If those words make you want to be Colin Firth…
calmly destroying British thugs with a souped-up umbrella…
still looking impeccable in your pinstriped suit…
This article is for you.
In 2015, Kingsman: The Secret Service got a lot of men interested in style for the first time. Now the Kingsmen are back with The Golden Circle, opening September 22nd. If the first movie made you want a British accent and a charcoal-gray double-breasted suit, this one is going to make you want a Stetson and cowboy boots.
And the British accent and the suit. Again. Though you probably can’t pull them off at the same time unless you are literally Colin Firth.
Read on to find out the style secrets of the Kingsmen – and their rougher, tougher, 5000% more American counterparts, the Statesmen. Which would you be?
About The Movies
‘A suit is the modern gentleman’s armor. And the Kingsman agents are the new knights.’
The original Kingsman movie is about a spy network whose ‘front’ is a high-class London tailor’s shop. The newest recruit, Eggsy, is a working-class fish out of water who learns the arts of spying and style from the impeccably dapper Harry Hart (Colin Firth).
In the new movie, ‘The Golden Circle’, the Kingsman network has been destroyed, and cultures clash again as Eggsy and Harry join forces with their American counterparts, the Statesmen, who dress in classic Western cowboy style.
Kingsman is a great crash course in stylish dressing. The clothes are a character in their own right.
Director Matthew Vaughan came up with the idea while being measured for a suit at a tailor’s called Huntsman in Savile Row, London. The shop was used as the Kingsman shop in the movie.
He hired costume designer Ariane Phillips to create clothes that could be used in the movie AND sold as a fashion collection. Clothes were made in collaboration with classic British brands, including shirts by Turnbull & Asser, and glasses by Cutler and Gross.
Vaughn says: “To be blunt, there aren’t many clothing options for men like me, in their 40s. Suits are cut super-skinny and tight, or they’re very traditional. I realized there’s no men’s line smack dab in the middle.”
The Kingsman collection was sold by Mr. Porter, the menswear side of Net-a-Porter. Far from being a flash in the pan, it’s still going strong and they’ve kept adding new items to it every year.
They’ve now added the cowboy-style denim and leather pieces from the second movie.
The clothes from the official Kingsman collection won’t fit every man’s budget, so here’s a rundown of the basic principles of Kingsman style – and Statesman style as we’ve seen it in the trailers.
While Kingsman style isn’t ONLY about the suits, it is… mostly about the suits. What makes Kingsman’s suits so iconic?
Double-breasted suit jackets – these are less popular than single-breasted, but quintessentially English. They were chosen to give the collection a selling point.
“If you were making a film about Italian spies, you probably wouldn’t put them in double-breasted suits.” – Toby Bateman, buying director for Mr. Porter
The buttons are in a classic 6 x 2 arrangement (6 buttons in 2 rows), though as you can see on Harry and Eggsy here, the bottom button should always be left undone.
Slim fit – the jacket tapers at the waist just enough to give it form; it has high armholes and soft shoulders for a modern look. The pants are slim, but not skinny.
Wide peak lapels – for a masculine broad-shouldered look. Peak lapels are normal with a double-breasted suit.
Details on point – The jacket has flapped pockets, double vents for maximum freedom of movement when umbrella-ing foes, and a perfect half inch of shirt cuff showing. It’s teamed with pants with a light break and no cuffs for an extra sharp look.
High-class fabrics – including wool, mohair, and silk blends for a subtle sheen. Colin Firth’s suit patterns include pinstripes, Glen plaid and Prince of Wales check, while Michael Caine wears a windowpane check.
Neutral palette – the Kingsmen are utterly traditional and restrained until a fight starts. The dark, understated color palette they wear – mostly gray suits, white shirts and pocket squares, and navy or dark red ties – conveys that they mean serious business.
Eggsy goes to the opposite extreme in the new movie with a stunning ORANGE velvet tuxedo jacket. Velvet jackets are an acceptable, slightly less formal alternative to tuxedo jackets – although darker shades of blue, red, and green are more normal than orange.
The idea here is that Eggsy has learned the principles of style and the use of color in a man’s wardrobe, and is confident enough to make his style his own. It harks back to the black and yellow jacket he wore early in the first movie when he was still dressing in street style.
I love most things about this movie, but…
They got their shoe terminology all wrong!
Harry explains the password ‘Oxfords not Brogues’ by saying, ‘An Oxford is any formal shoe with open lacing.’ Well…
#1. An Oxford can be a brogue! Harry is right in saying that the decorative pattern of holes on some formal shoes is called broguing. But you can get broguing on any type of shoe… including an oxford. Which is, in fact, the type of shoe Harry is showing Eggsy when he explains this.
#2. An Oxford is a formal shoe with CLOSED lacing. That means that the vamp (front part) is sewn on top of the quarters (back part containing the lacing flaps), giving it a sleek, smooth appearance that makes Oxfords the most formal shoe. OPEN lacing is the opposite – quarters on top of the vamp – making for slightly more casual shoes like Derbys and Bluchers.
However, Harry’s absolutely right that with a suit as formal as he’s wearing, brogues – even brogued Oxfords – would be too casual. He’s wearing black cap-toe oxfords, one of the smartest shoe types there is. You probably won’t find any with a poisoned knife in the heel.
Chelsea boots and suede penny loafers also make appearances in the movie.
White Oxford twill shirts with double cuffs and subtle cutaway collars are the norm under those suits. White is the most formal and traditional color for a dress shirt, and the collars and cuffs allow for a wider, more traditional tie and Kingsman logo cufflinks.
Other pieces include an iconic military-style sweater with suede shoulder patches worn by Merlin, the ‘Q’ of the movies, with a shirt and tie and a shaved head. It’s a look that definitely says ‘military’ but also ‘officer and a gentleman’.
Accessories include two-toned acetate glasses, silk ties, and silk pocket squares with a straight fold – again, the most formal and traditional of the many ways to fold a pocket square.
This is VERY different from the Kingsman look! Rugged casual western-style layers are the norm here.
Despite the dramatic difference in style, these outfits were designed by the same costume designer, Arianne Phillips, working with classic American brands like Rocky Mountain Featherbed, Golden Bear, Stetson, Hunter and Mr Freedom. Some British heritage brands have joined in the fun by creating American-style pieces – for instance, Turnbull & Asser making Western snap-button shirts.
Channing Tatum’s Agent Tequila wears one of these shirts with a blanket-lined denim jacket and jeans and a Stetson hat. Denim on top and bottom (a.k.a. the ‘Canadian tuxedo’) is usually a fashion faux pas, but he pulls it off.
Jeff Bridges as the leader, Agent Champagne (known as Champ) dresses like a latter-day sheriff in a yoked jacket with a western style, an ‘S’ lapel pin, a vest, and a patterned scarf tied underneath a crisp white shirt. It’s smart but cowboy but modern.
Although you can’t see it in these photos, Luchesse western boots are seen on several characters.
Harry Hart makes SOME concessions to ‘when in America’, wearing a Stetson hat and shearling coat over his usual suit. A shearling coat is made from sheepskin using the sheep’s wool as a lining.
For a more restrained coat, you could go for a down jacket with leather shoulder patches like Pedro Pascal’s Agent Whiskey.
So… Which Are You?
Are you more of a Kingsman or more of a Statesman? You probably don’t want to dress exactly like these characters – they’re deliberately extreme examples of a look. Instead, think about what ELEMENTS of their style appeal to you and can work in your daily life.
For instance, if you like Eggsy’s use of color, you don’t necessarily have to get an orange tuxedo jacket. Take a look at what he’s actually done. He’s taken one really bright statement piece and kept everything else perfectly neutral. Maybe you could get a similar effect with a bright shirt.
Or if you like Agent Tequila’s look, you could try rocking a denim jacket with jeans and cowboy boots, but stop short of topping it off with a Stetson.
Think beyond the clothes, too. What can you learn from the men who wear them? We’ll have to wait for the sequel to find out what high-octane modern cowboy code the Statesmen live by, but we’re already clear on who the Kingsmen are as the new knights.
The Kingsmen, particularly Harry (he is Galahad, after all), set an example of modern chivalry. While they treat their female recruits – and their female enemy, Gazelle – unflinchingly as fellow warriors, they also embody the knightly virtues of courage, honor, loyalty, and courtesy. Their one big flaw is their classism – but Galahad, the visionary knight, has a completely different vision of what it means to be a gentleman:
‘Being a gentleman has nothing to do with the circumstances of one’s birth. Being a gentleman is something one learns.’
As someone who grew up in a trailer park, I can get behind that statement one hundred per cent. The whole reason I run this site is to help other men become the men they know themselves to be. This quote sums it up perfectly:
‘Being a gentleman has nothing to do with one’s accent, it’s about being at ease in one’s own skin. As Hemingway said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.” Now the first thing every gentleman needs is a good suit.’