Cary Grant’s Final Screen Tuxedo in That Touch of Mink

Cary Grant and Doris Day in That Touch of Mink (1962)

Cary Grant and Doris Day in That Touch of Mink (1962)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Philip Shayne, smooth, sophisticated, and suave investment executive and “perfect gentleman”

Bermuda, Spring 1962

Film: That Touch of Mink
Release Date: June 14, 1962
Director: Delbert Mann
Tailor: Cardinal Clothes (credited “for Cary Grant’s suits”)

Background

To commemorate the birthday of Cary Grant, born on this day in 1904, let’s celebrate the debonair actor who was seemingly born to wear a tuxedo. After three decades of a well-tailored career, the erstwhile Archie Leach sported his final on-screen dinner suit in the romantic comedy That Touch of Mink released in 1962, the same year as the first James Bond movie was released, thus heralding the transfer of the definitive screen dinner suit-wearer to 007. (Of Grant’s three final films, he sported nothing more formal than businesslike lounge suits in Charade and Walk Don’t Run and he spent his penultimate film—Father Goose—dressed in the comfortably threadbare beach wear that Variety described at the time as “tattered attire.”)

That Touch of Mink stars Grant opposite Doris Day as Cathy Timberlake, a Sandusky-born shopgirl who finds herself swept off her feet by Philip Shayne, a charming and successful businessman in the tradition of Grant’s customary screen persona. He plans a romantic escape for them in Bermuda, but she succumbs to the internalized pressure of his possible expectations and breaks out into hives just before bed. With little to do when Cathy quarantines herself int heir suite, Roger makes the rounds of the resort grounds, splitting his time between a poolside chat with a nervous newlywed played by Dick Sargent (aka Bewitched‘s controversial second Darren) and cheating at cards. As he later describes to his neurotic assistant Roger (Gig Young):

Roger, I flew 800 miles to a tropical paradise to drink hot milk and butter. I spent half the night playing gin rummy with a bookie from Detroit. It was not a memorable evening. Now if you’re not out of here in five seconds, I’ll raise your salary.

What’d He Wear?

As Cary Grant evolved his personal brand of on-screen elegance, he established the link-button dinner jacket as his preferred style, favored in films like To Catch a Thief and An Affair to Remember. Grant’s tuxedos were almost always midnight blue wool, the tasteful alternative to plain black, though his style reverted from the shawl collar of John Robie’s dinner jacket to the more traditional and formal peaked lapels that he would wear exclusively on his on-screen black tie kits, excepting the natty velvet dinner jacket rigged with a shawl collar that he wears in The Grass is Greener.

In That Touch of Mink, Grant’s final screen-worn tuxedo is a culmination of his debonair career. His midnight blue wool dinner jacket is tailored with a comfortably full and flattering cut that gave the 58-year-old actor room to move without even approaching looking baggy or oversized. The wide shoulders, roped at each sleevehead, balance the actor’s larger head for which he was famously (if unfairly) self-conscious. Per the fashions of the early ’60s, his peak lapels are narrower than those on the previous decade’s dinner jackets, though still of a moderate width that transcends timely trends. The lapels have a straight gorge with no space notched between the upper collar and the satin-faced lower portion of each lapel.

Cathy and Philip ascend to their room on the "scandalous" elevator.

Cathy and Philip ascend to their room on the “scandalous” elevator.

The peak lapels on Grant’s ventless dinner jacket roll to the single link-closure buttoning point at his natural waist, perfectly positioned over where his cummerbund covers the waist line of his trousers. The dinner jacket has a welted breast pocket, though he wears no white or colorful pocket hank to dress it, in addition to straight jetted hip pockets.

Each sleeve ends with a narrow silk gauntlet “turnback” cuff, a neo-Edwardian detail that was also occasionally favored by black tie icons Sean Connery (as James Bond) and Frank Sinatra. There is also a single silk-covered button adorning each cuff.

Philip treats himself to a nightcap from the greatest hotel room bar this side of Scent of a Woman.

Philip treats himself to a nightcap from the greatest hotel room bar this side of Scent of a Woman.

Grant wears a white formal shirt with a point collar, his usual shirt collar chosen to counter his head size, though this effect is somewhat negated as he naturally wears a bow tie rather than a straight necktie.

The shirt has a narrowly pleated front, though the pleats occasionally group together to create the look of wider pleats that are difficult to differentiate depending on the lighting, camera distance, and screen resolution. Rather than attached buttons, the shirt placket fastens with two visible onyx studs, and the double (French) cuffs are linked by recessed gold cuff links, detailed with a small onyx filling in the center of each link.

Philip meets a newlywed (Dick Sargent) in Bermuda. In 1962, Bewitched was still two years away, and Dick Sargent would actually be offered the role of Darren Stephens before it was filled by Dick York. When York left the show in 1969, Sargent stepped up to play Darren.

Philip meets a newlywed (Dick Sargent) in Bermuda. In 1962, Bewitched was still two years away, and Dick Sargent would actually be offered the role of Darren Stephens before it was filled by Dick York. When York left the show in 1969, Sargent stepped in to play Darren.

Grant wears a bow tie of midnight blue silk to coordinate with his dinner suit and match the silk facings. While the straight batwing and diamond-pointed styles were very common in mid-century menswear, Grant opts for a classic wide thistle (or “butterfly”) shape, tied in a thick knot.

Some gents prefer larger bow tie knots to properly fill the tie space between shirt collar leaves, but this wouldn't be necessary with the limited tie space of Grant's point collar.

Some gents prefer larger bow tie knots to properly fill the tie space between shirt collar leaves, but this wouldn’t be necessary with the limited tie space of Grant’s point collar.

The matching midnight blue wool formal trousers have forward-facing pleats that add to an elegantly full fit through the hips down to the plain-hemmed bottoms, accented by the requisite silk piping along each side seam.

Though he never removes or even unbuttons his jacket to confirm this, Grant appears to be wearing a midnight silk cummerbund, a wise and cooler-wearing alternative to a waistcoat in Bermuda’s warm tropical climate.

THAT TOUCH OF MINK

Grant suitably ends his black tie tenure by sporting a pair of black patent leather opera pumps, decorated with a black grosgrain silk bow on each vamp and worn with black socks. Also known as the court shoe, the formal men’s pump shoe dates back more than 200 years to the Regency era and, at the start of the 20th century, it was still de rigeuer for men’s formal white tie and semi-formal black tie dress codes. Particularly with the latter, pump shoes were phased out by the popularity and practicality of lace-up oxfords though they remained in use by arbiters of good taste with a sense of tradition.

Not only are Philip's pump shoes the traditional choice, they would also likely be more comfortable and practical in the warm and relaxed Bermuda resort.

Not only are Philip’s pump shoes the traditional choice, they would also likely be more comfortable and practical in the warm and relaxed Bermuda resort.

How to Get the Look

Cary Grant as Philip Shayne in That Touch of Mink (1962). Photo by Milton Greene.

Cary Grant as Philip Shayne in That Touch of Mink (1962)
Photo by Milton Greene.

That Touch of Mink offered Cary Grant a fitting farewell to the elegant black tie dress code associated with the debonair actor and the sophisticated characters he played throughout the decades, sending him off in a neatly tailored and uniquely detailed dinner jacket.

  • Midnight blue wool dinner suit:
    • Single-breasted link-button dinner jacket with straight-gorge silk-faced peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, single-button gauntlet cuffs, and ventless back
    • Forward-pleated formal trousers with silk seam piping, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White cotton pleated-front formal shirt with point collar and double/French cuffs
    • Onyx shirt studs
    • Gold recessed circular cuff links with onyx-filled centers
  • Midnight blue silk butterfly-shaped bow tie
  • Black patent leather opera pumps
  • Black thin silk socks

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie.

The Quote

I’m kissing you, do you mind?

One comment

  1. VR

    Another great movie – just seeing those photos brings a reminiscent smile.
    Enjoy reading your observations on the details of Cary Grant’s clothes. He’s always impeccably attired.

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