Tagged: Top Hat

Marlene Dietrich in Morocco

Marlene Dietrich as Amy Jolly in Morocco (1930)

Marlene Dietrich as Amy Jolly in Morocco (1930)


Marlene Dietrich as Amy Jolly, sultry French nightclub singer

Essaouira, Morocco, Summer 1930

Film: Morocco
Release Date: November 14, 1930
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Costume Designer: Travis Banton (uncredited)


The white tie dress code dates to before the turn of the 20th century, designed to make any man look his best when appropriately tailored, so there’s considerable irony in the fact that one of the most iconic film appearances of a white tie, top hat, and tails was worn by a woman: Marlene Dietrich, the German screen legend born 120 years ago today on December 27, 1901.

As previously featured on this site, today’s post continues the blog’s regular focus on menswear but here memorably worn by a woman, specifically the impeccable evening ensemble that Dietrich wore for her Academy Award-nominated performance as the brassy club singer at the center of the intrigue in the pre-Code drama Morocco, her second of seven eventual collaborations with director Josef von Sternberg. Continue reading

The Awful Truth: Cary Grant’s White Tie and Tails

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937)

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937)


Cary Grant as Jerry Warriner, witty divorcee

New York, Fall 1937

Film: The Awful Truth
Release Date: October 21, 1937
Director: Leo McCarey
Costume Designer: Robert Kalloch

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Archibald Leach was born 117 years ago today on January 18, 1904. Though he’d established his now-iconic stage name just before his film debut in This is the Night (1932), I consider Leo McCarey’s 1937 screwball comedy The Awful Truth to be the symbolic start of Cary Grant’s screen persona as a stylish yet self-deprecating gentleman with a remarkable penchant for physical comedy as well as wit. Continue reading

After the Thin Man: White Tie for New Year’s Eve

William Powell and Myrna Loy in After the Thin Man (1936)... with Skippy as Asta

William Powell and Myrna Loy in After the Thin Man (1936)… with Skippy as Asta


William Powell as Nick Charles, retired private detective

San Francisco, New Year’s Eve 1936

Film: After the Thin Man
Release Date: December 25, 1936
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Wardrobe Credit: Dolly Tree


After the Thin Man was released on Christmas 1936 as a continuation of The Thin Man, as its title implies. The all-original story was drafted by Dashiell Hammett himself immediately after the success of the first film, although Hammett had first envisioned circumstances that would send his witty detective duo back to New York City. Eventually, the decision was made to have the Charles couple solving a crime in their hometown of San Francisco. 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…


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


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