Psycho: Norman Bates in Corduroy

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Vitals

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, mother-obsessed motel proprietor and amateur bird taxidermist

Fairvale, California, Fall 1959

Film: Psycho
Release Date: September 8, 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Rita Riggs (uncredited)
Costume Supervisor: Helen Colvig

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A boy’s best friend is his mother…

Alfred Hitchcock would probably find some dark humor in choosing Mother’s Day to focus on Psycho, the story of a young man’s complicated relationship with his mother.

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Out of Sight: George Clooney’s Glen Plaid Suit

On George Clooney’s 60th birthday, I’m delighted to present a guest post contributed by my new friend, Ken Stauffer, featuring one of Clooney’s most stylish roles to date.

George Clooney as Jack Foley in Out of Sight (1998)

George Clooney as Jack Foley in Out of Sight (1998)
Photo credit: Merrick Morton

Vitals

George Clooney as Jack Foley, charismatic bank robber

Miami, Summer 1998

Film: Out of Sight
Release Date: June 26, 1998
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy Birthday, George Clooney! Today, the actor/director/writer/producer/activist/Italian villa owner/father of twins turns 60, and to celebrate we’ll be looking at his first costume in Steven Soderbergh’s underrated 1998 crime comedy, Out of Sight.

Following the success of Get Shorty, screenwriter Scott Frank and producer Danny DeVito set out to bring another recent Elmore Leonard novel to life. The resulting film sees our birthday boy as the ever-charming Jack Foley, a thrice-incarcerated bank robber who “robbed more than anyone in the computer.” Continue reading

A Place in the Sun: Montgomery Clift’s Leather Jacket and Aloha Shirt

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Vitals

Montgomery Clift as George Eastman, dangerously ambitious factory executive

Carthage, Missouri to “Loon Lake”, Spring to Summer 1950

Film: A Place in the Sun
Release Date: August 14, 1951
Director: George Stevens
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

April showers bring May flowers… and hopefully some floral shirts from the back of your closet!

Decades after Ellery J. Chun established his flowery-printed shirts as the signature garb of the Hawaiian islands, aloha shirts went mainstream on the mainland thanks in part to the American servicemen dazzled by the bright colors after being stationed in the Pacific. This postwar boom was felt at home in Hawaii, as Josh Sims wrote in Icons of Men’s Style that “by 1947, employees of Hawaii’s city councils were allowed to wear Hawaiian shirts to work and, in 1948, Aloha Wednesday, a precursor to dress-down Friday was introduced across the islands.”

Aloha style received an added boost from the on-screen advocacy of Montgomery Clift, first as the ambitious George Eastman in A Place in the Sun and then perhaps most famously as the conflicted rifleman at the heart of From Here to Eternity, both performances that earned Monty two of his four Academy Award nominations. Continue reading

Austin Powers’ Red Suit in Las Vegas

Mike Myers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Mike Myers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Vitals

Mike Myers as Austin Powers, swingin’ secret agent

Las Vegas, Summer 1997

Film: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Release Date: May 2, 1997
Director: Jay Roach
Costume Designer: Deena Appel
Tailor: Tommy Velasco

Background

Several weeks ago, I delighted in the opportunity to rejoin the estimable Pete Brooker and Matt Spaiser of Bond Suits on the From Tailors with Love podcast, this time talking with Deena Appel, the prolific costume designer who created the shagadelic looks of all three Austin Powers movies. (You can find the episode split into two parts—Part 1 and Part 2—as well as Pete’s “show notes” here.)

Pete concluded our conversation by asking each participant which costume resonated most with us, and my answer—which surprised Deena at least—was the red velvet double-breasted suit that the cryogenically frozen Austin wears when re-entering the world by way of late ’90s Las Vegas in the first movie, which was released 24(!) years ago today on May 2, 1997. Continue reading

Paris Blues: Sidney Poitier’s Jazzy Flannel Suit

Sidney Poitier in Paris Blues (1961)

Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook in Paris Blues (1961)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook, expatriate jazz saxophonist

Paris, Fall 1960

Film: Paris Blues
Release Date: September 27, 1961
Director: Martin Ritt

Background

Ten years ago, the United Nations established April 30 as International Jazz Day, a global celebration envisioned by Grammy-winning musician and UNESCO Goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.” The observance feels ideal for taking a first look at the sleek style in Martin Ritt’s cooler-than-ice 1961 drama, Paris Blues, starring Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier as yankee jazzmen making their living in a French nightclub and romancing a pair of American tourists played by Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll.  Continue reading

The Seinfeld Suede Jacket

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld (Episode 2.03: "The Jacket")

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld (Episode 2.03: “The Jacket”)

Vitals

Jerry Seinfeld, observational comedian

New York City, Winter 1990

Series: Seinfeld
Episode: “The Jacket” (Episode 2.03)
Air Date: February 6, 1991
Director: Tom Cherones
Creator: Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Costume Designer: Llandys Williams

Background

Happy birthday, Jerry Seinfeld! Admittedly, the comedian typically doesn’t come to mind as a style icon; in fact, he may have been consistently the worst-dressed of the four leads on his eponymous ’90s sitcom, swimming in oversized sport jackets often paired with the incongruous combination of printed neckties, “dad jeans”, and white sneakers.

Having been a fan of the series since it was still airing new episodes (despite most of the jokes likely going over my head at that age), it wasn’t until rewatching the series beginning-to-end with my fiancée during one of my our many quarantine-inspired “comfort TV” marathons that I noticed just how frequently clothing drove the plot of the “show about nothing”, a series always propelled by the minutiae of everyday life.

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Robert Redford’s Tweed Jacket and Navy Polo in The Way We Were

Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardner in The Way We Were (1973)

Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardner in The Way We Were (1973)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardiner, Hollywood screenwriter

Malibu, California, September 1947

Film: The Way We Were
Release Date: October 19, 1973
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins & Moss Mabry

Background

Don’t take any crap…to the both of us… and all the absent friends, class of ’37.

Navy pals-turned-Tinseltown teammates Hubbell (Robert Redford) and J.J. (Bradford Dillman) cynically reflect on the decade since they graduated from college together, one world war and sold-out script later.

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Scent of a Woman: Al Pacino’s Navy Striped Suit

Al Pacino as Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Al Pacino as Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Frank Slade, blind and bitter retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel

New York City to New Hampshire, Fall 1992

Film: Scent of a Woman
Release Date: December 23, 1992
Director: Martin Brest
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday, Al Pacino! As the legendary actor’s 81st birthday coincides with the Academy Awards tonight, let’s take a look at Scent of a Woman, Martin Brest’s 1992 drama that resulted in Pacino’s sole Oscar to date.

Pacino played retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, a blind and irascible alcoholic who secretly plans on spending the Thanksgiving holiday with a lavish weekend in New York City before ending his life. Somewhat reluctantly along for the ride is Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), a mild-mannered prep student hired to care for Frank, though the cantankerous colonel seems more than willing to watch out for himself.

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The Man Who Fell to Earth: David Bowie’s Hooded Coat and Coveralls

David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Vitals

David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton, ambitious humanoid alien

New Mexico, Summer 1975

Film: The Man Who Fell to Earth
Release Date: March 18, 1976
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Costume Designer: May Routh
Tailor: Ola Hudson

Background

In the spirit of Earth Day, let’s check in with The Man Who Fell to Earth. Only David Bowie could have truly played the idealistic humanoid alien who makes a desperate voyage to Earth in order to gather the technology to save his drought-ridden home planet, only for his ageless character to succumb to the materialistic pleasures offered by the sex, drugs, and capitalism that characterized American zeitgeist in the ’70s.

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Mad Men: Roger Sterling’s First Navy Blazer (and LSD Trip)

John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men. (Episode 5.06: "Far Away Places")

John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men. (Episode 5.06: “Far Away Places”)

Vitals

John Slattery as Roger Sterling, Madison Avenue ad executive

New York City, Fall 1966

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Far Away Places” (Episode 5.06)
Air Date: April 22, 2012
Director: Scott Hornbacher
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Tomorrow may have a storied association with cannabis, but today—April 19—has been deemed “Bicycle Day”, recognizing that wild Monday night in 1943 when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann recognized the highly potent psychoactive properties of LSD during a mind-bending bicycle ride home from his Basel lab.

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