“Sit down and shut up, will ya? Try not to live up to all my expectations.” FBI Agent Polk.

The Sting redford newman in tuxedos

On the show

I talk to Nick Guzan from Bamf Style and Ken Stauffer from Oceansographer about the 1973 classic The Sting. The Costume Designer was Edith Head. Her filmography includes To Catch a Thief, Vertigo and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We take a look at the key style elements, discuss the suits, the shirts and what style lessons from the 1930s are still relevant today? The podcast is available to listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify or in the player below.

Rotten Tomatoes


  • What did the costumes tell us about the characters? For example, what did the clothes do to separate Newman from Redford and Shaw.
  • What were the characteristics of the clothes that informed us that this was set in the 30s. And was it accurate?
  • Would you wear these suits nowadays or would it be too fancy dress?
  • Ok can we wear hats in doors or not?

Shit from IMDB:

What Would You Have From Auction?

A Robert Shaw suit and tie from The Sting.

Described on the Bonhams auction listing as,

Universal, 1973. A charcoal gray and white pinstripe double-breasted wool suit with labels on each piece from Cotroneo Costume with the typed inscription, “Robert Show [sic].” Together with a navy and white polka-dot silk tie (unlabeled) and a white shirt made by Gino Pool, not believed to be screen worn. Accompanied by a copy of the film.

Or the Plum Wool ChalkStripe Suit that Redford wore?

The Sting Redford chalkstripe suit

Described on an auction listing as,

Thoughts and Review

I remember watching this, liking it but never thinking it needed to be seen again. But I’m glad I did because since then I’ve gotten a greater reverence for the likes of Robert Shaw, Newman and Redford. And of course the suits, which I never gave a seconds thought on first viewing. But suits aside, I enjoyed the performances, especially Shaw and Newman.

Shaw is obstinate, he does little to make you warm to him, but because he is Robert Shaw I was quite up for him getting a better outcome than he did. And that’s the thing, that if I were to have a criticism, was that I didn’t hate Shaw enough. But maybe because it never turns out well for him in movies I’d much rather him get a break.

The Sting Robert Shaw

The soundtrack

The music gives the film its own world. Which is a weird thing to say because often music can either be incidental and just there to serve the story, or it can be so prominent you want to buy the soundtrack after. This however, frames the film and you’re completely living in that world and when you have a periodic film, that can either work or it can’t. For this, even though the song was written 30 years before the era, I think that it works and keeps everything light.

On your toes

Because some moments aren’t light, like the woman getting shot in the head. That felt jarring for this film. But I liked how the audience knew of The Sting and were ahead of the con when it came to Shaw, but they were behind the 8 ball when it came to the final outcome. So it played with a few angles well, and kept you on your toes enough.

The Sting Redford

Sexy eyes

I think it has dated because there is no comedy. If there was comedy in this it has expired sadly over time. But I actually enjoyed it – but on a different level than I expected. I don’t think I enjoyed the story any more, nor the end product, but the performances, the suits, and I’ve realised that Paul Newman has the sexiest eyes in cinema. There is one moment where he tells Redford to throw out some goons from his club. And he spins on his heel and shoots Redford a look and stops him. And you just know Redford is thinking, fuck you have really sexy eyes.

The Sting style lessons

Click image to watch the chat on YouTube

Further reading

Newman in Plaid in The Sting – Bamf Style