Remington Steele: White Dinner Jacket


I’m almost a week late, but last Thursday Pierce Brosnan celebrated his 60th birthday. In honour of that let’s look at one of his off-white dinner jackets from Remington Steele. This one is featured in the third season episode “Maltese Steele,” which takes place in the Mediterranean country of Malta. With the exception of pocket flaps, Brosnan wears a classic white dinner jacket. The jacket is cut with straight, narrow shoulders that flatter Brosnan’s build. It has a self-faced shawl collar—in the same material as the body—and buttons one, and the button stance is at a higher classic height as opposed to the fashionably lower 1980’s button stance. The back has no vents, which is classic for a dinner jacket but looks sloppy with Brosnan’s habit of putting his hands in his trouser pockets. There are two buttons on the cuffs, and the buttons are all mother of pearl.

Brosnan’s habit of putting his hands in his pockets only looks okay with double vents.

The black trousers are cut with a trim leg and are worn with a belt, an unfortunate feature on all of Pierce Brosnan’s black tie trousers in Remington Steele. Though Brosnan wears a black cummerbund, it’s missing in one shot and the belt buckle is revealed. The white dress shirt has a point collar, double cuffs and a white-on-white stripe bib with a placket. It is worn with three studs down the front and matching cufflinks, which are black onyx set in gold. Brosnan wears a colourful madder handkerchief with a red ground stuffed in his breast pocket with the corners spilling out in a very dandyish way. He wears his usual black leather slip-on shoes, not patent leather.



  1. Oh no. Not good, I’m afraid. Not good at all.
    As somebody who admires greatly the now-rarely-seen classic white/ivory dinner jacket these examples show it at its best;
    This ensemble here is at the other end of the spectrum, looks like a dog’s dinner and is worn in a way that Bond would surely never entertain. Brosnan has a lot to admire in his dress generally but here, the accoutrements like the bracelet and the way he wears the pocket handkerchief; just wrong. He looks sleazy, like a pimp or something.
    And a belt with the trousers; why on earth would one wear a belt with a dinner suit?
    Plus it has features of dinner jackets which, although admittedly perfectly admissible which I don’t care for at all; the shawl collar, the vent less jacket. And here they just all come together in a most unappealing way. I never subscribed to this idea that the clothing of the 1970’s had a monopoly on bad taste and this example from the 1980’s gives lie to that. For me, the period from the mid 1980’s to the mid 1990’s as well as the current era post 2009 is the pits for menswear.

      • David–I agree with your assessment of this ensemble.

        However, I politely disagree with your point regarding the state of menswear today. Traditional staples like blazers (I am wearing one today), tweed sports coasts, and cardigan sweaters are enjoying a revival. More importantly, there is a general desire among men of the younger generation (I am 27, so I include myself) to wear suits to work and trousers, fitted polos, etc. in casual situations. I cannot deny that the execution of these pieces is sometimes questionable, but I believe that the general attitude regarding the way men should dress is changing for the better.

      • FS, I don’t doubt what your saying but, if so, the trend has yet to reach these shores and your comment re the “execution” of the items is the thrust of my argument.

    • Agreed David, the examples that you provide are each better ways of wearing black tie. I don’t mind this jacket so much, but the way he accessorizes it, particularly with belted trousers, doesn’t really work.
      I think it’s a shame that we haven’t seen Bond in a white dinner jacket since 1985. Harrison Ford wore a nice one as Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom and I’ve always admired Bogart’s in Casablanca.

      • At least the belt is covered with a cummerbund, but Brosnan wears a belt with both black tie and three-piece suits, where a belt should not be worn.

      • Good points. Belts with three piece suits is really the only thing that I don’t like about Brosnan’s suits.
        I wonder if the wardrobe on Remington Steele were trying to “cheat” a tuxedo by using ordinary trousers. To me it seems unlikely that someone would make eveningwear trousers with belt loops at all, but anything’s possible. I don’t find any faults with the bowtie or the jacket, as I said I miss the white dinner jacket’s appearances in the Bond series. Licence To Kill may have been a good time to feature one, but I don’t think I should even go there!

      • I agree 100% Kyle but I don’t personally believe the Bond series will feature again a lot of one time staples which seem to have fallen out of favor and these include the white dinner jacket (last seen in 1985), the blazer (last seen in 1995), the sports coat (last seen, worn in classic style with collar and tie in 1987) and certainly not any safari inspired ensemble (last seen 1983). Having said all that, fashion throws up some interesting curveballs and what may be viewed in 2013 as deeply unhip, may in 5 or 10 years hence be deemed fashionable

      • David–of the staples you mention here, I think the white dinner jacket is probably the one we are most likely to see in the Craig era. Especially if they head to Africa for a large part of the next film, which I believe they will.

  2. Well said, David. And perhaps at that point in the future people will be wondering what in the world Daniel Craig’s tailors were thinking by putting him in suits that look about two sizes too small.

    • Well, an Africa location is just total speculation on my part. But it seems like the time is right for them to make a return visit there. Or perhaps the middle east.

      As for the safari suit–try to imagine a Tom Ford rendition of that!

  3. This outfit looks rather like a mised opportunity to me. Too dandyish, too many mistakes -belt, flapped pockets…, too many features that make him look skinny -the trousers legs and the very narrow shoulders (funny for a 80s emission), plus the onyx set that I hate… Anyway I am beginning to think I look like Brosnan when he was young. Good thing for my next 20 years…

    Matt, I don’t really see why ventless coats shouldn’t be used if you put your hands in your pockets. I have only ventless suit jackets and I do it very often. Ok, the double vents still cover the back when you put your hands in your pockets. But I prefer no vents since the double vents can always move and show your bottom if you’re running, or if there’s some wind etc… In North by Northwest, Grant wore a ventless coat -allright, maybe because of the cropduster scene, or just because it was customary at this time- and often puts his hands in his pockets. It doesn’t shock me a bit !

  4. A good idea marred by a costumer who probably isn’t that knowledgeable about the finer details of menswear. Lindy Hemming has the same unfortunate tendency to put her actors in belted three piece suits, though at least she knows that they are verboten in evening wear.

    Funny thing about the belt loops… around 2005 I saw evening trousers with them being sold by J. Crew. It was early in my clothing education, but I already knew it was wrong. It was like they took one of their black suits and slapped some satin on it. Two button, notch lapel, centre vent. As I recall, they were still selling roomy, pleated trousers alongside their slim fitting bids to be more fashionable. Long story short: It is quite possible even if incorrect, especially with the ’80s trend of trying to cross pollinate casual and evening wear.


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