Remington Steele: Brown Tweed Suit in Ireland

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Happy 64th birthday to Pierce Brosnan! In 1986, Pierce Brosnan was set to replace Roger Moore as James Bond and star in The Living Daylights. Brosnan’s television series Remington Steele had been cancelled, but its television network NBC had an option to renew it. Since the news of Brosnan becoming James Bond made him an even bigger star than he was before, NBC decided to renew Remington Steele for a fifth series. And because Brosnan was now committed to playing Mr Steele again, he was no longer available to star in The Living Daylights.

The final series of Remington Steele, which aired in January and February of 1987, was only six episodes (compared to the usual 22) and had a higher budget due to location filming. The final episode titled “Steeled with a Kiss” was filmed in Ireland where Mr Steele inherits a castle, and for this he wears something more appropriate than the fashionable low-buttoning double-breasted suits he typically wore at the time. For this special occasion he wears a traditionally styled brown tweed three-piece suit.

The brown tweed is woven in alternating stripes of herringbone and barleycorn weaves, and it has flecks and subtle pinstripes in blue, red and yellow. It’s a multi-tweed with all of the classics rolled up into one cloth, but the cloth is not flashy or garish despite having so much going on. A three-piece suit of this heavy tweed is the perfect garment to wear in a draughty Irish castle.

The style of this suit discards the fashionable look of 1987 for a classic British style. This is most likely either a British suit or an American suit made in a British style. The cut is similar to many of the suits that Brosnan wears in the first two years of Remington Steele, but it has an even more traditional cut and balanced style. The jacket has two buttons on the front in a medium stance, four buttons on each cuff, straight and padded shoulders with gently roped sleeve heads, and medium-width lapels with a medium gorge (the seam where the collar and the lapel meet). There are traditional British sporty details on the jacket, including deep double vents, slanted hacking pockets with a ticket pocket, swelled edges and medium brown braided leather buttons.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. The bottom button is on the gently cut-away portion at the bottom of the waistcoat, which is the traditional British fashion. There are four welt pockets on the front of the waistcoat in the traditional manner.

The suit’s trousers have a classic cut with a high rise and double reverse pleats. Forward pleats are the more traditionally British style, but some tailors in Britain do reverse pleats. The legs are straight and slightly wide. The trousers have an extended waistband with chunky belt loops, through which Brosnan wears a dark brown belt. Belts typically disrupt the lines of a waistcoat but since the suiting is so heavy, the belt does little harm here.

Brosnan’s tweed suit may not look fashionable today, but it doesn’t have a look of any particular era and is completely appropriate for the character and his surroundings. A castle-owner is stereotypically the type who doesn’t care so much about wearing the latest fashions and will want clothes that he can wear for years. Such a heavy tweed suit should indeed last for years. The only thing that dates Pierce Brosnan’s look is his hair: it’s not currently popular for men to wear their hair so long on the sides and in the back, even though it’s a good look on Pierce Brosnan.

With the suit, Brosnan wears a white shirt with a spread collar, double cuffs and front placket, which are edge-stitched. The tie is a burgundy, red and blue ancient madder print, which is a traditional English tie. Brosnan ties it in a Windsor knot. A scarlet red silk handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket with the corners sticking out picks up the red in the tie.

Brosnan’s shoes are a country classic: tobacco-coloured suede full-brogue (wingtip) oxfords. His socks are light grey with a medium blue pattern on the sides.

Over the suit, Brosnan wears a traditional knee-length tan cotton double-breasted trench coat with ten buttons. It has raglan sleeves with shoulder straps, a hook closure at the collar, a yoke across the upper back, a storm flap on the front right, slash pockets, and a self belt and wrist straps that close with a leather buckles. Brosnan wears the trench coat open and leaves the belt hanging in back.

This is also a rare occasion when we see Pierce Brosnan wear a hat. When wearing the trench coat, Brosnan wears an eight-piece newsboy cap in a brown large herringbone tweed. The top of the cap is made up of eight pieces with a button connecting them in the middle. The top of the cap blouses over a short brim. He tilts the cap slightly to high right side. Though the cap may be named after newsboys, upper class men also have long preferred this cap for country sports.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Matt! Wonderful post and analysis as usual! I was wondering though, isn’t the crisp white shirt a bit much for this suit? Would a cream or pale blue shirt have been better?

  2. At the time of Remington Steele, Pierce Brosnan made me think to Cary Grant.
    I not have never see he as James Bond in these years.
    Was perfect in the heroic-comedy roles typical of Cary Grant or others star of “golden age” of cinema.

  3. One issue I always had with Goldeneye was how the pre-title sequence is supposed to take place in 1986 yet Bond is kept looking exactly the same as he does in the rest of the film, not even the hair is different. Seeing theese pictures is therefore very amusing as Brosnan truly did not seem to have aged much at all over those years!

    He is a very handsome man and one of those people who just looks better and better with age.

  4. Matt is the suit full cut through the waist, it looks quite full. The jacket also looks on the longish side. The jacket would work well on it’s own I think.

    • Hacking jackets are cut a bit longer, but the overall fit is difficult to determine since he never buttons the jacket. The jacket would indeed work well on its own.

    • It looks from my eye and considering he never buttons the jacket to be gently suppressed at best. It looks like there is more suppression than on the suit jackets he wore in TND. He wore them open often as well, especially the navy three piece at the start of the film.

  5. That damnable 80s habit of never buttoning the jacket of a three-piece so you could show off that it’s a three-piece suit. Pffft.

    I agree, the white shirt is best. With that lovely tye, loud pocket square, and very busy tweed fabric, any color or (eek!) pattern on the shirt could make the head explode. When in doubt, a crisp Egyptian cotton poplin shirt in a neutral color goes with everything. Stores love to offer variety, but I tell young men who’ll listen, Get one nice white shirt for each other shirt you acquire.

    • I don’t think that’s restricted to the ’80s! I see plenty of people do it now. But it may not be for that purpose so much as it’s a little more acceptable to wear the jacket open on a three-piece and it eliminates the need to unbutton when sitting down. I know that’s certainly the case for me at work.

  6. Nice post, Matt and of particular interest to me as I live in Ireland. This type of suit represents how Americans (and indeed other Europeans) would envisage the Irish of a certain social status to dress. In reality, few in 1987 would have dressed in this way and Brosnan would have stood out somewhat. The Anglo Irish, who owned, and still do to some extent, larger properties including castles, in the Irish countryside, may choose to wear such garb for occasions at least. In reality, this is an idealised hokey image of Oireland and I’m sure the episode threw in all the old cliches!
    That said, it’s s nice suit though Pierce loved the flamboyant pocket handkerchief at that time and losing this would enhance the outfit overall. Also noteworthy is his love of wearing double breasted garments unbuttoned. We saw this with the coat in Tomorrow Never Dies, the blazer in Goldeneye and now with the trench coat worn over this suit. It’s something I believe was done to be fashionable and probably was a personal “style” favoured by Brosnan. As usual, Sir Roger showed how to wear double breasted clothing correctly. Closed!

    • Agreed with all of this. (And we don’t often agree!) I think a simple puffed pocket square would have looked nicer, but at the same time it wouldn’t have looked very Remington Steele.

      How would such a person of social status dress back then or today for that matter?

  7. One of my favorite outfits of the whole series; it further proves my oft-stated point that the tweedy, lord of the manor/Ivy league professor look can be elegant and even sexy if the clothes are well cut and the man wearing them is reasonably fit.

    • Tweed clothing gets a bad rap these days. Undeservedly so. It’s just the right thing for cold days that aren’t quite cold enough for an overcoat. I still want a full three-piece suit made of grey Donegal, though perhaps in a more modern cut than what Pierce is wearing.

      There was a movement a few years ago to make it “cool” by making handbags, sneakers, etc. with tweed, but I think it’s at its best in garments.

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