You know that strip of fabric down the front of your shirt that you button through? That’s called a placket and can be found on almost all traditional English shirts. Traditional American shirts have them too. A placket might look a little rustic in comparison to the cleaner plain (French) front, but it adds stability to the front of the shirt. Aesthetically a placket makes the front of the shirt symmetrical. Bond’s formal and dress shirts almost always have a placket, the most notable exception being dress shirts with a pique bib worn with studs. But not all plackets are the same, and the English have their own way of doing it.
Turnbull & Asser dress shirt from Thunderball
Traditional shirts, from England or elsewhere, have stitching on the collar and cuffs 1/4-inch from the edge, and often that follows on the placket. But it’s common for Jermyn Street and other high-end shirtmakers in London to stitch their plackets closer to the center. Turnbull & Asser stitches their placket 3/8 inches from the edge. And since the placket is only 1 3/16 inches wide, the stitching almost divides the placket into 3 equal sections. It’s around the typical width for Jermyn Street plackets, though some are wider. Turnbull & Asser’s plackets on Pierce Brosnan’s shirts are the same as they were over 30 years earlier on Connery’s shirts.
Frank Foster shirt from The Man with the Golden Gun
Frank Foster, Roger Moore’s and George Lazenby’s shirtmaker, stitches his plackets in a unique style closer to the center and just a little wider than the buttonholes. This allows the edges of the placket to flare out, which may or may not be desirable according to your taste.
Brioni shirt from Die Another Day
Brioni’s plackets are the most common style. Their placket is wider than what English shirts typically have, closer to 1 1/2 inches like most American shirts. And like most American, Italian and French plackets, these follow the collar and cuffs with stitching 1/4-inch from the edge. Tom Ford’s plackets also have 1/4-inch stitching, though the overal width is closer to Turnbull & Asser’s.
Tom Ford shirt from Quantum of Solace
In Diamonds Are Forever, James Bond wears a lightweight, light grey suit with a very subtle glen check pattern in Amsterdam, posing as Peter Franks. The glen check is woven in a hopsack weave and is essentially the same as the famous three-piece glen check suit that James Bond wears in Goldfinger. The suit jacket is like many of the other Anthony Sinclair suits in Diamonds Are Forever, with a button two front, four-button cuffs, double vents and slanted pockets with a ticket pocket. The shoulders are natural with roped sleeveheads, but the wider lapels, wider pocket flaps and deeper vents make the suit look a lot different from Sinclair’s 1960’s suits, even though the cut is almost the same. The biggest difference in cut is that these suits have less drape in the chest. The trousers have a darted front, button-tab side adjusters and plain hems. Since Bond is always in motion it is difficult to assess how well this suit fits, and being lightweight causes the suit to rumple more than usual.
Bond’s cream poplin shirt is from Turnbull & Asser, and it has a spread collar, placket front and two-button turnback cuffs with only the first button fastened. His tie is a black grenadine, also from Turnbull & Asser, tied in a large Windsor knot. Bond’s shoes are black cap-toe oxfords. It’s the most traditional and formal type of shoe to wear with a suit, and it’s the only time in the series Connery wears this type of shoe.
The latest issue of MI6 Confidential, which focuses on Timothy Dalton’s debut in The Living Daylights, features an article on the history of the Anthony Sinclair/007 relationship. Find out more at mi6confidential.com.
Timothy Dalton, who turned 66 last week, wears a navy and black outfit for his showdown with Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights. Though black shoes are the default choice for a navy suit, the pairing of dark blue and black in most other situations is questionable. The navy knit shirt with a fold-down collar and a nine-button opening is the same shirt we saw earlier in the film under his beige blouson. The shirt looks black at first, though under bright light the blue shows and slightly contrasts with black trousers. The trousers are also the same double forward-pleat cotton chinos, but in black. Bond wears a black braided leather belt and a black trainers.
One of the most popular suits during Pierce Brosnan’s Bond tenure is the charcoal worsted serge suit from Brioni he wears in the beginning of The World is Not Enough in Bilbao. The cloth is made up of grey, navy and brown yarns that come together to appear a balanced charcoal. This film has the most suits of any of Brosnan’s Bond films as well as some of the best. This suit is cut full through the body with straight shoulders, a 3-button front and double vents. It has straight, flapped pockets and 4-button cuffs. The trousers have a darted front and turn-ups.
Bond’s shirt is a Turnbull & Asser “Turnbuline” in blue royal oxford. It has a spread collar, placket front and double cuffs. The tie is also from Turnbull & Asser, in a dark blue and light brown large pointed twill pattern that brings out the colours in the suit. Bond ties it in a four-in-hand knot, though it being a very thick tie makes a wider knot. Bond’s shoes are black Church’s monk shoes, and Bond wears a matching black belt. Both have silver-toned buckles.
When meeting with bankers, Bond wears Calvin Klein 718F glasses that act as a detonator.
The light warm grey suit is great for the spring man.
We last looked at the winter complexion, the dark colouring we most associate with Bond. But the traditional dark blue and grey suits that look so good on those men aren’t as easy for the spring man to pull off. Roger Moore and Daniel Craig are both springs, with Craig on the lighter side and Moore on the darker. Springs have a warm complexion and lighter hair, with gold or red tones. Their eyes are also light, typically blue or green. Roger Moore has peach skin that tans to golden beige. His hair is always dyed in the Bond films, typically around golden brown though sometimes blonder, sometimes browner and occasionally with a hint of red. But it always fit spring. Daniel Craig always has golden blonde hair with a golden beige skin tone. Moore and Craig both have blue eyes. Warm colours and bright colours associated with the spring season look best on these men, though traditional standards of dress and the Bond history give good reason for these men to wear other colours as well.
Roger Moore looks great in a light blue suit and warm red tie.
Roger Moore’s wardrobe is often criticised for having too much brown and tan, opposed to the grey and blue like Sean Connery and George Lazenby typically wore. Most people attribute the colour change to the trends in the 1970s, though Moore’s complexion might also have something to do with it. Spring men look best in warm colours like cream, camel, tan and richer browns. Roger Moore wore a lot of cream and ercu shirts because they fit his complexion, though he also wore a good number of sky blue shirts that also work well for springs. When he wore a grey suit, it was usually a lighter, warmer grey like the one in For Your Eyes Only. Brighter blues also look great on the spring complexion, like the marine blue suit from The Man with the Golden Gun. Bright, warm red ties were worn by Roger Moore in a number of films, and those do wonders for the spring complexion. When Roger Moore’s hair is dyed darker and he has a tan, he can wear charcoal suits well. Though hair dye doesn’t change the skin tone and eyes, it does change the colours one looks best in.
A light brown suit and clear blue shirt is one of the best looks for the spring man.
Daniel Craig, however, is often dressed in the more traditional Bond colours that better suit someone with winter colouring. The very dark blues and greys that Craig most often wears in the Bond films make him look colder and more distant, which is the goal for his Bond character. He is supposed to look meaner and more like a killer, so dressing him the opposite of Roger Moore achieves this. In Quantum of Solace Craig wore a lot of very dark blue, which helps his complexion a bit more than flat black does. Still, black looks okay on him. The most flattering suit that Craig has worn in the series so far is the light warm grey suit in Casino Royale.
Though black and white aren't the most flattering colours for the spring complexion, they still look elegant.
When at Shrublands helath clinic in Thunderball, Bond wears some terrycloth garments provided by the clinic. His pale blue bathrobe has a narrow shawl collar, a patch breast pocket and a belted waist. It’s clearly not Bond’s own bathrobe due to it not fitting him so well, and the shoulders extend down his arms. The sleeves extend past the elbow, though if the shoulders fit properly the sleeves would end above the elbow. The length is a few inches above the knee, shorter than the typical bathrobe.
Under the bathrobe Bond wears a beige towel wrap around his waist. The wrap has an elasticised waistband that closes at the side and a patch pocket on the front.
Sean Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair is back in business at No. 6 Sackville Street in London. Though Sinclair himself is no longer around, British designer David Mason has revived the name for a new operation that makes bespoke and Special Order suits in the spirit of classic Conduit Street tailoring. Mason was trained by Edward Sexton and serves as the creative director and marketer of the firm, bringing back the style of Sean Connery’s Bond suits and Sinclair’s famous “Conduit Cut.” The term “Conduit Cut” came from his British Guard’s Officer clients, according to his former apprentice Richard W. Paine, though Sinclair himself referred to his suit as “a Savile Row style.” Compared to the majority of Savile Row tailors in the 1950s and 1960s, Sinclair preferred lighter fabrics and a more natural silhouette, with natural shoulders. But his suits were still very much structured, as well as heavier and more robust compared to most suits today. After Sinclair retired, Richard Paine took over the business until he retired in 2005 and now helps out at the current Anthony Sinclair operation.
The firm’s Special Order suit (pictured above) is its most accessible product, starting at £625. This is a half-canvas suit made from a block pattern that can be customised to fit your body and your taste. The pre-defined style has been developed as a modern interpretation of Sinclair’s style, with a firmer, though still natural, shoulder and a sleeker silhouette than what he made for Connery. But Sinclair’s roped sleeve head, full chest, moderately suppressed waist and flared skirt of classic Savile Row style are still present. David Mason describes the Special Order suit: “The challenge with this exercise has been to create a contemporary product with reverence to the past, which can be worn effortlessly by the modern man, and appreciated by devotees of the original. Something that we think Anthony would be producing now, had he still been with us.”
But for something even closer to what Sean Connery wore or something completely different, Anthony Sinclair (the firm) makes hand-tailored bespoke suits the under the direction of principal cutter Paul Mundy. Mundy has worked for a number of Savile Row tailors and can cut in a variety of styles. In-between the bespoke and Special Order suits, Anthony Sinclair also offers a full-canvas, hand-tailored Made-to-Measure suit. In addition to tailoring, Anthony Sinclair makes shirts, in-house bespoke by a shirtmaker who apprenticed at Huntsman and made-to-measure sub-contracted to a manufacturer in Switzerland. Ties will also be sold, including seamless knits and grenadines just like Sean Connery wore himself.
For more information visit Anthony Sinclair’s website at anthonysinclair.com, check out their blog or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
Traditionally, men dress in colours that complement their surroundings. We wear blue and grey in the city, brown and green in the country and black for formal wear. We also dress for the season: dark colours for winter, bright warm colours in spring, light, cool pastels for summer and earth tones for autumn. But most people look their best in one season’s colours, and some image consultants will recommend you only dress in colours for that season. In this article we will look at the winter Bonds: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. These men look their best in traditional winter colours.
Winter is the colouring most associated with Bond. People with a winter complexion are typically characterised by a cool or olive skin tone and dark hair. Dark brown eyes like on Sean Connery and George Lazenby are most common on winters, but winters can have other eye colours, like Timothy Dalton’s grey-green eyes or Pierce Brosnan’s grey-blue eyes.
Winters look best in clear colours and high contrast. Winters can wear black and white better than any other complexion because of their own high contrast. They look best in a dark true navy and all shades of grey, thus traditional colours for business-wear and formalwear look best on winters. Sean Connery wore mostly grey suits in his Bond films, and he wore all shades of grey very well. His contrasting shirts also suited him well, in cool, icy tones. He wore mostly white and icy blue shirts, as well as icy cream shirts occasionally. Lazenby followed the same colour palate. There are of course exceptions to this, but when the winter Bonds wear brown tones they are always greyed. When they aren’t so greyed, such as the case is with Lazenby’s rusty Ulster coat, they aren’t as flattering. Though beige and tan aren’t in the winter palate, Dalton and Brosnan wear those colours successfully when they are paired with a darker, richer colour (usually navy) closer to the face to provide contrast.
To read more about what colours flatter your complexion best, Carole Jackson’s bestselling book Color for Men gives advice for men of all colouring. But you need to find a balance of dressing to suit your complexion and dressing in the right colour for the occasion. Later this week we will look at how Roger Moore and Daniel Craig differ from the traditional Bond mould in their colouring.