Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino manager and mob associate
Las Vegas, Summer 1972
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn
With tomorrow marking the first official day of summer, people will be flocking to the pool. It’s a nice place to catch some sun, but maybe you’re not in the mood for swimming. Who knows why – maybe you’re afraid of water, or maybe you have lice. Still, you’ll want to make sure you look cool while sitting poolside, puffing away on a cigarette while dealing with your city’s major power brokers and delegating control of your turf.
The white lower half (pants, shoes, and socks) is often associated with old men. De Niro was not young when he made Casino, but that doesn’t mean the look only has to be for old men. Try telling De Niro he’s an old man anyway. See where that gets you.
What’d He Wear?
He may wear some slick dark suits in the casino, but Ace knows how to combat the dry Vegas heat with light colors. Other than the infamous Gatsby pink suit, this may be the brightest attire covered yet on BAMF Style.
Ace wears a distinctive sport coat with an alternating yellow and red check and dark blue overcheck on an ivory ground. The single-breasted jacket with peak lapels was a popular style in the ’20s and ’30s that enjoyed an exaggerated revival in the 1970s around the time that Ace enjoyed his poolside business discussion with Andy Stone. The peak lapels are wide but avoid the excessive width of the “disco decade”, the shoulders are well-padded with roped sleeveheads, and the single white button in the front matches the single button on each cuff.
The yellow handkerchief tucked into Ace’s welted breast pocket almost perfectly matches the yellow of his shirt. This can be a tricky combo to pull off and tends to be best left to sartorial masters such as Ace Rothstein and Roger Moore in Moonraker.
Underneath, Ace wears one of the many bright silk shirts that Anto made for Robert De Niro to wear in the production. This butter yellow long-sleeve shirt has a large point collar, here worn open with no tie. The shirt has yellow plastic buttons up the plain front, a monogrammed breast pocket, and the distinctive 1-button squared tab cuffs originally created by Ted Lapidus.
Below the waist, things tend to start getting a bit “old man”-ish. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) While a white pants, white belt, and white shoes may work for naval officers, it is hard for a young man to pull this off casually without looking like he escaped from a rest home in Miami Beach. However, when matched with confidence and a great-looking jacket, there shouldn’t be much to worry about.
Ace wears white silk flat front trousers that have – as it is the ’70s – slightly flared plain-hemmed bottoms. The trousers have belt loops, through which a white belt is worn. Ace matches his belt to his shoes with a pair of plain white leather loafers and thin silk ivory-colored dress socks.
A guy like Ace definitely loads up on accessories. He’s rich, and he earned his money, so you should get to see it. He has a watch and ring for every wardrobe, usually both on his right hand; in this case, he wears a thin gold watch on his right wrist and a 14-carat gold pinky ring with an emerald cut cubic zirconia set in a geometric polished shank.
His large tortoiseshell aviator-style hard plastic sunglasses are Carrera 5425s, the same set worn throughout the film, such as when he arrives at the Beverly Hills airport with Ginger or while being interviewed by FBI agents on his back porch.
Go Big or Go Home
As I mentioned, you’d be doing Ace Rothstein proud by lounging poolside at a Vegas casino like the Riviera, taking occasional drags from your cigarette. Ace’s brand in the film is Dunhill International Full-Flavor. As one would expect of a man in duds like these, they are overpriced luxury cigarettes from England. They were also favored by guys like Hunter S. Thompson and John Lennon. Good luck finding them nowadays; only speciality tobacconists (and the occasional corner stores) carry them.
If you’re looking for something to listen to while channeling Ace, look no further than Louis Prima, one of the ultimate Vegas entertainers. Prima and his group, often featuring his wife Keely Smith and bandleader Sam Butera, entertained audiences for years with energetic renditions of classic songs. He avoided the parody style of guys like Spike Jones while never getting too Sinatra serious for nightclub crowds.
In the film, Prima’s version of “Sing Sing Sing” is played in a montage leading up to this scene. “Sing Sing Sing” is a classic swing hit, now unfortunately best known to modern audiences as the song from the Chips Ahoy! commercials, but Prima actually wrote it back in the 1930s. Benny Goodman made it a hit at Carnegie Hall during his massive January 16, 1938 concert and was forever associated with it. However, Prima came back in the ’50s to rerecord it (he had released his original version in March 1936) for his 1959 album Strictly Prima! Like many of Prima’s musical interpretations, his later version is more “mischievous”, very befitting the mob hijinks and wheeling-and-dealing of the early scenes of Casino.
How to Get the Look
We don’t see much of it, but it certainly makes an impression.
- Blue, red, yellow, and white checked single-breasted 1-button sport coat with wide peak lapels, welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 1-button cuffs, and double back vents
- Yellow silk long-sleeve Anto dress shirt with large point collar, plain front monogrammed breast pocket, and 1-button “Lapidus” tab squared cuffs
- White silk flat front trousers with belt loops and slightly flared plain-hemmed bottoms
- White leather loafers
- Ivory silk dress socks
- Thin gold wristwatch, worn on the right wrist
- Yellow gold 14-carat pinky ring with an emerald cut cubic zirconia setting, worn on the right pinky
- Carrera 5425 brown plastic “sport” aviator sunglasses
- Yellow handkerchief, worn in the jacket’s breast pocket
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie and buy a casino, if possible.
If only people realized Ace meant what he said when he was offered the job of casino manager…
You know if I did it, I’d have to run it my own way.