This week Pierce Brosnan celebrates his 70th birthday. From the time his television series Remington Steele premiered in 1982 when Brosnan was 29 years old, he has been a style icon. Since I was a young man, his wardrobe in Remington Steele has had a strong influence on me, and his grey herringbone jacket has always been a favourite of mine and inspired me to purchase a similar jacket that I still wear.
Mr Steele’s grey herringbone jacket premiered in Remington Steele‘s seventh episode, ‘Etched in Steele’, and he wears it in numerous episodes throughout the first series and into the second series. The way he wears it in the 11th episode ‘Steeling the Show’, which aired just over 40 years ago on 7 January 1983, shows one of the more Bondian ways Brosnan wears his herringbone jacket. The outfit examined here is from this episode.
Later in 1983, Sean Connery would wear a similar outfit as James Bond in Never Say Never Again, but this has to be a coincidence. Both characters are dressed in a highly classic manner that had been established over half a century earlier. Every item in this outfit is a staple of classic menswear that naturally complements each other.
Brosnan’s wardrobe as Mr Steele early in the series is mainly inspired by classic American—specifically Anglo-American—menswear from the 1930s through the 1950s, which saw a revival in the early 1980s. Steele’s love of the Golden Age of Hollywood is reflected in this wardrobe, and there’s plenty of Cary Grant’s style. There’s probably also a bit of James Bond, particularly Roger Moore’s James Bond because he was the incumbent at the time. The clothes were purchased in Los Angeles, not London, so there are some differences in the styles, even if they come out of the same traditions.
The herringbone jacket’s material is intended to resemble tweed, but it’s most likely a loosely woven worsted jacketing like John G Hardy’s Worsted Alsport so it’s not too warm to wear in Los Angeles. Nonetheless, the weight is still more substantial than a typical lightweight suiting and is likely 12 to 15 ounces. The cloth is woven in light grey and dark grey yarns for a gentler look than the more typical black and white herringbone.
Though the jacket is very classic, its silhouette recalls the trends of the 1980s with its strong shoulders. The shoulders are narrow but built up with padding to be squared. The jacket also has a quintessentially 1980s low, steep gorge—the seam where the collar meets the lapel. The lapels are a medium width, but because Brosnan’s physique is so slight—likely smaller than a 38-inch chest—and the shoulders are narrow, the lapels look wider than they are.
The jacket has two buttons on the front, gently rounded patch hip pockets with flaps, a welt breast pocket and three buttons on the cuffs. The jacket is trying to look British in a number of ways. The sleeve heads are gently roped for a British touch. The rear has long and elegantly flared double vents. For the classic British country look, there are brown suede elbow patches and brown leather-covered buttons. Though Bond wore these leather details on rare occasions in the 1970s, they make this jacket look a bit stodgy for James Bond. This professorial style better suits Mr Steele.
The dark grey trousers, possibly in worsted flannel, have a gentle but sufficient contrast with the jacket. They are cut with double reverse pleats and a medium-width leg for a classic look.
Brosnan’s light blue 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. The placket is an English-style narrow placket that is stitched 3/8-inch from the edge. The shirt is closely fitted, but it’s not likely bespoke due to the cuffs being worn in an unusual manner.
Some may find cuff links too formal with a sports coat like this, but it is a classic pairing if one is wearing the sports coat for style rather than for sports.
The outfit is accessorised with a navy tie with subtle grey polka dots made with a left-handed four-in-hand knot. He tucks his tie into his trousers, which is an old-fashioned way of wearing a tie that is too long. A solid navy silk pocket squared worn in a puffed manner complements the tie.
The jacket’s brown elbow patches and leather buttons almost necessitate that the shoes are also brown. For another classic American touch, Brosnan wears mid brown tassel loafers and a narrow dark brown belt with a gold buckle.