It seems like ages since I've done a costume breakdown for a telly programme, but the outfits in the first Partners in Crime story were so striking that I really wanted to. I really wasn't sure how I felt about the show after the first episode, nor did I like Tuppence's hats. Well, three episodes in, with the first story complete, I like the show and have come to accept the titfers.
You can't really avoid looking at the hats. In the first episode, I was particularly startled by Tuppence pairing a chestnut hat with a black bag and chocolate gloves. That's the point, I guess: Tuppence's hats are supposed to be over-the-top and frivolous.
Where Tuppence really rocks is her suits and knitwear. Actress Jessica Raine has an amazing figure, and the neat little pencil skirts on her suits really show that off. I do sometimes wish ladies' suits would come back into fashion. They're so chic. Just look at the two-tone collar of the one Tuppence wore on the train. You don't see details like that on suits any more, even at the 'top end of the high street' shops like Hobbs. The pencil skirts, on the other hand, would be easy to imitate. I was really pleased to see her Prince of Wales check skirt – can't wait for autumn now, as I can dig mine out and show my Tuppence.
I'm slowly growing to appreciate the subtlety of menswear, though the likes of Bruce Partington-Plans and Norton of Morton are more likely to grasp the details than I ever will. In general, Tommy is smartly suit-clad – well enough for gangsters to mistake him for a wealthy man.
Science teacher Albert Pemberton, who helps Tommy and Tuppence, is almost the perfect 1950s schoolteacher in his tweed jackets and tank tops. His wooden arm, replacing a hand blown off when he worked in bomb disposal during the war, hints at bravery and less scholarly talents. There's something very cosy about the way Albert is dressed, with all that wool, and I think the viewer is supposed to find him charmingly, and unthreateningly eccentric – though the only person who should ever be seen in on land a duffel coat is Paddington Bear.
Gangster boss Whittington wears a suit, but the lapels are a little too wide, it's all just slightly too showy. His equally unpleasant underling wears a rather nasty print shirt, and you can see his vest – clearly lacking in refinement. As for Whittington's fedora and raincoat combo, that's straight out of the Film Noir Book of Villains.
Jane and Julius