Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Captain Hastings - by the sea and on the deck

I was delighted to receive an e-mail yesterday from a reader telling me how much he enjoys my Captain Hastings posts and asking for my advice on the ideal style of braces to create the Hastings look.  Hopefully I've helped to steer him on the right track (little old me being asked sartorial questions!  Golly gosh, I'm flattered!); it reminded me as well that it's been a while since I last did a Captain Hastings post (have I won, girls - has Captain Hastings trumped Miss Lemon in the style icon stakes? :p).  Time to rectify that oversight, methinks!  Since it has been so long since our last encounter (October, I think it was) I'm going to treat you all to a double-bill to make it up.

He's back!

We return to the first series with these two (I still don't think I can bring myself to cover Curtain just yet!) and jump about a bit, since I originally skipped Problem At Sea thinking it didn't have much in the way of Hastings' wardrobe - wrong again!

As the title suggests, the action takes place on a small Egyptian cruise liner.  A holidaying Poirot and Hastings end up investigating the death of one of the passengers, but they still get the chance to do a little sightseeing and exploring.

I've sort of gravitated away from short-sleeved shirts as I've got older (if it's that warm,
just roll up your shirtsleeves say I).  But Captain Hastings proves it's still a valid look when
on holiday, teamed with white slacks and a cravat (plus pretty girl and shotgun).

Hastings takes the time to teach one of the female passengers the finer points of clay pigeon shooting.  One of the many amusing scenes in the early Poirots, as the rather ditsy girl gets carried away with Hastings' instructions to "pull" leaving our hero to quickly attempt a shot!

This is more the kind of thing, though!  The trusty white double-breasted tropical
suit (linen or lightweight cotton, probably), striped shirt and tie all present and correct
Oh, and the hat.  The hat!

(White suits are hard to get away with in Britain, in my experience, even in the height of summer.  One is almost certain to be likened to one of the following - author, B.B.C. reporter and ex-[local] MP Martin Bell (aka The Man in White), The Man from Del Monte or, as previously mentioned, Michael Jackson.  So sadly it is probably best to follow Captain Hastings' lead and reserve this look for foreign climes.)

Oh I do love his expression - so serious!

When on holiday no true Englishman passes up the chance to make a complete fool of himself, and Captain Hastings nobly upholds that tradition not once - but twice!

Note - if you can! - his shoes.  They appear to be brown with some white striping. 
Whether they're co-respondents or some sort of summer shoe I can't tell, but I do like
them and I'm sure they set off his proper outfit splendidly.
Another look at his excellent suit.

Following the murder aboard the yacht, suspicion falls on either the local hawkers or a creepy-looking steward.  All this gives Poirot and Hastings a chance to investigate further.

I'm not normally a fan of the safari suit/jacket but Captain Hastings pulls it off
with aplomb.  The contrasting black trousers are a helpful touch, topped off with
a cravat and Panama hat.
A closer look at the hat.  What I absolutely love about it is that matching blue trim
around the brim.  It's so simple yet it really adds something typically English to it
(it also puts me in mind of one of Michael Redgrave's outfits in
The Importance of Being Earnest

With such a dapper associate by his side it's no time at all before Poirot solves the murder - and we get some good ideas for summer/holiday wear.

Returning to chronological series order finds us at The King of Clubs, swapping the tropical climate of Egypt for the damper one of autumnal England.  Hastings takes Poirot to meet his film director friend Bunny Saunders:

That marvellous leather driving coat first seen here, what is probably a blazer underneath
and an absolutely first rate roll neck cable knit jumper.  No wonder he's smiling!

There's trouble afoot between the star and producer, though, and before you can say "Good Lord!" the latter is dead.  With the actress implicated in the murder, it's Poirot and Hastings to the rescue!

Captain Hastings has swapped his coat for something a bit plainer, but still he
makes it look stylish.  The gloves, the contrasting suit trousers, it all works.
Add the brown trilby and Captain Hastings is ready for anything!
A classically '30s double-breasted peak lapel jacket, contrasting pattern tie and a
spearpoint collar shirt.
A closer look at the tie; again a typically lovely Thirties pattern.
Sod Sherlock - look to this man for the perfect turned-up coat collar look!
(I'd forgotten how much I adore his expressions too...!)
A better angle to show off that wonderful spearpoint shirt collar (and small tie knot).

All's well that ends well in the end, of course, and Poirot and Hastings head off to further adventures.

The double-breasted pocket-crested blazer first seen here, beautifully accessorised
with a red pocket square, paisley(?) cravat and grey trilby

I hope that this more than makes up for 4 months of Captain Hastings-less and I promise it won't be another quarter-year before the next instalment - The Dream.  No accompanying video this time I'm afraid - YouTube seems to have had one of its periodical clear-outs and Poirot has suffered.  You'll just have to get the DVDs, if you haven't already (what's the matter with you then?!) and tune in here again soon for another Captain Hastings post!

1 comment:

  1. The costumers really did a ripping job on that series, didn't they? Somehow the clothes feel *right*, and as much as I enjoy Miss Fisher, Murdoch Mysteries et al, the clothes always feel like costumes - perhaps because they're being worn on sets and therefore the sense of artificiality is heightened.


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