FAULT Focus: Post-LCM, we revisit the men’s fashion from ‘American Hustle’

With a decorated cast of award winners it’s no surprise that American Hustle became a breakout movie of the holiday season. Set in 1978, this crime comedy-drama is filled with laughs, twists, and outstanding performances by all involved.

For those of you who have yet to see it, the film is loosely based on a real story and follows con artist Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale). He makes his money selling art forgeries and convincing desperate men that he can successfully invest their money, promising he can turn a $5K investment into $50K. Of course, he does nothing but pocket the $5K, chalking it up to investments that just didn’t pan out.

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He falls in love with a woman, Sydney (Amy Adams), who he meets at a party. Even though Irving has a wife, Roselyn (Jennifer Lawrence), and has adopted her son as his own, he and Sydney begin a relationship together. She then starts working with Irving to aid in his cons, but when they try and con an undercover FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), Sydney ends up in jail. In order to grant her immunity, they strike up a deal with the FBI to help them take down other mobsters in the area.

But as their plan grows and more people find out, things go from complicated to chaotic as they try and take down some of the most powerful men in the city.

Aside from the talented cast and epic hairstyles that can only come from a movie based in the 1970s, there are plenty of other reasons that make this film a must-see.

Everyone loves an exciting film based on a true story. It adds a touch of realism to the movie that allows people to connect to it more than an unrealistic tale that, while entertaining, people can’t relate to in the same way. Similar success was had by gangster film Public Enemies, a piece that PictureBox described as “Engrossing, entertaining and deliciously true” in their review. The same can also be said for recent successes like The Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club.

'American Hustle' costume designer Michael Wilkinson: "With Christian's character, he's projecting himself as a man of the world, someone to be trusted, someone who has exquisite taste in art and financial dealings. So what he does with his clothes is combine stripes and patterns and paisleys and dots, and he combines them in interesting, expressive ways."

American Hustle costume designer Michael Wilkinson: “With Christian’s character, he’s projecting himself as a man of the world, someone to be trusted, someone who has exquisite taste in art and financial dealings. So what he does with his clothes is combine stripes and patterns and paisleys and dots, and he combines them in interesting, expressive ways.”

Additionally, there’s something to be said for the outfits in a period piece. If the female characters’ costumes don’t convince you that the wardrobe department had the ’70s look down, the male characters’ outfits surely will.

Like any good gangster film, costume designers nailed the importance of having the male characters in a well-fit suit. Bale’s might have been a bit tighter and more… unique?… than usual. However, his attire—like that of other gangsters and members of the mafia—matched perfectly with that specific gangster-ish look. They take great pride in their appearance, which is evident during the opening scene when Bale’s character is gluing on his toupee. Also, they’re always making sure that they are the best looking guy in the room by displaying their wealth and status by the clothing they wear.

Don't touch the hair...or the suit - costume designer Michael Wilkinson had all of Christian Bale's velvet suits custom made for the film

‘Don’t touch the hair…or the suit’ – costume designer Michael Wilkinson had all of Christian Bale’s velvet suits custom-made for the film

It’s no surprise that the film was up for dozens of awards based on wardrobe. According to IMDB, the long list includes nominations at the Oscars, BAFTA awards, and the Costume Designers Guild Awards among others.

Whether you enjoy comedies, crime films, or if you’re just in it for the fashion, this movie has a little something for everyone. The incredible talent on the cast list doesn’t hurt either!

Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams' characters gear up for a night out at Studio 54

Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams’ characters gear up for a night out at Studio 54