From the presence or absence of Oliver's suit jacket to signal vulnerability or lack thereof, to his propensity to match Shane subtly through his suit and pocket square, Oliver's wardrobe has served as a consistent storytelling device. Simple and consistent, even the slightest departure from the norm in Oliver's clothing can indicate a significant shift in his circumstances or state of mind.
In From Paris With Love, Oliver's wardrobe transition before, during and after Holly's departure are a reflection of his conflicted heart, which he wore on his sleeve through the plaid shirt whose hues seems to equally reflect the prominent colors worn by the women over whom his heart was conflicted, Holly and Shane.
As the story progresses, however, this harmony begins to crumble---and not on his end, on Shane's. As Shane happens upon, reads and ultimately prompts the accidental delivery of Holly's letter, her wardrobe shifts away from his as a function of her guilt, a topic we will discuss separately next week.
By the time we reach Shane's confession to Oliver, only Shane's purple leather gloves, worn to Rita's event, tied her with Oliver's wardrobe through his tie. This would have likely eluded my attention if not for the fact the gloves seemed to clash with Shane's seemingly navy blue coat with brown leather collar, and black scarf. Nevertheless, it's a visual representation of the distance that only seems to grow between the two from this point on.
Considering plaid as a pattern, it's often hard to tell where one line or color ends and another begins. In Oliver's conflicted heart, the influence of each woman can be said to do the same---each has an effect, whether making him angry enough to eat clams, or convicted enough to give Joey the chance to decide what to do with his letter. However, neither woman quite knows where they stand with Oliver. That same day of Holly's return, he ends up spending one-on-one time with each woman as well, but never settles the issue, serving to further reaffirm the connection between his conflicted heart and his busy and confused dress shirt.
And, as we discussed in Oliver's original wardrobe analysis, the fact he chooses to wear his suit jacket at drinks with Holly, effectively concealing his confusion, is particularly significant. It stands in sharp contrast to his decision to shed it when at dinner with Shane, indicating he is far more comfortable allowing himself to be vulnerable in her presence. For that reason alone it appears his wardrobe is very much indicating where his heart truly lay, even if his head remains wracked with confusion.
The following day, Oliver's wardrobe seemingly reverts back to its familiar and more demure composition. Despite being familiar the move is jarring given its meaning is unclear, in comparison to what seemed an obvious conflict the previous day.
To the careful observer, however, it is clear even as Shane and Oliver share a heart-to-heart atop the rafter. Oliver's adoption of the color blue, along with the deep navy blue prominent in his tie, reconnect him with Shane's wardrobe exclusively and definitively. Though his mind continues to struggle, his heart is forging a path to clarity for Oliver through his wardrobe, even though his head hasn't quite caught up to it yet.
Oliver's wardrobe in From Paris With Love does critical work in conveying the struggle he experiences in the face of Holly's return. His bold plaid shirt, a distinct departure from his more coordinated and classic combinations, tell the story of Oliver's conflicted heart and the two women who seemingly occupy it. As he moves closer to clarity, Oliver's wardrobe, and the colors therein, signal where his heart truly, his wardrobe re-assuming its familiar composition as a result.