Miami Vice: Colin Farrell’s Stone-Gray Suit as Sonny Crockett

Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice (2006)


Colin Farrell as James “Sonny” Crockett, maverick Miami-Dade PD undercover detective

Miami to Havana, Summer 2005

Film: Miami Vice
Release Date: July 28, 2006
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Design: Michael Kaplan & Janty Yates
Colin Farrell’s Costumer: Jody Felz

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Ahead of Colin Farrell’s birthday tomorrow, I want to take a much-requested look at his style in Miami Vice, Michael Mann’s cinematic adaptation of the iconic TV show he had executive-produced in the 1980s.

The mid-2000s had been full of movies inspired by TV shows of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s… just off the top of my head, Bewitched, The Dukes of Hazzard, Get Smart, I Spy, and Starsky & Hutch come to mind. Rather than these nostalgia-driven quasi-parodies, Miami Vice surprised audiences as more of a gritty reimagining than the pastel pastiche they may have been expecting. Though critical and audience reception was lukewarm at the time, the movie has grown a more positive reputation over the years, thanks in part to a dedicated cult following.

The 2006 update maintained the core essence, characters, and overall concept, though the vibes were updated from the vibrant ’80s aesthetic to match the darker tones of a decade that also rebooted larger-than-life characters like Batman and James Bond in more serious movies like Batman Begins and Casino Royale, respectively. Instead of Gotham’s Dark Knight and agent 007, our heroes are the ice-cool undercover cops James “Sonny” Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, played by Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in the roles originated by Don Johnson and EGOT hopeful Philip Michael Thomas.

Crockett and Tubbs still cruise Miami in the former’s Ferrari, consistent with Anthony Yerkovich’s inspiration to create the original series after discovering the asset forfeiture statutes which allowed law enforcement agencies to confiscate drug dealers’ property for official use.

Mann devised an original plot for the movie, reviving the our hero’s Sonny Burnett alias as he and Rico go undercover as drug smugglers in the hopes of entrapping Colombian cartel bigwigs José Yero (John Ortiz) and Isabella (Gong Li). Sonny finds his profession at odds with his passion as he grows drawn to the latter, taking the opportunity after a contentious business meeting to ask her out for a drink. Upon learning that Sonny is a fiend for mojitos, Isabella takes him to the only place to get them—in Havana.

“Cubans don’t like my business, and they don’t like my passport,” Sonny responds, but Isabella assures him they’ll have no trouble. Upon further reassurance that she isn’t married—and certainly not to the dangerous drug lord Sonny’s been working with, he speeds up the boat en route a night of drinking, dancing, and more.

What’d He Wear?

By 2006, the original white linen-and-pastel Miami Vice look had become so synonymous with 1980s culture that it couldn’t have possibly been realistically worn by serious and stylish cops like Crockett and Tubbs two decades later. Michael Mann’s dedication to realism meant dressing his characters realistically, even if this meant a total reversal of his “no earth tone” policy which guided the original series’ visual style as chronicled at the time by Richard Zoglin for Time magazine.

For Colin Farrell’s Sonny Crockett of the 2000s, this meant a closet devoid of baggy white linen tailoring and tight pastel T-shirts, replaced by costume designers Michael Kaplan and Janty Yates with generously cut and embroidered-detail sport shirts, blue jeans, and indeed the occasional neutral-toned suit in shiny silk or summer-weight wool and cotton.

Sonny’s attire for this meeting-to-mojitos sequence may be the most significant alignment of Colin Farrell’s costume with something Don Johnson would have worn in the ’80s.

Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in Miami Vice (2006)

Crockett and Tubbs, 2000s-style.

Initially dressed for business (before it becomes a date), Sonny wears a two-piece suit made of a light stone-gray gabardine. Characterized by a subtle sheen in some light, this tightly woven fabric is appropriate for this warmer climate, wearing cooler than plain wool and less prone to wrinkle than cotton or linen. Armani claimed on Twitter that this was one of their suits, and the profile appears consistent with Armani in the mid-2000s: a fashionably full fit before The Great Shrinkage affected the overall menswear silhouette through the 2010s.

Sonny’s single-breasted jacket has a comfortably full fit and padded shoulders, though neither are to the dramatic excess of the ’80s. Notch lapels roll to the three-button front, with four matching buttons on each cuff. The jacket is shaped with darts, the shoulders are roped at the sleeve-heads, and the back is ventless. The jacket also has a welted breast pocket and straight jetted hip pockets.

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Miami Vice (2006)

Rather than traditional pleats, Sonny’s matching suit trousers are darted in the front. Matt Spaiser of Bond Suits describes this device as “essentially a pleat that is sewn shut,” which allows the trousers to comfortably curve over the wearer’s hips while retaining the cleaner profile of a flat front.

The trousers also have side pockets, two button-through back pockets, and a full fit through the legs down to the plain-hemmed bottoms that break over his dark brown leather shoes. He holds the trousers up with a tan leather belt that closes through a unique silver-toned buckle that appears to be a “double buckle”, with the belt passing through a thin single-prong buckle and then immediately through a somewhat larger frame that serves as a keeper.

Colin Farrell in Miami Vice (2006)

As opposed to the bright blue or green T-shirts that viewers grew accustomed to Don Johnson wearing under Sonny Crockett’s off-white suits, Farrell’s Sonny goes the more conventional route of wearing a white button-up shirt, albeit suited to the setting with its light-wearing linen fabric and the repeating perforated stripe pattern.

The casual shirt otherwise follows the expected design of a dress shirt, with its point collar, button cuffs, and the front placket that Sonny wears only buttoned up to mid-chest.

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Miami Vice (2006)

Sonny regularly wears a trio of distinctive necklaces: a flat silver rectangular pendant on a thin silver chain, a dulled silver disc with blue thread connecting it through a tan bead onto a dark brown leather cord, and a bone-colored disc threaded onto a brown edge-threaded backer and suspended on another brown leather cord.

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Miami Vice (2006)

As the three necklaces proudly displayed under the unbuttoned top of his shirt suggest, Sonny Crockett is no stranger to accessorizing. He tonally coordinates the beach-friendly necklaces to the pair of beaded bracelets on his right wrist, his right hand also dressed with a chunky silver ring on the third finger.

On the opposing wrist, Sonny wears an luxurious Vacheron Constantin Malte Chronograph Perpetual Calendar watch, which would have likely cost somewhere around $100,000 when new. Water-resistant to 30 meters, this manual-winding Swiss chronograph has a platinum 39mm case encircling a light silver dial and double scratch-resistant sapphire crystals on a black alligator strap with a platinum tang buckle. Apropos its name, the Perpetual Calendar has a a 31-day sub-register (with a moon-phase complication) at 6 o’clock position and separate windows above the center that indicate the day of the week and month, and there’s even a leap year indicator between the 1 and 2 o’clock positions. The chronograph also has two additional sub-registers at 3 and 9 o’clock, corresponding to the two pushers flanking the crown.

Director Michael Mann was such a fan of the watch that Vacheron CEO Juan-Carlos Torres personally presented him with his own Malte Chronograph Perpetual Calendar after the production, as reported by Dhiram Shah for Luxury Launches in August 2006.

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Miami Vice (2006)

Sonny’s gunmetal sunglasses are the SAMA Slam model, with narrow rectangular pilot-style frames that are semi-rimmed over the top and sides of each 57mm-wide dark gray lens.

What to Imbibe

I’m a fiend for mojitos.

The movie had established Sonny’s appreciation for this refreshing Cuban cocktail from the opening scene at a Miami nightclub, but Isabella responds to his fiendish enthusiasm by suggesting there’s no better place to enjoy them than the birthplace of the mojito: Havana.

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Miami Vice (2006)

Sonny and Isabella spend much of their Cuban interlude in a mojito-induced haze, beginning with several enjoyed during their night of dancing and another round with breakfast the following morning.

As my friends with bartending experience had relayed stories of dreaded customers ordering work-intensive cocktails like mojitos and old fashioneds on busy nights, Sonny would have to be every bit the fiend he claims to be when exclusively ordering this mixture of rum, mint, sugar, and soda at every crowded nightspot between Palm Beach and Plaza Vieja.

While no one disputes the mojito was born in Havana, the rest of its origin story is as muddled as its mint. Some theories suggest it began with medicinal purposes in the 16th or 17th centuries, perhaps by Cuban locals developing a mixture of crude sugarcane rum, mint, and lime to ward off tropical diseases. Others have credited British explorers or sailors in the Caribbean, mixing their allocated tots of rum and sprigs of locally sourced mint to the regular rations of lime juice washed down to prevent scurvy and dysentery.

However it was born, it was at La Bodeguita del Medio that the mojito became famous. Angel Martínez had purchased this Empedrado Street in 1942, and it evolved over the following decade from a bodega that occasionally served food into a bustling restaurant and bar that specialized in serving mojitos.

Most mixologists agree that the standard mojito preparation includes muddling sugar and mint, adding lime and light rum, topping with club soda, and serving over ice with an added mint sprigs to garnish. Beyond that, the proportions and details vary.

The IBA stipulates 45 mL of white rum, 20 mL of fresh lime juice, six sprigs of mint, and either two teaspoons of white cane sugar or 20 mL of sugar syrup. The Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide varies only slightly, upping the rum to 60 mL while reducing the mint to four sprigs. To me, this means the proportions of a mojito are up to the mixologist’s discretion, so take example from the many claims to its origins and make the drink your own! If anything, it will give you an appreciation for how much effort can go into making a good one.

How to Get the Look

Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice (2006)

Miami Vice updates Colin Farrell’s Sonny Crockett for the times, with his mid-2000s wardrobe maintaining the spirit of his ’80s predecessor while leaving the pastels behind in favor of a more understated warm-weather panache.

  • Light stone-gray gabardine Armani suit:
    • Single-breasted 3-button jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
    • Darted-front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, button-through back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White linen perforated-stripe long-sleeved shirt with point collar, front placket, and button cuffs
  • Tan leather belt with silver-toned
  • Dark brown leather shoes
  • Brown leather corded pendant necklaces
  • Flat silver rectangular pendant on thin silver necklace
  • Beaded bracelets
  • Chunky silver ring
  • Vacheron Constantin Malte Chronograph Perpetual Calendar chronograph watch with platinum 39mm case, round silver dial with three sub-registers (including moon-phase complication) and day/month windows on black alligator leather strap
  • SAMA Slam gunmetal semi-framed rectangular pilot-style sunglasses

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie.

The Quote

I know what I’m doin’.


  1. Sonny

    “…Sonny would have to be every bit the fiend he claims to be when exclusively ordering this mixture of rum, mint, sugar, and soda at every crowded nightspot between Palm Beach and Plaza Vieja.”

    Ha! I almost had a spit-take with my mojito.

    This movie is the best.

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