Brad Pitt's Fight Club Jacket Was the Movie's Only Redeemable Character

In defense of the one thing from the whole rigmarole that holds up after 20 years.
IMAGE 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock/Moviestore

To begin, I should tell you that this story contains two confessions. Here is the first: I have no idea when the last time I saw Fight Club was, but it may well have been 20 years ago, when the movie first debuted in 1999. If that's correct, it means I was smack in the middle of adolescence, right before the turn of the century, and living in suburban Pennsylvania. 

Even if I've rewatched it since then, it has been a long, long while since my last viewing. But in 1999, or possibly in 2001 or 2002, I thought Fight Club was so fucking awesome. I never actually unpacked its deeply problematic message, because I was a teenage idiot. But I did gaze upon its supposed hero, Tyler Durden, played by the imitable Brad Pitt. I admired his aviators, and his ridiculous abs. I even got kinda riled up about "rejecting consumerism" or whatever that was all about.


Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in Fight Club.

Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock.

But despite its supposed message, my main takeaway from Fight Club was Tyler Durden’s leather jacket, an almost-impressive instance of spectacularly missing the point. So here's that by-now-obvious second confession: Reader, I bought the jacket. Not the actual jacket, of course, but an approximation thereof, obtained after hours upon hours spent searching on eBay. "Fight Club jacket," as a search term, was far more effective before the factories had a chance to produce knock-off versions based on the movie itself. 

Instead of a knock-off, I bought a rusty-brown vintage piece with an exaggerated collar—on-point; very Durden—and flapped, gusseted chest and hip pockets that weren't true to the costume design but really drove home the feel of the thing. The leather was kind of crappy, but serviceable. It kind of fit! To this day, I lament the fact that I couldn't find one with more intense red/burgundy undertones (it would have been perfect). But I still loved it. And perhaps I should have kept it.

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Tyler Durden: bad politics, good jacket.

Photo by 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock.

Because while Fight Club's toxic version of masculinity has never seemed more ridiculous—and thank god for that—the jacket still looks cool. That late-'60s/early-'70s vibe continues to rings true in men's style in 2019, whether you're looking to Gucci's tendency for maximalism or simply the reappearance of pleats, camp-collar shirts, and higher-rise jeans. 

You know what looks great with pleats, camp-collar shirts, and higher-rise jeans? Tyler Durden's jacket. Just leave all his pseudo-philosophical ramblings at the door. That shit has not aged well. 

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Jonathan Evans
Jonathan Evans is the style director of Esquire, covering all things fashion, grooming, accessories, and, of course, sneakers. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son. You can follow him at @MrJonathanEvans on Twitter and Instagram.
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