Friday, March 16, 2012

Sharp Stylings #31: John Steed

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt.
I'm sure everyone has 'Avengers' on the mind, what with the upcoming superhero movie and all. But let's go back to a couple of Avengers not affected by gamma radiation or super-soldier serums. No, these Avengers just had smarts, martial arts skills, and flash gear to help in their fight on crime. And speaking of flash gear, let's concentrate on the Sharp Stylings of The Avengers' John Steed!

Just check him out rockin' the bowler hat, 3-piece suit buttoned all the way down, upside-down umbrella, pocket sq-- wait, WHAT?!? 3-piece suit buttoned all the way down?? After last post's tirade, how did this get a Sharp Stylings nod of approval?

Even I couldn't believe it when I saw it! John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee, looking stunningly cool, even with all his jacket buttons fastened. Maybe some tailors out there can help me out with this one. Look closely at his jacket... it's almost as if it was tailored perfectly for allowing that button to be done up. There's no tugging around the waist and the jacket still flares beautifully away from the hips.

Now please don't get carried away after seeing this photo. Just because John Steed's buttoned all the way down, I still do NOT recommend following this look.

First off, you ain't John Steed! Once you start solving crimes and taking down villains with a sexy super-spy like Emma Peel by your side, then you can try getting away with using all those front buttons. Secondly, unlike John Steed's jacket which looks like it was made for this look, chances are your jacket isn't designed for the full button-down.

John Steed... exception to the rule?


  1. Maybe Steed/Macnee is pulling this off because that bottom button is fairly high up from the bottom of the jacket - it seems to be just above the belt line. There is room for a fourth, non-buttoned, button on there.

  2. Bobby J, you're right... that bottom button is pretty high up there. I'm trying to compare his body frame with mine (I'm a shorty) to guage the distance between the buttons in relation to his frame. Looks like they're positioned relatively close together to keep the bottom button above his belt line.

    A fourth button added and done up would have ruined the lines of the jacket, I think.

  3. Emma Peel was a style icon for me.

  4. Hence my comment previously on my two button jackets... Here Steed's wouldn't like right with bottom button undone. Too much flare?

  5. Great post this.. it's got me thinking that this is quite rebellious in a way... hmm?

  6. The more technical/geeky/boring reason for this is that for this season of the Avengers, MacNee's suits were designed for the show by Pierre Cardin. In other words, they were a costume. In the previous Diana Rigg season as well as the two with Honor Blackman, MacNee's outfits were mostly custom made Saville Row suits that he was allowed to keep after filming. They reflected his view that Steed should hearken back to a more Edwardian hunting jacket look which is why the vast majority had two buttons, or sometimes even one which was radical for the mid 60s, long thin lapels, and a jacket that flared out at the bottom because there was no button in the way at all. These tended to be made out of super luxurious fabrics too. It should be noted that neither MacNee or the producers of the show liked the Cardin suits, for similar reasons as you mentioned, and the contract was terminated mid-season. By the second half and for the Linda Thorson final season, MacNee was back in his traditional Steed suits.

    Sorry for the thesis entry ;)

    1. Actually, this was another great response! I haven't read up much on Avengers trivia, but based on your comment, I can totally see the Cardin influence on the jacket now.

      Learning from the comments from others is what I dig most!

  7. He buttoned his bottom button.
    That's pretty L7.