Dancing with the Doctor

It’s been a very long time since we’ve taken a trip into a nerdy subject, so it’s a great time to revisit some of the fun of sci-fi fashion!  We’ve previously gone over visions of the future, “Star Trek” uniforms, and more, but this time we’re taking a look at a sci-fi staple that has made coming up with a new outfit every few years a staple: “Doctor Who.”

The_Doctor

If you aren’t familiar, “Doctor Who” is a British television series about an alien from the planet Gallifrey who goes by the self-appointed title of “The Doctor,” because he sees himself as someone who helps and fixes things and people.  He travels throughout the breadth of time and space in his spaceship/time machine, the TARDIS, which is broken, and so is stuck disguised as a 1963-period blue British Police Box on the outside.

The show has been running since 1963, and since actors aren’t immortal, The Doctor has been played by a multitude of actors over the years.  The show dealt with this very creatively.  The Doctor, being an alien “Time Lord,” has the ability to “regenerate” whenever he’s fatally injured, but not injured so severely that he dies outright.  He becomes a new man, and, while still a rebirth of the same person, has a new face, new personality quirks, and new tastes, including in fashion.  The Doctor tends to stick to one or two outfits throughout an incarnation’s tenure, and with the recent reveal of the newest Doctor, the 12th, and his new outfit, it seemed like a perfect time to have some fun, and look back at 51 years of a quirky, hyperactive fictional alien’s bizarre fashion choices!

Advertisements

Presidential Fashion

We couldn’t help but notice, being the sartorial-minded people we are, when, a few months ago, the White House released the new official portraits of President Obama and Vice President Biden.  You see, whenever a new term starts, new photos are taken for the government.  Why did we notice?  Because of the suits, of course!  Obama went from this in 2009…

:|

😐

To this in 2013…

:D

😀

Besides the obvious, 2009 Obama being grimmer and darker-haired than his cheery, greying 2013 counterpart, the subtle differences stand out.  The tie stayed mostly blue, but the pattern completely changed.  The color of the suit shifted from black to navy.  The lapels ever so slightly widened.  Why?  Presidents doubtless make concessions for the fashions of the day, but some personal quirks assuredly come into the equation, as well.  We can only wonder about Obama’s sartorial choices, and we have to remember that a U.S. President, “Leader of the Free World,” and everything that comes with it, has to look dignified and reserved above all else.  We’re probably not going to see a pink tie or a purple undershirt here…

Biden changed a bit more between terms, going from the red and reserved 2009 version…

VP Biden: Portrait shoot by Andrew "Andy" Cutraro. 459 EEOB Studio

Black, red and white…

To pinstripes galore in 2013…

vpjoe2

Why were they both floating in limbo in the 2009 pics, anyway?

Clearly, Biden is the more sartorially adventurous of the two, but fundamentally, POTUSes and VPs have to stay period-appropriate and as reserved as a priest on Sunday.  Which makes some of the previous Presidents’ outfits so hilariously inappropriate and garish today.  Especially Gerald Ford.  Extra, extra ’70s, that one.

So, let’s take a quick look back at how some of the Presidents fared in the fashion department, and how their looks hold up today.

Bond, James Bond, Part 3: Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton (1973-1989)

It’s been several weeks, but it’s time to come back to James Bond style!

hqdefault

Sigh… Are we SURE the world didn’t end last month?

When we last left off, Sean Connery had just come back to the world of James Bond for one more go with the poorly-received “Diamonds are Forever.”  He had absolutely no intention of ever coming back to the role, at least at that point, and the producers took him at his word.  Lazenby was back in Australia modelling, and the series desperately needed a shot of newness to get it back on track after such a disappointing entry.  They went with someone who had come very close to getting the role back in 1962, Roger Moore.

Moore was, unlike Connery and Lazenby, already an established actor in his own right before coming to the Bond franchise.  What’s more, he had a pre-existing history as a jet-setting fictional spy, in th guise of Simon Templar of “The Saint,” a long-running BBC series based on a novel series of the same name.  In essence, he was bringing an entire espionage-appropriate wardrobe with him to the role!

capture552

With optional halo accessory.

Moore was cut from a cloth more similar to Lazenby rather than Connery.  Simply put, Moore was pretty.  He didn’t have the rough-hewn edges that Connery had, or even the boyish ruggedness that Lazenby possessed.  Instead, Moore was prim, proper, and elegant.  The Conduit Cut that had worked so well for a decade simply didn’t suit him.  Instead, Moore went with his existing tailors at Cyril Castle in Mayfair.  They had made the suits he had worn to great effect throughout his work on “The Saint,” and made similar suits for Moore’s first Bond outing, “Live and Let Die,” albeit with some slightly more 1970s lines and colors.

070102-moore-cyrilcastleIn a nod to his predecessors, Moore kept the distinctive turnback cuff shirts that Connery and Lazenby had worn, at least at first.  Unfortunately, those only survived through Moore’s first two films, 1973’s “Live and Let Die,” and 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.”  In addition, there was a much more relaxed sense to Moore’s Bond, with more sports jackets and slacks than suits.

This is a great look still, even with the '70s lapels...

This is a great look still, even with the ’70s lapels…

...The '70s plaid, not so much.

…The ’70s plaid, not so much.

The first two Moore outings were unabashedly ’70s: minimalistic, car-focused and roughly filmed.  Bond had come a long way away from the glamor of the ’60s films.  They both performed poorly at the box office, and an extended absence was initiated, while the series returned to form.  In 1977, Moore starred in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” a gargantuan, world-spanning production that also featured a much more formal set of clothes for Bond.  The full trappings of the late ’70s showed up here…

A midnight blue double-breasted dinner jacket with big, wide lapels...

A midnight blue double-breasted dinner jacket with big, wide lapels…

A tan cotton sports jacket with a canvassed front, complete with shoulder epaulette straps, taking us right into jungle adventurer territory...

A tan cotton sports jacket with a canvassed front, complete with shoulder epaulette straps, taking us right into jungle adventurer territory…

“The Spy Who Loved Me” remains the most popular of Moore’s Bond films, and 1979’s “Moonraker,” the highest grossing of his films, which had the same styles, along with some terrifying space-themed clothing…

Big lapels, flared bottoms, big big big '70s...

Big lapels, flared bottoms, big big big ’70s…

...And Bond by way of Ronald McDonald?

…And Bond by way of Ronald McDonald?

…So the styles that showed up here stayed associated with Moore’s Bond well after the fact.  But here is where there was a serious change.  Moore had, shall we say, some tax issues back in the United Kingdom, starting in 1978.  He moved the the South of France in the interim, and could no longer make regular visits to Mayfair.

The timing of the forced change in style was fortuitous, as after the over-the-top entries of the ’70s, the series was about to take a sharp turn back into seriousness with 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only.”  Moore sought out a tailor who was willing to come to his home in France: Douglas Hayward.  Hayward already had a reputation as a tailor to the stars, as evidenced by his beautiful suits for Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier and Peter Sellers.  His more subtle, subdued approach engineered a look for Bond that was so timeless, it lasted all the way into the ’90s, and doesn’t look particularly dated even today.

Typical of the style, with soft, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads.  The lapels are back to normal now...

Typical of the style, with soft, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The lapels are back to normal now…

A notched-lapel dinner suit that still looks good today...

A notched-lapel dinner suit that still looks good today…

This continued through Moore’s last two films, 1983’s “Octopussy” and 1985’s “A View to a Kill.”

Pinstripes show up a lot during this period, as well.

Pinstripes show up a lot during this period, as well.

After “A View to a Kill,” Moore was simply too old to keep doing the films, so the search for a new Bond was on.  This switch in actors was easily the most tumultuous of the entire series, and ended with Pierce Brosnan, then of “Remington Steele,” getting the role…  He was forced to turn it down, much to his horror, because of his commitment to “Remington Steele” (the same reason we have Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones instead of Tom Selleck, due to “Magnum, P.I.”).  The producers were left scrambling, and settled on sort of dark horse choice in the form of Timothy Dalton, who had been approached back in 1969 for the role, but felt himself too young at the time.  Dalton was a big fan of the Fleming novels, and wanted to take the character back to brutal basics.  His two installments, 1987’s “The Living Daylights,” and 1989’s controversially violent “License to Kill,” remain some of the darkest, grimmest entries in the series.  His wardrobe took a similar tack.

Hayward left the series with Moore, with whom he remained close friends until his death in 2008.  Exactly who made the suits for the Dalton films is a bit of a melange, and was the result of the work of several different tailors.  In the first half of “The Living Daylights,” Dalton dons several different Benjamin Simon suits.

This simple number is arguably the most perfectly fitting suit in the entire SERIES...

This simple number is arguably the most perfectly fitting suit in the entire SERIES…

A beige gaberdine suit from the film's Tunisia sequences....

A beige gaberdine suit from the film’s Tunisia sequences….

A classic three-piece pinstriped suit for Bond's time at MI6 in the film.

A classic three-piece pinstriped suit for Bond’s time at MI6 in the film.

After around five of these, things go downhill from a sartorial perspective, and don’t come back up until 1995!  Bond goes downright casual from here on, a reflection of the film’s chaotic, gritty tone, but also, apparently, Dalton’s discomfort with formal wear.  It works in “The Living Daylights.”  Terrifyingly, Dalton had to reign in the producers on “License to Kill.”  The film centers on drug trafficking in Florida, the Caribbean and Central America.  “Miami Vice” was popular at the time.  You can probably guess where we’re going with this…

Ahh!  Kill it!  Kill it with fire!

Ahh! Kill it! Kill it with fire!

Of Jodie Tillen, costume designer on “License to Kill,” Dalton had words…

“She wanted to put me in pastels.  Can you imagine?  I thought, ‘No, we can’t have that.’  The clothes say so much about Bond.  He’s got a naval background, so he needs a strong, simple color, like dark blue.” – Timothy Dalton, 1989

While that disaster was averted, the film’s plot, featuring a renegade Bond out for revenge in the tropics, kept Dalton out of suits for nearly the entire film, excepting the horrendous “best man” suit he dons in the pre-title sequence (probably deliberately hideous), and a very, very average tux he wears to a casino midway through the film.  It looks like a rental, which, again, makes sense in the context of the story (Bond has no resources, and is operating on his own and without a plan), but it’s still quite unfortunate to not get to see the finery we associate with the character in one of his films.

Oh, James, what have they done to you?

Oh, James, what have they done to you?

Like we said, this sad state of affairs would not be corrected until 1995.  Why so long?  Well, that’s a story for next time, when we go into our fourth and final entry into our exploration of Bond’s wardrobe.  Until next time!

Bond, James Bond, Part 1: The Ian Fleming Novels (1953-1962)

Today, October 5th, 2012, is the 50th anniversary of everybody’s favorite superspy action movies: the James Bond series!  On October 5th, 1962, “Dr. No” premiered in the United Kingdom, and introduced the world to the words “Bond, James Bond.”  Along the way, the films also introduced the world to the finer things in life, from exotic locales and fine dining, to the best drinks money could buy and absurdly elaborate underground volcano lairs.

Why are they using the caldera as a skylight? Espionage, that’s why.

But, from our point of view, most importantly, they introduced the world to the idea of men dressing to the nines while still being tough.  Before Bond, really, suits and tuxes were primarily something you wore to a formal event or to work.  Bond wears tailor-made suits while dangling from helicopters by his feet with a nuclear bomb in one hand and a gorgeous Russian spy in the other.

Or while holding on to a breathless blonde in one hand and a Walther PPK in the other while balancing precariously on top of one of the Golden Gate Bridge’s suspension wires, whatever.

So, what better reason to spend the next few months celebrating all things Bond fashion?  And we’re going to start right at the beginning…

Before Bond, action heroes were cowboys or soldiers or spacemen.  The bad guys were usually the ones dressed well, no doubt thanks to their ill-gotten gains!  Only private detectives were shown wearing suits while doing good, but they were usually of the rumpled, dirty, cheap knock-off variety.  Humphrey Bogart looked amazing in them, but hardly anyone else did.  Then along came Bond and his impeccable fashion sense, which, believe us, was no accident, it was because it was what his creator would have worn.

Bond was the invention of former British intelligence officer, commando, journalist, and all-around badass, Ian Fleming.  Fleming had spent World War II coming up with intelligence operations with names like “Operation Ruthless,” “Operation Mincemeat” and “Operation Golden Eye,” then put together a crack commando unit called “30AU,” and another crack commando unit called, we swear, “T-Force.”

In the midst of all of this, he was heavily involved with something called the “Special Operations Executive,” essentially the precursor to every single acronym-based-name-bearing espionage organization from every genre film, TV show, book or video game you’ve ever seen.  They were based on Baker Street in London, down the street from where Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have lived, and completely revolutionized intelligence and espionage.  Did we mention that one of their operatives was one Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee?

Yes, THAT Christopher Lee.

That’s right, the creator of James Bond spent most of World War II coming up with incredibly colorful ways to kill and generally mess up Nazis alongside freaking Saruman himself in Sherlock Holmes’ old stomping grounds.  Suffice to say, this had a profound impact on him.

After the war, he began to write Casino Royale, the first Bond novel, and nearly all of the initial Bond characters, including M, Q, Miss Moneypenny and Vesper Lynd, were all based on people whom Fleming had worked with in the SOE.  Bond himself, on the other hand, was an amalgamation of several different spies from the SOE, along with Fleming himself…

We never would have guessed.

Fleming had very, very refined taste in clothes, having grown up in Mayfair, one of the most moneyed neighborhoods in London, as the son of a British MP and a wealthy socialite.  Legend has it he could identify a tailor from the cut of a man’s suit!  These tastes, along with his, ah, extremely intense interest in women, food, liquor and cigarettes, got transferred to the James Bond character, a fact which worked as a fabulous antidote to the Post-War austerity Britain found itself in.  Fleming himself heavily favored lightweight suits, an anomaly in his time, and tended to skew towards blues and greys with pinstripes in all manner of arrangements, both single and double breasted as well as both two and three-piece.  Bond himself is described in this manner throughout the books, but, interestingly, no labels are mentioned.

“The girl looked him up and down.  He had dark, rather cruel good looks and very clear, blue-grey eyes.  He was wearing a very dark-blue lightweight single-breasted suit over a cream silk shirt and a black knitted silk tie.  Despite the heat, he looked cool and clean.  ‘And who might you be?’ she asked sharply.
‘My name’s Bond, James Bond …'” –Thunderball

Savile Row fashion is heavily implied (though Fleming himself didn’t care for it), but never named.  What is named is what everyone else is wearing.  In fact, as anyone who has read the books can tell you, Bond CAN’T STOP talking about people’s clothes.

“It was tied with a Windsor knot.  Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot.  It showed too much vanity.  It was often the mark of a cad.”From Russia With Love

He actually sizes up some of his archenemies in this manner.  For instance, he immediately notices, in Moonraker, that villain Hugo Drax’s cufflinks are Cartier.

But Bond’s own clothing in the books remains a mystery (although it has been suggested that Bond’s suits were from Anderson & Sheppard of Sevile Row, though that makes little sense).  But then, so was Bond himself.  The Bond of the novels is dark, and downright humorless.  His high-minded fashion sense is more an engine of his distaste for other people wearing something wrong rather than pride in himself for wearing something right, likely an idiosyncrasy belonging to Fleming.

The novels began to be published in 1953 with Casino Royale, and by the time “Dr. No” came into theaters in 1962, 9 years, 10 books and an episode of the CBS anthology series “Climax!” that adapted Casino Royale had elapsed.

With Barry Nelson as American agent “Jimmy Bond.” Oh, how we wish we were kidding.

After all of that, one would think that Bond’s fashion sense would have been locked in.  …Not exactly.  Elements, like the lightweight suits, were, but the overall style, as we said, had not been heavily touched on.  That iconic look that everyone thinks of came from Terence Young, who directed “Dr. No,” and dressed the rather rough and tumble unknown Scotsman Sean Connery in what he thought Fleming’s style should be, by way of his own style.

“What ish thish shtuff you’re putting me in, man?”

But that’s a story for next time.  We’ll continue with the next installment, focusing on the all-important Sean Connery years of Bond-dom, after a brief detour…

Color Commentary on the Color Commentators

In case it isn’t obvious from our blog and our Facebook page, we’re kind of big on football here at Joseph’s.  And this is the time of year when we’re most excited about it: just as the preseason starts!  Preseason means football on television again for the first time in months!  It also means that in just a few weeks, those wonderful, cozy Sundays spent in front of the TV with friends and family watching America’s favorite game will be here again.  What does any of this have to do with us, custom suit designers?  Well, for one thing, a lot of our customers are NFL players and people associated with the League.  Which is a big reason football season is so exciting for us, especially based, as we are, in the hometown of the defending Super Bowl Champions!  But another fantastic pastime is returning along with the football season: the pre-game shows and their commentators, who are always, ALWAYS decked out in top-of-the-line suits and accessories.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: just because a suit cost a lot or was made by a great company doesn’t automatically mean it looks good or that you’re wearing it right!  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the “big three” NFL pre-game broadcasts and their lineup of sartorially-minded sportscasters.
CBS – The NFL Today

CBS’ broadcast has the feel of being the most old-fashioned of the three.  While FOX, being FOX, is somewhat flashier, and NBC is full-on epic, complete with a John Williams-penned opening theme, CBS still feels like the broadcasts from the halcyon days of the Steelers and 49ers in the ’70s and ’80s (somewhere out there, a Baby Boomer Packers fan is rolling their eyes).  And their lineup of hosts is no exception.  Featuring the always stalwart Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and James Brown, the group is perked up by “The Chin” himself, Bill Cowher, and the always energetic and hilarious Shannon Sharpe.  This is reflected in the way they dress:

Left to right: Sharpe, Marino, Brown, Cowher, Esiason.

Nice, all of them, but a little “run-of-the-mill broadcaster” in some cases.  Esiason and Brown could pass for Senators.  Marino spices it up a little with unusual ties.  This works sometimes, like in this picture, where the seemingly mismatched colors work with the pale blue undershirt.  Other times, not so much.

But check out Coach Cowher, who seems to have embraced the power of the pinstripe wholeheartedly. For a guy best known for this…

AAAAHHHH!!

He certainly cleans up well:

It’s very easy to overuse pinstripes and end up looking like a ’20s gangster. Cowher never does this, and always wears pale, subtle pinstripes, that accentuate his fit form, and make him look quite dashing.

But the winner on CBS?

He wears pink ties and pocket squares without a care in the world.

Shannon Sharpe take elements that would look garish and over-the-top on many people, and makes them WORK.  Mostly because he carries himself with a comfortable, happy, easy confidence.  If he felt awkward, he’d look awkward.  As is, he just looks classically flashy and suave.  And pocket squares can make an outfit all on their own, but only if they’re used right.  Sharpe uses them right, picking the right suits to add them to, and the right colors of squares to add.  Just look at this guy!

He KNOWS he looks good.

We cannot stress this enough, all the money and tailoring in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the confidence and swagger to make it a part of you, like a second skin.  Sharpe does this in spades.

FOX – The NFL on Fox

FOX, flashy as it is with its orchestral hard rock theme and big, yellow graphics, would seem to be the perfect place for a bevy of Shannon Sharpes.  Instead, they have a group of more old-school names…

Left to right: Menefee, Bradshaw, Long, Strahan, Glazer, Johnson.

But they dress a lot flashier than their opposite numbers at CBS.  Colorful ties abound, as does a spectrum of suit colors, through blacks, blues, greys and even a touch of violet.  Some with pinstripes, some without, some with pocket squares, some without…  The experimentation looks great on the very, very tall Howie Long, who towers over everyone but Michael Strahan.  A three-piece black suit with a pale violet pocket square and tie?  Up-scale flashiness.  Nice.  But the crew cut isn’t doing him any favors.  Strahan has the same kind of comfortableness with color and style experimenting.  They both work, really, so it’s a tie here.

All bow before The Gap.

Gotta love the hatched lines in the fabric.

NBC – Football Night in America

Ah, NBC.  Poor NBC.  It’s getting torn a new one for its Olympic coverage right now, and the golden days of Must See TV are long gone.  But say what you will about the occasionally awkward Faith Hill intro sequence, NBC Sunday Night Football is probably the slickest sports production on TV right now, and the pre-game show is no exception.  Headlined by Bob Costas, the analyst team is an unusual mix of sportscasters, former players and coaches of extremely varied ages and styles.

C’mon, he’s been the voice of the Olympics for 20 years, Costas deserves his own picture!

Left to Right: Patrick, Dungy, Harrison.

Really, all of them do it well.  Costas, despite his small frame, always wears great color combos and well-tailored suits for his build.  Rodney Harrison has a lot of fun with his suits, bounding between traditional and blindingly unusual from week-to-week, and Tony Dungy and Dan Patrick are always sartorially solid, dressed perfectly every week.  So who wins this round?  The guy who isn’t there yet.

This guy.

Hines Ward will be joining Football Night in America this season, and a quick look at some of the more fantastic suits he’s worn over the years tells us he’ll be bringing a Sharpe-like fun and confident tone to the show.

Just leave the dance moves at home, Hines.

It’s Almost Baseball Season, Baby!

The 2012 baseball season is just around the corner, and probably is one of the most anticipated in a while.  Lots of new kids on the block with enough swagger and talent to keeps us entertained all the way to October.  Not to mention Bryce Harper, whom some say is “the most entertaining prospect since Babe Ruth”!  Wow!

Anyway, we all love the game and can’t wait to get to the ball park for some fun games, and, of course, hot dogs ‘n’ beer (mouths watering even now).  But before that, being so sartorial, we couldn’t help but go a little Fashion Police on some great baseball uniforms as well as some…  Well, not so great.

Here are our top (and bottom) picks!

Some teams are inspired to get their colors from the flag of the city, state or country they call home. Others, like the '78 Mets, got them from former New York teams who moved literally across the United States. Mets borrow Brooklyn Dodgers royal blue and New York Giants orange in an attempt to soothe tons of broken-hearted fans. ...And in the process, accidentally end up with New York City's colors!

Keeping with the flags, we are sure mainly that was the idea here with the '82 White Sox... We must say that if Captain America had his own baseball team, he would have agreed to tone it down a bit...

The '79 Phillies looked more like Santa Claus or a certain Kimmi Kardashian wearing one of those skin-tight Herve Leger bandage dresses than a baseball team.

Chicago White Sox, August 8, 1976. During a double-header, the boys decided to ditch the normal uniforms in the sweltering heat, and opted for shorts. Quite interesting, especially if you have to slide to second. More interesting, to say the least, is the collar on the jerseys. You know how much we love dress shirts, but we're not digging the jersey version.

All aboard, please, with the World Series Champion '79 Pirates! First, we've said it before, a monochromatic look is NOT flattering at all, and it hurts the eye. The colors of the City of Pittsburgh are black and gold, and all three of their major sports teams sport those colors. But this is just taking it too far! And what's up with the train conductor hat?

The '75 Astros... Until '86. Whaaat??? Were they color blind? You would think that something this hideous would last 2 games max! We can't quite decide what is worse here, all of that hideous color, or the numbers at crotch level? They pushed the rainbow of doom to the shoulders and arms for the away uniforms in '80 and then to the home uniforms in '87, but it wasn't until '94 that this abomination was banished completely.

Oh, NYC, always pushing the envelope. We have to give the 1916 New York (now San Francisco) Giants credit: plaid baseball uniforms. Would love to know who was the mastermind behind this... Concept.

Brace yourself for the brand new 2012 MIAMI Marlins. This is quite a change from the old, standard, baseball-friendly Florida Marlins uniforms. South Beach, anyone?

What we are going to do today, '69 Seattle Pilots? Hmm.... Flying? No! Sailing? No! ...We know, let's play baseball! Geez... Unsurprisingly, they only played one season before moving to Wisconsin and becoming the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brooklyn (now L.A.) Dodgers. Probably one of the greatest throwback jerseys of all time. A great example that less is more! Classic!

Ahhhhhh! What the heck? These alternate Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms from the early 2000s speak for themselves: they are hideous beyond words. Make the giant bad pirate man go away!

The modern-day New York Yankees, based out of NYC, fashion capital of the world! What is it about these babies? It's probably a mix of it all: the pinstripes, the authority related with the color navy blue, their global recognition, or the many, MANY World Series Championships (27!). Whether you like them or not, you have to agree it is one of the coolest sports uniforms of all time.