spring 1985

Film: Wall Street
Release Date: December 11, 1987
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Tailor: Alan Flusser

Background

Happy birthday to Michael Douglas, the actor, producer, and activist born September 25, 1944, who may be most famous for his iconic Academy Award-winning performance as ruthless financier Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

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