Patrick Bateman’s Tuxedo
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, shallow investment banker and possible serial killer
New York City, Spring 1988
Film: American Psycho
Release Date: April 14, 2000
Director: Mary Harron
Costume Designer: Isis Mussenden
Halloween approaching is a fine time to address a monster in human form like Patrick Bateman who may have been a sharp dresser (for the ’80s) but was undoubtedly a terrible human being (in any era!)
You can tell Bateman is trying his best to be seen as a classy host; he plays Phil Collins, after all! Of course, Bateman is hindered by the fact that no classy evening should ever include the words “don’t just stare at it, eat it!”
What’d He Wear?
In the chapter “Thursday” of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, Patrick Bateman describes his attire:
I’m wearing a six-button double-breasted wool-crepe tuxedo with pleated trousers and a silk grosgrain bow tie, all by Valentino.
A style-hound like Bateman likely picked up his tuxedo after reading about the resurgence of 1930s formalwear, especially the double-breasted dinner jacket, in GQ’s annual formalwear roundup in December 1984. As excerpted by Black Tie Guide: “To be sure, the Thirties remain the inspiration: double-breasted dinner jackets with peaked satin or grosgrain lapels…”
The film American Psycho perfectly brings Bateman’s formalwear to life with a yuppie update of the ’30s double-breasted dinner jacket. The black dinner jacket worn by Christian Bale on screen has a 6-on-2 button double-breasted front and a long, full cut. The full-bellied peak lapels are satin-faced and sweep out wide across his chest, pointing up toward each shoulder. Each lapel has a buttonhole that runs parallel to the slanted gorge.
While likely not wool crepe, Bateman’s dinner jacket has a sheen that implies possibly mohair, silk, or a blend. The shoulders are padded and extend very wide. There is a welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and ventless back. The buttons on the front and the three buttons on each cuff are all covered in black satin silk.
The matching formal trousers are fully cut to match the excess style of the ’80s. They have double reverse pleats, slightly slanted side pockets, and no back pockets. A satin stripe runs down each side of the trousers down to the plain-hemmed bottoms.
The trouser waistband is plain with no belt loops or adjusters. The suspenders fasten to six buttons inside his waistband: two in the back and two sets of two in the front. The braces themselves are white and wide, divided into three equal-width stripes each separated by a hairline black stripe. Two black rectangular tabs in the front separate the braces from the white fabric double runner ends that hook through the inner right and left buttons of the trouser waistband. A black leather patch in the back center meets the two front straps before they converge. The back section of the suspenders connect to his trouser waistband with a black leather double-button ear in the center.
Bateman wears a white formal shirt with a point collar and narrowly-pleated front bib. The four round yellow gold studs down the placket match the larger yellow gold cuff links that fasten each of the shirt’s double cuffs. His butterfly-shaped bow tie is black satin silk, matching his lapel facings.
Only briefly seen, Bateman’s footwear is the formality-appropriate black patent leather balmorals with black silk dress socks.
When venturing outside, Bateman complements his aspired image as a dashing young chauffeured businessman with a beige cashmere scarf draped around his neck.
Don’t touch the watch!
In the book, the line was “Don’t touch the Rolex,” although the brand had obvious misgivings about being so blatantly included in the more accessible cinematic adaptation. Still, the line would have been an accurate one as Bale’s Bateman (not be confused with Bale’s Batman) wears a Rolex DateJust in mixed “Rolesor” yellow and white gold with a 36mm case and gold dial, closed over his left wrist on a two-tone “Jubilee” bracelet.
How to Get the Look
The definitive Me Decade yuppie, Patrick Bateman’s black tie ensemble is accurate to the ’80s with its oversized homage to the ’30s.
- Black mohair double-breasted dinner jacket with satin-faced wide peak lapels, silk-covered 6-on-2 button front, welted breast pocket, jetted straight hip pockets, silk-covered 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Black mohair reverse-pleated formal trousers with satin side stripes, plain waistband, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White formal dress shirt with point collar, narrow pleated bib (with four gold studs), and double/French cuffs
- Black satin silk butterfly-shaped bow tie
- Gold cuff links
- White triple-striped suspenders with black leather accents
- Black leather cap-toe balmorals
- Black silk dress socks
- Beige cashmere scarf
- Rolex DateJust 16013 in stainless steel and 18-karat yellow gold (with 36mm case) on two-tone “Jubilee” bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Do you like Phil Collins?
I really liked the film, not quite up to the book but I thought Christian Bale was excellent he is a great character actor even if he looks like a leading man. The tuxedo perfectly captures the late 1980’s and what was popular formal wear.