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Kempt Digs: The 1974 Robert Redford Great Gatsby


You may have heard of an upcoming Gatsby film from a guy named Baz “shiny things everywhere” Luhrmann. Perhaps here. Or here, even.

With all the hullabaloo around a bow-tied Leonardo DiCaprio, we thought it worth remembering that this is not the only pass made at turning TGG into a movie.

In fact, Robert Redford gave a master class in Jazz Age chic way back in 1974—the year young Leo was born.

Here are five reasons that film’s worth revisiting.


It’s Nice and Quiet The Great Gatsby is a quiet little book—often jumping over action scenes and recounting them later through Nick Carraway’s melancholy eye. It’s a mood the ’74 version stays true to—which is worth remembering, since we’d bet that Baz Luhrmann is going to fill the whole thing with glitter and white elephants and flappers with trumpets. And it’ll probably be fun, but it’s more Luhrmann’s style than Fitzgerald’s.


Such Beautiful Sweaters If there’s one sartorial tip you can glean from this film, it’s that every man should own a shawl-collar sweater. They’re the great leveler of society’s playing field—every male character, whether new rich, old rich or just... not rich, is seen at one point resplendent in a thick, shawl-collar sweater. Buy one.

Great Gatsby

There’s Enough Dapperness to Go Around Robert Redford soaks up a lot of the film’s Internet love by virtue of his Robert Redford-ness, but Sam Waterston’s Nick is equally well-dressed, often in a more restrained, classier way. He rocks a great white suit in the film’s opening sequence, and throughout, his assortment of three-pieces are handsome but humble, befitting a bond salesman at the beginning of his career.

All the clothes in the film were designed by Ralph Lauren, and the result is a movie imbued with sartorial greatness just about everywhere you look.


The Color White Is Your Friend We’re not advising you to go all out and just start dressing like Tom Wolfe. (But maybe you should.) But Gatsby and Nick wear a lot of white throughout the film, and whether it’s that all-white three-piece or simply one of the aforementioned sweaters, The Great Gatsby makes us pine for the days before Don Draper glowered everyone into dark grays and charcoals.


There’s Nothing Wrong with a Little Day-Drinking We’re just saying. Mix up a gin rickey or three on the veranda in honor of one of Western literature’s most notorious imbibers, and if things get too bad, you can always retire to the library to sober up.

—A.H. & B.R.