Steve Martin’s Gray Plaid Jacket in My Blue Heaven
Steve Martin as Vinnie Antonelli (aka Tod Wilkinson), ex-Mafia informant
Fryburg, California, November 1989 through summer 1990
Film: My Blue Heaven
Release Date: August 17, 1990
Director: Herbert Ross
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
You know, it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section… because you could melt. all. this. stuff.
Steve Martin’s smooth-talking Vinnie Antonelli finds post-Mafia lifestyle to be more and more amenable in My Blue Heaven as he builds a suburban criminal empire and seduces a floozy in the frozen aisle of his local grocery store.
Of course, long before Vinnie is able to smooth-talk Shaldeen (Carol Kane) into an impulsive marriage, he’s trying to smooth-talk his way out of a tough situation with the local D.A., Hannah Stubbs (Joan Cusack) after she has busted him with a car full of stolen merchandise… not to mention that the car itself belonged to a local minister. Vinnie is forced to make an unconvincing case to his FBI handler, Barney Coopersmith (Rick Moranis).
Barney, you got a ring of phony ministers stealing liquor. Make me a minister, I’ll go undercover, infiltrate them, we’ll nail these-
What’d He Wear?
I tend to focus on wedding outfits around the romantic (for some) holiday of St. Valentine’s Day, so Steve Martin’s gray plaid jacket for his impromptu nuptials in My Blue Heaven felt like a perfect fit as #MafiaMonday coincides with the start of this year’s #WeekOfWeddings.
This gray-on-gray buffalo plaid jacket is first seen when Martin’s Vinnie Antonelli is pulled in for his first of many arrests while in the federal witness protection program. The material’s nubby imperfections imply raw silk.
Vinnie’s single-breasted sport jacket has widely notched lapels that roll to a low two-button stance, consistent with fashion trends of the late 1980s and early ’90s. The suppressed waist adds emphasis to the padded shoulders with their roped sleeveheads, giving Vinnie’s look even more swagger to coordinate with his “wiseguy” attitude. The jacket also has a welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, three-button cuffs, and a ventless back.
For his arrest at the hands of the Fryburg Police Deparment early in the film, Vinnie wears this jacket with a solid black button-up shirt that he wears with the top button undone. The narrow point collar of the shirt is poorly balanced by the jacket’s wider lapels, but this was an unfortunate trend of the era.
And speaking of unfortunate… Vinnie looks brasher and flashier than ever for one of his many trips to the grocery store, sporting the painfully clashing combination of a bold printed shirt under his gray plaid jacket. The shirt consists of a field of blue recessed diamonds on a light blue ground. Like his black shirt, it has a narrow point collar, button cuffs, and a front placket.
To balance the chaotic upper half of his wardrobe, Vinnie sports a pair of black double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups (cuffs), worn with a black leather belt.
Vinnie obviously considers himself quite the footwear expert, telling Hannah upon their first meeting: “You’re a good looking girl… except for those army shoes. No wonder he split. You know, you ought to get yourself a pair of nice high heels. Spectator pumps.”
Unsolicited fashion advice aside, it’s clear that Vinnie knows a thing or two about spectator pumps, wearing a pair of black-and-white patent leather loafers while dishing out the aforementioned tips. These unique shoes have black caps and quarters, a white vamp, and black kiltie detail over the arch. He wears them with gray socks.
Clearly not afraid of the attention his gangster affectations may draw, Vinnie retains his snazzy Rolex watch and gold pinky ring while in the custody of the Federal Witness Protection Program. His Rolex DateJust appears to be a 116233 model with a stainless steel 36mm case, 18-karat yellow gold bezel, and a mixed gold and stainless “Jubilee”-style bracelet with the appropriately named Roman dial.
Go Big or Go Home – Wedding Edition
“I’m in Reno!” Vinnie excitedly informs Barney, no doubt giving heart palpitations to his FBI handler not only for leaving the state but by following up with the news of his marriage to Shaldeen.
It may seem crazier than fiction, but Vinnie’s bigamous marriage (using his new, witness protection-issued identity) was actually based on a real incident from the life of Goodfellas subject Henry Hill who certainly gave his government supervisors plenty to sweat about before he was finally dropped from witness protection in 1989. It was Hill’s interviews with Nicholas Pileggi that led to Pileggi’s wife Nora Ephron developing the screenplay for My Blue Heaven.
Nary a refreshment – aside from the fleeting entertainment of a casino slot machine – is visible during Vinnie and Shaldeen’s celebration of their nuptials. Perhaps they commemorated the occasion by heating up one of the Micro Magic frozen meals from her shopping cart that drew them together in the first place.
Sadly, Vinnie and Shaldeen’s few hours of acquaintance prevented the couple from making any close friends before their nuptials, but Vinnie is quick to share his good news with his FBI handler Barney Coopersmith… not considering the need to inform him of the change of circumstances (and insane breach of security).
How to Get the Look
Vinnie counters his sober all-black base layer with an eye-popping plaid jacket, two-toned loafers, and gray socks. Monochromatic, yes, but far from boring.
- Gray-on-gray buffalo plaid raw silk single-breasted 2-button sport jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Black long-sleeve shirt with point collar, front placket, and button cuffs
- Black double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Black leather belt with rounded gold single-prong buckle
- Black-and-white patent leather kiltie loafers
- Gray socks
- Rolex DateJust two-tone gold wristwatch with white Roman dial on yellow gold and stainless mixed Jubilee bracelet
- Gold pinky ring with brick red oval setting
Of course, if you’re feeling inspired by Vinnie Antonelli’s pattern-colliding boldness, feel free to swap out that black shirt for a blue diamond-printed shirt… but also, you probably shouldn’t.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Are you sure he’s a minister? One of my best friends makes a living as a completely phony minister. For two bucks, I can make you a minister. Some guys steal your money, but these guys… they steal your heart.
I know it’s probably been mentioned here before (or maybe not?), but Vinnie is a not-very-thinly veiled stand in for Henry Hill. Nora Ephron was married to Nicholas Pileggi while the latter was interviewing Hill for what would become “Wiseguy,” and Hill would often chit-chat with Ephron on the phone while waiting for Pileggi to be ready to talk. While Pileggi was more interested in the details of Hill’s Mafia life, Ephron was interested in what shenanigans he had been up to since going into witness protection. If you’ve read any of Hill’s or his children’s books about their post-mob life, several incidents from “Heaven” are recognizable. On that note, it’s not difficult to imagine Ray Littoa’s Hill in this outfit, especially later in the film when his wardrobe began to show the excesses of the 70s.
Elvis Presley wore the same or a similar jacket (and even the same shirt!) on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. See https://youtu.be/26sOznflz04 and http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/pictures/1956-september-9-ed-sullivan-show.html
Elvis was also wearing the same jacket on his induction and his swearing into the army. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Presley%27s_Army_career#/media/File:Elvis_sworn_into_army_1958.jpg