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
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 Identity, The 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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
- 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.