Marnie: Sean Connery’s Beige Herringbone Tweed Suit
Sean Connery as Mark Rutland, publisher
Philadelphia to Baltimore, Spring 1964
Release Date: July 22, 1964
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Costumes: James Linn
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Months before Goldfinger was released and cemented Bond-mania among the cinematic zeitgeist of the 1960s, Sean Connery got the opportunity to show audiences that he was capable of more than just suave secret-agenting with the back-to-back releases of thrillers Woman of Straw and Marnie. The latter has been celebrated as the better-regarded of the two, with some even calling it Alfred Hitchcock’s underappreciated masterpiece, though Hitch himself was more dismissive when discussing the work with François Truffaut:
I wasn’t convinced that Sean Connery was a Philadelphia gentleman. You know, if you want to reduce Marnie to its lowest common denominator, it is the story of the prince and the beggar girl. In a story of this kind you need a real gentleman, a more elegant man than what we had.
Say what you will about Connery’s performance, but I’ve considered Hitchcock’s criticism to be somewhat undeserved, particularly considering that the adaptation of Winston Graham’s 1961 novel of the same name condensed the characters of Marnie’s husband, Mark Rutland, and the psychoanalyst that Mark forces Marnie to see. Thus, Connery’s characterization requires him to convincingly depict Mark as first a charismatic cad, then a manipulative rapist, and—ultimately—a quasi-therapist whose motives are depicted more through the lens of spousal support than domination. Given the challenge of the role, I believe Connery ably rose to the occasion, bringing out more savage sides of the character than we may have believed in the hands of Hitch’s erstwhile stalwarts like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.
For those less familiar with the story, the eponymous Marnie (Tippi Hedren, celebrating her 92nd birthday today) is a charming but troubled con artist with a history of robbing employers like the blustering tax accountant Sidney Strutt (Martin Gabel) who are often too distracted by her “even features” to care about her lack of references. One of Strutt’s clients, Mark Rutland, recognizes the “pretty girl with no references” when she comes to apply for a job at his publishing firm. Following her inevitable theft, Mark confronts her with his knowledge of her identity, extorting her into a marriage with forced intimacy, and ultimately determining that she needs to confront her disturbed past. (I may have been more convinced of the transition to the third act if not for the second act, as it seems like Mark’s villainy serves no purpose but to terrorize Marnie.)
The quest for this repressed truth leads them to Marnie’s mother, Bernie (Louise Latham), living in Baltimore. Amidst the panicking mother and daughter, Mark’s armchair psychology extracts Marnie’s suppressed memories from her childhood, when her mother was working with a prostitute and a brawl with one of her clients led to the young Marnie fatally attacking the man with a fireplace poker.
Following Connery’s death in October 2020, Hedren memorialized him in consecutive tweets as “an elegant man, a brilliant actor and, an over all amazing individual,” contrasting Hitch’s claims deriding his elegance and recalling that “he was a fabulous man and so very talented. He had a great sense of humor and he made our job fun.”
What’d He Wear?
For the final act of Marnie, Mark’s assumed role as Marnie’s de facto therapist finds him in this handsome herringbone suit that differs from his earlier tweeds in its grounded shades of light brown that—while perhaps too warm to flatter Sean Connery’s cool complexion—suggest a more modest man who finally has his wife’s best interests at heart. (Too little, too late, in my opinion, but Hitch’s intent differs from my judgment of the character!)
Previously introduced during a brief vignette at sea during Mark and Marnie’s nightmare honeymoon cruise, this herringbone tweed suit most prominently appears on the day of the storied fox hunt, an appropriately bucolic occasion for such a decidedly countrified suit. Tweed originated in the British Isles as a coarse fabric favored for outdoor sports and shooting. It maintains an enduring association with the region, though it journeyed across the Atlantic to become established as a fixture of American Ivy style by the early 20th century.
“Herringbone” was so named for the V-shaped chevrons that resemble a fish skeleton created by the broken twill weave, here consisting of alternating tan and cream-colored woolen tweed thread that create an overall beige textured effect.
Though Mark lives and works in Philadelphia, Sean Connery makes no attempt to hide his Scottish accent so it’s likely that the Anglo-American publisher has his clothing made by an English tailor, which would explain the incorporation of English cut and detailing. (However, the tailoring differs enough from Connery’s clothing as James Bond that we can at least determine that the suits and sport jackets in Marnie were not tailored by Anthony Sinclair.)
The single-breasted jacket has a three-button front, perhaps the most obvious differentiator from 007’s two-button jackets. The notch lapels are fashionably narrow for the mid-1960s, though still more voluminous than the almost comically shrunken lapels from the early 2010s that attempted to mimic “Mad Men-era” suits. Mark’s ventless jacket has straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and three-button cuffs. The straight set-in hip pockets are covered with flaps, and he leaves the welted breast pocket consistently undressed.
Unfortunately, Mark doesn’t think to grab a raincoat before driving to Baltimore so his suit gets drenched. As he pulls off his jacket in the hopes of keeping Marnie dry, we see that his right sleeve has two spaced buttons rather than three-button cuffs, suggesting the use of a different “stunt” jacket to protect Mark’s principal suit.
Mark’s double forward-pleated suit trousers appropriately rise to Connery’s natural waist, self-suspended by an adjuster tab on each side of the waistband that fastens to one of three buttons. A squared extended waistband tab closes the front through two small hidden silver hooks. The bottoms are finished with turn-ups (cuffs) with almost no break. The trousers have straight vertical set-in side pockets, positioned about an inch forward of each side seam, but no back pockets.
Mark’s pale ecru cotton poplin shirt provides a soft harmony with the brown shades of the suit, detailed with a spread collar, front placket, and rounded single-button barrel cuffs. Frank Foster made the shirts that Connery wore in his two other 1964 movies—Goldfinger and the non-Bond thriller Woman of Straw—and Matt Spaiser has pointed out in his Bond Suits articles about Marnie that Mark Rutland’s shirts share similarities with those made by the prolific London shirtmaker.
Mark wears a rust brown twill tie, knotted in a Windsor or half-Windsor and held in place with a short gold tie clip, worn low. Of this dainty but oft-useful accessory, Sir Hardy Amies wrote in ABCs of Men’s Fashion—published in 1964, the same year of Marnie‘s release—that “tie clips are seen much less, now that ties are narrower.” Indeed, some scenes in Marnie show Connery’s tie swinging freely, the seemingly redundant tie clip hanging on for dear life having failed its mission of securing it to the shirt. Perhaps to lend some support to the clip, Connery begins the sequence with the tie blade tucked into his trouser waistband, though the struggle with an armed Marnie and the rainy journey to her mother’s home pull the pointed blade from this position.
Appropriate for his country dress, Mark wears brown derby brogues, detailed with the full brogue’s characteristic perforated wingtips and decorative toe medallions. Returning to the contemporary wisdom of Sir Hardy’s 1964 volume, ABCs of Men’s Fashion describes the brogue as “really only used on the sort of footgear Americans and our continental friends think of as being typically British.”
Mark’s brogues are constructed of burnished cherry brown leather uppers, derby-laced with three sets of eyelets through each rounded facing, and welted to brown leather soles. The relatively short break of the trousers with the low openings of Mark’s shoes show his tonally coordinated dark brown socks.
Glimpsed under Connery’s left shirt cuff, we see the silver-toned flash of what appears to be the steel case and rotating bezel of a dive watch. It may indeed be a Rolex Submariner, like the ref. 6538 he had started wearing as James Bond two years earlier in Dr. No, though I wouldn’t feel qualified to make such a definitive judgement based on that evidence alone.
A distraught Marnie returns to the Rutland estate, armed with a Smith & Wesson Model 10 that she borrowed from a local farmer to kill her injured horse after the fox hunt. Mark slides the revolver just out of Marnie’s reach when he catches her robbing his safe, eventually storing the gun inside it.
Smith & Wesson had introduced its Military & Police revolver around the turn of the 20th century, with a swing-out cylinder designed to carry six rounds of .38 Special ammunition. The revolver quickly became a favorite of American law enforcement for decades to follow, including after it was designated the “Model 10” following Smith & Wesson’s adoption of numerical nomenclature in the 1950s.
Over its extensive production history, the Military & Police/Model 10 was offered in a variety of finishes and barrel lengths, though Marnie uses a classic blued model with a four-inch “service revolver” barrel.
How to Get the Look
Dressing in a beige herringbone tweed suit potentially softens the appearance of a man who had earlier been presented to us as a successful businessman and domineering husband, appropriately accompanied by brown tie and brogues that befit the coarser cloth, warmer tones, and countrified setting.
- Tan-and-cream herringbone tweed tailored suit:
- Single-breasted 3-button jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Double forward-pleated trousers with hidden-hook waistband tab, 3-button side-adjuster waist tabs, straight side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Light ecru cotton poplin shirt with spread collar, front placket, and rounded button cuffs
- Rust brown twill tie
- Short gold tie clip
- Cherry brown leather 3-eyelet medallion-toe wingtip derby brogues
- Dark brown socks
- Steel dive watch
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Mark Rutland’s wardrobe had been recommended as a post by BAMF Style reader Gleb nearly five years ago, but I finally got around to watching this after the Criterion Channel included it among their “Hitchcock for the Holidays” feature, a catalog of greats from the Master of Suspense scheduled to leave the channel by the end of this month.
Marnie… it’s time to have a little compassion for yourself.