Counter Culture

The Style and Wardrobe of The Bear


The Bear is a series that showcases the stresses and traumatising experiences that come with being a chef and working in a kitchen. It goes into grief, dysfunctional families, and people self-destructively devoted to their professions. Beyond all of this, the wardrobe is excellent. Every decision made by costume designer Courtney Wheeler feels intentional and well-thought out. From £100 t-shirts and deadstock sneakers worn to work in, to chefs whites made by Thom Browne, to 1940s vintage denim. Explore below...

The Perfect White Tee

There's countless on-screen appearances of male tv/film leads wearing a plain white t-shirt, and wearing it excellently. Brad Pitt in Fight Club, Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, John Travolta in Grease. The list goes on. So simple yet by virtue of its simplicity so hard to get right. What makes the perfect white tee? Fabric, fit and detailing of course but it’s in the minutiae of the details where we find the joy.

If you've seen Christopher Storer's The Bear, you've probably noticed, a plain white t-shirt is pretty much all main character Carmy Berzatto (Jeremey Allen White) wears. The most commonly featured white t-shirt is by Merz b. Schwanen, retailing at 64.90. It's thick, luxurious, and well constructed and well fitting; tight on the arms without appearing too much light a muscle t-shirt, cropped well sitting at the top of the trouser pockets. Other white t-shirts spotted are by Whitesville retailing at £99.50, a similar weight and similar luxurious feel to it, but slightly looser. Both comparable to our Goods by Goodhood Heavyweight Short Sleeve T-ShirtSupreme x Hanes is another t-shirt spotted on The Bear, retailing at £28 for a pack of three. A cheaper, more lightweight option, but equally as well fitting, allowing for a longer more skate style-esque look. The main correlation in all of these t-shirts; the fit and the quality. Comparable to our Goods by Goodhood Classic Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Read more on The Perfect White T-Shirt here.



Quiet Luxury: The Thom Browne Reference

In the season 2 finale, Carmy presents his head chef Sydney Adamu (Ayo Edebiri), ahead of his restaurants opening night, a white chef coat by Thom Browne, customised with her initial 'SA' stitched into it. A glimpse at the chefs whites shows the Thom Browne neck label and the signature stripes wrapping the sleeves. Seemingly too precious for a kitchen environment, but a very touching moment in the show. A big deal in the scene, as Syd is young, up-and-coming chef who is being given control of a kitchen for the first time, and is made all the more sweet with the inclusion of such a world-known, luxury, and highly respected brand. There are other scenes in the show that allude to the characters talking about Thom Browne, so the moment feels quite full circle. These seemingly small decisions of designers and types of clothing used really adds to The Bear being named one of the best styled shows on TV right now.


Use of Vintage Pieces

In one of the first introductions of Carmy in the pilot episode of season 1, we see him in his apartment opening his oven, which is full to the brim with vintage denim. Revealing a few things about his character; he's a chef who doesn't cook for himself at home, and that he's into menswear - or collecting vintage denim at least. In this scene, Carmy doesn't have the money to buy the meat needed at his restaurant one day, so he trades a vintage Levi's jacket for some beef, to keep his restaurant going another day. He rushes into his apartment and starts looking through his wardrobe and kitchen cupboards revealing a mass of vintage denim jackets and jeans. He's got such a vast collection that he also uses his oven for storage. He takes a jacket back to the guy selling the beef, and ends up giving him a history lesson on the Big E Redline selvedge denim from 1944 he offers to trade him for the meat. He goes into the lack of rivets on denim from that era, because the use of copper was limited during World War II and Levi's temporarily stopped producing jeans and jackets with their usual copper rivets. The meat trader isn't convinced, until Carmy tells him "you can get $1250 for that on eBay" and throws in a 1955 blanket lined Type 3 jacket, and it seals the deal. The whole scene is about as menswear nerdy as it can get - Carmy calls his sister to pick up the additional jacket for him, and when she drops it off to him, she's greeted with “you didn’t put it in a bag or anything?”. Pure vintage collecting gold. 

Another notable piece of denim is the selvedge pair we see Carmy wearing. They're made by French brand A.P.C. and it was chosen specifically by the show’s costume designer Courtney Wheeler because she thinks of A.P.C. as a 'gateway to liking denim'. The jeans are a suggested to be a reflection of Carmy’s time in Europe that we learn more about in season 3.



Well Styled But Still Durable: Workwear

Dickies has been a household name in utility wear since 1922, when C. N. Williamson and E. E. "Colonel" Dickie began manufacturing denim overalls for farm and ranch hands around Southwest America. Fast-forward almost a century later, and Dickies has grown into an internationally recognised label producing wares far beyond their initial working clientele; seamlessly infiltrating hip-hop and skate subcultures whilst keeping price point and branding exactly the same as when they started. Cheap, long lasting and durable, great quality thanks to their heavyweight 8.5 oz cotton. The Dickies' 874 trouser is incorporated into The Bear as often as they are in real working kitchens, a staple choice for those in the industry, as well as trustworthy workwear brands like Carhartt WIP (spotted on Syd, who is seen wearing a pair of white Carhartt WIP dungarees). Other work trousers, cargos and fatigue pants are spotted throughout, Carmy and Marcus Brooks (Lionel Boyce) are frequent wearers. Styled with the previously mentioned well fitting and well cropped plain white t-shirt Carmy wears, or a bigger and baggier graphic t-shirt by Aime Leon Dore or Patta that Marcus wears; a perfect pairing. Fun fact: Marcus' green beanie in the show belongs to Lionel; the wardrobe team couldn't find an exact copy of it in that exact colour, so they used Lionel's personal beanie.



Under The Counter: Not Just Mules

Traditionally, you think of Birkenstocks or Crocs when picturing footwear worn in kitchens. Birkenstocks are seen throughout The Bear's kitchens, but costume designer Courtney Wheeler branches further afield with the use of sought after sneakers. Pastry chef Marcus in season 1 is styled New Balance x Aime Leon Dore Rainier Low in brown and green, which for those who remember, sold out within minutes back in 2022. Marcus also dons a pair of  New Balance 998's in black in season 2. A well thought-out choice seeing as the 998, despite not being closely associating with cheffing or kitchens, are sat atop a comfortable Abzorb foam midsole and made with breathable mesh; a realistic option for a sneakerhead on their feet all day who needs comfort and breathabilty. Marcus is also spotted wearing an Off-White Degradé Arrows t-shirt, and multiple Aime Leon Dore t-shirts throughout the series.