Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, narcissistic profligate playboy
Italy, October 1958
Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: December 25, 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Costume Design: Ann Roth & Gary Jones
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Whether you’re dressing for a snazzy summer brunch this sunny Sunday morning or taking sprezzatura inspiration for the office, Jude Law’s wardrobe from The Talented Mr. Ripley radiates mid-century Mediterranean luxury essential for your spring-to-summer sartorial transformation.
This 1999 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s classic psychological thriller novel spends more time with the doomed Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) than its stylish French predecessor, Plein soleil (1960), including this brief foray from Naples to Rome where the obsessive Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) joins Dickie for some drinks al fresco.
Dickie and Tom’s quality time is interrupted by the arrival of Dickie’s fellow Princeton grad Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is organizing an alumni skip trip to Cortina over Christmas. Classical pianist Tom is none too pleased with the interloper, forced to the sidelines as Dickie and Freddie ignite their shared passion for bebop at a record store.
Fans of Plein soleil will recognize this sequence as the 1960 film’s starting point, culminating in the uncomfortable scene where Dickie catches Tom wearing his luxurious clothes, though in this case it’s his tuxedo rather than a striped regatta blazer.
What’d He Wear?
Away from his knit resort shirts and sun-friendly shorts, Dickie Greenleaf dresses for his urban adventure in a navy silk blazer and tie with off-white trousers and sockless loafers. The single-breasted blazer is a dark navy dupioni silk with peak lapels that roll over the top of three silver-toned shank buttons. It has a welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, double vents, and three smaller silver-toned shank buttons on each cuff.
When in Rome, Dickie wears an ice white shirt with a pale blue cast that more softly contrasts with the dark blazer than a plain white shirt. The shirt has a point collar and double (French) cuffs that are worn with gold rectangular bar-shaped links.
Dickie’s tie in Rome is a repeating pattern consisting of six thin alternating pale blue and French blue stripes, a medium-width gray stripe equivalent to the width of the six blue stripes, and then five thin stripes: three white and two slate-gray. All of his tie stripes are in the “uphill” direction of left shoulder-down-to-right hip.
“We are therefore today rather inclined to abandon the white linen jacket and merely retain white linen trousers,” wrote Hardy Amies in his ABC of Men’s Fashion, decrying the difficulty of maintaining the look of a white jacket. Regarding the white trousers, however, Sir Hardy wrote that “there is nothing more comfortable to wear or more pleasant to see than these.”
While the nautical effect of a white trousers with a navy blazer would be most effective by the sea, Dickie wisely opts for an off-white pair of ivory silk slacks when further inland for the more urban setting of a warm afternoon in Rome. Dickie’s trousers have single reverse pleats in line with the first belt loop on each side of the fly. The trousers have straight pockets along the side seams, jetted back pockets that each close through a single button, and turn-ups (cuffs) on the bottoms. Dickie wears a brown leather belt with a single-prong buckle covered in the same brown leather as the rest of the belt.
Dickie’s two-tone loafers are black and white leather, reflecting the strong contrast of his dark blazer and light trousers. These moc-toe slip-ons are black along the outside with white vamps. They obviously don’t coordinate with his brown leather belt, but Dickie’s general approach to dressing throws the accepted “rules” of style out the window in favor of a fashion-informed look that screams of confident distinction.
G.H. Bass recently introduced its Larson Colorblock Weejuns, a similarly colored penny loafer, albeit with a black “penny keeper” strap across the white vamp. This fashionable slant on an Ivy League classic seems like the ideal modern update for Dickie the Princeton grad.
Dickie does not appear to be wearing socks, though it’s also possible that Jude Law is wearing “no-show” socks that give a gent the carefree appearance of wearing his shoes sans hosiery while indeed furtively sporting a pair that covers from toe to heel to prevent body oils from affecting the shoe leather.
Dickie tops off his look with a black porkpie hat, the same headgear he sported earlier at the jazz club.
Later, for “our last trip!” to the Sanremo Music Festival, Dickie dresses down the blazer even further for their train ride by wearing it with a beige ribbed sport shirt. It’s likely the same shirt he wore earlier during the brief vignette of a bocce game, so it has a camp collar, plain front with smoke-toned sew-through plastic buttons, and short sleeves.
Upon arriving at the jazz festival, Dickie again wears the blazer with a dress shirt and tie, though it’s more appropriately appointed for an evening function with a plain white shirt—also with point collar and French cuffs—and a black tie with multi-colored polka dots.
(Of possible interest to some is the fact that the narrative sets the date of the music festival at November 7, 1958, though the actual Sanremo Music Festival always took place during the last weekend of January in the late 1950s.
Dickie wears his usual complement of jewelry, including two rings and his steel wristwatch with its silver dial and silver mesh bracelet that closes through a single-prong buckle. He wears the watch on his left wrist, a hand that also plays host to the gold pinky ring with its gleaming gold stone that Dickie earlier informed Tom that he “had to promise—capital P—never to take it off.” On the middle finger of his right hand, Dickie wears a plain gold double-ridged ring.
Inspiration via Agnelli?
Daniel, a commenter on this site, indicated that Umberto Agnelli’s dapper ensemble of crested blazer, striped tie, light linen slacks, and spectator shoes at the 1960 Summer Olympics no doubt inspired The Talented Mr. Ripley costume designers Ann Roth and Gary Jones to dress Jude Law’s Dickie Greenleaf in the similar outfit of navy blazer, striped silk tie, ivory silk trousers, and two-tone loafers, though Dickie has substituted Signor Agnelli’s stylish sunglasses for a rakish black porkpie hat.
Also of significant sartorial note is the master of sprezzatura himself, Gianni Agnelli, sporting a classic linen summer suit and straight knit tie but with the gloriously unnecessary detail of two different shoes: leather oxford on the right foot and a penny loafers on the left.
What to Imbibe
When in Rome… Tom and Dickie drink as the Romans do, sharing a bottle of San Marco Frascati Superiore. This modestly priced white wine from central Italy uses the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Malvasia del Lazio, and Trebbiano Toscano grapes for a textured, refreshing drink on a hot day.
How to Get the Look
Dickie Greenleaf puts his own unique spin on the classic blue blazer, opting for unique fabric like a dark navy dupioni silk and stylishly accompanied with porkpie hat, off-white slacks, and two-tone loafers worn sans visible socks.
- Dark navy dupioni silk single-breasted blazer with peak lapels, 3/2-roll silver shank buttons, welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, double vents, and 3-button cuffs
- Ice white cotton dress shirt with point collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Gray, blue, and white “uphill”-striped silk tie
- Ivory silk single reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, straight/on-seam side pockets, jetted button-through back pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Brown leather belt with self-covered single-prong buckle
- Black-and-white leather moc-toe loafers
- Black porkpie hat with black ribbed grosgrain silk band
- Steel wristwatch with silver dial on silver mesh bracelet
- Gold double-ridged ring, worn on right middle finger
- Gold signet pinky ring with gold stone, worn on left pinky
The unique tie would be difficult to find, but many retailers offer their own summer-friendly ties in the spirit of Dickie’s light blue stripes:
- Banana Republic’s Double Stripe Silk Nanotex® Tie in “periwinkle blue fizz” silk ($59.50)
- L04BABY’s jacquard woven striped tie in light blue silk ($9.98 via Amazon)
- Scott Allan Collection’s jacquard woven striped tie in turquoise silk ($13.19 via Amazon)
- The Tie Bar’s Aisle Runner Stripe Tie in light blue silk/linen ($19)
- The Tie Bar’s Canopy Stripe Tie in light blue cotton ($19)
- The Tie Bar’s North Bay Stripe Tie in blue cotton ($19)
- The Tie Bar’s South Bay Stripe Tie in blue cotton ($19)
- The Tie Bar’s Walkover Stripe Tie in blue cotton ($19)
Do Yourself a Favor and…
The most important question is… where do we eat?