Keanu Reeves as John Wick, retired assassin and devoted puppy owner
New Jersey to New York City, Spring 2014
Film: John Wick
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Director: Chad Stehelski
Costume Designer: Luca Mosca
In honor of tomorrow’s über-American holiday of Flag Day (which also happens to be my mom’s birthday), this installment of Car Week will begin with an examination of John Wick’s casual leather jacketed outfit and – of course – his ’69 Ford Mustang Mach 1, which is mistaken for a Boss 429 during Wick’s fateful gas station fill-up.
What’d He Wear?
John Wick’s brown leather jacket is one of the most frequently replicated cinematic garments I’ve seen available online, all to varying degrees of accuracy and dubious reliability given most of their sub-$200 prices. There’s the American Leather Jacket version, the Film Jackets/fjacket.com replica, the offering from Film Star Look, and a version by New American Jackets that appears to be the least accurate of the bunch.
It’s impressive that Wick’s minimalist outfit has garnered so much attention from aspiring sartorial lookalikes and certainly a testament to the timeless “tough guy” look of a dark leather jacket, t-shirt, and jeans.
The brown lambskin leather jacket is waist-length with a shirt-style collar. The zip front has a silver-toned pull tab and has a 1″-wide stitched placket on each side of the zipper.
The jacket’s stitching adds plenty to its rugged appearance and structure. Faux-epaulettes that point toward the neck are stitched on each shoulder. A single vertical stitch seam splits each of the two front panels just in front of the welted hand pocket. A single horizontal seam cuts across the front of the waist to just below the center of each pocket. On the back, a horizontal yoke stretches across the shoulders.
A horizontal rear yoke stretches across the upper back and shoulders. The waistband and plain cuffs are each finished with a “dotted line” broken stitch about 1.5″ up from their respective edges.
Our all-American hero also wears the quintessential American casual pants: a pair of bootcut denim jeans with a standard five-pocket layout, colored in a rich dark blue wash.
When going out and about – either to visit his wife or gas up his car – Wick wears a gray crew neck short-sleeve T-shirt.
After the bad guys awaken him in the middle of the night, Wick goes to confront them while wearing his white cotton v-neck undershirt, which he then wears with his leather jacket and jeans when he stops into Aurelio’s chop shop.
Wick’s boots are charcoal suede desert boots with tan crepe soles. They remind me of the Johnston & Murphy “Copeland Chukka” with natural latex crepe soles and uppers finished in a dark gray suede that almost looks brown.
Other than the silver indented wedding band on the third finger of his left hand, John Wick’s only jewelry or accessory is his stainless Carl F. Bucherer Manero AutoDate wristwatch on a black alligator strap. The watch’s white dial (with its 3:00 date window) and silver-toned luminescent hands are protected under a scratch resistant, anti-reflective sapphire crystal… as well as Wick’s military-esque habit of wearing it on the inside of his left wrist.
Although his sharp dark suit from Luca Mosca received plenty of deserved attention, John Wick also shows a stylishly minimalist casual side when not in Badass Hitman mode.
- Brown lambskin leather waistlength jacket with shirt-style collar, zip front, vertical welted hand pockets, and decorative stitching throughout
- Gray crew neck short-sleeve T-shirt
- Dark blue denim bootcut jeans
- Charcoal suede 2-eyelet desert/chukka boots with tan crepe soles
- Light blue cotton boxer undershorts with elastic waistband
- Silver indented wedding band, worn on left ring finger
- Carl F. Bucherer Manero AutoDate with stainless 42mm case, white dial (with date), and black alligator leather strap, worn on inside of left wrist
A white v-neck t-shirt would also be very John Wick-ian to wear with the brown leather jacket and dark jeans, although for hygienic purposes and a generally wise sartorial rule of thumb, it’s best to wear one devoid of blood – whether it’s yours or some thug’s.
Mustang. Boss 429.
… an impressed Iosef notes as John Wick finishes gassing up his ride. “’69,” Wick corrects after Iosef guesses 1970. Although Iosef is correct that it is indeed “a beautiful car,” his Boss 429 guess has been taken apart by several astute viewers who believe John Wick’s car to actually be a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Though it may have been equipped with a similar 7.0L Ford V8 engine, Wick’s car lacks the accurate hood scoop and markings that would be found on a true Boss 429. (It also lacks the side decals that would denote it as either a Boss or a Mach 1, so that adds some fuel to the fire.)
There’s still some debate though, and I’m not expert enough to weigh in more than some of the others have. All I truly feel comfortable pointing out is that both John Wick and Iosef are pumping their own petrol in a New Jersey gas station… a state that bans self-serve stations. Wick and especially Iosef aren’t men who particularly care about obeying the law at all times, but this would be a silly crime for at least Wick to break while he’s laying low in his post-assassin life.
After four years as an all-star on American roadways, the Ford Mustang finally upped the ante for its hard-driving motorists with the introduction of its Boss 302, Boss 429, and Mach 1 performance packages for the 1969 model year in addition to the currently available GT options offered by Ford and Shelby. The Mach 1, available only in the new “SportsRoof” fastback body style, immediately eclipsed GT sales to the point where Ford discontinued the GT badge until the early ’80s Fox platform Mustangs.
A stock Mach 1 consisted of a V8-powered “SportsRoof” model with performance-oriented cosmetic enhancements from the front-pinned matte black hood and “SportSlats” rear window louvres to chrome-tipped exhaust and gas cap. Mach 1 wheels were fitted to Goodyear Polyglas tires and some owners opted for the “Shaker” hood scoop (which collected fresh air and was named for the way it would shake over the engine) or chin spoiler, although a rear deck spoiler was standard.
The standard option for 1969 was a 351 cubic inch Windsor “H-Code” V8, offering 250 bhp, with a 2-barrel carburetor and a 3-speed manual transmission. A 4-barrel carb “M-Code” 351 was also optional, upping the power to 290 bhp. True gearheads could also get their ’69 Mach 1 with a 390 S-code or the 428 Cobra Jet or Super Cobra Jet high performance engine with a rated output of 335 bhp.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 (misidentified as Boss 429)
Body Style: 2-door fastback “SportsRoof” coupe
Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)
Engine: 428 ci (7.0 L) Ford “Cobra Jet” V8 with 4-barrel Holley carburetor
Power: 335 bhp (250 kW; 340 PS) @ 5200 rpm
Torque: 440 lb·ft (597 N·m) @ 3400 rpm
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 108 inches (2743 mm)
Length: 187.5 inches (4762 mm)
Width: 71.7 inches (1821 mm)
Height: 50.5 inches (1283 mm)
Wick’s Mustang has New Jersey license plates #XAB-235. In addition to the cosmetic changes that seem to indicate that Wick drives a Mach 1 rather than the much more powerful (but also much rarer) Boss 429, the Boss 429 was only offered with a 4-speed manual while Wick’s car appears to have an automatic transmission.
A commentor on IMCDB stated that a Top Gear episode description called this “a ‘rare’ Boss 429 7.0 V8,” but I took the safer route of describing the stock 428 Cobra Jet engine that would still be found in some 1969 Mach 1 models. Although one may see a 428 Mach 1 and a Boss 429 and assume that only one cubic inch of displacement isn’t much of a difference, the Mach 1 was powered by variants in the Ford FE engine family while the Boss 429 used the big block Ford 385 series, developed the year before for the Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental.
(I’m definitely willing to hear some discussion about whether or not Wick is driving a Mach 1, a Boss 429, or a Mustang that was never originally badged as either. Just because dialogue alludes to it possibly being a “Boss 429” certainly doesn’t mean it really is!)
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Several requests for a breakdown of Tyler Durden’s style have thus led to this post which Tyler himself would certainly tell himself that he hates – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, soapmaker, fight club leader, and urban terrorist
Wilmington, Delaware, Spring 1999
Film: Fight Club
Release Date: October 15, 1999
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Michael Kaplan
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
“We are a nation of physical animals who have forgotten how much we enjoy being that. We are cushioned by this kind of make-believe, unreal world, and we have no idea what we can survive because we are never challenged or tested,” is how Chuck Palahniuk summed up his intent for writing Fight Club, the 1995 novel that inspired the David Fincher-directed cult film. Fincher’s darker-than-black comedic adaptation of the novel staggered audiences upon its first release, reviled for its graphic violence and messaging that was misinterpreted as criticisms against both feminism and hyper-masculinity.
“It offers people the idea that they can create their own lives outside the existing blueprint for happiness offered by society,” Palahniuk included on the booklet that accompanied some DVD copies, further complicating the waters that surround interpretation of Fight Club. Fans and foes alike have mistakenly clouded Tyler’s beliefs as the film’s ultimate messaging, not considering the point that Edward Norton made in an interview with Yale that “it’s a critique of how Nietzsche becomes Hitler.”
This messaging was lost on the many men who superficially saw Fight Club as an empowering call to regain the flawed and often violent “values” that permeate traditional masculinity in the hunter/gatherer sense, validating their mistaken interpretation with the film’s “purer” stance against materialism. In the end, “Tyler Durden” becomes the dehumanizing autocrat that he spent the first half of his appearance waxing poetic against.
And who is Tyler Durden?
Edward Norton’s narrator is a passively frustrated office drone with incurable insomnia, a dark answer to the TPS-reporting minions in Office Space released earlier in the year; evidently, 1999 was the year that Americans got fed up with their cubicles. Likely suffering from dissociative identity disorder, the narrator subconsciously delves into his untapped id and creates… Tyler Durden, the very man that hates everything our narrator had been living for, who takes over as the controlling personality with his own distinctive name, identity, and – most importantly – self-image. Unrestrained by the IKEA/Martha Stewart lifestyle that the narrator doesn’t feel empowered to live without, Tyler is able to embrace to total freedom of living for oneself without societal-defined rules (and/or roles) although the freedom granted to this nihilistic idealism further drives Tyler – and thus, our narrator – away from reality.
What’d He Wear?
As our narrator’s ideal Übermensch, it’s interesting to note that Tyler Durden’s distinctive fashion sense is a direct reflection of what a pathetic “everyman” like the narrator thinks “the ideal man” would be wearing… which might make the narrator even more pathetic, especially keeping in mind that Tyler will always be dressed as a reflection of the narrator’s psyche. An excellent analysis at The Toast includes a terrific and convincing argument as Tyler’s clothing shifts more from the narrator’s vision of rugged masculinity to a reflection of Marla Singer: “…if this theory is correct, and was done as a deliberate insight into the narrator’s psyche, it is an amazing use of wardrobe as first a joke and secondly as a narrative device.”
Red is often used to symbolize power, passion, and urgency, three elements missing in the narrator’s life that are filled by his vision of Tyler Durden. It can’t be a coincidence that Tyler is sporting red the first time the narrator interacts with him on the plane, and he continues to prominently wear red throughout much of the narrative, from his printed shirt and sunglasses to his vintage-looking leather jacket.
Tyler Durden’s reddish leather jacket has become one of the most demanded replicas, and – ironically enough – many companies now market their own replicas in varying degrees of quality, including an accurate-looking version at MaxCady.com.
In two of the narrator’s first flash hallucinations of Tyler (at his office and behind his doctor), Tyler is wearing this jacket. He is wearing a different red jacket on the plane, but he is again sporting the jacket when he meets the narrator at Lou’s for their first post-plane interaction that leads to a parking lot fight.
The rust red leather jacket has white double stitching on all edges, including the large shirt-style collar and the front and back yokes. The front yoke runs horizontally straight across the upper chest while the back yoke is double-pointed with stitching running down from each yoke point to the bottom, where there is a long vent.
The single-breasted jacket has four plastic red buttons down the front and a patch pocket on each hip that closes with a flap, although no buttons or closure method is visible on these pocket flaps. The cuffs are plain with no buttons or tabs, and there is more white double-stitching that runs up each sleeve.
All of Fight Club – not just scenes featuring this jacket – find Tyler in some amazingly unique shirts, almost all definitely vintage or “found” items ranging from loudly-printed button-ups to obscurely logoed t-shirts. The shirts reflect Tyler’s contemptuous sense of irony that often finds him sporting loud, flamboyant prints and patterns that are distinctly at odds with the all black aesthetic that Project Mayhem would so pointedly adopt.
One of the most popular shirts is the vintage-looking polyester button-up covered by black and white printed toucans (with yellow beaks, of course) on a white ground with a blue broken spiral motif. This shirt has a large disco-style collar with long points and seven buttons down the front, although Tyler only clearly buttons two or three over his chest, letting it flap widely open over his neck and abs, a disdain that our bored narrator clearly wishes he could emulate.
A replica of this first shirt, which Tyler wears when he meets the narrator at Lou’s before engaging him in their first fight, is also available from MaxCady.com.
A few brief scenes outside Lou’s show Tyler wearing this red leather jacket while overseeing some fights. He wears a couple of other disco-collared button-ups, including one in bright red and another in yellow with a light blue windowpane grid.
While presiding over an official Fight Club session in Lou’s basement, Tyler strips off his red leather coat to reveal a tight black leather short-sleeve shirt with another big disco collar and a zip front.
Another of the most memorable and in-demand shirts from Fight Club is the light blue motocross graphic t-shirt that he wears when stepping onto the bus and hearing the narrator’s (warranted) desire to fight William Shatner. This tight short-sleeve cotton t-shirt was cut off just above the waist to flash a few inches of midriff and featured in plenty of promotional material for Fight Club.
The shirt is covered in a series of at least a dozen cyanic-tinted images from motocross, a form of off-road motorcycle racing. The U.K.’s KiSS Clothing developed the “Motocross KiSS All Over” t-shirt, based on the one worn by Brad Pitt in the film. Though not an exact replica – which would probably be impossible – it excellently channels the chaotically corny shirt that the ironic Übermensch wears while recruiting new fighters.
Tyler opts for another ’70s-style printed shirt when he “rescues” Marla Singer from her suicide attempt (or “cry for help,” as she dismisses it). This silk button-up shirt is abstractly printed in shades of purple, pink, and gray. It has a breast pocket and is cut straight around the bottom at the waist line.
When taking the narrator on their human sacrifice mission to visit “Hessel, Raymond K.” at the convenience store, Tyler wears a yellow crew neck t-shirt with a lightly cyanic graphic logo in the center which appears to have a gray skeleton on a light blue wave with the pink letters “U.S.F.” above it.
The jacket’s final appearance is Tyler’s climatic car crash with the narrator and a few of their space monkeys in the back seat. This is the simplest of his shirts, a black short-sleeve shirt with a single red striped band around the crew-neck collar. The wardrobe choice is surely a reflection of the direction of the film’s narrative; as the events continue to spiral (seemingly) out of the narrator’s control, Tyler appears less chaotic than before, adopting – in his own way – the black uniform of his urban fighters.
Tyler’s trousers also evolve as he shifts from a devil-may-care basement fighter to a neo-fascist guerilla commander. Initially, he is satisfied to strut around in a pair of casual, dark navy track pants with three yellow stripes down the legs; the thick center stripe is flanked by a thinner stripe on each side. (MaxCady.com also offers a replica of the Durden track pants, if you don’t still have that Adidas pair from high school.)
By the time Tyler is sporting his motocross t-shirt, having sex with Marla, and finding subjects for his “human sacrifice”, he is donning a more structured pair of gray flat front chinos with a dark navy stripe down each side seam, similar to West Point cadet trousers. These trousers have slightly slanted side pockets, plain-hemmed bottoms, and belt loops that go unused as Tyler lets the low rise of the chinos hang impetuously on his hips.
A common pair of shoes for Tyler to wear with his red leather jacket are his brown throwback Hodgman Lakestream Wading Boots with yellow soles and toe caps. The brown laces cross over the front of the boot through a series of five brass hooks. These waterproof boots are distinctive for their felt bottoms and soft shell around the top of the back, colored gold on Tyler’s pair. The boot’s association with Fight Club has led to its popularity on eBay and similar sites.
For his jaunt to Marla Singer’s apartment, Tyler is once again delving into irony with a pair of bright brown alligator leather Gucci loafers with gold horsebit detail.
Tyler Durden is seen wearing three different pairs of sunglasses, all from Brad Pitt’s preferred Oliver Peoples brand. The model worn with this jacket is the Oliver Peoples OP523, a pair of larger silver-framed sunglasses with “blood red” gradient lenses.
Tyler Durden also wears two rings at all times. On his left middle finger, he wears a plain silver ring. Given Tyler’s attitudes about marriage, wearing a ring that resembles a wedding band on the middle finger of his left hand – rather than the third finger – could be his way of saying “fuck you” to the institution itself.
On the third finger of his right hand, Tyler always wears a big ring set with the image of an eye. He appears to have a multitude of these rings, although the majority look to be silver with a single eye staring back from the large setting.
Danielle Jennings provided a helpful breakdown at Love to Know that not only includes a brief guide to Tyler’s basic look but also links to where interested shoppers can find or design their own Durden-esque style.
Go Big or Go Home
Although Tyler Durden makes a point of eschewing brands, he makes no secret of his preference for Budweiser beer, a logical choice for someone meant to represent the oppressed “everyman” fighting back against the growing trends of microbrews and craft beers.
Whether it was a conscious choice by the filmmakers or forced upon them by the studio, the brand of Tyler’s cigarettes are concealed by tape on the package. However, a closer look reveals that Tyler smokes Doral cigarettes, a budget brand from R.J. Reynolds.
Which Tyler Durden are you? (Hopefully, neither of them.)
The charismatic, devil-may-care soapmaker who gleefully inserts porn into kids’ movies…?
- Rust red leather single-breasted 4-button jacket with shirt-style collar, pointed-flap hip patch pockets, double-pointed back yoke, and large vent
- Loudly-printed polyester “disco” button-up shirt with large pointed collar and breast pocket
- Dark navy track pants with triple yellow side stripe
- Brown waterproof Hodgman Lakestream Wading Boots with yellow soles, toe-cap, and upper back soft shell
- Oliver PeoplesOP 523 large silver-framed sunglasses with red lenses
- Large silver ring with eye motif setting on right 3rd finger
- Silver plain ring on left middle finger
- Rust red leather single-breasted 4-button jacket with shirt-style collar, pointed-flap hip patch pockets, double-pointed back yoke, and large vent
- Tight short-sleeve crew-neck t-shirt with an obscure logo or pattern like blue motocross racers
- Gray flat front chino trousers with navy seam stripe, belt loops, slanted side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Brown alligator leather Gucci loafers with gold horsebit detail
- Oliver Peoples OP 523 large silver-framed sunglasses with red lenses
- Large silver ring with eye motif setting on right 3rd finger
- Silver plain ring on left middle finger
When Tyler Durden approaches Raymond K. Hessel in the convenience store, he takes a blued Colt Python revolver from the narrator’s bag, which – to the narrator’s great relief – turns out to be unloaded.
The Colt Python is one of the most sought-after revolvers of the 20th century. Chambered for the powerful .357 Magnum cartridge (when it is loaded), the Python has been described as the finest production revolver ever made. It was first introduced in 1955, twenty years after the development of the .357 Magnum by Smith & Wesson. That same year, S&W rolled out its .44 Magnum Model 29 but it was the top-of-the-line Python that grabbed the attention of handgun enthusiasts.
Renowned for its accuracy and relatively smooth trigger pull, the Python was a popular mainstay on Colt’s production lineup for fifty years until it was discontinued in 2005. The double-action revolver has the capacity for six rounds in its cylinder and barrel lengths range from a 2.5″ “snub nose” model up to an imposing 8″ hunting model. Naturally, the narrator would arm his imaginary Übermensch with a powerful, popular handgun that would replace the character’s own inadequacies.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal
Harlan County, Kentucky, Spring 2014
– “The Kids Aren’t All Right” (Episode 5.02, Director: Bill Johnson, Air Date: January 14, 2014)
– “Good Intentions” (Episode 5.03, Director: Dean Parisot, Air Date: January 21, 2014)
– “Whistle Past the Graveyard” (Episode 5.08, Director: Peter Werner, Air Date: March 4, 2014)
– “The Toll” (Episode 5.11, Director: Jon Avnet, Air Date: March 25, 2014)
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Patia Prouty
With the Kentucky Derby upon us this weekend, BAMF Style is returning to Harlan County to check in with one of our favorite residents of the state, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens.
Justified‘s penultimate season finds Raylan Givens primarily facing off against the gator farmers of Dewey Crowe’s criminal family, led by his oldest brother Darryl Jr. (Michael Rapaport) who proves to be a much more menacing nemesis than the tragically dimwitted Dewey (Damon Herriman). Fans who first met the hapless Dewey in the pilot episode, irresponsibly brandishing a shotgun retrieved from the trunk of his Cadillac while a gator-tooth necklace clings to his “Heil Hitler”-tattooed neck must have been surprised to see that the scrappy little hoodlum was developed to the point of having such a fascinatingly imposing family, but that’s just the magic of the potential that Elmore Leonard gives to all of his characters.
What’d He Wear?
One of Raylan’s favorite off-duty looks over the entire run of Justified is a plaid shirt layered over a dark T-shirt, naturally worn with jeans as well as his usual lineup of cowboy boots, Stetson hat, and holstered Glock. Throughout the fifth season, Raylan offers a fresh take on a dark upper half by incorporating a gray-on-black plaid shirt over a black T-shirt.
Raylan’s outer layer is a black flannel shirt with an all gray tartan plaid overcheck. While a “flannel shirt” is colloquially – and ultimately wrongly – used to describe a plaid shirt, it’s worth noting that flannel actually refers to the softly woven fabric from which the shirt is made. Traditionally, flannel was made from wool, but the growing popularity of cotton, silk, and synthetic fibers in clothing now means that the flannel process can be applied to various materials.
The gray-on-black plaid flannel shirt has a slim collar and black plastic buttons down the front placket. Similar buttons are found to fasten the cuffs and to close the mitred-corner flaps on each of the two chest patch pockets.
Underneath, Raylan wears a plain black cotton short-sleeve T-shirt with a crew neck and a small patch pocket on the left chest. While Raylan seems like the type of guy who would just buy a three-pack of undershirts from Hanes or Fruit of the Loom and call it a day, this shirt more resembles the comfortable and affordable minimalism from a brand like H&M, which offers a similar black cotton pocket tee for $9.99.
Raylan wears his tried-and-true blue medium wash Levi’s denim jeans. These (appropriately) bootcut jeans have the usual five-pocket layout of two front pockets, right coin pocket, and two patch pockets in the back.
Raylan wears his ostrich leg cowboy boots from Lucchese, which the company describes as made from a “cigar” shade of dark brown leather. These distinctive boots can still be found at sites like Sam’s Boot Ranch.
Although most of his clothing is black (suits) or blue (denim), Raylan always wears brown leather accessories. In the fifth season, he wears a well-worn dark brown tooled leather belt with a large steel single-claw buckle. The belt has white stitching along the top and bottom with vertical double-stitching on the belt’s thick front loop.
Fixed to the right side of his belt for a right-hand draw is Raylan’s Bianchi Model 59 Special Agent® thumb break paddle holster in tan-finished full grain leather. Raylan’s holster, model #19128, is fitted for a right-hand shooter carrying a 4.49″-barreled full size pistol like our protagonist’s trusty Glock 17.
At the end of “Whistle Past the Graveyard” (Episode 5.08), Raylan briefly wears his blue denim Levi’s trucker jacket as an extra layer, recalling the “denim sandwich” look that he manages to pull off unlike so many other men. The stonewashed denim jacket has two patch pockets on the chest that close with a steel button through a pointed flap as well as the handwarmer side pockets that were added to Levi’s denim jackets in 1980. There are six aluminum stud buttons down the front as well as a button to close each cuff and a button-fastened adjustable strap on each side of the waistband.
Although known for his distinctive cowboy hat, Raylan tends to go hatless with this outfit, leaving his ranch tan 4X wool Stetson cattleman’s hat at home.
Raylan’s wristwatch is his usual TAG Heuer Series 6000 with a white dial and brushed steel case. The watch is secured to his left wrist on a plain black leather strap.
Finally, Raylan sports his silver horseshoe ring on the third finger of his right hand, a subtle call-out of his cowboy reputation and tendencies.
Raylan’s off-duty casual wear is exactly what you’d expect: ruggedly masculine and comfortably utilitarian… while still just fashionable enough for him to catch the eye of an interested woman.
- Gray-on-black plaid flannel long-sleeve shirt with slim collar, front placket, and mitred-corner flapped chest pockets
- Black cotton short-sleeve crew-neck T-shirt with small patch pocket
- Blue denim Levi’s bootcut jeans
- Lucchese “cigar”-colored brown ostrich leg Western-style boots with decorative stitched calf leather shafts
- Dark brown tooled leather belt with a dulled steel single-claw buckle
- Tan full grain leather Bianchi Model 59 Special Agent® paddle holster for a full-size Glock pistol
- TAG Heuer Series 6000 wristwatch with brushed steel case, white dial, and black leather strap
- Silver horseshoe ring
On a chilly evening, Raylan isn’t opposed to the “Canadian tuxedo” of a blue Levi’s trucker jacket worn with his blue jeans… he would probably refer if you called it a Kentucky tuxedo, though.
Both on- and off-duty, Raylan carries his blued Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol, chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum. The U.S. Marshal Service has issued the Glock 22 since 2000 – famously called out as a plot point by Tommy Lee Jones in U.S. Marshals – but that model’s .40 S&W ammunition is more expensive than the 9mm of the Glock 17.
Given the amount of gunplay on Justified and the cosmetic similarities between the on-screen Glock 17 and the actual issued Glock 22, the economical decision of the showrunners to utilize less expensive blank ammunition should be applauded.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the entire series. This look was primarily seen throughout the fifth season, making its primary appearances in “Good Intentions” (Episode 5.03) and “Whistle Past the Graveyard” (Episode 5.08) with only brief or varied appearances in the other mentioned episodes.
And, if you’re a “rolly coaster” fan like Uncle Jack in “Whistle Past the Graveyard”, do yourself the favor of checking out the mentioned “face-melter” Millennium Force at Cedar Point. It’s a hell of a ride. (One of the first times I rode the Millennium Force shortly after it opened, a pen flew out of my pocket while going down a hill. It briefly lingered near my face before the velocity of the coaster overtook gravity and the hotel pen was relegated to my wake.)
Get me out here again, you best remember to ditch.
Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, laidback stoner and bowler
Los Angeles, Fall 1991
Film: The Big Lebowski
Release Date: March 6, 1998
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
For 4/20, BAMF Style is taking a closer look at one of the most iconic and endearing cinematic stoners.
You gotta love The Dude. All he wants to do is light a joint, sip a White Russian, and bowl while listening to the easy rock of Bob Dylan and CCR. Unfortunately, two misinformed pornographer’s thugs have to break into his home, pee on his rug, and ruin his check post-dating existence. (Supposedly, an early draft of the screenplay revealed that The Dude was able to bankroll his 69-cent trips to Ralph’s as the heir to the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, but Joel Coen dropped the idea.)
The Dude: Did you ever hear of The Seattle Seven?
The Dude: That was me… and six other guys.
The Dude was partially based on the easygoing Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, an independent film promoter who helped the Coen Brothers secure distribution for Blood Simple in 1984 and was, indeed, one of the “other guys” among the Seattle Seven. Bridges himself had a role in the conception of the character; the Coens had developed The Dude with Bridges in mind and, once he accepted, he readily supplied mannerisms and even clothing to the role of Jeffrey Lebowski.
The Big Lebowski is a perfectly Coen-esque tribute to the interwar noir works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett; even its title recalls The Big Sleep although The Big Lebowski is far more fitting than the vague title of Chandler’s novel. Like the fictional private eyes of so much pulp fiction, the action only moves with The Dude; even the one brief scene where he doesn’t directly appear – as the nihilists order pancakes – features the van where he and his John Milius-inspired blowhard buddy Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) are currently riding.
The audience follows this easygoing hero – or I won’t say a hero, because what’s a hero? – as he weaves in and out of the increasingly overly complicated plot created by those around him that take themselves far too seriously. As Joel Coen himself said, “We wanted to do a Chandler kind of story – how it moves episodically, and deals with the characters trying to unravel a mystery, as well as having a hopelessly complex plot that’s ultimately unimportant.” The Big Lebowski achieves his goal with aplomb, solidifying itself among the greatest and most iconic comedies ever made.
What’d He Wear?
For someone who spends much of his time in torn hoodies, baggy plaid shorts, or a faded bathrobe, The Dude’s tan cowichan knit sweater is one of the most “socially acceptable” outfits that he wears in The Big Lebowski. Due to its uniqueness and appearance in some of the movie’s most popular scenes, The Dude’s sweater is now recognized nearly 20 years later as one of the most recognizable film costumes with replicas and knit patterns abundant on the internet.
The Dude’s sweater is primarily tan lambswool with a distinctive geometric knit known as “Cowichan” in two darker tones of brown. The knit’s origins can be traced back to the 1850s when European settlers began populating Vancouver Island, then inhabited primarily by the Cowichan First Nation tribe. The introduction of sheep to the area at the same time meant more available wool. The European influence was incorporated into traditional Cowichan knitting and the modern Cowichan sweater was born. Cowichan sweaters can be differentiated from traditional Scottish garments like Fair Isle due to their tradition of being hand-knit using thick, one-ply natural-colored yarn for heavier outerwear than the lightweight, two-ply dyed yarn Scottish pieces. Originally known mostly to the Coast Salish community on Vancouver Island, the pattern became popular and quickly appropriated throughout the 20th century, most famously by Mary Maxim.
Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon created their own variation of a Cowichan knit sweater in 1972, and it was this sweater – in tan and brown – that The Dude famously wore on screen. The long-sleeve wool cardigan is worked in a 1×1 rib with a short row shawl collar and a 1.5″ ring pull zipper.
According to Mary Zophres, one vintage sweater and three modern replicas were available for the production, but Bridges only wore the vintage model on screen as it was of the best quality and kept him in character. The exact sweater worn on screen was auctioned in May 2011.
After The Big Lebowski became a cult favorite and fans began clamoring for a cool sweater like his, Pendleton realized their duty to their fans (or perhaps just saw the insane profitability!) and reintroduced The Dude’s sweater as “The Original Westerley”, available on the company site for $239. Wisely not shying away from its most famous wearer, Pendleton proudly announces this sweater as “back by popular demand, down to every last color and detail”, offering the sweater only in tan and brown as El Duderino* himself wore.
*if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
While cheaper replicas of various quality abound on Amazon and other sites, those should be considered only for costume purposes as a high-quality Pendleton garment made from 100% wool would serve its wearer comfortably and reliably throughout a lifetime rather than the 85% acrylic/15% wool imitation that would serve its greatest purpose on Halloween.
Of course, an industrious Lebowski fan could always take to the needle themselves and find one of the many knitting patterns available, including this one available from Ravelry, which suggests the use of bulky 12-ply yarn “vanilla” ground with contrast colors “latte” and “ebony”, presumably the stripes and the ornate stitching, respectively. This cross stitch pattern can also be found on Etsy sites like this one, available for purchase for only $4.99.
(For a bit of trivia, a Reddit user found that this exact sweater’s place in cinematic history isn’t limited to The Dude; it had been worn in the 2006 film The Lives of Others in a scene set in 1984 East Germany.)
The first time we see The Dude sporting his Cowichan sweater, he is retrieving his busted ’73 Ford Gran Torino from the impound lot. He meets up with bowling buddies Walter and Donny for some drinks and has his first encounter with The Stranger (Sam Elliott) before moseying on over to Maude’s, where he learns about Bunny Lebowski and Karl Hungus. Having successfully passed his exam with Maude’s doctor, he hits a joint and pounds the roof of his freshly-recovered car while jamming to CCR, dropping the joint and discovering Larry Sellers’ discarded homework in the process… although he also crashes the poor Gran Torino into a dumpster while trying to extinguish the still-burning roach on his car seats with a beer.
For these scenes, The Dude wears a dirty white v-neck t-shirt, a pair of pale green casual pants, and jelly sandals.
The Dude’s well-worn white cotton t-shirt has short sleeves and a deeper v-neck than I tend to prefer in life, but… The Dude makes it work. I guess the deep v really ties the outfit together.
His baggy pale green pants are stylistically similar to scrubs worn by doctors and nurses – likely made from a cotton/polyester blend – with a drawstring waistband and patch side pockets with a slanted hand opening.
The Dude’s unique footwear in these scenes is a pair of transparent PVC jelly sandals – or “jellies” – supposedly so-named due to their resemblance to jellyfish. Like a few other costume pieces used in the production, the jellies were actually owned by Jeff Bridges who showed up on set with them one day. Any interested wearer can pick up an inexpensive pair at LaMeduse.com.
The Dude’s sunglasses are probably worth as much as the rest of his entire wardrobe combined; he wears a pair of Vuarnet VL1307 polarized sunglasses which originally went for $350 but can now be picked up new on Amazon for the low(?) price of $91.99 as of April 2016. The Dude’s Vuarnet sunglasses have a matte black plastic square frame with molded plastic nose pads under the 16mm “saddle nose bridge” and 135mm arms. The light green polarized glass lenses are lightweight and 58mm wide.
We next come across The Dude after Walter tracks down the mysterious Larry Sellers who left his homework in The Dude’s stolen car. Despite his admiration for the apathetic Larry’s iron-lunged father, Walter is forced to teach the boy a harsh lesson in “what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps,” and their investigation comes to a dead end as The Dude’s beleaguered Ford takes on even more damage. The Dude attempts to build a home security system, but it somehow fails and he is taken to the John Lautner-designed abode of slick pornographer Jackie Treehorn. The evening leads to spiked White Russians, wet bowling dreams, well-endowed sketchwork, and three forcible ejections for The Dude (from Treehorn’s estate, the “beach community” of Malibu, and an Eagles-loving cabbie’s taxi.)
For this noirish escapade, The Dude is much more colorfully dressed under his Cowichan sweater, now sporting a purple v-neck shirt, a pair of “crazy-striped” weightlifter pants, and white sneakers.
The Dude’s deep v-necked cotton t-shirt is similar to his previously-seen white shirt, except that this one is colored a very vibrant purple that somehow nicely matches his chaotic pants. The best example I’ve been able to find online is this cotton/poly “heather purple” t-shirt from Anvil for the Dude-friendly price of $6.50.
The Dude’s blue, purple, and salmon crazy-striped pants are evocative of the casual pants favored by weightlifters and surfers – particularly around The Dude’s home of Venice Beach – in the 1980s. They have on-seam side pockets with no back pockets and, like the other pants, a drawstring waistband.
The pattern of The Dude’s pants consist of a solid light blue stripe, a purple block stripe, a solid salmon stripe, and a blue stripe with a light blue motif of “stick figure” people alternating with a more abstract pattern connecting them. This pattern is far too unique to make finding them organically at your neighborhood thrift store a likely possibility, but Colores del Pueblo offers a pair of trousers they describe as “hand-woven Guatemalan pants modeled after The Dude” for $55, a fair price given the company’s admirable mission of promoting social justice and cultural preservation through economic fair trade.
While building his home security system, The Dude has his sweater off and leans over to reveal his underwear of choice – a pair of white “tighty-whitey” cotton briefs.
The Dude forgoes his jellies in favor of a pair of white Otomix martial arts training shoes with black side trim. Although they resemble everyday sneakers at first, the Otomix trainers are actually slip-ons with a single white lace at the top near the tongue.
Otomix first produced these shoes more than 25 years ago, and recently reintroduced The Original “Lite” as an even more lightweight option with flexible indoor/outdoor Stingray® rubber soles that wrap the foot “for balance and kicking power”. You can pick up a pair on Amazon for less than $50.
Go Big or Go Home
While our rugged Western narrator hesitates to call The Dude a hero, I think it’s fair to say that’s exactly what he is. The Dude means no one any harm – in fact, his self-confessed involvement in the original Port Huron Statement would indicate that he wants just the opposite – and he’s the perfect example of a relatively altruistic and individualist human living life on his own terms. He manages to stay laidback and smiling while dealing with each new circumstance enfolding around him… although that may have something to do with his reliable pot stash.
Jeff Bridges was very familiar with his character and even had the foresight to ask the Coens questions like “Did The Dude burn one on the way over?” before filming a scene. If they confirmed that he had, Bridges would rub his knuckles in his eyes before each take to make his eyes look bloodshot.
On that note, The Big Lebowski is also one of the best representations I’ve seen of the true characterization of a lifelong pot smoker. He takes on a human-focused, zen-like approach to life, caring more about the things that would make him happy (a rug that really ties the room together) or others happy (poor Smoky’s bowling points) and ignoring the more basic human urges like money (rejecting a $20,000 check that would put him in a higher income tax bracket.)
The Dude knows it’s futile to try and be anything that you’re not. Although he’s thrust into the traditional “private eye” role occupied by a Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade, he is far more interested in his rug and his bowling score than solving any mysteries. When he does get the urge to employ a P.I. trick, scratching a pencil on the first blank page of Jackie Treehorn’s freshly-used notepad, he comes away only with a sketch of an extremely well-endowed man; this scene sums up a main lesson of The Big Lebowski: try to be anything other than you are and you’ll be proverbially – if not literally – fucked.
The Dude’s taste in music – established by the Coens with the help of the legendary T Bone Burnett – is also not surprising given his pacifist-rocker persona. (It was also Burnett who determined that The Dude would share his sentiment of “[hating] the fuckin’ Eagles, man!”
He lights a spliff for a celebratory 420 session in his dilapidated 1973 Ford Gran Torino sedan while jamming out to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit “Looking Out My Back Door” from the brilliant 1970 Cosmo’s Factory album.
When The Dude gets to Jackie Treehorn’s house, he is treated to a much different kind of mellow music in the form of Henry Mancini’s “Lujon”, a lush 1961 instrumental that never fails to evoke an exotic Jet Age cocktail lounge.
The intriguing “Lujon”, from Mancini’s Mr. Lucky Goes Latin album, was adapted for the first season titles of Magic City before a lawsuit forced the showrunners to develop a new, original song for the second season. While Mancini’s music might have the ability to transport its listener to a land of vaguely Latin sophistication, his own background was anything but exotic. Born in Cleveland and raised in West Aliquippa – a smoky suburb of Pittsburgh that I could personally tell you is not a tropical paradise – Mancini later became one of the most venerated of film composers, known for such scores as his work in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Pink Panther. His “Lujon”, also known as “Slow Hot Wind”, was released at the height of his early ’60s success and was the perfect track to underline the mystery and ironic sophistication of Treehorn’s lifestyle as well as the enigmatic haze that envelops The Dude as he drinks down the spiked White Russian that Treehorn just served to him…
What to Imbibe
Jackie Treehorn: Refill?
The Dude: Does the Pope shit in the woods?
…and if you know The Dude, you know to refill his glass with a White Russian cocktail. The Dude prefers Smirnoff red label 80 proof vodka, Kahlúa coffee liqueur, and half-and-half from Ralph’s supermarket. He drinks nine “Caucasians” over the course of The Big Lebowski, and those nine were enough to permanently associate the film with the decades-old cocktail.
As mixed drinks and vodka both became popular in the U.S. during the early years of the Cold War, a concoction mixing vodka and coffee liqueur over ice in a rocks glass was first named a Black Russian in 1949. Sometime over the next sixteen years, someone thought to add cream and the Oakland Tribune inserted the first mention of the White Russian in its November 21, 1965 issue as “White Russian. 1 oz. each Southern, vodka, cream”, essentially an unchanged recipe fifty years later except for the greater popularity today of Kahlúa rather than Coffee Southern.
Like The Dude himself, the drink shone brightly in the ’60s then quickly faded away as more fashionable drinks like the Long Island Iced Tea or Cosmopolitan took over on cocktail menus. The White Russian owes any popularity it has to this day to its revival in The Big Lebowski; the only other appearance I can think of in popular media is when Adriana La Cerva drinks them as a “safe cocktail” for her upset stomach in two fifth season episodes of The Sopranos.
Knox Harrington: So you’re Lebowski. Maudie’s told me all about you. She’ll be back in a moment, sit down. Would you like a drink?
The Dude: (sitting down) Uh, yeah. White Russian?
Knox Harrington: The bar’s over there.
Choosing the White Russian, best known as a soothingly sweet post-prandial dessert cocktail, as The Dude’s drink of choice was an inspired decision by the Coens. While a more direct noir parody would have its protagonist slurping slug after slug of cheap bourbon or rye from an office bottle, The Big Lebowski‘s protagonist is the only real character with the self-awareness to realize he doesn’t have to look like anyone he isn’t. Proud to loaf around in cheap, comfortable casualwear between his home and the bowling alley in a hotboxed car, The Dude also knows what he likes to drink and sees no need to deviate.
(In the rare event that he does deviate from his beloved Caucasians, The Dude drinks a beer. Due to the context of the scene where he’s got a spliff going and is forced to put it out with his beer to avoid an unavoidable car accident, he is armed with a bottle of the fictional “Meichtry Draft” beer with a label provided by Earl Hays Press.)
I have a personal connection and fondness for the White Russian due to its formative role in my history of inebriation. When I was 15, I was attending the wedding of a cousin from the Southern California contingent of my family. I hadn’t yet seen The Big Lebowski, but I knew that all of my cousins in that area were major fans. Having enjoyed my first social drinks earlier that year when a friend snuck water bottles full of gin into a party, I felt prepared to imbibe and was looking for something accessible for my young, untested liver. Aware of my fondness for dairy, some gracious cousins suggested White Russians as my gateway into the booze world. This turned out to be a good decision.
The Dude’s unique sense of style speaks volumes about the man who dresses solely for comfort. In fact, his sole form of self-expression is comfort… although his Cowichan knit sweater is a relatively stylish way of conveying this to the world.
- Tan and brown ribbed lambswool Cowichan geometric knit zip-front Pendleton sweater with short row shawl collar
- Purple cotton deep v-neck short-sleeve t-shirt
- Blue/purple/salmon vibrantly crazy-striped “weightlifter” pants with drawstring waist and on-seam side pockets
- White synthetic Otomix slip-on martial arts training shoes with black side trim and rubber indoor/outdoor soles
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie, which is one of my all-time favorites. Sit back in your comfiest robe (or Cowichan knit sweater), smoke ’em if you got ’em, and enjoy a White Russian.
Yeah, well… The Dude abides.
While “The Dude abides” could just be regarded as a cool line, it’s actually been traced to Ecclesiastes 1:4: “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever,” referencing The Dude’s ability to withstand the changing chaos around him while remaining the same.
Although… how could The Dude afford so much weed? Let’s not forget that this is a guy who is post-dating checks for 69 cents.
David Duchovny as Hank Moody, rising novelist and family man
Venice Beach, circa summer 2003
Episode: “Love Song” (Epiosde 5.06)
Air Date: February 12, 2012
Director: Eric Stoltz
Costumer: Alison Cole Godachy
“Love Song” was a welcome break during Californication‘s relatively uneven fifth season, providing a bright spot in a season that arguably marked the end of what had once been a reliably mature Showtime dramedy.
Many fans’ hopes were answered as we finally got to see Hank and Karen when they were a strong couple, both eagerly facing the prospect of their new life in L.A. Based on context clues like Becca’s implied young age and the fact that the film in question had wrapped about a year before the first season began, we can assume that we’re seeing the couple about four years prior to the pilot episode. Both are still basking in the warm promise, and it’s heartbreaking to know what’s ahead of them.
Karen: L.A. changes people.
Hank: Cities don’t change people, people don’t even change people. We are who we are.
Luckily, we’re treated to this glimpse into the past as part of Hank’s songwriting process with Kali, an alluring singer he first encountered on a red-eye from JFK to LAX. The flashback gives us some cool weekend looks to channel a dressed-down Hank Moody without always resorting to the usual black t-shirt and jeans.
What’d He Wear?
Hank has always been an anachronism – “an analog guy in a digital world” he is called in the first season – so it makes sense that he would still be sporting some grunge-inspired duds by the early 2000s when he and Karen finally make their fateful move to the left coast.
(Due to much of the actual on-screen action being black and white, behind-the-scenes photos provided much needed help in nailing down the details.)
Arriving in Venice
Our first look at Hank and Karen at their happiest shows us that he hasn’t strayed far from his original style by the time the show’s storyline begins. Hank strolls with Karen into Venice Beach wearing a brown corduroy jacket, t-shirt, and jeans.
The t-shirt is the most un-Moody part of the outfit, as we’re pretty used to seeing solid dark shirts after multiple seasons of the show. In the “Love Song” flashback, Hank wears a cream yellow short-sleeve cotton crew neck t-shirt with the ornate logo for “PETER TAT-2 ASSOC.” printed in black on the front.
A Google search reveals that this is most likely from a tattoo parlor in Denver. I had initially run a search in 2011 to find out more, and I was able to secure the art for the logo actually used on the shirt. Four years later, however, it appears that the shop has changed its own art and the logo found on Hank’s t-shirt is no more.
Over the shirt, Hank wears a brown corduroy trucker jacket that appears to be one size too large. The jacket has two patch pockets on the chest that button through pointed flaps as well as two lower welted hand pockets. Hank keeps all six brass-finished metal buttons down the front unbuttoned as well as the single button on each cuff, further emphasizing the length of the oversized jacket’s sleeves. The back is split into three panels, and there is a single 2-button tab on each side of the jacket’s waistline to adjust the fit. The corduroy trucker jacket is likely an original Levi’s model, as the tag on the left pocket would imply.
An ardent advocate of denim, it’s no surprise to see Hank wearing a pair of medium-blue wash jeans, worn low around his waist, as he walks the streets. Hank’s jeans have a standard five-pocket layout and a tan back patch above the right rear pocket.
Hank’s accessories are all his usuals. He wears a pair of tan suede Timberland Torrance slip-on Chelsea boots with black elastic side gussets. His sunglasses are the oft-seen Izod 725 with slim frames and brown lenses. The same simple black leather braid adorns his left wrist… sans the black studded leather bracelet and his silver ring, interestingly enough.
On the Beach
Hank channels his inner grunge fandom as he hits the beach with Karen, wearing yet another surprisingly vibrant shirt (although the grayscale-filmed flashback doesn’t quite make this evident at first). The red lightweight cotton shirt has a large white double-stripe grid check, accented by a navy shadow check. Hank buttons a few of the 7 white plastic buttons down the front. The roomy shirt has a large collar, two patch pockets on the chest, and unbuttoned cuffs that Hank wears rolled up to his elbow.
For a business meeting to discuss the eventual production of
God Hates Us All Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the show nicely nods to Hank’s earlier style by returning the familiar olive brown thin-waled corduroy smoking jacket from the early seasons. This single-breasted 2-button jacket has padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, single vent, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and 3-button cuffs. The left lapel of the edge-swollen notch lapels has a buttonhole stitched into it.
While the jacket makes a familiar return, the rest of the outfit is all new… and very off-brand for our hero. Hank wears a blue chambray cotton shirt, a fine choice for a newly-ordained beach-dweller, with large white plastic buttons down the edge-stitched front placket and on the square button cuffs. The shirt also has two open patch pockets on the chest.
To save the most surprising part of Hank’s attire for last, he actually abstains from wearing his beloved jeans in favor of a pair of flat front khaki chinos!
How to Get the Look
My favorite look from the “Love Song” flashbacks includes the distinctive “PETER TAT-2” shirt under the corded trucker jacket. It is very true to Hank’s character without being as obvious as just another solid t-shirt.
- Brown corduroy Levi’s trucker jacket with 6 brass-finished buttons, 2 chest pockets with button-down pointed flaps, 2 welted hand pockets, unbuttoned cuffs, and double side 2-button adjuster tabs
- Yellow cream cotton “PETER TAT-2 ASSOC.” graphic t-shirt with crew neck and short sleeves
- Medium blue low-rise denim jeans
- Light brown sueded leather Timberland “Torrance” slip-on Chelsea boots with black elastic side gussets
- Thin black braided leather bracelet, worn alone on the left wrist
- Izod 725 sunglasses with dark brown lenses
It’s also interesting which accessories (the ring, bracelet, etc.) were left out for the “earlier” scenes.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Catch up with Hank and the gang by watching the full series of Californication. Many fans (myself included) will argue that the show’s first few years were its best, but this episode was a solid entry from the polarizing fifth season.
Come on back to bed. Let’s californicate.
James Dean as Jim Stark, confused suburban high school student and loner
Los Angeles, Spring 1956
Film: Rebel Without a Cause
Release Date: October 27, 1955
Director: Nicholas Ray
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Today – September 30, 1955 – is the 60th anniversary of the famous fatal car crash that ended James Dean’s life at the age of 24. At the time of his death, he had only completed acting in three films (other than uncredited bit parts), but those performances made more of an impact than anyone could have guessed.
After his breakout role in East of Eden in 1955, Dean quickly followed it up with his performance as the troubled and tortured Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, a representation of teenage angst that gave a glimmer of hope to millions of teens throughout the country who were disgusted by the falsely naive and puritanical state of 1950s society. Teens could actually relate to the frustrated Jim Stark rather than the squeaky clean Andy Hardy or mischievous doe-eyed Beaver Cleaver. Dean’s electric performance captivated young audiences that began copying his style.
Unfortunately, James Dean didn’t live to see the release of the film that would give so many of his fans hope. Shortly after completing his role in Giant, Dean was scheduled to compete at a race in Salinas on September 30, 1955 in his “Little Bastard”, a brand new 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder (VIN 550-0055) purchased only nine days earlier and painted with “130” on the hood, doors, and deck lid. Rolf Wütherich, the German Porsche factory mechanic that maintained the car, encouraged Dean to drive it from L.A. to Salinas to ensure it was in racing condition. Wütherich joined Dean in the car, with Dean’s friend and stunt driver Bill Hickman driving behind them in the station wagon that Dean had originally intended to use to carry the Porsche via trailer. Hickman would later become famous as the stunt driver and actor who handled the black ’68 Charger in Bullitt. It was Hickman who gave Dean the nickname, “Little Bastard” that Dean then applied to his car.
At 5:45 p.m., more than two hours after both cars had received a speeding ticket, a Cal Poly student named Donald Turnupseed was driving his black and white 1950 Ford Tudor coupe east on Route 46 toward Cholame Junction. Turnupseed hesitantly pulled his Ford left over the center line to take the left fork onto Route 41. Dean, approaching the junction from the other direction, was unable to stop his Porsche in time and attempted to power steer away from Turnupseed’s Ford. Unfortunately, the Porsche slammed into the driver’s quadrant of the Ford in a nearly head-on collision, catapulting Wütherich out of the Porsche but trapping Dean inside the mangled Porsche as it flipped intot he air and landed in a gully, northwest of the junction. The heavier Ford was pushed nearly forty feet down the westbound lane of the road. Turnupseed managed to step out of his damaged car with only minor injuries. Hickman and Collier’s photographer Sanford Roth pulled up in the station wagon and joined the many passersby who stopped to help.
After the badly mutilated Dean had been extricated from the Porsche where his left foot had been trapped between the clutch and brake pedal, Hickman recalled the actor taking his last breath in his arms, and Dean was pronounced dead on arrival shortly after arriving by ambulance at the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital at 6:20 p.m. Wütherich would survive but with serious injuries and psychological trauma that would haunt him until his 1981 death.
Dean’s brief flash of stardom in 1955 shook the decade by storm before his death, shaking the long-standing tradition of the old dictating the young. Rebellion became cool, and Dean became a martyr for the movement that he unwittingly ignited but undoubtedly would have supported. Up to this point, fine clothing and dressing up was a symbol of social status. Now, fashion was redirected toward dressing down. Personal attitude became more important than fads or conformity.
What’d He Wear?
The red windbreaker, plain white t-shirt, and blue jeans sported by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause has skyrocketed to become one of the most iconic outfits in movie history, right up there with Bogart’s trench coat, Indiana Jones’ leather flight jacket, and 007 in a sharp tuxedo.
For his night out, Jim Stark dons a bright red cotton windbreaker, appropriately intense for Dean’s performance. It zips up the front with a brass YKK zipper, although Dean tends to keep his only partially zipped down at the waist. The jacket gathers at the waist like a blouson with an elastic hem that provides an athletic figure when closed. The windbreaker has two open slanted hand pockets – one on each side.
The cuffs close through a single buttonhole on one of two buttons; Dean wears his with the outer button fastened for a looser fit over the wrists.
Many stories circulate about the origins of this iconic jacket. Nicholas Ray claimed that he took it from a Red Cross worker, although most now believe that it is a McGregor Anti Freeze jacket with some customizations by costume designer Moss Mabry. The original McGregor Anti Freeze was designed in 1949, and the McGregor site even acknowledges that this was the windbreaker seen in the film, saying “a certain Mr. James Dean was wearing this coat in a ‘rebellious’ movie that would make history. We can’t be absolutely sure that this was due to the coat, but what is certain is that it has stood the test of time.”
McGregor updated its original Anti Freeze based on the film’s popularity and now offers the “Kirk Anti Freeze” for €199.95, constructed of “light water and wind resistant polyester with a soft wool lining” with the same adjustable cuffs and ribbed elastic hem as the film’s version. The only major cosmetic difference is that the Kirk has flaps on the slanted hand pockets, while Dean’s original Anti Freeze had open pockets.
Underneath, Dean wears a plain white cotton crew neck t-shirt with a short-sleeve “muscle cut” that shows off plenty of arm, as the sleeve ends closer to the shoulder than to the elbow.
Luckily for purists who require nothing less than the exact brand worn in the film, a blogger called The Undershirt Guy has taken the case of identifying the t-shirt worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Apparently, after three auctions in six years, Nate D. Sanders finally managed to sell the shirt in 2012 for $6,083. However, none of the auction descriptions say much more than that Gordon Bau, Dean’s makeup artist on his three major movies, was able to give the shirt to Claire Gaynor, who provided the letter of provenance.
(The other auctions were Heritage Auctions and Live Auctioneers.com, if you’re curious. Heritage Auctions remarked on the irony that Clark Gable’s lack of an undershirt dramatically decreased undershirt sales until Dean’s white t-shirt revived them 21 years later.)
The Undershirt Guy persisted and found a 2013 article by CNN contributor Bob Greene titled “Could James Dean save J. C. Penney?” In it, Greene comments that Dean was born in Marion, Indiana which was “smack dab in the middle of J. C. Penney country”, and thus copycats believed he favored the simple J.C. Penney “Towncraft” brand of t-shirts. While the answer is most likely lost to history, The Undershirt Guy provided a helpful alternative to all James Dean wannabes by recommending the RibbedTee Retro Fit shirt, a loose knit cotton/polyester blend going for $30 and marketed by RibbedTee as “reminiscent of the great, but no longer made Towncraft 50/50 undershirts.”
Dean’s jeans leave much less guesswork, as Dean himself advertised for his preferred Lee jeans while he was alive. The dark blue jeans sported in Rebel Without a Cause are Lee 101Z Rider denim jeans, notable being the first zip-fly jeans upon their introduction in 1926. While denim jeans had predominantly been the domain of the working man since Levi’s introduced them in the 1870s, they became the symbol for a rebellious teen counterculture in the ’50s, no doubt thanks to James Dean.
The Lee 101Z Riders worn in the film can be identified by the small black tab stitched onto the top of the right back pocket. They are of the standard five-pocket layout with two slanted front pockets, a coin pocket on the right, and two back patch pockets. The bottoms of Dean’s jeans are frayed.
Under the jeans, Dean wears a pair of black leather engineer boots, identified by the silver buckle on the adjustable leather throat strap. We never see the full length of the boots themselves since they tend to extend about 10-18″ up the leg. Engineer boots were developed during the 1930s for workers exposed to potential leg or foot injuries. They were quickly adopted by motorcycle riders for their resistance to leg burns or injuries while riding.
A blog called Vintage Engineer Boots (whose name leaves no doubt regarding their authority in this case!) visited a Madrid exhibit that showcased a pair of Chippewa engineer boots from the ’40s or early ’50s as the boots worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. With more expertise than I could ever hope to gather on my own, the blog sheds some doubt on this claim and opens it up to debate with good points on both sides. Since Chippewa Shoe Manufacturing Company was the original manufacturer of engineer boots, I think it’s conceivable that Dean wore at least one pair of Chippewa engineers in the movie.
Dean’s socks will remain a mystery, but he does wear a pair of plain white briefs that are glimpsed poking over the top of his jeans when he gets his hands on Plato’s pistol… if you’re curious about his underwear.
The simple steel tonneau-shaped wristwatch has also garnered some debate among Dean fans and watch aficionados. Although it looks like some Hamilton, Elgin, or Longines pieces of the era, I believe it is a Westclox Wrist Ben on a black leather strap. This watch, with its dark gray luminous dial, appears to be the best approximation of the one worn by Dean.
ClockHistory.com cites that this style would’ve been produced between 1956 and 1958, but it’s the only similar-looking watch from the era that I’ve been able to track down that has only even numerals presented on the face.
Dean himself wore a much fancier watch in real life. The watch on his wrist at the time of his fatal car crash was a Le Coultre Powermatic Nautilus with a 14-carat gold case, black dial, and black alligator strap.
Ironically, Dean became a style icon by ignoring fashion and dressing with an aim towards comfort and practicality. He wasn’t a rebel because of what he chose to wear; he was a rebel because he chose not to conform.
- Red cotton zip-front windbreaker with collar, brass zipper, open slanted hand pockets, button cuffs, and elastic ribbed waistband
- Dean likely wore a customized McGregor Anti-Freeze jacket
- White cotton crew neck short-sleeve t-shirt
- Dean likely wore a J.C. Penney “Towncraft” undershirt
- Dark blue denim straight leg jeans with zip fly, slanted front pockets, coin pocket, and patch back pockets
- Dean wore Lee 101Z Rider jeans
- Black engineer boots with silver buckles
- Dean possibly wore Chippewa engineer boots
- Stainless steel tonneau-cased wristwatch with dark gray luminous dial on black leather strap
- Dean possibly wore a Westclox Wrist Ben watch
- White underwear briefs
Jim’s even more troubled buddy Plato (Sal Mineo) gets his hands on a pistol for the third act, a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer with nickel plating and white pearl grips, found in his mother’s bedroom.
Jim and Judy (Natalie Wood) do everything they can to calm the excited Plato, with Jim eventually getting his hands on the gun in a quick gambit designed to reassure Plato and disarm him.
As Plato slips on the windbreaker, Jim takes out the pistol’s magazine and removes the remaining .38 ACP rounds before handing it back to Plato because “friends always keep their promises.”
The scene ends with tragic consequences as the police don’t know that Plato’s pistol is empty when he steps outside. And, technically, since Jim didn’t eject a round from the chamber – and we know that Plato has already fired it earlier in the evening so the chamber would indeed be loaded – Plato would still have one shot left.
The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer enjoyed 24 years of production in the early decades of the 20th century, although it is mostly forgotten today. It was one of John Browning’s early efforts at the semi-automatic pistol, a natural evolution from the Colt M1900 and the Colt Model 1902 Sporting Model – both also designed by Browning.
Like its predecessors, the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer is a short-recoil, single-action, semi-automatic pistol chambered for the obsolete .38 ACP cartridge and lacking an external safety mechanism. Externally, it resembles a simplified and more compact version of the later M1911 .45-caliber pistol with its external hammer. Although only four letters separate it from the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, the two pistols are very different.
The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer weighed just under two pounds with a 4.5″ long barrel and a seven-round box magazine. It was quite popular in its early years as a relatively light and compact pistol with a cartridge that could carry a punch. However, the more streamlined Pocket Hammerless in .32 and .380 would eclipse Pocket Hammer sales and continue to thrive well into the 1940s. Nearly 31,000 Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer pistols were produced until production ended in 1927 as more powerful rounds like the 9×19 mm Parabellum, .38 Special, and .45 ACP gained favor with handgunners.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
You can wake up now, the universe has ended.
David Duchovny as Hank Moody, womanizing novelist and screenwriter
New York City, Spring 2012
Episode: “JFK to LAX” (Ep. 5.01)
Air Date: January 8, 2012
Director: John Dahl
Costume Designer: Alison Cole
I don’t often find myself traveling for work; my first business trip for this job was in March 2012 to Phoenix, Arizona, and I just returned from my second, a weekend in D.C. hosting a client conference. With the news of new episodes of The X-Files coming, this was as good a time as any to check back in with BAMF Style hero Hank Moody. Since I’ve been hopping on and off of planes, I also figured we could take an updated look at Moody’s airborne style. (My first post about Hank Moody on a plane focused on his travel to and from New York in the first season episodes “California Son” and “Filthy Lucre”.)
For a third twist of relevance, the first time I actually saw Californication‘s fifth season premiere was in my Phoenix hotel room three years ago. I’d been too busy to catch it during the first two months, but I managed to snag some downtime while idling away the hours in my room at the Courtyard Phoenix Chandler.
The fifth season premiere first finds Hank on a date… or technically avoiding a date, as he nervously smokes in the bathroom of a hip-looking NYC bistro. Having settled on a solid break-up speech, he heads out to end things with the lovely Carrie (Natalie Zea) before she ends up calling him out in front of the whole restaurant:
This man’s a monster! He likes to fuck women in the ass and then tell them that he just wants to keep it casual.
Needless to say, she dumps her martini in his face and takes to heels while he takes one on the chin. On his way elsewhere – my best guess is a bar – he receives a call from Runkle “with the prospect of a significant payday”. He takes the job, sight unseen, to avoid “a bunny boiler situation” with Carrie. This leads him onto a plane where he has a chance encounter with a voluptuous R&B singer, not yet knowing that his new gig is writing a shitty action movie for the singer’s volatile rapper boyfriend… and certainly not knowing that he just made his prospects a little cloudier by making out with her in the plane’s bathroom. Only Hank.
Of course, Hank and Carrie’s “bunny boiler situation” literally heats up as she burns down his apartment, likely ruining an impressive collection of both books and black t-shirts and once again leaving Hank stranded on his least favorite coast.
What’d He Wear?
Getting to see Hank in his native environment – New York City – for the first time since the second season flashback shows us just how little his style changed from coast to coast. In this case, though, his preference for all black fits in much more with the city’s slick atmosphere.
The most notable change in his wardrobe, which sticks for the rest of the show, is a cool black leather jacket that seems to have taken the place of the familiar brown smoking jacket as his outerwear of choice. The jacket is constructed of soft leather with a shirt-style collar, silver zip front, and slanted slash hand pockets. Each cuff closes with a silver-toned snap, and the waistband is free of any adjusters, tabs, or additional snaps. Stitching is present on all seams and down each of the front panels and down the rear to create a tri-panel back.
A stunt version of the jacket was auctioned by ScreenBid in July 2014 with “2 SIZES TOO BIG FOR DAVE” written inside. Considering that the jacket was a size 44, we can reasonably deduce that the jacket sported by Duchovny on the show is a size 40. Also considering that the stunt jacket was made by Dolce & Gabbana, we can again reasonably deduce that Duchovny wore a D&G as there’s no viable reason why the show would spring for a similar-looking D&G jacket for stunts but not for its lead character!
Amazon is currently selling a replica of Hank’s leather jacket. Marketed by BlingSoul as simply the “Hank Moody Leather Jacket”, the $189 real leather jacket appears to be a pretty accurate replica of the one Duchovny wore from seasons five through seven on the show with all favorable reviews from buyers, at least as of April 2015. The only noticeable external difference is that the Amazon jacket features a “T”-style three-panel back; Moody’s jacket on the show has a three-panel back, but it is divided down each shoulder blade.
The rest of the outfit is all Hank’s signature look. He wears a black short-sleeve James Perse crew neck t-shirt the whole time.
You can get your own from the James Perse website for $50, which is – admittedly – a lot of money for a plain black cotton t-shirt. Based on auctioned versions, we know Duchovny wears a size 2, JP’s equivalent to a ‘medium’. The site describes the shirt, style #MLJ3311, as:
Short sleeve crew with binded neck. Lightweight Jersey is an extremely soft knit made by specially treating the cotton fibers before they are spun into a yarn. This fabric breathes well and has a nice drape.
In New York City, he adds a layer with a “slightly darker black” (thank you, Archer) long-sleeve crew neck t-shirt over the short-sleeve shirt. The layering is reasonable given NYC’s naturally chillier climate than L.A. Once he arrives in L.A., he drops the outer layer and wears only the short-sleeve t.
Always an advocate of denim (“the people’s fabric”, as he earlier told a snooty country club attendant), Hank wears a pair of jeans in a very dark blue wash. The stitching on the pockets and seams appears to be rust brown-colored thread. I can’t tell if this is one of his Earnest Sewn pairs or not, but the brand has certainly been positively identified with Californication.
Hank’s shoes are his usual Timberland “Torrance” sueded leather Chelsea boots, colored in medium brown. We don’t see his socks in this episode, but he wears black socks 99% of the time so we can assume the same here.
Hank also wears his usual accessories in the usual places, at least for the New York scenes. His silver spinner ring is present on his right index finger, and the left wrist sports both black leather bracelets that we’ve come to know and love – the larger one studded with silver hexagons and circles and the thinner one consisting of a tied black woven braid. (As you’ve also doubtlessly come to know, you can find Hank’s bracelets at Urban Wrist.)
However, something strange happens after Hank returns to L.A. The silver ring is now on his left index finger, the black studded bracelet is now on his right wrist, and the thin leather braided bracelet is nowhere to be seen.
At first, I assumed this was the result of an image reversal, but background evidence and Hank’s own finger tattoo prove that he’s simply wearing these objects on the wrong hands. Is it possible that both Duchovny and the wardrobe folks forgot how Hank wears his famous jewelry? The show had been on a year-long hiatus, after all? Or was the plan to eventually reverse the L.A. scenes to make up for something else? Either way, it’s mystifying to anyone who notices.
An additional mystery is the appearance of a pair of tortoise wayfarer-style sunglasses that Hank wears in – I believe – this episode only. He had worn his dark Izod 725 shades in the first four seasons, occasionally sporting a pair of thicker-framed Oliver Peoples in some episodes of seasons 3 and 4 (Duchovny’s own, I understand). After this episode, he wore black-framed Ray-Ban aviators for the rest of the show’s run.
Based on the temple logos and the distinctive 21mm folding bridge, I believe Hank’s sunglasses in this episode are a pair of classic Persol PO 0714 sunglasses in color code 24/57 with tortoise “Havana” plastic frames and large, 54mm wide crystal brown polarized lenses. Whether I’m right or not, you can pick up your own pair of these Persols here. It was a pair of these sunglasses, with smaller blue 52mm lenses, that Steve McQueen made popular in The Thomas Crown Affair.
If I’m wrong about Hank’s sunglasses, or if someone has more information about them, do us all a favor and let me know!
Go Big or Go Home
The first frame of the episode sets up both Hank and Californication as entities that don’t care about social norms. With a flick of his red Bic, Hank lights up a cigarette while nervously constructing the perfect break-up speech… of course, it turns out to be inside the bathroom of a New York City restaurant, and New York was one of the first states to implement a statewide smoking ban (in 2003, if you’re curious) that would certainly include restaurant bathrooms. (Although, of course, California’s 1995 act made it the first state to pass a statewide smoking ban.)
Hank stays true to his drink of choice – Scotch, neat – whether in the New York eatery or on his mile-high journey to L.A.
The most surprising change is Hank’s telecommunication technology. For the first three seasons, he’d stuck with his Motorola RAZR before upgrading to a BlackBerry Bold for the fourth season. Interestingly, season four premiered six months after I switched from a flip phone to a BlackBerry Bold…
Now, in season five, he’s got an iPhone 4S. Again, an eerie coincidence for me as I had just switched from the BlackBerry to an iPhone 4S the day before the business trip where I first saw this episode. Hank and I even use the same case, a hard plastic black SPECK with dark gray rubber edges and buttons. While I’d like to think it’s Hank mimicking me, I will shamelessly admit to borrowing his “Who callin’ my phone?!” greeting.
The show’s use of music has always been impressive, and one of my favorite tracks featured on the show was Paul Oakenfold’s remix of The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” in the second episode. Another Doors remix is used to kick off “JFK to LAX”; this time, it’s a remix of “Love Me Two Times” by Infected Mushroom.
While a badass song in its own right, it’s also a cheeky implication of the “two times” – or two ways – that Hank has been “loving” Carrie.
The episode also introduces two of the better recurring characters from the show’s later seasons: RZA as Samurai Apocalypse, an absurd but talented rapper who pushes Hank into writing Santa Monica Cop for him, and the stunning Meagan Good as Kali, Samurai’s girlfriend and – naturally – an eventual love interest for Hank.
How to Get the Look
Hank’s updated look for 2012 is admittedly more versatile – and accessible – than the smoking jacket that had defined his style for four seasons.
- Black soft leather Dolce & Gabbana jacket with shirt-style collar, silver zip-front, slanted side pockets, and snap cuffs
- Black cotton long-sleeve crew neck t-shirt
- Black cotton short-sleeve crew neck James Perse t-shirt
- Dark blue denim bootcut jeans
- Brown sueded leather Timberland “Torrance” Chelsea boots
- Black socks
- Black boxer briefs
- Persol PO 0714 folding-bridge sunglasses with “Havana” tortoise plastic frames and brown polarized lenses (color code 24/57)
- Silver spinner ring, worn on right index finger
- Black leather bracelet with silver hexagonal and round studs, worn on the left wrist
- Thin black braided woven leather bracelet, also worn on the left wrist
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Watch the series, and – if you want to see this episode – pick up the fifth season.
Usually, I get on the plane, and I’m seated next to John Candy or Ruth Gordon… if I’m lucky. But I end up next to the most beautiful woman in the tri-state area, and I go and spill a drink in her lap. Nice work, huh?