Californication – Hank Grieves in Purple

David Duchovny hits rock bottom as Hank Moody on Californication.

David Duchovny hits rock bottom as Hank Moody on Californication.


David Duchovny as Hank Moody, brooding novelist with substance abuse issues

Venice Beach, Summer 2007

Series: Californication
Episode: “California Son” (Episode 1.08)
Air Date: October 1, 2007
Director: Scott Winant
Costume Designer: Peggy A. Schnitzer


By the time of the eighth episode of Californication, viewers have certainly become familiar with Hank Moody’s “man in black” look. Thus, when we open on a scene of Hank at his computer in a surprising purple shirt, we certainly don’t expect it to be an episode where he is grieving his father’s death the entire time. And yet, that’s exactly what happens.

This is interesting since Hank’s monochromatic wardrobe is intentional by the show’s creators. The pilot script mentions him as a “man in black”. Hank refers a few seasons later to “his uniform”. And in flashbacks, he is always dressed with a more colorful variety. So why is it that the show’s costumers chose purple for Hank’s saddest moment in the season?

According to Wikipedia – my source for all things since college – purple was associated with mourning in Victorian-era Britain, most notably purple clothing with black trimming worn by a dead person’s close relatives in the years following death. So… that probably doesn’t explain it here.

What’d He Wear?

Likely just planning to spend the day writing in his apartment, Hank chooses a comfortable but uncharacteristic dark purple shirt and jeans for his attire.

The shirt is a long-sleeve casual button-down, as his tends to be. The soft turndown collars are prone to rolling inside the shirt, especially given Hank’s casual manner of wearing it, and the sleeves are worn unbuttoned and rolled up to the elbow. Much of the shirt’s stitching is visible, including a triple-stitched rear horizontal seam. The black buttons fasten down a plain/placket-less front.


Hank in various states of play.

Hank’s denim jeans are his usual medium-dark blue wash with a zip fly, worn with no belt.

With Hank’s footwear, we get another anomaly. Rather than his usual suede chelsea boots or black sneakers, Hank wears a pair of light gray Nikes with white laces and piping. We don’t get much of a look at these, but they appear to just be a light gray (“granite”) model of his usual Cortez sneakers. What’s more, he wears them with white socks!

We don't have a whole lot to work with, but this is my best guess. As I've said before, free time is available to me almost abundantly.

We don’t have a whole lot to work with, but this is my best guess.
As I’ve said before, free time is available to me almost abundantly.

Thankfully, as all this variety would be far too much otherwise, Hank’s accessories – the silver spinner ring on his right index finger and his black studded wrist straps – are the same.


The next day, when he heads to the airport, he is back in normal Hank attire of a black T-shirt and brown smoking jacket.

Go Big or Go Home

None of my favorite TV characters necessarily have great grieving processes, from Don Draper’s repression to Sterling Archer’s “tending bar and banging newlyweds”. Hank manages to combine the two processes into a long day of repressive hedonism.

As soon as he gets the news, Hank aborts his writing attempts and heads directly to his favorite bar, where he begins pounding Scotch – neat, of course – and talking up a call girl played by the always welcome Judy Greer.

Although, in Hank's defense, she doesn't quite come off like the average prostitute.

In Hank’s defense, she doesn’t quite dress (or drink) like the average prostitute.

Naturally, since he’s Hank, they end up in a hotel room where he does lines of cocaine off of her lower back. And then, also because he’s Hank, he proceeds to ask her about her ambitions, since – as he so eloquently states –

You can’t snort a line of coke off a woman’s ass and not wonder about her hopes and dreams, it’s not gentlemanly.

There’s not really much I can recommend about Hank’s initial mourning, other than to embrace the lesson to always be polite to women, even if they’re coke-addicted prostitutes.

Although she honestly doesn't seem too demeaned by it all.

Although she honestly doesn’t seem too demeaned by it all.

Instead, let’s look at his writing process. After picking up his black 13″ MacBook a few episodes ago (in a strange half-commercial montage…), Hank has found it no easier to put words together on a page. It’s a shame, since he’s got all the ingredients right, having poured some Dewar’s into his coffee and cranking up Warren Zevon’s “Mohammed’s Radio” on the stereo. For all you aspiring writers out there, the Zevon-and-whiskey combo yourself. It actually does wonders.

Hey, at least he's trying!

Hey, at least he’s trying!

How to Get the Look

This is the first of three appearances of purple shirts for Hank Moody. It can be a risky look, especially for less secure men, but if an alpha like Hank can do it, so can you.

  • Dark purple button-down casual shirt with black buttons down a plain front, and unbuttoned barrel cuffs
  • Medium-dark wash blue denim jeans
  • Light gray Nike Cortez sneakers with white piping and laces
  • White socks
  • Silver ring with two ridged bands, worn on the right index finger
  • Black leather bracelet with silver hexagonal and round studs, worn on the left wrist
  • Thin black braided leather bracelet, also worn on the left wrist

Do Yourself A Favor And…

Buy the first season.

The Quote

Rehab is for quitters.


Hank’s bracelets are available at Urban Wrist.

Sorry about all the pink and purple lately. Things will get traditionally manlier again next week.


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