By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange Tempe
They 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.
The 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)
Pricey 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.