Category: Off Topic


By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange Tempe

Con ArtistThey say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  Well, at least con artists in TV and movies always seem to.  And I’ve been the proverbial sucker for their shtick since I watched “The Sting” as a kid.  So I thought it would be fun to write a piece about on-screen con artists. I’d start with a little blurb on why we’re predisposed for that type of fare and then deftly shift into some of the more clever examples of the genre.  Simple enough.  I decided to begin with the most recent entries and work my way back. 

Con ArtistThe most current example of the on-screen con artist is main character Neal Caffrey on television’s crime drama “White Collar.”  And while the show itself is a fun dose of escapism, I gotta say, that’s not what I was most impressed with.  It was how slick Caffrey was dressed.  Classic rat pack era looks, fitting seamlessly into a modern setting.  The funny thing is, I’m not a fashion guy.  I may work for a clothes-based company, but I spend my days in an office.  I shop the Buffalo pants rack by looking down and seeing which jeans hang closest to the floor (I’m a guy with long legs).  Anyway, I went about deconstructing the look of our dapper con man, and here are the elements:

  • SUITS – slim, fitted, two-button, thin lapel, in the blue/black/grey palette, occasional vest

(Paul Smith, John Varvatos, Dolce & Gabanna)

  • TIES – thin, basic patterns, suit colors + purple/burgundy

(Zegna, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Christian Dior)

  • SHIRTS – small collar, fitted, usually with French cuff (same designers as suits)
  • TIE BARS & CUFF LINKS – silver, 1950s-60s (Ilene Chazanof of Decorative Arts NYC)
  • POCKET SQUARE – normally a straight line (“Presidential” style), contrasting the suit, complementing the tie (Thomas Pink)
  • SHOES – leather lace-up, round toe, black/brown (Magnanni, Paul Smith)
  • FEDORA – narrow brim, “gutter-dent, side-dented crown” (as opposed to the pinch-front style)

 (J.J. Hat Center NYC)

Con ArtistPricey duds to be sure.  My next task was to find some affordable alternatives.

Wait a minute – how the heck did a con artist – scratch that, a pretend con artist – sidetrack me so easily?  This supposedly “Off Topic” article curiously veered into something about fashion. Hmm. Well, least the sucker got conned – even if that sucker was me.

Images via USA Network