Noble House: A Cream Silk Suit for Leisure


Only a year after he finished Remington Steele, Pierce Brosnan played Hong Kong tycoon Ian Dunross in the 1988 television miniseries Noble House. Besides Brosnan, Noble House stars two other actors from the James Bond series, John Rhys-Davies (The Living Daylights) and Burt Kwouk (Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice). Brosnan plays and dresses as Dunross similarly to how he plays and dresses as Steele, though Dunross’ clothes are devoid of the 1980s fashions that dominated his later Steele wardrobe and would plague James Bond in Licence to Kill a year later. For leisure in Hong Kong, Brosnan wears a cream silk suit in Noble House.


The cream suit jacket has three buttons and a different cut than the other suit jackets in Noble House and has a more relaxed look to go with the suit’s more relaxed nature. The shoulders are soft and natural but have a little padding. The shape of the lapels and other small details are identical to on the other suits in the mini-series, meaning this suit is either made by the same tailor or is from the same brand. The other suits are most likely meant to look like they are made by an English-influenced Hong Kong tailor, though this cream suit looks more American.

The back of the jacket is gently shaped but perfectly fitted

The suit jacket lacks front darts in the American Ivy League style, thus the front looks boxy. The chest is very lean and the waist is full. The back of the jacket, however, is suppressed to give the jacket a clean and flattering shape. The traditional American Ivy League style has three buttons with the lapels rolled to the middle button—called a three-roll-two—so that the jacket looks like a button two jacket. This jacket, however, is not made in that style. The lapels on this button three suit jacket only roll gently through the top button and are not pressed all the way down to the middle button, but the lapels roll slightly past the top button when the jacket is button. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent.


The suit’s trousers have a medium rise and double reverse pleats, which are stitched down about an inch at the top to direct the fullness to the hips and keep the pleats neat. Though pleats are not part of the Ivy League style like the undarted suit jacket is, the popularity of pleated trousers in the late 1980s means that they accompany this suit jacket. The trousers have on-seam side pockets and one rear pocket on the right. The legs are gently tapered with plain hems. The trousers are worn with a medium brown belt.


Brosnan’s blue multi-stripe shirt is classic, but it is also what was popular in the 1980s. The cotton is medium blue, possibly end-on-end, with navy, yellow and light blue pencil stripes, spaced about 3/8″ apart. The shirt has a point collar, double cuffs and a front placket. The collar, cuffs and placket have 1/4″ stitching. Brosnan’s tie is red with dark blue repp stripes bordered by olive repp stripes. The striped tie pairs well with the striped shirt because the stripes are of different scales and different intensities. The tie’s stripes are in the American directions—down from the right shoulder to the left hip. If the stripes have any meaning in the UK, the American direction negates the meaning of the pattern. As there is no keeper, each blade of the tie hangs freely. When the tie flips up in the wind, a Polo Ralph Lauren label can be seen under the tie. It is possibly that other piece of clothing that Pierce Brosnan wears in Noble House could also be from Polo.

Brosnan matches a dark blue patterned silk pocket square to the dark blue stripes in the tie and in the shirt. Brosnan also matches his red socks to the base colour of his tie. The shoes are medium brown suede derbys.

Notice the “POLO by Ralph Lauren” label on the back of the tie


  1. This article seems so appropriate in a couple of ways.

    With the Australian winter nearing its end I’ve been considering investing in a cream suit for the coming summer. Seeing this I’ve now made my decision to do it.

    But I also read recently about people coordinating their socks with the rest of their tie like this. I’d heard of matching the colour of the shoe as well as matching the colour of the suit. If all else fails, go with black.
    But until recently I’ve never heard someone suggest matching the socks with the base colour of the tie. Until now I’ve never seen it pulled off even remotely well. With the casual nature of this suit this really doesn’t look terrible, but I’m on the fence about whether it looks good.

    What is your opinion, Matt?

    • I think in this outfit, matching the socks to the tie works very well. It works here because the outfit is a very casual one, and it wouldn’t be so effective on a business or more formal outfit.

    • I also like to coordinate my socks to other parts of my outfit even when wearing a worsted city suit, but I work in a menswear store. Dandiness is allowed or even encouraged, even though I’m still tame compared to some other associates there. Basically, my guideline is to stick to socks that match the trousers unless it’s a non-conservative environment. Pretty much what I tell my customers.

  2. Thanks Matt!

    All in all a classic and well-cut ensemble. Perhaps a bit more waist suppression would have been better – to me it’s too boxy. I don’t care much for the Ivy League style and I in general I don’t like lounge suits with single vent (I prefer double vents) but that’s trivia.

    For leisure it’s a bit too formal (tie + hankie). I think you in Hong Kong you could wear it as a business suit without any problem. The multi-stripe shirt is IMO a typical 80s item and therefore looks a bit dated.

    Silk is a cloth I have a weakness for – to me it’s a pity that it’s rarely seen on today’s suits and if then only in minor qualities. I have a cream summer jacket made of silk and having an entire suit made of it would be really nice. But unfortunately the price would be prohibited and I’ve heard that some tailors have problems with providing the material (In particular dupioni silk seems hard to provide). Silk shirts (like those Bond wears regularly in the novels) are also hard to find – except those cheap ones made of shiny silk or even artificial silk. But a few Jermyn Street shirtmakers offer some ready-made on their website which are fine quality.

    • Renard,

      I agree re: your fondness for silk and I can only theorise that it’s fallen out of favour (at least in terms of the 60’s 70’s and 80’s) on account of the (in my view, unfortunate) casualisation of society and the fact that suits and the wearing if same is regarded by a majority of men now as something to be endured for their business life and they don’t gave any aesthetics or interest in the material of the suit. Outside of business life any kind of formal or polite dress is quickly eschewed. So, barring a special occasion, for the majority, purchasing a silk suit wouldn’t justify the outlay. The same trend accounts for the fall off in popularity of the blazer and sports coat (something now referred to incorrectly as a blazer!) as these were “half way houses” between casual clothing and the full formality of a suit. A silk suit falls between the same cracks. Bond of course wore them when not in London and in a mild climate (Venice, Hong Kong, USA) and they suited the times. Now we are left with a boring, anodyne vista of men in navy or black suits, many now without a tie in situations where that just wouldn’t have been previously acceptable. I have myself a grey dupioni silk suit from Polo Ralph Lauren (pristine condition) which I got from a vintage online outlet and I wear it from time to time (on holiday, out to dinner etc) but not for my working day, but I’m a dinosaur. Could this suit also be Polo like the tie? I say this because I recently bought a vintage Polo beige/tan silk sports coat from an eBay seller and although older than this its the same colour and the material looks very similar from the photos.

    • @David Marlborough
      “I can only theorise that it’s fallen out of favour (at least in terms of the 60’s 70’s and 80’s) on account of the (in my view, unfortunate) casualisation of society”

      -I agree to that – it’s one of the reasons but there are other: Many consider silk being impractical – e.g. too hot for summer, difficult and expensive to clean, not appropriate for suits and as a sheer leisure garment too costly.
      It’s true that in general silk doesn’t breathe as well linen does but it all depends on the weave. The silk jacket I own is worn in a rather dense way and therefore is indeed rather a spring than a summer jacket. But nevertheless you can find silk jackets / suits in a hopsack weave (like the cream QoS silk suit Matt presented) or other open weaves which can be worn in hot climate without any problems. And cleaning silk needs not to be costly – there are f.i. pre-washed silk shirts which can be cleaned like every other shirt.
      The awe to wear silk shirts with suits is IMO based on a certain image of silk – e.g. Miami Vice, shiny silk shirts as signature garments of gigolos, gangsters etc. But high-quality silk is not shiny – it almost looks like cotton and is hard to distinguish from it (the touch is rather dry – albeit not as dry as linen).

      And as to silk garments as leisure items: Why not? If you are a fond of the material (like myself) you don’t care if they are considered useful or not – they’re just for fun and therefore very useful! ;-)

      Interesting article on silk shirts:

    • Excellent link, Renard. I’ve ordered a blue striped, half sleeve sports shirt in silk from Foster and he does have a (limited) amount of silk cloths in his huge range. He told me that the blue striped shirt worn with the blazer in TSWLM was silk. You’re right that these quality silks aren’t really outstandingly different to a fine cotton and that the satin look ones don’t really look the business. I have another silk shirt and they can be easily washed gently in cold water with a tiny amount of my wife’s shampoo or a special detergent for silk. I’ve never found that they didn’t wear cool either. A couple of silk dress shirts are surely a worthwhile addition to any well dressed man’s wardrobe .

  3. Nice article and nice outfit! I like this suit very much and the idea of matching red socks with the tie works just fine. Unfortunatly the socks are too short or Brosnan didnt pull them up properly. You can see his legs between the trousers and the socks.

  4. Very interesting article. I recently purchased a cream cotton suit from J. Press, but with flat front trousers. Something of note, many enthusiasts of the American “Trad” or “Ivy League” style believe that the gentle 3-button roll of this jacket is the “true” form of 3 roll 2, instead of the flatly pressed lapel that resembles a 2 button.

    As with all things sartorial, there’s a ridiculous amount of debate surrounding it. Below is a good discussion on the subject and how the curves of the Ivy League look come together.

  5. Lack of darts is the most curious thing of this suit.
    In 1988 Ivy League was not more popular at least in mainstream market.
    The suit could be American (in this case a special order from J Press or Brooks Brothers,that in 88 was still Brooks,or Chipp).
    Or maybe have slanted or curved darts,and is from a Hong Kong firm that cut in Anglo-American way.
    Who know!

  6. Matt, you didn’t mention the shoulders I think. It looks like these are much softer than usual for Brosnan, and, well it does look nice on him too.
    Nice outfit, although I don’t think the cream / red / yellow / light blue and navy colours go well when put altogether as it is here. A solid medium blue shirt and tan socks would have had my preference, and perhaps forgetting the pocket square, too.
    I know, I can be pretty boring sometimes !

    The point collar only makes his face appear longer, not something Brosnan needed at that time.

  7. I find that allowing both blades of the tie to hang freely, even when a keeper is available, has a subtle rakishness about it.

    The loud socks, on the other hand, are not a favorite of mine. I suppose it’s ok here, but I see so many men wearing pastel colored socks with business suits and I think it looks terrible. Style is best when it looks effortless and to me, colored socks scream “I’m trying too hard!”

  8. This is a very good suit for the late 1980s, in my opinion, and even now it appears to be classic suit that doesn’t look very out of place. I’m not a fan of fashion from that period. I don’t care for how voluminous the latest clothing had become around that time, and then in the 1990s and continuing into the 2000s, but tailored clothing could look fine for any period of fashion. The legs are a little wider than I’d prefer, and the trousers just a bit long, but not by much, and with these details he still appears to be well-dressed. I think he could still be well-dressed in 2015 (Or overdressed, by some), although less fashion-oriented for now, since we’ve experienced the narrow lapels and ties (Which I like, as I am a fan of the late 1950s through 1960s period for that fashion, and the German band Kraftwerk looked good wearing thin ties beginning in the mid-1970s through early 1980s, likely introducing the fashion again that the New Wave/Romantic movement came to be known for adopting, as in when people think of ’80s skinny ties). The matching socks and tie is something to think about, as well.

  9. A great suit from a great series. Bold colour choices, but the Tai-pan of Struans is a corporate pirate (and the descendant of an actual pirate) so I guess it works for the character. His name in Dunross, so the tie/socks/pocket square are possibly referencing his clan tartan. We see a lot of Hong Kong suits here in Australia. The ones I’ve seen often use stiff, heavy material for the canvass and, even more commonly, cheap and garish buttons. Of course, these are churned out in sweatshops for the tourist trade, and Dunross would frequent a higher class tailor. And now I see what Matt means about front darts. Brosnan was a thin man when this was made, but looks quite stout in the first shot. The one silk suit I owned did not wear cool, but judging by the outfits on the extras, Noble House wasn’t filmed in the summer.

  10. Brosnan wore a checked tweed sports jacket in the mini series also. Hopefully will be covered at some point. He also wore some nice suits and jackets in The Fourth Protocol film. I have no idea who made them but they were more classic then his Remington clothes of the same time.

  11. Matt , perhaps you could make a separate post about ” Silk shirts ? ” . Bond has worn them quite a few times in the novels. Sean Connery wore one in the final fight of ” From Russia with Love ” and Roger Moore wore one in ” The spy who loved me ” with the blue blazer.

  12. First of all kudos for Matt for the great work on this site. A truly bottomless source of inspiration for us fans of James Bond and fashion. A big thank you from me! About this suit: After much research I came to the conclusion it’s made from noil silk (or bourette silk), which is a kind of raw, matte and nubby silk. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I never managed to find dupioni silk to be this matte as it appears in the pictures. Or maybe it’s a silk and wool mix… I’d appreciate Matt’s or anybody’s thoughts on the subject.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.