David Harbour as Jim Hopper, small-town police chief
Indiana, Fall 1983
Series: Stranger Things
– “Chapter Four: The Body” (Episode 1.04, dir. Shawn Levy)
– “Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat” (Episode 1.05, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
– “Chapter Six: The Monster” (Episode 1.06, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
– “Chapter Seven: The Bathtub” (Episode 1.07, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
– “Chapter Eight: The Upside Down” (Episode 1.08, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
Streaming Date: July 15, 2016
Creator: The Duffer Brothers
Costume Design: Kimberly Adams-Galligan (Episodes 1.01-1.04) & Malgosia Turzanska (Episodes 1.03-1.08)
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
With Halloween just around the corner, let’s check in on the strange occurrences—er, stranger things—happening around the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the days following Halloween 1983.
Set during the “golden age” of sci-fi and horror, Stranger Things is both an homage to these classic genres as well as its own intriguing standalone story in the spirit of John Carpenter, Stephen King, and Steven Spielberg. The series premiered in July 2016 and, as of October 2019, remains the oldest Netflix original series on the air, having outlasted previous stalwarts like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Narcos that had all preceded it.
Stranger Things immerses the audience in the early ’80s youthful zeitgeist of synthesizers, teenage crushes, and pop culture phenomena like Star Wars that don’t distract Will Byers’ friends too much from trying to find their missing comrade, balancing nostalgia with a genuinely intriguing and original story. A highlight is the emotional, energetic performance of Winona Ryder (who celebrates her 48th birthday today) as Joyce Byers, Will’s desperately devoted mother who refuses to believe her son is dead, even after what is purportedly his corpse is pulled from a quarry. Hawkins’ cynical police chief, Jim Hopper (David Harbour), operates with logic and intuition before emotion, but he avoids dismissing Joyce, sensing that she legitimately believes that her son is still alive after encountering the disgusting monster that tore through her wallpaper into the living room that she had festooned with Christmas lights in hopes of continuing to communicate with her missing son.
Hop’s hunch becomes a lead after he learns that the state took over Will’s autopsy, and the burly police chief sets out to conduct his own undercover mission, settling next to Indiana State Police officer David O’Bannon (Ron Roggé) at the Hideaway, a local watering hole, and guiding their casual conversation over whiskey and Schlitz toward the topic of O’Bannon’s discovery of Will’s “corpse” in the quarry. After O’Bannon stalls, Hop resorts to more drastic measures, pummeling the corrupt trooper against the brick wall outside the pub until O’Bannon admits just enough to lay the groundwork of a conspiracy.
Hopper finds himself knocking out state troopers left and right, having to dispatch yet another officer guarding the coroner’s lab after the chief finds himself tongue-tied trying to lure the officer away without violence. The uniformed troopers are far from his most dangerous antagonist though, taking on the shadowy government figures behind the Hawkins National Laboratory and, ultimately, the predatory “Demogorgon” at the center of Hawkins’ latest catastrophe. It would be too much for Hopper and his slow-witted deputies to handle, but luckily the determined chief finds allies in Will’s young friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), as well as the supernatural stranger “Eleven” (Millie Bobby Brown) whose psychokinetic powers prove to be the strongest asset against the group’s foe, both human- and non-human alike.
What’d He Wear?
In a decade of acid-washed denim, baggy pastel suits, Members Only jackets, and hammer pants, a trendy dresser in the 1980s was often no more than an embarrassing yearbook photo for generations to come… or at least fodder for your kids to raid the back of your closet for their upcoming ’80s party. Yet, Jim Hopper proves that it was possible to dress down during the “Greed decade” without being a neon-lit tribute to tackiness.
Aside from a few vignettes of the police chief at home enjoying one too many beers or bed companions, Jim Hopper spends the majority of the first three episodes in his khaki police uniform, consisting of shirt, trousers, Bill Jordan-style holster by Tex Shoemaker, and Crevo Buck work boots. Chief Hopper’s uniform has become popular among cosplayers, and a thread at The RPF is full of intricate details about Hop’s wardrobe and how to recreate it, all carefully researched by hardcore fans of the show and character.
We first see Hop’s civilian attire of rugged corduroy and flannel when he’s technically off-duty, drinking at the Hideaway to glean information from state trooper David O’Bannon. Hopper doesn’t yet know what his evening—or week, for that matter—will entail, so he’s wisely layered in utilitarian and durable clothes to carry him through whatever adventures are prescribed to make Hawkins a safer place.
Like so many others in Hawkins, as observed by Nate Rogers for FLOOD, Hopper chooses corduroy outerwear to take on the Demogorgon, specifically a rich chocolate brown medium-waled ventless jacket styled like a heavier version of a classic chore coat with its button-up front and external pocket layout.
It’s a classic style that’s difficult to find new, as most modern corduroy casual jackets tend to be inspired by blazers or trucker jackets, though there are a few of the latter that are similar to Hopper’s first season jacket like these from Elwood Clothing and Trimthread. Farfetch offers this sherpa-lined corduroy “safari jacket” from Ami Paris that takes a fashion-forward spin with its four bellows pockets and covered fly, though Hop would likely balk at the $1,115 price tag.
If you’re seeking to truly crib Hop’s look, your best bet will be searching vintage shops or patrolling sites like eBay and Poshmark in the hopes of finding items like this Banana Republic field coat that—leather collar aside—shares plenty of style details with the off-duty look favored by Hawkins’ chief of police. Outdoors outfitters like Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, and Orvis may also continue to update their selections of barn coats and field jackets.
Hopper’s brown corduroy chore jacket has four brown sew-through buttons spaced up the front from the waist line to his neck. A set-in pocket over his left breast closes with a single-button flap, and the patch pockets on each hip also close with a single-button flap. Just above the flapped pocket on the right side is a slanted welt that opens into an additional hand pocket. The set-in sleeves close at the cuff through a single button on a short pointed semi tab.
Hopper wears a cotton flannel shirt in blue and ivory shadow plaid. The shirt has a tan-lined collar and is semi-yoked at the shoulders, though the curved seam doesn’t interrupt the pattern of the shirt across the chest from the front placket to the seams around the set-in sleeves.
The shirt has seven blue plastic two-hole sew-through buttons up the front placket, and Hopper leaves the top few undone over his henley undershirt. The two box-pleated chest pockets have single-button flaps rounded at the corners, and the sleeves close at the cuffs through a single button.
While blue plaid flannel button-up shirts are plentiful, including these similar options from Burnside and L.L. Bean, Hop’s shirt benefits from the added character of the rounded shoulder seams, the box-pleated pockets, and the tan collar lining seen as he insouciantly wears the shirt only semi-buttoned over his henleys.
By the end of “The Bathtub” (Episode 1.07), Hopper has peeled off his flannel shirt and layers only the corduroy jacket over his henley as he goes off to find the gate into the Upside Down. Back at Hawkins Middle School, Eleven has picked up the chief’s discarded shirt and wears it for warmth throughout the episode, including her disintegration back into the Upside Down at the close of the episode. (In a nice continuity nod, Eleven is still wearing the shirt—though it is now considerably dirtier—in the “Trick or Treat, Freak” (Episode 2.02) flashback set shortly after this episode.
Removing his plaid flannel overshirt leaves Hopper to confront the sinister Hawkins lab leadership in a navy “waffle-knit” thermal long-sleeved henley, the second—and darker—of the two henley shirts that he wears as undershirts with this outfit. Hop’s shirt has long set-in sleeves with elasticized cuffs and three faux-wood two-hole sew-through buttons at the top.
As henley shirts continue to enjoy a resurgence in popularity, most major menswear outfitters include them among their offerings with the waffle-knit thermal being particularly popular as the year transitions into colder months through the autumn. The garment’s popularity makes it easy to look for navy waffle-knit henleys with Hop-approved details like contrasting buttons and set-in sleeves, so check out these selections from Banana Republic, Gap, Goodthreads, and Old Navy, or this ribbed-knit henley from Vintage 1946.
Hopper wears the navy-colored henley in the last half of the first season, having changed out of the sweaty off-white henley that he wore when captured at Hawkins lab “The Body” (Episode 1.04) and thus when waking up in a frantic sweat on his living room couch at the beginning of “The Flea and the Acrobat” (Episode 1.05). This lighter henley shirt looks similar to the undershirts he wears with his khaki police chief uniform.
Like the navy shirt, Hop’s “natural”-toned ivory henley has long set-in sleeves and a three-button top, though the weave is a vertical rib, similar to the Billy Reid long-sleeved henley in “natural” cotton/poly (Nordstrom Rack) or the Banana Republic ribbed henley sweater in a “cargo khaki” cotton blend. An affordable alternative to both is the Hanes Beefy henley in “pebblestone heather” cotton/poly (Amazon).
The roomy fit of Hopper’s henleys cover the waistband of his dark blue jeans, which look to be relatively run-of-the-mill without any of the common visual identifiers of the major American denim brands like Lee, Levi’s, or Wrangler. The shirts also cover his waist line, though if he is wearing a belt, it’s possibly the same brown X-stitched one that he wore with light wash jeans for a morning smoke in the first episode, “The Vanishing of Will Byers” (Episode 1.01). Should anyone be interested, the same scene communicates to viewers that Hop’s preferred underwear are “tighty-whiteys”, specifically white briefs with thini yellow and navy lines around the waistband.
Hopper’s dark brown leather work boots appear to be the same that he wears with his police uniform, which The RPF has deduced to be Crevo “Buck” moc-toe boots. In addition to the Crevo site, these boots are available from retailers including Amazon and DSW.
These boots have dark brown leather uppers with a 5½”-tall shaft and derby-laced with yellow-and-brown tube laces through seven pairs of eyelets.
Hopper also carries over the same wide-brimmed felt hat that he wears with his uniform. Given how much David Harbour himself was invested in his character’s hat, it’s no surprise that it’s something the character wears daily and not just as part of his work uniform.
Shortly after the show’s first season was released in the summer of 2016, Harbour expanded on the development of Hopper’s hat in an exclusive interview with Marc Ciafardini from GoSeeTalk.com. Harbour had envisioned “an iconic hat, like the pork pie in The French Connection, or Indy’s fedora,” for Hopper and—with the Duffer brothers’ blessing—approached hatmaker Orlando Palacios of Worth & Worth:
…Orlando says, “great, maybe it’s his dad’s hat. There’s a hat called the open road that Eisenhower used to wear.” So we developed this open road hat that was great, and we had three of them made for the character… Orlando is an extraordinary artist, and he’s really detail-oriented, so if you look carefully at the hat, you’ll see the remnants of a band, which is an invisible band – that’s created when things are faded when the Sun hits them. So we decided that at one point it was his father’s hat, and then the band fell off, but Hopper still wears it.
Hopper’s custom hat is made from an olive-tinted taupe fur felt similar to the “Caribou” color of the modern Stetson Open Road, though the experts at The RPF have identified the Stetson Stratoliner as a better alternative that better reflects the softness of the original hat. It has a “teardrop” C-crown like a classic fedora, but the lack of a band and the 2.75″-wide brim adds more of a cowboy touch.
A heartbreaking detail of Hopper’s character is the aqua blue braided bracelet constantly seen on his right wrist. Though David Harbour would later explain the significance to INSIDER, eagle-eyed first season audiences may have spotted that Hop’s daughter Sara was actually wearing this bright blue hair tie the day her parents noticed she was sick, featured in a flashback in the season finale, “The Upside Down” (Episode 1.08).
“It’s something subtle we do, and in fact if you watch the first [scene] of Jim Hopper in season one, he wakes up in the morning and before he even checks his watch he touches that bracelet on his arm,” Harbour told INSIDER following the second season premiere. “It’s the first thing that he does every morning because he never wants to forget her. Sara and the death of his daughter is his grounding place for reality.”
Fans have commented on The RPF that the hair tie appears to be a blue braided “hair elastic” by Scünci, the ConAir brand that’s arguably a market leader in the women’s hair accessory segment. (Amazon)
Stranger Things accurately captures the mania for digital watches in the early 1980s, a time when even James Bond had been wearing digital watches for more than half a decade. In addition to Dustin, Mike, and Will who all sport digital watches (Lucas wears a gunmetal field watch), Chief Hopper keeps time with a Timex Atlantis 100 strapped to his left wrist on a compass watchband.
The sporty Timex Atlantis digital watch is still in production in various forms more than 35 years after Stranger Things was set, virtually unchanged with its silver case, black resin top ring, and four pusher buttons. One of the most recent iterations of the Atlantis, the Timex Men’s Expedition Atlantis, is a reliable and very affordable digital chronograph available on Amazon. Of course, you could also hold out for an actual Timex Atlantis 100 like Hop wears, as recently seen at Bob Ward’s.
Resourceful lawman and outdoorsman that he is, Hopper customized his Timex by swapping out the standard band for a black strap with a built-in mini-compass. This small black compass, worn on a black strap with single-prong buckle, has white and green markers against a black dial, similar to the SE-CCV15 watchband compass (Amazon).
What to Imbibe
Pick your poison! When we are introduced to Jim Hopper in the post-credits scene of the first episode, “The Vanishing of Will Byers”, the chief’s living room is littered with empty cans of Hamm’s and Schlitz beer. When he finally does get to work, there’s a bottle of Jameson whiskey on his desk as he’s typing up Will’s missing persons report.
Hopper’s apartment is in the same state of alcoholic disarray when he wakes up on the couch the morning after he was knocked out at the Hawkins laboratory. His coffee table is a mess of pill bottles, Schlitz cans, an errant Jameson bottle, and a deck of his go-to unfiltered Camels.
We also spy Hop’s handy knife, a Sheffield Superior Folder, and the very knife that he had used the previous night to discover that Will Byers’ “corpse” was indeed a fake.
Police chief Jim Hopper carries his duty sidearm, a 4″-barreled Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolver, chambered to fire .357 Magnum ammunition. It’s an appropriate sidearm for the early-to-mid 1980s when most American police officers, specifically in small towns like Hawkins, Indiana, were still carrying classic American six-shot revolvers before the nationwide transition to semi-automatic pistols.
Smith & Wesson had introduced the Model 66 in 1971 as a stainless steel version of the Model 19, itself a .357 Magnum evolution of the Model 15 “Combat Masterpiece” in .38 Special, though the Model 15, Model 19, and Model 66 were all built on Smith & Wesson’s medium-sized “K” frame. The Model 19 and Model 66 have both been colloquially referred to as the “Combat Magnum” for their ability to fire .357 Magnum rounds. Production of the Model 66 ceased in the early-to-mid 2000s, but the revolver was reintroduced in 2014, first with a 4.25″ barrel before a snub-nosed 2.75″-barreled version joined the lineup three years later.
Though he seems to opt for waistband carry when off-duty, Hop’s duty uniform includes a light brown basket weave “Bill Jordan” border patrol holster worn on the right side of his belt that had been made for the production by Tex Shoemaker & Sons, a venerated leather maker in California’s San Gabriel Valley that sadly closed its doors in the fall of 2017, not long after creating Jim Hopper’s holster.
How to Get the Look
While dressing like a Stranger Things character could make a very specific Halloween costume, Jim Hopper’s eschewal of trends transcends the series’ 1980s setting as his off-duty ensemble of corduroy jacket, plaid flannel shirt, henley, and jeans would be just as effective, utilitarian, and casually stylish today.
- Chocolate brown corduroy chore coat with four-button front, set-in chest pocket (with single-button flap), slanted welt right-side hand pocket, two patch hip pockets (with single-button flaps), and single-button cuffs
- Blue-and-ivory shadow plaid flannel shirt with curved shoulder yokes, front placket, two box-pleated pockets (with single-button flaps), and rounded button cuffs
- Ivory ribbed-knit or navy waffle-knit thermal 3-button henley shirt with long set-in sleeves
- Dark blue denim jeans
- Brown X-stitched belt with single-prong buckle
- Dark brown leather moc-toe work boots with 7-eyelet yellow-and-brown tube laces and non-slip rubber outsole
- Olive taupe fur felt “open road”-style C-crown fedora with no hatband
- Aqua blue braided elastic hair-tie, worn as a bracelet
- Timex Atlantis 100 digital watch in silver gray case with black resin top ring and four silver pusher buttons on a black customized compass watchband
Visit The RPF if you’re interested in an expertly researched cosplay guide into Jim Hopper’s police uniform as well as some casual attire.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the series, one of the most successful Netflix original shows.
I don’t have a problem. I’m just a concerned citizen.