A Study in Suits – Series Three, The Sign of Three

Previous posts in the Study in Suits series can be found here, and associated material here. The suits of the Empty Hearse can be found here.

The Sign of Three featured only one of Mycroft’s suits, and it was a classic.

Sherlock’s Mind Palace

Mycroft’s pinstripe suit has made several appearances before in Series Two, and is very much his armour, his own battle dress. He wore it to deal with Irene and to confront Moriarty. It is rather on the side of plain and traditional for Mycroft, who tends to wear a three-piece suit with flair, very much the modern day dandy. In this suit he is all business.

That this is not the real Mycroft, but the way Sherlock pictures Mycroft at this moment in his mind palace, is quite telling. This version of Mycroft - stern, poised at the lectern and dressed like this - is not Brother Mycroft, who Sherlock can needle and tease and play Operation with, but the clever, powerful authoritarian figure that is the other side of the elder Holmes, who is a voice of cold reason and cannot be argued with. The pinstripe suit is wholly appropriate.

The tie, decorated with tiny Fleur de Lis, has been seen before, in the cafe scene in Scandal. The pocket square is, I believe, the same one that appeared in the first scene in Mycroft’s Diogenes Office in the Empty Hearse. Sherlock is remembering details from his brother’s wardrobe.

As I had a couple of asks about this - and I am so flattered that I’ve been a go to for sartorial Sherlockians! - I do have to point out that Lestrade’s tie is not the same one as Mycroft’s. Lestrade’s has small flowers on it, although is otherwise very similar to Mycroft’s. Sorry, Mystrade fans! Perhaps the similarity is deliberate.

Bonus: Mycroft’s Home Gym

While not a suit, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a closer look at Mycroft’s running clothes. Although the ‘M’ on the collar is likely branding, I suspect that it was a deliberate choice for Mycroft. And is very amusing!

The red stripe down the trousers, though, has prompted concern in some factions, due to its striking similarity to that on Major Sholto’s trousers.

Why would the costume designers want to provide us with a visual link between Mycroft and a soldier? I suppose we’ll find out on Sunday. I’ll leave you to your deductions.

A Study in Suits – Series Three, The Empty Hearse

As promised, here is my next Study in Suits update.

For those of you who have not encountered my obsession with Mycroft’s tailoring before, the Study in Suits for the two previous series can be read here, and associated material here.

We’re finally here – a new series with new suits to look at. And, furthermore, for the first time we’ve seen Mycroft outside of the protective tailored armour of his suits. We’ve seen in incognito in Serbia and exercising at home dressed in running clothes!

For now, I would like to talk about what Mycroft is wearing throughout the events of the Empty Hearse. There were two significant Mycroft scenes, with two different suits, two flashback moments with, again, two different suits and, of course, Mycroft’s outing to Serbia. That’s five outfits in total, and I would like to take them in that order.

 Mycroft’s Office, Diogenes Club.


After two years away, we find Mycroft very much unchanged. The grey suit Mycroft wears here is the Paul Smith one last seen during the events of Reichenbach. The blue of the woven silk tie and pocketsquare is a very typical colour choice for Mycroft – he has worn the same shade of blue several times before, most notably in Scandal in Belgravia, when smoking outside Speedy’s Café, and with this same suit, in Reichenbach.

In terms of the details: the double pocket watch chain last appeared in The Great Game, so it’s lovely to see it again here. His umbrella, in its only appearance this episode, is hung up on the filing cabinet behind his desk.

This is very much Mycroft at his most comfortable, wearing a tried and tested colour palette. These are also colours he typically wears to the office and when he is working.  Even the unusual event of having his brother delivered to him from Serbia after two years is not enough to shake him from his routine.

But this is more than just his usual city modern attire - that is it exactly the same suit he wore in The Reichenbach Fall  is an interesting costume choice, which suggests a visual confirmation of Mycroft’s innocence in that whole affair. Mycroft remains the same man as he was two years ago, dressed in the same suit whilst returning his brother to London as when he uttered the heartbreaking lines "John…I’m sorry. Tell him, would you?"


Read More


Submission by Anonymous


Hello! I suppose an analysis is overdue – although I wouldn’t be surprised if the following suppositions transpire to be completely wrong.

The first thing I notice about the new office is how much darker it is than the old. Mycroft’s previous office was a ground floor affair in an old government building, possibly in Whitehall – the office of a minor government official – with street-facing windows with old-fashioned catches. The new office seems to be entirely windowless, more private and all the more secure, and therefore the more suitable location for a secretive meeting with your brother who supposedly died in disgrace. If I have to pick a location, I would lean towards the rather modern MI6 building in Vauxhall Cross, going by the decor. From the context of this scene, it is clear that privacy is key. “Fortress” isn’t far off!

Mycroft’s old office was full of files, papers, boxes, books and stamps, and other accoutrements of office work and bureaucracy. While neat and tidy, no surface was left uncovered and the bookshelves were stacked up to the ceiling. By contrast, this office is considerably more minimalist; the only file in there seems to be the one in Mycroft’s hand.

The furniture in the new office is more modern than that in the old, which was quite traditional dark wood, and likely standard government-issue rather than something Mycroft chose for himself. The new office is likely decorated to Mycroft’s personal tastes. The desk is considerably larger and more imposing, especially in what looks to be a fairly small office. The chairs are larger and more comfortable than before, and fit the more modern setting. As Mid0nz has discovered, the lamp on his desk is a Christen Dell Bauhaus design that likely dates from the 1950s. The fan on the other side of the desk is likely from the same decade – it bears a striking resemblance to my own vintage Pifco fan, but it’s difficult to tell. Also on the desk is a large glass globe – a beautiful little ornament that gestures towards the considerable power and influence wielded by its owner. If you look very carefully (and assuming my eyes haven’t gone funny), you can see Mycroft’s umbrella hung up on the wall on the right, just behind the fan. This is clearly a space that belongs solely to Mycroft and one that he is comfortable in.

The Norwood Builder has identified the painting behind Mycroft as the 1956 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Pietro Annigoni. This beautiful painting is considerably larger than the one in Mycroft’s old office (also identified by the Norwood Builder in her post), and makes the office appear considerably more opulent. It is the presence of this painting that makes me think that this is a governmental office rather than one in Mycroft’s private residence.

One thing that has remained almost the same is the red telephone on Mycroft’s desk, albeit a different model to the one in the old office. Reminiscent of the cold war hotline, and a symbol that has reoccurred in the corridors of power and Bond films ever since, this is clearly Mycroft’s emergency line.

My feeling is that this is Mycroft’s secret or alternative office, consummate with his stature as “the British Government” itself, and he still retains the old office to store things and to keep up appearances, a venue for taking meetings with those who believe he really does just hold a minor position in the British government. The unabashed display of the globe on his desk seems to indicate that anyone who sets foot in there knows just who they are dealing with and Mycroft has no need to pretend to be anything less.

But it all still remains to be seen! I’m still hopeful we might get a glimpse of Mycroft’s Pall Mall flat this series, which is still a possible, if unlikely, location for this scene.

A Study in Suits - Reprise

After such a long time, I cannot describe how my heart leapt when Mycroft appeared on screen, looking as dapper as ever, and in a new location!

The suit is not new. It’s the Paul Smith suit that has previously made appearances in Scandal in Belgravia and The Reichenbach Fall. However, the blue tie and matching blue pocket square - a beautiful colour combination with the white of his shirt and the grey of his suit - are new.

That Mycroft is wearing city-modern tailoring likely rules out the Ancestral home as the setting for this scene - this is the suit he changed into to leave the country and return to the city in Scandal, so he doubtlessly considers it inappropriate country attire. The colour combinations - greys and blues - are also reminiscent of The Great Game, where he spent the day at the office, the cafe scene in Scandal, where, judging by the file, he had just come from the office, and Reichenbach, where, again, he had probably been in the office to collect the files he handed to John.

This suit looks like a London suit, an office suit, Mycroft’s natural attire. This location could therefore be his new office, but it could also be somewhere he heads at the end of a working day - to the Diogenes Club or to his Pall Mall lodgings. My money is on the latter.

Oh, Mycroft! I’ve missed you!

Anonymous: One of my favorite moments is Mycroft's face when Sherlock recognizes "Irene" from not-her-face. He recovers pretty quickly, but that very first "what th-?" is fantastic.


It is a rare and beautiful moment, to see a look of confusion pass across Mycroft Holmes’ features!

wellingtongoose: I don't know if anyone has asked you this before but can you do a list of suits you would like to see mycroft wearing in season 3?

Oh, there are so many suits I am longing to see Mycroft in, in series three and beyond!

He needs to wear more tweed and country wear, in a similar vein to that brief scene in Scandal in Belgravia. I love that Mycroft is so conscious about the distinction between country and city clothing, even when just relaxing at home. It’s his version of casual clothing!

I would like a scene set at the height of summer, or in a warmer country, with Mycroft in a cream linen suit and a panama hat.

A blue suit, or one in a Prince of Wales check. We’ve only seen Mycroft’s city suits in black and grey. A lovely navy blue would be very pleasing. Although I enjoy the pinstripe number, I would like to see less of it. Mycroft’s a debonair fellow; he needs more variety. Something a little more striking.

I also have this fantasy about Mycroft at Royal Ascot. If they ever adapt Silver Blaze, they could set it there and this would be quite a natural event for Mycroft to get roped into resentfully attending. I can imagine him in the royal box, in his tail coat, playing with his top hat, bored out of his mind.

I also want Mycroft out of his suits - I want to see his braces! I know they’re there, under his waistcoat, but apart from fleeting glimpses of them on set, they’ve yet to be seen. I want attention to be drawn to all the details of Mycroft’s wardrobe!

Other than that, lots of patterned ties, decorative tie-pins and pocket squares worn in exotic folds. More Mycroft the Dandy rather than Mycroft the Bureaucrat.

Oh, now I can’t wait. I want to see what they’re going to dress Mycroft in now!

"Sherlock Holmes: The Best Kept Secret" is a new stage production that has just begun its run at the splendid West Yorkshire Playhouse in my locale, the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire.

The plot is as follows:

A richly seductive world of passion, breathless intrigue, jeopardy, deception and revelations…

Two years after the Reichenbach Falls, Sherlock Holmes has lost his hunger. Refusing to take on any new cases, he’s listless, bankrupt and reduced to selling the stories of his past glories. But when his brother Mycroft is arrested for treason, Holmes is jolted back into action, and along with Watson and the mysterious Irene Adler, he must battle powerful, unknown forces in a race to save Mycroft’s life.

With demons of his own to fight, lost in a sea of madness, can Sherlock really save Mycroft from being hanged? Or will the deadly puzzles of the Best Kept Secret be the end of them all?

Yes, I agree, it sound exceptionally daft, extra-canonical and is highly illogical. For one, two years after Reichenbach, Holmes was still calling himself Sigerson and engaged in the task of ridding the world of Moriarty’s web. But nevertheless, it’s Holmes on the stage, with the added bonus of Mycroft.

More information can be found here, on the WYPH website, along a short behind-the-scenes video, venue information and ticket prices.

If anyone fancies a trip to a theatre up north, do let me know.

This is really interesting…I wonder how many of the big Mycroft fans are elder siblings. I am!
This is an excellent question! So, how about it Mycroftians? For science!
How many among our number are the elder sibling?

Anonymous asked you: Hey ! First of all your blog is my ultimate reference on the subject of this dear Mycroft, who is definitely one of my favorite character of all times ! So, I was having a discussion with a friend and she said that John was the only one in the show that was ready to kill in order to save or protect Sherlock, and I completely disagree with her : without even thinking about other characters, I’m positive Mycroft would do it too, if he hasn’t already. What is your opinion ?

Hello Anon. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to answering! I am undoubtedly on your side of your debate.

The depth and steadfastness of John’s loyalty was made clear in the very first episode when he shot and killed Jeff, the cabbie, in order to save Sherlock’s life. There is no debating that - John can and has killed for his friend, and, if his threat to the Golem in The Great Game is anything to go by, he is more than prepared to do so again.

Mycroft, however, is not the man of action that John Watson is, and so hasn’t the same chance to demonstrate where his allegiances lie or what he is capable of on-screen. We know very little about him and his shadowy, government job, that ties him to Whitehall, Westminster, the Palace and MI6. He is dangerous, to be sure, and, going from his indifferent expression when confronted with the “bashed up” body of a woman assumed to be Irene Adler, with facial damage so extensive it even makes Molly, a morgue technician, wince, he is no stranger to death. Whether Mycroft has ever fired a gun, though, or simply ends a traitor’s life with the swish of a fountain pen across an official warrant, is a matter for one’s own headcanon. But there is certainly more to Mycroft than his front of the genteel civil servant.

It is established fanon that Mycroft has, in the past, used his shadowy powers to help his younger brother out of trouble. I agree that this is likely - Sherlock may be a capable and brilliant detective, but he has an unstable personality and a history of drug-use, and Mycroft has demonstrated a consistent, albeit controlling, level of care throughout the series. Who can tell what it may have been necessary for him to do in the past? We will probably never quite know what has happened between them, and how far Mycroft has had to go for the sake of his brother.

What we do know, however, is what Mycroft was prepared to do when confronted by Irene Adler in the dénouement of Scandal. Irene had a phone full of scandalous secrets and a list of demands that elicited a look of alarm from Mycroft - but her real bargaining chip was Sherlock. When she first confronted him in the plane, he was staring her down, fury in his eyes and the machinations of his magnificent mind hard at work. It was when she mentioned that she had tricked Sherlock into implicating himself in the derailment of Bond Air that he wavered, and had to look away:

You have no idea how much havoc I can cause and exactly one way to stop me – unless you want to tell your masters that your biggest security leak is your own little brother.

One may presume that, had Irene not had that leverage over Sherlock, Mycroft would not have so quickly capitulated to her demands. He may have had a go letting his people attempt to extract the information from her - as he did when faced with Moriarty and his computer code. Because Sherlock was involved, he gave in far quicker than he otherwise would have done.

Giving up governmental assets and, in turn, potentially facing the ire of his masters, may not be quite the same as killing someone to save Sherlock, but there is a degree of self-sacrifice to this move that Mycroft was willing to make.

We’ve yet to see Mycroft at his most dangerous, his most deadly. We’ve yet to see him take a life, but I could envision him doing as much for Sherlock. He was prepared to sacrifice so much closer to him than a criminal’s life in order to protect his brother.

I am also of the opinion that Moriarty would have been swiftly disposed of on Mycroft’s orders, were it not for his his web and that Sherlock had other plans. But that’s only a theory. Time and Series Three will tell.