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The Anatomy of a True Magnum P.I. Costume


The Anatomy of a True Magnum P.I. Costume

Over the past year I have watched every Magnum P.I. episode in chronological order from season 1 to 8. I know, I know, many of you are probably floored by this astonishing accomplishment. I’m not just bragging for the sake of it, although that would be entirely acceptable for such an amazing feat.

Much like an Academy Award-winning actor researching a role, I had to get inside the head of the legend prior to stepping into his mustache this Halloween and recommending the costume to you. To truly represent, you are going to need to acquire some vintage duds, so I have included some precise items to help you suit up in style. Once Halloween is over and you win best costume, use your reward loot to treat yourself to one of these.

The Essentials

magnum stacheMustache: Start growing it now. T.M.’s was of considerable length, and it will take longer than a week to achieve. Grow it, comb it, talk to it like you would a plant. Take it out to dinner, and then introduce it to your family. As soon as it says, “I think things are moving too quickly,” it’s ready to be trimmed. If you’re going for a glue-on version make sure it’s of quality. Stealing a plastic one from a pair of Groucho glasses is not acceptable and will result in a two week loss of Ferarri and tennis court usage.

magnum hawaiian shirtShirt: Next to the ‘stache this is the most important aspect of your costume. Don’t just go out and buy any Hawaiian shirt, get the actual vintage Hawaiian shirt with the red jungle bird pattern. Make sure to unbutton at least two buttons, preferably three, to expose your chest hair. If you don’t have any chest hair trim some off a wig, and tape it to your chest so the hair is visible and the tape isn’t. Oh, and your shirt should always be tucked in for maximum Magnum effect – the babes want to see the buns.

magnum detroit hatHat: The signature Detroit Tigers Hat. Tom’s was a fitted full back, the new ones are exactly the same – but steer clear of the MLB logo on the rear. Or if you want to get really serious, grab one of these replica hats that he often wore – representing his ‘Nam unit.

magnum shortsJeans/Shorts: Loose fitting jeans are the easy route. If you go the way of shorts, get tan khakis that expose at least four inches of leg above your knee and make sure you have to squeeze in to them. Use a beige canvas belt on whichever bottoms you choose.

magnum pumasShoes: Decide between either white Puma Easy Rider Sneakers or white/tan Deck shoes. By the way, T.M. never wore socks, so don’t let me catch you wearing them either. And yes, I will be watching you. Go the vintage Adidas route if the other two aren’t attainable.

The Extras

magnum sunglassesSunglasses: Magnum wore Vintage Ray Ban Shooter sunglasses in earlier episodes. If they aren’t available consider most vintage Carerra aviators. Or if you’re on a budget, grab any similar vintage aviators – but stay away from the mirrored lenses – Magnum was a P.I. not a cop.

magnum gunPistol: When it was go time, Mags tucked one in the the back of his jeans. But it wasn’t a revolver, Magnum was ex-Navy not a 50’s gumshoe. So if you are going to add this prop, get a toy similar to the the one pictured, otherwise don’t bother.

magnum ringRing: This obscure item says you’ve done your research. Magnum, T.C. and Rick all wore a Cross of Lorraine ring as a symbol of their team in ‘Nam. Magnum wore it on the third finger of his right hand, and you should too.


Beyond the Call of Duty

magnum ferrariIrritate a few Doberman Pincers and then try to outrun them. Get three buddies to go as T.C., Rick and Higgins. While you’re in costume periodically narrate inside your head, as if you’re on a case, and always begin with, “I know what you’re thinking, and you’re probably right.” Carry a long neck beer bottle around with a label that says, “Old Dusseldorf.” Make notes on becoming a “World Class Private Investigator” for a forthcoming book by that title. Rent a vintage Ferrari 308 GTS.

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Jimmy founded Defunkd in 2004 when he started selling vintage t-shirts online. 20 years of experience later and he hasn't looked back since. Actually, he looks back all the time given he's a sucker for nostalgia. For more, check the history of Defunkd and Jimmy's Expertise.

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