(00)7 of James Bond’s Casual Staples

Though James Bond is best known for dressing up in suits and black tie, he’s also typically well-dressed in his casual clothing. Considering today’s casual society as well as the ease of action in non-tailored clothes, Bond’s casual clothes have seen more consideration and been more prominent in the Daniel Craig era. Craig’s casual clothes take many cues from what Sean Connery wears in his Bond films, showing that casual clothes from 50 years ago can still be fashionable today. In between Connery and Craig there have been experiments with other casual styles, but the best items remain staples of Bond’s wardrobe.

Polo Shirt

Polo shirts, also known as golf shirts or tennis shirts, are timeless and a staple of Bond’s weekend wear, in short sleeves for warm weather and long sleeves for cold weather. The first polo of the Bond series appears in the first Bond film Dr. No, and it’s a light blue pique knit cotton short-sleeve shirt with two buttons on the placket. In Goldfinger, Bond brings back the polo in light grey and black and wears them under jumpers. In Thunderball the short-sleeve polo returns again, this time in classic navy blue with a Fred Perry logo. Navy became the standard colour for Bond’s short-sleeve polos, which Daniel Craig would again wear in Casino Royale from Sunspel, Quantum of Solace from Tom Ford and Spectre from Tom Ford. In Quantum of Solace he also wears a short-sleeve polo in black, again from Tom Ford. Craig’s polos in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace have a small breast pocket.

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The long-sleeve polo is one of Bond’s casual staples for cool weather. Bond first wears one in black cotton on two occasions in Thunderball for sneaking around at night: at Shrublands in the English country and at Largo’s villa in the Bahamas. This polo has three buttons at the top as opposed to the two buttons on the short-sleeve polo. Timothy Dalton brought back the long sleeve polo in blue in The Living Daylights, and Craig brought it back again in Casino Royale. And for cold weather in Casino Royale, Bond wears a black long-sleeve polo jumper, likely in cashmere.


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Polo Neck

The polo neck, also known as the turtleneck or roll neck, is another of Bond’s staple tops, either in the full polo neck or mock polo neck. Every Bond other than Timothy Dalton has worn a polo neck, and it is present in every decade except for the 1990s. The first polo neck that Bond wears is a grey mock polo neck in You Only Live Twice for infiltrating Blofeld’s volcano lair. Bond’s most iconic example is Roger Moore’s black polo neck with a holster worn over it in Live and Let Die. Craig recently returned the polo neck to Bond with full force in Spectre, wearing two mock polo necks and one full polo neck. Like the polo shirt, the polo neck has a rich history with Bond that goes back to the 1960s. Read more about James Bond’s polo necks >


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Camp Shirt

The camp shirt is a staple of Connery Bond’s casual warm-weather wardrobe. The camp shirt is a straight-cut shirt with a single-piece camp collar, short sleeves, a plain front (no placket) and a straight hem to be worn untucked. Connery wears a number of camp shirts in Thunderball, including shirts in blue gingham, pink gingham, rose linen, royal blue, and butcher stripe. Connery wears more camp shirts in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. Roger Moore also wears camp shirts in his Bond films, including a cream voile shirt and a sage green safari-jacket-detailed shirt in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Almost three decades later, Pierce Brosnan brought the camp shirt back to Bond in Die Another Day. In Cuba he wears a blue floral-printed camp shirt and a more elegant white linen camp shirt that has long sleeves. Daniel Craig has not worn any camp shirts as Bond, but he wears similar shirts that have two-piece collars instead of a single-piece collar. His printed shirt in Madagascar in Casino Royale has all the details of a camp shirt except for the camp collar. Another printed shirt that Bond wears when ‘enjoying death’ in Skyfall is a casual shirt that is meant to be worn untucked, but it again has a two-piece collar, long sleeves rolled up and curved tails. This kind of shirt that has a formal shirt’s collar, long sleeves and tails but in a casual cloth is what is most popular today. Some or all of these details can be applied to Connery’s camp shirts to update them.


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Suede Blouson

Since George Lazenby’s brown polyester golfing blouson in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond has worn many blousons in a variety of materials. The suede blouson in particular has been a favourite of Bond’s, including a sage green suede blouson and a shearling blouson in For Your Eyes Only and a grey perforated suede blouson in A View to a Kill. Some of them have the traditional banded-knit bottom and others have a more subtle self band at the bottom. Most recently, Spectre brought back the suede blouson with a tan jacket from Matchless London and blue jacket from John Varvatos. Of the two in Spectre, only Matchless calls their jacket a ‘blouson’, and neither are technically blousons because they don’t blouse over the band at the bottom. The traditional banded bottom is a little outdated now, but the suede blouson lives on in spirit and remains a staple of Bond’s casual wear.


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Trousers in Light Earth Tones

From taupe to tan, from sand to stone, from buff to beige and from khaki to cream, trousers in light earth tones are essential to Bond’s casual ensembles. Bond’s casual trousers are made from a variety of materials. In warm weather Bond wears chino cotton or linen. In cool weather he wears cavalry twill wool or cotton moleskin.

Though the ubiquitous blue jeans aren’t typically Bond’s style, in Quantum of Solace he wears two pairs of jeans in earth tones. Bond wears the Levi’s 306 STA-PREST jeans in cream with a black polo and in khaki with a black shawl-collar cardigan. These jeans have a more dressed-down and rugged look than chinos, but they are dressier than blue jeans and have the elegance of earth-toned trousers.


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Light Blue Swimming Trunks

Light blue is Bond’s colour of choice for swimming trunks since their first appearance in the Bond series in From Russia with Love. The colour of Bond’s light blue trunks was likely chosen to match the colour of the ocean or sea (or bottom of a swimming pool). Bond’s swimming trunks are always trim and short, for less resistance in the water and to show off his fit body. They’re never baggy, as that would slow him down in the water. After From Russia with Love, Bond also wears light blue swimming trunks in Goldfinger, Thunderball (picture above), Casino Royale and Skyfall.


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Brown Suede Chukka Boots

Though suede chukka boots have only been a staple of Bond’s casual wardrobe in Die Another Day and in the Daniel Craig films, they’re a timeless item that goes well with casual clothes in all seasons. Though there are protective sprays, the only limits they have are that they should be avoided in rain and snow. Bond’s chukkas in Casino Royale, from John Lobb, and in Quantum of Solace, from Church’s, are of the dressier variety with Goodyear-welt construction and Dainite® studded rubber soles. In Skyfall and Spectre, Bond wears the more casual type with crepe soles. These are sometimes known as desert boots, particularly when they are unlined. Read more about Bond’s chukka boots >

Basted for Bond: Examining Timothy Dalton’s Stefano Ricci Suits

A new “Basted for Bond” infographic breaks down the baggy, oversized suits from Stefano Ricci that Timothy Dalton wears in Licence to Kill. These are high-end clothes, yet the unflattering and dated look they have distracts from their luxuriousness. This infographic details the aspects of the suits in Licence to Kill , such as the built-up shoulders and aircraft-wing lapels on the dinner jacket, that make them look so dreadful today. When flattened into an illustration, the proportions don’t look so bad. But when on a man, the weaknesses of the late 1980s fashions comes to life.

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Poplin: James Bond’s Preferred Shirting

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Poplin is the standard shirting for shirts to wear with a suit—known as dress shirts in America. Poplin is almost always cotton—though traditionally it was silk and worsted wool—and woven in a plain weave. Hardy Amies describes poplin in his 1964 book, ABC of Men’s Fashion:

Poplin is a plain weave cotton fabric, characterized by the slightly pronounced ribs running across it. These are caused by the high proportion of warp ends. Good quality poplin will have as many as 144 warp [lengthwise] ends to the inch, to only half that number of weft [crosswise] picks.

Poplin

The term broadcloth is sometimes used interchangeably with poplin, but poplin is woven with twice as many warp yarns as weft yarns whilst broadcloth has an even number of yarns in the warp and weft. For instance, poplin may have a yarn count of 144×72 (warp yarns per inch x weft yarns per inch) and broadcloth may have a yarn count of 100×100. Poplin’s thicker yarns in the weft give it its subtle crosswise ribs. Overall, poplin and broadcloth are very similar fabrics that are almost indistinguishable from one another. Hardy Amies further discusses what makes a quality poplin:

It will also be of two-fold staple yarn (two single yarns twisted together) used in both directions. Most better quality poplins are mercerized, making a strong, lustrous fabric that is one of the most popular for men’s shirts.

Because poplin is woven in a plain weave—and typically woven of fine yarns—it one of the most breathable and most lightweight shirtings. Poplins of finer cotton, such as Ian Fleming’s Bond’s preferred Sea Island Cotton, are shinier and feel silkier. This sheen can be seen in some of Sean Connery’s shirts in his James Bond films. However, these finer cottons are also thinner and can be somewhat translucent, particularly if the thread count isn’t high enough to make up for finer yarns. Connery’s shirts are woven densely enough that that are mostly opaque. Finer cottons wrinkle more easily and are more difficult to iron.

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The majority of James Bond’s shirts are poplin cotton, both the shirts he wears with his suits and the shirts he wears with black tie. James Bond wears poplin shirts in solid white, cream and various shades of light blue, from sky to pale blue. Roger Moore occasionally wears striped poplin or broadcloth shirts in his Bond films.

There are other shirtings that are variations on or similar to poplin. End-on-end is a plain weave cloth like poplin but typically alternates between white and coloured yarns in the warp and has white yarns in the weft. If the colour is very light and the yarns are very fine, they are difficult to distinguish from a solid poplin from a short distance. Pierce Brosnan wears blue end-on-end shirts from Sulka in GoldenEye.

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A voile dress shirt in Skyfall with a pique collar and bib

Voile is another similar shirting woven in a plain weave. Alan Flusser describes voile in his book Dressing the Man as “woven from fine hard twisted yarns with reverse twist warp threads, this plain fabric is lightweight, cool, and dry.” Voile yarns are spun to a high twist to allow a low yarn count. A low yarn count means that the cloth is very open and breathable. Voile is a sheer cloth and is either doubled in front, like on Roger Moore’s dress shirt with his ivory dinner jacket in Octopussy, or used on a dress shirt along with a pique bib like on Daniel Craig’s dress shirt with his midnight blue dinner suit in Skyfall.

Zendaline is a similar yarn that, according to master shirtmaker Alexander Kabbaz, is woven of broadcloth yarns in the warp and high-twist voile yarns in the weft. Kabbaz says, “the resulting cloth, for many technical reasons, exhibits the best features of both yarns. Zendaline has an extremely high sheen reminiscent of the finest broadcloths, but retains the soft hand of the Voiles.” George Lazenby and Roger Moore’s shirtmaker Frank Foster is a proponent of zendaline and certainly would have made shirts for Roger Moore out of this cloth.

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Woman of Straw: A Pastel Blue Blouson and Polo Neck

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Sean Connery’s 1964 film Woman of Straw served as the source of most of his tailored clothing in Goldfinger. However, most of his casual clothes in this film didn’t have the honour of being featured in a Bond film, and a pastel blue blouson and a navy polo neck that he wears at sea near Majorca did not find their ways into Goldfinger‘s wardrobe.

The cotton blouson has six large buttons down the front to mid-hip-length. It has a large turn-down collar that’s almost as tall as the polo neck underneath and a wide knitted band at the bottom. The front of the blouson has a patch pocket with a buttoned-down flap on the left side of the chest. The shirt-style cuffs are rounded and fasten with a single button, and the sleeve has a pleat at the cuff attachment. There are six braids down the side of the blouson under the sleeve, similar to what might be found around the cuff of a military uniform jacket. The braids are the same pastel blue colour as the blouson. The blouson’s buttons are shiny grey, likely made of plastic.

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Connery’s blouson looks dated today, first because of the pastel colour and second because of the banded hem. In another light colour, khaki or grey would be easier to wear today. Darker colours like navy and black would be even easier to wear today. If compared to Roger Moore’s pastel blue leisure suit in Live and Let Die, this jacket still looks considerably better. The banded hem on this blouson is a classic and timeless style, though it isn’t a popular style today and gives a jacket a vintage look.

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Under the blouson, Connery wears a navy polo neck—also known as a roll neck or turtleneck—in a smooth interlock-knit cotton that has the perfect look on a boat, though it’s a little too perfect when paired with his white peaked cap. The knitted top has a close fit and a V-cut vent at each side. Connery’s trousers are charcoal wool with a flat front and narrow, tapered legs. These could be the same charcoal trousers that Connery wears with his casual outfits in Goldfinger, such as his golf outfit and with his black polo and V-neck jumper. Because the polo neck drapes smoothly over the top of the trousers, this means that he likely does not wear a belt with the trousers, just like with his trousers in Goldfinger. Connery holds black sunglasses, but he does not wear them.

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(00)7 Rules for Dressing Up Like James Bond

There are many guidelines to follow when dressing well, but James Bond follows a few specific rules of his own.

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1. Suits should be shaped and structured

James Bond’s suits vary considerably in their details. Suit jackets may have either two or three buttons down the front or one vent, two vents or no vent in the rear. Suit trousers may have pleats or no pleats, turn-ups or plain hems, belt loops or side adjusters. But something that Bond’s suits always have is shape and structure. Bond does not wear undarted American sack suits. His suits have suppression at the waist and fullness in the chest to give him an elegant yet powerful look. Bond also does not wear soft Neapolitan suits. His suits always have structure with a heavy canvas that maintains the shape of the suit. There’s always something in the shoulder too, whether it’s a very thin layer of wadding or a thick pad. Pierce Brosnan has sloping shoulders, and padding gives him more presence. Padding also smooths out Daniel Craig’s muscular shoulders to give him a more elegant silhouette and help the suit drape better.

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2. Fashionable details are okay in moderation

Bond’s dress is rooted in classic British style but it considers current fashions, thought it does not allow current fashions to define the clothes. In the 1960s, Sean Connery wears narrow lapels and ties, but all other aspects of his tailored ensembles do not date. In Skyfall and Spectre, Daniel Craig wears outfits that would be entirely classic if it weren’t for the “shrunken” fit. However, good fit should not come at the cost of fashion. Every Bond makes some concession to the fashions of their times, but there’s always a strong element of classic style in Bond’s clothes.

Daniel Craig Quantum of Solace

3. Shirts for black tie should have a turndown collar

James Bond is famous for dressing in black tie, and whether his dinner jacket is black, midnight blue or ivory, he always wears a shirt with a turndown collar with his dinner jacket. Bond’s collar is usually in the form of a spread collar. Shortly after it was introduced for black tie by the Prince of Wales in the 1930s, the turndown collar has been standard for black tie in Britain, with the wing collar since seen as old-fashioned and stuffy. And even though Bond likes to dress up, his tastes lean toward more relaxed and simple styles, which the soft turndown collar better suits than the stiff, fussy wing collar does.

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4. Shirts worn with tailored clothes should not have pockets or button-down collars

When James Bond wears a suit or an odd jacket, his shirt never has a pocket or a button-down collar. Button-down collars are too American and too informal to wear with Bond’s structured suits. Pockets are also too informal, as they ruin the clean front of a shirt. They look jarring when the jacket is opened and serve no purpose when Bond wears a three-piece suit. And if the shirt is closely fitted, as in the case of Lazenby’s, Moore’s and Craig’s shirts, a shirt pocket would not have enough slack to be useful. Bond’s jackets have plenty of pockets for him to store whatever he may need. The exception to the pocket rule is in Licence to Kill when Bond wears American-sourced shirts with his suits.

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5. Shirts should be simple and light in colour, and ties should be simple and darker than the shirt

Bond’s shirts are almost always white, light blue or cream, usually solid with the occasional simple stripe. Lighter shirts are more formal than darker shirts and provide a canvas for the tie. The personality in Bond’s shirts comes from the cuffs, whether the cuffs are distinctive cocktail cuffs, double cuffs with a tasteful pair of cufflinks or an extra-large single-button with an extra-large cuff button. Bond’s ties are darker than his shirts, and Sean Connery established that Bond wears very dark, plain ties. Usually his ties are grenadine silk or, occasionally, knitted silk. Subsequent Bonds started branching off into lighter and brighter ties, but the ties are still often plain, and if not they usually have a tasteful stripe or a small neat pattern. No matter how light Bond’s tie is, it is always darker than his shirt. A light tie and a dark shirt is a jarring combination that makes the tie pop too much. This disrupts the harmony of the entire outfit and distracts from the person wearing the tie.

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6. Contrast between odd jackets and trousers should be minimal

When Bond wears an odd jacket, he often wears trousers that don’t have a whole lot of contrast with the jacket. Examples of this are Connery’s navy blazer and dark grey trousers in Dr. No, Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever; his brown tweed hacking jacket with fawn trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball; Roger Moore’s tan cotton jacket and stone trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Craig’s light brown jacket with khaki chinos in Spectre. Except for the example in Spectre, there is enough contrast to be able to tell that the jacket and trousers are not a mismatched suit. Bond’s other examples show the minimum amount of contrast that is necessary. This lower contrast helps Bond to not stand out in a crowd, just as a spy should not.

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7. Wear black shoes with all blue and grey suits.

James Bond’s typically conservative British style dictates that he always wears black shoes with his blue and grey suits. Likely stemming from Bond’s military days, his choice of black shoes lends a dressy and serious look to his suits. He can also go anywhere in the world and be confident that his black shoes will provide him with the proper cover as a businessman. There’s nothing wrong with wearing brown or burgundy shoes with blue and grey suits, but it’s not Bond’s style.

Above all of these rules for dressing like Bond is the universal rule that clothes should fit and flatter the person wearing them.

Unlike Bond’s tailored ensembles, he follows few rules for casual clothes. With a handful of exceptions, Bond’s casual clothes are always tasteful, fit well and never draw attention to him.

Tom Cruise’s Midnight Blue Dinner Suit in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol

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Tom Cruise has done his best to take on James Bond this century in his Mission: Impossible series, not only in action and stunts but in style too. In the fourth film of the series, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt channels James Bond by not only copying Pierce Brosnan’s helmet-like hairstyle from GoldenEye, but also by wearing a Bondian midnight blue dinner suit to ball in Mumbai, India.

Chris Laverty’s blog “Clothes on Film” spoke with Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol costume designer Michael Kaplan about his work on this film. Kaplan wanted a subtle 1960s look for the costumes, and he stated that Giorgio Armani made Kaplan’s dinner suit design for Cruise to wear in the film. Though Armani is best-known for his full-fitting, low-gorge, low-button-stance suit designs of the 1980s and 1990s, here he created a tasteful, classic dinner suit.

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Cruise’s button one dinner jacket has an elegant, structured Italian cut with straight, heavily padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a smoothly suppressed waist. This cut bestows the 5’7″ Cruise with presence and height. The jacket is detailed with double vents and four cuff buttons in an overlapping “waterfall” fashion. The notched lapels, covered buttons and jetted hip pockets are trimmed in black satin silk.

I mentioned the notched lapels above, which are controversial on a dinner jacket. They are usually avoided by stylish men because they make a dinner jacket look less special when compared to a suit jacket. Though dinner jackets with notched lapels have been around since the early days of the dinner jacket in the later part of the Victorian era, peaked lapels and shawl collars are typically preferable and seen as more traditional. Peaked lapels give a dinner jacket a more formal edge whilst the shawl collar recalls the origins of the dinner jacket from the smoking jacket. In any case, the notched lapel dinner jacket is less formal than dinner jackets with the other lapel styles and is better worn at a fancy dinner (like James Bond wears his dinner suits in Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy) than at a grand ball such as this. When a dinner jacket has notched lapels, it’s imperative that all of the other details of the suit be correct, particularly the single-button front. Two buttons and notched lapels makes a dinner jacket look only like a suit jacket with fancy trimmings.

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Michael Kaplan did a superb job at designing the notched lapels on Cruise’s dinner jacket to ensure it isn’t mistaken for ordinary suit jacket. The lapels are curved out with belly, and the front edge below the button gracefully curves to reflect the bellied shape of the lapels. There’s hardly any mistaking this dinner jacket for a suit jacket because of its notched lapels. Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation’s costume designer Joanna Johnston rectified the concern of a dinner jacket with notched lapels by choosing a peaked lapel dinner jacket for Cruise to wear to the opera. However, she committed a far greater black tie sin: putting him in a four-in-hand tie. For that reason, the Rogue Nation dinner suit will not see any coverage here.

The dinner suit’s trousers have a flat front, medium rise and tapered legs with a black satin silk stripe down the side of each leg. The waistband is trimmed in black satin silk to excuse the lack of waist-covering, and it has a square extension with a hook and eye closure. There doesn’t appear to be any method of trouser support other than a perfectly fitted waistband. Cruise forgoes a waist-covering by following the example James Bond set originally back in the Connery films, which Daniel Craig continued in Casino Royale.

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Cruise’s white shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs with slightly rounded corners and the link holes placed off-centre towards the fold, a front placket and no bib. The shirt may have a texture to make it dressier than a plain white cotton, but if it is plain cotton poplin or voile it can still work for black tie. James Bond wears a plain voile shirt with his dinner suit in The Spy Who Loved Me to great effect. The collar and cuffs have standard quarter-inch stitching. The four studs—which are plain, flat mother-of-pearl without a case and only a small silver post in the centre—set this shirt apart from an ordinary white shirt. The cufflinks are round mother-of-pearl with a silver case. Cruise accessorises his dinner suit with a black satin silk butterfly bow-tie and a folded white handkerchief just barely peeking out of his breast pocket. The handkerchief should be showing a little more to avoid looking like a mistake.

The shoes are black calf oxfords (closed lacing) with a stitched cap toe on a slightly pointy last. These shoes are meant to be worn with suits, but they’re in a style that is passable with black tie. Rather than standard round laces, Cruise’s oxfords have flat waxed laces to give them a dressier look. Switching rounded laces to flat laces is an easy upgrade to make well-shined calf shoes look better for black tie, and flat laces are great with suits too. The shoes have some extra height in the heels, and there are likely lifts inside the shoes as well to make sure that Tom Cruise isn’t the shortest person in the film.

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Shout at the Devil: A Cream Three Piece Suit

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In 1976, Roger Moore starred in the historical film Shout at the Devil opposite American actor Lee Marvin. It is directed by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service director Peter Hunt and also features On Her Majesty’s Secret Service actor Bernard Horsfall and a title sequence in a familiar Bond style by Maurice Binder. The start of the film takes place in German East Africa in 1913, where Moore wears a colonial-looking cream three-piece suit. The suit is made from a linen blend, since it doesn’t wrinkle as much as pure linen would. It’s either blended with silk, wool or a synthetic to prevent wrinkles.

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The suit jacket is a button three with straight shoulders, natural sleeveheads and a full chest. It is detailed with a single vent, flap pockets and three buttons on each cuff. The lapels are a medium width for a classic look. The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button, since the bottom button is on the gently curved cutaway portion of the bottom.

The suit trousers have double forward pleats and tapered legs with turn-ups. The front of the waistband has a square extension with a hidden clasp closure. The back has tab extensions for braces, and there are slide-buckle side-adjusters on the sides to allow the trousers to stay up without braces. The braces are beige, likely in a cotton canvas material, and have an “X”-back rather than the “Y”-back that is more common today. Each branch of the back fastens to the trousers with one button, and the weight is spread out differently than on a “Y”-back even though the number of buttons are the same.

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The suit was made by an English tailor, though its cut is more modern than 1913. The jacket’s light shoulder padding and full chest and the trousers’ fuller cut with pleats are what give this suit a more modern look than 1913. It’s possibly that Moore’s tailor from his first two Bond films, Cyril Castle, made this suit. If so, Shout at the Devil would be the final film that Castle tailored for Moore. If this is not Castle’s work, it is most likely the work of an English costumier such as Berman’s.

The suit is more of a piece of a 1970s idea of classic tailoring than a piece of historical tailoring, and the suit hardly looks outdated. Without the waistcoat this suit wouldn’t bat an eye today and could be something James Bond would wear sans braces. It’s not that three-piece suits are outdated, but a waistcoat on a suit made for hot weather is so impractical that it would only come across as affected rather than more formal. A white three-piece suit also recalls Ricardo Montalban’s character Mr. Roarke from the television show Fantasy Island, and thus it could make one look like the host of an island resort.

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Moore’s shirt has a tall point collar with rounded points, a front placket and single-link cuffs. The single-link cuffs are rounded and have the link holes placed in the middle of the cuff. Because they don’t fold like double cuffs they need to be stiffer. Modern convertible cuffs look similar to single-link cuffs but are usually too soft to be effective link cuffs. Single link cuffs are dressier than double cuffs because they are simpler and stiffer. However, the rounded edge on these cuffs makes them less formal than square single-link cuffs and brings them down closer to double cuffs. Though it’s by no means a rule, rounded single cuffs are better with suits whilst squared link cuffs are better with white tie. Either style can be appropriately worn with black tie and morning dress.

Back darts and placket stitching close to the centre of the placket on this shirt indicate that it is from Roger Moore’s regular shirtmaker Frank Foster. Foster specialised in costume and often made period pieces for film and theatre. Though this may not have the same styling as the contemporary shirts he made for Moore to wear as James Bond, it has Foster’s modern fit. Rear darts are not traditional on men’s shirts, but it doesn’t mean they are necessarily period inaccurate. Moore’s character does not have much clothes for his trip to Africa, and he unbuttons the front and undoes the cufflinks to sleep in this shirt at his hotel.

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Moore’s tie is black with light “Eton blue” (pale blue-green) stripes, signifying this as the Old Etonian tie. The tie identifies Moore’s character as someone from money who went to Eton College and perfectly fits with the character. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Moore briefly wears a straw panama hat with his suit when he arrives in Africa. The hat’s wide brim is turned down in front, the tall crown has a centre dent, and the ribbon is brown.

Moore’s footwear is medium brown plain-to derby boots. The boots have six pairs of eyelets with a wide spacing between the eyelets. They have thick double leather soles to hold up through treks in the jungle. Though these boots are period-accurate, they must wear awfully warm in Africa due to their height and thick soles.

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OSS 117’s Light Grey Suit

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The French film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is one of the past decade’s best spy spoofs. Though set in 1955, the film takes inspiration from Sean Connery’s 1960s Bond films, both in the filmmaking style and in the clothing style. Jean Dujardin stars as the fashionable Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117, and he wears a Connery-inspired lightweight grey suit. This blog previously covered the alpaca dinner suit from this film.

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The suits for OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies were beautifully made for Jean Dujardin by Parisian tailor Joseph Kergoat. This light grey semi-solid suit is made from a very lightweight wool or wool and mohair blend. Connery’s Bond is known for his lightweight suits, and this is certainly inspired by Connery’s many examples. Lightweight, open-weave suits are necessary in the hot desert of Cairo, so Bonisseur de La Bath is well-prepared. Light colours such as light grey reflect the sun’s heat rather than absorbs it, but light grey has a more professional look than cream or beige. Light grey is also flattering to Dujardin’s very cool complexion.

The suit jacket has a button three front and narrow lapels that give the suit more of a late 1950s look than when the film was set in 1955. Bonisseur de La Bath fastens either the top two buttons or just the middle button, and the suit is cut in a way that it looks good fastened in both manners. The jacket is cut with soft shoulders, gently roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and little waist suppression. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three buttons on each cuff and a slightly short single vent. The jacket’s buttons are grey plastic to match the suit. The cut of the suit jacket is considerably different from what Connery wore, with three buttons instead of two and less shape through the body. The shoulders, on the other hand, are similar to Connery’s.

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This suit resembles Connery’s Bond suits from the rear

The suit trousers have a darted front, a medium rise and tapered legs with plain hems. By contrast, Sean Connery’s Bond trousers are much different with forward pleats, a longer rise and turn-ups. Though these trousers failed to copy Connery’s trouser style, they also failed to copy what was popular in the mid 1950s, which would have been in line with what Connery wears in his Bond films. Bonisseur de La Bath also wears a belt with his suit trousers, whilst Connery’s trousers always had “Daks tops” button-tab side-adjusters.

Bonisseur de La Bath’s white cotton shirt is made in an entirely classic style, with a spread collar that has a generous half-inch of tie space, double cuffs and a front placket. Such a shirt could easily belong to any decade of the past 70 years. His narrow tie is an elegant brown and white check tied in a windsor knot, though the tie is quite un-Bond-like and looks dated now. But like Connery in his early Bond films, Bonisseur de La Bath wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket.

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The black sunglasses are a modern pair from Dior Homme. I am no eyewear expert, and I do not know if Christian Dior himself designed glasses in this style in the 1950s. At least the sunglasses are from a designer brand that was around in the 1950s.

The black shoes are the Crockett & Jones “Selborne” model, which is a a semi-brogue oxford. Semi-brogue oxfords are ornate shoes with closed lacing, a toe cap and heel counter. Every seam is double-stitched with perforations, and the toe cap has a medallion. The bottoms of the soles were dyed black.

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