The Thomas Crown Affair: Date Night in a Midnight Blue Suit

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Pierce Brosnan wears a large variety of suits from Milanese tailor Gianni Campagna as Thomas Crown in his 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair. The Campagna suits cost $3,400 each at the time, and they are made of Super 150s wool. For a date with insurance investigator Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cipriani, Crown wears a midnight blue suit. Midnight blue is ordinarily reserved for dinner suits, but the ultra dark shade of blue is also the perfect colour for a suit worn for a less formal evening out.

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The suit jacket buttons three, and the lapels roll gently over the top button. It is cut with a clean chest and has straight shoulders with roped sleeve heads. The jacket has double vents, straight pockets with flaps and four buttons on the cuffs. When Banning is cold at the museum, Crown gentlemanly removes his jacket and places it over her shoulders. The suit trousers are belted and have double reverse pleats and tapered legs.

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Crown’s dark blue poplin shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar, double cuffs with the link holes close to the fold, a narrow front placket and shoulder pleats in back. The shirt has gauntlet buttons on the sleeves, which means that if it is a ready to wear shirt it is made of Sea Island cotton since those are the only shirts Turnbull & Asser adorns with gauntlet buttons. Dark blue and French blue shirts were very popular in the late 1990s, but with such a dark suit they look a bit garish since the dark suit emphasises how bold the shirt’s colour is.

The royal blue silk tie—likely in a satin weave—is a bit darker than the shirt. In the late 1990s it was fashionable to wear ties that were close to or matching the colour of the shirt, but there is a good amount of contrast in this outfit for a tasteful shirt and tie combination. Crown ties the tie in a four-in-hand knot with a dimple. With the suit, Crown wears black oxfords and a black belt.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. The outfit needs a little pattern, for crying out loud! People berated Brosnan for his geometric ties in his Bond movies, but this solid-on-solid-on solid outfit screams for a little pattern or at least surface texture. Very nice suit, though.

  2. Very nice suit indeed! When I first saw the movie a couple of years ago I thought it was a black suit, but I couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine the appeal of the combination of a black suit with a darker shade of blue shirt/tie. Luckily it is midnight blue and this combination is elegant and suits the occasion very well . Are dark(er) blue shirts a little ’90 Matt? Personally I would prefer a lighter shade of blue or a white shirt(also more formal IMHO), but I think that depends on ones complexion and the particular occasion.

  3. My understanding is that Gianni Campagna no longer makes bespoke suits? Is that correct, and if so, do you know when this portion of his operation ceased (please pardon my ignorance on the issue)? Big fan of the blog Matt!

  4. I have been waiting for this post!!!!! I thought this was an absolutely magnificent piece. Here is my question, I noticed that the length of the trousers maybe considered a bit short. I was under the impression that when an individual walks at the no point should the sock show in a person’s gait.

    Kind regards,
    Saul

    P.s. are the cuffs 1.5 inches long? Is typical amongst the finer Italian suit makers?

    • The trouser length is on the short side of acceptable lengths. If someone wants a wide leg without much break in a light weight, it can be unavoidable for sock to show. The turn-ups aren’t enough to weigh down these trousers.

      By cuffs I take it you mean on the trousers? They do look about 1.5 inches tall.

  5. I honestly did not think it was possible for Pierce Brosnan to make me forget that he was under contract to play James Bond while starring in The Thomas Crown Affair. The wardrobes from both films were so well put together that I was able to watch to separate individual films and at the same time completely forget that Mr. Brosnan played a secret agent in one and a billionaire in the other. What do you think the formula was to make a successful transition from one film to the other? I have been told he starred TWINE right after doing The Thomas Crown Affair. Your thoughts?

    • I think it’s more of a problem that the two characters are so alike. Brosnan plays the characters similarly, though he seems more comfortable as Crown. His Bond is too much like a billionaire in his dress.

  6. It would make me very sad if Gianni Campagna bowed out of making bespoke suits. I tried to research them when Matt started covering the Thomas Crown suits, and found that they are a very exclusive, high-end house, on the same level as Caraceni, Kiton and Brioni. US$10K/suit, if you don’t mind. Evidently top Hollywood stars and execs beat a path to the atelier in Milan so it is entirely logical that a tycoon such as Crown would favor Campagna suits. A very elegant approach to the ’90’s monochrome fad, too. No doubt about who’s the best dressed man in the museum. No wonder the NY police think Banning is crazy for suspecting Crown in the art heists.

  7. On Brosnan, did you like the Campagna suits in this movie, or the Brioni suits in Bond better? I can’t decide, because both the suits are so similar. I think the biggest difference is the trousers. On the Brioni suits, the trousers look to be so much bigger than the Campagna suits. I believe the jackets had a similar look. Also, because matching the shirt and tie was popular during the 90s, I believe that it would be easier to get away with wearing dark and outlandish colors of shirts. Since people wear a lot of dark ties like black, brown, navy, dark blue, and burgundy, these shirts would be worn! Howcome they did not do this with Brosnan in Bond, because he was trying to somewhat follow the trends? I don’t think I ever saw him wear a tie and shirt that were even of the same base color, like blue and navy blue.

  8. This suit looks very timeless, I like the french blue shirt also. Matt do you think we may see Bond wearing a french blue dress shirt in the future, maybe with a dark blue indigo-navy tie ?

  9. Say the shirt and tie for this particular piece, what shirt and tie combination would you pair with this suit to make it more of the bond style?

  10. You mentioned super 150s for thomas crown. I’m planning on going to thailand, and what would be the standard cloth for a bond suit? I’m leaning toward scabal, but I do not know if it should be super 100 or super 180s etc…

  11. Hello Matt,

    Is it my eyes, or is it that the color of his shirt appears to be some shade of purple?
    I really like it as well as the tie he pairs with it.

    Regards,
    Anuj

  12. The costume design for the movie was done by Kate Harrington, whose background was originally as a fashion stylist. She apparently only had a very brief window to figure out all the wardrobe so a good amount of it (particularly Rene Russo’s) was off the rack from popular fashion collections at the time. Anyways, her fashion background might explain some of the trendier nods to 1990s style.

    I’m still a big fan of the clothes in this movie though and think the (latter) 1990s gets a bit of a bad rap. It’s interesting to look at older comments on this blog and see some of the early nitpicking of Brosnan-era geometric tie patterns or slightly long jackets, perhaps slightly short jacket sleeves… fast forward a few years later and we have suits from Skyfall which were just COMPLETELY ill-fitting altogether.

    It seems the shrunken look is starting to move out of favor in fashion… I’d like to see pleats come back too (which might already happening). Are 3-button suits too much to hope for?

    • You’ll occasionally find three button suits in fashion, like Brunello Cucinelli, but generally they’re rolled to the second button if you do. I wouldn’t mind a return to the way Brioni did them on Brosnan’s and Craig’s suits in fashion, but I am a bigger fan of the former style.

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