Bigscreen style: Men's fashion

In his latest pic, “Michael Clayton,” George Clooney dons a sophisticated but not too-slick look for his role as a former hotshot criminal prosecutor who, after a run of bad luck, ends up as a “fixer” in one of New York’s largest corporate law firms.

Costume designer Sarah Edwards worked with writer-director Tony Gilroy to come up with a backstory that would explain why Clayton had an enviable wardrobe even though he’s in financial trouble.

“We decided he went to Fordham and did really well,” Edwards says. “The last couple of years, he’s been in a bit of a bind, but he already had good suits in his closet.”

With just weeks to pull the wardrobe together and only one fitting, conducted early last year at Clooney’s Los Angeles pool house, Edwards had to work fast. Clooney suggested two labels: Armani (whose tux he wore to accept his Oscar for “Syriana”) and Gucci.

“I was a little concerned when I heard that, because I felt they weren’t right at all,” Edwards says. “Both collections were full of hard edges — there wasn’t a soft shoulder in the bunch.”

Edwards faced other challenges as well. Clooney’s suit size, 41R, wasn’t the easiest to find off the rack. Luckily, Italian clothier Canali, whose suits start at $1,395, came to the rescue. Edwards was impressed with the collection’s classic tailoring and willingness to “bend over backward to get us everything we needed.”

Canali, (who also dresses Paul Giamatti’s Mr. X in “The Nanny Diaries”) inked a deal with Warner Bros. to dress Clooney. “We were thrilled that the filmmakers felt that Canali’s signature silhouette was perfect for the character,” says Elisabetta Canali, global director of communications and advertising.

Edwards reports, “George really liked the suits,” and says he even kept a few things. But she claims it’s not so much what Clooney wears, but how he wears it. “He’s very comfortable in pretty much anything,” she says. “If you look like George, you don’t have to worry much about wardrobe.”

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more