THE FILM AND THE CLOTHES: Rosemary’s Baby (1968) PART 2

Check out Part 1 for a full analysis and summary of Rosemary’s Baby, including a discussion of the suits of John Cassavetes as Guy Woodhouse.

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Making deals (with the devil).

I cannot say this enough: Guy Woodhouse has a wardrobe that runs the American sartorial gamut; from flannel suits to levis and sweatshirts, he absolutely has everything that a respectable man should own. If one were to choose a capsule of clothing to replace one’s own wardrobe, it’d have to be straight out of Guy’s closet at the Woodhouse apartment! Since I’ve recently covered his suits, I am obligated to give the rest of his wardrobe its ample due.

Being that it’s still summer and my most recent posts have been about warm weather style, I want to highlight Guy’s rig in the first scene of the film, which also happens to take place in the summer. He goes with an awesome light blue sport coat which is of course in the Ivy league style (sack cut, hook vent, 2 button cuffs – you know the routine). I’m fairly certain that it’s a wash-n-wear cotton blend, a fabric make-up that was quite common in the 1960s for warm-weather apparel. These types of jackets and suits were lightweight and often non-wrinkle; they could even be washed (hence the name) and pressed to keep them looking fresh when traveling. They were (and are, as long you can find a vintage piece) perfect for the heat, and Guy’s jacket is no different: lightly constructed and minimally lined.

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Navy blue, baby blue, gray, and yellow stripes.

With it he wears stone cotton chinos, which are ubiquitous and a must not just for summer, but also for year-round use. They feature a high rise, a lightly tapered leg, and an extended waistband with side tabs. His shirt is a white oxford cloth button down which he wears at other times throughout the film as well. Its long collar points have amazing roll, one of the great visual features of a well-made OCBD. He also sports similar ocbd’s with various other ensembles, highlighting the versatility of the shirt. Come to think of it: if there’s any tangible advice I can offer, it’s own as many oxfords as humanly possible. His tie is a striped cotton knit that adds color and a pattern to an otherwise muted ensemble. To the best of my knowledge, his shoes are what could best be described as “paraboots,” a type of shoe that had some popularity in the 1960s.

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Same jacket and shirt, but with a gray knit tie and some gray worsted wool trousers with the perfect rise.

Although he doesn’t wear a variety of sport coats, those that he does have are definitive staples. Of specific note is a brown corduroy jacket – another functional piece that can be worn throughout the year in cooler climates – and a utilitarian navy blue blazer made of a flannel wool. Both of them feature a sublime 3/2 roll front (along with the other various Ivy details), while the blazer is set apart with its triple patch pockets. Guy anchors the majority of his jackets with solid or subtly striped shirts and silk repp/knit ties, keeping everything subdued and classic, but he also displays an affinity for turtleneck sweaters, wearing them underneath his sport coats during the cold. Again, like those of the time who sported the Ivy look, he shows how sweaters – especially crewneck and V-neck, which he also wears – are ideal when you desire an extra dash of informality and nonchalance.

While I have waxed poetic on his suits and jackets, I must say that it’s the loungewear that appeals to me most. It is the true personification of 1960s cool: shetland sweaters with their rough and appealing nap, casual corduroy trousers, 5 pocket pants, button down shirts, solid polos, and white keds. Virtually EVERY style icon from the era wore these pieces, ranging from Steve McQueen, to Paul Newman, to Anthony Perkins. Some may find Guy’s more formal pieces a bit dated, but there is no denying the eternal appeal of his casual attire. In any menswear publication today, the models are often outfitted with an assortment of similar pieces, but their root problems stem from poor aesthetics and even worse fit. Consequently, casual doesn’t mean tight, nor does it mean sweatpants and flip flops. The look men want when they go out Guy has when he is merely lounging around the house drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette.

The essence of Guy’s look ultimately rests in its simplicity; the fabrics are traditional while the colors are muted and nuanced and everything is timeless. If Guy were to walk down the street in any of the aforementioned outfits, he probably wouldn’t garner over-the-shoulder glances from passerby because of how seemingly inconspicuous his clothing is. The clothes call little attention to themselves, but they say volumes about the man wearing them. There is a sense of perspective and at the same time, indifference, behind choosing these pieces. Nothing is ostentatious or unwarranted and it’s that sort of understated charm that has allowed this mid-century style to continually influence modern trends. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a suit or a sweatshirt and chinos, if you yourself want to dress well, don’t simply look for modern inspiration… dress more like Guy!

*Because there is just too much goodness regarding the costuming of the film, here is an additional compilation of all of the shots of Guy that I didn’t cover, as well as shots of the other male characters (sorry girls!).

 Maurice Evans as “Hutch”

Sidney Blackmer as “Roman Castevet”

-Bradley S.

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