In the fifth episode of Remington Steele, titled “Thou Shalt Not Steele”, Pierce Brosnan wears a sporty checked tweed jacket with a jumper and knitted tie. Brosnan also wears this jacket in five subsequent episodes. The jacket is black and cream, most likely in a two-and-two check. A two-and-two check alternates two light yarns (cream in this jacket) and two dark yarns (black in this jacket) in both the warp and the weft of an even twill weave, and it’s the section of a Glen Urquhart check opposite the houndstooth (four-and-four) section. All else equal, a two-and-two check would be half the size of a houndstooth check, and its shape is simpler and boxier. It is possible that the check on Brosnan’s jacket may have more than just these two colours, but I believe that this is essentially what the check is.
The jacket is typical of the early 1980s and has a low—but not excessively low—gorge (lapel notch) and two buttons on the front in a low stance. The shoulders are strong, but narrow, with a pagoda shape and a lot of padding. The jacket has a lean chest and a suppressed waist, which gives this jacket a very elegant shape. When combined with the pagoda shoulders, the jacket’s silhouette endows Brosnan with a more powerful, but not unnatural, look.
This jacket has a number of sporty details. One of the most unusual and sportiest is the throat latch, which is also known as a storm tab. It allows the collar to be closed across the front of the neck when turned up. They’re often in the form of a separate piece of fabric that buttons onto the back of the collar and sticks out from the left side of the collar. The throat latch on this jacket is a permanent feature, and it’s in the form of a grey cord loop that extends from the left side of the collar.
Sporty leather buttons and elbow patches trim this jacket. The buttons are braided leather in black to match the black in the jacket as well as provide contrast with the jacket’s overall colour. The elbow patches are grey-brown suede so they blend in with the jacket. The jacket’s hip pockets are open patch pockets and the breast pocket is a welt pocket. There are three buttons on the cuffs and double vents at the rear.
Brosnan leaves his jacket open. Either it’s too fitted to be able to button with a jumper underneath or Brosnan simply wants to show off his jumper. The fancy striped wool jumper is grey and cream to complement the jacket, but being grey instead of black gives some contrast with the jacket. It has a deep V-neck to show off the tie. The trousers are charcoal—either lightweight flannel or a medium-weight worsted—and have a flat front and straight legs.
Under the jumper, Brosnan wears a pale blue poplin shirt with a point collar, narrow placket and rounded double cuffs. The point collar is worn with a gold collar bar of the slide-on variety. Some people feel that a slide-on or clip-on collar bar is to clip-on braces as a collar pin is to a button-on braces. They feel that a slide-on collar bar is a cheap approximation of a proper collar pin. However, Brosnan’s slide-on collar bar gets the job done—it pops the tie out from the collar—without damaging the shirt. True collar pins do indeed damage collars when they poke holes through the cloth, and after repeated use the damage is noticeable. A slide-on collar bar is good for beginners who aren’t sure if they want to commit to the damage a proper collar pin inflicts on the shirt. Brosnan, however, is not a beginner and should be using a proper collar pin.
Brosnan wears the double cuffs with the cuffs extended—not folded—and fastened like single-link cuffs, but it works because the cuffs are very short for double cuffs. There is an unused set of link-holes close to the base of the cuff. The sleeve length is likely meant for a man with shorter arms to accommodate the cuff folding in half, which would end up being less than two inches wide. The cuff unfolded as Brosnan wears it is approximately 3 1/2 inches wide.
I’ve said before that jumpers and kissing cuffs (when the ends of the cuff meet back-to-back rather than overlapping) don’t pair well together. The snug cuffs on the jumper don’t match the shape of the shirt’s cuffs, and the jumper’s cuffs are stretched out by the shirt’s cuffs. Here the shirt’s cuffs extend past the jumper’s to show the cufflinks, and the jumper’s cuffs are usually obscured under the jacket sleeves. Though wearing a jumper with kissing shirt cuffs isn’t ideal, this is a creative way to pair a jumper with such shirt cuffs. A sleeveless jumper would have been better for this outfit.
The tie is grey knitted silk and tied in, surprisingly, a full windsor knot. Brosnan knots his tie in a scene in this episode. He ties the tie with the wide blade much longer than the narrow blade, which allows him to tuck the wide blade into his trousers for a neat look under the jumper. Tying the tie further up means that the tie will be narrower in the knot area and will create a smaller knot. The small windsor knot on Brosnan’s tie has a very clean look, which can be difficult to achieve with a four-in-hand knot on a knitted tie. Brosnan finishes the outfit with a puffed silver satin silk pocket square that complements the greys in the outfit whist contrasting them in texture.
Preferably, the belt and shoes should match the jacket’s black leather buttons. However, matching all leathers is not required and Brosnan decides to pair this informal outfit, not inappropriately, with brown shoes and a brown belt. A black belt and black shoes may have been a better choice, especially since Brosnan wears this outfit in the evening, but the brown belt and shoes dress down the outfit.
“Thou Shalt Not Steele” is the first episode of Remington Steele to feature Pierce Brosnan’s then-wife Cassandra Harris, who played Countess Lisl von Schlaf opposite Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only a year earlier .
Some of the details are very similar to what Tom Ford does. Especially the shoulders.
Overall, not a bad coat, although I am not into the low 80s gorge.
Yay. More Remington Steele analyses please :)
Early 80s (until 1984-85 circa) were a rather classic period.
I have a bit of nostalgia.
A really nice outfit overall. There’s a lot of flamboyant touches but I think Brosnan pulls them off well. Which is why I think parts like Remington Steele or Thomas Crown suits him better than harder characters like the November Man. Personally, I think he makes a better Thomas Crown than Steve McQueen.
About the outfit, I really like the jacket. I like pagoda shoulders and they flatter Brosnan’s slim build very well. The lower button stance and gorge are not that low IMHO. And I find what really dates a jacket to the 80’s/90’s is not the height but the angle of the gorge. A lot of my father’s suits have lapels with very steep angles, creating wide gorges. The knit tie and pocket square clearly look good with this outfit.
I’m not too fond of the sweater, though. The color certainly complements the outfit but I find the pattern too busy. And it doesn’t really go together with the cuffs of the shirt. The cuffs are clearly crumpled in the first picture.
Sweaters under blazers. Insanity. Can never make it work.
I have to agree. It’s got supply teacher written all over that outfit, certainly our late 80s supply teachers always seemed to wear padded elbows on their blazers, a v neck top and their hair cut halfway across their ears like Brosnan here. It’s actually an easy look to pull off (I have and then thought better of it) but it doesn’t say “cool” or “Bond” (forgivable as this isn’t Bond) as much as it says “expensively dressed librarian”. In my humble* opinion.
Strictly speaking this is a sport coat and not a blazer. Furthermore, a v-neck sweater with a knit tie under a sport coat is a classic look, although more suited to a college professor than to a jet-setter like Steele. I like it very much myself.
If i sent you a picture of myself could you perhaps tell me what i sluld and shouldnt wear in the spirit of james bond? I lost my way ever since bond switched to tom ford
Sure, I’d be happy to help you.
“It’s actually an easy look to pull off (I have and then thought better of it)”
Not meaning to pick nits, but did you think better of it or simply stop wearing a look that was no longer in style? I ask because a peculiarity of this website is that a lot of people here seem to think that their personal tastes dictate that things are either “right or wrong” and there seems to be little acknowledgement that certain looks go in and out of style.
For example, “hair cut halfway across their ears” may be a “supply teacher” thing now but it certainly wasn’t in the mid-80s. Regardless of what you think of it now, Brosnan’s hair here is considered cool and in-style at the time.
Regardless of how odd something looks to us now, there was a time (and there may be again) when it was considered the height of fashion. Likewise, no matter how “classic” or cool something looks there was a time when it was violently ridiculed. The example that I constantly bring up is that in the 70s and early 80s a lot of people my age would make fun of how “stupid” Connery looked in his ridiculous, out-of-style suits and his “old man” hair.
I completely agree with you and I’m as guilty as anyone for forcing my opinions on others on this blog and treating it like a forum! I don’t see the harm in pointing out (and cringing at) the changes in styles and fads, some of which have stayed, others which haven’t and others again that have gone and reappeared. I just like pointing out extremes in fashion trends with comfort of hindsight I’m certain we’ll all cringe at the 2015 skinny suits and lumberjack long beards in a decade or so just like now I find it incredible that half of the male actors and extras in Diamonds Are Forever actual chose to have the hairstyles they sported preserved on film. I’ve never seen such a collection of oily, lank, windswept, unkept barnets. Of course, to them in 1970 it was just normal. I look at the weird swirly round do that Justin Bieber had teenagers around the world mimicing from last year, like a Lego man’s hair brick worn at a twisted 45° angle, and feel the same way.
As for that blazer and jumper look, what I meant about it being an easy look to pull off is its made up of elements most guys have in their wardrobe already and they do seem to go together really well but they have slightly preppy connotations that may (or may not) make some think twice about actually wearing it out. Fashions trends are all very well but if what you’re wearing ultimately doesn’t suit you, you may not be doing your image much good. I’m sure a lot of people couldn’t give a monkeys about what others think of their dress sense, but some do – I do. A bit shallow perhaps. If some can confidently pull the look off, more power to them.
“I’m sure a lot of people couldn’t give a monkeys about what others think of their dress sense, but some do – I do.”
I agree with you completely. It seems like such a normal attitude to have, yet sometimes what we’re exposed to in a certain environment (like a style blog) can give us a different view of things. I think that this opens up an interesting discussion on the idea of dressing for oneself vs. dressing for others.
I remember being raked over the coals – I can’t recall if it was here or on another forum – because I mentioned that the praise that I got from women when I wore a “Skyfall-style” suit to a wedding (when that style was first “in”) mattered more to me than the opinions of members posting on the forum. The opinions of the women were dismissed as they were assumed to be “16 year old mall rats” (!) when in fact they were lawyers and business women in their 30s and 40s. And of course, I was castigated for being shallow and not having enough self-esteem of backbone to dress for myself.
Which puts me in mind of a quote – “If all the world were blind but for me, I would no longer care for a grand house or fine clothes”. I can’t recall where the quote is from, but I think that it’s a great point to ponder. If some sci-fi type event happened tomorrow where every single person in the world was struck blind except yourself, how long would people continue to were clothes that looked a certain way? An extreme example, but I think it cuts to the point that we *all* dress for other people. The question is – which other people?
Confirmation bias is an interesting thing, and it even applies to clothing (see my previous point about the hipsters). Some people get an idea in their head about what is “right” or “wrong” about clothes and then look for opinions to reinforce those ideas. Like ideas about climate change or vaccination, you can always find opinions about what you want to believe, even if it’s a tiny minority.
For myself, I dress to impress society at large. This includes my girlfriend, clients, and friends. Does this mean that I’m “dressing for others” instead of “dressing for myself”? I don’t think so. By dressing in a way that impresses other people I *am* dressing for myself.
Now – how am I going to dress? Well, the biggest deciding factor is that it’s 2016 now. In the same way that I wouldn’t wear my hair the same way that Brosnan (and I) did in the mid-80s I won’t wear the clothes from that period either. Regardless of how strong an emotional attachment I may have to a time period style marches on and changes – and to me that’s great; it gives us something to look forward to. In the same way that I like to see new movies instead of watching the same old ones over and over again, I’m curious to see what new twists on former styles we come up with next.
Yes, I think it’s always a good idea to dress in a way that partners/potential partners find appealing, so long as you feel comfortable with that, too. If you feel like a mannequin, uncomfortably showy, then obviously compromise is needed.
For the same reason, as a single guy, I get my hair cut at a stylists staffed by attractive woman on the (possibly incorrect, possibly misogynist) off chance that a woman who fancies me even a little wouldn’t give me a bad haircut! She’d style it so that it flattered me.
The fact I then let it grow out for 3 months longer than I should and end up looking like Garth from Wayne’s World explains why I’m still single and have never dated a hairstylist. :-)
1.). Have you seen Kingsmen? If so, would you consider a post on the suits in that movie? Would be interesting to get your take.
2.). Are you a Brit? Your writing has a British style (e.g., “colour”, ” jumper”), but your bio states you are US based so I was wondering about that.
Thank you, enjoy your blog.
1. My friend Jovan Gauthier wrote an excellent article about the suits in Kingsman on his blog: http://nouveauvintage.blogspot.com/2015/07/kingsman-secret-service-colin-firths.html
2. I write in British English to appeal to worldwide readership of this blog, and it fits the subject matter.
I like Steele’s outfit, a nice sporty winter or a cold autumn outfit. The layering of the jumper provides extra warmth on a cold day and a more casual look and looks great for a day in the country. The sports coat is well cut and very sporty. Brosnan’s hair was on point for the era and if it has a slight helmet appearance it is because of how thick his hair was at that time. His hair in The film the Fourth Protocol, (which Matt I will hope you will do a post or two on for Brosnan and Michael Caine’s outfits in the film) made in 1987 was more slicked back and looks very much how he wore his hair in Goldeneye in 1995.
I’ll second that. The “country squire” look was v.popular in Australia in the ’80s and I made a couple of attempts at dressing in this style. But only in the depths of winter. I found I tended to overheat otherwise, with so much wool on the upper body, even though I wore sleeveless jumpers. I was also partial to collar bars but I found they worked best with the high quality shirts with removable collar stays. It was a bit “belt and braces” to attach a collar bar to a shirt with fixed stays. It’s no wonder Steele got a lot of wear from this jacket – it’s a gem. Just right for a man hoping to pass for a landed British gentleman. The throat latch, for example, is subtle and unobtrusive.
The layered look had the additional advantage of adding a little bulk to Brosnan’s skinny frame.