A Dinner Suit Back in Time

For Tomorrow Never Dies, costume designer Lindy Hemming looked to the 1930s for inspiration in designing Pierce Brosnan’s Brioni dinner suit. The 1930s saw many innovations in black tie by the Prince of Wales that continue to this day, such as midnight blue dinner suits and turn-down collar-shirts. Bond’s 1-button dinner jacket is midnight blue barathea wool with midnight grosgrain-faced pointed lapels. Covered buttons match grosgrain lapels. Slightly wider lapels and Brioni’s typical strong shoulder are consistent with the 1930’s look. The dinner jacket has jetted pockets, 4-button cuffs and no vents at the back.

The trousers have  a grosgrain stripe down the side of each leg and double reverse pleats, a modern touch as opposed to the more traditional forward pleats that would more likely have been found on a dinner suit in the 1930s. I consider the reverse pleats to be the only downside to this outfit. The most unique 1930’s element is the black 5-button, shawl lapel, double-breasted waistcoat. Even then this was not a popular style. The most common double-breasted waistcoat for evening wear has 4, or occasionally 6, buttons. The five buttons here are placed in a V-formation, and the buttons come out to be a little higher than the standard evening waistcoat yet still much lower than a waistcoat for daytime. The waistcoat is made in the same cloth as the rest of the dinner suit, with grosgrain lapels as well.

The Turnbull & Asser dress shirt is a more formal variation than Bond had ever worn before. Raising the formality is a marcella bib front without a placket and mother of pearl studs. This style front comes from the white tie shirt and was the style originally worn with black tie. Traditionally, mother of pearl studs were only worn for white tie and black onyx studs were worn with black tie, though what Bond wears is not incorrect. In the 1930s people started wearing shirts with attached turn-down collars and pleated fronts with black tie, but wing collars and marcella bibs were still popular with black tie. Here Bond pairs the less formal spread collar with the more formal marcella bib. The collar and double cuffs are also marcella. The body and sleeves of the dress shirt are made of a thin cotton poplin and the back of the shirt is cut with side pleats. The marcella front and turndown collar is a popular combination and more acceptable than the reverse: a wing collar with a pleated front. The midnight bow tie is a wide butterfly shape that balances the wide lapels. Bond’s shoes are black oxfords.

Whilst the studs and waistcoat are not particularly Bondian elements, and probably not things that Ian Fleming would consider, this is one of the most unique and interesting—but still classic and elegant—black tie ensembles of the series.

The Brown Trilby

In the first four James Bond films, Sean Connery’s Bond wears or carries a brown felt trilby hat. Lock & Co. Hatters takes credit for the trilby in Dr. No, but they likely made all of Sean Connery’s hats. Up to the 1960s, the hat was a key part of the gentleman’s wardrobe. It was also a key part of Bond’s wardrobe, and it appeared in all of Connery’s gunbarrel sequences. Even though Bond doesn’t wear a trilby in Diamonds Are Forever since they had fallen out of fashion by the 1970s, the trilby still appears in the gunbarrel sequence that was first shot for Thunderball.

Brown is the most popular colour for a trilby, considering it’s popularity at horse races. As a city hat, brown is still an acceptable colour along with grey and blue. The trilby is characterized by it’s short, stiff brim, which snaps down in front and turns up at the back. The brim is finished with a raw edge. The slightly tapered crown has a pinch in the front and a centre dent. At the base of the crown is a very narrow dark brown grosgrain ribbon. The inside has a leather sweatband and is lined.

The Ulster Coat

Bond, as Sir Hilary Bray, keeps warm outdoors on Christmas wearing an Ulster and tweed trilby, appropriate country clothes. Bond’s coat and hat are copies made of those hanging on the rack in Sir Hilary’s office at the College of Arms. This Ulster is the old Victorian and Edwardian style: single-breasted with a cape attached. The knee-length coat is made in a rust brown tweed with natural shoulders, a Prussian collar, slanted flap pockets and set-in sleeves with a 1-button closure.

Along with the coat Bond wears a beige scarf, light olive leather gloves, and a brown tweed trilby. The trilby has a subtle plaid pattern in brown tones with a red overcheck, with a ribbon in the same material. Bond wears a tweed suit under the Ulster, which will be covered later.

Happy Christmas! And don’t forget to update your bookmarks to our new address: http://thesuitsofjamesbond.com

The Black Overcoat

Similar to the vicuña-coloured overcoat that Bond wore in Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond wears a black double-breasted overcoat to a funeral two years later in The World is Not Enough. Last week we looked at the tweed suit Bond wears under the overcoat. This overcoat has a six button front with two to button and peaked lapels with a buttonhole in each. The pockets are jetted without flaps, or with the flaps tucked in. Black is an appropriate colour to wear to a funeral, and in Bond’s case it gives more solemnity to make up for the less formal tweed suit underneath. The black coat goes well with the grey suit, but grey suits and black evening wear are all that a black overcoat like this can match (excluding casual wear).

Skiing in Cortina

In For Your Eyes Only, Bond goes skiing in Cortina d’Ampezzo dressed in Bogner Skiwear. The Bogner clothing brand was started by skiier Willy Bogner, Sr., whose son Willy Bogner, Jr. took over the company after his death in 1977. Bogner, Jr., who is also an accomplished skiier, was the cameraman who shot the complex ski sequences in For Your Eyes Only and in other Bond films. “B” logo of the zip fasteners are shown in many close-up shots to promote the brand. Not only does Bond wear Bogner clothes but so do some of the bad guys. Bogner’s skiwear is well-made and timeless.

Bond’s Bogner light blue, zip-front ski jacket is hip-length and worn with a D-ring belt. There are three pockets: one horizontally across the chest on the left size, and two slash pockets at the hips, all closing with zip fasteners. The cuffs are elasticised. The back is one piece and darted at each shoulder. Apart from the “B” zip fastensers, there is an additional Bogner logo on the upper left sleeve that spells out the name under a hemicycle.

Under the jacket Bond wears two knit tops. The first is a navy V-neck jumper with a white stripe across the chest and two white stripes on each sleeve. Under that Bond wears a thinner white polo neck jumper. Bond’s Bogner navy ski trousers have a narrow leg with a zip-fastening at the bottom. The zip is on the outside of the leg and a Bogner hemicycle logo is on the inside. The trousers are worn over the dark and light blue two-tone boots, which have a tan sole. The navy leather gloves are also by Bogner and close with a “B” zip fastener. Bond wears a second, insulating pair of gloves under the leather gloves. A white wool tuque, or ski hat, with navy stripes tops off the outfit in the skiing scenes.

A lot including the jacket, polo neck and V-neck jumpers, gloves and hat was auctioned at Christie’s in South Kensington on 12 December 2011 for £2,585. The white polo neck jumper is listed as having a zip at the neck, which means that it wasn’t the same one as used in the film.

The Cheviot Tweed Suit

Whilst in Scotland in The World is Not Enough, Bond wears a Cheviot tweed suit made by Brioni. This suit is charcoal (probably in a black and grey birdseye weave) with a blue windowpane, city colours on a country suit that work quite well. The suit coat has Brioni’s typical straight shoulder line, but the chest was cut with some drape unlike the usual clean-chested Brioni. The 3-button front has a low button stance and the lapels roll gently over the top button. The suit coat has double vents and 4-button cuffs, and slanted pockets with a ticket pocket complete the English country look. Bond wears his darted front trousers with a belt. These trousers appear to have plain bottoms hemmed with a guardsman slant. The heavier weight may explain the lack of Brosnan’s usual turn-ups.

Bond wears a white shirt from Turnbull & Asser with a spread collar and double cuffs. The tie is wool knit tie in black, since he just came from a funeral. Bond’s shoes are black Church’s Presley monks. Overall the outfit is a bit informal for a funeral, though the dark city colours and black shoes help. The overcoat Bond wears over this suit will be covered later.

The Monogrammed Dressing Gown

Roger Moore is introduced as Bond in a dressing gown and pyjamas. Live and Let Die was a big movie for dressing gowns (with Bond wearing three total). The half-sleeve cotton dressing gown is pale yellow with a subtle floral motif and red piping. The yellow is characteristic of the 1970s and even matches Bond’s bedding. But it’s still not quite as outdated as Bond’s kitchen. The dressing gown has a shawl collar and a belted waist. The breast pocket is monogrammed “J.B.” in burgundy silk, so you may notice the monogramme does not match the piping. The dressing gown is lined in yellow silk.

The pyjama bottoms match the dressing gown. The dressing gown and pyjamas came from Washington Tremlett Ltd., The store was then located at 41 Conduit St. in London right next door to Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle, who was located at 42 Conduit St.

Bond also wears purple velvet Prince Albert slippers, also monogrammed. The monogram is in gold thread and the slippers have light purple piping. All three pieces of this outfit together were sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 14 February 2001 for £7,050.