Oi Polloi


Published: Wed Aug 30 2017

According to the intensive research I've been doing for the past 15 minutes, people in films (or 'actors' as they're more commonly referred to) can sometimes get cold and/or have to run about in the rain for a bit. In a classic case of 'they're no different from me' actors have to do what we normies do; wrap up in workwear. We're all one soul really, just a very small percentage of us get to work in front of a camera for a living, getting paid in abundance and accruing a bunch of fame, while the rest of us probably do something considerably less exciting.

But hey! At least we can all sleep easy knowing that Ben Affleck's favourite brand of workwear might be yours as well. With that in mind, let's look at some famous film people wearing jackets and stuff...


First up is the classic Carhartt Chore jacket, modelled here by Ben Affleck in The Town. The Town is Ben Affleck's sophomore feature as a writer/director and probably, like, his 1000th as an actor. The Town is about Doug (our kid Ben), a bank robber who decides to try to make a go of it straight after falling in love with a bank clerk... that he just robbed. Needless to say, things get a little zany and wacky near the end.

The Carhartt jacket is actually quite appropriate considering the film takes place in and around a working class neighbour in Boston – but it begs two very provocative questions in regards to the use of workwear in films: is Ben Affleck even cold in that photo? Or is he just wearing it to convey a realistic, grounded world in which the film takes place, thus adding to the believability of the characters? Pfft... I don't know. Maybe actors are always lying to us...


Next up, hats! Hats, often forgotten in the clothing lexicon, are just as important as those beefy Carhartt jackets. Wearing hats can keep your head and ears warm, so I'm told. Anyways, La Haine is the uplifting and often funny story of three scrappy French lads who get into all sorts of hijinks and mischief over the course of one night (it's actually a tragic and often angering film about French society's descent through hostility into pointless violence). A real chuckle-fest really...

Mathieu Kassovitz, director of La Haine, has stated that when he was younger, Carhartt was only really worn by hip-hop artists, and that's what influenced him to put it in his film. It makes sense, as both La Haine and hip-hop share plenty of similarities when it comes to ideas of social-justice and being dissatisfied with the powers that be.

It is probably not unfounded to say that Kassovitz might have also been inspired by what the kids in the Banlieues (low-income housing projects) were wearing around the time of filming as well. If that isn't a great way to use Carhartt in a film, I don't know what is.


Coming full circle, here's the lesser known Affleck, Casey, in Manchester by the Sea, probably the most miserable film to feature Carhartt. Manchester by the Sea follows Lee Chandler, who has to look after his teenage nephew after his brother dies. Needless to say, it all gets pretty gosh darn sad.

Much like The Town, Manchester by the Sea uses Carhartt to accurately portray a working-class neighbourhood, and shows us a world that most likely does exist, which is a refreshing change from the usual the 'everyone is beautiful and happy' reality films present to us on a regular basis; in Manchester by the Sea, everyone is still beautiful, but sour-faced, sad, and dressed head-to-toe in Carhartt. Now that's social realism....

In conclusion, Carhartt in films can be used for a variety of reasons in films, be it to convey realism or philosophy or simply just to make sure the actors aren't roaming about spouting their lines completely naked.

Finally, he's 'ar kid Stallone in a boxing movie that isn't Rocky that I've not seen...