Michael Douglas’s Suede Sportcoat in Basic Instinct
Michael Douglas as Nick Curran, suspended homicide detective
San Francisco, April 1991
Film: Basic Instinct
Release Date: March 20, 1992
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Nick Curran’s investigation gets increasingly personal the deeper he looks, taking him all over hte Bay Area from Cloverdale and Berkeley to Salinas and back to San Francisco as he researches details about the elusive “Lisa Hoberman”‘s history with seductive murder suspect Catherine Trammell (Sharon Stone).
Due to his suspension, Curran is working off-the-clock, dressing down from his professional daywear to provide a perfect example of a stylish cop’s attire for Casual Friday.
What’d He Wear?
This casual off-duty outfit is similar to a look that would be popularized more than a decade later by David Duchovny on Californication and very appropriately so as the sex-obsessed Hank Moody shares plenty in common with the depraved Nick Curran.
Both his on- and off-duty outfits are anchored by a dark olive suede single-breasted sportcoat. This jacket blends traditional sporty details like the patch pockets on the breast and hips with very contemporary early ’90s styling like the wide padded shoulders and widely-notched lapels that sharply taper down to the low two-button stance. There are three buttons on each cuff and the back is ventless.
Curran’s charcoal off-duty shirt is darker than his dress shirts but made by Douglas’s preferred shirtmaker Anto Beverly Hills using the same end-on-end cotton cloth with a light and luxuriously silky finish from the alternating light and dark warp and weft threads. It has a point collar, worn open with the top two white plastic buttons undone down the shirt’s plain front.
Curran wears the same medium-light blue wash jeans as he did with his black nylon bomber jacket, with the familiar red tag on the back pocket and the straight leg indicating that these may be the Levi’s 505™ Regular Fit jeans in “medium stonewash”.
The 505 is still available from the Levi’s site, which describes them as “The original zip fly jeans. First created in 1967, the 505™ Regular Fit Jeans are one of our most popular straight fits, and work for all body types.” You can also find the Levi’s 505 on Amazon.
Curran’s brown leather belt coordinates with his shoes, a pair of chestnut brown suede desert boots worn with black socks. These desert boots are evidently his off-duty footwear, also worn with his black nylon bomber jacket.
This jacket also makes a brief appearance the previous day at the office, a situation calling for the more professional dress code of a tie and trousers. Curran breaks his blue dress shirt pattern by sporting a taupe cotton shirt with a point collar, front placket, and button cuffs. His tie is the same navy silk tie with the tan micro-foulard pattern that he previously wore with his taupe silk suit.
Curran’s work trousers are dark brown, likely styled with double reverse pleats and plain-hemmed bottoms and worn with what appears to be the same brown leather belt.
His work day is sunnier than the following day, so he accessorizes with his usual big black-framed aviator sunglasses with wide brown lenses and thin frames.
Nick Curran’s plain stainless watch has a white dial and a steel expanding bracelet, strapped to his left wrist.
Forced to give up his own when suspended, Curran arms himself with his partner Gus’s Glock 17 for a confrontation toward the end.
Interestingly, the San Francisco Police Department was still armed with 4″-barreled Smith & Wesson Model 28-2 Highway Patrol revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum in 1992. Two years later, officers would switch to the department’s first semi-automatic pistol, the Beretta 96G in .40 S&W. To the best of my knowledge, Glock pistols have never been issued by SFPD.
How to Get the Look
Nick Curran provides an effective primer how to combine casual and professional wardrobe elements for a cool, dressed-down weekend outfit.
- Dark olive suede single-breasted 2-button sportcoat with wide notch lapels, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 3-button cuffs and ventless back
- Charcoal lightweight cotton shirt with open point collar, plain front with white buttons, and button cuffs
- Medium blue stonewash Levi’s 505 Regular Fit straight-leg denim jeans
- Dark brown leather belt with single-prong buckle
- Chestnut brown suede desert boots
- Black socks
- Stainless steel wristwatch with round white dial on steel expanding bracelet
- Black thin-framed oversized aviator sunglasses with brown lenses
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Due to the style and fit of the sports coat I’d say Cerruti made this for Michael Douglas. A suede sports jacket is a great piece and can be dressed up and down easily as Nick has mentioned. The stone wash Levi 505 are a little dated to the 90’s, but still fairly classic. If it was made today the jeans would probably stay medium blue but not in a stonewash.
I don’t think there is enough contrast between the olive sports coat and the dark brown work slacks. A slightly lightly shade of brown trousers would have worked better.
Cool explanation, I ‘ve always thought that Curran’s outfit was beyond coolness, a mix between the two main characters of Black Rain, as well his personality.