Captain America: Civil War -- Are Tony Stark's suits actually from Tom Ford?

Tony Stark, or Robert Downey, Jr. for that matter, is better dressed than usual.

Last year, Captain America: Civil War released. It was a long-awaited superhero movie due to the popular comic storyline that inspired it. I enjoyed the movie a lot myself, but found the name drop of Tony Stark's "lovely Tom Ford three-piece two button" suit rather conspicuous. (And the Nestlé Milo ad...) Upon examining screencaps, it seemed unlikely that this was from the famous designer. Of course, I am open to correction as always.

At first glance, Tony's suit most resembles the O'Connor or Buckley base models. But the small details don't add up. Namely, all of Tom Ford's suits regardless of their base have a longer than average, glossy asola lucida lapel hole; a luxurious touch which takes hours of skilled hand sewing to achieve. They also feature a hand cut, curved breast pocket with rounded edges, known as a barchetta. Neither Tony's or any other characters' suits feature these details, let alone the highly structured look to the jackets. Tom Ford suits have a stiffer inner construction and more shape in the chest than pretty much any off the rack suits do now, even similarly priced luxury brands like Brioni. Next I looked at the trousers and they didn't have the signature forward-curved onseam pockets either. It's unlikely that Ford would change everything about his house style just to cut costs for a movie production. After all, his work has been featured in films before without altering those details.

So, you may be wondering, what's the deal here?

With further research I found an article that lays it all out, with costume designer Judianna Makovsky stating that the clothing was made in Los Angeles. She does not specify by whom, but Art Lewin Bespoke Tailors, High Society by Richard Lim, and Jonathan Behr Bespoke Clothiers are all likely candidates due to the number of tailored garments they've made for films.

Well, there you have it!

Tony wears his ties loosened most of the time, showing a man less comfortable with himself than usual.

We can reasonably assume one of two things:
  1. It is a vestige of a time when they planned to partner with Tom Ford. His brand has provided clothing quid pro quo for movies before, most recognizably in the last three James Bond movies with Daniel Craig but also in features like Limitless.
  2. Alternately, the line was simply written because they thought no one would know the difference. Tom Ford is a designer name many will recognize, but not many people actually know what differentiates his suits from any other brands besides the high price tag. Tony Stark's suit is styled like one of Ford's in the most basic details, such as being a two button peak lapel with flat front trousers. Beyond that there are hardly any similarities.

I am by no means saying the suits are bad because of that. They look pretty high quality and well-fitting. I especially commend the tailor for fitting Captain America/Chris Evans' muscular physique well for his funeral suit, considering how difficult it must be off the rack. Reportedly, his chest measures 47" and waist 32"! Makovsky also purposefully toned down Stark's clothing since his personality has changed over the course of the Marvel Studios movies. He no longer has to be flashy, he simply lets the fit and quality of his clothes do all the work. In other words, he's matured from a man who very much wants to be noticed to one who doesn't have to prove anything to anyone. I have to give credit to Robert Downey, Jr. as well for collaborating on this approach, since his outlandish style in real life often mirrored that of his character.

Right after the meeting, Tony cannot wait to take off his jacket and tie. He's usually someone who puts a lot of pride into his appearance.

Tony Stark wears a single breasted suit with medium peak lapels. It is a look better suited for social gatherings than at the office, but that makes it no less classic. It is a tasteful way to differentiate from the average single breasted notch lapel suit worn for business. As stated in his dialogue, the jacket buttons two. Following today's styles, it has lightly padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads and double vents in the back. The waistcoat has six buttons with two pockets near the waist, unlike Tom Ford's which have an additional two pockets at the chest. The trousers are flat front with a medium-low rise. It is unclear if he is wearing side adjusters or suspenders since the waistband is unseen. The fabric appears to be charcoal with a light and dark blue windowpane.

With this suit, Tony wears two different sets of shirts and ties. The first shirt, light grey, has rounded button cuffs whereas the second shirt, white, has longer square button cuffs. Both have a spread collar and trim fit. They likely have no chest pocket. The first tie is taken off pretty quickly, but it appears to be a repeating octagon pattern with a gradient of teal to orange. The second tie is medium red with a dark red paisley pattern.

"Sometimes, I want to punch you in your perfect teeth."

Unfortunately I cannot tell what shoes he is wearing due to being shot from the knees up in these more intimate scenes. On-set footage or deleted scenes offer nothing more. I would personally put him in the John Lobb Chapel in black for the first outfit and Hayle in "Claret" (more or less burgundy) for the second outfit. John Lobb makes luxurious shoes in keeping with Stark's wealth and appreciation for the finer things. The first shoe choice still gives him a bit of personality beyond standard lace ups but would tone down the tie a bit. The second shoe would coordinate with his red paisley tie but still look down to business -- in this scene he is none too happy with Steve.

Tony carries the guilt of both inadvertently taking innocent lives and escalating a conflict between former friends and allies. It is far more muted than his clothing in the previous movies and he's also less put together than usual, with his ties left loose and jacket off half the time. This effectively communicates his state of mind during the whole affair and for that Judianna Makovsky did a wonderful job.

All pictures are taken from

UPDATE 1: It has come to my attention that Robert Downey, Jr. often wears lifts, stacked soles, or high heels to add a few inches to his height. So he may have been wearing something similar to what he wore for Iron Man 2.

On the set of Iron Man 2. These particular shoes probably add at least three inches for a more conventionally heroic stature. Note the boot cut, longer length trousers which help conceal them.

UPDATE 2: As pointed out by Shin-hau in the comments, Tony says, "Because this time I won't be wearing loafers and a silk suit," in response to General Ross, referring to an earlier scene where he wears the Tom Ford impostor suit. Thank you for that observation! If anything, he's probably wearing a more refined version like the Gucci bit loafer -- a style Roger Moore favoured in black as James Bond, sometimes with suits. Alternately, it could be a "loafer" in the sense that it slips on without laces but looks like a rounded toe dress shoe otherwise. An ordinary penny loafer would not really fit the bill and only goes well with jeans and khakis. But this bit of dialogue may be taken with a grain of salt, given the error in identifying his suit as Tom Ford to begin with!


  1. Does the suit have pick stitching?

    1. It's barely visible, but it does appear to have pick stitching on the lapels, collar, front edges, and pocket flaps.

  2. RDJ is only 5'9, should he be wearing a 6-button vest?

    1. Good point. Ideally he'd wear a five button or six button with five to close (where the last button is nonfunctional on the cutaway). It's not a huge deal though.

  3. Looks okay but isn't really worthy of much recognition IMO. I've seen better dressed guys walking around the streets of Seattle. No pocket square???

    1. I wrote this mainly because a couple friends asked me about it and I was actually curious myself. The first time I watched the film I didn't give the clothing much notice. But it's worth letting others know that Tom Ford doesn't make just any old suit, there are special details and construction that set it apart. Also, I wanted to give the single breasted peak lapel suit its due. :)

      The lack of pocket square goes along with the more subdued Tony Stark. He's not trying to be flashy right now.

  4. I have just watched the film on TV and in the follow up to this scene (where Thunderbolt Ross and Stark were discussing on bringing Steve Rogers in after Bucky's escape) and heard Stark mention "this time I would not be wearing loafers, and a silk suit" (in reference to what the attire he was wearing compared to the Ironman suit he plans to wear in his 36 hours mission).

    I guess in the context of the MCU they meant for Tony Stark to be that much taller than RDJ's actual height (thus only wearing loafers and still appear around 6 feet tall) and be wearing subtly flashy clothing as per what you have mentioned.

    1. Probably. I don't know if it this was his decision or Marvel Studios', since he also appears to wear lifts of some sort day to day. (Most notably, hidden wedge sneakers with a suit. I'd prefer those snazzy black heels instead, thick soles notwithstanding.) From what I know Tom Cruise wears lifts in all his movies, which many speculate are his call, but also has some help from favourable camera angles and soapboxes. I can't tell whether or not he wears lifts outside of movies.

  5. "I have to give credit to Robert Downey, Jr. as well for collaborating on this approach, since his outlandish style in real life often mirrored that of his character."

    Why would he have any say in how Tony Stark is dressed?

    1. Makovsky talked about their discussion in the article I linked . I assume it just depends on the temperament of the director or costume designer as well as what they're looking to achieve. My own experience wearing costumes as an actor has pretty much been, "You will wear this and you will like it."

  6. I'm glad we didn't see any heels in the movie. They look too effeminate for Tony Stark. With respect to RDJ, no man should be wearing heels.

    1. The purpose in Iron Man 2 was primarily to look like he's wearing a regular dress shoe while affording him a bit more height than he has naturally. You can't really see the heels in the movie proper, especially since the boot cut openings on the trousers hide them. Even if you did, they're not that far off from a Cuban heel, which is considered perfectly masculine on cowboy boots. In the '60s and '70s, a number of men's dress shoes and boots had Cuban heels as well and they became popular again for a bit in the 2000s.

      All that aside, I'm not against men wearing feminine high heels if that's what they like.


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