Timothy Dalton’s leather car coat is a great casual item for the cold European winters. Bond wears this on his trip from Bratislava to Vienna in The Living Daylights. The coat reaches just below the hips, the typical car coat length. Though Bond mostly leaves it unbuttoned, the coat can button up to the collar. It has numerous external pockets, including angled slash zipper pockets on the chest and flapped patch pockets below. There is a seam around the waist, which probably includes a tunnel housing a string used to cinch the waist. There are button tabs on the sleeves.
The coat is a little too big by today’s standards but more typical of how people wore their clothes in the late 1980s. The shoulders are too wide and droop down over the arm, and the sleeves cover half the hand.
The dark grey, crew-neck jumper is also over-sized, as was popular in the era. The shirt is well hidden, with only part of the collar peaking through. The soft collar has traditional 1/4″ stitching. The fabric is ecru, probably oxford cloth. The trousers are charcoal grey but that’s about all I can tell. Bond wears black leather gloves and shoes with the outfit.
Dressed to Kill: James Bond The Suited Hero writes that the coat is dark green, but a Christie’s lot description says the coat is black. The full description reads:
“A three-quarter length black leather jacket with concealed zip and button fastening, with black ‘art’ silk lining, labelled inside Kenzo, white tape label to inside pocket inscribed in black ballpoint pen T DALTON — purchased for Timothy Dalton as James Bond in the 1987 United Artists/Eon film The Living Daylights; accompanied by a colour reproduction of a corresponding still and a letter concerning the provenance from the film’s Wardrobe Supervisor, Tiny Nicholls.”
It sold for £1,410 on 12 December 2001.
As much as I’d like to skip over Licence to Kill, this blog wouldn’t be complete without writing about this sartorial failure of a Bond film. The suit coat is characteristic of what was popular in the late 80s/early 90s: heavily-padded shoulders, loose cut, extra-low gorge, low button two front, and vent-less back. This combination makes for a terribly outdated style, the opposite of what people look for today in their tailored clothing, and this suit was most likely bought off-the-rack. The only part of the suit coat that doesn’t scream 1989 are the three-button cuffs and flapped pockets.
The trousers are typical of the era, with triple reverse pleats and worn with a belt. This is the first time in the series Bond wears reverse pleats, showing the first major influence of Italian style in Bond’s clothing. The suit fabric is charcoal grey in a tropical weave. Though it may not look expensive, the suit is from Florentine fashion designer Stefano Ricci.
Bond’s blue pinpoint shirt has a point collar with edge stitching, rounded single-button cuff and a chest pocket. It’s pretty much a typical American shirt bought off-the-rack. The belt, socks and low-vamp slip-ons are all black. The low-vamp slips-ons were also a popular American item in the 80s.
And Bond has forgotten his tie. The suit-without-a-tie look is popular right now but it’s not something that Bond much goes for, and at least in Quantum of Solace Bond always started out with a tie when wearing a suit. The Key West weather makes the lack of tie understandable, but a lighter-coloured suit would be more appropriate for the warm-weather, tie-less look. Responsible for the terrible style in Licence to Kill is costume designer Jodie Tillen. Some of you probably like the tie-less look, but the cut of the suit is unforgivable.
Which do you think is worse: Timothy Dalton in 1989 or Roger Moore and his wide lapels and bell-bottoms in 1979?
The gun club check is a popular pattern for country clothes, such as on the sports coat that James Bond wears in The Living Daylights when visiting the Bladen safe house outside London in Oxfordshire. The check is usually woven in an even twill weave, often with a 32-yarn repeat. The pattern is based on the black and white shepherd check but made in three or four colours. Bond’s gun club check is in black, brown, blue and green, and the pattern can be seen illustrated below. The sports coat has a button two front, two buttons on the cuffs, double vents and flapped pockets. The shoulders are padded with roped sleeveheads. Dalton leaves the sports coat unbuttoned.
Bond wears an ecru shirt with a spread collar and single-button rounded cuffs. The tie is a brown knit with a flat bottom, tied in a four-in-hand knot. The dark brown flannel trousers have forward pleats and no turn-ups in the traditional English fashion. In the Connery Bond tradition, there is not a lot of contrast between the jacket and trousers. The less contrast between the jacket and trousers makes the outfit dressier, and outdoors the contrast proves to be enough for the outfit to avoid looking like a mismatched suit. When the pattern on the jacket is bolder, less contrast is needed with the trousers.
Bond’s belt and slip-on shoes are medium brown, a lighter shade than the trousers. Between the checked jacket, knitted tie and slip-on shoes, Ian Fleming would surely approve of this fine outfit for the country. The Living Daylights marks the last time James Bond wears a tweed odd jacket. Bond comes to the safe house appropriately dressed for the country, whilst Bond’s superiors M and the Minister of Defence are dressed in their more formal city business suits.
This sports coat sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 12 December 2001 for £411, and the brand is identified as Benjamin Simon.
Timothy Dalton’s first lounge suit of the series is a black and white herringbone three-piece suit. Bond previously wears a two-piece version such a herringbone suit in You Only Live Twice. The suit coat has a button two front, three buttons on the cuffs, double vents and flapped pockets. The shoulders are heavily padded, straight and extended beyond the natural shoulder with a roped sleevehead. The overall cut is relaxed and takes after the popular Armani suits of the day, but the details of the suit are still English.
The waistcoat has six buttons down the front, with the bottom button left undone. The trousers are classic-cut with double forward pleats. Dalton’s shirt is white poplin with a spread collar and button cuffs. He ties his solid black repp tie with a four-in-hand knot. Dalton’s ties are a little sloppy in that they don’t cover the top of the collar band, but the collar itself has too much tie space, which may also be causing the problem.
For a drive in the Aston Martin DB5 in GoldenEye, James Bond wears a navy cable knit crew neck jumper. Bond wears the jumper with the cuffs turned back, exposing the shirt cuff underneath. The shirt is a French blue semi-solid fabric, probably end-on-end. The shirt has a moderate spread collar and button cuffs with the stitching close to the edge for a modern look. Inside the shirt’s collar, Bond wears a dark green silk foulard day cravat. A day cravat can be difficult to pull off, but Bond’s is subtle and only peeks out of the shirt’s collar. It’s a stylish way to step up a casual outfit.
The rest of the outfit isn’t seen in the film but can be seen in publicity stills. The trousers are light brown moleskin—a heavy, durable cotton that is sheared for a soft pile—with double reverse pleats with a trim, tapered leg and plain hems, and the shoes are brown Church’s oxford brogues, either the Chetwynd or Burwood model.
In Chapter 3 of Ian Fleming’s Live and Let Die, Bond is forced to Americanize his appearance for undercover work. Even though he has to wear some tasteless American clothing he can still wear the dark blue suits he likes so much.
“The afternoon before he had had to submit to a certain degree of Americanization at the hands of the FBI. A tailor had come and measured him for two single-breasted suits in dark blue light-weight worsted (Bond had firmly refused anything more dashing) and a haberdasher had brought chilly white nylon shirts with long points to the collars. He had had to accept half a dozen unusually patterned foulard ties, dark socks with fancy clocks, two or three ‘display kerchiefs’ for his breast pocket, nylon vests and pants (called T-shirts and shorts), a comfortable light-weight camel-hair overcoat with over-buttressed shoulders, a plain grey snap-brim Fedora with a thin black ribbon and two pairs of hand-stitched and very comfortable black Moccasin ‘casuals’.
“He also acquired a ‘Swank’ tie-clip in the shape of a whip, an alligator-skin billfold from Mark Cross, a plain Zippo lighter, a plastic ‘Travel-Pak’ containing razor, hairbrush and toothbrush, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses with plain lenses, various other oddments and, finally, a light-weight Hartmann ‘Skymate’ suitcase to contain all these things….
“Bond looked grimly at the pile of parcels which contained his new identity, stripped off his pyjamas for the last time (‘We mostly sleep in the raw in America, Mr. Bond’) and gave himself a sizzling cold shower….
“Later, in white shirt and dark blue trousers, he went into the sitting-room, pulled a chair up to the writing-desk near the window and opened The Travellers Tree, by Patrick Leigh Fermor.”
James Bond wears a midnight blue dinner jacket made by Douglas Hayward for dinner at the Eiffel Tower in A View to a Kill. Dinner jackets are only appropriate in the evening but this scene takes place during daylight. Since Bond has just come from the Royal Ascot (which takes place in June) it should be around the time of the summer solstice when the days are longest, thus it may very well be after 6 PM. Since there is ample daylight the dinner jacket looks more blue than black.
The dinner jacket is double-breasted and has four buttons in a keystone formation with the bottom one to close. This is a style that Douglas Hayward often made for his double-breasted jackets, and Bond wears this style in his navy suit in Octopussy. The lower button stance gives Bond easier access to his PPK than a traditional higher-buttoning double-breasted jacket would. The jacket is cut with a slightly draped chest, soft shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The black satin peak lapels have a buttonhole on both sides, and the jacket has flared double vents, straight jetted pockets and four-button cuffs. The dinner jacket’s buttons are black horn. In some shots of the stuntman a blue lining and belted trousers can be seen. But that doesn’t mean that Bond wears a belt with his dinner suit trousers, something typically out of place in formalwear. The midnight blue dinner suit trousers have a black satin stripe down each leg.
The cream dress shirt made by Frank Foster has a spread collar, pleated front, rounded-corner double cuffs and regular mother of pearl buttons down the placket. The black bow-tie is a classic thistle shape.
The contrast between the midnight blue jacket and black silk lapels is evident during daylight, but not as much indoors under artificial light.
This dinner suit sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 17 September 1998 for £4,600.
In Goldfinger, Bond wears a black and white nailhead dressing gown in his hotel suite at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The dressing gown has turn-back cuffs and a shawl collar with black piping. There is a jetted pocket on the left side of the chest. The dressing gown reaches below the knee and is tied around the waist with a belt. There appears to be some type of design or logo on the each end of the belt. Underneath the dressing gown Bond wears light blue pyjama bottoms. The pyjama bottoms have an elastic waist, tied with a white drawstring. Jill Masterson wears Bond’s matching pajama top.