Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Brad Pitt’s Aloha Shirt and Champion Tee
Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, Hollywood stunt performer and war veteran
Los Angeles, February 1969
Film: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
How to Get the Look
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s stylish late-sixties outfits in Tarantino’s ninth film, released in American theaters today, will receive fuller BAMF Style coverage once the movie has been released to home media and streaming services, but I wanted to take an early look at Cliff Booth’s scrappy summer attire that has gotten plenty of exposure in the film’s promotional posters, photos, and trailers.
The Aloha Shirt
Brad Pitt’s stuntman character wears a somewhat undersized yellow printed Aloha shirt emblazoned with volcanic surf scenes and detailed with a non-matched pocket and five brown faux-coconut buttons down the plain front.
- Hawaiian Hangover Palm Wave “yellow sunset” printed cotton shirt (Walmart, $19.95 & Amazon, $32 to $39), discovered by UPROXX to be a very close match to Pitt’s screen-worn shirt down to the faux-coconut buttons
- King Kameha Funky Hawaiian Shirt in “surf yellow” polyester (Amazon, $14.99 to $24.99), a somewhat more budget-friendly alternative that echoes the black and red colors in the T-shirt
- Ky’s International Fashion Enchantment Luau Yellow Hawaiian Shirt in yellow cotton (Aloha FunWear, $36)
- Ky’s International Fashion Tiki Island Hawaiian Shirt in yellow cotton (Aloha FunWear, $36)
- lilliween “Cliff Booth Men’s Hawaiian Shirt” (Amazon, $27.99), yellow rayon recreation of Pitt’s screen-worn shirt, likely more ideal for costumes than daily wear
The Champion T-shirt
Ever since the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s promotional artwork, the internet (and Amazon alone) has been increasingly populated with retailers and shirt printers across all levels of reputation seeking to offer their own take on Cliff Booth’s well-worn white T-shirt with a fading version of the iconic black-and-red logo for Champion spark plugs, detailed with the registered trademark icon under the “N” that establishes the shirt as an official product of the company.
- Novelskeer white cotton graphic T-shirt (Amazon, $23.99)
- Red Bubble white cotton graphic T-shirt (Red Bubble) [no longer available as of Jan. 2020]
- Image Creations ash gray cotton graphic T-shirt (eBay, $8.49), a screen-inspired “faded” logo but also includes the words “EQUIPPED WITH…” and “…SPARK PLUGS” above and below the logo itself
Cliff Booth’s jeans are almost definitely classic Levi’s with straight or bootcut legs. Levi Strauss & Co. had actually introduced its 517 “Bootcut” style in 1969, the year the film was set, though the modernized 501 and the “Regular Fit” 505—introduced in 1947 and 1967, respectively—would also suit Cliff’s needs.
- Levi’s 501 Original Fit button-fly jeans in dark stonewash cotton (Amazon or Levi’s, up to $59.50)
- Levi’s 505 Regular Fit zip-fly jeans in dark stonewash cotton (Amazon or Levi’s, up to $59.50)
- Levi’s 517 Bootcut zip-fly jeans in dark stonewash cotton (Amazon or Levi’s, up to $59.50)
The most specific detail of Cliff’s outfit is the large brass oval belt buckle announcing him as a “STUNTMEN’S ASSOCIATION MEMBER”, flanking an embossed old-fashioned movie camera in the center, worn on a thick tan leather belt.
To avoid the suspicions of actual stunt performers who may not appreciate copycats stealing their valor via a decorative belt buckle, you could echo the spirit of Cliff Booth’s profession with a Western-style belt complete with ornate four-piece engraved silver Ranger-style buckle like this piece available from Amazon for $29.95.
Another option may be a simple belt made from worn brown leather like “The Bootlegger” belt by Main Street Forge, available on Amazon for $39.95.
If you have a belt buckle you’d like to wear with this ensemble—be it claiming membership in the Stuntmen’s Association or not—you can wear it with a belt like this made for interchanging buckles. If you’re going full into costume mode and/or really are a member, you can pick up the Stuntmen’s Association buckle for $50 from Amazon.
Still in need of a buckle? Consider this copper oval piece with the patriotic motif of an eagle grasping the American flag from Western wear experts Nocona, available from Amazon for only $20.
A pre-release GQ article by Yang-Yi Goh confirms that Cliff Booth wears a pair of unique tobacco brown soft fringed suede Minnetonka boots. This unique style of footwear is now almost exclusively marketed to women, though they’re hardly an exclusively feminine style and a gent could likely size accordingly to find something that fits whether they’re detailed with large metal conchos or laced up the front.
- Minnetonka men’s classic fringe moccasin boot (Amazon, $47.95)
- Minnetonka “women’s” two-button boot (Amazon, $45.95)
- Minnetonka “women’s” Tramper ankle-high boot (Amazon, $45)
Note: Prices in this section as of August 6, 2019, and updated on January 21, 2020.
Update! Minnetonka has proudly re-released the two-button men’s boots as worn by Pitt for a limited time only! Pitt wore the softsole two-button boots, but the brand also offers a pair with hard rubber soles that seemingly trade a small degree of comfort for warmth.
- Minnetonka men’s two-button softsole boot (Minnetonka, $64.95)
- Minnetonka men’s two-button hardsole boot (Minnetonka or Amazon, $69.95)
Cliff wears large gold-framed aviator sunglasses with brown lenses and a reinforced bridge. Given Brad Pitt’s longstanding preferences for Oliver Peoples sunglasses, it’s possible that these on-screen aviators are an OP product, though they may also be a true vintage pair.
- J+S Premium Classic Aviator with gold 58mm frame and brown lenses (Amazon, $16.99)
- Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviator with gold 58mm frame and crystal brown “classic” lenses (Amazon or Ray-Ban, $153)
A detail of Cliff’s attire consistent with the laidback aesthetic of his Aloha shirt is his dark brown leather bracelet detailed with blue and brown beads, flat white shell, and tan leather cord.
Such a specific piece would be difficult to pin down with 100% accuracy, but this is also a character piece that gives its wearer a chance to establish their own unique identity so you can scour the booths of handmade jewelry crafters at an art show or select something that speaks to you from an assortment of more mass-produced jewelry like this.
Per the daredevil nature of his work, Cliff Booth’s watch resembles the Rolex Daytona chronograph that was eventually popularized by Paul Newman, whose interests of race car driving and acting mirror the fictional Cliff Booth’s role at the intersection of stuntwork and Hollywood.
In fact, Cliff’s watch has been identified as a vintage Citizen 8110 Bullhead, so named for the unique top placement of its dual buttons at the top of the case, and still available to find from some sellers on eBay or Etsy. Cliff’s particular gold Citizen watch has three black sub-dials on a round gold dial.
- Citizen CA7020-07A Chandler “Eco-Drive” quartz chronograph in stainless steel with twin black sub-dials on beige dial (Amazon, $239.49)
- Invicta 1479 Sea Spider Chronograph in rose gold with black sub-dials on rose dial (Amazon, $77.89)
- Invicta 14929 Speedway Chronograph in gold-ion plated steel with three black-ringed sub-dials on gold dial (Amazon, $77.21)
- ORIENT WV0021TY Horizon Solar Chonograph in stainless steel with black sub-dials on green gradient dial (Amazon, $223.34)
- Rolex Daytona ref. 116503 in gold-and-stainless steel with black sub-dials on ivory dial with Oyster-style link bracelet (Amazon, $15,780)
- Rolex Daytona ref. 116518 in gold with black sub-dials on ivory dial with brown leather strap (Amazon, $23,300)
Cliff wears this gold watch on a light brown leather “bund” strap that weaves in and out of the wider cuff, replacing the 18mm gold link bracelet. The screen-worn band was made by Red Monkey Designs, a company that also provided the watch straps that Brad Pitt had previously worn in The Mexican and Ocean’s Thirteen. You can find the exact tan leather band here for $280 as well as some alternatives below:
- DASSARI 20mm-wide bund strap in rust-colored Italian leather (Amazon, $44.99)
- M18 18mm-wide bund strap in brown leather (Amazon, $22 + $6.50 shipping)
- Vintage 1946 offers multiple sizes of an aviator-inspired leather band in 16mm, 18mm, 20mm, and 22mm widths (Amazon, $37.50)
Just want the general look of a bund-strapped watch without having to fuss with fitting your favorite watch onto a different band?
- AVI-8 AV-4024-08 “Lancaster Bomber” quartz watch on 20mm-wide brown leather bund strap (Amazon, $224.99)
Note: All prices above are as of January 21, 2020
June 30, 2019.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie, which Variety calls “a heady and engrossing nostalgia piece and love letter to 1960s L.A.”, now on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD!
Excellent write-up on a film I can’t wait to see!
I think his boots maybe some sort of Indiana mochasin. They appear to have a soft sole and large stitching. Probably something similar to what the Monkees more around that time. Or Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China.
I’m not a Tarantino fan but I’m planning on seeing this next week. Every negative review I read fixates on his “treatment of women” or the length, thin plot and ending violence against women. Im not much for brutal gore but to see it’s a lazy, Dazed & Confused type movie where you are immersed in 60s Americana for 3 hours is up my alley (ie. bubblegum pop music, American made cars that guzzle a lot of gas, women who don’t shy away from their femininity, cameos of classic movie heroes like Bruce Lee and Steve McQueen).
I could be wrong but I think Pitt’s character is a World War II veteran, not Vietnam. Considering his age that makes more sense. His look in the movie is pretty standard for a gearhead type from the era. Blue jeans were just coming to acceptance in casual wear and would be a go to for a knockaround guy in Southern California.
Nope… Brad is loosely playing a character inspired by Hal Needham, the legendary stuntman who served as a paratrooper in the US Army Rangers in the KOREAN WAR. And Leo is loosely playing the iconic actor Burt Reynolds, before he became iconic that is, with whom Needham was very close friends with. Burt & Hal worked together early on in their Hollywood days on many TV Shows & Westerns in the late 50’s and early 60’s as both stuntmen and bit part actors. Reynolds had signed on to do a cameo in the movie but unfortunately passed away before shooting his part as George Spahn, the role that went to Bruce Dern after Burts death. James Marsden of Xmen fame, played Burt Reynolds in the movie in a part that ended up on the cutting room floor. The irony is that Reynolds died while running lines for his role in the movie and without him in the film and the way inside, insider tie-in lost, the Marsden part was cut. Hopefully, that part along with many other reportedly filmed out-takes will be included in the bonus section when released to DVD/BluRay.
Great article and great film, just saw it last night. It is indeed a “hangout film” where you spend a good deal of the time tagging along with the characters as they experience the culture, sights, and attitude of late 60s L.A, as opposed to a structured A-Z plot.
As for the watch, it seems like Red Monkey is responsible for the watch band itself:
I think they’ve done a couple of pieces for Pitt before, and they also provided Wolverine’s watch from X-Men 2 (which is still available, I believe; Chocolate X-Strap).
I saw this product And the price is cheap. The fabric is good. I am a customer of this store.
I saw a picture of Steve McQueen wearing the same suede boots. I wish I could find the picture again, as it would make an interesting addition to the Benjamin Button page.
After looking at jeans that emulate this look I have reason to believe these are actually levi 508’s. These jeans are loose in the waist and even though they are tapered they gather at the hem which creates a little bit of a flared look.