Today is the 52nd birthday of George Clooney, a guy who typically tops the lists of modern men’s style icons.
George Clooney as Danny Ocean, paroled con man and casino heister
Atlantic City, Spring 2001
Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: December 7, 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
For all of the fanfare he gets as an icon of men’s style these days, I’m a little surprised it took me this long to write something about Mr. Clooney.
The 2001 remake of Ocean’s Eleven needs little introduction. As one of the very few remakes widely considered to surpass the original in terms of quality (although the Rat Pack is a lot of fun to watch in their 1960 version), Steven Soderbergh’s heist film paved the way for a number of similar heist films to pop up in cineplexes throughout the early 21st century, most notably The Italian Job and the rest of the “Ocean’s Trilogy”.
Clooney took Sinatra’s relatively one-note character and portrayed him as a more complex – but still tongue-in-cheek – professional thief. Another of the film’s virtues was the pairing of Clooney with Brad Pitt, not only a match up to make women swoon but also one of the best cinematic partnerships since Newman and Redford.
What’d He Wear?
When Clooney’s Ocean first shows up at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, he is given a solid entrance as he coolly glides up the escalator, nonchalant as can be.
Clooney wears a great sport coat in these scenes, a light and dark brown houndstooth check with a faint red windowpane overcheck. Like many casual sport jackets, it has notch lapels and a ventless rear. It closes in the front with two buttons, and Clooney appropriately only wears the top button fastened. The shoulders are slightly padded for a more broad-shouldered look. None of the pockets are flapped; the breast pocket is a patch and the hip pockets are jetted. Clooney’s jacket also has 3-button cuffs.
Underneath, Clooney wears a medium-dark brown shirt with dark buttons fastening down a plain, placket-less front. The angle-cut barrel cuffs are worn buttoned, continuing the crisp but cool look.
Most of the shots ignore the lower half, but Clooney is definitely wearing dark brown flat front slacks with plain-hemmed bottoms, suspended by a black leather belt with a silver squared single-prong buckle.
Important to note for the recent parolee is the silver wedding band on his left ring finger, despite his wife leaving him years earlier. He also wears a simple but stylish Hamilton Linwood Viewmatic wristwatch on a black crocodile strap.
When he steps outside, Clooney’s Ocean wears a black overcoat and black leather gloves, though we don’t get a very good look at either.
Later in the film, when at Barnum’s Circus with Rusty, Clooney sports the same jacket again, only this time with a dark blue shirt and black slacks. The shirt appears to be styled exactly the same as the brown one worn in the A.C. scenes. He also wears a pair of sharp silver-rimmed, dark-lensed sunglasses.
We don’t see his shoes, but I would assume he isn’t barefoot. Casinos and circuses alike tend to look down on that.
Go Big or Go Home
From this scene, the film – and the whole Ocean’s series – is jolted onto a quick-moving momentum of coolness that made any guy watching want to throw on a suit and head to Vegas, either to just gamble or to try and rob a casino blind. While I can’t legally recommend trying the latter, I can tell you it can be very satisfying to just walk through a casino, drink in hand, holding your chin up high as Ramsey Lewis’s “Wade in the Water” plays in your head. After a long night at the tables and calling dealers by their incorrect names, head down to the bar and throw down another whiskey. You may even get to run into Bernie Mac. (RIP.)
Try and that and, trust me, you’ll feel about as much like George Clooney as you could ever want to… (Unless you can get a different supermodel girlfriend every week and a villa on an Italian lake.)
How to Get the Look
Clooney nails a sharp but non-ostentatious look for his suave arrival into the casino. It is a nice, easy look to pull off and gives a man a reason to pack a smart-looking checked sportcoat.
- Brown houndstooth check single-breasted sport coat with a slight red windowpane overcheck, notch lapels, 2-button front, 3-button cuffs, patch breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and ventless back
- Dark brown flat front trousers with belt loops and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Brown long-sleeve dress shirt with a plain front and mitred button cuffs
- Black leather belt with a squared steel single-claw buckle
- Sunglasses with silver squared rims and dark lenses
- Hamilton Linwood Viewmatch wristwatch with a polished stainless steel case and textured silver dial on a black crocodile leather strap
- Silver plain wedding band
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Danny makes a call to his parole officer that is pretty ripe with lies. It would be a dick move if he wasn’t George Clooney.
Officer Brooks, this is Danny Ocean. I was told to contact you within 24 hours. No, sir, I haven’t been gettin in trouble. No, sir, I haven’t been drinking. No, sir, I wouldn’t even think about leaving the state.
Given that the bulk of the film takes place in Vegas, I think it’s logical for viewers to assume that Danny will soon be breaking these promises.