Tagged: What to Wear to the Office

Sweet Smell of Success – J.J.’s Flannel Suit

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in a colorized photo from Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Vitals

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker, powerful and domineering newspaper columnist

New York City, Fall 1956

Film: Sweet Smell of Success
Release Date: June 27, 1957
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Costume Designer: Mary Grant

Background

One of my favorite movies is Sweet Smell of Success, the atmospheric film noir starring Burt Lancaster as a Walter Winchell-like columnist and Tony Curtis as the opportunistic young PR flack desperate to get in good with him.

Ernest Lehman, who contributed to the screenplay based on his own novelette, declined to direct the film due to his fear of Lancaster, but the actor’s aggressive and volatile temperament paid off to create the needed aura of his intimidating character, the sort of man who could and would destroy an enemy’s career on a whim. Continue reading

From Russia With Love – Red Grant’s Gray Check Suit

Robert Shaw as Donald “Red” Grant in From Russia With Love (1963)

Vitals

Robert Shaw as Donald “Red” Grant, lethal SPECTRE assassin

Istanbul, Spring 1963

Film: From Russia With Love
Release Date: October 10, 1963
Director: Terence Young
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards

Background

Robert Shaw set the Bond franchise standard as the dangerous Donald “Red” Grant in From Russia With Love, one of the most memorable antagonists in the series.

Grant is arguably the archetype for subsequent villains that followed his laconic, icy blond example like Vargas in Thunderball, Necros in The Living Daylights, and Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies, though none could ever match Robert Shaw’s truly menacing presence on screen. Continue reading

Bond in Brioni – The Navy Suit in GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, armed with an AKS-74U, in GoldenEye (1995)

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, armed with an AKS-74U, in GoldenEye (1995)

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent

St. Petersburg, Russia, April 1995

Film: GoldenEye
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming

Background

I’ve been featuring a number of looks from the James Bond series lately, but I would hate to let that get in the way of the 00-7th of March! Since we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this month, it seems obvious to me that we should also be celebrating the Irish actor who delivered his own brand of debonair charm to the role of 007.

In his inaugural outing, GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond is relaxing in the pool of his St. Petersburg hotel when he is cornered by the alluring assassin Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). Bond gets the upper hand – among other parts – and convinces Xenia to introduce him to the mysterious syndicate behind the disappearance of a missing satellite. Continue reading

Bond’s Unique Charcoal Striped “No Cigar” Suit

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in The World is Not Enough (1999)

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in The World is Not Enough (1999)

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent

London, November 1999

Film: The World is Not Enough
Release Date: November 8, 1999
Director: Michael Apted
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming

Background

February 27 is National Cigar Day according to some, and – while it may not be recognized universally – it’s always nice to have an extra reason to relax with your favorite cigar.

Like Roger Moore before him, Pierce Brosnan eschewed the cigarettes favored by the literary (and, at one point, cinematic) James Bond in favor of cigars. Both actors preferred cigars in real life as well, and it’s been recorded that Moore frequently received several thousand pounds worth of Montecristo cigars during his outings as 007.

In The World is Not Enough, Brosnan’s Bond returns from his action-packed trip to Bilbao for what should be a quiet day at the office that begins, as usual, by casually flirting with Miss Moneypenny (Samantha Bond). Continue reading

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) – Solo’s Blue Teal Windowpane Suit

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Vitals

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, smooth CIA operative

Berlin and Rome, Spring 1963

Film: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Release Date: August 2, 2015
Director: Guy Ritchie
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston

Background

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is one of the more stylish films released in recent years, transporting audiences back to the oft-romanticized height of Cold War spying in mid-’60s Europe. The movie reboot serves as a prequel for the popular TV show, which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as American spy Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, respectively.

Henry Cavill’s interpretation of Solo retains much of the easygoing efficiency and sophistication originated by Vaughn in the role, and I left the theater wishing I was heading directly to the shop of Timothy Everest, who tailored Cavill’s distinctive and debonair suits for the film.

For my inaugural Solo post, in response to requests from readers Noel and Andrew, I am choosing to focus on a flashy suit that gets plenty of screen time. Continue reading

Notorious – Cary Grant’s Dark Pinstripe Suit

Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin in Notorious (1946)

Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin in Notorious (1946)

Vitals

Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent

Miami and Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946

Film: Notorious
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Background

It’s impossible to over-celebrate the elegant yet understated sartorialism of Cary Grant, born this day in 1904. One of my favorite of Grant’s movies is Notorious, the 1946 espionage adventure that paired him with Ingrid Bergman as a pair of American spies tasked with exposing Alexander Sebastian, a former Nazi played with charmingly evil affability by Claude Rains.

Notorious was the second collaboration between Grant and director Alfred Hitchcock, and it marked the start of a string of wildly successful and ultimately timeless movies that Hitch would direct over the next two decades. Continue reading

Chinatown – J.J. Gittes’ Gray Striped Suit

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Film: Chinatown
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert

Background

J.J. Gittes begins his final day investigating the Mulwray case in Chinatown with his usual cheekiness, even when surprised by walking into a murder scene. He trades barbs with increasingly suspicious detectives, including the pugnacious Detective Loach (Richard Bakalyan) who inquires about Gittes’ sliced-up nose; Edward Norton’s character in Rounders would pay homage to Gittes’ response of “Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick.”

But Gittes’ good humor wears off by the end, following a series of misadventures – mostly at gunpoint – involving sisters, daughters, and a shot-out eyeball. As his assistant Walsh (Joe Mantell) sagely – and now famously – advises him:

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Continue reading