Even if it's true that clothes don’t make the man, it's important to take care of your appearance, including when you're a comic strip book character.
Rest assured, Tintin's look has always been tasteful and elegant - whatever the circumstances. From the basics of his wardrobe to the remarkable pieces in his incredible collection of overcoats, we are going to tell you all about the young hero's style.
Practical and deceptive
The primary purpose of clothing is to protect the body from the vagaries of the climate such as the sun's rays, draughts, damp, and the cold weather, whilst minimising energy expenditure. That's why it has always been made like a "second skin".
But beyond its basic practicality, it soon took on a completely different meaning, becoming a medium of communication in its own right and establishing a coded language. Clothing is interpreted - more often than not, in fact - as an extension or symbolic reflection of the individual who wears it.
And if it is perceived as such, it is because it gives clues as to the gender, social status, professional background, aesthetic tastes, interests, of its owner. This is why it is so difficult to ignore this 'double identity' in interpersonal relationships, even though it is rarely 100% reliable.
As the saying goes, appearances can be deceptive. They often are... and Haddock is not one to deny it. Haddock experiences this for himself in Flight 714 to Sydney, when he meets Laszlo Carreidas for the first time. The man - an aeronautics magnate and industrialist, rich beyond belief - doesn’t show his status. Worse still, his drab, rumpled attire instantly made the Captain think he was a penniless nobody. For Hergé, this was a comical way of underlining the penny-pinching nature of this singular character.
Journalistic class obliges
As many of you know, being a reporter is not an easy job. It requires you to be constantly on the alert and in action. In the field, too. And when you're out and about, you need to be dressed appropriately.
In fact, to fit in with the constraints of his job and to enjoy total freedom of movement, Tintin spontaneously adopted a style of clothing that could be described as "smart casual". In other words, half dandy, half sportsman.
But more than the style, it's the regularity of his choice of outfits that really gives him his personal touch. And if he follows this repetitive tendency to wear the same thing almost every day - as great men often do, in fact - it's to make his look a visual signature that helps readers identify him instantly.
Of course, he cultivates this brand image as much as possible, that is, whenever time allows. In this case, he is either wearing a shirt (often white or yellow), or in a blue jumper with long or rolled-up sleeves, which he matches with plus fours or long trousers.
And when it's raining and windy, he'll happily don a brown blazer, cinched at the back, or his iconic beige trench coat. Unless he decides to wear both... at the same time! If his readers are used to seeing him dressed like this, it's not unusual either for them to discover him bundled up from head to toe when the temperatures drop.
Coats for winter
When it comes to climatic conditions, the seasons are often of much less importance than the geography of Tintin's travels, which - literally speaking - blows hot and cold on his adventures. So when he's warmly dressed, we know straight away that he's investigating lands near the poles or, at the very least, at high latitudes and/or altitudes.
Fortunately for him, men's winter fashion is rich in models and shapes. Here, then, is a parade of the cuts (from the shortest to the longest) that he favours…
The jacket in all its forms
The Zipped-up jacket
With its full zip opening and wide elasticated waist and wrist bands, this comfortable brown jacket with stand-up collar is ideal for casual activities such as walks in the forest.
The beige Perfecto jacket with a fur collar
Generally made of leather or imitation leather, this short, reinforced coat with a zip opening at the front is the perfect companion for his motorised two-wheeler trips. Because as well as being a stylish fashion accessory, it's also essential safety equipment.
The Bomber jacket
Developed by American parachutist Leslie Leroy Irvin in the 1920s, the flying jacket is a technical garment designed to provide thermal insulation for the wearer. At the time, aircraft did not have pressurised cockpits. As a result, pilots could be exposed to extreme temperatures of up to -60°C. That's why it's made of thick leather and sheepskin. It goes without saying that Tintin wore it mainly on high-flying missions, such as the one that took place in Soviet airspace.
A few years later, in The Shooting Star, he wore a hooded slip-on variant which, because of its colour, could be described as "exploration" or "adventure". Incidentally, the young hero also has matching mittens and furry boots.
The hooded anorak
Both waterproof and windproof, this slip-on coat of Inuit origin is cut short so as not to restrict movement - which is often wider - during intense physical activity. In fact, it's a firm favourite with winter sports enthusiasts. And because it's lined with tightly-woven warm fibres, it provides perfect insulation. That's good news for Tintin, because in Tibet, as well as freezing temperatures, he also has to put up with the spine-chilling cries of beasts.
The lined parka
In Rome, it's best to do as the Romans do, but in the Arctic, it's best to follow the example of the Inuits. To protect himself from the polar cold, Tintin wears a traditional garment made from unwaxed animal skin. This loose-fitting coat is made of double fur: one facing inwards, the other facing outwards. It's an ingenious way of recovering and making the most of the body's natural heat.
Another technical jacket par excellence: the offshore sailing jacket developed and used by maritime professionals. Just as waterproof as it is warm, it protects its wearer from harsh maritime conditions. And if it's brightly coloured, it's to make it easier for rescuers to spot its owner, who may have fallen overboard or got lost in a storm. In The Shooting Star, Tintin puts it on without hesitation to join Captain Haddock, who is struggling like the devil on deck to get the Aurora out of the storm.
A large, rectangular, sleeveless piece of fabric with a hole in the centre, the poncho inevitably evokes Latin America and the high peaks of the Andes Cordillera - where it originated. Especially if it features traditional motifs and local colours. This is the case with the one worn by Tintin on his journey to the Temple of the Sun. This loose, supple woollen garment enabled the young hero to face the snow and "freezing cold" (as Haddock put it) that reigned over the Inca mountains.
The military fur coat
As long and full-coverage as an American cowboy's dust coat, this woollen coat with an inner lining is designed to protect all parts of the body from the biting cold of Siberia. For Tintin, it was the ideal disguise for going incognito among the enemy. And the icing on the cake is that he blends in perfectly by wearing it with a Papakha, the cylindrical sheepskin headdress typical of Eastern Europe.
One thing led to another and we reached the end of this colourful fashion parade. And so it is with this white coat that we close this dossier.