Category: Sport Jackets and Blazers

L.A. Confidential: Bud White’s Brown Flannel on Bloody Christmas

Russell Crowe as Wendell “Bud” White in L.A. Confidential (1997)

Vitals

Russell Crowe as Wendell “Bud” White, tough yet justice-minded LAPD plainclothes officer

Los Angeles, Christmas Eve 1952

Film: L.A. Confidential
Release Date: September 19, 1997
Director: Curtis Hanson
Costume Designer: Ruth Myers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, L.A. Confidential chronicles a faction of cops and crooks in the City of Angels through the early 1950s, with Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson’s Oscar-winning screenplay adapted from James Ellroy’s sprawling pulp novel of the same name. The movie begins on Christmas Eve 1952, based on a real-life episode known as “Bloody Christmas” when seven prisoners were abused while in LAPD custody on the morning of December 25, 1951, resulting in a wave of indictments, suspensions, and transfers of the more than four dozen officers involved.

“You’re like Santa Claus with that list, Bud… ‘cept everyone on it’s been naughty,” observes corrupt LAPD Sergeant Dick Stensland (Graham Beckel) of his crusading partner, Officer Wendell “Bud” White, who watches an abusive husband ruin his wife’s Christmas through gritted teeth. Continue reading

Mad Men: Pete Campbell’s Burgundy Blazer at Christmas

Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell on Mad Men (Episode 4.02: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”)

Vitals

Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, ambitious advertising accounts manager

New York City, Christmas 1964

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” (Episode 4.02)
Air Date: August 1, 2010
Director: Michael Uppendahl
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Welcome to BAMF Style, Pete Campbell! Long-ignored as I had reserved Mad Men‘s sartorial spotlight on his colleagues Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Sterling Cooper’s ambitious accounts man finally gets his time to shine on this #MadMenMonday less than a week before Christmas. Rather than his bright blue suits from early seasons or the uniquely cut waistcoats from his three-piece suits in later seasons, Pete’s inaugural BAMF Style post explores how he dresses for the inaugural SCDP holiday party. Continue reading

Love Story: Ryan O’Neal’s Navy Blazer and Reversible Raincoat in an MG

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Story (1970)

Vitals

Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, preppy Harvard student

Boston, Winter 1966

Film: Love Story
Release Date: December 16, 1970
Director: Arthur Hiller
Costume Design: Alice Manougian Martin & Pearl Somner

Background

As Car Week continues, it may not seem like it makes sense to focus on such an exposed car like the vintage MG roadster that appears in Love Story, but Ryan O’Neal bundles up accordingly in his reversible raincoat while behind the wheel with Ali MacGraw by his side.

Continue reading

Elf: James Caan in Camelhair for Christmas

James Caan as Walter Hobbs in Elf (2003)

Vitals

James Caan as Walter Hobbs, workaholic children’s book publisher

New York City, December 2003

Film: Elf
Release Date: November 7, 2003
Director: Jon Favreau
Costume Designer: Laura Jean Shannon

Background

Happy December!

The late James Caan effectively subverted his screen image when he starred in Elf, a family-friendly comedy that’s already established as a modern holiday classic. Of course, as one of the big screen’s most famous tough guys, Caan’s Walter Hobbs begins the story on Santa Claus’ notorious “naughty list” as a children’s book publisher too focused on his bottom line to care about his family or even the minutae of his job, overlooking the last two pages of his latest book that leave the fate of a beloved puppy and pigeon too ambiguous for its young readers. Continue reading

Fatal Attraction: Michael Douglas’ Plaid Sport Jacket

Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction (1987)

Vitals

Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, lawyer

New York City, Fall 1986

Film: Fatal Attraction
Release Date: September 18, 1987
Director: Adrian Lyne
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick

Background

Inspired by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick’s recent podcast appearance on From Tailors With Love that clarified a few misconceptions held around Michael Douglas’ tailored costumes in some of his most prominent movies, let’s finally cover the 35-year-old noir-ish thriller that spawned a cinematic sub-genre centered around Douglas’ sex life getting him in deep trouble. Continue reading

The Candidate: Robert Redford’s Tweed Sport Jacket

Robert Redford and Karen Carlson in The Candidate (1972)

Robert Redford and Karen Carlson in The Candidate (1972)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Bill McKay, charismatic lawyer-turned-senatorial candidate

California, Spring through Fall 1972

Film: The Candidate
Release Date: June 29, 1972
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack

Background

In case my fellow Americans’ phones haven’t been buzzing with incessant reminders about it… this Tuesday is Election Day!

Fifty years ago, American electoral politics were lampooned in The Candidate, starring Robert Redford as Bill McKay, an idealistic California lawyer tapped to run for a supposedly unwinnable seat in the U.S. Senate.

Inspired by screenwriter Jeremy Larner’s own experiences working on Senator Eugene McCarthy’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in ’68, The Candidate chronicles the unpredictable insanity of American politics ranging from the mundane to the dramatic. Continue reading

Succession: Logan Roy’s Birthday Party Style

Brian Cox as Logan Roy on Succession (Episode 1.01: “Celebration”)

Vitals

Brian Cox as Logan Roy, media mogul and domineering patriarch

New York, Fall 2018

Series: Succession
Episode: “Celebration” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: June 3, 2018
Director: Adam McKay
Creator: Jesse Armstrong
Costume Designer: Catherine George (Pilot episode only)

Background

The third season of Succession premiered a year ago today, and many—including yours truly—still eagerly await the return of this deliciously profane HBO series that satirizes the culture of unscrupulous wealth in corporate America via the fictional Roy family, a dysfunctional dynasty fighting for control of the global entertainment conglomerate started by the aging patriarch, Logan. Brian Cox has received much deserved acclaim for his performance as the manipulative, tyrannical Logan Roy, said to be partially inspired by real-life media magnates like Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone, and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.

Succession begins on Logan’s 80th birthday, and while the brusque business mogul is hardly the type to celebrate with balloons and cake, he’s still having a party in his honor, hosted by his third wife Marcia (Hiam Abbass). The party gives us an opportunity to meet the offspring constantly vying for either control of the company, their toxic father’s affection, or the supremely unfeasible combination of both. Continue reading

Reservoir Dogs — Mr. Orange

Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs

Tim Roth as “Mr. Orange” in Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Vitals

Tim Roth as Freddie Newandyke, aka “Mr. Orange”, member of an armed robbery crew with a deep secret

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Reservoir Dogs
Release Date: October 9, 1992
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This month marks the 30th anniversary since the wide release of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s influential debut that introduced many of the director’s own cinematic trademarks and has been described as one of the greatest independent films of all time.

As we’ve come to expect from QT, Reservoir Dogs pays homage to classic noir and crime films, including Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Big Combo (1955), and—most specifically—The Killing (1956), with a plot centered around a gang of tough guys hired for a what should be a straightforward diamond heist… only to be stymied when it becomes evident that a member of their crew is an informant. Continue reading

John Forsythe’s Autumn Attire in The Trouble with Harry

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)

Vitals

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe, touchy artist who scores the town with his belting baritone

Vermont, Fall 1954

Film: The Trouble with Harry
Release Date: September 30, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

As we settle into what looks like a comfortable autumn—at least for fallphiles like me—I want to highlight what must be one of the earliest movies to truly capture the season’s striking colors.

Though regarded as the “Master of Suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock had long incorporated humor into his movies. The Trouble with Harry differentiates itself among Hitch’s more earnest thrillers and mysteries by emphasizing the comedy, resulting in what may be among of the director’s least suspenseful outfit but still entertaining and certainly aesthetically satisfying. Continue reading

L.A. Confidential: Ed Exley in Donegal Tweed

Guy Pearce as Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential (1997)

Guy Pearce as Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential (1997)

Vitals

Guy Pearce as Ed Exley, by-the-book LAPD detective-lieutenant

Los Angeles, Spring 1953

Film: L.A. Confidential
Release Date: September 19, 1997
Director: Curtis Hanson
Costume Designer: Ruth Myers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is the 25th anniversary since the official release of L.A. Confidential, which premiered at Cannes in May 1997 but would finally hit theaters four months later on September 19, introducing audiences to James Ellroy’s murky world of corrupt cops, crooks, celebrities, and courtesans in ’50s Los Angeles.

Among its ensemble cast, L.A. Confidential centers around three LAPD officers: the tough but unsophisticated “Bud” White (Russell Crowe), the smooth yet morally compromised Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), and the ambitious and stubbornly upright Ed Exley (Guy Pearce). Not to spoil too much of the plot for those who have missed this gem in the last quarter-century, but one of my favorite Letterboxd reviews—submitted by user David Sims—compares the movie to The Wizard of Oz as “Bud gets a brain, Jack gets a heart, Ed gets the courage.” Continue reading