Dress To Kill – Patrick Bateman

Welcome to the second edition of Dress to Kill – the column where you can play master criminal and steal the style of the well-dressed villains we all love to hate. I’d introduce our latest offender – but I have to return some video tapes.

 Icepacks? Deep pore cleanser lotions? Moisturiser? STOMACH CRUNCHES?

This is the morning routine of a highly-toned, well-groomed gentleman. But who is it? Is it Brad Pitt? David Beckham? Some impossibly chic European male model? Nope, it’s Patrick Bateman, the title character of American Psycho. In between his killing sprees and trying to get reservations at Dorsia, he’s managed to maintain a pretty great look.

Fashion-wise, Patrick is a fan of yuppie dressing; designer labels and good tailoring – the book lists every item that everyone wears, right down to the price tag. (A bit obsessive? Yes, but we’re talking about a man who is whipped into a murderous rage because someone has nicer business cards than him.)

The film’s costuming is pretty spectacular as well, nailing the 80s details without being camp. Fun fact – there was a LOT of trouble with obtaining permission from designers due to the content of the film, so some of the details from the novel had to be changed. For example, every character except Patrick was allowed to wear a Rolex, and Cerruti would only allow Christian Bale to wear their clothes in the scenes where he wasn’t killing anyone. Bet that’s not an issue that comes up often.

But you don’t have to splash the cash to get the look – keep an eye out for overcoats in a boyfriend cut, collared shirts, and prints in houndstooth and tortoiseshell. Make a beeline for sartorial classics rather than trends, and make sure it’s all machine washable to avoid explaining bloodstains at the drycleaners. (Or follow Christian Bale’s lead and don a clear plastic trench first. Classy and prepared!)

Patrick also goes nuts for accessories; he sticks with the male standbys of tie pins, cufflinks and watches, but if you’re into jewellery you could don discreet, wry pieces like this axe head necklace. This is a great way to interject a little humour into your outfit – American Psycho is, after all, a black comedy.

I could rhapsodise all day about Bateman’s skincare, but suffice to say it’s one of the most intensive beauty routines in cinema. The opening scene has given me a life-long obsession with peel-off face masks. (One day I’ll get it off whole. One day.)

My absolute favourite peel-off product is No7’s Beautiful Skin Pore Vacuum Mask. It goes on slightly sticky and you’ll look like a swamp monster from the deep, but isn’t that the joy of facemasks? It comes off like a dream and really feels like your skin’s been renewed. Unlike a lot of facemasks, it doesn’t have a strong fruity or flowery smell, which would make it a really good unisex buy. (Boys – shave first, or avoid the facial hair. RIP a corner of my left eyebrow.) Patrick would approve.

If you emulate ONE thing from Bateman, please let it be his attention to skincare and not his, um, homicidal tendencies, which we at Impulse Magazine cannot endorse. Get a killer wardrobe, not a killer temperament.

Article reproduced here was originally published by the website of Impulse Magazine (February 2014) and is no longer available online. 

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