Dress the Part

Dress the Part: Film Noir

Film Noir Style Dress the Part: Film Noir

Made infamous by Humphrey Bogart in cult films like ‘The Big Sleep’, and ‘The Maltese Falcon’, the iconic leading men of Film Noir were known as being brooding, hard-drinking womanizers with a quick wit dispensed more often by the barrel of a gun than by minced words.

So when it comes to emulating these hero’s of the silver-screen today, it makes sense that one would be wise to adopt their fashion sense over their behavior: unless you like a good hangover, and a slap in the face.

The Three-Piece Suit

Humphrey Bogart 2 Dress the Part: Film Noir

A classic gray three-piece suit was pretty much the standard uniform of the private dick, allowing him to look good without attracting too much attention to himself. Cut slim, the jacket is always unbuttoned to not only show off the vest below, but also to allow a little breathing room for the snub-nosed revolver tucked under-arm.

The Fedora

Film Noir Dress the Part: Film Noir

A quality fedora with a thick band was made to be worn with a suit, so make sure yours matches as closely as possible. Avoid feathers or other adornments tucked into the band, the goal here is a style founded in sleek minimalism.

When buying a hat like this, you get what you pay for. A hand-formed hat will stand up to years of wear and weather, while a lesser copy will begin to lose shape and look shabby.

The Trench Coat

humphrey bogart1 Dress the Part: Film Noir

Since inclamate weather was often used in Film Noir as a means of foreshadowing dark, mysterious, and dangerous situations, it’s no surprise that the detective often wore a beige trench to beat the gloom. Often worn with the collar popped up to shield, or conceal one’s face.

Trench coats today are not the saggy-sack your father donned on rainy days, they’re fitted, modern, and cut a stylish silhouette. Brands like Burberry and H&M all make fantastic trenches in a variety of styles and at nearly any price.


Remember, Film Noir style is about items that are classically male. These men were fashionable specifically because they weren’t trying to be; they wore the clothes, and not the other way around. Look to buying the highest quality pieces you can afford, since when combined, the quality of the overall ensemble will show and contribute to the completeness of the look.

  • A slim cut three-piece suit is the uniform of the private detective. Classic colors: gray, black
  • A minimalist fedora, unadorned and with a thick band. Maybe worn confidently tilted forward
  • A slim cut beige trench with the collar up is the iconic silhouette of the Film Noir detective


Got a favorite film? Fashion mystery that you need solved? Let us and your fellows readers clear up the caper!


Erik Adler

Erik Adler

Editorial Director
Erik Adler is the Editorial Director for Alpha Brand Media. An avid cyclist, when he's not working he can be found restoring vintage bikes for his collection. Proud Estonian. Not so proud Ticats fan.
Erik Adler

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