Black is a dramatic and serious colour, so it’s an uncommon colour for an odd jacket. This doesn’t doesn’t mean that black is unsuitable for a less formal jacket. Men wear plenty of casual black clothing, such as black knitwear, black jeans or black boots, so black odd jackets are not off the table, even if they’re not a traditional choice. Pierce Brosnan wears a sophisticated black jacket as Mr Steele in four early episodes of Remington Steele to supplement his staple brass-buttoned navy blazer. Brosnan wears this black jacket in only four episodes, mostly in the first series. The show’s eighth episode ‘You’re Steele the One For Me’, as pictured here, presents an excellent example of how to wear a black jacket.
A black odd jacket, like the navy blazer, is one of the better jackets to wear from day into night, and it a rare odd jacket that looks better at night than during the day. Black jackets, along with the navy blazer, are more formal than most odd jackets, but the cloth, cut and details will determine exactly how formal or informal it is.
The texture of the cloth is the most important aspect of this jacket, since it lacks colour or pattern to give it much character. It requires texture to set it apart from a suit jacket or black lounge/stroller, and it needs a pronounced texture so it shows up in black. Brosnan’s jacket is made of a textured cloth with a pronounced nap, like camel hair, cashmere or woolen flannel. Wool basketweave, cavalry twill, linen and corduroy are other good choices.
Brosnan’s jacket is cut like most of his suit jackets early in Remington Steele, with a trim cut, flared skirt, narrow pagoda shoulders and two buttons on the front in a medium button stance. This cut adds to the drama of a black jacket, but no cut is too formal. A black odd jacket does not need to have a soft or unstructured cut, though such a cut would make it more fashionable today. The jacket is detailed with a long single vent, straight hip pockets with flaps, and three cuff buttons. The jacket’s buttons are black leather for a sporty touch.
Complexion matters when wearing a large amount of black, and having dark hair is particularly important. Those with a light, low-contrast complexion don’t look their best in black but can wear it at night. Because Brosnan has fair skin, he’s wearing low contrast in the shirt and tie to offset the harshness of the black. The cool colour palate of the whole outfit is very flattering on Brosnan’s cool skin tone.
Trouser pairings are much more difficult with a black jacket than with a navy jacket. Grey trousers, as long as they are lighter than a dark charcoal, are the easiest to wear. Blue denim can look good with a black jacket. Cream trousers can look good because of the contrast they have with black, and British tan trousers can look too because their rich colour nicely balances the strength of black without overpowering the outfit. Many shades of tan, khaki and beige can look too dull against the black jacket. Brosnan wears mid grey wool trousers, which is the perfect shade with black since it complements it without any competition. There’s a good amount of contrast but not too much. These trousers are possibly in worsted flannel, and they have double reverse pleats, a wide straight leg and a narrow black leather belt with a gold buckle.
Brosnan wears black tassel loafers, which are the easiest of pairings with a black jacket and grey trousers. Limiting one’s colour palate results in an elegant look. However, there are options other than black, especially if your trousers are belt-less. Wearing a non-black belt against a black jacket can look jarring. Burgundy shoes go very well because they have enough colour to stand apart from the black jacket. Snuff and tobacco suede have enough contrast that they will also look nice. Dark brown shoes should be avoided because they will clash with the black jacket, while tan shoes can make the outfit look unbalanced and ungrounded. Black shoes are such a good choice because they balance the black jacket on top.
He introduces some colour with a blue hairline stripe or end-on-end shirt that has bands of black, white and yellow hairline stripes. The blue and yellow in the shirt are both very muted thanks to the white in the shirt. Colour can look harsh and garish next to black, so Brosnan carefully wears a muted shirt.
The shirt has a gold-pinned point collar with short points—a popular early 1980s fashion—and single cuffs that fasten with cufflinks. The cuffs are rounded and have two sets of buttonholes. They may either be short double cuffs worn unfolded or rounded two-button cuffs with a hole added on the button side for the cufflinks.
He returns to grey for the tie and pocket square to limit the amount of contrast in the outfit for a flattering look against his fair skin. It also means that all the colour in the outfit is contained in the shirt, which helps the outfit look elegant. The light grey silk tie has a low sheen and faint stripe effect that suggests its woven in a narrow herringbone pattern. It’s made in a four-in-hand knot and worn tucked into his trousers, now an old-fashioned way of wearing a tie. A puffed silver silk satin pocket square effectively coordinates with the tie but does not match it.