Neal is an exceptionally dapper guy. Has playing such a sharp dresser impacted the way you dress off camera?
Absolutely. Before this job started I think I just saw a suit a something you wear when you dress up. Once we started having conversations about the style and sartorial influences behind the character, I realized you could use a suit for so much more, in terms of self expression, using things like pocket squares and tie clips to express your personal style.
How about vice versa – has any of your personal taste made its way into Neal’s repertoire?
It’s definitely become more symbiotic over the years. There have been times when I’ve used some of my own wardrobe on the show, and there’ve certainly been times when I’ve worn Neal’s wardrobe in public.
Give me an example of a Neal piece that’s made its way off the show.
There’ve been quite a few over the years [laughs]. I certainly borrow more than I contribute.
I’ve always felt that Neal’s success as a con man is, in some small way, testament to the power of a great suit. Do you agree?
I think when you’re operating in the upper echelons of society the uniform is very important. It tells people a lot about you in a very brief period of time, and if you’re trying to con somebody in the white collar world, you’ve got to come correct in the wardrobe world. One thing I notice is, when we started doing the show and I’d be so dressed up, when I’d go to get coffee, or to a restaurant, for lunch, I found that I was treated differently than when I wore my flannel shirt and jeans [laughs].
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