It had been a long time since I’d watched a Cary Grant film, as his oeuvre doesn’t contain much set in the Middle Ages, Ancient Greece, or prehistoric times. But this weekend I watched “The Bishop’s Wife” from 1947, and in it Grant wears a noteworthy outfit. Then again, I suppose the point is that everything he wore was noteworthy, because it was understated and tasteful and he carried anything off with such charisma.
Throughout “The Bishop’s Wife” Grant wears a gray suit in the hybrid cut he often wore, and which was very typical for the period. It features full-cut trousers and a long jacket with moderately squared shoulders, no vent, and a low button stance. But it’s a three-button rolled to the center, and Grant doesn’t fasten the bottom button as he sometimes did in the ’40s. The suit is paired with a couple of traditional classics: a white buttondown and rep tie. When you’re as good-looking as Grant, you don’t need much more. And yet at one point he is given a natty scarf to wear, and this one dash of flash bestows his singular cinematic glamour. It’s a reminder that you only need one stylish item per outfit to look distinguished.
By a bizarre coincidence, as I was preparing this post I received an email from Ivy Style contributor and frequent commenter “BC,” who mentioned watching the film this weekend as well (I watched a DVD and BC saw it streaming, so the coincidence had nothing to do with the film airing on television). He too noted the movie’s Christmas setting, and how this isn’t exactly the right time of year for it, but also said, “I can’t think of anyone who looked more comfortable in a suit than Cary Grant. An icon from a age long gone.” Indeed, and just like the young preppies in “Making The Grade,” consider studying Grant for lessons in how to “Cary” yourself with aplomb.
By the way, there was another Cary Grant coincidence over the weekend, as Richard Press’ latest column for J. Press mentions him. — CC