Yukata at Tanaka’s Home

Bond-Tanaka-Kimono

Of all the cultures James Bond visits, he outwardly shows the most appreciation for Japanese culture in You Only Live Twice. He follows many of the Japanese’s customs even before he “becomes” Japanese. As a guest at Tiger Tanaka’s home, Bond wears a yukata and slippers. The yukata is a casual kimono made of cotton, and the name “yukata” means bathing clothes. Bond does indeed wear a yukata at the baths at Tanaka’s home.

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Bond’s yukata is a printed pattern of grey on white that resembles trees and water. It has a shawl collar and the front parts overlap left side over right side across the body. The yukata is held closed around the waist with a black sash called an obi, and it’s tied in back. The yukata’s length reaches the ankles, and the wide sleeves end at the middle of the forearm. Tiger Tanaka’s yukata has all of the characteristics of Bond’s yukata, but his has a light grey ground with closely-spaced indigo lengthwise stripes and wavy black crosswise stripes that create a scale-like pattern. Bond wears dark brown slippers, and Tanaka wears cream slippers.

Since I know little about Japanese garments and have never worn them, I found most of my information on the yukaka Wikipedia entry. If anyone knows more about these Japanese garments, feel free to comment below.

Frogmouth Pockets

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Frogmouth pockets in Goldfinger

Frogmouth pockets, also called western pockets or full top pockets, were popular on trousers in the 1960s and 1970s. As opposed to traditional on-seam or slanted pockets that are accessed from the side, frogmouth pockets are accessed from the front like pockets on jeans. But unlike pockets on jeans, frogmouth pockets are not curved. They are slightly slanted down across the front, and offset down from the waistband so the pocket is in the middle of the hips rather than on top of the hips. On lower-rise trousers the frogmouth pockets don’t need to be offset from the waistband. Unlike side pockets, frogmouth pockets don’t flare open trousers that fit tightly across the hips. Frogmouth pockets aren’t very fashionable today, but with the popularity of jeans and tight trousers it’s surprising that the frogmouth pocket hasn’t made a comeback. Though the style naturally goes with today’s trends, they will continue to look dated to the 1960s and 70s unless they come back into mainstream fashion.

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Douglas Hayward trousers in For Your Eyes Only

Sean Connery’s brown cavalry twill trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball have frogmouth pockets, as do some of his casual trousers. Douglas Hayward, who made Roger Moore’s suits in his 1980s Bond films, put frogmouth pockets on Moore’s suit trousers. They can be seen on the grey flannel suit in For Your Eyes Only and on the black trousers worn with the white dinner jacket in Octopussy.

Connery-YOLT-Frogmouth-Pockets

Notice the dart above the pocket.

Whilst pleated trousers can’t have frogmouth pockets, both flat front and darted front trousers can. Frogmouth pockets and darts aren’t often seen together, but Sean Connery’s grey trousers in You Only Live Twice have a dart above the middle of the frogmouth pockets. Darts can also be along the front edge of the pocket, which is how the brown trousers in Goldfinger are made, and it may be the case for Moore’s Hayward trousers too. Roger Moore’s trousers in The Persuaders have offset jetted frogmouth pockets that cut through the front dart, which is in the middle above the trousers’ leg crease.

Black and White Shoes, and More

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In You Only Live Twice, Bond visits Dikko Henderson’s (Charles Gray) home and follows the Japanese custom of removing his shoes. Bond finds himself leaving in a hurry to chase after Henderson’s killer, without time to put on his shoes. After running outside in his stocking feet, Bond kills the man who killed Henderson, taking not only his shoes but also his trench coat and fedora as a disguise. Bond wears the olive trench coat over his black and white herringbone suit. The knee-length trench coat is double-breasted with ten buttons. It has raglan sleeves, shoulder straps, a yoke across the upper back, a storm flap on the front right, and a single vent. It has a self belt—which Bond lets hang—and wrist straps that close with a leather buckles. The hat is a black fedora with a medium-narrow brim, a centre dent and front pinch in the crown, and a wide grosgrain ribbon.

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Though the shoes are black and white and resemble co-respondent/spectator shoes, they are not such shoes in the traditional sense. The vamp is white and has a black stripe up the middle. The quarters are also white. The toe piece that extends around the front of the shoe is black, as is the heel counter. The shoes have black elastic gussets on the sides of the instep. The soles and heels are black. It difficult to tell if these shoes are leather, but the soles look like leather due to the wear. Rest assured, these ugly shoes are not Bond’s own!

Black-and-White-Shoes-FightDuring the fight, the shoes appear to be taller. The white extends higher in the front and back, but not on the sides. You can see the difference in the photo above. It’s not unusual for different shoes to be used in the same scene for more physically demanding parts.

Black-and-White-Shoes

 

All Blue

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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.

Brown Linen

Connery Linen Shirt

In You Only Live Twice, Sean Connery wears an outfit of a linen sports shirt and linen trousers to be comfortable in Japan’s heat. His (darker) ecru shirt has a camp collar and a gently curved hem to be worn untucked. The front is plain with an open breast pocket, and the short sleeves have turned-up cuffs. There are 5 buttons down the front, and Connery leaves the top 2 buttons open. The shirt has a full cut for more comfort in Japan’s heat. Connery wears brown linen flat-front trousers with frogmouth pockets and brown leather sandals.

Connery Brown Linen

Compared to Q’s outfit of richer beige and tan tones, Connery wears greyer brown tones that better suit his cooler complexion. It doesn’t have to be Roger Moore in the 1970s for Bond to wear brown. In linen, especially, brown is a classic colour.

 

Dark Blue Summer Suit

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This week celebrates the 45th anniversary of the release of You Only Live Twice. In the film, Bond visits Japan wearing a suit in a lighter shade of blue than navy that is ideal for summer. In certain scenes, this suit has quite a shine and suggests a mohair/wool blend. Mohair and high twist wool are two of the best-performing suitings for warm weather because they breathe well and are great at resisting wrinkles. This is a unique Anthony Sinclair suit with its 1-button front, but as always it has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket is detailed with a single vent, flapped pockets and 4-button cuffs. The trousers have double forward pleats, button side-adjusters and turn-ups.

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Bond wears the suit with a sky blue poplin shirt from Turnbull & Asser that has a spread collar and cocktail cuffs. For a touch of Fleming, Bond wears a knit tie in a four-in-hand knot, but in navy rather than Fleming’s black. This is the only time Connery wears a knit tie outside of Goldfinger. The shoes are black grain leather, plain-toe slip-ons, probably with elastic connecting the quarters across the instep. Grain leather isn’t often seen in black since its rustic look is better suited with brown and burgundy country shoes. Bond brings along a navy felt trilby, which must surely be too warm to wear in what appears to be warm weather in Japan based on other clothes in the film. Overall this is one of the most Fleming-esque outfits of the series, and Fleming himself would surely approve of every part of the outfit except the shirt sleeves (Fleming preferred short sleeves, even with suits).

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Blofeld: The Mao Suit

Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s first full appearance came in You Only Live Twice with Donald Pleasence‘s cartoon-like portrayal. Besides the bald head, scarred face and white cat, Pleasence’s Blofeld is also known for his Mao suit. The Mao suit represents the West’s biggest enemy at the time, communism, and it labels Blofeld as the enemy even though SPECTRE is not a communist organization. Blofeld’s tan silk Mao suit is tailored much like a western suit with structured shoulders and a structured chest, and it’s closely fitted through the body. Unlike typical Mao suits, Blofeld’s jacket only has two pockets instead of four. The pockets are patch pockets with button-flaps, but the buttons are left undone. The jacket has a 5-button front, a turn-down collar and a single vent at the back. The trousers have a narrow leg and plain bottoms. Underneath the jacket, Blofeld wears a white-on-white stripe shirt with double cuffs. It’s probably a tunic shirt without a collar. His shoes are medium brown ankle boots with elastic under the instep.

One example of this suit’s jacket was sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on 17 November 2005 for £25,200. According to the listing, M. Berman Ltd. made the jacket for Donald Pleasence.

Grey Volcano Climbing

Bond chose an all grey outfit for blending into Blofeld’s volcano in You Only Live Twice.  To hide himself, he keeps his entire body covered except for the face. The outfit consists of a knit shirt with a mock polo neck collar (which Bond folds down), trousers, soft climbing shoes, gloves and an open-face ninja mask, all in mid grey. Bond later removes the gloves and ninja mask.