In 1983, Al Pacino played Cuban gangster Toni Montana in the film Scarface. With his character now an iconic film mobster, it is easy to find Scarface costumes online and in party shops. Yet these often look like the average fancy dress outfit. With some attention to detail you could make a costume that is much more filmic and menacing, and you might even save some cash. Scarface is about money and power during the 1980s cocaine boom, so concentrate on creating the look of gangster wealth with immaculate tailoring, mixed with some dark menace and lots of classic Pacino panache.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Straight cut suit, white or pinstripe
- Fitted shirt in a contrast colour
- Polished shoes
- Plastic or inflatable machine gun
- Gold coloured watch
- Wig (optional)
- Temporary black hair spray or paint colour
- Brow powder
- Brow brush
- Dark brown eye shadow
Find a straight cut suit. This should be gently tailored and well-fitting. Unless you want to spend a large sum, search through charity shops and second hand markets. This type of tailoring comes in and out of fashion so there should be plenty of choice, even on a budget. Most ready made Scarface costumes concentrate on the classic white suit of the original film posters but Pacino wore a subtle pinstripe suit, with a waistcoat, for many key scenes. Finding this style may be easier but it looks just as striking.
Team your suit with a fitted shirt in a contrasting shade. Get a dark shirt to go with a white suit, or white shirt to go with the pinstripe look. Wear this with the neck open and the collar flat out. Wash and iron this to perfection before wearing it.
Slip on some polished brogues or loafers.
Accessorise with important elements taken from the film. A machine gun is essential. You can get these from toy shops but for complete authenticity, seek out a giant Scarface-style inflatable gun online or in a party shop. These have the exact markings of the one used in the film. A gold coloured watch and cigar are other ideal accessories.
Style hair so that it is tidy but brushed forward, sitting with a slight fringe if possible. You can wear a wig if your natural hair is completely incompatible with the square cut of the film but darkening hair also works to give a Scarface look. Try a wash-out black from a professional makeup shop. Paint or spray this in, then comb it to sit in the right shape.
Create Pacino’s sultry, brooding mobster look with makeup. Darken brows with brow powder. Then smudge a little dark eye shadow under eyes, and around the cheekbones creating natural shadow. Be subtle and only use a touch of product, dabbed on with a finger, for a natural finish that doesn’t look like makeup but simply helps you scowl.
Tips and warnings
- If you’re looking a bit too pale to be a Cuban gangster, use a very light self tan product the day before. Buy a product suitable for face and body, so you can use it all over. Choose one in a light colour, which develops naturally on the skin over a couple of hours, rather than the deep tan varieties that need more complicated application.
- Keep the styling a subtle blend of late ‘70s going in to the ‘80s. Look for a classically tailored suit and not a slouchy Miami Vice style outfit. Also stay away from shirt collars that look too pointed and disco inspired, shiny fabric or anything stretch, as it will ruin your gangster cool.
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