The Basic Navy Overcoat

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In Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig wears a navy wool overcoat over his charcoal suit in London. The single-breasted knee-length coat has a similar look to the suit jackets in the film with some of the same details. Like the suit jacket underneath, the overcoat has pagoda shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and the shoulders are fairly large so they fit comfortably over the suit jacket. The coat buttons three and has a very low button stance with the buttons spaced closer together than is typical. The lower button stance combined with the wide lapels looks very elegant, but it’s not as practical in keeping out the cold. This coat could benefit from a fly front, which would make it look even more elegant, but without the fly front it’s a little more versatile and can be worn less formally.

The front is darted and the waist is suppressed to give the overcoat an athletic silhouette. The coat has straight flap pockets with a ticket pocket, another detail that matches the suit jacket. It also has the same “barchetta” breast pocket, an Italian touch that Tom Ford puts on his rather English-styled clothes. The cuffs button four and there is a centre vent in back. Daniel Craig wears the coat open, which would mean he’s not cold enough to button up the coat. It could also be that he had it unbuttoned in the car and left it in that state, since a long buttoned coat can be cumbersome and quite warm in a heated car.

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Brogues

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The Church’s Chetwynd brogue, the shoe Pierce Brosnan wears in GoldenEye. Brosnan’s shoe is a darker brown than this.

The full brogue is a versatile shoe that can be worn from casual wear to business wear. The full brogue is set apart from lesser brogues by the wing tip. It has perforations—called “broguing”—along every seam, a medallion on the toe and a heel counter. Though the classic full brogue is an oxford—a shoe with closed lacing, called a balmoral to the Americans—they can just as often be found in a derby—blucher to the Americans. There are even monk, boot and slip-on brogues. Pierce Brosnan wears the Chruch’s Chetwynd model, a full-brogue oxford, in brown. In GoldenEye he wears them with his double-breasted navy blazer and beige trousers, but he also dresses them down with a navy jumper and tan moleskin trousers. A pair of these was sold at Christies on 19 December 2007 for £1,080. A pair of black full-brogue oxfords in the Church’s Douglas model from The World is Not Enough was sold at Christie’s on 12 February 2001 for £1,528. The complex style of the full brogue works best with rustic, heavier clothes and less so with city business dress, but the latter can still be done. In Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery wears black full-brouge derby shoes with his black, light grey and navy pinstripe suits.

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Sean Connery’s full-brogue derby shoes

Pierce Brosnan also wears a dressier variation called the semi-brogue in GoldenEye with his navy birdseye suit. The semi-brogue is the same as the as the full brogue with one big exception: it has a regular cap toe instead of a wing tip. Otherwise the shoe has broguing along all the seams, a heel counter and a toe medallion. This shoe is better for business suits than the full brogue, but the complex detailing on the shoes means they are still not ideal for dressier occasions. Brosnan’s semi-brogue oxford is the Church’s Diplomat model.

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The Church’s semi-brogue Diplomat model in GoldenEye

The simplest brogue is the quarter brogue, also called a punch-cap-toe. In Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig wears the Church’s Philip quarter brogue oxfords with his suits. This shoe is almost as dressy as the stitched cap-toe oxford and can be worn in the most formal, and least formal, of suit-wearing occasions.

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Daniel Craig’s Church’s Philiip quarter-brogue oxfords in Quantum of Solace

There are other brogue styles that Bond does not wear. The austerity brogue is a wing-tip shoe without any perforations. There is also the longwing brogue, in which the wings extend around the entire shoe. The longwing, which is popular in American, has derby-style lacing and is the most casual of all brogues. Finally, I can’t leave out the ghillie brogue, which is mostly worn with Scottish highland dress and has no tongue.

All Blue

FRWL-Navy-Suit

No, I’m not talking about the Miles Davis tune “All Blues.” Usually when Sean Connery wears a blue suit in the Bond films, everything else he wears is blue. Well, everything but the black shoes and white pocket handkerchief. The first time we see the monochrome blue outfit is in M’s office in From Russia With Love (above). He wears a solid navy suit with a matching solid navy tie and light blue shirt. A light blue shirt is very important since it provides contrast from all the dark blue in the suit and tie. Though both the suit and tie are navy, the tie is a little lighter than the suit. To some, this mismatch is not desirable, and it’s practically unavoidable when pairing two items that are very close in colour. Those people would say to avoid wearing things close in colour to avoid the mismatch. But it’s an integral part of the classic Bond look.

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Once again in You Only Live Twice (above) we see the same all blue outfit. This time the suit and tie are reversed: the suit is light navy and the tie is dark navy tie. Do you think it’s better for the tie to be slightly lighter or slightly darker than the suit? Ideally, it’s best to get them as close as possible, in not only the value (lightness or darkness of a colour) but also the hue (gradation of colour). A warm blue tie will not go well with a cool blue suit, even if they are similar in value. Connery brings back the all-blue look in Diamonds Are Forever (below), this time with blue pinstripes added. This time is Connery’s closest suit and tie match, and the tie is only a little lighter. I also can’t leave out the navy grenadine ties that Connery wears with his navy blazers—to which he always gets a close match with the tie—but with grey trousers there’s no longer a monochrome look.

Navy-Blue-Pinstripe-SuitRoger Moore starts out as Bond in Live and Let Die (below) wearing a blue suit, blue overcoat, blue shirt and blue tie (below). But does this outfit qualify as monochrome? Even though the tie is primarily navy, the red stripes technically disqualify this outfit from the all blue category, but for the purposes of pairing a blue tie with a blue suit, it’s all blue. The tie is the darkest navy of the outfit, followed by the overcoat and then the suit. They are all very similar.

Navy-ChesterfieldWe don’t see Bond wearing a blue monochrome outfit again until Daniel Craig becomes Bond. I’m not going to count the navy linen suit and light blue shirt worn in the black and white pre-title sequence, since the scene is black and white, and a large brown belt breaks up the blue. But the first suit in Quantum of Solace (below) is very similar to Connery’s pinstripe suit in Diamonds Are Forever. The suit is navy with light blue stripes, the shirt is pale blue and the tie is a pattern of mid blue and black squares. The blue and black of the tie combine to make it look navy overall. The tie does not to completely disqualify the outfit from being all blue, but it doesn’t have the 100% monochrome look of Connery’s classic outfits either. The patterned tie is much easier to pair with the suit than a solid navy tie is.

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The navy-on-navy look is something Bond has inspired many to copy, but it’s not easy to get right. And whether Bond gets it right or not is up to you. If you attempt this look, it helps to have multiple solid navy ties in your collection and good lighting to figure out which one works best with the outfit.

Chukka Boots

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Brown suede chukka boots in Quantum of Solace

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

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.

The Shawl Collar Cardigan

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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.

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Shirt Darts

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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.

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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

Darted Tom Ford shirt in Quantum of Solace

The Button Three Lapel Roll

The World is Not Enough Button 3

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.

Quantum of Solace Button 3

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.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Button 3

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.

Skyfall Button 3

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.

Trouser Adjusters

Anthony Sinclair’s Side Adjusters in Dr. No

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:

  1. A belt breaks the visual flow from the coat to the trousers, especially on a lighter suit. A suit should be one.
  2. A belt buckle disrupts the line of a fitted suit coat.
  3. A belt buckle creates a lump under a waistcoat on a 3-piece suit.
  4. 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—often of mother of pearl—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.