“Way out west there was this fella… fella I wanna tell ya about. Fella by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. Mr. Lebowski, he called himself ‘The Dude.’”
These are the opening lines from the Coen Brothers’ 1998 dark comedy The Big Lebowski. This was a different “way out west,” emphasis on the “way out,” as it took place in Los Angeles, and its hero was no John Wayne type, but rather the kind of slacker, boho, lazy hipster that typified SoCal semi-burnouts.
We don’t mean this character assessment as an insult. In fact, Jeff Bridges in his role as The Dude hit some kind of zeitgeist, making The Big Lebowski a cult film that stands among the great such as Repo Man and Rocky Horror Picture Show.
What makes a dude The Dude? Certainly a chillaxed attitude is a prerequisite, but so is the wardrobe. So it’s no surprise that one enterprising eBay seller has assembled eight outfits that replicate the character’s ensembles in the movie. See the collection for yourself on today’s remarkable listing, the Big Lebowski Sweater & Full Wardrobe:
Yes, we’re talking the Pendleton sweater with shawl collar. The Jelly sandals. Even Vuarnet sunglasses. This is your essential “too mellow to shop retail” getup. Yet the images included in the listing reflect an attention to detail that only a true film fanatic can possess. In the words of the listing description,
“The Dude’s closet is for Sale!
8 outfits of the Dudes!
I’ve collected for years the closest match to every outfit the Dude wore in the film.
I am a perfectionist and it took me a while to find each piece.”
That’s the kind of dedication we’ve come to expect from eBay sellers and “Achievers,” the term for fans of The Big Lebowski. After all, this is the film that spawned Lebowski Fest, a celebration of the film’s lore and its aftermath. The website describes the goings-on at Lebowski Fest as Achievers coming to “drink white Russians, throw some rocks and party with an array of Dudes, Walters and Maudes (not to mention a nihilist or two). It’s a two-day party that typically opens with live performances and screening of the film the first night and concludes with a raucous bowling party the following night.”
It all started in 2002, at a tattoo convention in Louisville, but has expanded to cities far and wide, among them New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Austin, Seattle, London, and Edinburgh.
Now the winner of this auction will have eight outfits to choose from for attending the next Lebowski Fest. Or to wear for bowling night.
The Dude may appear permanently chilled out, but still waters run deep. In an interview in Rolling Stone, Bridges summarized why El Duderino endures:
“Well, I think our basic philosophies are the same. I bet the Dude is into some Eastern philosophy. You know he’s got some Buddhist books on his shelf. But it’s kinda like realizing that the more open you get, life keeps challenging that openness to open you more, and so, at some point, you say, ‘Well, that’s the game. I’m just gonna sit back and dig the way it is.’ The next movie I did after Lebowski was The Contender, I think. To play the President after playing the Dude — it was kind of like the antithesis of the Dude, you know?”
Over 40 bidders have ratcheted up the price to $532, but the reserve has not been met. How high must you bid? Will this impeccable collection just fade into obscurity? We doubt it. After all, the Dude abides.