Category: White Tie

Redford’s White Tie in The Great Gatsby

Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, enigmatic millionaire and eager romantic

Long Island, NY, Summer 1925

Film: The Great Gatsby
Release Date: March 29, 1974
Director: Jack Clayton
Costume Designer: Theoni V. Aldredge

Background

Things are looking good for Jay Gatsby by the end of summer. He’s reunited with his former love, Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow), and – for better or worse – he’s established himself as the party king of West Egg. Sure, no one knows where his curiously vast fortune came from, but as long as he keeps the champagne flowing and hot jazz booming, no one cares either. Continue reading

Bugsy Siegel in White Tie

Warren Beatty as "Bugsy" Siegel in Bugsy (1991).

Warren Beatty as “Bugsy” Siegel in Bugsy (1991).

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, debonair and mercurial Jewish “celebrity” gangster

Hollywood, March 1945

Film: Bugsy
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

Background

Unfortunately, the ultra formal white tie dress code is all but extinct in American culture. The popularity of black tie in the post-World War I era was the first bullet to the chest of white tie, but an increasingly informal society has peppered white tie with more bullets than the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Luckily for sartorial purists, Downton Abbey and programs of its ilk have inspired a resurgence in early 20th century formalwear. As Mad Men has taught us, all it takes is a good TV show with well-dressed characters to get Americans to dress better.

A natty dresser like Bugsy Siegel didn’t need examples from the movies, though. While I’ve never seen a photo of the real guy in white tie, it makes sense that an image-conscious guy like Siegel would sport a tailcoat for a night of dancing at the legendary Ciro’s nightclub in West Hollywood to cultivate his image as a romantic ladies’ man rather than a vicious mobster. Siegel even tells a photographer from The Herald that catches him in mid-dance:

See that they run that, and not one of those sinister mugshots.

Continue reading

Titanic – Billy Zane’s White Tie

Billy Zane as Cal Hockley in Titanic (1997).

Billy Zane as Cal Hockley in Titanic (1997).

Vitals

Billy Zane as Caledon “Cal” Hockley, pompous heir to a Pittsburgh steel fortune

North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: December 19, 1997
Director: James Cameron
Costume Designer: Deborah Lynn Scott

Background

Exactly 102 years today, the RMS Titanic saw land for the last time when it departed Queenstown, Ireland (now Cobh) at 1:30 PM (GMT) on April 11, 1912. The destination was New York City, but the ship foundered in the North Atlantic Ocean, taking with it more than 1,500 passengers and crew and leaving only a scattered 700 in the ship’s relatively few lifeboats.

Oh, you’ve heard of Titanic before? Okay, then, I doubt I need to say much more. Continue reading

John F. Kennedy’s Ivy League Style

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

I’m apologizing in advance for the large amount of photos in this longer-than-usual entry, but I’ve never covered a real person before and the abundance of available images was extraordinary. I have about 60 or so archived that I didn’t even use for this.

Vitals

John F. Kennedy, U.S. President

Early 1960s, Washington, D.C.

Background

Not every commemoration on BAMF Style is a happy one. To honor JFK on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I’ll be examining the style of a man often described as our country’s most stylish president.

Whether he was in his office, at a cocktail party, or sailing off of Narragansett Bay, the Kennedys’ style captured the attention of the nation, with men taking hints from Jack’s fashion-forward sartorial sense and women envying Jackie’s elegance.

Everyone has their own conspiracy theory about who truly ended his life in Dallas fifty years ago today, but this isn’t the place to discuss that. Instead, I’ll be delving into the look and style of a man who became an American icon. Continue reading

Nucky Thompson’s Eveningwear

Steve Buscemi in non-traditional white tie as Nucky Thompson in the second episode of Boardwalk Empire.

For your Election Day celebration (depending on who you voted for), take a sartorial cue from BAMF Style‘s favorite politician…

Vitals

Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt Atlantic City treasurer and “half a gangster”

Atlantic City, January 1920

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Boardwalk Empire” (Episode 1.01); “The Ivory Tower” (Episode 1.02)
Air Date: September 19, 2010; September 26, 2010
Director: Martin Scorsese; Tim Van Patten
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn

Background

The real “Nucky” Thompson – actually named Enoch L. Johnson – was born in 1883 and, like his semi-fictional TV counterpart, was raised in Atlantic City with both he and his father serving as sheriff. By 1920, he was the county treasurer and made much money from illegal bootlegging during Prohibition. Continue reading

Reilly: Ace of Spies – White Tie

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in “Dreadnoughts and Crosses”, the fifth episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies.

Approaching the weekend, someone as popular as yourself probably has plenty of invitations to parties and dinners. Put off the typical “Autumn Man” look of a sweater and plaid shirt until next weekend and wow everyone with your white tie, much like…

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, birth name Shlomo Rosenblum, a Russian-born adventurer, war profiteer, and rumored British secret agent

St. Petersburg, Spring 1910

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episodes: “Dreadnoughts and Crosses” (Episode 5) & “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses” (Episode 6)
Air Dates: September 28, 1983 & October 5, 1983
Director: Jim Goddard
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Ian Fleming, known worldwide for his creation of the literary James Bond, is quoted as once saying:

James Bond is just a piece of nonsense I dreamed up. He’s not a Sidney Reilly, you know!

Continue reading