Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, hustler and casino heister
Las Vegas, Spring 2001
Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: December 7, 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
Danny Ocean’s crew had a tough night out before their big heist. In a possible management decision snafu, Danny (George Clooney) left the over-eager Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) behind with the Malloy twins (Scott Caan and Casey Affleck) while he, Basher (Don Cheadle), and The Amazing Yen (Shaobo Qin) conduct a break-in. Feeling left out and annoyed by the Malloys, Linus takes the initiative and breaks into the facility on his own… just seconds before the other guys come back out.
The less experienced Linus attracts attention from security guards and barely makes his escape in the van with the rest of the guys, but poor Yen gets his thumb – the thumb he so dearly needs for his lucrative acrobatics the next night – as the gang is forced to make a speedier getaway than they intended. If only Rusty – the de facto leader according to most of the group – had been along, this may have never happened… but the problems don’t end there.
After greeting Danny and a tail-between-his-legs Linus back at the Bellagio a few hours before go time, the crew receives word that Danny has been red-flagged for harassing his ex-wife. Now the bitter and much-maligned Linus is called upon to step into Danny’s well-shined shoes, so Rusty gives him a crash course in grifting that even Henry Gondorff wouldn’t have been fast enough to follow.
Rusty: You look down, they know you’re lying. (as Linus looks up) Up, they know you don’t know the truth. Don’t use seven words when four will do. Don’t shift your weight. Look always at your mark but don’t stare. Look always at your mark, but don’t stare. Be specific but not memorable. Be funny, but don’t make him laugh. He’s got to like you then forget you the moment you’ve left his side. And, for god’s sake, whatever you do, don’t, under any circumstances-
Livingston: Come look at this?
Linus is left with his mouth agape. What the hell should he not do?
Of course, this turns out to mostly be a ruse to encourage Linus to take a bigger role in the heist (and probably also to entertain most of the guys who were in on the joke), but it’s surprising that a group who thinks of everything would leave a chance at $160 million – not to mention their lives – up to the mercurial emotions of an insecure, impulsive pickpocket with something to prove.
What’d He Wear?
Ocean’s Eleven is full of sharp-dressed characters, with Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan leading the pack in his distinctive suits and shiny shirts and ties. His outfit on the morning of the heist perfectly exemplifies his sartorial philosophy from the irreplicable lapels of his suit jacket to the iridescent metallic shirt.
This scene is the sole appearance of this dark gray semi-solid suit with a shine that indicates the possibility of a lightweight silk-wool blend suiting. The most distinctive aspect of the suit is the “split-lapel” that resembles a “notchless notch lapel” in structure; the collar has an extended tongue that fills the notch space, giving the overall impression of a split shawl lapel. I had previously only seen this type of lapel on super-trendy double-breasted suits of the early ’70s.
Rusty’s single-breasted suit jacket’s unique “split lapels” roll down to a single button closure. The shoulders are wide with subtly roped sleeveheads. The welted breast pocket is visible but other details like the hip pocket and vent situation are not as easily seen; the jacket appears to have straight jetted hip pockets and double vents. The jacket sleeves end with functional 3-button “surgeon’s cuffs” which Rusty wears totally unbuttoned, a rakish decision in concern with his unorthodox open shirt cuffs. Both the single front button and the cuff buttons are all gray plastic.
The suit’s flat front trousers have a fitted waistband with no belt loops that rises low on Pitt’s waist. There is a straight on-seam pocket on each side, two jetted back pockets, and plain hems at the bottom of each comfortably full cut leg.
Rusty wears a purple cotton shirt, made for Brad Pitt by Anto Beverly Hills, with an iridescent shine that offers varying cyanic shades in different light. The large point collar rises high and tall on Pitt’s neck with a 1.5″ band and 3.5″-long points and dark green detailing lining the inner collar, most visible when he wears the neck open.
The shirt has a plain front, double side pleats on the back, and distinctive square cuffs worn totally open with no button or links to fasten. These 41/8″-wide cuffs offer a cleaner and über-modern version of the look created by some of his other shirts, similar to short French cuffs ironed flat and kept unfastened. Like the collar, the cuffs are lined with dark green detailing. (All fabric and size details were confirmed by Anto.)
The gold satin silk tie was likely also made by Anto with a subtle tonal cross-hatch pattern that also adds iridescent qualities to the tie’s silky shine.
This suit also made a brief appearance earlier in Ocean’s Eleven when Danny and Rusty are in L.A. recruiting the members of their team. In that instance, Rusty paired his gold tie and gray suit with a mustard gold dress shirt with a large point collar.
The most conventional aspect of Rusty’s outfit are his shoes, which appear to be a pair of black leather square-toed bluchers (or derby shoes) worn with a pair of black dress socks.
Rusty wears two different rings in this scene. A thick silver ring with a blue set-in stone adorns the third finger of his right hand while a simpler small silver ring shines from his left pinky.
Rusty wears a silver-colored – likely white gold – wristwatch that appears to have a silver dial and is strapped to his right wrist on a link bracelet.
How to Get the Look
I’d call Rusty Ryan a trendsetter… but he doesn’t seem to want anyone copying his style, tripling down on his unique factor by wearing suits with inimitable lapels and stylishly shiny suits and ties that just couldn’t work for anyone else. (But don’t let that stop you from trying! Rusty’s smooth confidence – not to be confused with arrogance – goes a long way.)
- Gray semi-solid lightweight silk-wool two-piece suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted 1-button jacket with distinctive “split lapels”, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, double vents, and functional 3-button cuffs
- Flat front low-rise trousers with fitted waistband, straight on-seam side pockets, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Purple iridescent cotton Anto dress shirt with large point collar, plain front, open squared single cuffs, and dark green detailed collar and cuff lining
- Gold cross-hatched satin silk Anto necktie
- Black leather square-toed bluchers/derby shoes
- Black dress socks
- Thick silver ring with blue stone on right ring finger
- Silver pinky ring on left hand
- White gold wristwatch with silver dial on link bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Don’t use seven words when four will do.
I tend to plan my posts well in advance (I currently have a loose schedule planned through early spring of 2019!), so it is purely coincidence and not SEO-driven opportunism that the title of this post includes “Brad Pitt” and “split” so soon after his divorce from Angelina Jolie.
Some of you may know about my attempts at amateur filmmaking. In 10th grade, I wrote, directed, and starred in a Blow-meets-Goodfellas mashup (or “ripoff”) titled Red Light District. Red Light District was set mostly in and around Venice Beach stretching from the late ’60s through the mid-’80s. Since I was making it mostly for me and my friends, I was free to use any music that I damn well wanted, so you hear plenty of obnoxious disco grounded by deep cuts from the Stones’ best albums. But I digress…
During one early scene set in 1971, I wore a gray double-breasted suit with a subtle black pinstripe and unique lapels similar to those seen on Brad Pitt’s suit in Ocean’s Eleven. It had been a lucky find from the local Goodwill, tricked out with a high-fastened 6-on-3 double-breasted front, slanted hip pockets, and a loud-as-hell paisley lining of baby blue and old gold printed on an ivory ground. I’ll try to dig this gem up from my closet full of costumes the next time I’m at my parents’ house and get some fresh photos.