Oi Polloi

In Praise of… Bill Murray

Published: Fri May 15 2020

There's a lot of under-appreciated (and occasionally misunderstood) people, places and inanimate objects out there. With these articles - we like to reset the balance a bit.

After last explaining why Tintin is one of the most stylish cartoon men ever put to paper, Tayler Willson is back to salute the many exceptional rigs of Bill Murray...

Bill Murray is no stranger to fashion. He's been cast in a foray of stylish roles and has been around long enough to remember when we were allowed to do things like see our friends or have a nice pint of beer at a pub. But while some directors may have been more generous and aware in the wardrobe department than others over the years – most notably Wes Anderson – it takes a special kind of actor and man to pull off such a catalogue of looks. To celebrate and yonder at his sartorial excellence, we've rummaged through some of his best on-screen fits to share some of his finest style moments.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou – an Anderson release of 2004 – is a meticulously crafted homage on the classic scuba diving documentaries of French sea explorer Jacques Cousteau. Murray plays a famed oceanographer (Steve Zissou) who sets out to locate a shark who killed his life partner some years before, yet it’s his look is often most remembered. Inspired by Cousteau, Murray wears a light blue coloured wetsuit (Cousteau wore a similar silver iteration), a red watch cap, sometimes even a neat navy pullover with his initials sewn in, and a pair of adidas trainers that have since become iconic. Blue stripes and bright yellow shoelaces, the trainers were originally released in 1959 for the Rome Olympics, yet found their popularity after their appearance on Murray’s feet (so much so that adidas actually released a limited run of 100 adidas “Zissou” some years later).

Another fine sartorial moment came while Murray played psychiatrist Raleigh St. Clair, in yet another Anderson classic, The Royal TennebumsA film widely renowned for its circus of colourful and casual sportswear, Murray found himself in a different sartorial arena completely. Oozing French elegance in a kind of weird American way, his maroon turtleneck beneath a smooth, peanut butter, corduroy blazer made even an outdated combination seem okay. His thin, round-framed spectacles and thick grey beard did nothing to damage his look, while his depressive demeanour throughout made him and his rig-out ever more intriguing.

Stripes was one of Murray’s early big hits. A coarse comedy about two lads who join the army to spice up their dull lives, directed by someone who isn’t Wes Anderson. Despite the different direction - and believe us, it’s different from Anderson in every aspect - the high-level of clothing and immaculate attention to detail was been maintained. Featuring some of the finest, well-cut military attire we’ve seen on screen, Murray is often seen wearing an unbuttoned Beams-esque open collar khaki overshirt with matching fatigue pants that could have easily been swiped from an orSlow lookbook. It’s a fairly vanilla film in all honesty, yet the inclusion of sharp, military ensembles more than make up for it. 

Jim Jarmusch’s 2005 hit Broken Flowers sees arguably Murray’s most modern look. A film about searching for a son he didn’t know he had, Don Johnston (Bill Murray) is the Working From Home icon we didn’t know we had or needed. His sleek ensemble of practical and put-together Fred Perry tracksuits –  especially while drinking an espresso - is both aesthetically pleasing and a deep realisation that we all need to up our isolation fits. 

Caddyshack is an ingenious comedy with golf intended as the main attraction. It’s well-crafted, has an excellent soundtrack and its dialogue is both clever and uproarious. All this, though, pales into insignificance when it faces one of the most effortlessly wonderful outfits cinema might ever see. A drawstring camo boonie hat fitted with a minimalist athleisure grey marl tee, Murray’s look from 1980 wouldn’t look out of place socially distancing at your local supermarket next week.


Where the Buffalo Roam is a 1980 semi-autobiographical film based on a friend of Murray’s, Hunter S Thompson. The famed journalist was known for his extra sense of style (amongst other things), so who better to portray him than the king of on-screen fashion? Loud patterned shirts, with short shorts and an accumulation of accessories, Murray’s rigs are as beautifully disjointed yet wonderful as the film itself.

With over 47 years of acting under his belt (and probably a nice, well-made leather belt it is too), it's no surprise Bill Murray has adorned so many wonderful rig-outs. His ability to effortlessly adapt and blend into the clothes he’s dressed in is like no other we’ve seen. From his first big screen appearance in 1976, through to the highly-anticipated The French Dispatch coming out later this year (an Anderson film that’s guaranteed good gear), Bill Murray has been, and always will be, the main man.