Patrick Bateman’s Charcoal Pinstripe Double-Breasted Suit

Christian Bale as Huey Lewis fan Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

Christian Bale as Huey Lewis fan Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000).

Vitals

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, bored investment banker and possible serial killer

New York City, December 1987

Film: American Psycho
Release Date: April 14, 2000
Director: Mary Harron
Costume Designer: Isis Mussenden

Background

“Aw man, I loved this blog until you called a serial killer a BAMF!”

Sorry, guys, but…

a) It’s Halloween.
2) There’s no denying that Bateman’s style was as classy as the late ’80s could get.
c) Some people think his killings were all just in his mind anyway. (They weren’t, but still…)

American Psycho has been criticized many times by the easily-offended and overly-shocked, but the film is both the perfect dissection of an era’s materialism and a showcase for the talents of Christian Bale. Before this, Bale was probably best remembered by audiences as a child in Empire of the Sun or Newsies. In 2000, Bale’s career made a 180 when he was cast by director Mary Herron in her adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho.

Wikipedia describes the film as “satirical psychological thriller black comedy film”, which it undoubtedly is. When asked once why he’s never been in a comedy, Bale responded that he thought American Psycho was pretty funny. And it is! There are shocking scenes of horror, always undercut by humor and irony. Yes, Patrick Bateman is a monster, but is he also just a product of the materialistic times?

What’d He Wear?

After a few scenes of teasing, the turning point for the viewer is bearing direct witness to Bateman committing one of his atrocious crimes. Up until this point, it has just been hinted with mysterious stains, locks of hair, and a distant attack.

As “Marcus Halberstram”, a convenient alias of wrong association, Bateman strolls into Texarkana, a “cheap” Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, to meet Paul Allen. Bateman wears a dark charcoal flannel double-breasted suit with widely spaced white pinstripes. The suit has a very large ’80s-style fit, roomy throughout the jacket and baggy down the legs. We know that he often wears Cerruti clothing in the film, but Cerruti refused to allow their clothing to be worn in any scenes of Bateman’s kills, so this is obviously not their work.

The jacket, as per usual for double-breasted coats, has peak lapels. These lapels, however, are very wide and resemble those that came into fashion during the 1940s. The button closes with two buttons on the six-button front. There is a breast pocket and hip pockets. The slightly padded shoulders give the jacket additional heft.

APcpdb-jacket1

We don’t see much of the trousers, but they have cuffed bottoms with a full break. If they are like his other trousers in the film’s suits, they have single pleats.

The contrast collar shirt is a very ’80s touch. Most famously worn by Gordon Gekko and a staple of the jerky ’80s businessman, the contrast collar shirt is exactly what it sounds like. Typically in blue, as Bateman’s is, the shirt is paired with a contrasting set of collars, usually white. Occasionally, the cuffs were also contrast. In this case, Bateman’s cuffs are the same blue as the rest of his shirt. The collar here is also white and fashionable for the ’80s with its wide spread and narrow size. The double cuffs are fastened with large round gold links.

Guess this is a good time to bone up on your Huey Lewis knowledge. Get it?

Guess this is a good time to bone up on your Huey Lewis knowledge. Get it?

Bateman wears a light red patterned necktie with small blue scratches intersecting small yellow scratches.

The nice thing about a red tie is that, even if you become drenched with blood, your tie isn't ruined!

The nice thing about a red tie is that, even if you become drenched with blood, your tie isn’t ruined!

Interestingly, he later wears this same suit when meeting with the detective played by Willem Dafoe over lunch. For this occasion, he wears a different shirt with thin white and dark blue stripes. The tie is also slightly different, as commenter Roman pointed out, in maroon with dark circles separated by golden dots. I had initially wrongly identified the tie as being the same, but Roman helpfully noted the differences for me.

The nice thing about the protective raincoat is that it allows Bateman to wear the exact same suit and tie when meeting the investigating detective for lunch!

The nice thing about the protective raincoat is that it allows Bateman to wear the exact same suit when meeting the investigating detective for lunch!

Since this is the ’80s, Bateman wears suspenders whenever possible. In this case, he wears a pair of vibrant blue suspenders broken up by a small off-white pattern. He will wear these suspenders with other outfits in the film as well. All of his trousers seem to have buttons on the inside of the waistline to attach braces, giving them a cleaner look when the jacket is removed.

APcpdb-suspenders1

Bateman’s shoes are black patent leather perforated cap-toe balmorals, shined to a mirror-like finish. These are naturally paired with a pair of black dress socks, barely seen beneath the full break of the trousers.

The shoes are shined to a degree almost as mirror-like as the axe.

The shoes are shined to a degree almost as mirror-like as the axe.

The expensive mixed metal watch on Bateman’s left wrist is a Rolex Datejust. The filmmakers notably wanted a Rolex for the production to use the book’s line “Don’t touch the Rolex,” but the Rolex people were naturally not supportive of the association.

To a guy like Pat Bateman, a Huey Lewis album is just as much an aspirational item as a Rolex.

To a guy like Pat Bateman, a Huey Lewis album is just as much an aspirational item as a Rolex.

When Bateman ventures out into the December cold, he adds a great but sinister-looking (likely due to the situation) black soft wool overcoat with notch lapels. It is single-breasted with a 3-button front, 3-button cuffs, a welted breast pocket, and jetted hip pockets. The long rear single vent blows behind him as he struts around corners, resembling a villainous cape. He pairs the overcoat with a pair of black leather gloves.

Bateman works up a sweat scurrying around

Bateman works up a sweat scurrying around “Paul Norman”‘s apartment in his heavy overcoat.

Of course, this isn’t the only topcoat Bateman wears with the suit.

“Is that a raincoat?”

Yes, it is!

Bateman knows to protect his suit against the elements.

Bateman knows to protect his suit against the elements.

Bateman’s initial choice of outerwear in this scene is a slightly less practical translucent snap-closing raincoat with large pockets on each hip that also close with a snapped flap. Bateman, who is usually so fastidious about his clothes, manages to get blood all over his! I know it was meant to get wet, but let’s hope you can be a little more responsible with your raincoat. Also, let’s hope you don’t have any axe murders in your future.

Go Big or Go Home

Branding is a very essential part of the universe built by Bret Easton Ellis in both American Psycho and its cinematic adaptation. Bateman makes it very clear what brands he wears, drinks, and uses. Upon his arrival for dinner at Texarkana, he orders “J&B, straight.” After enjoying the “outrageous” mud soup and charcoal arugula, Bateman joins the drunken Paul Allen in a Corona, soaking in the Mexican atmosphere. It would be very important for these image-driven men to be seen drinking an obviously Mexican beer (but not too authentically Mexican) when at a Mexican restaurant.

Check out the label! All of Bateman's cigars are La Plata. This is a cinematic choice, as Ellis's book gave no cigar brand by name.

Check out the label! All of Bateman’s cigars are La Plata. This is a cinematic choice, as Ellis’s book gave no cigar brand by name.

When he gets back, Bateman proudly shows off his knowledge of Huey Lewis & the News, playing “Hip to Be Square” while he prances around his apartment, adding a crescendo to his monologue by introducing an axe into the back of Allen’s head. He lights up his La Plata “50th Anniversary Dominican Selection” cigar, sitting back and listening to the rest of Fore, which he describes as the News’ “most accomplished album”.

And what kind of overnight bag does Bateman hide Allen’s corpse in? Jean-Paul Gaultier. Fuck Dexter’s Hefty bags, Bateman aims for class.

How to Get the Look

Bateman dresses every bit the part of the conservative but fashion-forward yuppie businessman:

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

  • Charcoal pinstripe flannel suit, with:
    • Double-breasted jacket with wide peak lapels, welted breast pocket, hip pockets, and a 6-button front
    • Single-pleated suit trousers with cuffed bottoms
  • Black soft wool single-breasted overcoat with notch lapels, 3-button front, 3-button cuffs, welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and long rear single vent
  • Blue dress shirt with narrow white contrast collar with a large spread, a front placket, and blue double cuffs
  • Large round gold cuff links
  • Light red patterned necktie with small blue scratches intersecting small yellow scratches
  • Blue suspenders with a repeating white pattern
  • Black leather perforated cap-toe oxfords
  • Black dress socks
  • White briefs – We see Bateman wearing Perry Ellis briefs during his “morning routine” and it can be assumed that this is a preferred brand for him.
  • Black leather gloves

Do Yourself A Favor And…

Buy the film and develop your own theory: Is Bateman a killer or is it all in his imagination?

The Quote

Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?… Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor… In ’87, Huey released this, Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.

Huey Lewis and the News: Enjoy responsibly.

Huey Lewis and the News: Enjoy responsibly.

16 comments

  1. Roman

    The tie Bateman wears during lunch with detective is not the same he wears during murder scene. Murder tie is light red with small blue scratches crisscrossing yellow scratches. Lunch tie is maroon with dark circles separated by golden dots.
    And the same suit – well, he could wear it to fuel his ego. “I am wearing clothes I killed Paul Allen in, I know it and you don’t, and now I’m getting away with murder”.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      Roman,
      I ought to hire you as a checker before articles go out! Good catch on the tie; I should have looked closer. I think before I color-corrected the photos I saw they were both red with a gold pattern and just assumed it was the same thing. Lazy, I know, but I’ll be more diligent now that I’ve been caught.

      I thought the same thing about the suit, but I much prefer the way you put it! Thanks for the feedback as always and keep reading!

      Like

  2. Teeritz

    Second-last picture, he’s using a Zippo to light the cigar. Among cigar smokers (I ain’t one of them. Can’t inhale, so what’s the point?), a Zippo lighter is a no-no.
    But aside from that, I would have picked Bateman for a S.T. DuPont or Dunhill lighter kind of guy.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      I’m only an occasional cigar smoker (at the beach, holidays, eventual birth of children, etc.), but I always tend to use matches. I just like the satisfying feeling, I suppose. A nice older DuPont is on my acquisition list to track down sometime. I’ll have to revisit the novel and see if any sort of lighter was mentioned, even if a cigar brand is not.

      Also, the first time poor little me smoked a cigar I was probably 15 or so. No one told me not to inhale. I thought my insides were going to fall out. Lesson learned, and luckily it didn’t sour my taste for a good cigar every so often!

      Like

      • Teeritz

        Back in my waitering days, an elderly gentleman sat down at one of the outside tables and took a leather three-cigar case from his jacket pocket. He opened it, took out a large stogie and as I did a quick-draw maneuver with my Zippo lighter (“Reservoir Dogs”/Harvey Keitel-style. This gent deserved it, after all), he gently placed one of his hands on my wrist, and withdrew a box of matches from his pocket with his other hand, all the while explaining to me that a wooden match was the ONLY way to light a cigar. I snapped the Zippo shut and went back inside the cafe to make him the best long black coffee that I’ve ever made. This gent deserved that, too. And from where I stood at the coffee machine, I watches as he let the sulphur of the match burn off before raising it to the end of the cigar.
        Life is filled with classy little moments. And I had just witnessed one.

        Like

        • luckystrike721

          That’s one of those moments that definitely sticks with a person. I’m sure the elderly man also had a great story about learning how to light a cigar. Dos Equis has their “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, but it is surprising how many of the world’s “most interesting men” camouflage themselves as ordinary people. I’m glad he had a gent like you to brew up that coffee. It’s late morning here, and I wouldn’t mind a black coffee myself after reading this!

          Like

    • Federico Villagómez (@garvofe)

      It’s true. This movie becomes nonsense just when I saw him smoking a cigar using a Zippo to light it, that is nasty and goes against the idea of whole history. Am I a psycho?
      The I read he is smoking a La Plata cigar —WTF? He is not a malignant narcisist!

      Like

  3. girlsdofilm

    What a great Halloween-themed post! I love both the film and the book, but I find it difficult to compare the two as they both have such different strengths. I must admit though, the costumes in the film didn’t live up to my expectation – not in terms of quality and accuracy, but because I feel like in the book they were much more prominent. Bateman (Ellis?) spends so much time discussing garments in minute detail it’s impossible to remember anything about the other characters. I also love the way he’s the go-to for all sartorial questions, for me that didn’t come through on screen; although whether that’s more to do with the direction than the costume designs is hard to say. There’s some great footage in the

    I enjoyed your ode to 80s yuppie style either way!

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      Thank you! I haven’t read the book in a while, but I think it might be time to revisit it and compare/contrast Ellis’s descriptions of Bateman’s attire to what was worn in the film. The film nodded to Bateman’s sartorial expertise when he fakes his phone call during Willem Dafoe’s visit to the office, but you’re right, it doesn’t come across as much as in the novel. Hope all is well and keep your eyes open for a Christmas-themed American Psycho post coming your way soon! (Or, you know, around Christmas time.)

      Like

  4. Will

    I went to a Halloween part recently and saw someone dressed like this, they must have seen this article, either way I thought it was an excellent idea and instantly regretted wearing my Count Dracula frock coat!

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      Will,
      I wonder – did the person in question complete the look with blood on half of his face? That would certainly turn his Halloween look from yuppie to spooky. And hey, nothing wrong with Dracula! Any excuse to wear a frock coat in public is a good one.

      Like

  5. J.

    You have to be a Psycho to wear a blue&white contrast collar shirt and a red patterned tie with a badly formed dimple.
    I won’t comment on his mediocre cigar taste.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      I think it makes sense for a guy who’s all about façades. He knows he has nice clothes, and he wants to be seen smoking cigars, but he isn’t sure how to properly execute either of these things (pun intended).

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  6. Michael

    Love your site! Great article.

    Are you sure those are bals? I could be wrong but they look like Bluchers to me. Hard to tell with the full break on the pant and the fuzzy pic.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Dexter’s Kill Outfit | BAMF Style

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s