The Style and Fashion of Doc Holliday in “Tombstone”

We are featuring a multi-part series dedicated to the style and fashion of Doc Holliday in Val Kilmer’s iconic portrayal of the gambler in the 1993 film Tombstone. It was originally written and posted by a great site, bamfstyle.com (Badass Men’s Fashion):

There’ve been no less than 2,600 depictions of Doc Holliday on film. (Okay, maybe closer to 70, but still…) Actors ranging from Walter Huston, Kirk Douglas, and Jason Robards to Dennis Hopper, Willie Nelson, and Dennis Quaid have played the legendary gunfighter, with almost all depictions showing his friendship with Wyatt Earp. However, it was Val Kilmer’s brilliant portrayal in 1993’s Tombstone that attracts attention as the most accurate and enjoyable performance. Kilmer plays Holliday as a sick but swaggering Southern gentleman, very handy with his weapons but well-headed enough to know when not to use them and pick up a shot of whiskey instead. The film also depicts, in my opinion, the most accurate portrayal of the events of and surrounding the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Kilmer’s Holliday is the epitome of the Old West badass; his Victorian style borders on the foppish with its colored vests and cravats, and he indulges his every vice. However, he is also ready for action and takes his revolvers into battle to defend his only friend (Wyatt, as played by Kurt Russell) to whom he is fiercely loyal. Doc does everything to excess – drinking, smoking, womanizing, killing, and certainly gambling – but he is the only character who can honestly say “My hypocrisy goes only so far.”

What’d He Wear?


As a “city dude” on the streets of Tombstone, Doc sports a respectable gray frock coat and dark pinstripe trousers. He pairs it with the first variation of his red and gray motif by wearing a silver brocade vest and a deep red cravat.

His frock coat is single-breasted with small but large notch lapels. It fastens with four buttons in the front, but Doc wears it open. Like a good frock cot should, it has a long fit that hangs well on Kilmer’s frame, extending down to just above his knees. There are two flapped hip pockets that sit straight on each side of his waist and a welted breast pocket that slants inward toward the center of his chest. The 3-button cuffs, like the front buttons, are self-covered with the same gray cloth used to manufacture the jacket.

Fashion of Doc Holliday - Gothic Western

Though it is rarely seen all in the same shot, the different angles of Doc’s frock coat help us figure out the details that make it unique.

The rear of the frock coat has distinctive shoulder yokes that curve inward from the armpit and cut straight down each side. There are two decorative self-covered buttons that sit at the waistline, just above a long single vent that blows in the dusty winds of Tombstone.

Holliday only wears his frock coat when greeting the Earps upon their arrival in Tombstone. He wears it with a pair of dark charcoal pinstripe flat front wool trousers with a high rise and plain-hemmed bottoms with a half break over his black leather city boots. The pinstripe of the trousers is very narrow and the pants appear solid gray from a distance. The trousers have frogmouth front pockets, which Holliday uses for his Colt Lightning revolver (in the right side pocket) and his pocketwatch (in the left pocket).

Fashion of Doc Holliday - Gothic Western

Doc with his essentials: two guns, a Hungarian mistress, and a shot of whiskey.

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