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If there ever was a genre for “good ol’ American films,” I have no doubt that The Great Escape would reign boastfully at the top of that list. It’s the ultimate World War Two era drama, pitting a rag-tag team of Allied POW’s against a flock of German soldiers that are at once both clueless and ruthless. Released in 1963, the film is a great piece of Cold War propaganda, using a tale of WWII triumph and sacrifice to remind the viewer that we must always march onward in the face of evil. Aside from its rah-rah patriotism, The Great Escape has long been heralded for its style, especially the epic motorcycle jump courtesy of Steve McQueen during the film’s finale. Of particular note for me though was the knitwear on screen, which was just as varied and roughed up as the film’s characters.

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James Garner’s looking a bit too neat in a rollneck sweater and fresh-pressed pleated pants combo, while standing next to James Coburn in a remarkably threadbare knit

As an interesting aside, it was actually The Great Escape that helped immortalize McQueen as one of Hollywood’s first “superstars,” with all the baggage that comes with such a title. The cast and crew of the film recall McQueen being temperamental at best and impossible at worst, as he drank, screwed, and complained his way through the shoot. Nonetheless, McQueen and the rest of his motley brigade, which included the likes of James Garner and Charles Bronson, still managed to scrap together one of the greatest war movies ever made. If you somehow haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you head over to Netflix and give The Great Escape a watch on the double.

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At this point, thanks to tumblr, Twitter, Google Reader, and Instagram (if you think I left anything out there, well then god help us all) I’d venture to guess that on any given day I must flip through nearly a thousand photos, which is a revelation that’s simultaneously awesome and horrifying. Of these photos though, probably only ten or so will end up striking enough of chord that I remember them the next day, and from there, probably only one will ever have a lasting enough impact to inspire some idea in my head, but sometimes that’s all it takes. As the weather turned a couple months ago, one image in particular jumped back to the top of my mental queue: this shot by the Sartorialist from just over two years ago now. Published during Scott Schuman’s prime of producing images that were actually informing the budding menswear community, you could take any part of this outfit and make a case for why it’s inspiring, but for me this shot remains all important for one reason – the jacket.

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