Twenty years after a little movie titled Pulp Fiction debuted at the New York Film Festival, it has forever changed the indie film landscape, and made out of context Bible quotes really cool to teenagers for years to come. While particular scenes are burned into the back of all our minds for all of time, it’s arguably the film’s wardrobe designer Betsy Heimann (who’s still killing it with her recent work on A Walk Among the Tombstones) that did the most iconic work after Tarantino himself. If you haven’t tossed on a black suit and tie and and recited Ezekiel 25:17 into a mirror, you might be past due. As much as we love it though, not all of the style from Pulp Fiction is great for transplanting. So we rounded up a few of the more iconic menswear choices from the film with a few ideas on how to make it work today.
The Black Suit and Tie
The simple, iconic look debuted in Reservoir Dogs, and has become somewhat a victim of its own fame now. Guys tend to grab a black suit, skinny black tie, gun and call that a Halloween costume around this time of the year, which is about as inventive as it is original. Vincent and Jules went with this look for simplicity and efficiency: It kept them from looking like criminals, and it disguised concealed weapons. You may have your own needs for a simple black suit and tie, but try not to create any fashion crimes if you go for the look yourself. Charcoal gray is a more versatile choice, but if you’ve got a path set of your own, start here.
The Wolf’s Peak Lapel Tux
The Wolf solved problems, but 20 years later, the biggest problem we see is the oversized look of his double-breasted tuxedo. The lapels are 90s talk show big. You can you can still wear this look on rare occasion, probably, but unless you’re Marsellus Wallace’s personal solution to everything, you won’t be excused for trying to pull it off at 10 a.m. on a weekday. With his kind of money and influence, nowadays The Wolf would probably take the lapels down a bit.
There are a bunch of robes in the Pulp Fiction fashion book. Butch wears one on fight night, Vincent’s dealer doesn’t seem to own any other clothes. But the best robe of course went to Jimmie, who knows the difference between good shit and bad shit. A little baggy, and long enough not to seem dainty, it’s a great way for a coffee-snob house husband to walk around the living room. But if we get anything from Pulp Fiction about loungewear, it’s that it has to fit the wearer (nerdy in Jimmie’s case, sporty in Butch’s, and heroin chic for Lance), so we recommend you find something that’s the right amount of tacky for your own personality.
Pumpkin’s Hawaiian Shirt
On the list of bad decisions Ringo makes in the diner that morning, we’d think that pointing a gun in Jules’s face was an undisputed number one. Number two, however, might be the Aloha shirt, unbuttoned and flailing as he’s jogging around harassing customers for their wallets. Tim Roth does it service, though, and while it’s a little overly casual when you consider how well-dressed DeNiro and the men in Heat were, we don’t expect much from a common criminal. You rob liquor stores for a living, maybe you don’t have a stylist. Still, if you want to pull off this polarizing choice, look to Tom Selleck’s example instead.
Butch’s Suede Jacket
We never loved he baggy jeans and even baggier jacket, but there was definitely something about ol’ Butch’s lack of style. Curious, really, that a man so obsessed with a timepiece would have no eye for detail. Assuming you’re not an undefeated boxer carrying a silenced Uzi, you’re probably going to want a sleeker, modern take, like this one from J Crew. Perfect for your chopper ride or a long day of sword slashing.
The Santa Cruz Shirt
The next time you need to loan a shirt to a messy friend — or find one for another type of guest — whip out the now somehow famous Santa Cruz shirt once worn by a post Oh-man-I-shot-Marvin-in-the-face Vincent Vega. If they get the reference, everybody gets a laugh. Splendid. If they ask you where it came from, as you probably didn’t go to Santa Cruz, just tell them you borrowed it from a friend years ago, and shut up. Enjoy the inside joke on your own. Because, after all… they’re your clothes, asshole.
The Gimp Suit
Uh, yeah, a timeless choice for… whatever it is you’re up to. You’re welcome to research this one on your own time — maybe not on a work computer. We wouldn’t dare pass judgement on your bedroom activities, but if you do decide to own one of these, it is definitely best kept in a basement and/or foot locker.