Gordon Gekko’s Dark Gray Peak-Lapel Suit in Wall Street

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

Vitals

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, smug and successful Wall Street businessman

New York City, Spring 1985

Film: Wall Street
Release Date: December 11, 1987
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Tailor: Alan Flusser

Background

Returning to the office on Monday is no excuse to slack off on your wardrobe, especially on Wall Street.

It’s business as usual for corporate raider Gordon Gekko, who enrages his young protege Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) by targeting Bluestar Airlines, the “unpolished gem” that employs Bud’s father, Carl (Martin Sheen).

Bud: Why do you need to wreck this company?
Gekko: Because it’s wreckable, all right? I took another look at it and I changed my mind!

What’d He Wear?

Gordon Gekko’s outfit in this brief but pivotal scene incorporates several throwback elements from the turnback cuff jacket to the club collar shirt. The dark gray wool suit, designed by Ellen Mirojnick, was tailored by Alan Flusser and maintains the “power suit” profile popular in the ’80s with its excessively wide padded shoulders.

The single-breasted, peak-lapel layout is a throwback as well, recalling its heyday in the 1920s… interestingly, another period of hedonistic economic boom. The wide peak lapels have slanted gorges and point sharply at each of the jacket’s roped shoulders, rolling down to a low two-button front that meets the trouser at the waist line.

Something about Michael Douglas' expression here makes him the spitting image of his father, Kirk.

Something about Michael Douglas’ expression here makes him the spitting image of his father, Kirk.

The jacket has long double vents, straight jetted hip pockets, and a welted breast pocket where Gekko wears a solid black silk display kerchief.

The most unique detail of Gekko’s suit jacket are the turnback cuffs, an Edwardian detail also found on Sean Connery’s first dinner jacket as James Bond and many of Nucky Thompson’s suits in the early seasons of Boardwalk Empire. Each sleeve ends with about a two-inch turnback cuff that cuts away at the vent, fastened by four functioning buttons.

Note Gekko's wide turnback cuffs.

Note Gekko’s wide turnback cuffs. This appears to be his only suit in the film with them.

All of Gekko’s trousers are forward-pleated with a medium-low rise, fitted around the waist to be worn with suspenders but supported with a buckle-tab adjuster on each side, positioned just below the belt line. All of his trousers have straight pockets along the side seams with jetted pockets in the back, usually with a button closure on the left pocket. The bottoms of these particular trousers are left plain-hemmed with no cuffs.

Gekko has several sets of bold cloth suspenders, any of which he could be wearing here: red, which would coordinate well with his shirt and tie; the center-striped suspenders from his introductory scene; or the white polka dot-on-black suspenders worn earlier when flying with Bud. All of his suspenders have gold adjusters and white leather ears that hook onto his trousers’ suspender-button tabs in the front and back.

An earlier scene of Gekko and Bud in mid-flight reveals the typical details of Gekko's suit trousers.

An earlier scene of Gekko and Bud in mid-flight reveals the typical details of Gekko’s suit trousers.

Gekko wears a very distinctive dress shirt in a pink mini-gingham check with a contrasting collar and cuffs. In Dressing the Man, Alan Flusser himself writes “only the rounded, club-type (preferably pinned) or the very open, almost cutaway model are stylish enough to hold their own when contrasted against a different color or patterned shirt body.”

A contrast collar itself isn’t that unique, but the rounded shape evokes the classic Etonian “club collar” developed in the mid-19th century to differentiate the students of that esteemed boarding school. The club collar maintained its popularity through the early decades of the twentieth century due to itssuitability with the then-fashionable collar bar; Gekko himself wears a gold “safety pin”-style collar bar with his shirt. Eton’s signature collar dropped from vogue as men’s dress shirts were increasingly produced with attached collars, but the club collar retains its dressy, retro value today.

The shirt has a placket for the mother-of-pearl buttons, and the double (French) cuffs are fastened with a set of gold bars that resemble second lieutenant insignia. The inside of each cuff link is a small ring.

Gordon Gekko channels the glory days of reckless investing with his dramatic peak lapels, turnback cuff jacket, and rounded club collar fastened by a pin.

Gordon Gekko channels the glory days of reckless investing with his dramatic peak lapels, turnback cuff jacket, and rounded club collar fastened by a pin.

From a distance, Gekko’s silk tie appears to be thick left-down-to-right stripes in gray and crimson red, but each “stripe” actually consists of a dozen thinner duotone stripes in light and dark shades of each color. Thus, the pattern under the knot is: a single gold stripe, twelve alternating medium and dark gray stripes, twelve alternating red and maroon stripes, and repeat.

The tie nicely coordinates with his outfit; the gray stripes call out the suit, the red stripes harmonizes with the pink shirt, and the subtle gold striping winks at Gekko’s all-gold accessories… including the ridged gold clip that holds the tie into place just above the jacket’s buttoning point.

Staring contests are easy when both men are the same height. (In the case of Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen, that height would be 5'10".)

Staring contests are easy when both men are the same height. (In the case of Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen, that height would be 5’10”.)

Gekko’s black leather oxfords are the most formal acceptable footwear to be worn with a business suit. He correctly wears dark gray dress socks to continue the trouser leg line.

WALL STREET

The aforementioned yellow gold accessories, an appropriate tone for Gekko’s avarice, include a chain-link bracelet and signet pinky ring that flash from his right hand while he blows a puff of Winston smoke into Bud’s face.

About the classic film noir Out of the Past (1947), Roger Ebert wrote that "the real hostility came when Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoked at each other." Here, Michael Douglas shows that he inherited his father's gift for intimidating inhalation.

About the classic film noir Out of the Past (1947), Roger Ebert wrote that “the real hostility came when Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoked at each other.” Here, Michael Douglas shows that he inherited his father’s gift for intimidating inhalation.

On the opposing hand, Gekko wears a Cartier Santos de Cartier Galbée dress watch, naturally in 18-karat yellow gold.

How to Get the Look

Gordon Gekko may be the ultimate ’80s businessman, but he channels the roaring ’20s in this throwback dark gray suit with its wide peak lapels, turnback cuffs, and a club collared shirt. Nucky Thompson would be proud.

  • Dark gray wool suit, tailored by Alan Flusser:
    • Single-breasted 2-button jacket with peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, double back vents, 4-button turnback cuffs
    • Double forward-pleated trousers with suspender button tabs, buckle-tab side adjusters, straight/on-seam side pockets, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Pink mini-gingham check dress shirt with white contrast club collar and double/French cuffs
    • Gold “safety pin” collar bar
    • Gold bar cuff links
  • Gray-and-crimson L-down-R striped silk tie
    • Gold center-ridged tie clip
  • Wide cloth suspenders with gold adjusters and white leather ears
  • Black leather balmorals/oxford shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Large gold signet ring
  • Cartier Santos de Cartier Galbée gold wristwatch
  • Gold chain-link bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth: five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own.

We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you buddy? It’s the free market. And you’re a part of it. You’ve got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I’ve still got a lot to teach you.

5 comments

  1. Shin-hau

    Great article! I always have interest in this particular suit of Gordon Gekko’s.

    I was wondering if you also notice what I perceive as collar gap in most of the screenshots? It seems as if the collar was not fitted tight enough around Michael Douglas’s neck.

    Like

  2. Ryan Hall

    We all need a mentor, just maybe not one like Gordon. Lol. Though you have got to admire his work ethic. What a great outfit, I have an updated dark grey suit getting made with peak lapels and a SB opening at the moment. Very nice, Douglas’s suit still has a nipped waist and the suit is well fitted, despite the wide padded shoulders. The shirt is very flashy in a good way, but it goes with Gordon’s dandy image.

    Like

  3. Ryan Hall

    I don’t think the shoulders are that padded really, they are fairly wide though. There not as padded as the shoulders on Robert DeNiro’s suit jackets and blazers in Casino for example. The suit jacket has a nipped waist, which is nice, going against the full cut late 80’s look.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      Agreed that they’re not overly padded. They’re certainly very wide to the point of falling off the shoulders, which coordinates with the collar pulling away from his neck, indicating some fit issues.

      Like

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