Q: Corduroy-Collared Suit at the Lab in Spectre

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Ben Whishaw’s Q in Spectre still prefers to dress like a hipster university student rather than like a mature man, but now he has moved up to wearing a suit. His clothes show that he’s from a younger generation than Bond and Tanner are and that he wants to do things his own way. However, this look forfeits a look of authority and maturity that can be useful in Q’s important position, but his colleagues still show him respect despite the way he dresses, just as they should.

Q’s suit is from Maison Margiela, who also made Q’s black moleskin jacket in Skyfall and Blofeld’s pale grey drawstring trousers in Spectre. The suit is made of a blend of 98% wool and 2% polymide (nylon) in a semi-solid brown made up of dark and light browns, blue and red. Because the there is red and blue in the brown cloth, it has a cool tone that is flattering to Whishaw’s cool winter complexion. Such a multi-coloured suiting is reminiscent of suitings popular during the 1960s. Unlike suitings from the 1960s, this is very lightweight and does not drape so well.

The button two suit jacket is cut with straight shoulders and a clean chest. The jacket fits slightly short on Q for a modern look, but the overall fit is difficult to judge because Q always wears it open. The armholes look low, which limit the range of motion and may be why Q wears the jacket open. The collar is brown cotton needlecord (pinwale corduroy), and there are matching brown needlecord elbow patches. Both the collar and elbow patches give the suit jacket a countrified—but also very creative—look. It’s a shame that this kind of experimentation isn’t as popular in fashion as experimenting with fit unfortunately is. The jacket is detailed with flapped patch pockets on the hips, a welt breast pocket, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent at the rear. There are swelled edges on the lapels, collar, front edges and pocket flaps, and the centre back has a lapped seam. The suit trousers have a flat front, low rise and tunnel-style belt loops. The legs are full at the thighs but taper to a narrow hem that pools on top of the shoes, giving the trousers a sloppy look.

Poster ‘qcentric’ on AJB007 identified the suit as being from Maison Margiela.

Q’s shirt from French fashion house Kenzo is called ‘Graphic Trees’, and it’s a print in steel blue, teal, dark teal and magenta on cotton. The tones of the shirt are too vivid and warm for Whishaw’s complexion, while a more traditional white or light blue shirt would both look better on him and make the outfit look more mature. The shirt has a moderate—but short—spread collar, button cuffs and a plain front. The shirt’s buttons are grey. Q’s tie is a finely knitted burgundy—possibly in silk—with a square cobalt blue hem, which coordinates with the similar colours of the shirt. Even though Q uses a four-in-hand knot to tie the knitted tie, the knot is too big for the short collar since the collar points cannot lie flat.

Bond Lifestyle wrote about this shirt after Kenzo’s Twitter account posted about it.

The shoes are dark brown suede full-brogue (wingtip) oxfords with light-coloured natural leather soles, storm welts and orange laces. The shoes are fitting for the casual nature of the suit, though the light soles on dark shoes are jarring. The belt is light brown leather, which complements the shoes by coordinating with the light parts of the shoes.

This outfit is an improvement over Q’s outfits in Skyfall, with two problems that could be remedied: the fit of the suit and the shirt. The suit is ready-to-wear and looks it. The suit jacket and trousers neither follow Q’s body nor drape elegantly from it, while the shirt is neither the right colour for Whishaw’s complexion nor does it look mature enough for Q’s high position. But the suit’s details are creative, and the tie and shoes pair harmoniously with the suit.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “This outfit is an improvement over Q’s outfits in Skyfall”

    What about the cardigan and tie outfit it Skyfall? I kind of liked that one.

    Also the outfit at the end of Spectre with the knitted polo as a middle layer between shirt and jacket. Would love to see an article about that one!

  2. The shirt isn’t a good choice and makes him look like a teenager trying to dress up. The suit it’s self is good, the fit needs a bit of help. There isn’t any excuse for pooling trousers. he actually looks like many young men I see trying to look formal but failing. I’m sure you see quite a few young men in New York trying a version of this look Matt ?

  3. Well, I think we have to credit the costumer for knowing the Q is a young professional consumed with passion for his technical challenges. Fashion sense, hell, just knowing how to dress himself, is something we can assume he’s never learned. They hired him for his skills (not withstanding the colossal goof he made in SKYFALL). His clothing can reflect that he’s still a dork, though one with a security clearance and very sensitive job.

    Unlike the original Q, I don’t think this chap’s a department head. Maybe just a team lead or senior technician, feigning a haughty attitude to make up for lower pay grade. Purely my conjecture.

    • This manner of dress is very much intentional. Q knows that he’s a dork, but he believes he’s a very hip and fashionable dork. People who dress like Q believe they have a brilliant fashion sense and would think that M dresses like an old man rather than an elegantly stylish man.

  4. I think the choices of wardrobe for Q – as well as those of Tanner and M – are pitch perfect for the character. It’s only Bond that is let down due to the poor fit of his suits. It’s makes sense that Q’s suit fits the way it does. Not so much for Bond.

  5. I can only assume the writers were watching The IT Crowd one night and they saw Richard Ayoade and pointed at the TV screen and said “Him, he’s our Q!” But he didn’t want to do it so they found someone who looked, acted and dressed exactly like him instead. He is very good, Ben, and they’re lucky to have him…but he is also very Richard Ayoade.

  6. On the last picture; the guy on the left has a proper fit to his clothes; the guy in the middle is trying too hard; and the guy on the right is a bad combo of a high school teacher and hipster.

  7. Ben Wishaw dressed much better and more classically in the terrific period news drama, “The Hour”. In it, he wears a 3-peice blue flannel suit that would be right at home in Bond. Whether in character or not, this look is ridiculous.

    The hipster look is really depressing and clueless. I was watching “North by Northwest” recently with my hipster nephew– this is a 28-year-old man with a Ph.D. and who teaches at University. He looks at the movie and immediately starts criticizing, “look at that ridiculously oversized suit (referring to Roger Thornhill)– it’s just billowing around him! Oh! Oh– look at how high the pants are, haha!” I inwardly groaned, I wanted to punch him so bad. I say, “You do realize that this suit is considered by most to be the finest suit ever out on film?”

    He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Sigh…

  8. *just as they should (typo there). Great analysis as always Matt. When are you going to look at Zorin’s double breasted suit in the airship meeting?

  9. Zorin also wears a light grey suit towards the end of the film and a black DB jacket with light grey trousers during the climax. Both very much 1980’s inspired, but still classic. Both would make good posts, the black jacket is good, because sports coats in black are very common today. Would do you think Matt ?

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