Can you plausibly call yourself the main character of any sort of mysterious spy caper if you're not wearing a peacoat? If you're an Esquire editor, these are the sort of profound existential questions that keep you up at night, tossing and turning in bed before drifting off to fitful dreams about the best-dressed spies in film history.
There was Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor, the 1975 thriller starring the actor at the peak of his powers and one particularly swoon-worthy peacoat. There was Bond wearing Billy Reid in Skyfall, a scene-stealing cameo from a style that still does numbers today, and led to an immediate bump in sales for the brand when the film debuted. (Fun fact: in a lucky coincidence, the coat is actually named for Reid's Bond Street store, not 007.) And now there's Chris Pine, photographed yesterday in London shooting All the Old Knives, a forthcoming film adaption of the Olen Steinhauer novel of the same name. And the list, dear reader, goes on.
Pine proves the grand tradition of leading men playing spy-type guys in extremely good peacoats is alive and well, thank you very much. (Hell, this isn't even the actor's first on-screen tie-up with the silhouette—he wore a boxier take on the style in 2014's equally clunky Jack Ryan reboot.)
What, you might ask, has made the peacoat such a mainstay of a specific type of action flick throughout the decades? For one thing, its military heritage makes it an obvious choice for costume designers who want to imbue their characters with a touch of old-school macho charm. (Wearing one layered over a chunky ribbed turtleneck, as Pine does here, only serves to further underscore the style's naval origins.) In the right context, a peacoat serves as an instant visual cue for the audience, shorthand for the sort of hardened IRL experience that comes with tracking down bad guys hellbent on global destruction for a living.
A peacoat confers serious spy-guy bona fides. Its bold lapels and double-breasted silhouette make for an especially cinematic style that doesn't lose any of its luster on-screen, and its sturdy construction is perfectly suited for lurking on dimly lit street corners while you wait for your foreign fixer to drop off those pesky forged documents you asked for. In other words, it's practically a character unto itself.
And if Pine has a say in the matter, that's not going to change any time soon.
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