Stranger Things: Hopper’s “Cutting-Edge” Aloha Shirt

David Harbour as Jim Hopper on Stranger Things (Episode 3.04: "The Sauna Test")

David Harbour as Jim Hopper on Stranger Things (Episode 3.04: “The Sauna Test”)

Vitals

David Harbour as Jim Hopper, small-town police chief

Indiana, Summer 1985

Series: Stranger Things
Episodes:
– “Chapter Two: The Mall Rats” (Episode 3.02, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
– “Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” (Episode 3.03, dir. Shawn Levy)
– “Chapter Four: The Sauna Test” (Episode 3.04, dir. Shawn Levy)
– “Chapter Five: The Flayed” (Episode 3.05, dir. Uta Briesewitz)
– “Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum” (Episode 3.06, dir. Uta Briesewitz)
– “Chapter Seven: The Bite” (Episode 3.07, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
– “Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt” (Episode 3.08, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
Streaming Date:
July 4, 2019
Creator:
 The Duffer Brothers
Costume Designer: Amy Parris

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Netflix recently announced that the fourth season of its sci-fi/horror runaway hit Stranger Things has commenced production, so we can likely expect it to hit within a year. In the meantime, as I’m enjoying a “spring break” of my own with a trip south to sunny Florida this week, I’m taking a much-requested look at the “cutting edge” Aloha shirt that Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) wears in all but one episode of the series’ third season.

The third season premiere found a mustached Hop planted in front of his Sony Trinitron, hand in a bag of Tostitos as he watches the pilot episode of Magnum, P.I. (Fans of the series undoubtedly recognized Tom Selleck’s narration: “Don’t look at the dogs, work the lock… you looked at the dogs.”)

Parked in front of the tube munching on chips and salsa, Hopper drifts into the escapist world of Magnum, P.I. to distract himself from whatever is happening between Eleven and Mike behind him.

Parked in front of the tube munching on chips and salsa, Hopper drifts into the escapist world of Magnum, P.I. to distract himself from whatever is happening between Eleven and Mike behind him.

By the next episode, Hop has obtained his own Magnum-esque tropical-printed shirt, hoping to channel Selleck’s magnetism as he scores a dinner date with his recently single friend, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). However, Joyce is more concerned with the lack of magnetism in her life and inadvertently stands Hop up for their long-awaited date… but fate brings them back together in their joint search for answers.

Their combined investigation leads them to an affable Russian scientist named Alexei (Alec Utgoff), though the language barrier prevents their new Slurpee-loving friend from providing them with any immediate use. Hopper had already severed his connection with the mayor of Hawkins after a much-deserved ass-kicking, so he goes further rogue, clamping a Slim Jim in his mouth as he “commandeers” a yellow Cadillac convertible from a Sonny Crockett-wannabe named Todd and heads off in search of Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) to request the conspiracy-peddling ex-journalist’s translation abilities.

Hop allows himself a "Magnum moment" as, clad in an Aloha shirt, he speeds out of a parking lot in a luxurious convertible.

Hop allows himself a “Magnum moment” as, clad in an Aloha shirt, he speeds out of a parking lot in a luxurious convertible.

The paranoid Murray provides invaluable help, though the not exactly-Slim Jim Hopper is less than flattered when Murray translates Alexei’s backhanded compliment:

He says he likes your courage. You remind him of a, uh, fat Rambo.

What’d He Wear?

Much of the action around Stranger Things‘ third and most recent season is set around the recent opening of the Starcourt Mall, a retail epicenter where our protagonists of all ages can loaded up on the latest from The Gap, J.C. Penney, RadioShack, and Sam Goody, before grabbing a Whopper, an Orange Julius, or a cone from Scoops Ahoy and heading home with their latest haul.

Hawkins’ youngest heroes all meet up at the mall during the second episode, appropriately titled “The Mall Rats”, but Hop sends his trusty office manager Florence (Susan Shalhoub Larkin) to do his shopping for him.

“Special delivery!” Flo calls out, a J.C. Penney bag in hand. Somewhat ironically in the middle of arresting a neighbor who was protesting the mall’s existence in town, Hop giddily grabs the bag and excitedly examines the contents: a vibrantly patterned Aloha shirt.

“That the right one?” Florence asks. “Oh, yeah,” Hop mutters in admiration, looking over the pastel shirt that his deputy, Powell (Rob Morgan), deadpans is “a lot of color for you, Chief.”

“It’s cuttin’-edge stuff, alright?” Hop retorts, retreating to the non-judgmental safety of his Chevy Blazer. “It’s cutting-edge!”

Amy Parris' expert costume design team even added a manufacturer's label similar to those seen on men's sportswear during the era.

Amy Parris’ expert costume design team even added a manufacturer’s label similar to those seen on men’s sportswear during the era.

Costume designer Amy Parris explained to Fashionista ahead of the season’s release last summer that, of course, Hop was inspired by his latest TV hero. “I found a great image of Tom Selleck in the iconic moment of Magnum in the Hawaiian shirt, the light denim Wrangler jeans, a canvas belt, and topsider shoes,” Parris told Fashionista, who put her own twist on Magnum’s iconic style that could be more consistent with Hopper’s character rather than a straight cosplay-esque reproduction.

There were five multiples of the shirt to allow for damage during the various stunts as Hop faces off against Russians, monsters, and smarmy town mayor Larry Kline (Cary Elwes). This required plenty of fabric, so “Parris bought the last 20 yards of a vintage ’80s fabric and custom-printed each one in an original pattern designed by the team,” according to Fashionista. “The graphics even needed to be in the exact same location on each shirt for continuity.”

Although the shirt was created from an original design by Amy Parris’ costume team, its immediate popularity—per Esquire—before the season even streamed made it a popular choice for Halloween costumes last year as Spirit Halloween developed their own officially licensed replica, retailing for $24.99 as of March 2020. (You can buy it here!)

Additional replicas abound on Amazon, all with subtle differences in design and styling from companies like Costume Agent, Cutiee, Cynicismile, and Dark Paradide Vintage [sic], but the Spirit Halloween shirt appears to be the only officially licensed and the most screen-accurate version.

Of course, I would also invite those inspired by Hopper’s Aloha shirt to take a page from the chief’s own book by not directly copying one from a TV show but instead finding the perfect Hawaiian shirt for you. The best place is to start is the vast collection at AlohaFunWear, an authentic Hawaiian outfitter of festive and free-spirited fashions. For example, if you dig Hop’s green and pink approach, check out the Flamingo Island Pink Hawaiian Shirt, the Hibiscus Rainforest Pink Hawaiian Shirt, or the Pacific Orchid Pink Hawiaian Shirt.

Rather than trying to directly copy Magnum's style, Hopper found a different Aloha shirt that was unique to him... though the closest of Selleck's screen-worn shirts appears to be this large-printed top from the first season finale, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (Episode 1.18).

Rather than trying to directly copy Magnum’s style, Hopper found a different Aloha shirt that was unique to him… though the closest of Selleck’s screen-worn shirts appears to be this large-printed top from the first season finale, “Beauty Knows No Pain” (Episode 1.18).

Ashamed and more than a little drunk after Joyce stands him up, Hop discards his “date night” outfit in the corner of his cabin before putting his police uniform back on the next day. When his police uniform gets soaked and muddy after he’s attacked by Grigori at Hawkins lab, Hopper has no choice but to dress back in the tropical-printed shirt and jeans, prompting Joyce to ask… “uh, what are you wearing?”

The original pattern developed by Parris’ costume team is a funky “Memphis design”, a popular ’80s aesthetic, consisting of pastel pink and mint green brush strokes against a white ground and overlaid with abstract black “squiggle” lines.

STRANGER THINGS

Hopper’s new shirt is short-sleeved, per quintessential Aloha styling and also for added comfort during a hot Hawkins summer, though Parris noted to Fashionista that “David liked the idea of being able to roll the sleeves of the shirt up, just so it’s a little bit more ’80s feeling.”

Also in the Aloha tradition, his shirt has a traditional camp collar as well as a plain front with mixed beige plastic sew-through buttons and a large matching breast pocket with a rounded bottom for Hop to keep his Camels. Although Hop wears the shirt tucked in at first (following Magnum’s frequent faux pas), it has a straight-cut hem that allows him to effectively wear it untucked as intended with Aloha shirts.

Surrounded by Murray Bauman's TV sets, Hopper argues with Joyce in "E Pluribus Unum" (Episode 3.06).

Surrounded by Murray Bauman’s TV sets, Hopper argues with Joyce in “E Pluribus Unum” (Episode 3.06).

Worn only for his date-that-isn’t-a-date with Joyce in “The Mall Rats” (Episode 3.02), Hop layers a summer-weight sports coat over his Aloha shirt and jeans, a look that Selleck himself would sporadically wear later in Magnum P.I.‘s run. Hop’s single-breasted, two-button sport jacket is made of a slubbed beige-and-cream cloth—either linen, raw silk, or a blend of both—with a welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, a single vent, and three buttons on the end fo each sleeve, smaller versions of the two flat off-white plastic buttons on the front of the coat.

This Joseph Abboud sports coat in a “tan tic” 58% wool and 42% linen hopsack blend (via Men’s Wearhouse) would be a suitable near-match for anyone inspired by Hop’s summer sport jacket, Aloha shirt, and jeans aesthetic.

Dressed for date night, Hopper lights a cigarette as he awaits Joyce's arrival.

Dressed for date night, Hopper lights a cigarette as he awaits Joyce’s arrival.

In addition to his loudly printed shirt, Hop goes “full Magnum” for the bottom half of his outfit, wearing a pair of light blue jeans with a khaki web belt and, initially, a pair of off-white boat shoes.

Camel in hand, Hopper tries to retain his dignity as he waits for Joyce.

Camel in hand, Hopper tries to retain his dignity as he waits for Joyce.

Instead of TM’s signature Levi’s or naval dungarees, however, Hop wears a pair of classic Wrangler five-pocket jeans in a light blue denim wash that the brand currently markets as “bleach”. The jeans can be easily identified by the back, with the distinctive black tab (with yellow lettering) sewn above the left pocket, which also has the branded brown leather patch at the top. Each of the back pockets is decorated with the signature “W” double stitching and flat brass rivets in the upper corners.

Designed in 1947 by “Rodeo Ben” Lichenstein and mostly unchanged in the more than 70 years since then, the Wrangler 13MWZ Cowboy Cut® jeans are still widely available today, for sale via Wrangler or Amazon.

The butt of Hop's S&W Model 66 sticks out from the top of his Wrangler jeans, identified by their signature brand marks on the back pockets and seams.

The butt of Hop’s S&W Model 66 sticks out from the top of his Wrangler jeans, identified by their signature brand marks on the back pockets and seams.

Also like Magnum, Hop wears a khaki cotton webbed belt with a gold slider buckle, similar to the belts authorized for Navy service uniforms and available commercially from government-contracted outfitters like Rothco.

Hop and Joyce prepare to pass the point of no return at the Hess farm in "The Flayed" (Episode 3.05).

Hop and Joyce prepare to pass the point of no return at the Hess farm in “The Flayed” (Episode 3.05).

Hop’s Magnum-inspired boat shoes are made of beige canvas, with brown laces and white outsoles and, of course, worn without socks.

An inebriated Hop kicks off his boat shoes at the outset of "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard" (Episode 3.03), concerned only with his recliner and his commandeered Chianti.

An inebriated Hop kicks off his boat shoes at the outset of “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” (Episode 3.03), concerned only with his recliner and his commandeered Chianti.

“But later he loses [the topsiders] and puts on his work boots that he likes and wears that through the rest of [the season],” Parris explained to Fashionista. Given the heavy action Hop faces from “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” (Episode 3.03) onward, it’s perhaps fortuitous that he’s back in the heavy dark brown leather moc-toe work boots that he’s so comfortable wearing with his police uniform.

Based on the theories of other online investigators at The RPF, I suspected that he was wearing Crevo “Buck” boots (available via Crevo, Amazon, and DSW) during the first season, though at least one commenter noted that they were likely Red Wing 8″ boots. That said, the shift in costume designers from Kimberly Adams-Galligan and Malgosia Turzanska in the first season and Kim Wilcox in the second season to Amy Parris for the third season makes it reasonable to assume that his footwear would have shifted from season to season as well.

Indeed, his work boots look notably different for the third season, still well-worn dark brown leather with a moc-toe structure and derby-laced with four sets of brass eyelets and additional speed hooks up the shaft. Although he wears them in each episode, including with his police uniform, they’re most clearly seen in “The Battle of Starcourt Mall” (Episode 3.08) when he squishes the part of the Mind Flayer that had been embedded in the leg of his adopted daughter Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).

Despite the implications of his rough-and-ready work boots, Hopper isn't much of a mechanic and is forced to abandon his Blazer when it explodes in the woods.

Despite the implications of his rough-and-ready work boots, Hopper isn’t much of a mechanic and is forced to abandon his Blazer when it explodes in the woods.

Most of the principal cast received new wristwatches for the third season, with Hop trading in his trusty Timex Atlantis 100 with its built-in wristband compass for an all-steel digital watch on a steel bracelet. Sticking with budget brands, he swapped in the Timex for a Casio—the same brand that Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) wear—with Water Resist (WR) functionality.

As far as specific models, Redditors have suggested the A158 and B612W, both reasonable contenders with their black dials with digital displays and blue and yellow accents, though I’m inclined to agree with the theory that it’s a Casio B612W given the shape of the case and the placement of items on the face.

Hop's new Casio is best seen as he applies crooked mayor Larry Kline's finger to a cigar cutter. Note that Kline wears a mixed-metal Rolex Submariner, indicating the difference in status between the two men... though, interestingly, Hop's new style idol Thomas Magnum was already wearing his own Rolex by this time.

Hop’s new Casio is best seen as he applies crooked mayor Larry Kline’s finger to a cigar cutter. Note that Kline wears a mixed-metal Rolex Submariner, indicating the difference in status between the two men… though, interestingly, Hop’s new style idol Thomas Magnum was already wearing his own Rolex by this time.

During “The Battle of Starcourt” (Episode 3.08), the climactic finale fight, Hop is forced to bid farewell to his Magnum-inspired garb when he “improvises” and disguises himself, Joyce, and Murray in shot-up Soviet uniforms as they infiltrate the base under Starcourt Mall.

Hopper and Murray surprisingly manage to bluff their way past the Soviet sentries in their less-than-convincing disguises in "The Battle of Starcourt Mall" (Episode 3.08).

Hopper and Murray surprisingly manage to bluff their way past the Soviet sentries in their less-than-convincing disguises in “The Battle of Starcourt Mall” (Episode 3.08).

The Gun

Chief Hopper’s duty weapon had been a Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolver during the first season, which he lost and seemingly replaced with a Colt Python for the second season. By the start of the third season in the summer of 1985, Hop has evidently returned to carrying a Model 66 in his “Bill Jordan”-style basket-weave holster made by Tex Shoemaker.

The Model 66 was introduced in the early 1970s as a stainless version of the popular Smith & Wesson Model 19 “Combat Magnum”, chambered in .357 Magnum and available in a range of barrel lengths from the “snub nose” 2.5″ to the hefty 6″, though Hopper carries a duty-length 4″-barreled Model 66. When not on duty, Hop packs the same revolver but sans holster, carrying it with its distinctive squared walnut grips sticking out of the back of his jeans.

Hopper employs a Harries technique, aiming his S&W Model 66 and flashlight directly ahead of him, in "The Flayed" (Episode 3.05).

Hopper employs a Harries technique, aiming his S&W Model 66 and flashlight directly ahead of him, in “The Flayed” (Episode 3.05).

Although Die Hard wouldn’t be released for another three years, “The Flayed” (Episode 3.05) features a confrontation no doubt scripted in tribute to John McClane’s exchange with Tony Vreski, the first terrorist that he encounters in the Nakatomi Building. Hop gets the drop on Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko), a dangerous Russian agent who counters his non-threatening denim Harrington jacket (of all things) by stalking the basement under the Hess farm with a suppressed Tokarev pistol.

Hopper: You don’t put that thing away, I’m gonna blow some daylight into that thick skull of yours.
Grigori: No. You won’t do that.
Hopper: Why’s that?
Grigori: Because you’re a policeman. Policemen have rules.
Hopper: Oh yeah? (cocks the hammer) You wanna test that theory?

Hopper proves that he indeed would have shot but makes the mistake of giving Grigori until the end of a three-count, providing the Russian with enough time to gain the upper hand as he tosses the weapon from Hop’s grip. Though both Joyce and Grigori get their hands on it during the fight scene that follows, the weapon is ostensibly abandoned under the Hess farm.

Hop lets Grigori know he means business. Unfortunately for Hop, so does Grigori.

Hop lets Grigori know he means business. Unfortunately for Hop, so does Grigori.

In the penultimate episode, “The Bite” (Episode 3.07), Hopper spends the Hawkins Fourth of July festival fighting with Russian assassins, knocking out an agent named Vasilev and taking his own suppressed Tokarev TT-33. The TT pistol was developed in the early 1930s by Fedor Tokarev to replace the aging Nagant revolver as the Soviet service sidearm, taking design cues from John Browning’s successful designs for the FN Model 1903 and the 1911 pistol. Though it never fully replaced the Nagant revolver and would be eventually replaced by the more compact Makarov PM pistol, the TT-33 remains popular for its rugged reliability and its powerful proprietary 7.62x25mm cartridge.

Hop and Grigori are thus both armed with “silenced” TT pistols as they stalk each other through the festival’s fun house in a sequence evocative of Orson Welles’ 1947 noir, The Lady from Shanghai.

Hop arms himself with Vasily's Tokarev pistol, fitted with a suppressor.

Hop arms himself with Vasily’s Tokarev pistol, fitted with a suppressor.

During the season finale, “The Battle of Starcourt” (Episode 3.08), Dustin assigns Hop with “all the fighting and dangerous hero shit” so the erstwhile police chief appropriately arms himself with a custom AKMSU obtained from one of the downed Soviet agents that Eleven had killed via the flying red LeBaron convertible (identified by IMFDB).

The AKMSU was a Pakistani prototype developed by the venerated Russian firearms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov in the early 1980s as a compact carbine derived from his popular AKM rifle, chambered in the same 7.62x39mm round. Its full name translates to “Shortened Modernized Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle with Folding Stock”, a rather descriptive designation that neatly sums up the weapon. As only one of these carbines was ever produced, these weapons are likely standing in for the far more commonly fielded AKMS with an under-folded stock that had been introduced in 1959.

Hop adds insult to fatal injury by using one of the Russians' own AKMSU carbines as he massacres them with a one-handed burst of automatic fire.

Hop adds insult to fatal injury by using one of the Russians’ own AKMSU carbines as he massacres them with a one-handed burst of automatic fire.

What to Imbibe

Poor Hop tries to look sophisticated before his date with Joyce in “The Mall Rats” (Episode 3.02), ordering Scotch for himself as well as “a bottle of red”, aided by an obsequious response from the waiter who can’t help but to pronounce Hop’s mispronunciation of “Chianti”.

Hop pours himself a mug full of Chianti when he gets home from his jilted date with Joyce.

Hop pours himself a mug full of Chianti when he gets home from his jilted date with Joyce.

Three episodes later, when the time comes for Hop to restore his energy in a 7-Eleven with Joyce and Alexei, he opts for a can of Jolt Cola. Considered the first carbonated energy drink upon its introduction in 1985, Jolt was marketed with the now-inadvisable slogan of “All the sugar, twice the caffeine!”

Rebranded as Jolt Energy, the drink its still available 35 years later and in more varieties than ever, including zero-carb energy drinks and even chewing gum.

Joyce, Hop, and Alexei recharge with Tab, Jolt, and New Coke, respectively. Note the series' attention to detail by outfitting Alexei in a Russian-made Kirovskie Crab wristwatch.

Joyce, Hop, and Alexei recharge with Tab, Jolt, and New Coke, respectively. Note the series’ attention to detail by outfitting Alexei in a Russian-made Kirovskie Crab wristwatch.

Upon reaching Murray Bauman’s hideout and fueling himself (and Alexei) with Whoppers from the “nearest” Burger King, Hopper is forced to forego his preferred whiskey as all Murray has is vodka. Interestingly, he now has a handle of Stolichnaya rather than the fictional lookalike label “Slotichnaya” that was seen during the previous season, likely used as Murray had been providing alcohol for the underaged Jonathan and Nancy in that episode.

Given the Russian themes and enemies of the season, it’s particularly entertaining that our protagonists brace themselves with this definitively Russian vodka, which traces its origins to Moscow State Wine Warehouse No. 1 around 1901 although Stolichnaya vodka itself emerged sometime during the late 1930s or mid-1940s.

After decades of exclusively Russian sales, a 1972 barter agreement between the Soviet government and PepsiCo introduced Stolichnaya to the Western market in exchange for Pepsi-Cola’s importation to the U.S.S.R., in turn making Pepsi the first American consumer product to be produced, marketed, and sold in the Soviet Union. Thus, Roger Sterling’s habit of freely drinking Stoli during the 1960s-set series Mad Men is anachronistic, though it would have certainly been available for Murray Bauman to secure a few legally imported and purchased bottles by the mid-1980s.

Hop and Murray brace themselves with stiff shots of Stoli.

Hop and Murray brace themselves with stiff shots of Stoli.

How to Get the Look

David Harbour as Jim Hopper on Stranger Things (Episode 3.04: "The Sauna Test")

David Harbour as Jim Hopper on Stranger Things (Episode 3.04: “The Sauna Test”)

Jim Hopper illustrate that you don’t have to be a fit private detective living on a luxurious Hawaiian estate to feel at home in an Aloha shirt, sporting what the Internet celebrated as a tropical “dad look” in the all-but-exotic environs of small-town Indiana.

  • Pastel pink and mint green “Memphis design”-printed Aloha shirt with camp collar, plain front, matching breast pocket, and rolled-up short sleeves
  • Light blue denim Wrangler 13MWZ Cowboy Cut jeans
  • Khaki cotton web belt with gold-toned slider buckle
  • Dark brown leather moc-toe work boots
  • Casio B612W steel-cased digital watch on steel bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the series, one of the most successful Netflix original shows.

I also highly recommend reading this comprehensive piece written by my friend Aloha Spotter, which shines additional light not only on Hopper’s shirt but Aloha attire worn by other characters and extras, from Dustin’s “cassette tape” shirt and the 7-Eleven clerk’s boldy printed uniform shirt to Lucas’ tropical ball-cap and smocks and shirts worn around Starcourt Mall.

The Quote

I can do anything I want, I’m chief of police…

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