It's perhaps his best known feature---the three piece suit. But what if I told you that Oliver's trademark threads were the armor of a modern day gentleman?
Indeed, his color-coordinated and carefully crafted clothes are a method by which his level of comfort and clarity can be rather accurately measured. The more layers of clothing, the more guarded his heart, and his actions, whether defensive in nature or otherwise, emanate out from there. On occasion however, even the thickest armor fails, and Oliver's heart lay bare against his will.
On those rare, but recently more frequent occasions, when the armor comes off voluntarily, the Oliver underneath shines through.
There no better way to gauge this theory than by reminding ourselves of what happens when Oliver is without his suit jacket.
In most cases, Oliver's vulnerability only lasted for a moment, and it wasn't long before the jacket was back on and he returned to active duty guarding his heart.
A good example is how Oliver interacted with Shane after their falling out over Holly and their dance classes. In "The Future Me," Oliver takes great care to bring a little light reading to the Mailbox Grille with him to avoid interacting with Shane. The book is important because it's almost like adding an extra layer of defense beyond the suit jacket---like an intellectual shield!
There have been a few instances, however, where Oliver's armor failed him. Take for instance at the end of "The Masterpiece" as he sat alone grieving the missed anniversary. He managed to keep his composure ending his dance classes with Shane, which seemed to hurt him as much as it hurt Shane. He couldn't seem to walk away fast enough. Seeing him wander towards his desk in the DLO, it wasn't long until we discovered why he seemed so unfocused throughout the episode. Slumped into his chair, we see Oliver's guard completely down.
At the end of "A Hope & A Future," struggling with whether or not to send his letter to Holly, everything he fought to keep at bay since the pilot finally came to a head, and the conflict was written all over his face. His rain-soaked suit wasn't able to contain his vulnerability, and Shane, standing some distance away and underneath the protection of an umbrella, could see that.
Another notable moment where his suit couldn't contain his vulnerability was in From Paris with Love the morning after having drinks with Holly. It didn't take much coaxing for his true feelings to come through, admitting to Shane his regret over not doing more to save his marriage and his difficulty forgiving Holly and himself.
But on those rare moments where Oliver's level of comfort allowed his vulnerability to be a strength rather than a weakness, we saw who Oliver---free from the things that plagued him---might be like once the demons were slayed.
And the entire story was told by the clothes on his back.
Pretty cool, right? My bet is you'll be paying more attention to his wardrobe from now on! I know I will!
Official Suits Monitor,
Wardrobe Week: Introduction | Norman | Oliver | Shane | Rita