Back in July Keviana discussed the Tuxedo (S2E07 ‘Anonymous’) as our favourite Callen outfit and then later the Caribbean blue shirt from Standoff (S2E06). Yet there is so much more to this subject than meets the eye. From the very beginning (S1E01 ‘Identity’), Hetty addressed the need to update his biometrics, driver’s licence, back stopping and..”um wardrobe.” The way Hetty emphasises this topic highlights Callen’s choice in clothing to be lacking, as far as the petite Operations Manager goes. She continued in the wardrobe department later when providing Callen with a change of clothes, so he didn’t look the part of Oliver Twist.
Hetty: “Now wardrobe for your undercover work. I know you grew up in the well-meaning but cold embrace of the welfare state, Mr. Callen. But just because you’re an orphan, doesn’t mean that you have to dress like Oliver Twist. Now, we need something modern, individual… that speaks to the man within. That’s not for you to admire. It’s for you to try on. Here. And here. And here. This or this?”
HETTY: “A fitted boot jean, medium weight, distressed denim. I think we need something more relaxed, Mr. Callen.”
Hetty knew what he would pick, didn’t she? We’ve noticed her use everyday things to try to teach her “chicks” about life.
It’s funny that Callen really doesn’t care about clothes the way Hetty does, but there’s a momentary hesitation, as if he was a touch taken back. Are fancy clothes just a part of the job to him? It’s common to see Callen wear comfortable jeans, slip on boots (which we have learnt to be Australian Blundstone boots, thanks to Executive Producer John Kousakis) and a cotton T-shirt or shirt to work everyday. He needs something functional to chase down suspects or fight terrorists. However, when Henrietta Lange has a say in what he wears, he become a new man of money and charisma. We have to thank Henrietta Lange for her good taste in quality fashion and her decisions she makes for the man with only a letter for a name. When Hetty dresses Callen up for an alias, what a fantastic job she does. She’s an expert in fashion and manages to choose the right fit and style to emphasise his body so well. Although Callen is a practical kind of guy, maybe he does enjoy dressing up every now and then to become someone else (such as in S2E07 ‘Anonymous,’ when the guys wanted to go out in those tuxedos after they had finished the case).
When the team go undercover, it’s not comfort Hetty goes for, but style and quality. This was highlighted in S1E04 ‘Search and Destroy,’ when Sam made the mistake of saying, “it’s just a shirt” to Hetty.
Hetty [walks over to Callen holding a white shirt]: “What is this Mr Callen?”
Callen: “That is a knit combed cotton.”
Hetty: “With a blood stain.”
Callen: “I would never bleed on your wardrobe. It had to be a bad guy.
Hetty: “Good, Bad or ugly, I don’t care. The point is you neglected to tell me about it and now it’s set long enough so that it might be permanent.”
Sam: “Hetty, it’s just a shirt.”
Hetty: “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is not just a shirt. This is a Savile Row one hundred percent polished Egyptian cotton. Hand stitched with pearl buttons. That thing you’re wearing is just a shirt.”
Sam: “Yeah! But it’s a comfy shirt.”
Hetty turns to Callen: “Your new color scheme is black.”
Callen: “I can live with black.”
(S1E04 ‘Search and Destroy’)
Hetty [Picking up a pair of dark blue denim jeans]: “These were on sale at Lucky Brand. They already have rips so a few more won’t matter.” [Hetty hands them to Callen]. “And this is the latest drivel from what they call the music scene.” [Hetty holds up a grey T-shirt with CRASH KINGS printed on it].
Special Agent G. Callen: “I thought we were going all black.”
Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange: “Well, sometimes damaged goods can actually be more valuable because of their unique qualities.”
Special Agent G. Callen: “Is that right?”
Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange: “Hmm! It’s a thought.”
Special Agent G. Callen: “Well I will try and take good care of them.”
Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange: “Don’t try, just do.”
At the end of the episode…
[Hetty walks back into her office. She finds Callen’s T-shirt with a ‘No Blood’ note pinned to it. She holds it up and reads it, happy that Callen had remembered to leave a note for her].
(S1E04 ‘Search and Destroy’)
Operations Manager Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange: “Is that blood, Mr. Hanna?”
Special Agent Sam Hanna: “Mostly.”
Operations Manager Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange: “Yours?”
Special Agent G. Callen: “Other guy’s.”
Operations Manager Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange: “Can we bill him?”
Special Agent Sam Hanna: “Not anymore.”
There have been so many great blues on Callen, however, there have been moments when Callen has looked great in other colors as well: charcoal grey cargo shirt in S1E08 ‘Ambush;’ olive green T-shirt in S1E12 ‘Past lives;’ purple Johnny O shirt in S1E02 ‘The Only Easy Day;’ white shirt and grey suit in S2E06 ‘Standoff;’ and who can forget “Dr. Callen” in the white coat S4E22 ‘Raven and the Swans’ or Callen in leather jackets?
CALLEN: “Full Windsor.”
NATE: “Really? Again with the tie?”
CALLEN: “I had you pegged more as a Half Windsor guy.”
NATE: “Is that supposed to have some sort of meaning?”
CALLEN: “You’re the psychologist.”
…later Nate enters the Bull Pen. Sam is fiddling around with a diffused bomb.
[Nate is scared and doesn’t move…until…]
[Nate jumps and spills coffee all over his chest]
CALLEN: “Oops. Sorry about that.”
CALLEN: [Pointing at the tie, speaking to Sam] “Full Windsor.”
So which work clothes do you prefer on Callen? A plain T-shirt or shirt or the check or plaid shirts?
The blue Carribean although appears to be a favourite since it appeared back in season two, appears to have a rival; the orange plaid shirt, viewed recently in season five. Why is that I ask? Perhaps it’s because both of these shirts are something we see very rarely on the seasoned agent. We see Callen wear a lot of blue and we agree here at Callen’s Corner that he does look great in all shades of blue. Please stay tuned for a special treat next Monday on Callen in blue.
Thanks to ChrisDaisy, Richtsje, FanGCallen, Mary, sindee, Keviana, B and Executive Producer John Kousakis for their input into this subject on Callen’s Clothes.