Silva: Cream Jacket and Printed Shirt

Silva-Cream-Jacket

Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem in Skyfall, is one of the most flamboyantly-dressed villains, yet he’s a well-tailored one. His cream silk jacket fits almost perfectly, the only problem being that the sleeve are too long. It’s made by Mayfair tailor Thom Sweeney, so it’s nice to see a second character in Skyfall—the first being Gareth Mallory—wearing bespoke English tailoring. The button two silk jacket is elegantly-tailored in the English style with softly-padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. The jacket is tailored with classic proportions; the lapels are a balanced width, the length covers his behind and the jacket is closely fitted but not tight. The jacket has slanted hip pockets, double vents, four buttons on the cuffs, and dark brown corozo nut buttons.

Silva-Cream-Jacket-2Under the jacket, Silva wears a waistcoat and trousers in dark olive tropical wool or mohair. The waistcoat has five buttons, and Silva unstylishly fastens the bottom button. However, if he left the waistcoat’s bottom button open the shirt underneath may be exposed since the trousers have a somewhat low rise. The trousers’ waistband is visible in the notch of the bottom of the waistcoat. The waistcoat has narrow lapels and a small, full collar that are worn flipped up. The trousers have a flat front and plain hem.

Silva-Cream-Jacket-3Silva’s shirt from Prada is the flashiest part of his outfit. The shirt’s printed pattern consists of tan tiles with a white border and navy tiles with a tan border on a black ground. The shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs and dark buttons. Silva wears the collar button and first button open. Because of how flashy the shirt is, the necktie isn’t missed. It can be awkward to wear a waistcoat without a tie, but the waistcoat’s purpose here is to tone down the outfit by covering the shirt rather than to dress up the outfit. By flipping up the waistcoat’s collar and lapels, Silva rejects the additional formality that the waistcoat would ordinarily give the outfit. This is not a way I would recommend anyone wear a waistcoat, but when you’re a Bond villain you can dress as you please.

Silva’s medium brown chelsea boots add an additional level of flamboyance to his outfit. Though chelsea boots are typically very clean and sleek, Silva’s chelsea boots have an excessive amount of brogueing and far more seams than typical chelsea boots. They have a toe cap as well as a decorative strip of leather across the vamp. Apart from brogueing on every seam, they also have a toe medallion. The boots have thick double leather soles.

Costume designer Jany Temime dressed Silva appropriately in a garish and outrageous manner that perfectly suits the insane Bond villain.

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Bond in a Women’s Bathrobe

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Like most of Bond’s bathrobes and dressing gowns, the bathrobe Bond wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is not his own. In fact, it’s not even a men’s bathrobe. Tracy (Diana Rigg) wears the bathrobe after she breaks into Bond’s hotel suite, and she leaves the bathrobe behind when she disappears from Bond’s balcony in the middle of the night. Since her dress is on the bed when we first see her in the bathrobe, Tracy probably found the bathrobe in Bond’s hotel suite closet. The bathrobe is likely provided by the hotel in every suite’s closet.

Tracy-BathrobeBond puts on the bathrobe when he wakes up and finds it laying next to him in bed. The robe’s short length is what gives it away a women’s bathrobe, and when Bond sits in the bathrobe it just barely covers the parts that it needs to. On Tracy, the bottom of the bathrobe hits at her upper thigh. Diana Rigg 5’9″ tall, and the short bathrobe plays up the sex appeal of her long legs. Bond, however, is 6’2″ tall and for obvious reasons needs a longer bathrobe. The brief shot of Lazenby just barely wearing the bathrobe that is too short for him may have been for the same reasons Diana Rigg wears it. After all, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features a new younger and fitter Bond.

Bond-Womens-Bathrobe-2The terrycloth bathrobe is white with a windowpane of double navy lines. The lines are thicker in the vertical than in the horizontal, which is an attempt to make the pattern more slimming by emphasising the vertical lines. There are two sets of three navy stripes follows by a single navy stripe around the shawl collar and the ends of the sleeves. The sleeves are worn folded up. A belt ties around the waist.

This may be the only piece of women’s clothing I ever cover on this blog, unless Bond again wears women’s clothing. It’s a shame we don’t get to see Bond wearing the gold silk pyjama suit with blue piping laid out on his bed.

Gold: Dressing Up a Bold Shirt

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Gold features Roger Moore in a James Bond-esque story but in a slightly more flamboyant wardrobe. Like Moore’s navy double-breasted suit in Gold, the beige jacket in that film could have been picked straight out of Live and Let Die or The Man with the Golden Gun. The jacket—perhaps made of a silk and linen blend—is tailored by Cyril Castle in the same style as the single-breasted suits that Moore wears in his first two Bond films. The button two jacket has softly-padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and medium-width lapels. It is detailed with slanted pockets, deep double vents and flared link cuffs. The tan wool trousers, though similar in value, contrast in texture and hue. have a darted front, a coin pocket below the waistband and a slightly flared leg.

Gold-Beige-Suit-2The shirt is where Moore breaks from Bond style. It has a rust and navy check on a cream ground. Whist the pattern is bolder than something Bond would wear, the shirt has the same spread collar and cocktail cuffs that Moore’s Frank Foster shirts in Live and Let Die have. Such a bold shirt needs a simple tie, and Moore wears a solid rust-coloured tie that pulls out the rust in the shirt’s check. He ties it in a four-in-hand or a double-four-in-hand knot. Though the tie works well with the jacket and shirt, the bold shirt could keep the outfit interesting without a tie. This is the kind of outfit that can be worn well without a tie, but the tie keeps the outfit “tied” together. With the suit, Moore wears dark brown shoes, a wide dark brown belt and aviator sunglasses.

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The Ipcress File: Grey Tweed Jacket

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Michael Caine stars as the unsophisticated spy Harry Palmer in 1965 film The Ipcress File, produced by James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman. Palmer is quite the opposite of James Bond and lives a very unglamourous life. Unlike Bond, Palmer never looks perfect, he wears glasses, he does desk work, he wakes up alone and he shops at the supermarket. Palmer’s clothes, however, aren’t completely unlike Bond’s, but they still leave something to be desired. 1980s Bond tailor Douglas Hayward was famously Michael Caine’s tailor, but it is unknown if he made the clothes for The Ipcress File.

Broken-Twill

Broken Twill

Palmer is introduced wearing a tweed jacket in black and grey broken twill. Broken twill has a similar look to barleycorn but is also like a very small herringbone weave. Herringbone is actually a type of broken twill. A grey broken twill tweed jacket actually isn’t so far from the type of jacket Bond would wear. Palmer’s jacket is a button two with natural shoulders. It has narrow lapels with a very gradual roll, making the button two jacket look almost like a button three jacket.

Ipcress-File-Tweed-Jacket-2The jacket also has double vents, a single button on each sleeve—the jacket’s buttons are black plastic—and hip pockets with narrow flaps. Palmer sometimes wears the pocket flaps tucked in, like when he carries a folded newspaper in his hip pocket (see image at the end of the article). Keeping small items in outer pockets does enough to disturb the jacket’s lines without having items sticking out from the pockets. Palmer demonstrates the way no gentleman should carry his newspaper.

Palmer wears medium grey worsted wool trousers under the jacket. They have a darted front, slanted side pockets, an extended waistband, buckle side adjusters and a tapered leg with turn-ups. There ought to be a little more contrast between the jacket and trousers, and a shade lighter in grey would be enough to give the two pieces more separation. The trousers most likely come from the suit Palmer wears later in the film. Palmer’s black shoes keep within the city tones of the outfit.

Ipcress-File-Blue-Shirt-FlannelsPalmer’s pale blue shirt is the least refined part of his outfit. Though the spread collar has a good width, the length of the collar points is rather puny. The collar is stitched 1/8 inch from the edge rather than the traditional 1/4 inch. The shirt has square single cuffs for cufflinks. These are not the stiff single cuffs that one wears for full evening dress but instead cheap, flimsy cuffs similar to the modern convertible cuffs that can be worn either with a button or with cufflinks. Palmer’s shirt has a breast pocket, which further brings the origin of Palmer’s shirt into question.

There is one item that Palmer takes from Bond’s wardrobe: a navy knitted tie. Bond wears a navy knitted tie in Goldfinger, made just a year earlier, and he wears it again in You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Palmer ties his knitted tie—most likely—in a half windsor knot like George Lazenby ties his knitted ties as Bond. But unlike Bond, Palmer wears a tie bar, and it suspiciously does not keep Palmer’s tie in place.

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Felix Leiter: The Seersucker Suit

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Rik Van Nutter’s Felix Leiter in Thunderball wears a blue and white striped suit made of a thin, puckered cotton cloth called seersucker. The blue and white seersucker suit is an American warm-weather staple and an fitting suit for a CIA agent in the tropics. The stripes on Leiter’s suit are narrower than usual for seersucker, but they aren’t nearly as narrow as the stripes on the related pincord suit are.

Leiter-Seersucker-2Whilst Cec Linder—Van Nutter’s predecessor as Felix Leiter in Goldfinger—dresses all out in the American Ivy League style in a suit with natural shoulders and an undarted front, Van Nutter wears his American classic in an updated cut. His button three suit jacket has straight shoulders, a draped chest and a darted, suppressed waist. The lapels are a classic width and reach halfway from the collar to the edge of the shoulder. The jacket also has flapped hip pockets, double vents and three buttons on the cuffs. The suit’s buttons are made of mother of pearl. The suit trousers have reverse pleats, tapered legs and plain bottoms. The suit is more of a 1950s style than a 1960s style, but Leiter still looks cool and confident in it.

Leiter-Seersucker-3Under the suit Leiter wears a white shirt with a spread collar—another break from the traditional American style—and button cuffs. His black silk knitted tie is tied in a four-in-hand knot. He wears black shoes and a narrow black belt. The black accessories may be unimaginative, but they provide a needed gravitas to his otherwise casual outfit. Leiter carries with him a fedora-style straw Panama hat that has a tall C-crown and a black ribbon. Leiter’s black sunglasses look like they’re by Ray-Ban, but if anyone knows better than I do feel free to comment below.

Driving in a Suit

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When you drive, do you wear your suit jacket or hang it up? James Bond always chooses to drive in his suit jacket because he’s usually in a hurry to get in or out of his car. Besides that, it just wouldn’t look elegant for him to remove his jacket to simply get in the car. There’s no need for Bond to remove his jacket in the car because the magic of filmmaking means that Bond’s suit won’t be wrinkled when exits his car. And since his suit only has to last for a small part of a single film he doesn’t need to worry about seatbelt abrasion. The problems of wrinkling and abrasion have become more noticeable to the average suit wearer with the rise in popularity of lighter cloth weights and higher super numbers, which both make the wool less wrinkle resistant and more prone to shining with abrasion.

Driving-Dr-NoBut what about the physical act of driving in a suit? A well-fitting suit shouldn’t constrict movement. The key to being able to move the arms is high armholes. That means the armhole is smaller and hugs the armpit. Feeling the bottom of the armhole in your armpit may give the impression of being constricting, but it is actually quite the opposite. A higher armhole means that less of the suit jacket moves when the arm is raised, and it helps the arm to move more independently of the rest of the jacket. A little ease over the shoulder blades also gives the arms more range of movement. Nevertheless, it helps to unbutton the jacket when driving.

Driving-TWINEThe higher armhole is demonstrated whenever Bond is driving. The jacket sleeve rides up to reveal most of the shirt cuff, which shouldn’t ride up as much as the jacket sleeve does. If the armhole is too low or the suit is too tight, the jacket sleeve will ride up more.

The same goes for riding a motorcycle as it does for driving a car, though James Bond is probably the only person who rides a motorcycle in a suit. In Skyfall, Daniel Craig wears a suit specifically made with longer sleeves for riding a motorcycle (below) so that the amount of shirt cuff that shows when he is riding is consistent with the amount that shows when he is standing with his arms at his side. It’s nonsensical to expect the same amount of shirt cuff to show no matter the arms positions, and I find it absurd that Skyfall’s costume designer Jany Temime felt that a special suit needed to be fitted for riding a motorcycle. Since the sleeves are expected to rise up when the arms are bent, it looks like the sleeves are too long. Plus, it’s a missed opportunity to show off Bond’s cufflinks!

Skyfall-Motorcycle

Felix Leiter: The Tan Linen Suit

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Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter may have proven to be the only one other than Jack Lord’s who can rival Bond’s style and cool demeanour. In Quantum of Solace he wears a tan linen suit that’s just as nice as any of Bond’s tropical suits. The suit jacket is probably a button two and has natural shoulders and a clean fit. The jacket also has open patch hip pockets, a welt breast pocket and a four buttons on the cuffs. The jacket’s buttons are a summery white mother of pearl. The suit trousers have a flat front and a plain hem.

Felix-Leiter-Tan-Linen-Suit-2Leiter’s white shirt has a button-down collar, front placket and rounded single-button cuffs. The button-down collar looks great open since the buttons keep the collar standing up, even with the first button of the shirt open. The button-down collar also identifies Leiter as an American, even though Cec Linder was the only Leiter to previously wear a button-down collar. The only part of this outfit that isn’t done so well are the shoes. They’re brown slip-ons with a rather bulbous toe and thick black rubber soles. But since they’re only seen in publicity stills and not in the film they’re not worth complaining about too much.

Leiter’s tan suit and white shirt outfit has similarities to the original Felix Leiter’s beige suit in Dr. No and, especially, James Bond’s tan linen suit in GoldenEye. The balanced proportions and classic fit of this suit make it one of the most timeless suits worn by any character in the Bond films.

Kronsteen: The Navy Silk Jacket

Kronsteen, on the right

Kronsteen, on the right

Though Kronsteen, played by Vladek Sheybal in From Russia with Love, is one of the less memorable Bond villains, he is one of the more interestingly dressed. In his final scene he wears a stylish alternative to the navy blazer: a slubby navy silk jacket. The jacket is has a draped chest with gentle waist suppression and extended—but natural—shoulders with roped sleeveheads, all of which suggest an English tailor made this jacket. Though it may have a tradtional cut, it also has fashionable 1960′s elements. The jacket appears to be a button one at the front with three buttons on the cuffs, and the buttons are covered in the jacketing silk. The narrow lapels have a generous roll to expose less of the shirt, and they also have swelled edges. The jacket has an open patch breast pocket and open patch hip pockets.

Kronsteen-Navy-Silk-Jacket-2Kronsteen wears light grey worsted wool trousers to contrast the jacket. The trousers are cut with forward pleats, which balance well with the drape style of the jacket. His cream shirt is possibly silk and has a plain front without a placket. The shirt’s short point collar and double cuffs are stitched on the edge. Though black bow ties should best be kept with black tie, Kronsteen wears one as his signature look. It’s a narrow batwing shape, possibly in a barathea weave. It’s difficult to see Kronsteen’s shoes, but they are likely the same black lace-ups that he wears with his charcoal blue suit at the beginning of the film.

Kronsteen carries a pork pie Panama hat that goes well with the summery look of his silk jacket. Like a traditional Panama hat, it’s woven of cream-coloured straw and has a black ribbon. Though the bow tie and panama hat look rather costume-like together, with the right attitude some men could pull off this look today. And if the whole look is too much, a slubby navy silk jacket with patch pockets is a versatile warm-weather jacket that looks great dressed up or down, daytime or nighttime.