Bourne’s Casual Leather Jacket in 1988

Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne in the 1988 TV mini-series, The Bourne Identity.

Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne in the 1988 TV mini-series, The Bourne Identity.

Vitals

Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne, amnesiac ex-CIA agent

Paris, Spring 1988

Film: The Bourne Identity
Release Date: May 8, 1988
Director: Roger Young
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane

Background

As fall turns into weather here in the northern hemisphere, many men are pulling their heavy wool overcoats and dark sweaters out of storage, emulating a look that certainly worked for Matt Damon in The Bourne IdentityThe Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. Fourteen years prior to Damon taking on the Bourne role, Richard Chamberlain had played the spy in a two-part TV miniseries.

Also titled The Bourne Identity, this miniseries plays much closer to the original source material, Robert Ludlum’s 1975 novel, as the confused amnesiac Bourne follows bread crumbs to discover his past life as a decoy assassin trailing the international terrorist Carlos. Part of his investigation leads him to a Parisian boutique, where he poses as gregarious American buyer “Charlie Briggs”.

What’d He Wear?

Bourne, who spends most of the film in either a business suit or a more espionage-friendly trench coat, dons a comfortable and equally seasonable alternative when adopting the “Charlie Briggs” persona.

Bourne’s jacket is a dark brown blouson constructed of soft leather with a darker brown suede panel across the lower half from the mid-torso down. Each “V”-shaped chest yoke has a vertical seam extending down from the shoulder to the center point. The jacket’s slim collars are also constructed from the same soft suede as found on the lower half.

If his shopping habits are any indication, Bourne's crisis of identity extends to more than just his name...

If his shopping habits are any indication, Bourne’s crisis of identity extends to more than just his name…

The zip-front leather blouson has an elasticized waistband and elasticized cuffs with two buttons that close through loops. A thin dark brown leather strap runs down the entire length of each sleeve to the gathered elastic on the cuffs.

Bourne isn't as pleased with this scent as he thought he would be.

Bourne isn’t as pleased with this scent as he thought he would be.

Underneath his blouson, Bourne layers a shirt and sweater. The white shirt has a button-down collar, an American style that serves his purpose of clearly identifying his nationality.

His pullover sweater is a tan cashmere long-sleeve jumper with a ribbed crew neck and ribbed waistband.

Bourne88LJ-CL-shrts

Bourne wears a pair of taupe brown slacks with single reverse pleats and belt loops. Though it can’t be seen, his belt is likely brown to match both his shoes and the rest of the outfit’s color. The trousers have on-seam side pockets and the cuffed bottoms have a medium break over his shoes.

Bourne kicks back, allowing himself a much more casual moment than Matt Damon ever would.

Bourne kicks back, allowing himself a much more casual moment than Matt Damon ever would.

Bourne’s shoes are a pair of dark brown leather single monk strap loafers with gold buckles. He nicely wears them with a pair of taupe dress socks that provide a seamless transition from trouser bottom to shoe.

Bourne allows his “Charlie Briggs” persona to breathe a little with his gold accessories. On his wrist, he wears a gold watch with a two-tone, mixed-metal bracelet that somewhat resembles a Rolex Day-Date.

Calling all watch aficionados!

Calling all watch aficionados!

More a part of his disguise than worn for actual function, “Briggs” also sports a pair of gold-framed aviators with slightly tinted brown gradient lenses. The distinctive hinge on each side may make it easier for a better-versed person to identify the manufacturer.

Bourne investigates!

Bourne investigates!

How to Get the Look

If you want to cut it as a stylish but slightly over-the-top American in Europe, Bourne’s “Charlie Briggs” attire provides a nice template to work from.

Bourne88LJ-crop

  • Dark brown soft leather zip-up blouson jacket with suede collars and lower panel, slash side pockets, and elasticized 2-button cuffs
  • White long-sleeve shirt with button-down collar and button cuffs
  • Tan cashmere long-sleeve crew neck pullover sweater
  • Taupe brown single reverse-pleated slacks with on-seam side pockets and turn-ups/cuffs
  • Dark brown leather belt
  • Dark brown leather monk strap loafers with gold buckles
  • Taupe dress socks
  • Gold-framed aviator-style glasses with tinted lenses
  • Gold wristwatch with mixed-metal bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the series. You may also – and probably should also – want to read the original the original Robert Ludlum novel. To be honest, I prefer the 2002 reboot to the 1988 mini-series, although it is worth mentioning that the mini-series did an excellent job of adapting its source material. The Matt Damon series, however, is an excellent study in adapting material for a new era by reinventing a plot without ditching the tone.

An Unrelated Note

My grandmother is celebrating her 93rd birthday today! This is unrelated to anything Bourne-like, but she never fails to impress as she still gets up every morning and works a full day without a complaint and still has the energy to cook a delicious dinner for herself – and often several family members – each night.

10 comments

  1. Mohammed

    I was thinking, perhaps you can add a post/page where terms and definitions are explained with the aid of pictures. For example, a picture of a shirt with labels explaining what a yoke (I just learnt what “Yoke” is today) is or a hat labelled with “taper”, “bond”, etc. Also, a page with sartorial “rules” and common mistakes (ranging from well known to less well known), e.g., if trousers are black, then socks should be black etc. Obviously, these pages would be intermittently updated as you remember additional things. Maybe you could add a comments section so readers could suggest further additions.

    Ok, a rules page might be beyond the focus of the blog but a definitions section might be helpful, at least to me and others who are still sartorially illiterate. Maybe you can add these as permanent tabs next to the “Menu” tab etc.

    Just some crazy suggestions. What do you think?

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      Great suggestions! I’ve been trying to think of additional helpful pages with things like a glossary (a very practical and illustrated one, of course) and lookbooks for more popular characters that get a lot of focus on here. I’ll keep you updated as I do.

      Like

  2. Mohammed

    Would also like to say, your grandmother is a true BAMF, if you don’t mind my saying so. 93 and still going strong; I really admire that.

    Like

  3. ladylavinia1932

    Check out the series. You may also – and probably should also – want to read the original the original Robert Ludlum novel. To be honest, I prefer the 2002 reboot to the 1988 mini-series, although it is worth mentioning that the mini-series did an excellent job of adapting its source material. The Matt Damon series, however, is an excellent study in adapting material for a new era by reinventing a plot without ditching the tone.

    Actually, I don’t prefer one over the other. I like to think that I can appreciate both version, regardless of how different they turned out to be.

    Like

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