On “just another Thursday,” I’m pleased to present another guest post contributed by my friend Ken Stauffer, who has written several pieces for BAMF Style previously and chronicles the style of the Ocean’s film series on his excellent Instagram account, @oceansographer.
Ryan Gosling as Courtland “Court” Gentry, a.k.a. Sierra Six, off-the-books CIA operative
London and Hong Kong, 2019
Film: The Gray Man
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
Costume Designer: Judianna Makovsky
Mr. Gosling’s Costumer: Mark Avery
If you haven’t checked out The Gray Man yet, it seems you’re in the minority. Released last month directly on Netflix, the film has consistently stayed on the streamer’s top watched list around the globe. Based on Mark Greaney’s popular book series, it’s a bit of a throwback to ’90s action movies, chock full of offhand quips and casual explosions, but modernized with drone shots and a popular, A-list cast.
The film focuses on Sierra Six, a previously convicted murderer with a heart of gold played nonchalantly by a bearded Ryan Gosling. Once known as Courtland “Court” Gentry, he was recruited into the CIA by bubble gum-wielding bureaucrat, Donald “Fitz” Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton). For years, Fitz acted as Six’s handler and ersatz father figure, until recent closed door machinations forced him into retirement.
Now, Six is less of a secret agent and more of a disposable, off-the-books assassin, indentured to the CIA in exchange for the commutation of his prison sentence. He acts as a triggerman without collecting intel, assigned targets by his handlers with little to no explanation. As things tend to do in these types of movies, things get personal for Six, forcing our hero to go rogue while on the run from the CIA’s most vicious contractor (Chris Evans) and an army of mercenaries out for the bounty on his head.
During a brief respite from the plethora of shootouts, car chases, and fistfights that ensue, we’re treated to a few scenes that fill out some backstory. We flash back two years to the London office of chain-smoking CIA regional chief, Margaret Cahill (Alfre Woodard sitting behind two cartons of Lucky Strike), to learn that Fitz has been secretly caring for his orphaned niece, Claire (Julia Butters, who’s replaced her Tammy Craps doll with a record player). To make matters worse, the girl recently had a pacemaker implanted and the CIA “accidentally” made her address public knowledge. In classic action movie logic, rather than just move Claire, Six flies to the Fitzroy household in Hong Kong to protect her. (Fun fact, though the establishing shots of the house show it overlooking Victoria, Hong Kong, it’s actually the Harvey house—designed by John Lautner—in the Hollywood Hills. Filming was done on location in the LA home, and then the backgrounds were changed out to match the view from Victoria Peak.)
The power dynamic in the Fitzroy home is quickly established as adolescent Claire chastises Six for chewing gum in her home, snaps a Polaroid of him, and peppers him with questions about his unusual moniker. Six is clearly uncomfortable in this domestic setting, pacing around with his hands clapsed in front of him. Claire soon absconds with his suit jacket, forcing him to engage her in conversation, and the two quickly develop a playful banter. After Six saves the girl’s life later that night, her precocious nature and vulnerability lead him to view her as a pseudo-little sister… which unfortunately makes her a prime candidate for kidnapping.
What’d He Wear?
While Six spends the majority of the movie in track jackets and tactical gear that he’s quickly procured from other 42 Regulars, the 2019 flashback scenes show us the character in far more comfortable surroundings, dressed in a conservative two-button suit from Ralph Lauren Purple Label. Made in a 100% wool sharkskin fabric, also called “pick and pick,” the suit has a slight, natural sheen, created using alternating light gray and black threads in a weave that resembles the steps of a staircase up close. From a distance, the colors blend together to create a semi-solid medium gray color with a sort of cross-hatched effect.
The suit has quite a contemporary look and fit, while remaining elegant. This is achieved by only subtly updating classic proportions, without going to extremes. The lapels are a bit narrow, but still balanced, at 3″ wide and set at a slightly high 3¼” gorge height. The jacket is on the shorter side, measuring 29½” from shoulder to the back hem, but still manages to cover most of Gosling’s rear. The gently roped shoulders are lightly padded with a slight extension, conforming well to the actor’s frame, and there are dual 10″ vents to give our man full range of motion for impromptu hand-to-hand combat.
The sleeves are well-fitted and finished with four kissing buttons made of a dove gray polycarbonate, while all of the button holes of the suit are finished in a charcoal thread that slightly contrasts with the fabric. There’s a straight pocket on each hip, with a smaller 3¾” ticket pocket on the right side (a spy can never have too many pockets), each covered by a 2″ flap. There’s a standard welted breast pocket, cut straight and set at a slight angle. The lapels, hip, ticket, and breast pockets, and the front edges all have subtle pick stitching. The jacket is fully lined in an iridescent steel gray Bemberg cupro.
The suit’s matching trousers are cut with a medium-low 9½” rise. They have side adjusters shifted to the rear of the waistband, finished in glossy black metal, and close at the waist with an extended 4″ tab hiding a hook-and-bar closure (signatures of the RL Purple Label line). There are slanted pockets on each side, two button-through besom pockets on the rear, and a 2½”-wide coin pocket with a thin welt, just perfect for storing a stolen thumb drive loaded with secrets. The legs taper from the thigh to a 15″ leg opening at the ankle and are finished with plain hems set with a medium break. When his jacket is removed, we can see the agent’s most important accessory, his Glock 17 in an IWB holster on his back-right side.
To bring down the formality of his tailored outfit, Six wears the suit with a pair of knit polos from John Smedley. He wears their short-sleeved Isis polo in mint (titled “Pine Mist”) during the London scene and the long-sleeved Finchley model in a warm shade of navy called “Marine Blue” throughout the Hong Kong scenes.
Both are knit from 30-gauge Sea Island cotton with a banded bottom and a three-button placket of mother of pearl buttons spaced 2½” inches apart. They also share Smedley’s “fashioned collar,” a semi-spread collar with 3″ long points which they’ve been placing on their polos consistently since the 1930s. Finally, the long sleeves on the navy shirt have unique, ribbed “turnback cuffs,” designed to be folded back on themselves when worn to create a custom sleeve length.
- John Smedley Finchley in Marine Blue Sea Island Cotton (John Smedley, $390)
- John Smedley Finchley in Black Sea Island Cotton (Nordstrom, $290)
- John Smedley Easy Fit Long-Sleeve Polo Sweater in Dark Blue Sea Island Cotton (Todd Snyder, $310)
- John Smedley Easy Fit Long-Sleeve Polo Sweater in Midnight Sea Island Cotton (Todd Snyder, $174 — limited stock!)
Throughout the film, Six always wears a TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hand watch. The Carrera line has a storied history linked to racing, attracting the likes of James Garner and Niki Lauda to their chronographs. That said, the more recent three-hand model is designed as a sporty everyday dress watch, similar to a Rolex DateJust or Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, albeit with an outsourced movement to keep costs down. In the present day scenes, Six wears the current model, ref. WBN2111.FC6505, on a black leather strap. In this flashback though, it looks like he’s wearing a slightly earlier model, ref. WAR211B.BA0782, with the date window positioned at the 3 o’clock position, rather than at 6.
The watch has a silver dial with a subtle concentric circle design, a fixed, polished bezel, and sharply angled, straight lugs. The three-piece oyster-style bracelet has alternating center links, either wide and brushed or thin and polished, and closes with a branded, push button clasp. The stainless steel 39mm case has a domed sapphire on top and a flat sapphire below, allowing one to see the 25-jewel “Calibre 5” automatic movement inside.
On his feet, Six wears a pair of cap-toe derbies in a mid-gray smooth calf leather over a pair of plain, gray dress socks. The dress shoes have a whopping six eyelets, though the character only laces them through the lower five. Just in front of the cap-toe seam, there’s a band of broguing. After a bit of digging, these unique shoes are almost certainly the Madison Cap-Toe Oxford by Stacy Adams. (The brand titles them this despite the fact that the stitching on the vamp is exposed, technically making the shoe a derby, not an oxford. Sorry for this level of nerdiness, but hey, you clicked on this blog post–what did you expect?)
This choice of footwear here may be familiar to Gosling fans–the actor wore the boot version of the Madison in both Drive and Only God Forgives. These are a very affordable option to pair with the luxury items of this outfit, and one wonders if they were Gosling’s personal choice for the character. After all, the brown leather sole of the Madison is hardly the most practical for a guy that has to sprint or fight every ten minutes.
How to Get the Look
- Medium-gray sharkskin wool suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button jacket with 3″-wide notch lapels, dove gray buttons, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets with ticket pocket, 4-button cuffs, and double vents
- Flat-front tapered-leg trousers with metal-toned side-adjusters, extended waist tab with hidden hook-and-bar closure, slanted side pockets, coin pocket, two button-through back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Warm navy-blue Sea Island cotton knit long-sleeved polo shirt with 3-button placket, semi-spread collar, ribbed hem, and ribbed turnback cuffs
- Steel-gray leather semi-brogue cap-toe 6-eyelet derby shoes with brown leather soles
- Medium-gray dress socks
- TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hand WAR211B.BA0782 wristwatch with stainless 39mm case, silver-tone dial, and steel three-piece link bracelet
- Black IWB holster, for Glock 17
- Pack of nondescript gum
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Sneak a piece of gum when no one’s looking, and check out the movie.
Upon being discovered standing over the body of an assassin he’s just knocked out in the home’s kitchen…
Claire: Is everything okay?
Six: Yeah. Broke a bowl.
Claire: You sure you’re alright?
Six: Yeah, just another Thursday.