michael shannon

Richard Strickland from The Shape of Water

Colonel Richard Strickland (played by Michael Shannon) is in charge of a project designed to “study” a humanoid amphibious being found in South America. And by study I mean maltreat and eventually dissect in an attempt to learn something that might be helpful to the military. He will stop at nothing to complete his mission, his work overshadowing everything else in his life. And he does it all with that classic creepy midcentury vibe.

You can get the same vibe with just a few pieces. Pomade will slick back your hair to match Strickland’s style. A button-down shirt under a shirt, suspenders, and tie gives you a classic mid-century look. Finish it off with dark Oxfords and an overcoat and you’re ready to prowl the stark halls of every secret Army installation in Baltimore.

Nelson Van Alden from Boardwalk Empire

In Boardwalk Empire, Nelson Van Alden (played by Michael Shannon) is one of those men who lived long enough to see themselves become the villain in their own story. Although he started as a good man, he ultimately allowed corruption to take hold.

It’s hard to see that from the outside though. Throughout the series Van Alden stuck to the same sort of clothing even as his priorities and principles changed. Like many men at that time he wears a coordinated three-piece suit with a white undershirt and an understated tie. Van Alden prefers browns over blacks and greys and his ties are usually striped. His shoes match the tone of his suit and he wears a camel wool overcoat when the weather calls for it. He also has a wide-brimmed fedora to keep his head covered as was proper at the time. And of course you can’t forget the pomade for the distinct slicked hair of the period.

Walter Thrombey from Knives Out

Walter Thrombey from Knives Out

Walt Thrombey (played by Michael Shannon) is the youngest of Harlan Thrombey’s children, and is the head of his prolific father’s publishing company, responsible for distributing the mystery writer’s books. Walt and his father argue constantly over selling the rights to Harlan’s work for use on other platforms. Walt’s clothing is relatively plain, relying on a drab color palette. Throughout the film, he uses a cane because his left foot is in a walking boot.