Ian Fleming’s Pea Coat

Fleming-Pea-Coat

Though Ian Fleming never included the pea coat as part of James Bond’s wardrobe in his novels, Fleming himself wore a pea coat as a Royal Navy officer during the Second World War. This pea coat was sold at Bonham’s on New Bond Street in London on 22 November 2011 for £13,750. The dark navy double-breasted coat has eight buttons with four to button. It has single-button cuffs, and the shawl collar and vertical outside front pocket welts are trimmed in a ribbed knit stretch fabric. The buttons are made of black horn, and the lining is scarlet.

According to the auction listing, Commander Fleming wore this pea coat during the Dieppe Raid of 1942 whilst he was serving in the Naval Intelligence Division. The coat was later given to Ivar Bryce, a friend of Fleming’s since his school days at Eton. Bryce’s middle name was Felix, and Fleming gave his name to Bond’s ally and best friend CIA agent Felix Leiter. The pea coat was shown at For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond Exhibition, which celebrated the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, at Imperial War Museum London from April 2008 to March 2009. You can see more about the pea coat at the auction listing on Bonham’s website.

It wasn’t until the film Casino Royale that the film Bond wears a pea coat. Later, the film Bond wears another pea coat in Skyfall. Though the pea coat doesn’t have any earlier history with Bond in the films or the books, it’s quite an appropriate casual coat for a former naval officer, and Fleming himself wore one.

Mischka’s Circus Outfit

Mischka-Circus-Uniform

James Bond’s wardrobe in Octopussy is full of disguises, from the Colonel Toro uniform to the “Octopussy’s Circus” jacket to the gorilla suit to the clown suit. The disguise he spends the most time wearing in Octopussy is the outfit he takes from knife-throwing assassin Mischka (played by David Meyer) after he kills him. Like the clown suit, the outfit Bond takes from Mischka is also a circus costume. It would be quite a silly-looking outfit if it weren’t for the circus, but it’s tame compared to the clown suit.

Mischka-Circus-Uniform-2The main piece of the outfit is a crimson red polyester or nylon tunic that is long enough to almost cover the bum. It has a high collar that closes at the left side, and there is a roughly 9-inch placket that extends down the front of the shirt from the collar fastening to allow a head to fit through the collar. The sleeves are full cut, and the square single-button cuff is attached to the sleeve with shirring. A wide black belt with two rows of flat brass studs and a large two-prong brass buckle worn over the tunic around it gives shape to the outfit.

Mischka-Circus-Uniform-3Over the tunic, Bond wears an open black leather waistcoat that Mischka used to keep his knives. The open design provides easy access to the knives. Below the tunic, Bond wears his own navy straight-leg suit trousers from earlier rather than Mischka’s tighter black trousers worn inside tall black boots. Bond wears his own black slip-on shoes, though the stuntman who plays Bond on top of the train wears black side-zip boots.

Get Smart: A Creative Three-Piece Suit

Get-Smart-Navy-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit

The 1960s was an adventurous time for men’s tailoring. Though Sean Connery’s James Bond wears some of the most conservative suits of the decade, Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint and Patrick Macnee’s suits in The Avengers show more creative tailoring. Most American tailors weren’t quite as audacious as some of the English tailors, but Don Adam’s tailor for Get Smart showed a lot of inventiveness. Adams played Maxwell Smart, an incompetent secret agent whose clothes were far more sophisticated than his manner. In the first episode of Get Smart’s second season “Anatomy of a Lover”, Adams wears a unique navy three-piece suit with a narrow-spaced pinstripe. Not uncommon for 1966, the jacket has only one button on the front. It is tailored with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a draped chest and no vent. The jacket has a short length, which both follows the 1960s trends and makes the 5’9″ Adams look taller by extending the perceived length of his legs. The jacket is detailed with jetted pockets and single-button cuffs to match the single button on the front of the jacket. The jacket has a royal blue lining.

Get-Smart-Charcoal-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit-2

The lapels and collar is where this jacket strays from convention. Though the jacket has the narrow lapels that were typical of the era, the lapels are peaked rather than notched. Today it’s not uncommon to find narrow peaked lapels on single-breasted jackets, but it wasn’t a popular trend of the 1960s. But there’s more that makes this jacket truly unique. The pinstripes on the lapels and collar interestingly follow the direction of the stripes on the front of the jacket. Ordinarily the stripes on the lapels follow the angle of the lapels and the stripes on collar follow the direction of the stripes on the back of the jacket. The stripes on the collar and lapel are superbly matched, which is made easier by the stripes’ narrow spacing.

Get-Smart-Navy-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit-4The suit’s waistcoat has five buttons, two pockets and a straight bottom. The back of the waistcoat is made in a royal blue lining, but the inside of the waistcoat is lined in white. The suit’s trousers have a darted front and frogmouth pockets. The wide waistband extends across the front and is split in the rear to better contour to the back. The trousers are supported by navy boxcloth braces with black leather ends. Boxcloth is a heavy felt-like woollen that makes for very warm braces. Unlike on other braces, the excess length hangs down in front rather than being taken up underneath out of sight.

Get-Smart-Charcoal-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit-3Adam’s pink pinpoint oxford shirt has a pinned collar and double cuffs. The pinned collar is made with eyelets for a pin to pass through, and the pin has a knob that unscrews on one end to pass through the holes in the collar. Though the collar is small, it is in proportion with both the jacket’s narrow lapels and the size of Adams’ head. The black tie has pink dots that match the shirt, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Adams tucks his tie into his trousers so it doesn’t extend below the bottom of the waistcoat. A puffed red silk handkerchief in his breast pocket loosely coordinates with the lighter pink shirt. Adams’ shoes are black slip-ons and his socks are navy to match his trousers.

Though Ron Postal is credited as the costume designer in many episodes throughout the series, his names is not mentioned in this episode’s credits. It is still possible that he was involved in creating this outfit since nobody else is credited for the clothes. Between the peaked lapels, unique stripe direction on the lapels and collar, pink shirt with a pinned collar and boxcloth braces, Maxwell Smart sports quite the dandified look, and he is certainly not a secret agent who blends in to the crowd.

Jacket Cuff Button Styles

Have you thought about how many buttons should be on the cuffs of your jacket? There are neither rules nor even general conventions that determine how many buttons should be on your jacket’s cuffs. Some makers vary the number of buttons on their jackets based on the number of buttons on the front, if the jacket is single- or double-breasted, or if the jacket is a suit jacket or odd jacket. The current standard around the world is to have four buttons on the cuffs off any type of jacket. This has long been the standard for English tailors, but now it’s the most common number of cuff buttons on Italian and American suits. Anthony Sinclair made almost all of Sean Connery’s jackets with four buttons on the cuffs. Angelo Vitucci put four buttons on the button two jackets he made for Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Douglas Hayward used four buttons on the two dinner jackets and blazer in A View to a Kill. Timothy Dalton’s navy pinstripe suit and dinner jackets in The Living Daylights have four buttons on the cuffs. All except one of Pierce Brosnan’s and all of Daniel Craig’s Brioni jackets—seen in the five films from GoldenEye through Casino Royale—have four buttons on the cuffs. Four cuff buttons is the most common number of buttons that Bond wears on his jacket cuffs, but the number Bond’s cuff buttons has varied over the years.

Three is the next most common number of buttons on the cuffs for James Bond. George Lazenby’s dinner jacket, navy blazer and most of his suit jackets in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have three buttons on the cuffs. Angelo Vitucci used three buttons for Roger Moore’s double-breasted jackets: the dinner jackets in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and the skydiving blazer in Moonraker. Vitucci also put three buttons on the cuffs of the single-button cream suit. His sleeve buttons followed a system: his four-button cuffs echoed the even number of buttons on the front of a button-two jacket, whilst his three-button cuffs echoed the three rows on the front of the double-breasted jacket and the button one jacket’s odd number on the front.

Douglas Hayward put three buttons on all of Roger Moore’s jackets in For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and on the suit jackets and tweed jackets in A View to a Kill. Timothy Dalton’s grey herringbone and beige suit jackets in The Living Daylights have three buttons on the cuffs, and all of his jackets in Licence to Kill have three buttons on the cuffs. Three-button cuffs were common in the 1980s, and at that time they were the standard on Italian suits. Pierce Brosnan’s tan Brioni suit jacket in GoldenEye is oddly the only jacket of his four films that has has three buttons on the cuffs. Three-button cuffs returned to the series with the Tom Ford suits in Skyfall. Those are designed for only the first two buttons to fasten. The last buttonhole is a little longer than the others.

Five buttons

Five buttons on the cuffs of Daniel Craig’s navy striped Tom Ford suit jacket in Quantum of Solace. Notice the last, unused buttonhole is larger.

On the Quantum of Solace suit jackets by Tom Ford, the last buttonhole is longer like it is in Skyfall. These suit jackets, however, have a total of five buttons on the cuffs. There is no precedent for five buttons on a jacket’s cuffs, and it’s quite an excessive number of buttons. Then again, three or four cuffs could just as easily be seen as excessive if there wasn’t a tradition of having three or four buttons on the cuffs.

Two-button cuffs on a jacket are something Bond has only worn a few times in the series. Bond has only worn two-button cuffs on odd jackets, and the style is seen by some as less formal than having three or four buttons on the cuffs. The first appearance of this style is on the Anthony Sinclair navy blazer in Dr. No. Sean Connery later wears two tweed jackets in Diamonds Are Forever with two-button cuffs. Timothy Dalton’s gun club check jacket in The Living Daylights is the last jacket of the series to feature two-button cuffs. The two-button cuff was popular in the 1950s and 1960s on suit jackets and odd jackets in America. The classic Brooks Brothers button two show one jackets have two buttons on the cuffs, spaced apart, like on Felix Leiter’s suit in Goldfinger.

One-button jacket cuffs, a 1960s trend, are slightly more popular with Bond than two-button cuffs. George Lazenby wears a number of jackets with this style in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; his cream linen suit jacket, his light blue suit jacket and his houndstooth check jacket all have a single button on the cuffs. Cyril Castle made many of Roger Moore’s dinner jackets, suit jackets and odd jackets in The Saint and The Persuaders with a single button on the cuffs, and they often have a turnback “gauntlet” cuff. The single-button gauntlet cuff made it to Roger Moore’s navy overcoat in Live and Let Die and his white silk dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun. On Moore’s one button cuffs, the button is slightly larger than the standard 24L cuff buttons, but it’s not as large as the button on the front would be.

Roger Moore wears a style of cuff in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun that resembles a one-button cuff but actually has two buttons. It’s called the flared link cuff and has the sides of the cuff “kissing” instead of overlapping as they ordinarily would. The end result is a button on either side that has the effect of a double-sided cufflink. There’s only a buttonhole on the outer end of the cuff, and a button is sewn to either side on the inner end of the cuff. The flared cuff adds an interesting flair to Roger Moore’s suits, and it is supposedly Moore’s own idea. He first wore the cuff on a few suits in The Persuaders. Patrick Macnee earlier had this style of closure added to a suit cuff in The Avengers that originally had no buttons. James Bond has never worn a jacket without cuff buttons, but Patrick Macnee wears a few suit jackets without cuff buttons in The Avengers, and Roger Moore wears a suit jacket without cuff buttons in The Man Who Haunted Himself. These jackets have a vent without an overlap at the end of the sleeve so it doesn’t look like the buttons were forgotten.

An illustration of the flared link cuff

An illustration of the flared link cuff

Cuff buttons can be spaced in various ways. Most English jacket have the buttons touching or with a little bit of space between them. Cuff buttons on Italian suits are often done the same way, but many Neapolitan tailors overlap the buttons in a “waterfall” style. Older American suits sometimes had the buttons spaced a full button-width apart. The space from the last button to the edge of the cuff is also something to consider. Today, the standard is to place the centre of the last button 1 1/2″ from the edge, though on Bond’s suits before the 1990s the last button was typically 1 1/4″ from the edge.

In Memory of Richard Kiel

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit

With great sadness, on Wednesday 10 September we lost Richard Kiel, the actor who twice played the henchman Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. I’ve never heard Roger Moore speak of anyone so kindly and with so much respect as he does for Richard Kiel. When I saw Roger Moore speak at Book Revue in Huntington, NY in 2008, a child asked Moore, “What was Jaws like in real life?” Moore responded, “Well, Jaws in real life is seven-foot-two, and he’s what I call a gentle giant. He is such a nice man, so kind, and we were in Canada a few years ago. Every time he would bring up the subject of UNICEF so I could talk about it. A good man.”

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit-2Only a month ago I wrote about Jaws’ azure double-breasted blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me, but now let’s look at his more tasteful charcoal chalkstripe three-piece suit that he also wears in the film. It’s a very conservative suit for 1977, and Jaws appropriately wears it for two meetings with his boss, Karl Stromberg. In comparison to the other clothes he wears throughout the film, the three-piece suit is the only outfit that makes him look like a truly menacing character. A man of Jaws’ size must certainly have his suits made for him, and the same tailor or costumier who made the azure blazer probably made the suit as well. The single-breasted suit jacket has the same large, imposing shoulders that the double-breasted blazer has, but it has much more shape through the body for an elegant look. The jacket is a button two with a medium button stance and wide notched lapels. A slightly long jacket helps to anchor Jaws at the cost of emphasising his towering height. The jacket pulls at the button, which may be the result of Jaws’ body type being difficult to tailor. His jacket sleeves are also too long, covering the top of his hands. The jacket is detailed with slanted, flapped pockets and double vents. The suit’s waistcoat most likely has six buttons and the trousers have a slightly flared leg with plain hems.

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit-3Jaws’ light grey shirt is an unconventional choice that flatters his cool winter complexion. It has a fashionably large point collar that has a generous amount of tie space. The shirt’s placket is stitched 1/4″ from the edge to match the collar and cuff stitching. Jaws’ tie is black with a red diamond motif that has a small black square in the centre of each diamond. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. Jaws’ shoes are black.

Comparison: Suit Trousers in the First Two Bond Films

Connery-Trousers

Connery’s suit trousers in Dr. No

Throughout the 1960s, Anthony Sinclair tailored all of Sean Connery’s suit trousers in the same style. They have double forward pleats, the traditional English-style pleats that opens towards the fly. The leg is tapered and has approximately 1 3/4″ turn-ups. The trousers’ waistband has an approximately 2 1/2″ square extension that keeps the front of the waistband straight, and it closes with a hidden clasp so there are no buttons visible on the front. Inside, the trousers are secured with two buttons and a zip fly. The sides of the waistband have button-tab “Daks tops” side adjusters with three buttons—usually made of smoke mother-of-pearl—on each side. The side pockets are on the side seams, and there is one button-through jetted pocket in the rear on the right side.

Connery's updated suit trousers in From Russia with Love

Connery’s updated suit trousers in From Russia with Love

Though all of Sean Connery’s suit trousers in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice are made with the same features, the trousers’ cut was updated after the first Bond film, Dr. No. The change can be seen in the second Bond film, From Russia with Love. The rise in Dr. No is extremely high by today’s standards, and it was even high for 1962. A year later for From Russia with Love, Sinclair lowered the rise slightly to correspond with the new lower button stance on his suit jackets. The rise is still high for today’s fashions, but it doesn’t look quite as old-fashioned. The cut was also trimmed down overall. The deep pleats seen on the Dr. No trousers were made shallower for From Russia with Love, and as a result the trousers fit closer around the hips and thighs. Though this updated fit continued through the 1960s, by You Only Live Twice Connery’s pleated trousers were markedly unfashionable and old-fashioned.

Plastic Buttons

Grey plastic buttons on the three-piece glen check suit in Goldfinger

Grey plastic buttons on the three-piece glen check suit by Anthony Sinclair in Goldfinger

Plastic buttons are currently held to be less desirable than buttons made of natural materials, but when Sean Connery was James Bond in the 1960s they were the standard choice for lounge suits amongst England’s best tailors. Almost all of Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits in his 1960’s Bond films have thin, plain, glossy plastic buttons, and most of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suits and sports coats in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun have the same type of buttons. Though it may seem illogical to put inexpensive plastic buttons on bespoke garments, there are reasons to why plastic buttons were used.

Connery-Plastic-Buttons

Dark grey plastic buttons on an Anthony Sinclair dark grey flannel suit in Dr. No. The smooth texture of the buttons does not fit with the fuzzy texture of the flannel cloth.

The uniform look of plastic buttons matches the clean look of worsted suiting, and some people believe that horn buttons look too rustic for a city suit. Plastic buttons also can be made in virtually any colour, so they are typically matched with or used in a slightly darker shade than the suit. In the 1960s and 1970s, synthetics were not so taboo in quality clothes the way that they are now. Tailors may also have liked how plastic buttons were thinner than other choices. Douglas Hayward, who typically used horn buttons, used grey plastic buttons on both Roger Moore’s grey flannel suit in For Your Eyes Only and on his grey tweed jacket in A View to a Kill since horn is not found in a flat medium grey, and he wanted to match the buttons to the suit. These grey plastic buttons, however, have a matte finish like horn instead of the shiny finish buttons that Sinclair and Castle used.

Plastic Buttons on Daniel Craig's suit in Casino Royale

Plastic Buttons on Daniel Craig’s Brioni suit in Casino Royale

Timothy Dalton’s suits in Licence to Kill, not surprisingly, have plastic buttons. Most of Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits—worn in GoldeneEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day and Casino Royale—also have plastic buttons. Not all plastic buttons are created equal. Brioni’s plastic buttons both look nicer and are more durable than the average plastic buttons. This is not to say they are just as good as natural materials, but the plastic buttons give the makers of Brioni suits the look they want.

Urea buttons on Timothy Dalton's suit in The Living Daylights

Urea buttons on Timothy Dalton’s Benjamin Simon suit in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton’s suit buttons in The Living Daylights are another kind of plastic, made from urea. These urea buttons mimic horn but often have a more pronounced grain. Unlike horn buttons, which due to nature can never be identical to each other, the grain of urea buttons will often match each others. If the buttons look like horn but are suspiciously identical, they can’t possibly be authentic horn. The grey buttons on the black-and-white pick-and-pick suit in Skyfall are similar fake horn in urea.

An Unused Cream Suit in Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace Cream Silk Suit

The medium grey suit made for Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace isn’t the only suit that didn’t make it to the final film. A cream silk hopsack Tom Ford suit made for “Daniel Craig Bond 22“, as a label indicates, is currently for sale on eBay (click to see listing). The suit is made in the same Regency Base B model as the other suits in Quantum of Solace, and all of the details match.

Quantum of Solace Cream Silk Suit LabelThe suit jacket has three buttons on the front with the lapel rolling to the middle button. The lapels are a classically proportioned 3.5″* wide. The jacket is cut with a clean chest and a suppressed waist. The shoulders look straight rather than pagoda shaped like on Craig’s suits in the film, but that most likely has to do with the way the suit fits the mannequin rather than Daniel Craig’s body. The jacket has flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, 10″* double vents and five buttons on the cuffs. The last cuff buttonhole is longer than the others, and the corresponding button is placed misaligned from the other buttons to be seen peaking out under the top part of the sleeve.

Quantum of Solace Cream Silk Suit TrousersThe trousers have a flat front, slide-buckle side adjusters, two rear pockets and two darts on each side in the rear. The side pockets are on the side seam, which curves forward to the top. The trouser legs have 1.5″* turn-ups. The buttons on the suit are mother of pearl.

Quantum of Solace Cream Silk Suit ButtonholeThe quality of the handwork that goes into making a Tom Ford suit really gets lost on film. The hand-sewn Milanese buttonhole on the lapel is one of those fine details that is not apparent on screen, but up close it’s almost a work of art. This suit was made in one of Zegna’s three factories in Switzerland.

Quantum of Solace Cream Silk Suit Label 2The suit is tagged an Italian size 50 R, which numerically converts to a 39 R in UK and US sizing. The jacket’s chest measures 21 inches armpit to armpit, the jacket’s length from the bottom of the collar to the hem is 30 1/4 inches, and the shoulders are 19 inches wide. These measurements are consistent with an athletic and trim-fitting 40 R. The trousers measure 32 inches around the waist, have a 10-inch rise in the front, a 33-inch inseam and a 17-inch leg opening. The inseam length is surprisingly long for a man who is 5’10” tall and wears his trousers with no break, but his legs are long compared to his torso.

Quantum of Solace Cream Silk Suit CuffsI would guess that this suit was made to be an option for the Bolivia arrival scene, since it’s best worn during the daytime in a warm climate. It would have suited the locale extremely well. It also would have better flatted Daniel Craig’s complexion better than the dark, cool brown suit that he wears instead. But as others have pointed out, the dark clothes that Bond wears throughout Quantum of Solace fit his mood better than this cream suit would have. It’s a shame that this beautiful suit, along with the medium grey suit, didn’t make the cut for the film.

*Thanks to Jovan for asking the seller for measurements not listed.