At some point while binging screeners of HBO’s Minx, I entered a fugue state and emerged to realize that I had ordered a chunky gold horseshoe pinky ring. It was less a matter of if that was going to happen and more a matter of when. See, the show is a workplace comedy about an affable porn publisher named Doug Renetti (played by Jake Johnson) who helps launch a Playgirl-esque erotic magazine for women called, you guessed it, Minx. And all of Doug’s looks make the case that there’s no better way to dress than like a ’70s sleazebag.
In most period TV series and movies, the aim of the costume design is to avoid looking overtly costumey. Part of why the fits in Minx are so great is that they explicitly lean into that over-the-top costume aspect. We’re talking head-to-toe polyester. Shirts emblazoned with playing cards and unbuttoned to the waistline. Gold jewelry that’s about as tasteful as a Hustler centerfold. The overall effect is one that says “you can still smoke indoors.” Even when every episode contains ample full-frontal nudity, the clothes manage to steal the show.
Fortunately, the ’70s are back (again!), as we recently pointed out. If anything is a respite from two years of sweatpants and gloom, then channeling the most fun decade of American life is it. But what makes Johnson’s portrayal of Doug unique is that, shady and seedy as he is, he also manages to be charming and loyal. In his own way, he’s practically wholesome. And that, in turn, is what makes this look more accessible than you think: proof that you don’t have to be a sleazebag to dress like one.
Focus On The Shirt
If you nail the shirt, you’re 90% there. You want a flowy button-down with a pattern, and you don’t need to go full playing card print to look like you take your meetings in a casino. Florals, Magic Eye graphics, and even a muted snakeskin are all extremely wearable. And polyester may have ruled the ’70s, but you can keep it breathable in 2022. Even more breathable? Unbuttoning four to five buttons—three if you’re feeling modest.
And always keep one knit polo sweater in the rotation, for the occasional non-casino meeting.
Pair It With a Simple Pant
Again, everyone will be looking at the shirt. You still want pants that channel a ’70s silhouette, and these subtly flared options do the trick.
But Get Freaky With Your Layers
A belted corduroy jacket makes you look as if you’d be right at home behind a camera in 1973. But if you’re prepared to go all in, a sleeveless crocodile print vest would make Doug proud.
Before You Leave the House, Look in the Mirror and Put One More Thing On
The ’70s sleazebag embraces the power of a good accessory: a gold necklace dangling over his chest hair, a wacko belt, perfectly scuzzy tinted sunglasses. And, of course, the pinky ring is nonnegotiable.