Catch Me If You Can – White Dinner Jacket

Hey, guys, remember how last year in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day we had the Week of Weddings? Well, it’s back with hopes of bringing you some of the more manly posts out there to have the word “wedding” in them.

Leonardo DiCaprio as a furtive Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002).

Leonardo DiCaprio as a furtive Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002).

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr.,
aka “Frank Connors”, a young doctor lawyer con artist

New Orleans, Summer 1966

Film: Catch Me If You Can
Release Date: December 25, 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

Background

All of our wedding entries last year focused on the big day itself, whether for grooms or guests. Unfortunately, all of this wedding day attention has left one crucial facet of big weddings ignored: the rehearsal dinner.

I went to my first rehearsal dinner in 2003, wearing a red sport jacket, a black shirt, black trousers, and a silver and red silk tie. This was a sharp look, especially for a 14-year-old, but I had been under the impression that rehearsal dinners were pretty fancy affairs. In the years since, I’ve been disappointed to see the trend at rehearsal dinners of grooms who once wore suits or, at the very least, blazers now wearing button-up shirts with rumpled khakis.

As it may be bad form to out-dress a groom at his own rehearsal dinner, I’ve started losing the ties and relegating myself to just blazers and slacks (and a shirt, of course), but now grooms feel the need to wear old jeans and polos. Is nothing sacred?

To see how a real man should sartorially prepare for a nighttime pre-wedding celebration, Catch Me If You Can offers a great sequence at Frank Abagnale Jr’s engagement party.

What’d He Wear?

At his engagement party, Frank waltzes around his party in a cream-colored dinner jacket in a look that could’ve been inspired by Sean Connery’s summer formalwear in Goldfinger. This isn’t the first of Frank’s outfits to mimic Goldfinger, as he clearly had a suit custom made earlier in the film to resemble the famous Glen plaid three-piece. (But we’ll talk about that later.)

The similarities between the Goldfinger jacket and Frank’s are no coincidence as Frank now sees himself as “the James Bond of the skies”, but he conducts himself much less suavely as he scurries around his room, packing suitcases and stuffing money into his pockets. The look is very evocative of the Jet Age, although by 1966 it would soon be out of date as loud colors and large lapels became the order of the day.

catchtux-jacket1

Much like Connery’s Goldfinger jacket, Frank wears a cream-colored single-breasted dinner jacket with slim peak lapels, adorning the left lapel with a red flower. Frank’s jacket, however, has covered buttons; both the single button closure in the front and the two buttons on each cuff are covered in white silk. The jacket has a welted breast pocket and hip pockets with narrow flaps.

The jacket has a generous fit on DiCaprio’s relatively slender frame, with wide, padded shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The rear has no vents, which – due to the spacious fit – doesn’t cling to Leo’s torso like some buttoned ventless jackets. This “anti-Skyfall” fit adds some elegance to a character who is trying to fit in with the cream of the crop of New Orleans society.

Boy, the women just love Frank, don't they?

Boy, the women just love Frank, don’t they?

Underneath, Frank wears a white formal shirt with very narrow pleats and a slim spread collar. It buttons down a front placket with mother-of-pearl buttons and closes at the end of each sleeve with double/French cuffs, fastened together by round gold cufflinks.

Given that his preparation time is necessarily brief, Leo doesn't give much thought to the way he packs his shirts.

Given that his preparation time is necessarily brief, Leo doesn’t give much thought to the way he packs his shirts.

The thin straight-ended black satin bowtie Frank wears is another indication of this bygone era.

The most timeless, unchanging part of a formal wardrobe are the trousers. Whether it’s 1914, 1964, or 2014, formal trousers will almost always be black with satin stripes down each leg to the plain-hemmed bottoms. Frank also wears a black satin cummerbund to cover the waistline of the trousers.

Frank spots FBI headlights coming into the party and immediately begins packing his shit to get the hell outta Dodge.

Frank spots FBI headlights coming into the party and immediately begins packing his shit to get the hell outta Dodge.

Frank wears black patent leather oxfords with black dress socks.

His wristwatch has a round silver case, black dial, and a black leather strap.

catchtux-watch1

Go Big or Go Home – Wedding Edition

The Venue

According to the original screenplay, the engagement party was to be a masquerade ball at a hotel ballroom in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras. The film transported the action to the sprawling home of Roger and Carol Strong, the proud Lutheran parents of Frank’s prospective bride Brenda.

However, Frank didn’t seem to realize that it is not a good idea to try and win your potential in-laws’ favor by having the FBI crash their party looking for you.

The Refreshments

This is a celebration, so naturally champagne is necessary. Of course, Frank can’t help but to peel the labels off of the bottles.

Just can't help himself, can he?

Just can’t help himself, can he?

Notable Guests

The FBI becomes unexpected – and unwanted – guests, but honestly who wouldn’t want Tom Hanks at their engagement party? I know I’d stick around. The guy’s hilarious.

The Music

This is New Orleans, so what kind of fool wouldn’t have a live jazz band playing? For the party, the family books a talented band that is more contemporary jazz than Dixieland, singing “I’m Shooting High”, a standard from veteran songwriters Ted Koehler and Jimmy McHugh. The version in the film is sung by Ellis Hall and BeB’Opera, but Nat King Cole’s swinging 1956 rendition is one of the best known.

How to Get the Look

catchtux-crop1Unfortunately for us, this really does look best when matched with a suitcase full of money. Which I can’t help you with.

  • Cream single-breasted dinner jacket with slim peak lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 1-button front, 2-button cuffs, and ventless rear
  • Black flat front formal trousers with satin stripe down each leg, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White formal shirt with narrow front pleats, spread collar, mother-of-pearl buttons down front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Black thin straight-ended satin bowtie
  • Gold round cufflinks
  • Black satin cummerbund
  • Black patent leather laced shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Red flower, worn in the left lapel of the dinner jacket

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

I’m not a doctor. I never went to medical school. I’m not a lawyer, or a Harvard graduate, or a Lutheran. Brenda, I ran away from home a year and a half ago when I was 16.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Real Men Wear Pink: DiCaprio as Gatsby | BAMF Style

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