Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr., teenage con artist
Atlanta, Summer 1965
Film: Catch Me If You Can
Release Date: December 25, 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
Having made a fortune from passing his forged checks posing as a Pan Am pilot, 17-year-old Frank Abagnale Jr. is living the high life, hosting a fondue party in his swanky Atlanta condo full of era-specific goodies like The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” on the Hi-Fi and Nesbitt’s soda in the hand of every giggling go-go dancer present.
What’d He Wear?
Christ, Terry! This is Italian knit!
Frank seems to be the only one unable to relax at his party, but how could one be expected to relax with clumsy friends like Terry and Lance, the latter of whom falls into the “conversation pit” and sets the next deceptive chapter of Frank Abagnale Jr.’s life in motion.
But returning to the “Italian knit” in question, Frank is referring to his unique orange-and-white casual knitwear, a bright choice for a lazy summer afternoon and fitting with Frank’s brighter, reinvented life after running away from home. According to blogger Josie Sampson at Film Reel Fashion: “As he falls deeper into his false world of impersonation, his ‘off-duty’ clothes become increasingly flamboyant and vivacious as his confidence grows. Fitting with the sixties vibes, out of uniform he kits himself out with a palette of vivid and loud colors.”
With its bright colors and sharp angles, this orange knit self-cardigan polo shirt exemplifies these “sixties vibes” while also clearly differentiating Frank’s new jet-setting lifestyle from his drab but legal and age-appropriate high school life.
Frank’s unique shirt essentially consists of a solid orange knit short-sleeve polo with a cardigan-like layer attached at the shoulders that drapes across the front of his torso like a double-breasted waistcoat. The polo has three smoke gray plastic buttons with the top button worn open for the large soft self-collar to flap over the top layer. A smaller smoke gray button on the back of the collar holds it in place.
The cardigan-like layer is white with orange stripes to match the shirt below it. Thicker orange striping follows the edges of this layer, forming a sharp sideways “V” where the left side crosses over the right at the waist, stitched in place in the bottom corner to keep the front layer from draping open. The elasticized bottom is straight-hemmed.
Frank coordinates his trousers to his shirt stripes with a pair of white cotton straight-leg chinos. The only two pockets are slanted on the front rather than along the sides with just a straight yoke across the back seat.
The trouser fit is slim and straight through the legs down to the short break, plain-hemmed bottoms. The trousers have tall belt loops but no visible belt, although brown would match the shoes.
Frank wears dark brown suede apron-toe tassel loafers, apparently sockless.
While an aviator’s chronograph like a Breitling Navitimer may be more consistent with Frank’s pilot persona, he wears his usual steel-cased wristwatch with a black dial on a black leather strap. The exact model is unconfirmed, but Watches2U suggests this timepiece from the aptly named Dogfight watch company.
How to Get the Look
Seemingly inspired by orange sherbet, Frank’s brightly colored and uniquely styled casual knitwear signifies his newfound popularity among the mid-’60s jet set crowd.
- Orange knit short-sleeve polo shirt with striped white double-breasted front layer
- White cotton flat front chino trousers with belt loops, slanted front pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Dark brown suede apron-toe tassel loafers
- Stainless steel wristwatch with black dial on black leather strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
I’m a doctor.
While I have no doubt that Frank’s Italian knit layered shirt is inspired by actual men’s fashions of the ’60s, I’ve yet to actually see a contemporary example of it whether in a movie, TV show, or catalog.
If anyone knows more about this specific style or has seen it elsewhere, please feel free to share!