It turns out that Bing Crosby was dreaming about more than just a “White Christmas.” The mid-century crooner and actor was famous for dressing to the nines in his Road to… movies with Bob Hope, but offscreen he was a die-hard fan of denim, and the Levi’s brand in particular. Their archival division, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, recently released a reproduction of the legendary Bing Crosby Denim Tuxedo Jacket. And the story behind the jacket has become the stuff of denim mythology.
The singer was on a hunting trip with a friend and attempted to check in to a high-class hotel in Vancouver, but he was denied due to the fact that he was decked out head-to-toe in denim.Now before you get all indignant on behalf of denimheads everywhere, remember that this was 1951, and our beloved material had a besmirched reputation due to its association with unsavory characters, portrayed by the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean.
The hotel’s bellhop eventually recognized Crosby and he was given a room, but the story spread and Levi’s saw the perfect marketing moment. The brand created the special jacket from their 501 denim just for him–complete with a special notice to hotel men everywhere that he was “to be duly received and registered with cordial hospitality at any time and under any conditions.” He reportedly was so taken with the piece that he wore it during promotions for his film Here Comes the Groom.
The reproduction features many of the original details, including a red-tab-and-rivet boutonnière and the notice to hotel men. They’ve updated the cut with a bit of a slimmer silhouette and a rigid denim, featuring shank stud buttons and a welted chest pocket with a red bandanna pocket square.
It will definitely take a healthy dose of confidence to pull off a piece with such flair (not to mention some deep pockets), but for those wanting to thumb their nose at the formal-wear establishment, the jacket–with its storied past–will be the perfect subversive fashion statement. We can’t wait to see it appear again on a Hollywood red carpet.
- Name: Levi’s Vintage Clothing Bing Crosby Tuxedo Rigid Jacket
- 100% cotton outer and 100% polyester lining
- Made in the USA
- Peak-lapels with red-tab-and-rivet corsage
- Double-breasted opening
- Welted chest pocket with shank stud buttons on the chest
- Shank studs on the cuff
- Interior leather patch with “Notice to hotel men”
- Available at Unionmade for $1,800