Jack Nicholson is Mervin Udall, a misanthropic germaphobe. Nicholson delivers an oscar winning performance in As Good As It Gets (1997). His wardrobe is enlightened with prime coloured polos and oversized shirts with curious prints.
According to IMDB, Jack Nicholson helped create Melvin’s wardrobe. He and costume designer Molly Maginnis wanted a “downtown” look.
One to watch
The stand out shirt (above) can really be described as a black short sleeved shirt, adorned with geometric paint dabs of greens, blues, whites and oranges. Much like if you laid out all the faces of a Rubik’s Cube next to each other in a flat lay.
In the same scene Cuba Gooding Jr (we’ll introduce his character later in the blog) wears a light stone-coloured suit with wide notched lapels. When leaving he does up the third button on the jacket. I’m sure he did so to fit the rhythm of his leaving speech, but still it’s considered a fashion misstep to do up the bottom button of a single breasted suit.
Melvin is smart-casual throughout, but he arrives at the Baltimore restaurant underdressed. The restaurant requires a jacket and tie. The thought of wearing a rental repulses Melvin who likens the idea to ‘being injected with the plague’.
He quickly aborts his date Carol, played by Helen Hunt, and dashes into town to buy a jacket and tie especially. Interestingly he keeps the blue short sleeve shirt, and it works well with the outfit. The medium thick woollen notched lapel jacket is evenly paired with a chequered black and gold tie, intersected with swirls and rose motifs.
It’s in this scene that Carol falls for Melvin. It goes to show what the power of clean dressing mixed with a great compliment can do for ones fortunes. And of course, that incredible Nicholson voice.
Describing the tie
The tie can be described as a quasi checkerboard tie in a sort of a Marjhong game pattern of squares with objects ranging from roses and shells. The tie is divided into five vertical stripes, these stripes are alternating between a dark navy / black and brown squares, the pattern being 3 boxes on 3 vertical lines, and then alternating to a single row of pattern squares. It is almost like a cricket wicket (sorry for the US friends) in terms of the pattern.
The pattern is structured whilst also highlighting some interesting patterns, the rose being something like wearing his heart on his sleeve, and the structured pattern is apt as Jack Nicholson’s character has a form of OCD and order is something that is part of his character trait. The non conformity of a patterned tie, kind of relates to his creativeness as a writer. (Described by Z From Tie Another Day)
I’ve tried to establish the location of the menswear store where Melvin orders the jacket and tie from the doorway. I’ve not made any headwind. If you have any insight then please let me know, I’ll credit you naturally.
The Most Unusual Jacket
Cuba Gooding Jr plays Frank, a flamboyant art dealer whose eccentric taste in clothes cement his place in the world of creatives. We first see Frank protecting the honour of his client Simon, and confronting Melvin over the treatment of his dog Verdell. He is wearing a collarless double breasted velvet jacket with leather piping.
The shoulders look natural but when he pens in Udall in the corridor we can see they are lightly padded.
About those Sunglasses
Melvin’s glasses have been credited on Spotern as being a Persol PO 3003 Model. I’ve reached out to Persol for a comment and will update this article if I hear anything back. If you’re interested to learn more about Nicholson and his sunglasses I touched upon that in a previous blog about Man Trouble.
As Good As It Gets Movie Poster
I couldn’t find any props or memorabilia online. There was no auction by the looks of things. Perhaps if Nicholson helped with the wardrobe he probably brought his own sunglasses and some of his own clothes. The movie poster is available through At The Movies. I have purchased from them before so am happy to plug them here.