How To Dress Like Robert Redford in Three Days Of The Condor
Three Days of the Condor - The only 1970s movie with decent style?
The 1970s were known for disco, The Big Red Machine, and terrible fashion. Even the movie idols of that decade wore clothing that is now relegated to the "Halloween costumes" section of the Wal-Mart superstore. I've written about a few of the more understated movie stars of the 70's, including Richard Roundtree as Shaft. If you can pull off the John Shaft look you'll have a hit costume, but nobody will ever accuse you of being stylish.
There was one big exception to the 1970s poor style rule, and it was Robert Redford. Redford has been stylish in just about every movie he's ever made, from All The President's Men to The Natural (where he quite unbelievably played a teenager in the first part of the movie) to Spy Game. One somewhat forgotten movie of his game right in the middle of the 1970s. Three Days of the Condor featured Redford as a CIA agent who isn't sure who he can trust inside or outside the agency. I know, it sounds like the exact same plot as Spy Game but trust me, it's not.
I'm going to go through some of the main pieces of clothing you'll need to mimic the Robert Redford look from Three Days of the Condor.
Perhaps the pivotal piece of this look. What you're looking for is a gray herringbone tweed blazer with gray buttons (not brown leather like most tweed jackets) and no suede elbow patches. The lapels should be wide, so chances are you'll have trouble finding one at Banana Republic or Ralph Lauren, as thin lapels are all the rage these days. Donegal tweed is another material that would come close to this look.
The sweater and shirt combo
For the sweater go with a navy blue crew neck wool sweater. If you can find one with a wider neck opening that would be better. They are actually quite hard to find these days. Under the sweater just get a regular light blue oxford button down shirt. You'll want to wear this unbuttoned at the top.
For pants, go with a pair of slim-fitting gray or gray-blue jeans. Compare them to your tweed jacket to make sure they don't match too closely in color. You don't want this to look like a suit made of different materials. I think a good pair of jeans for this would be Levi's 514 jeans, which are coming back in style as people move away from the baggy jeans that looked horrible and were one of the biggest fashion mistakes of the 1990s. You can get 514's in a variety of colors, and if you're not intent on getting this Three Days of the Condor look perfect go with very dark blue jeans. It's not what Redford wore, but they look great with a gray tweed jacket. Once again, make sure they are clearly a different color than your wool sweater.
The classic blue shirt
You should really have at least one light blue dress shirt in your wardrobe anyway. Along with the white dress shirt, it should be one of those stylish man staples. Avoid anything with excessive patterns like pinstriping. Save that for suits, where the stripes will actually stand out against a dark navy color. Gingham is not what we're looking for in this particular Robert Redford look, but it is quite popular right now. Just make sure you get it in small checks so you don't end up looking like a picnic table cloth.
Aviators. Everyone should own a pair or two. Or a dozen if you buy the cheap ones. Redford's appear to be the typical brownish tint (those silver mirror aviators look awful on everyone but cops from the 1980s). Don't spend $500 on these, as with most decent sunglasses you are just buying a brand name. Don't believe me? Look up the name "Luxottica". They make something like 99% of all name brand sunglasses in the world, including those for nearly every luxury company from D&G to Ray Ban. Don't think that just because you dropped half a grand on sunglasses means they were hand-made by a master craftsman in Italy. The best quality sunglasses I've ever owned were from Randolph Engineering, a company that the U.S. military has contracts with and is not part of the Luxottica group. They're relatively cheap but very high quality, as they're actually made for people who have very active lifestyles.
From what I can tell, Redford was wearing brown Raichle boots in this movie, but I'm not entirely certain. What is important is that they are dark brown and they look great with the contrast of his pants. Also, you can't see his socks, but it's safe to assume they are not white gym socks. If that's all you have, go get yourself some argyle socks in various colors.
In some foul weather scenes in Three Days of the Condor Redford wears a pea coat, or peacoat, that is either black or dark navy blue. It really doesn't matter which, because most authentic navy peacoats in navy blue are so dark you can't tell the difference between it and black, even with good lighting. You can pick one of these up at a military surplus store or on eBay. Don't spend over $200 on a peacoat, and try to get at least 24 lb wool. Some very popular name brands sell peacoats that look alright but they have poor materials when compared to the real deal.
If you're trying to do your own take on Redford's look, try a peacoat in a less-common color, such as camel brown.
To complete this look you should wear a brown leather belt (always try your best to match your shoe color and material to your belt color and material) and at least have a pair of thin leather gloves in black or brown on your hands or in your jacket pocket. The leather gloves give this outfit a true 70's retro look without falling into the costume section. Also, Redford wore a watch. Nothing too flashy, preferably with a leather wristband. Avoid digital watches like the plague.
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