Out of Time – Denzel Washington’s Aloha Shirt
Denzel Washington as Mathias Lee “Matt” Whitlock, Banyan Key police chief
Banyan Key, Florida, Summer 2002
Film: Out of Time
Release Date: October 3, 2003
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis
If you’re lucky enough to count a well-made Aloha shirt or two in your closet, summer is the time to bring them to the front of your rotation. After all, boldly printed shirts dominated at Milan Fashion Week this month, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a few more Hawaiian shirts on gents of all generations this summer.
While Hawaiian shirts in movies and TV are often played for comedic purposes, the tropical neo-noir Out of Time unironically – and successfully – dresses its protagonist in a setting-appropriate printed Aloha shirt for the lion’s share of the film’s action.
In this No Way Out-inspired thriller set in the bright and sunny Florida Keys, Denzel Washington plays a charming chief of police with a department of only four officers in the small town paradise of Banyan Key (filmed in the real-life city of Boca Grande). Chief Whitlock is currently undergoing a divorce from his ex-wife Alex (Eva Mendes), a fellow detective, while juggling an affair with local woman Anne Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan), the wife of an aggressive ex-football star (Dean Cain)… setting up all the elements for intrigue.
What’d He Wear?
Chief Matt Whitlock spends his days on duty in the comfortable white polo and black shorts that comprise his police uniform, but for an anxious night waiting for news from his cancer-stricken mistress (and her abusive husband), he changes into a blue tropical-printed Aloha shirt and light, loose-fitting slacks. Matt is still wearing this outfit the next day when he’s risen from his slumber with word that the couple’s house has burned down… with two bodies found on the scene.
One thing I appreciate about Denzel Washington’s wardrobe in Out of Time is the accessibility of the brands he wears. Matt Whitlock seems like the kind of guy who would stop by the local mall when he needs some new clothes, spend about ten minutes in a store grabbing affordable stuff that’s approximately his size, and then spend the rest of the day at the driving range. And if Matt is going to be picking up a Hawaiian shirt at the mall, it only makes sense that he’d be grabbing a shirt from Tommy Bahama, the Seattle-based brand that has been a mainstay of ready-to-wear island-wear for more than two decades.
Matt spends the majority of the film’s action wearing a silk Aloha shirt from Tommy Bahama, printed all over in an “island theme” motif with palm trees, mountains, and sail boats in mute slate blue and white on a cornflower blue ground. The shirt has a one-piece camp collar with a loop on the left side that would connect to a button under the right side of the collar, and there are seven brown faux-nut buttons down the plain front. The shirt also has a breast pocket.
Though the auctioned version of the shirt is a size medium, it still looks a bit oversized on Denzel Washington’s 6’1″ frame. The shirt’s larger, looser fit means the short set-in “half” sleeves begin off the shoulders and extend down his arms to drape over the elbows.
The loud pattern covering the shirt doesn’t make it easy to discern right away, but taking a closer look at the progression of Denzel Washington’s look over the course of the film reveals that at least five shirts were used over the course of the production, each slightly differing in how the pattern is presented on the shirt… even though the pattern itself of palm trees, mountains, waves, and sail boats remains the same.
It’s certainly not unusual for a film to have multiples of a character’s costume on hand; in fact, it’s now standard practice that Tom Ford makes dozens of Daniel Craig’s suits for his action scenes as James Bond.
The easiest way to determine which shirt is being used in which scene is by looking at his shirt collars; over the course of Out of Time, the corner of Matt’s right collar goes from hosting the side of a palm tree, to the entire base of a palm tree and a sail boat, to a more bare scene, to just the boat sails and the palms at the top of a tree, and finally the vegetation at the base of the palm tree. (See below!)
The large shirt also covers Chief Whitlock’s sidearm, a SIG-Sauer P228 semi-automatic pistol carried in his brown leather off-duty holster worn on the right side of his walnut brown leather belt for a dominant-hand draw.
Matt’s ivory chinos are from Banana Republic’s “Dawson” line of khakis marketed for their relaxed fit and comfortable 100% cotton construction, both compatible elements with his laidback island vibe. These flat front trousers have belt loops, gently slanted side pockets, slim-welted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms.
Fifteen years after the film’s release, Banana Republic has re-energized this timeless chino design with its “Emerson” line that undoubtedly takes style cues its predecessor, the Dawson. The Emerson Straight Chino in khaki-colored 100% cotton is as close to the style and fabric of Denzel’s screen-worn trousers as is currently offered (as of June 2018), though the “transition cream” color available for the cotton-stretch Emerson Straight Rapid Movement Chino is a little closer to the color of the trousers worn in Out of Time. (Of course, you can also scan sites like Westfield for original Dawson chinos, if you’re so inclined.)
Matt’s cool, comfortable, and casual wardrobe doesn’t end at his ankles… nor does he go the “uninformed dad” route of socks-and-sandals. Instead, he opts for a pair of unique slip-on loafers in tan nubuck leather from Mephisto, a Palm Beach footwear purveyor. The cool-wearing shoes have vamps littered with small holes to ventilate the wearer’s feet, and Mephisto’s signature Air Jet insole system ensures maximum comfort.
This particular variety of Mephisto footwear seems to be discontinued as of June 2018, though interested shoppers can still find pre-owned pairs thanks to sites like eBay. The Mephisto “Ulrich” in camel appears to have taken over the mantle as the brand’s pre-eminent vented-vamp loafer, available for $354.95 per pair.
While the vented Mephisto shoes are probably the type of footwear one could wear sans socks, Matt sports a pair of brown knit cotton lisle socks. Thanks to the auction listing, we know that his shoe size is 10.5 and that the socks have yellow stitching at the toes, similar to the ubiquitous Gold Toe sock brand.
Chief Whitlock’s watch is also appropriate for a practical guy who lives and works by the water. He wears a Casio Marine Gear AMW320D-9EV “Dual Time” watch, so named for its traditional analog dial and digital display inset across the bottom. This quartz dive watch has a black bidirectional rotating bezel with yellow markers that coordinate with the shiny yellow dial.
As I remember seeing in real life and movies and TV, yellow-dial dive watches like this were all the rage for characters from macho cops like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop (who had a Casio) and “Herc” on The Wire (who wore a similar Seiko) as well as the decidedly non-macho Ross Gellar on Friends.
This Casio has a 44mm stainless steel case and is secured to his wrist on a 25mm-wide ridged black resin band that closes with a steel single-prong buckle. You can read more about the watch on Casio’s website, though interested buyers may be able to find one on Amazon.
Sunglasses would be a daily must-have item for anyone living in the Florida Keys, and Chief Whitlock makes good use of his matte sand-framed navigator-style aviator sunglasses with amber-tinted lenses.
Less of a functional must-have and more of a fashion accessory, Matt also wears a small gold hoop earring in his left ear lobe.
Chief Whitlock’s final piece of jewelry is a slim gold medallion worn on a gold necklace.
In October 2015, items from Denzel Washington’s screen-worn costume in Out of Time were auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions:
Denzel Washington screen-worn costume, worn as ”Matt Lee Whitlock” in the 2003 crime drama ”Out of Time”.
Four piece outfit includes shirt, slacks, socks and loafers: (1) Tommy Bahama short sleeve blue and white shirt with island design, size medium; (2) Banana Republic ”Dawson” khaki slacks, size 36/34; (3) Pair of brown knit socks with yellow stitching at toes, measures 16”; (4) Mephisto ”Air-Jet” brown leather slip on loafers, size 10.5.
This outfit (including the same shirt) had previously been included in an auction in December 2013 but failed to sell. The auction listing is still live on iCollector and even includes a photo of the mentioned socks.
The same auction included a prop wallet that Denzel Washington’s character carried, complete with his state ID, police ID, two Capital One cards, and three Visa cards.
How to Get the Look
This might not be the best outfit for a guy trying to fit in while dodging the authorities, so limit your summer activities to bellying up to the bar or lounging on a beach somewhere, and you should be fine.
- Blue-on-light blue island-printed silk Aloha/Hawaiian shirt with camp collar, seven brown faux-nut buttons, breast pocket, and short set-in sleeves
- Ivory cotton flat front chino trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, right-side coin pocket, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Walnut brown leather belt with steel square single-prong buckle
- Brown leather belt holster, for SIG-Sauer P228 pistol
- Tan nubuck leather vented-vamp slip-on loafers
- Brown cotton lisle socks with yellow toe-stitching
- Casio Marine Gear AMW320D-9EV “Dual Time” quartz dive watch with 44mm stainless steel case, black rotating bezel, yellow analog dial with digital display, and ridged black resin strap
- Sand-toned matte-framed navigator-style aviator sunglasses with amber lenses
- Gold mini-hoop earring
- Gold medallion/pendant on gold necklace
As chief of the Banyan Key Police Department, Matt Whitlock’s issued sidearm is a blued steel SIG-Sauer P228, carried in a brown leather holster on the right side of his belt.
SIG-Sauer introduced the P228 in 1988 as a downsized version of its full-framed P226 model. Commercially available with only a traditional double-action (DA/SA) trigger, the P228 was only marginally smaller than the P226 with its 3.9-inch barrel length, only a half-inch shorter than the P226.
Unlike the multi-chambered P226, the P228 was only offered in the popular 9x19mm Parabellum round throughout its production, carrying 13 rounds in a double-stack magazine as opposed to the eight-round single-stack magazine of its cousin, the SIG-Sauer P225.
Shortly after its introduction, the SIG-Sauer P228 was adopted by the U.S. Secret Service and designated into U.S. military service as the M11 pistol. The P228 was produced continuously for nine years until it was considered to be replaced by the similarly sized SIG-Sauer P229.
In addition to its stainless steel construction as opposed to the P228’s carbon steel, the P229 was made available in multiple calibers, from the small .22 LR round up to the approved law enforcement .357 SIG and .40 S&W rounds as well as the prerequisite 9x19mm Parabellum.
Despite its ostensible replacement by the P229, the SIG-Sauer P228 remained in limited use among some branches of the U.S. military, though it is scheduled to be formally replaced by a carry-sized variant of the modular SIG-Sauer P320.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.