Category: Black or Midnight Tuxedo

Don Draper’s Black Tie in 1960

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 1.05: "5G").

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 1.05: “5G”).

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious and award-winning Madison Avenue ad man

Ossining, New York, Spring 1960

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “5G” (Episode 1.05)
Air Date: August 16, 2007
Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Happy birthday to Jon Hamm, born today in 1971!

While Jon is celebrating his birthday, Don Draper also had a reason to celebrate in “5G” after winning the Newkie(?) award. Although Don is dubious about his own achievements, Betty (January Jones) is very proud of him. Don had reason for concern, though, as his photo in Advertising Age gets him some unwanted attention. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire’s Gangster Black Tie for the New Year

Anatol Yusef, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Vincent Piazza as Meyer Lansky, Arnold Rothstein, and "Lucky" Luciano, respectively, on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 3.01 - "Resolution").

Anatol Yusef, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Vincent Piazza as Meyer Lansky, Arnold Rothstein, and “Lucky” Luciano, respectively, on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 3.01 – “Resolution”).

Vitals

Michael Stulhbarg as Arnold Rothstein, powerful New York gambler and racketeer
Vincent Piazza as Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, the Mafia’s smooth and ambitious future chief
Anatol Yusef as Meyer Lansky, Rothstein’s clever mob protégé
Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti, violent and hotheaded Italian-born gangster

Atlantic City, New Year’s Eve 1922

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Resolution” (Episode 3.01)
Air Date: September 16, 2012
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

Background

Not every man is a Nucky Thompson. A group of New York gangsters choosing Nucky’s basement to talk business while a party oblivious heaves forward upstairs leads itself to a major conglomeration of styles – both in leadership and in attire – that illustrate just how much about a man can be determined by looking at the way he puts himself together. Continue reading

Nucky Thompson’s Black Tie for the New Year

Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in "Resolution", Episode 3.01 of Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014).

Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson in “Resolution”, Episode 3.01 of Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014).

Vitals

Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, crooked city politician and influential mob bootlegger

Atlantic City, New Year’s Eve 1922

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Resolution” (Episode 3.01)
Air Date: September 16, 2012
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

Background

Tomorrow night is New Year’s Eve, an evening that sees many flocking to friends’ houses, bar parties, or an overcrowded section of New York without realizing that even the country’s most populous city can’t handle the lavatory needs of one million intoxicated visitors.

But I digress. For the lovable gang of murderous bootleggers on Boardwalk Empire, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to party at the home of the town’s gregarious and graft-loving treasurer, Nucky Thompson. To ring in 1923, Nucky has a full evening planned with a literal treasure chest of gifts as well as live entertainment from Eddie Cantor and Billie Kent, his latest mistress an up-and-coming showgirl.

Guests include old favorites like Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Arnold Rothstein, but Nucky also welcomes a relative newcomer, the volatile Italian gangster Gyp Rosetti who doesn’t set a good example for America’s youth about treating a host with kindness.

What’d He Wear?

And then there’s you. Fucking breadstick in a bow tie. You pasty-faced, cocksucking-

Poor Nucky goes to all this work to look sharp for his New Year’s bash, and then he goes and gets insulted for his bow tie and complexion. Although I can’t guarantee that your party’s Gyp Rosetti won’t level a few unnecessary insults in your direction, I can endorse Nucky Thompson’s dinner suit as a fine way for a gentleman to stand out at any upcoming New Year celebrations. Continue reading

Frank Sinatra Turns 100: High Society Black Tie

Frank Sinatra as Mac Connor in High Society (1956).

Frank Sinatra as Mike Connor in High Society (1956).

Vitals

Frank Sinatra as Macauley “Mike” Connor, swaggering tabloid reporter

Newport, Rhode Island, Summer 1956

Film: High Society
Release Date: July 17, 1956
Director: Charles Walters
Costume Designer: Helen Rose

Background

100 years ago today, on December 12, 1915, two Italian immigrants welcomed the birth of their son, Francis Albert Sinatra, in a Hoboken tenement. A century later, their legendary blue-eyed son has left an indelible legacy on our culture that can never be replicated. Sinatra’s style, stubbornness, and swagger complemented his natural skill and hard work to make him a living icon and one of the greatest singers of the 20th century.

After enjoying a decade of early success singing with the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey orchestras before his personal appeal allowed him to sign with Columbia as a solo artist, Sinatra’s popularity began to decline. The death of his publicist George Evans, his tumultuous public affair with Ava Gardner, and his own throat issues nearly meant the end of Sinatra’s career by the early 1950s.

Sinatra persevered. His records weren’t selling, and he was singing to county fairs in Hawaii, but he wasn’t going to give up that easily. His Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity (shades of The Godfather!) signified the start of a unprecedentedly booming career revival. 1953 also saw Sinatra signing his seven-year contract with Capitol Records that would produce his groundbreaking “concept albums” and – in my opinion – some of the greatest music ever recorded. Despite his perfectionist tendencies, even Sinatra couldn’t help but to agree. After hearing he and arranger Nelson Riddle’s first cut of “I’ve Got the World on a String”, Sinatra couldn’t help but to exclaim:

I’m back, baby, I’m back!

Continue reading

From Russia With Love – Impostor Bond’s Tuxedo

Sean Connery as James Bond (or is he?) in From Russia With Love (1963).

Vitals

Sean Connery as an impostor James Bond

SPECTRE Island, Spring 1963

(“SPECTRE Island” is actually Heatherden Hall at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.)

Film: From Russia With Love
Release Date: October 10, 1963
Director: Terence Young
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

Background

Dressing up as James Bond for Halloween this year or just celebrating the new release of Spectre? You’re certainly not the first to don a 007 costume; even within the series itself, an anonymous SPECTRE bait henchman sported a classic midnight blue tuxedo for his unnecessarily detailed Bond guise during the pre-credits sequence of From Russia With Love.

This sequence provides some interesting cultural context; formalwear was nowhere nearly as prominent in Ian Fleming’s literary Bond adventures as it would become in the films, yet the opening scene of the second film seems to recognize and lampshade the fact that the audience will know this is James Bond because we’re seeing Sean Connery in a dinner suit. Continue reading

George Clooney’s Tuxedo in Ocean’s Eleven

George Clooney as Danny Ocean in Ocean's Eleven (2001).

George Clooney as Danny Ocean in Ocean’s Eleven (2001).

Vitals

George Clooney as Danny Ocean, smooth-talking casino heister and con man

Las Vegas, Summer 2001

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: December 7, 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland

Background

Although he aimed to distance himself from the original Ocean’s Eleven as much as possible with this 2001 remake, Steven Soderbergh must have realized that you don’t have George Clooney in a movie about slick Vegas con men without placing him in a tuxedo. Danny Ocean’s tux was a very welcome throwback to a time when people didn’t wear graphic t-shirts, cutoff jorts, and fanny packs to casinos. (Although, since Frank Sinatra didn’t wear a tuxedo at all in the 1960 film, it could be argued that Clooney’s dinner suit is more of a throwback to characters like Cary Grant‘s gentleman thief in To Catch a Thief.) Continue reading

Sonny Corleone’s Groomsman Tuxedo

BAMF Style looks forward to Valentine’s Day this weekend with an abbreviated Week of Weddings.

James Caan as Santino "Sonny" Corleone in The Godfather (1972).

James Caan as Santino “Sonny” Corleone in The Godfather (1972). This is a production photo; in the film itself, he pins a white carnation onto his left lapel.

Vitals

James Caan as Santino “Sonny” Corleone, hotheaded Mafia underboss

Long Island, NY, August 1945

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 15, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

Sonny is a natural choice as a groomsman for his sister’s wedding. Not only did he introduce her to her new husband, but he’s the underboss of New York’s powerful Corleone crime family and not the sort of guy who would appreciate being left out.

Sonny is a busy guy on the wedding day. He has to be all over the place, from the parking lot to his father’s office while keeping tabs on his war hero brother, his wife, and his mistress. Of course, when the Don summons him, he’s never far away. Continue reading

Skyfall – Bond’s Dark Blue Tuxedo in Macau

Excerpt from a promotional poster for Skyfall (2012), featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond against the familiar "gunbarrel" backdrop.

Excerpt from a promotional poster for Skyfall (2012), featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond against the familiar “gunbarrel” backdrop.

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent

Macau, Spring 2012

Film: Skyfall
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

Background

Nearly forty years after his last visit in The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond returns to Macau after discovering a casino chip on an assassin in Shanghai. Now officially back in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond packs up his dinner suit, cut-throat razor, and sunglasses and heads to the film’s version of Macau. Continue reading

Black Tie in Scarface – 1932 Style

Paul Muni (center) aims a Thompson submachine gun as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932).

Paul Muni (center) aims a Thompson submachine gun as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932).

Vitals

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1929

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

The 1983 Scarface film starring Al Pacino is one of the most popular crime flicks out there, popular enough to warrant the first of many entries on this blog last week. Many people know that it is a remake (although I prefer to think of it as an “update”) of a 1932 film. This earlier movie, also entitled Scarface but given the morality-enforced subtitle The Shame of a Nation, is one of my favorite films of all time. Continue reading

Paul Newman’s Black Tie in The Sting

Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff in The Sting (1973).

Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff, Chicago con artist posing as a betting parlor operator

Chicago, September 1936

Film: The Sting
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

It’s been almost a year since I’ve covered the classy Henry Gondorff, played by Paul Newman in 1973’s The Sting, so what would be more appropriate for New Year’s Eve than to break down Gondorff in black tie. Continue reading