Movie Preview: The Royal Tenenbaums

Sure, you may have seen Wes Anderson’s 2001 quirky, avant-garde film The Royal Tenenbaums, but the question is, were you paying attention to the costumes? This won’t be Anderson’s first foray into trad style, as we’ve seen before in Rushmore, he evidently likes to create characters who lean towards prepdom- as far as to create a bizarre caricature world with plenty of inside jokes for those paying close enough attention to the details.



As a estranged, albeit wealthy  family, the Tenenbaums exhibit many elements of trad style. From camelhair jackets, to numerous suit and tie combinations, quite a few items stuck out to me while watching, so I’ve screen captured them for review. While each character has his/her own take on dress, overall the details seemed very spot on. Add to the record Moonrise Kingdom, filmed in ocean-side Narraganset Bay and  Jamestown, RI. and you have quite a lot of prep (after taking into account Bill Murray’s madras trousers).

The sartorial choices of each character end up being more of a motif than purely costume, but I won’t give out any plot spoilers, just photographic evidence of the goods.


Here are a few scenes that grabbed my attention from Royal:

Furs, camelhairs, and Fila sweatbands.
An electronic tie rack with dozens of (the same) Argyle and Sutherland regimental tie. In the background we can see a dozen identical jackets and oxford shirts. Perhaps a reference to the trad “uniform”


Young Chas, decked out in a donegal tweed jacket and aforementioned tie.



A boy wearing a crimson red school uniform blazer, with button-down collar and tartan tie.



Just a casual summer home owned by the family on (fictional) Eagle’s Island in NY.

Danny Glover as Henry, Who always wears gingham shirts, a double-breasted blazer, and a bow tie.
Sometimes in green…


…Or yellow.


Wedding outfits, BB#1 repp stripe tie worn by Luke Wilson (Richie) along with a peak-lapel grey tic suit


Tennis prep Lacoste dresses are seen on Margot Tenenbaum. Also seen is an example of Anderson’s obsession with the sans-serif typeface Futura, which extends across his entire universe of films.


Ben Stiller is in the same outfit, now grown up. The suit pictured here is a 3/2 roll.


Owen Wilson hiding in the closet…with about a two dozen Lacoste polo shirts and penny loafers. This epitomizes the concept that preps have one or two beloved styles, and quite literally run with them in as many variations as possible, without changing the general style or overall design.


The Doctor, seen wearing another variation of the regimental tie.


aaand there’s this guy… The man servant, who is inexplicably seen throughout the film wearing Nantucket reds.


Zooming in on that TV…we see the classic BB#1 repp tie in burgundy.


Finally, in the end credits, a special thanks to Brooks Brothers, who (as I suspected!) supplied many of the costumes.

Read more on IMDB


Disclaimer: Images are content from Touchstone Pictures and are used here for non-commercial commentary only under fair use.

Aaron Doucett
Aaron is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and works as a cartographer in Cambridge, MA. Outside of work, he enjoys rowing, cycling, and hunting for vintage ties at thrift stores.

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