When you think of the Breaking Bad universe, fashion is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Drugs? Yep. Debauchery? Sure. Drama? Tons of it. But daring clothing choices? You’d be hard pressed to find many characters interested in their personal appearance. That is, with the exception of Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman). On Better Call Saul, Jimmy manages to breathe life into even the drabbest of settings with his colorful sense of style. He may not always be the smoothest inside the courtroom, but thanks to his choice in clothing (and flair for the dramatic), he certainly knows how to make a lasting impression.
The first four seasons of Better Call Saul have seen Jimmy don just about every getup imaginable; from serious lawyer to charming con man, his many looks have served him in endeavors both noble and naughty. Jimmy’s inevitable evolution into Saul will put him in loud suits and garish ties for the foreseeable future, but today we’re taking a look at his most iconic style moments from Seasons 1-4 of Better Call Saul.
Pinstriped Perfection (Season 1, Episode 4, “Hero”)
This early Jimmy look tells us pretty much everything we need to know about him; the ensemble essentially screams desperation, a plea to be taken seriously while still remaining incredibly tacky. The suit is in his signature double-breasted style (an extremely intentional character move by costume designer Jennifer Bryant, who won’t dress any other characters in double-breasted suits), and upon closer inspection, the pinstripes are a pale blue. It’s all about the biggest and littlest details for Jimmy McGill, and this look — which appears to be his attempt at “serious lawyer” — is full of them.
Lucky in Linen (Season 1, Episode 7, "Bingo")
Jimmy embraces his lighter side while courting his senior clients, and this ensemble is no exception. Attempting to win over the elderly residents of retirement home Sandpiper Crossing, Jimmy caters to them by donning his most exciting, Matlock-reminiscent linen suits and joining in on their bingo games. Thanks to the aforementioned linen, his well-studied charms, and cleverly distributed Jell-o cups reading “Need a will? Call McGill!”, Jimmy soon finds himself the object of many residents’ affections (especially the women).
It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (Season 2, Episode 1, "Switch")
Jimmy is ready to give it all up when Season 2 starts, and this vacation look couldn’t sum up his mental state better. Living it up on a stolen credit card, Jimmy’s power-clashing patterns (Eagles? Flowers? Dragons???), knock-off Wayfarers, impending sunburn, and general apathy create a tropical leisure look that has remained unmatched since. When Kim comes to see this Depressed Vacation Jimmy, the con man in him comes alive again, and this legendary look somehow suits him even better.
How the West Was Won (Season 2, Episode 3, "Amarillo")
Few of Jimmy’s looks come close to touching this cowboy classic — complete with boots, a hat, and a bolo tie. He utilizes this ensemble to further sway Sandpiper plaintiffs (this time in Texas) to join his class action lawsuit, feigning a bus breakdown and sweet-talking the old folks on the bus now able to speak freely without the Sandpiper staff around. Jimmy’s tacky Texan look may seem like too much to some Yankees, but for these Southern townies, he’s a total hit.
Jimmy and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Suits (Season 2, Episode 7, "Inflatable")
“Inflatable” includes one of the best montages Better Call Saul has to offer (above), and the resulting outfits make it that much better. Shiny suit jackets, bright button-downs, and unforgivable ties all combine to create Jimmy’s most irritating (and perhaps iconic) series of looks yet. Inspired by the inflatable tube man he glimpses on his way to work, Jimmy decides to do everything he can think of to get Clifford Main to fire him. Using business hours to play the bagpipes, make smoothies, and not flush the toilet on multiple occasions would seem like enough to dismiss him, but the flashy looks are the icing on the cringeworthy cake.
I Pledge Allegiance… To This Look (Season 2, Episode 9, "Nailed")
Over the course of Better Call Saul’s first four seasons, Jimmy has gone to great lengths to appear as something he’s not — including honorable and patriotic. In “Nailed”, Jimmy drags his quirky crew of filmmakers to a local elementary school as recess wraps up. They shoot Jimmy standing stoically in front of a large, waving American flag, positioning him in his television ads as an upstanding, All-American attorney. When confronted by school officials, Jimmy lies that his crew is shooting a documentary about Rupert Holmes, an alumni of the school, which satisfies them — if only temporarily. The perfectly garish combination of the red shirt and blue tie create something almost beautiful in its brazenness, perhaps epitomizing who will later become Saul Goodman full time.
That’s Hollywood, Baby! (Season 3, Episode 6, "Off Brand")
This list wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse of one of Jimmy’s most ridiculous getups. Faced with the possibility of losing all the money he poured into making television ads, Jimmy turns to a new endeavor: Saul Goodman Productions. The first result? A commercial for commercials, starring producer Saul Goodman. If you’re worried about his credibility, he’s also got a goatee and utility vest. This entire outfit is certainly a ridiculous one, but it’s also one of the first glimpses we get of Jimmy’s alter ego — and his love of disappearing into disguises.
Community Service Casual (Season 3, Episode 7, "Expenses")
Jimmy McGill & Saul Goodman may be better known for their delightfully tacky taste in business attire, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that they don't know how to let loose. (Remember that American Samoa sweatshirt? Jimmy can do casual. He can do cool college grad. And he’ll look better than your dad, too.) As Jimmy waits to begin his court-mandated community service, he dons a long sleeve shirt in muted green and some tried-and-true Mom jeans. The ensemble wouldn’t be complete without his expression of pure disillusionment, and boy, does he wear it well.
Grief Garb (Season 4, Episode 1, "Smoke")
There’s no joking about Jimmy’s classic black suit in the Season 4 premiere. Worn to bid his troubled brother Chuck goodbye, this remarkably normal look almost feels like a costume of sorts when worn by Jimmy. Even the silhouette of the suit is different than most of the others we’ve seen before; it’s not double-breasted, not accented with a silly tie, not secretly hiding a subtle pattern. This suit works because it is Jimmy at his lowest (or at least, it seems to be), a physical manifestation of the complicated feelings inhabiting his body at that moment. Despite toned-down appearances, this look is the one that creates the most cause for concern when it comes to Jimmy McGill. A signal that the lights are out here, that if there’s any con going on beneath the surface, it’s a serious one. Imagining this man without his ostentatious suits is almost impossible, even if this suit offers a window into what a dulled-down Jimmy might be like (and shows us how good he’d still look).
The Tracksuit Collection (Season 4, Episode 8, "Something Stupid”)
A disclaimer: not all of the tracksuits seen here appear in Season 4, Episode 7 — these iconic sets have appeared previously in Season 4 and Season 3, a secret staple of Jimmy McGill’s wardrobe. Jimmy’s suits are an essential ingredient of who he is — and who Saul Goodman will be — but the recipe wouldn’t be complete without his colorful variety of tracksuits. Whether he’s mall-walking to win over a few old ladies, slinging cell phones on the corner, or making new business arrangements, Jimmy’s got a tracksuit for every occasion (and in jewel tones, too!). He completes these looks with appropriate accessories; a gold chain, a sweatband, and total confidence. Because he wouldn’t be Jimmy McGill without the latter.
The fifth season of Better Call Saul premieres on AMC Sunday February 23rd at 10:00 PM ET.
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Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.