North by Northwest

Middle-aged Madison Avenue advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill is mistaken for a government agent by a gang of spies. He gets involved in a series of misadventures and is pursued across the States by both the spies and the government while being helped by a beautiful blonde.

Roger Thornhill

For the majority of this film, Mr. Thornhill is dressed in very finely cut suits. The lightweight wool single breasted suit was ventless, with three button fastening and notched lapels. His trousers were wide legged with forward pleats. ‘Oxblood’ leather derby shoes worn with grey thin ribbed socks, a white medium spread collar shirt with double cuff and a grey silk tie. This simple classy suit served to give him a more high class look throughout the film. This polished look also helped to emphasize that he was a businessman who fell into spying, since as we go farther into the movie and he commits to playing the role of spy, he wear the suit less and disguises more.

Eve Kendall

Eve is introduced to us as a very independent woman who is in complete control of her own life. Her simple black and white outfit lends to her credibility as a working professional, and goes along with her cool, polished demeanor. This outfit also serves to help her blend in, as black and white doesn’t stand out in a crowd the same way that brighter colors do. Because she blends in, Eve is able to act as a spy while being in plain sight.

Changes in outfits

In sharp contrast of his crisp suits early in the movie, Roger Thornhill at the end of the movie wears a loose button-down that wouldn’t be out of place in an 18th century pirate drama. The loss of control over his situation is reflected in his outfit; this isn’t even Thornhills’ outfit, it was given to him by the professor.

Eve Kendall’s outfit also shows her loss of control. She has changed into bright colors symbolic of danger, and her hair has fallen out of its neat style. She has lost all her agency, and cannot work as a spy anymore since she has been discovered and now stands out.


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