In honour of Sean Connery’s 84th birthday earlier this week, let’s look at a glen check suit he wears in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie that’s quite befitting for James Bond. The lightweight black and white glen check cloth is in a hopsack weave, and it’s very similar to the cloth of the glen check suit that Connery wears in Goldfinger. However, the two-and-two—or puppytooth—section of the glen check has a smaller repeat. The cloth is approximated in the diagram below.
The button three suit jacket has narrow lapels that roll through the top button but not down to the middle button. The jacket is cut with a full chest, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and it has no vent, three buttons on the cuffs and pockets with very narrow flaps. The buttons are grey horn, as opposed to the grey plastic buttons that are on Sean Connery’s worsted Anthony Sinclair suits for Bond. Not much of the trousers can be seen, but they most likely follow the other suit trousers in the film and have double forward pleats, turn-ups and button-tab side-adjusters.
The white shirt—it looks cream, but I suspect that’s due to the way the film is treated because all of the colours have been warmed—has a spread collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a placket stitched close to the centre like on Frank Foster’s shirts. The narrow black repp tie—which isn’t as interesting as the textured dark grenadine ties Sean Connery often wears as Bond—anchors the overall light-coloured outfit by giving the outfit the necessary contrast to flatter Connery’s cool, high-contrast complexion. Because the tie is so narrow, it’s difficult to tell if the symmetrical knot he is using a Windsor or Half Windsor knot. Connery secures his tie with a tie bar that is mostly obscured by his jacket, slightly angled downward and placed about an inch below the jacket’s top button.
Sean Connery wears a very Bond-like midnight blue dinner suit in Marnie. The jacket has natural shoulders with roping and less dress drape in the chest than the other tailoring in the film. It has a button-one front and a midnight blue satin shawl collar. The jacket also has 3-button cuffs, jetted pockets and no vents. The buttons are probably horn, but may also be plastic, which was very common on dinner jackets in the 1960s. The trousers have double forward pleats and side adjusters.
Like in his Bond films, Connery wears neither a waistcoat nor a cummerbund in Marnie. The bow tie is midnight blue satin silk in a batwing shape. He wears a regular white shirt, with a spread collar and button cuffs. It has a placket with stitching closely spaced down the middle and mother of pearl buttons. A regular shirt can work for black tie in a pinch if it has double cuffs and no pocket, but the button cuffs on this shirt make it a less than ideal choice for black tie. The closest to a regular shirt Bond wears with black tie are the white-on-white stripe shirt in Thunderball and the voile shirt in Octopussy.
In 1964’s Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Sean Connery wears an elegant mix of American Ivy League—as worn by Felix Leiter in Goldfinger—and English Savile Row style. I’m not talking about the “Updated American” suit, which takes the American sack suit and adds darts to the jacket—and sometimes pleats to the trousers. I’m talking about the way one wears his clothes. Another Hitchcock leading man, Cary Grant famously dressed in an English-American manner, often combining English tailoring with American accessories. Polo Ralph Lauren is currently the most well-known purveyor of this style, whilst New York and Chicago’s Paul Stuart and Charleston’s Ben Silver also excel at selling this style of clothing, both in their tailoring and in their accessories.
Though Connery’s sports coats and trousers in Marnie are likely English in origin, he wears them in a decidedly American manner. This jacket is a woolen herringbone tweed in black and grey. It buttons three, with the lapel rolling over the top button. That type of lapel roll is typically associated with American tailoring, though English tailors have been known to cut their suits this way as well. Though all of the suits in Marnie have a somewhat full cut, this jacket may be cut a bit fuller, since Americans often wear their sports coats larger to be able to accommodate a jumper underneath. The full cut works well on Connery, since a more athletic cut wouldn’t drape as well considering his large drop. Still, the jacket has plenty of shape. Like the suits in Marnie, this jacket has flap pockets, 3 buttons on the cuffs and no vent.
The trousers are English in cut. They have double forward pleats, a tapered leg with turn-ups, side tabs and an extended waistband closure. The choice of charcoal for the trousers isn’t the best since there is little contrast with the jacket. However, there is contrast in texture, and that counts for something. In comparison to the trousers, the shirt is an American classic that Connery never wore as Bond: a button-down. The key to a successful button down collar is in the roll. The buttons are placed a bit higher up than where the collar points fall to assist the roll. The button-down is a rather casual collar, and thus Connery only wears it with sports coats in Marnie. Most people in England would never wear a tie with a button-down collar, since the buttons are there to help the collar stand up when it is unbuttoned more than they are there frame the tie. Connery also wears his ties in Marnie much different from how he wears them as Bond. The ties are narrower in Marnie, and narrower than his already somewhat narrow lapels. The tie is plain black, and he clips it to his shirt with a tie bar. He wears the bar with a slight downward angle. And in some shots the tie tucked into his trousers, meaning his ties are an extra-long length considering Connery’s height. Because the tie is so narrow, it’s difficult to tell if he is using a Windsor or Half Windsor knot. The lace-up shoes are black, keeping all the colours of the outfit in black, white and grey.
It’s about time I looked into Sean Connery’s beautiful suits from 1964’s Marnie. There’s a wealth of material to draw from this film, including six suits, three sports coats and a dinner suit. Marnie‘s director Alfred Hitchcock had a huge influence on the Bond films and Bond style, especially with 1959’s North By Northwest as well as some of his other espionage thrillers. It’s quite fitting for Sean Connery to do a Hitchcock film.
The clothes look English, though it’s very possible that they are made by an American tailor. The suits are similar to his Bond suits, with a full chest and natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, but they don’t appear to be cut by Anthony Sinclair. In contrast to his Bond suits, Connery’s suits in Marnie button three as opposed to two, though the lapel rolls gently over the top button. The suits have narrow lapels and pocket flaps, 3-button cuffs and no vents. The trousers are very similar to Connery’s Bond trousers, with double forward pleats, turn-ups and side adjusters. But instead of the tabs extending forward as they ordinarily do, these tabs extend rearward. The suits pictured here are a medium grey with a narrow pinstripe (above 2) and a navy with an even narrower pinstripe (below 2).
The soft white shirt has a spread collar and single-button rounded barrel cuffs. The shirts resemble Frank Foster’s shirts, with a familiar collar shape and the placket stitching close to the center. The shirt also has shoulder pleats, to better fit Connery’s athletic build. His tie is solid black, tied in a half windsor knot and held to his placket with a tie bar. In addition to clipping his tie to the shirt, he also tucks in the tie. For a man of Connery’s height to tuck in the shirt he must be wearing a very long tie. Compare it to his Bond ties, which just touched his waistband. Look for more clothes from Marnie in the future.