style

The basic grey suit

Joshua Kim


It may appear a bit dull and drab hanging in the corner of your closet sometimes but it has actually played a vital role in the workplace, on the street, in the bar, and especially in the movies throughout the years.  Its origins can be traced back to the post World War II era.  Men were returning home, retiring their military uniforms and again assuming their lives as gentlemen.  But at this point, the society they were coming back to was no longer friendly to the extravagance and flamboyance of the past.  And so the “uniform grey” suit emerged instead and immediately invoked social respectability.  Gregory Peck and Cary Grant iconized the suit on the silver screen.  Men’s fashion had arrived to a point of no-nonsense, utilitarian-inspired seriousness.  The idea was that when you took away the frills, the laissez faire, and reduced to a solid grey with straighter lines, you got a forward-thinking man of action. And that is what the basic grey suit continues to symbolize.  Its effectiveness has been propagated by Bond protagonists, namely Mr. Connery and more recently Daniel Craig.  “James Bond” in uniform grey signifies the sharp-minded, resourceful yet sophisticated intelligence agent capable of parleying over a cocktail while simultaneously weighing the physics of an impending throwdown.