Oi Polloi

In Praise of… Quincy

Published: Fri Dec 21 2018


There's a lot of under-appreciated (and occasionally misunderstood) people, places and inanimate objects out there. With these articles - we like to reset the balance a bit.

For this one, Tayler Willson explains why Quincy is a true icon of style.  

Quincy M.E. was a show at the height of its popularity during the mid-80s. For those unacquainted, it was a forensic crime drama (arguably the forensic crime drama), and it focused on the titular Dr Quincy, whose nose and skill for sniffing out wrongdoings, as well as having the knack as a coroner, helped solve the most mysterious of deaths. 

Quincy was a professional. He was a proud man whose expertise and passion for his career saw him widely-recognised and well-respected. Yet to us, one thing he also possessed – but never gained real recognition for – was his eye for style when it came to the wardrobe. Despite spending most of his day in whites, when Quincy was given the chance to dress down he did so with ease. 


Thanks mostly to the longevity of the show - and, I’d like to think, Quincy’s need to move sartorially with the weather - we were able to experience his entire wardrobe, watching him effortlessly adapt with the seasons, yet always in-keeping with that certain style and charisma viewers had become accustomed to. Like Benidorm-bound Granddad, the Cali-based doctor contributed a joie de vivre to what was often a typically vibrant 80s television, yet his was a little different. 

Summer is always tricky time of year when it comes to clothing decisions and as easy as it seems to pop a polo shirt on with some shorts and a pair of clean white trainers, it’s almost just as easy to get it completely wrong too. Unless, obviously, you are Quincy M.E. Unbuttoned Lacoste polos and short sleeved shirts were a staple - whether with chinos or jeans - and always made for a neat typically-Quincy rig-out. 

Quincy’s track-tops and casual-style bucket hats might have been more suited down Fratton Park on a Saturday afternoon, but the way in which he conducted himself saw him as easily submerging himself in the stereotypical Californian life.

One could easily imagine him kicking ten lumps of shit out of a bunch of West Ham fans dressed head-to-toe in Stone Island, before calmly sliding into his doctor whites and returning to the office for the rest of the day. Instead though, he was solely dedicated to the latter, solving mysteries and answering the unanswerable, and for that I salute him. 

“He was one of a kind in a community of people who were the same.”

Perhaps, though, it was in the more autumnal episodes in which Quincy’s most memorable style moments came — times when the polos took a backseat and let the signature Harrington jacket take the wheel. You have to remember that during the 80s, it was all massive collars, bad jeans and shit haircuts. People were wearing those massive leather jackets, big sunglasses and saying corny catchphrases.

There was no social media to cop style ideas from, it was all from the heart. It was traditionalism, but with a personal twist and Quincy certainly fell into this bracket. 

While Quincy was never your wearer of big coats, massive parkas or puffer jackets, nor was he an avid scarf wearer, he had a mad penchant for layering. Winter used to see him use his favourite Harrington jacket as a top layer, with up to three or four under layers, consisting of shirts, open-shirts, polos and vests, as layers. He was the master of layers. He’d layer with ease, but never with hast, he’d layer with colour palettes in mind, whether on purpose or not. 

The story of men’s fashion can usually be explained by its style icons, men who either by accident or on purpose dressed in a way that had something profound to say about themselves or about the world they lived in, but for Quincy it was different. He was one of a kind in a community of people who were the same. He managed to stand out, in clothes that necessarily wouldn’t on other people. It was what he wore, rather than how he wore them.

Jack Klugman, the talented actor who played Quincy, unfortunately passed away almost six years to the day. I like to think that he’s up there now, after all these years, donning an unbuttoned polo and shorts, perched on a bar stool sipping a scotch whilst showing everyone else how well his socks compliment the rest of his outfit. Nice one, Quincy.