The American: Jack’s Charcoal Wool Zegna Suit

George Clooney as Jack/Edward in The American (2010).

George Clooney as Jack/Edward in The American (2010).

Vitals

George Clooney as Jack (aka “Edward”), weary hitman and gunsmith

Castel del Monte, Abruzzo, Italy, May 2010

Film: The American
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Director: Anton Corbijn
Costume Designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Many eyes around the world are on America right now, so I’m responding to a recent request to see George Clooney’s sharp suit from the ending of The American, the quiet 2010 drama that featured Clooney as a semi-retired assassin and gunsmith in a small Italian town for the proverbial “one last job”.

What’d He Wear?

George Clooney wore plenty of Ermenegildo Zegna in his role as Jack/Edward in The American, from his dressed-down field jacket to a charcoal wool suit for the climactic finale. An interview with costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb from the Focus Features archives further explores this association:

We went with timeless classics — nothing branded or slick. The only kind of high design was his final suit at the end of the movie. He has to acquire a suit for a procession, and in all these towns that’s where you wear your Sunday finest. We had a lot of big name designers vying for the opportunity to provide this suit, but the only designer I seriously considered was Zegna. Their suits have an understated quality that doesn’t rely on fashion-forwardness. It’s traditional tailoring but very modern and clean. [Jack’s final suit] is not a “look at me” suit — when you put on that suit, you look at the person. But other than getting the tailoring right, it wasn’t designed for him. And because we needed half a dozen suits, we were able to ask [Zegna] to make repeats for us.

A press announcement from the time of the film’s release further describes the suit as “a classical yet contemporary Ermenegildo Zegna two button suit from the ‘Sartoria’ line, made in the crease-resistant ‘Traveller’ fabric of superfine merino wool.” Zegna still produces suits in its lightweight wool Traveller fabric, described on its site as: “the ‘easy’ fabric par excellence, Traveller is made of very flexible and elastic superfine wool. Yarns are high-twisted to ensure a clean appearance and crisp handle. Garments made of Traveller, in fact, are extremely resistant to creasing, for permanent and impeccable aplomb. Traveller is the ideal fabric for making comfortable and innovative garments for men who are always on the move.”

Jack’s Zegna single-breasted suit jacket has pick-stitched notch lapels with high gorges and a buttonhole through the left lapel. It has a slightly curved “barchetta” breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and long double vents. A seam runs down the center of the back.

Jack, around Abruzzo.

Jack, around Abruzzo.

The Zegna suit jacket naturally incorporates elements of classic Italian tailoring and details, creating a V-shape that is emphasized by wide shoulders and a pulled-in waist.

Jack hurries to tend to a pressing issue.

Jack hurries to tend to a pressing issue.

Jack’s trousers have a medium-low rise and a flat front. Only the straight on-seam side pockets are seen as he never removes his jacket to show the back pockets, if there are any. The bottoms are plain-hemmed with a long, full break over his shoes. He matches the black shoes with a black leather belt with a brushed steel single-prong buckle.

A "bloodied" George Clooney cheekily poses on location while filming The American.

A “bloodied” George Clooney cheekily poses on location while filming The American.

Although the initial announcement stated that Clooney would be wearing “classic leather lace-ups” with the suit, Jack clearly wears a pair of black leather plain-toe slip-on loafers with high vamps and short hidden elastic side goring, also in black. He also wears a pair of black socks.

No mistaking what happened to Jack's duplicitous underworld contact.

No mistaking what happened to Jack’s duplicitous underworld contact.

Jack wears a pale gray Egyptian cotton dress shirt, also from Ermenegildo Zegna, with a spread collar, plain front, and button cuffs. He wears it with the collar unbuttoned and no tie.

Sprezzatura in action.

Sprezzatura in action.

In addition to most of his clothing, Zegna also provided a pair of sunglasses to the production. He wore tortoise Persols earlier, but with his field jacket and this suit, Jack wears a pair of Ermenegildo Zegna SZ3174 aviator-style sunglasses with bronze frames and brown polarized lenses.

Pensive as ever!

Pensive as ever!

As an Omega ambassador, George Clooney wears a sharp Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph in The American with a stainless 42mm case, black calfskin strap, and a black dial accented by three sub-dials at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00. The model appears to be 3870.50.31, available on Amazon.

Omega: the choice for international assassins.

Omega: the choice for international assassins. (Also note the slightly curved “barchetta” breast pocket of his suit jacket.)

How to Get the Look

amer5-crop.jpgJack may be the film’s titular American, but he is quite adept at adapting Italian style into his subdued suit.

  • Charcoal lightweight “Traveller” wool Ermenegildo Zegna “Sartoria” suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 2-button suit jacket with notch lapels, welted “barchetta” breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, long double vents
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Pale gray Egyptian cotton Ermenegildo Zegna dress shirt with spread collar, plain front, and button cuffs
  • Black leather belt with brushed steel single-prong buckle
  • Black leather plain-toe high-vamp slip-on loafers with hidden elastic side goring
  • Black dress socks
  • Ermenegildo Zegna SZ3174 bronze-framed aviator sunglasses with brown polarized lenses
  • Omega Speedmaster Professional wristwatch on a black calfskin strap

The Gun

Jack’s handgun is the preferred piece of well-suited movie spies, the venerable Walther PPK in a classic blued metal finish. Jack’s PPK was made during the Cold War, as the West German manufacture seen in a close-up reveals, and is chambered for the same 7.65 mm (.32 ACP) cartridge as James Bond preferred for his PPK.

A sharp, tailored Italian suit, an Omega wristwatch, and now a Walther PPK? I wonder if Jack is a 007 fan...

A sharp, tailored Italian suit, an Omega wristwatch, and now a Walther PPK? I wonder if Jack is a 007 fan…

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

Footnote

For more information about The American‘s association with Ermenegildo Zegna, read here.

2 comments

  1. Marc

    As far as I’m concerned you can never come back to this movie too often. IMHO this is one of the most stylish films ever made. I’ve always tried to pattern my style after Clooney in this (Persol PO2883S – finally found on eBay, Speedmaster etc…). Now if I only had the charm, money, and good looks 🙂 Great site. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  2. kingtut38

    As far as I’m concerned you can never come back to this movie too often. IMHO this is one of the most stylish films ever made. I’ve always tried to pattern my style after Clooney in this (Persol PO2883S – finally found on eBay, Speedmaster etc…). Now if I only had the charm, money, and good looks 🙂 Great site. Keep up the good work!

    Like

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