Patrick Redfern’s Powder Blue Traveling Suit
With Labor Day coming up, this is your last chance to toss in any summer vacations that may be in the works. Make sure you travel in style.
Nicholas Clay as Patrick Redfern, Irish school teacher, swindler, and double murderer
A remote Mediterranean island, Summer 1937
Film: Evil Under the Sun
Release Date: March 5, 1982
Director: Guy Hamilton
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
In case you’re unfamiliar with the book or film, here’s a spoiler: Patrick Redfern is a jerk. You could probably tell from the description where I mention him as both a swindler and murderer, but he also flagrantly cheats on his wife. Of course, it’s all part of a grand scheme, but that doesn’t make it any better.
While he may not be the ideal role model, costume designer Anthony Powell certainly dresses him in some stylish, elegant costumes for his island vacation.
After a movie-long guise of being a middle-class school teacher, Redfern and his wife make their final reveal as their true, rich-from-swindling selves by showing up grandly costumed for the finale.
What’d He Wear?
While Redfern always had a classy look during the film, his powder blue double-breasted suit in lightweight tropical worsted wool makes just the right impression for the finale. The suit is just right for a young man like him in the late ’30s to wear for a resort vacation.
The double-breasted jacket has six buttons with two to close. The lapels are very wide, as was becoming the style in the late ’30s, accentuating the wide, padded shoulders and the jacket’s full cut. The hip pockets are jetted and Redfern keeps the welted breast pocket accessorized, first with a white linen handkerchief then, after revealing his riches, a light blue silk one.
Additional details include a ventless rear, not uncommon for this sort of casual resort suit and also seen on James Mason’s suits during the film. The 4 blue buttons on each cuff match the front buttons.
We don’t see much of the matching suit trousers, as Redfern correctly keeps his jacket fastened the whole time, even when sitting. However, they have a sharp crease down each leg to the bottoms, which are finished with turn-ups/cuffs.
Redfern’s shoes are a pair of white leather split toe oxfords with white laces and dark soles. The thin light blue socks offer an easy transition from the pant leg to shoes.
Redfern’s shirt is white with a sizable spread collar and French cuffs, fastened with a set of small silver rectangular cuff links. Unseen during the first half of the sequence under his scarf, the shirt buttons down a front placket.
After changing for his departure, Redfern wears a slim striped necktie in varying shades of gray and blue stripes that extend down from the left shoulder to the right hip in the traditional British style. In close ups, a white pin dot pattern is visible on each stripe, but the stripes appear solid in most shots.
For his more casual look while being questioned by master detective Poirot, Redfern wears a bold cyan blue scarf over his shirt. Unlike most ascots, it is large enough to cover the entire neckline where the suit is open. This explains why he doesn’t open his jacket, as it would turn this relaxed look into a very silly one. The blue scarf has white diagonal stripes in the opposite direction of the tie (right down to left, also known as “American” stripes).
The virtues and methods of tying a scarf like this under a jacket, rather than under a shirt, can be found at Dress Like A Grownup!, a great site which also extols the idea of wearing an unlined jacket and scarf (in lieu of a shirt) as resort attire.
His watch, which we see pretty clearly in a flashback, is an old fashioned silver-cased timepiece with a white face and large black numerals. It looks like a manufacturer’s name is visible, but I can’t make it out. Are any more experienced eyes able to identify it? Redfern’s watch is worn on a thin black alligator strap.
Although we never see him wear it, Redfern brings a white Panama hat with a wide black band for his departure. Had Poirot not arrested him first, Redfern would have looked very sharp in it and very appropriate for the Mediterranean.
Go Big or Go Home
Patrick Redfern is by no means a nice man. Even for most of the film, while posing as an oblivious school teacher, he flaunts his affair in front of his plain wife (15 years after Jane Birkin was indeed anything but plain!) Once the guise is dropped, he is a swaggering swindler who brags about getting away with murder. In all examples from Shakespeare to Breaking Bad, we see greed, hubris, and excessive swagger as the most damaging tragic flaws a man can have. Don’t be greedy and, if you are greedy, don’t be a dick about it.
It does help to know a few words of Latin though, especially if you’re looking for a new name.
How to Get the Look
Patrick Redfern’s look is perfectly appropriate for a Mediterranean vacation:
- Powder blue lightweight worsted suit, consisting of:
- Double-breasted 6-on-2-button jacket with wide peak lapels, welted breast pocket, jetted straight hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Trousers with sharp leg creases and turn-ups/cuffs
- White dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Small silver rectangular cuff links
- Light gray and blue “uphill”-striped necktie
- Cyan blue scarf with “downhill” white stripes
- White leather split-toe oxfords with dark soles
- Light blue thin dress socks
- White linen handkerchief or a light blue silk handkerchief, folded into breast pocket
- Silver-cased Gruen Curvex wristwatch with white face and thin black alligator strap
- White Panama hat with a wide black band
Do Yourself A Favor And…
Check out the movie and the relaxing soundtrack of Cole Porter medleys.
You damned, interfering Froggie mountebank!
The watch is probably an vintage Gruen Curvex model.
A nice suit. Surprising lack of waist definition, however, which I suspect might owe more to the fashions of the 80s when this was shot than the 30s when the film was set.
The casual look – with striped scarf filling the neck of the jacket – is particularly striking. It is the sort of look that shows up in period movies and vintage fashion illustrations. It would be nice to think that someone might still adopt what is a very stylish look but it hard to imagine anyone really wearing something so formal and impractical a double breasted suit casually at all, let alone at a beach resort.
I agree, I’m pretty sure the watch is a vintage Gruen Curvex model.