Catch Me If You Can: The Goldfinger Suit Replica

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After seeing Goldfinger, Leonardo DiCaprio’s real-life character Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can is inspired to have not one but three suits made just like Sean Connery’s famous three-piece suit in Goldfinger.

“Now you’re sure this is the suit, right?” says Abagnale.

“Positive. It’s the exact suit he wore in the movie,” replied the tailor.

It’s actually not an exact replica of the Goldfinger suit but rather what many people think the suit is without taking a close look. One could say it’s an American tailor’s interpretation, and going by the story the mistakes are understandable considering there weren’t home video tapes in the 1960s to pause. But the film’s costume designer should have had enough resources in 2002 to make a better replica of the suit.

Like Connery’s suit, DiCaprio’s is a light grey three-piece suit with a button two jacket that has a ticket pocket and double vents. The waistcoat is actually very close to the original, but plenty of mistakes are made elsewhere.

Catch-Me-If-You-Can-Goldfinger

The biggest mistake is the cloth. Connery’s suit is a fine glen plaid whereas DiCaprio’s is a light grey pick-and-pick. At first glance, Connery’s suit appears to also be a pick-and-pick weave—and one of the plaid’s four sections is pick-and-pick—but a closer look reveals that the cloth is a fine glen plaid.

Though the suit jacket has double vents, DiCaprio’s vents are only half the length of Connery’s. Very short vents were a popular 1960s trend that Bond never wore. Whilst Connery’s suit has natural shoulders and a draped chest, DiCaprio’s suit has straight, padded shoulders and lacks the drape. They’ve also put only three buttons on the cuffs instead of four.

DiCaprio’s waistcoat is very close to the original, with six buttons, notch lapels and four welt pockets. But the bottom button is not on the cut-away portion of the waistcoat. The cutaway needs to start higher, and that mean the trousers would also need to have a longer rise than they’ve given him.

Catch-Me-If-You-Can-2

The trousers are another one of the biggest mistakes here after the wrong cloth. Few Americans in the 1960s wore pleated trousers, so they didn’t expect Connery’s trousers to have pleats. Thus they made the trousers with a flat front and a modern lower rise. The hem is also too short and just barely touched the shoes. Though the suit incorporates a few popular 1960s trends that weren’t present on the original suit, such as short vents and flat front trousers, the only part of Sean Connery’s suit that dates it to the ’60s was not included: narrow lapels! DiCaprio’s suit has much wider lapels.  Whilst this suit isn’t an exact replica, it’s still a nice homage to the original.

It’s hard to tell if they were trying to copy the shirt and tie as well, but—to give them credit—let’s say not. DiCaprio’s shirt collar is much smaller and narrower than Connery’s, and the cuffs are button cuffs rather than double cuffs. It’s a very typical shirt for American men in the mid ’60s who weren’t wearing button-down collars. DiCaprio’s tie is black and woven, whilst the original was a navy knitted tie. DiCaprio wears V-front derby shoes like Connery did, but DiCaprio’s have wing-tips rather than plain toes.  They did get the pocket square right.

Catch-Me-If-You-Can-Shoes

 

12 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a cool ’60s suit, but beyond that not really much more. They definitely could have done more research.

    I knew something was “off” when I first saw this movie a decade ago…

  2. Interesting and funny post. I guess you have had some fun in checking all the suit’s “copying mistakes”, Matt.
    About the double vents, does not Connery wear jackets with rather short double vents in Dr No and in From Russia with love (the glen plaid and the charcoal flannel suits, which are all both present in a single vent and a double vents version) ? Or do you mean even shorter vents ?

    • Connery’s vents were short, about 8 inches deep (compared to about 12 inches for Lazenby’s and Moore’s vents). But These vents are no more than 6 inches deep, probably about 5 inches. I have a jacket from the 60s with 5-inch vents.

      • That’s right. Remember The High Numbers’ (a short lived The Who monicker) “Zoot Suit” from 1964:

        “I wear zoot suit jacket with side vents five inches long.
        I have two-tone brogues, all the rest, yeah you know this is wrong.”

        Though a zoot suit jacket is really a full-drape, extremely long jacket style famously worn by swing kids of the 1940s and not the short, boxy bum-freezer of the early 1960s, it still puts the finger of what was the thing in those days: Five inch vents.

        The song is really a cover of The Dynamics “Misery”.

        Just my two cents.

  3. Hey:) I love this blog, even had a 3 piece grey copy made in Thailand a couple years back–with a glen plaid. That said, I just saw Goldfinger at the Egyptian for the umpteenth time, again in a 35mm English print (you can tell by a couple of subtle line changes, etc.) and to my surprise whenever there was a daytime closeup of Connery in his iconic suit, it did not look like Glen plaid at all. I’m not sure if it was a pick and weave either, that was harder to tell. It looked like there were white streaks subtly breaking the suit from being a solid grey but there did not seem to be a tight interlocked print in the ballpark of plaid. It almost didn’t seem that classy, more like what a somewhat disreputable U.S. Southern lawyer from 50 years ago would where in the summer. Obviously I can’t be sure, but I did sit up close and I did have my glasses on:) That said, if God came down and assured me it was either Glen plaid or some subtle form of pick and weave I’d have to guess pick and weave. Unless you have a closeup of the original suit and I’m making a fool of myself for not having scoured the site more thoroughly:)

  4. Holy cow, what I at first thought would be a bore to read (clothes, men’s suit to say the least) was a fun, almost drunken run. Half the terms I haven’t a clue, but I’m inspired to catch up my memory and learn what I never knew. Time for a new suit. I’ll wait till I can get to London. In the meantime, I’m off to fetch me a good pair of suspenders and have some buttons sewn on my pants.
    Cheers and namaste

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