Sean Connery’s second black and white plaid suit in From Russia With Love is almost identical to the glen plaid suit in Dr. No. The cloth is woven in a plain weave, making it better suited for warmer weather than the more traditional twill-weave Glen Urquhart check suit Connery wears earlier in From Russia With Love. The scale of the pattern on this suit isn’t as fine as the similar check in Dr. No, but all the details are the same except for pocket flaps being present on this suit. The button-two suit jacket has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a draped chest and a nipped waist. It has double vents and four-button cuffs. The suit trousers have double forward pleats and turn ups.
Connery’s pale blue shirt is from Turnbull & Asser and has a spread collar, front placket and two-button cocktail cuffs. He wears a navy grenadine tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. He wears a white linen folded pocket handkerchief, black socks and black derby shoes. His hat is a brown felt trilby.
Darted Turnbull & Asser shirt in From Russia With Love
Darts on the back of a shirt are currently more popular than ever now that people like wearing their clothes tighter. When darts are used, two are typically placed at the back towards the sides. They start above the waist and may extend down to the bottom of the shirt or as far as needed. Most often shirts are shaped as much as possible with the side seams and back darts are used when needed. Traditionally darts are not used on men’s shirts, but can often be found in both the backs and fronts of women’s shirts. But it’s completely acceptable for men to have darts on the back of their shirt for a more shapely and less blousy look. Darts are rarely found on ready-to-wear shirts because the closer fit they provide is very specific to the person wearing the shirt. However, they can easily be added to the shirt if taking in the side seams is not enough.
Turnbull & Asser put darts on Sean Connery’s shirts because of his large drop rather than for a close fit. Without darts, a shirt on someone as athletic as Connery would be much too large around the waist. Connery’s shirt also shows that pleats and darts on the back can work well together.
Darted Frank Foster shirt in Octopussy
Frank Foster used darts for George Lazenby and Roger Moore’s shirts to achieve a closer fit. Foster fits his shirts much closer than most English shirtmakers, but the clean, streamlined look is perfect for James Bond. The back is shirred under the yoke for fullness across the shoulder blades, and the darts take in the fullness at the waist. Daniel Craig’s dress shirt in Casino Royale is darted, and his Tom Ford shirts in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall are also darted.
Darted Tom Ford shirt in Quantum of Solace
Skyfall is released today in the UK, and a new quartermaster is introduced. But let’s take a look back 49 years ago. From Russia With Love introduced Desmond Llyewlyn’s famous Q character, and he went on to appear in 16 more Bond films. He’s first seen in M’s office wearing a 3-piece Prince of Wales check suit and looking the best-dressed he ever was in the series. It’s his own suit—the budget didn’t allow for minor characters’ wardrobes—made in a Savile Row style and probably bespoke. The Prince of Wales check cloth is black and white with red lines framing the pattern. The jacket is a very traditional button three with padded shoulders, a full chest and a nipped waist. It has flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. Q wears the jacket unbuttoned except for in a close-up shot, a continuity error. When he has it buttoned, only the middle is fastened.
The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button and the trousers have forward pleats. Q wears a cream shirt with a spread collar and a Brigade of Guards regimental tie with navy and maroon stripes. DIrector of From Russia With Love, Terence Young, directed Llewelyn in a 1950 film called They Were Not Divided. Lewellyn played a Guards Officer and Young himself was a former Guards Officer. The tie is surely a nod to the film they did together 13 years earlier.
Whilst Bond’s suit is influenced by 1960s fashions with its two buttons and narrow lapels, Q’s suit doesn’t belong to any era.
Bond and Kerim Bey are overdressed for the Gypsy camp
In From Russia With Love, Bond wears a charcoal flannel suit to dinner at the gypsy camp. This is a typical Anthony Sinclair suit: a lower two-button style, natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a little drape and a nipped waist. This suit jacket has double vents, four buttons on the cuffs and flapped pockets. The trousers have double forward pleats with button-tab waist adjusters and turn-ups.
The shirt and tie are also the usual. The pale blue Turnbull & Asser shirt has a spread collar, a placket and cocktail cuffs. The tie is a navy grenadine. At the beginning of the evening Bond starts out with a white linen handkerchief folded in his breast pocket but removes it to wipe his hands. Later in the evening he puts it back in. Bond’s shoes are black 2-eyelet derby shoes. His socks are black with a red band around the top. Or the red band could be something else.
A Gypsy girl repairs Bond’s shirt
Stuntman Bob Simmons was the first man to appear as Bond in the Bond films. Simmons appears in the famous gun barrel sequence opening in Dr. No, and the footage is reused in From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. Simmons appears through the gun barrel in black and white, but it’s not very easy to tell what he is wearing. The suit has a Savile Row silhouette with strong shoulders, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s probably a button 3 jacket and there appears to be a single vent. The trousers have a narrow leg and are hemmed without a break. The suit is dark, but not black, so it’s most likely charcoal or navy. Simmons wears a white pocket handkerchief and a darker than white shirt, which would most likely be light blue. Like Connery he wears a dark tie and black shoes. And most iconicity, he wears a trilby, which would continue in all gun barrel sequences through Diamonds Are Forever.
Every other gun barrel sequence features an outfit from the film they were first used on. For Thunderball it’s the navy blazer and grey trousers. For On Her Majesty’s Secret Service it’s the navy herringbone suit. For Live and Let Die it’s the navy suit that’s barely seen under his chesterfield coat in New York. For The Spy Who Loved Me it’s the double-breasted dinner suit, and from then on Bond only does the gun barrel sequence in black tie. For The Living Daylights it’s the notch lapel dinner suit. For GoldenEye it’s the 3-piece dinner suit. And for Quantum of Solace Bond goes back to wearing a suit, but they also filmed one in his shawl-collar dinner suit.
Bond is introduced to us in Dr. No wearing a midnight blue shawl-collar dinner suit. In the From Russia With Love pre-title sequence, Bond (or rather a man wearing a James Bond mask) wears a very similar dinner suit, though it is not the same one as I previously though it was. The dinner jacket has a 1-button front, jetted pockets and satin gauntlet cuffs with 4 buttons. The collar is narrower and has less belly than the Dr. No dinner suit, giving this dinner suit a more modern look. It’s difficult to tell if this one has vents, but probably not. The trousers have double forward pleats. The pleat-front shirt has mother-of-pearl buttons and double cuffs, and the placket stitching suggests a maker other than Turnbull & Asser. The bow-tie is also different. Instead of the pointed ends from before, this bow-tie is a narrow standard batwing shape with straight ends. Bond again wears a white linen handkerchief folded in his breast pocket.
Bernard Lee’s M is known for his likeness to Winston Churchill, partially attributed to his penchance for bow tie. M didn’t wear a bow tie in Dr. No, but he started the tradition in the second film, From Russia With Love. M’s first bow tie is wine red with pale yellow dots, and later in the film wears a very similar bow tie. M’s suit is brown flannel with a red cast. The suit coat has a 2-button front with 3 buttons on the cuffs, flapped pockets and no vents. It actually has a very similar cut to Connery’s suit, with natural shoulders and a swelled chest. The trousers are most likely also the same, with double forward pleats. Though M’s and Bond’s suits are very similar, the difference in their figures is what makes the suits look so much different from each other.
M’s shirt is slightly off-white with a spread collar and double cuffs. His shoes are medium brown, quite unusual for office-wear in London, though a man in his position can wear whatever he wants to. M accessorises his suit with a folded white linen handkerchief in the breast pocket. And though it’s not something he wears, the pipe is is a key accessory to the character. Even though there is nothing particularly outdated with his clothes, the pipe, bow tie, flannel cloth and vent-less skirt all contribute to M’s old-world look.
You can see Bond’s blue suit from this scene here.
Not all of Anthony Sinclair’s suits for Sean Connery were lightweight. Connery wears a heavy navy flannel chalkstripe suit at the end of From Russia With Lovein Venice. Though this suit appears mostly charcoal on the Blu-ray edition, the suit looks to be navy, matching the tie, in the older prints. It might just be because of the soft fabric, but this suit looks more relaxed than the rest of Connery’s suits. It has a more old-fashioned look than most of Connery’s suits. The 2-button suit coat has a relaxed fit with a draped chest and natural shoulders. The coat has flapped pockets, 4-button cuffs and a single vent. The suit trousers have double forward pleats, button-tab side adjusters and turn-ups.
The ecru poplin shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar, a placket front and 2-button turnback cuffs. The back of the shirt is shaped with two darts, though the shirt still has generous fit. Bond ties his dark blue grenadine tie in a very small four-in-hand knot. Bond places a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket. Navy socks match the suit, and Bond’s shoes are black 2-eyelet derbies.