I can be pretty clueless when it comes to knowing what to wear. Luckily for guys like me, there are enough stylish guys in movies and TV that people are paid to make look awesome.
These posts will break down how these cinema badasses carried themselves so that you too can (hopefully) :
- Chase criminals in your classic American muscle car
- Ward off assassins with a .45 in each hand and a cigarette dangling from your mouth
- Be seduced by a dangerous femme fatale in a smoky bar after downing your second bottle of bourbon
I have to say that I have absolutely no credentials to do this: I have no sort of fashion background at all; I barely even know how to sew. If you notice a misused or incorrect sartorial term (or anything incorrect, really), feel free to let me know! Also, if there are any ideas for anything you want to see, keep me posted.
…or write to me directly: TheSartorialBAMF@gmail.com. (I’m admittedly not great at checking this email address, but I’ll keep trying!)
What does BAMF stand for?
When I started this site in my early 20s, I needed to come up with some unique name for it. Not every outfit would necessarily be iconic or famous, and I wanted to incorporate a unique word that would give the site its own identity. Knowing I’d be focusing on style and particularly that worn by heroes (and the occasional well-dressed villains) of movies and TV, I impulsively bestowed this blog with the name BAMF Style, inspired in part by the inscription on Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet in Pulp Fiction. (In the back of my mind, it could also stand for “Best Action Movie Fashions”, though it didn’t take long before I was writing about much more than exclusively the action genre.)
Quite a few years later, it feels puerile but has built some equity so, stuck with the name and a few years of what I’d humbly and hopefully call maturity, I’m retconning the use of “BAMF” in this context to the slightly less profane or presumptuous Badass Men’s Fashion… though I still wish I had come up with a different name back when I was 23! (Other candidates? Best Attire and Menswear in Film? I could use a hand here!)
I’m a 31-year-old guy and aspiring writer with a fondness for muscle cars, mezcal, and Scotch. If you really like the blog, feel free to send me a bottle.
I’m also honored to be a contributing writer for Primer Magazine. The following articles were written by me:
- (00)7 Secrets of James Bond’s Timeless Style
- Classic Beachwear on a Budget
- Canvas Espadrilles: The Essential Summer Shoe You’re Not Wearing
- The Icon’s Closet: 5 Items You Need from Steve McQueen
- Dressing for the Conference Room to the Cocktail Lounge
- The Icon’s Closet: Paul Newman
- The 20 Best Men’s Pea Coats, Car Coats, Walker Coats, and Overcoats
- The 12 Best Stores for Affordable Men’s Fashion for the Guy on a Budget
- 5 Options for Your First Nice Pair of Dress Shoes
- Uniqlo Now Offers Free Hemming Alterations for Jeans Bought Online
- 9 Menswear Myths Debunked
- Update the Look: An Outfit from a 1931 Cagney Film Makes a Sharp Smart Casual Look for the Office
- The Brands of Bond
- How Everyday Clothing Was Influenced by Military Style: A Visual Timeline
- Time Will Tell: What 6 Watches Communicate About Movie and TV Characters
I’m honored that I actually need to add an FAQ section, but many of you are frequently asking questions so here we go:
Why did you start BAMF Style?
For about a decade prior to launching the site, I had always been screencapping movies and TV shows, taking note of looks that I especially liked. I remember being in 7th grade and being obsessed with the brown chalkstripe suit that Robert Redford wore in The Sting to the point where I dragged my poor mother all over the suburbs of Pittsburgh to try and find its equal. I even changed my AIM screenname that year to “Gatsby822” to “brownstripedsuit”. I was a weird kid.
I tried to organize them in many odd ways – PowerPoints that led to PDF lookbooks, sorted spreadsheets, galleries of images on my hard drive – until I finally decide to create a web portal. I had considered making it private at first; just something for me to use as a reference when trying to dress myself. I started by writing about my favorite outfits: the North by Northwest suit, the Bullitt shooting jacket and rollneck, the Three Days of the Condor tweed jacket and jumper, and the cool looks of international spies from Bond to Bourne.
Then, I realized I was having fun writing it. The aspiring writer in me told me that I finally touched on something that other people might be interested in reading, so I took a chance on going public with a blog. A blog, of all things!
It seemed like an online need to be filled; there are tailoring sites, costuming sites, etc., but there didn’t seem to be a one-stop aggregated shop that summed up the total style – from suits and shoes to cocktails and cars – of the characters I loved with detail and accuracy. I felt strange about starting because I had no real expertise: I was still unclear about the distinction between blazers and sport jackets and I didn’t know a blucher from a balmoral from a- well, you get it. All of my suits were, at one point, off the rack – often, off the Goodwill rack – and I just wanted to learn more.
Plus, I had always had that vision of myself as a writer. This blog is far from being Ulysses, but it’s nice to have this as an outlet and an intersection of what I know and what’s fun for me to write about. I also wanted to challenge myself to keep up with regular content and continue to drive my brain.
What is your process?
It took some trial-and-error to land on what works, but this is typically how it goes:
1) Develop a general posting schedule to have something fresh up every 2-4 days. I currently have a somewhat loose schedule of posts to take me through Christmas 2024. This is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet where I also track every single suggestion and request that I get as well as who requested it and when.
2) Watch the movie or TV show in question, screencapping every angle and detail and keeping in mind the images that would look best in a post. Even if I don’t end up using all the screencaps (and I rarely do), I would hate to be writing the post and then realizing “shit, I have no idea how many buttons are on his sleeve!” When I do this, I make sure that I am screencapping every potential BAMF-worthy outfit that a certain character wears. This often doubles the length of time it takes to watch something. If there are three characters I’m screencapping over the course of a two-hour movie… I will need plenty of whiskey and sleep by the end of it.
3) Research as much as I can.
4) Write and build the post, usually by recapping my notes from when I watched the movie or show (which could have been years earlier!) and strenuously looking at every detail of the screencaps I’ve taken. Each post has a general flow, which might be adapted slightly depending on the topic. I am usually either writing posts the night before I have it scheduled to go up… or I find myself months ahead of schedule and able to enjoy a social life. Guess which one happens more frequently!
I sent you an email/comment/tweet with a suggestion? Did you see it? Where’s the post I suggested?
Absolutely. Even if I didn’t respond (and I can be bad about that, sorry!), it went on my master spreadsheet to show that someone had interest in that particular outfit.
If you suggested a TV show, I am always hesitant to post about outfits until I’ve seen the show (or the character’s appearance on it) in its entirety. There has been plenty of demand for long-running shows like 24, Billions, Magnum, P.I., Miami Vice, and Suits. I certainly plan on getting to them, but I hate to say that it won’t be for quite some time. I would hate to put up a post about a jacket that Don Johnson wears then, a few days or months later, be watching another episode to see him wearing it with another combination or a detail that I’ve missed. It would make me feel very itchy. (Update! I was diagnosed with OCD in the spring of 2019. That explains the itchiness.)
Justified and Magic City are examples of shows that many people were recommending to me and that I recently finished watching, hence the frequency of posts you’re seeing about Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder, the Evans family, and Ben Diamond.
I saw you wrote about X character wearing Y outfit in Z movie, but I prefer another outfit that he wore in that. Are you going to write about it?
When I watch something, I typically take screenshots every outfit that the character wears, for reference even if it doesn’t show up on their post. If there is more than one interestingly dressed character, this can often turn a two-hour movie into a seven-hour screencapping experience that leaves me bleary-eyed, exhausted, irritable, and sleepy. My girlfriend is a wonderfully patient woman.
Hey, I have a similar site and it looks like we’ve written about the same things. Are you copying off of me?
Absolutely not. If you have unique information that would benefit someone reading my post about the same thing, then I will serve my readers by posting it and giving you credit. If I didn’t give you credit for writing about the same thing, it’s because you didn’t influence my post at all; we just might both have the ability to recognize when a suit is gray or a shirt is blue.
But, hey, if we have such similar interests, I bet we’d be good friends!
Boy, you really like gangsters of the ’20s and ’30s, huh?
What gave it away?
How do you feel about the Oxford comma?
I love it. I think not using it is confusing, ignorant, and ill-informed. I’ve also recently become a big fan of the em dash.
What are your favorite movies?
Almost impossible to narrow it down, but my most enduring top five would be:
- Annie Hall (1977)
- The Big Lebowski (1998)
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
- Goodfellas (1990)
- A Night to Remember (1958)
Who are your favorite actors?
Humphrey Bogart, James Garner, Jack Lemmon, and Warren Oates probably top the list, though that list also includes James Cagney, Montgomery Clift, Gary Cooper, Robert De Niro, James Gandolfini, Cary Grant, Gene Hackman, Toshiro Mifune, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Gregory Peck, Brad Pitt, Sidney Poitier, Robert Redford, and… well most of the guys you’ll read about on this site.
What’s your sign?
Cancer. Is it obvious? (I’m also a Pisces moon and a Leo ascendant, if you’re really into that kind of thing.)
Do you get paid for this?
I wish! That’s what the day job is for. I am on Patreon, if you wish to lend some much-needed and much-appreciated financial support!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I spent eight years working for various public relations agencies, and I now work on the digital marketing team for a major regional healthcare organization.
All photos used are either production photos available on the internet or screenshots captured by me to illustrate a point. If I use a quote or learn information from another source, I will give credit where it’s due as well as provide a link to the original source.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.