7 suiting lessons to learn from Robert De Niro in Casino
Want to look as trimly tailored as Sam "Ace" Rothstein? Here’s a handful of tips to take from Martin Scorsese’s 1995 crime epic…
In 1995, when Martin Scorsese started filming Casino, he gave the costume department $1 million to play with. And play they did. Throughout the crime epic, which tells the story of Mafia associate Sam “Ace” Rothstein’s tenure running the Teamsters-funded Tangiers Casino, star Robert De Niro has over seventy costume changes — and wears 52 different suits.
These suits come in a slick, slimy rainbow of different shades; with technicolour tailoring, bright separates and a whole spectrum of striking accessories asserting Ace’s domineering character through his wily wardrobe. There are pink loafers, loud checks and more garish, gaudy greens and yellows than you can shake a patterned pocket square at.
And yet, amongst the wince-worthy orange flares and bright red blazers, there are still some salient suiting rules to be gleaned from Casino. De Niro’s costuming is a masterclass in bombastic power dressing, and his twists on classic tailoring — while frequently eyebrow-raising — sometimes hit the mobster-approved mark. Below, we’ve rounded up seven tips and tricks to take from the classic film’s costumes…
Start things off with a statement tie
There aren’t many easy ways into the bold, brash world of Ace’s wardrobe, yet his neckwear offers a welcome loophole. De Niro doesn’t wear a tie with all of his suits, and mostly knots up block-colour silk numbers when he does — but he occasionally pulls on a statement patterned design, similar to those commonly worn by his head of security, Don Rickles’ Billy Sherbert.
We’d recommend following in these brightly-coloured footsteps. Whether it’s a yellow and red diamond-print design from Drake’s, or a slightly more restrained grey spotted style from New & Lingwood, try introducing patterns through your accessories. We like this silk Turnbull & Asser option, worn by another screen legend; Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond.
Turnbull & Asser ‘Die Another Day’ Tie
Drake’s Twill Silk Tie
New & Lingwood Grenadine Weave Tie
Check out some windowpane blazers
As Casino rattles on, De Niro’s “Ace” gets increasing erratic — and his wardrobe follows suit. Through a potent blend of egomania and power hunger, the colours he wears begin to pop more brightly, and his suits give way to separates with an increasing frequency. And one of his favourite blazer patterns? A check.
Whether windowpane, tweedy or a Prince of Wales check, these patterns are easy to adopt. Take Ralph Lauren’s sport coat, for example — tailored in Italy with fine canvassing for a natural profile. Or Turnbull & Asser’s more subtly patterned, but double-breasted ‘Bertie’ blazer. Our favourite, however, and a piece that would look completely at-home on the Tangiers’ gaming floor, is this Hackett jacket in a rich dark green.
Ralph Lauren Tweed Sport Coat
Turnbull & Asser ‘Bertie’ Blazer
Hackett Windowpane Check Blazer
You don’t need a shirt for a buttoned-up look
He may be tightly wound, but De Niro’s enduring performance as Sam Rothstein isn’t always buttoned-up. Occasionally, when opting for slightly more off-duty suiting, the character pulls on a rollneck with his suits or blazers. And, while we would advise you steer clear of the two-tone jacket above, a piece of choice formal knitwear is ideal for the colder months.
Whether it’s a Mediterranean-inflected design from Aurélien, or the one-two British punch of Benedict Raven and Sunspel, if you find a rollneck soft enough (we’d nudge you towards Merino wool) you’ll breathe new louche life into your suit; a debonair, dashing edge that’ll make you see even your oldest tailoring anew.
Aurélien Extrafine Merino Rollneck
Benedict Raven ‘Soho’ Rollneck
Sunspel Fine Merino Wool Rollneck
Yellow is not to be avoided (whatever the season)
While the sun always shines in Las Vegas (De Niro’s stellar collection of sunglasses throughout Casino attest to that), we’d suggest taking Ace’s penchant for a certain shade and introducing it into your winter wardrobe. Yellow garments — whether they’re pocket squares, silk ties or full suits — crop up throughout the film, and their presence should prove inspiration enough for you to give this colour a go.
But be careful. While De Niro may (almost) be pulling off that pastel-yellow blazer above, we’re unsure everybody would have the same success. It’s important to remember, also, that Casino is set in the 1970s and 80s. But a little lemon never hurt — especially if it’s textured. To that end, try Emma Willis’ linen blend shirt, E. Marinella’s linen tie or even a simple, tightly-patterned pocket square from SIRPLUS.
Emma Willis Zephirlino Shirt
E. Marinella Linen Tie
SIRPLUS Silk Pocket Square
When it comes to bow ties, go big
Though Sharon Stone’s glamorous Ginger McKenna may steal the black tie show, De Niro’s tuxedo is sufficiently trim to stand out among his many multi-coloured suits and separates. But it’s not the tailoring that turns heads — rather his slightly oversized bow tie; the norm for the time, but a scale worth reintroducing today.
For this, we’d stick to traditional outfitters. Because, whether you’re knotting Oliver Brown’s silk barathea bow or tying up a silk-grosgrain number from Favourbrook, these heritage outfitters still have one foot firmly planted in the past. And, for another eveningwear tip taken from Casino, invest in some characterful dress shirt studs — such as these oval-shaped options from Aspinal of London.
Oliver Brown Silk Barathea Bow Tie
Aspinal of London Oval Cufflinks & Dress Shirt Studs
Favourbrook Silk-Grosgrain Bow Tie
Try matching your tie with your shirt
For our final two tips, we’re moving onto broader suiting lessons. Firstly, why not try matching your tie with your suit? It may seem counterintuitive, but of the 52 formalwear get-ups De Niro wears in Casino, he matches his shirt with his tie an impressive 29 times. So maybe it’ll pay to give it a go?
But we’d advise against doubling down on those garish greens or dusty yellows. You only want to emulate a 1970s Mafia associate so far. Instead, stick with your more classic colours; greys, dark greens — and blues. Here, we’ve buttoned up our two favourite sky blue shirts — from Turnbull & Asser and Emma Willis — and found a matching tie from Drake’s to bring them together.
Turnbull & Asser Blue Cotton Shirt
Drake’s Sky Blue Twill Tie
Emma Willis Superior Cotton Shirt
Or try matching your shirt to your suit
While matching your tie to your shirt is fairly easy, matching your shirt to your suit is a little more tricky. And yet, as above, De Niro dresses in matching tones many times throughout Casino — with the last act of the film climaxing in a cacophony of these complementary colours.
We’d, once more, not go full “Ace” with your colour choices. The last suit De Niro wears, a hot salmon sport coat with pink shirt and tie, follows these principles, but dials up the flashiness to unbearable levels. Instead, try a more muted orange-pink palette, with this suit from Paul Smith and compatible shirting options from either Luca Faloni or Charles Tyrwhitt — depending on how bold you dare to go.
Luca Faloni Siena Pique Shirt
Paul Smith Tailored Fit Suit
Charles Tyrwhitt Poplin Shirt
Want more style inspiration from the big screen? Here’s the true story behind Michael Caine’s signature Sixties glasses…
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