SUSPENDERS THAT POINT NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Although it was set in the 1960s, the dripping-in-style series Mad Men was actually influenced by an earlier, more elegant era portrayed in the classic 1959 film North by Northwest. It featured an impeccable, now-iconic gray suit in a shade of just-so gray created by Savile Row bespoke tailor Kilgour. Oh, and the movie also starred Cary Grant and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. “Hitchcock made everybody in the picture dress in a classic style,” explains The Telegraph in an interesting piece on why the look of the movie continues to exert such influence. “He didn’t want the picture to date because of the clothes.”
To keep the clothing choices classic, Hitchcock looked to the post-war era, when a particularly popular silhouette dubbed the “Hollywood” pant had a wide leg and was worn with suspenders. Cary Grant, who collaborated with Kilgour, “knew that a suit with the appearance of an unbroken vertical line makes a man look tall and elegant,” explains Mansel Fletcher, Style Editor for Mr. Porter. “For this reason, in order to meet the hem of his jacket, his trousers are cut wide through the hips.”
Hollywood pant close-up (via)
While this aesthetic might seem hopelessly anachronistic in our current skinny-jeans-squeezed culture, Fletcher disagrees. “By the shrunken proportions of today’s fashionable tailoring, Grant’s jacket is much too long and the whole suit is too loose,” he notes. “But it’s telling that despite this, the outfit is still hugely admired...half a century later, any man in the same ensemble would be impeccably dressed.”
Here is a look we pulled together inspired by the elegance of Cary Grant and his style protege, Don Draper of Man Men - just with new millennium street sensibilities.
The head-to-toe gray of Grant’s suit is so flattering, but to make the look more relevant to today, we opted for a reproduction-vintage pant (all the styling goodness of the original, just without the fit issues of the real thing) and a coordinating gray shirt with matching overcoat. And instead of a white shirt against the gray jacket, we got the same feel in a more interesting way with our striped Bar None button-on suspender. Lastly, Grant chose a pair of shoes in an on-trend shade of oxblood, so we did as well!
suspenders: JJ Suspenders
shirt - Maison Margiela, coat - J.Crew, shoes - Lanvin: all MrPorter.com
trousers - ReVamp Vintage