The Clothes of Millennium: A Profile in Wardrobe
Jared, better known in our forums as Watts has kindly prepared an article on the clothing worn by criminal profiler Frank Black in Millennium. Jared, a keen film and television clothing collector, has been tracking down information about the jackets worn by Frank for over 10 years. You can learn more about his discoveries here on our forums.
The Clothes of Millennium: A Profile in Wardrobe
I was asked by Ethsnafu to write up a little something regarding the costuming so brilliantly brought to life by designer Diane Widas in Millennium. I will be focusing on the choices in clothing worn by Frank Black and Peter Watts and what those clothing choices tell us about the men wearing them. The old adage 'clothes make the man' is very true especially in regards to the costume design in television and film. Nothing is haphazard about the approach to clothing a character. Each and every thing worn on film must convey a message, a meaning, an insight into the nature of the character.
This guide is by no means absolute but it is applicable as a general rule. These observations are mine and mine alone as someone who has been collecting and replicating movie costumes and props for many years.
First I'd like to talk about the jackets worn by Frank Black.
The basic rule is they are almost always earth tones which gives the impression of a grounded individual. Someone who's 'down to earth'.
They always, except on one occasion, have leather collars, almost like some sort of old fashioned armor or protection.
Frank's jackets are laden with multiple pockets meaning he is organized, compartmentalized. Everything in it's place. He's a very logical person.
Aside form the pilot episode Frank always buttons, snaps or zips the jacket all the way up to the top while investigating a crime scene. This could be a subliminal means of sheilding himself, protecting himself from the evils he's investigating. He doesn't want it to get inside. It could be a means of warding off the chill he feels when working a crime scene, insulating himself to keep the evil from creeping in.
Also of interest is the fact that Franks Pilot episode and general Season 1 jacket, the one with multiple pockets made by Eddie Bauer was only worn again by Frank in the final 2 episodes in Season 3. That jacket was the beginning and the end. Was he trying to tell us he'd come full circle?
Frank wears basically 2 types of shirts, henley's and button-up collared shirts.
His shirts are usually, if not always open at the neck in a casual manner. His shirts are often plaids or checks. He is sometimes seen with his shirts untucked. A little more casual.
His pants are usually a flat front style chino. Probably doesn't iron his clothes and prefers the ease of permanent press garments. He's a grab and go kind of guy. Laid back but all business. He doesn't mind getting dirty.
His choice of footwear is normally a slip on Blundstone style boot or a hiking/workboot with a lug sole. Again, all business. This tells me he's ready for whatever terrain is ahead. A man of action, he's ready to go at a moments notice wherever life takes him.
Frank wears an Omega Seamaster wrist watch. A very expensive and rugged Swiss diving watch. It's a huge watch milled out of solid stainless steel able to withstand immense pressure under water. This, I believe is directly related to Frank Black. He is tough, rugged and able to withstand immense pressure, or at the very least he likes to think he's able to and the watch gives him a feeling of strength and dependability.
Everything Frank wears is practical and utilitarian.
Peter Watts on the other hand is almost a mirror opposite to Frank Black.
Peter usually, if not always wears black jackets, sometimes dark navy blue. It's the same with his shirts which are usually black or gray and usually a solid color. He is almost always seen with his shirts (unlike Frank) buttoned right up to the top. His shirts are always tucked in as well. His trousers are almost always black and pleated. Pleated pants could mean a more regimented lifestyle. He likes his clothing crisp, ironed, starched. He's neat and squared away. A very rigid, by the book kind of guy.
The colors alone speak volumes about the man. He's dark, shadowy, shady and secretive. He doesn't stand out and doesn't want to. He seems specter like. Clandestine.
His haircut is always neat and short, no fuss. His moustache on the other hand while also being short and neat is very high maintenence. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a moustache like that. This could mean his appearance is very important to him. Like his clothes, everything is pressed and regulation. He wants to be seen as a man of authority. He is in charge, In charge of his clothes, his appearance, everything is spot on.
His watch is also small and low profile. It's only there to tell the time and nothing else. He exudes confidence.
Much more could be construed from the clothing these men wear but I bet if you were to ask costume designer Diane Widas why she chose the clothes that she did, you'd get a similar reason.
I hope you enjoyed my profile.
Jared (TIWWA Member Watts)