Bond has worn chukka boots in the last four films, from Die Another Day to Skyfall. The classic chukka boot is made in brown suede, and from English makers today they are most often found with Dainite® rubber studded soles. The standard chukka is a two-eyelet design, but they can just as often be found with three eyelets. Bond usually wears them in brown suede, and in Casino Royale and Skyfall he wears chukkas in calf as well. For the most part, Bond’s chukkas have Dainite® studded rubber soles, except the boots in Die Another Day have either soles of leather or a combination of leather and something else. Chukkas are casual boots, and Bond mostly wears them casually. Roger Moore wore them more formally with his country jackets in The Saint. Daniel Craig went even further with them in Skyfall, wearing them with his grey pick-and-pick suit. But balmoral boots, oxford boots or chelsea boots—like Sean Connery wore in Thunderball—are a better match for the formality of a suit.
Desert boots in Skyfall
In Skyfall, Daniel Craig also wore a variation on the chukka: the desert boot. The desert boot is a chukka—typically suede—with a crepe sole. As the name suggest, they are great to wear in sand. The ankle height prevents sand from getting inside the shoe whilst the crepe soles are very comfortable for walking on sand. Daniel Craig wears his on the beach, but he makes sure they stay dry. On the city pavement crepe soles absorb the dirt off the street and wear out quickly. Craig’s desert boots are light brown suede.
Daniel Craig channels Steve McQueen in Quantum of Solace with a shawl-collared cardigan. The cardigan is black ribbed-knit wool cardigan with five black leather buttons, two patch pockets and turned back cuffs. Bond had only worn a cardigan once before, and that was when he was undercover as Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. So Daniel Craig is really the first to wear a cardigan as James Bond. He previously wears a cardigan in Casino Royale, but it gets more screen presence in Quantum of Solace. Underneath the cardigan Craig wears a white Tom Ford shirt with a tall spread collar, placket front and double cuffs. The khaki pants are Levi’s 306 STA-PREST jeans, the same style as the cream-coloured jeans from earlier in the film. The shoes are Church’s Ryder III two-eyelet chukka boots in brown suede with Dainite studded rubber soles. The aviator sunglasses are Tom Ford model TF108 with blue lenses.
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.
The most traditional number of button for the front of a suit jacket is three. But there are a few different ways the lapels can be cut and sewn to control the way the lapel rolls. On inexpensive, fully-fused suits, the lapels don’t roll and are pressed flat above the top button. This is something that James Bond never wears. The opposite of that style would be the “3-roll-2″ style, where the lapels act just like on a button two suit and roll down to the middle button. The top buttonhole is also finished on the reverse side, since that’s the side that is visible. This style is most commonly seen in American sack suits, but it’s not limited to that cut. Cary Grant famously wore that style in North By Northwest, and Bond wore it in Quantum of Solace (pictured below). Some see it as an affected style since the top button can’t close, but it’s a well-established classic.
The most common type of button three amongst well-made jackets has the lapel gently rolling from at or just below the top button. Most of Bond’s button three suits are in this style. It looks very elegant with only the middle button closed, but the top can be closed as well. We first saw this style on Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. George Lazenby fastens both the top and middle buttons (pictured below), and the top button breaks the roll. If he only fastened the middle button, the lapel would roll through the top button. Sean Connery’s button three sports coats in Diamonds Are Forever have similar lapels, but he only fasten the jacket at the middle button. Roger Moore wore a few suits in this style made by Douglas Hayward in the 1980s with a lower button stance, and Timothy Dalton wore a navy pinstripe suit in this style in The Living Daylights. Pierce Brosnan most famously wore this style made by Brioni throughout all of his Bond films (pictured top). Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits in Casino Royale followed in the same 3-button style, though a more fitted cut meant that the lapels spread open a bit wider. Every Bond after Lazenby fastens only the middle button, which is usually—and most effectively—placed at the waist to act as a fulcrum for both visual balance and to match where your body pivots. The latter is especially important for action since a button that is placed too low or too high would be restricting.
Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall (pictured below) also have a lapel that rolls from the top button, as you can easily see when the jackets are unbuttoned. But because the jackets are so tight the chest is pulled open more than it looks like it was designed to be. The revers are shown a little bit below the button but not all the way down to the middle button like on the Quantum of Solace suit. If you look at the image of the buttoned suit below you’ll notice that the lapel roll ends at the top button and below that it is just pulled open because it’s too tight.
A lapel that rolls needs canvassing to give it shape and body, which is why some makers just sew canvas in the lapels and fuse the rest of the front. The amount of roll is controlled by the cut of the lapel, where the lapel is attached to the collar and how the innards of the suit are constructed. And a lapel roll isn’t just limited to the button three jacket. Sean Connery’s button two jackets had elegant rolls, especially starting in From Russia With Love as the lapels got narrower. In comparison, Roger Moore’s button two jackets had more typical, flatter lapels.
Though the go-to method of supporting trousers these days is the belt, English suits weren’t traditionally worn with belts. The Duke of Windsor famously went to an American tailor to have his suit trousers with belt loops made because his London tailored refused to. And there are many reasons not to wear a belt with a suit:
A belt breaks the visual flow from the coat to the trousers, especially on a lighter suit. A suit should be one.
A belt buckle disrupts the line of a fitted suit coat.
A belt buckle creates a lump under a waistcoat on a 3-piece suit.
Trousers will sag during the day with a belt and need to be pulled up.
Only braces can solve problem 4, but the other three problems can be solved with side adjusters. By the 1950s it was common for English tailors to make trousers with an adjustable waistband system to take the place of braces, and there are a number of different types of waistband adjusters.
Cyril Castle’s Side Adjusters in Live and Let Die
Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits all featured “DAKS tops,” originally made by Simpson’s of Piccadilly. The name is a portmanteau of “Dad” and “slacks.” The style has buttoning tabs on the sides, connected with hidden elastic across the back. One drawback to this is that the adjusters can only be tightened to where the buttons are placed, though the elastic helps for a snug fit. There are usually two or three buttons on each side, and Connery used one of the buttons on the left to secure his shoulder holster. Roger Moore also wore this style on his Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die.
Tom Ford’s Side Adjusters in Quantum of Solace
Daniel Craig introduced another classic trouser adjuster style to the Bond series with his Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace. The Tom Ford side adjusters are two strips of cloth brought together with a slide buckle, though a more casual variation can be found that uses D-rings. As opposed to button-tabs, this style allows for an exact adjustment. Other styles of side adjusters exist, such as a waistband that expands and contracts with a locking zip fastener. There are also adjusters that look like DAKS tops but don’t have elastic across the back, and thus they do not function as well.
When most people think of natural shoulder suits, it’s the soft shoulder that curves down at the ends to follow the shoulder into the arm. But we often forget that the shoulder has a concave shape too, though some men don’t have a shoulder like this. The pagoda shoulder suit emphasizes that concave part of the shoulder but doesn’t curve down at the end like some other natural shoulder suits do. Instead the shoulder line curves out, often ending with a roped sleevehead to emphasize the concave shape. Usually this type of shoulder has padding on the end to keep the shape, but some tailors may achieve this look with just proper sewing and canvas. It’s not a very common type of shoulder, but it’s found on Tom Ford’s Regency model that Daniel Craig wears in Quantum of Solace. Some of Timothy Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights also featured a pagoda shoulder.
In honour of Daniel Craig’s 44th birthday on March 2nd, we take a look at the charcoal suit Bond wears in the London scenes of Quantum of Solace. This Tom Ford suit is a very dark charcoal, almost black, but compared to black the very dark grey is slightly more flattering to Craig’s light complexion and has more depth. The slight sheen of the mohair tonic adds to the depth. Like all the other suits in the film, this suit has a structured shoulder and a 3-button front with the lapel rolled to the middle button. The suit also has flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, 5-button cuffs (with the last button left open) and double vents. The flat front suit trousers have buckle-side adjusters and turn-ups, hemmed without a break. Bond’s shoes are black punched-cap-toe oxfords from Church’s.
The white poplin shirt has a moderate spread collar and double cuffs. The tie has white pin-dots on a black and aubergine ground, so the overall look is dark grey with a hint of purple. Bond wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket.
In Quantum of Solace, Bond found in a locker a perfectly-fitted dinner suit that was almost a copy of Bond’s first dinner suit that Sean Connery wore to introduce the character in Dr. No. The Tom Ford dinner jacket is a midnight blue 1-button, shawl collar model, which Bond hasn’t worn since The Living Daylights. The jacket has jetted pockets and double vents, and even the gauntlet cuffs (now with 5-buttons instead of 4) have been retained. The collar, cuffs, pocket jettings, button coverings and trouser stripe are black silk, slightly contrasting with the midnight blue mohair tonic.
The shirt and tie are also copies of Connery’s clothes. The shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a pleated front, but with mother of pearl studs instead of buttons. The bow-tie is the same diamond-end style as Connery’s, except it’s wider to better hamonise with the lapel width. Craig also includes a folded white linen pocket handkerchief. His shoes are black calf oxfords, not patent leather.
This black tie ensemble has a few differences from the one in Dr. No. The biggest difference is the trousers, which have a low rise and a flat front here whilst the trousers in Dr. No have double forward pleats with a longer rise. The trousers in Dr. No also have button-tab waist-adjusters, whilst these most likely have the same buckle side-adjusters as the the other suits in Quantum of Solace. Another significant difference is the waist-covering. Craig wears a cummerbund while Connery breaks black tie protocol and goes without any waist-covering. Some smaller differences include the addition of a buttonhole in the left lapel.
The cut and proportions of this dinner suit also differ from Connery’s. Following current trends, this dinner jacket has a trimmer cut, narrower shoulders and a higher button stance. Still, none of that is to the extreme and this dinner suit will still look good in years to come.