Darted Trousers

Darts on the front of Roger Moore's trousers, in-line with the crease

Darts on the front of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun, in-line with the crease. Click the image for a closer look.

The one style of trousers that people never talk about is the darted front. We always hear about pleats versus no pleats, but darts are left out. A dart is essentially a pleat that is sewn shut, but it’s not very noticeable. All trousers have darts in the rear, one or two on each side over the pocket—or over where the pocket would be if there is none. For medium to high rise trousers, a dart in the front is better than a plain front so the trousers can better curve over the hips. Only high-end ready-to-wear brands and bespoke tailors seem to appreciate the effectiveness of darts in the front of trousers

Darts on the front side of Daniel Craig's Brioni trousers

Darts on the front side of Daniel Craig’s Brioni trousers in Casino Royale. Click the image for a closer look.

Trouser darts in front are not as deep as trouser pleats are, and there is only one on each side instead of two. Though darts don’t provide extra cloth for the trousers to expand when sitting like pleats do, they help curve the trousers over the hips. They also can help the problem of side pockets that flare out on flat front trousers. Some tailors place the dart where the main pleat would be on pleated trousers, and some place it less noticeably off to the side. I cannot say in which place the dart is more effective. Can you still call trousers with a dart in front “flat front”? Maybe. With a dart the front is no longer flat, it is curved.

Darts on the front side of Pierce Brosnan's trousers in Die Another Day. Click the image for a closer look.

Darts on the front side of Pierce Brosnan’s trousers in Die Another Day. Click the image for a closer look.

I have most certainly labelled some darted trousers as flat front because it’s difficult to see darts on screen. Now that I have the series on Blu-ray, I can better see those kinds of details. but not in every example. It appears that Lazenby’s dinner suit trousers have darts, but those are the only suit trousers we see without a jacket. All of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle—the tailor who made Roger Moore’s suits in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun—trousers have darts, which are in-line with the trouser crease. Castle gives Moore’s trousers very long front darts, which most likely help the fit at the expense of a clean look. Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Brioni trousers that don’t have pleats have darts, and Brioni places them closer to the side pocket. Anthony Sinclair made his darts the same way for Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever.

Darts on the front side of Sean Connery's Anthony Sinclair trousers in Diamonds Are Forever. They are easier seen when wet. Click the image for a close look.

Darts on the front side of Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair trousers in Diamonds Are Forever. The darts are easier seen when wet. Click the image for a closer look.

Pleated Trousers

Connery-Trousers

Sean Connery wearing trousers with double forward pleats

Though pleated trousers may not be currently fashionable, every James Bond except Roger Moore has worn them. There are essentially two different kinds of the pleats, forward pleats and reverse pleats. Forward pleats fold in and reverse pleats fold out. Reverse pleats are the type of pleats that were most popular from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Forward pleats are associated with English style whilst reverse pleats are associated with Italian style. In America the popularity of each style was more evenly split in the 1930s-1950s, and again in the 1980s when pleats became popular again. By the 2000s, most makers switched to reverse pleats with only a handful left making the traditional forward pleats.

Sean-Connery-Forward-Pleats

Sean Connery wearing trousers with double forward pleats

Forward pleats are sometimes called “inverse pleats” or “tuc pleats” (at Paul Stuart), and I recently heard someone call them “straight pleats.” They are even sometimes called “regular pleats” even though they haven’t been the regular pleat style for some time now. Because they are the opposite of what became the standard pleat style, some people incorrectly call them reverse pleats. On forward-pleated trousers, the pattern for the trousers is extended from the crotch and inside of the leg twice the depth of the pleat, usually down to the knee. The added fullness is neatly kept to the inside of the leg. When there is a second pleat, the extra cloth is taken from the outer edge on the hips. Sean Connery wears double-forward-pleated trousers with all of his suits in the 1960s, during a time when pleats were becoming increasingly less popular. But Connery isn’t the only Bond to have worn forward pleats. George Lazenby’s tweed suit trousers have forward pleats, and some of Timothy Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights have forward pleats.

Daniel Craig wearing trousers double reverse pleats Pierce Brosnan wearing trousers double reverse pleats

Daniel Craig wearing trousers with double reverse pleats

Reverse pleats are the standard pleats today, or at least they were a few years ago before pleats completely went out of fashion. Reverse pleats first appear on Bond in The Living Daylights. Pierce Brosnan’s suit trousers in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies all have reverse pleats, and the herringbone linen suit trousers in The World is Not Enough have them too. Daniel Craig’s dinner suit trousers in Casino Royale have double reverse pleats, which are the last pleated trousers that Bond wears. The extra cloth for reverse pleats is all taken from the outside of the leg. This gives the trousers a baggier look, which goes well with full-cut jackets. Though Bond’s pleats typically come in pairs, Timothy Dalton wears trousers with triple reverse pleats in Licence to Kill, and Pierce Brosnan wears trousers with triple reverse pleats with his blazer in GoldenEye. Whilst the second pleat on double-pleated trousers helps to keep the main pleat closed, a third pleat on the side only adds extra fullness. That fullness was very popular from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, but in Dalton’s case it serves no practical purpose. When full-cut trousers were popular during that time, not only were triple-pleated trousers popular but other pleat styles were too. Some trousers had box pleats and inverted box pleats, usually with an additional reverse pleat towards the side.

Dalton-Blue-Suit-Trousers

Timothy Dalton wearing trousers with double reverse pleats

The purpose of pleats is a practical one, both to allow the trousers to expand when seated and to better fit the curves of the hips. The second purpose doesn’t apply to the currently fashionable trousers that sit low on the hips. Forward pleats usually look trimmer than reverse pleats, though reverse pleats are easier to fit ready-to-wear. When forward pleats pull open, the crease no long hangs straight down. When reverse pleats pull open, the front crease is still straight down. Poorly-fitted trousers with reverse pleats thus look better than poorly-fitted trousers with forward pleats. But in my experience, well-fitting trousers with forward pleats are the most flattering. Forward pleats are more slimming because they draw the eye inward instead of outward.

Pierce wearing trousers double reverse pleats

Pierce Brosnan wearing trousers with double reverse pleats

Though trousers pleats are currently out of fashion, there’s no denying the advantages. The common aversion to pleats today is that people associate them with baggy trousers. But when well-fitted, trousers can be trim whilst at the same time having the practical advantage of pleats.

Anatomy of a Turnbull & Asser Shirt

Turnbull-Asser-Shirt

We all know Turnbull & Asser for making shirts for not only four of the six James Bond actors, but also for Bond creator Ian Fleming and the first Bond film director Terence Young. What makes a Turnbull & Asser shirt the special shirt that it is? There are many parts to it, but the most important part of any shirt is its collar. The Classic Turnbull & Asser Collar has a very special shape. Turnbull & Asser describes the collar as having a “unique outward flare to the collar point.” The collar curves the opposite way from most collars, since the edge of the collar that sits on the body flares outward from the point rather than curve in. Frank Foster thinks the shape is counterintuitive since it goes against the shape of the body, but I find that it lays against the body just fine.

Turnbull-Asser-Collar

The Classic Turnbull & Asser Collar

The collar is a very middle-of-the-road spread collar, not particularly narrow or wide. The points measure 2 7/8″, the back height measures 1 3/4″ and the collar band measures 1 1/8″ in front. There is 3/8″ tie space and the collar points sit 4 1/2″ apart. The collar is stitched 1/4″ from the edge, has a non-fused but moderately stiff interfacing, and has removable collar stays. Despite many Bond films featuring Turnbull & Asser shirts, the collar design is always made especially for the actor wearing it and James Bond never wears the Classic Turnbull & Asser Collar, except for maybe on the dress shirt in Die Another Day.

Turnbull-Asser-Button-Cuff

The signature three button cuff

Turnbull & Asser’s signature cuff is their three button cuff. The cuff is 3 1/4″ long and is cut with an elegant curve to the buttoning edge—it’s not a square. The three button cuff, as well as the rest of their cuffs, has a non-fused interfacing, but it’s lighter than the collar’s interfacing. Like the collar, the cuffs are stitched 1/4″ from the edge. Turnbull & Asser doesn’t put a sleeve gauntlet button on their ready-to-wear shirts, except for on the Sea Island cotton shirts. Their cuffs are attached to the shirt with gathers rather than the more typical pleats. Gathers look very elegant, but they make the sleeve more difficult to iron.

Turnbull-Asser-Double-Cuff

Turnbull & Asser’s Double Cuff

Like most English shirtmakers do, Turnbull & Asser places the link holes on their double cuff close to the fold rather than centred. The link holes are one inch from the fold. This allows the cuff to flare out a little—which can get it caught inside a narrow jacket sleeve—and it shows off the cufflinks better. What also can cause it to get caught inside the sleeve is the square corner. Most people regard the square corner as more elegant over the more functional rounded corner, which slides through the jacket sleeve better. The double cuff measures 5 5/8″ long when unfolded.

Turnbull-Asser-Turnback-Cuff

Turnbull & Asser’s modern Two Button Turnback Cuff

James Bond fans know Turnbull & Asser for their cocktail cuff, or the “Two Button Turnback Cuff” as they call it. They say they invented the cocktail cuff, but they aren’t the only ones who make that claim. The cuff they make now is different from the one Sean Connery wore in his Bond films. Their modern turnback cuff is contoured where it folds back, and the corner is not rounded as much. This cuff is 5 5/8″ long and folds 2 1/8″ from the base, unlike Connery’s cuff which folds closer to the middle.

The split yoke and shoulder pleats

The split yoke and shoulder pleats

Turnbull & Asser folds a narrow placket on their shirts, at 1 3/16″ wide. The stitching is 3/8″ from the edge, which matches the stitching at the sleeve attachment and at the base of the cuff. The placket has a fused interfacing to keep it crisp. There are six buttons down the front of the shirt, not including the collar. Turnbull & Asser uses mother-of-pearl buttons, of course, but I find that they are not sewn on with enough slack and can be difficult to button.

The hexagonal gusset

The hexagonal gusset

On solid shirts the stitching and buttonholes matches the shirt, but on semi-solid shirts with white in the weave and on shirts with white in the pattern, Turnbull & Asser uses white stitching and buttonholes. The tails of the shirt are curved, and to reinforce the base of the side seams Turnbull & Asser uses a hexagonal gusset. The gusset is white on ready-to-wear shirts and made in the same cloth as the shirt on bespoke shirts. The back of the shirt has a split yoke, which according to experts serves no purpose on a ready-to-wear shirt since it only helps with uneven shoulders. However, split yokes make striped shirtings look very nice by forming a chevron. Under the yoke the shirt has a pleat on either side to give ease over the shoulder blades.

Turnbull-Asser-Label

All Black: Suit, Shirt and Tie

Tomorrow-Never-Dies-Black-Suit

Though he doesn’t wear this in the movie, Pierce Brosnan wears a black suit with a black shirt and black tie in stills for and on half the advertising materials for Tomorrow Never Dies. At the time it was really cool to match your shirt and tie, and wearing everything in black was even cooler. Now it’s mostly worn by young men trying to look hip, or it’s worn as a uniform in a jazz orchestra. It’s very showy and not at all elegant, more appropriate for a Bond villain than for Bond. Thankfully we never see this look on Bond in any film. Since the entire outfit is so dark, it’s difficult to make out the details. The suit is Brosnan’s usual button-three from Brioni. The silhouette is recognisable from the straight shoulders and roped sleeve heads. The slanted hip pockets have flaps, and there are four buttons on the cuffs. The trousers are worn with a belt and have turn-ups. The black shirt has a point collar, and since the collar is different than the collar on the shirts in the film I cannot tell if the shirt is made by Turnbull & Asser. The tie is solid black, most likely satin silk. The shoes are black, but the style is difficult to make out. The toe has a very chiselled shape, unlike any of the Church’s shoes Brosnan wears in the film.

Though it’s a look that should be avoided, Brosnan executes it as well as it can possibly be done. What’s most difficult is making sure that the three blacks do not clash with each other. Not all blacks are the same; some may have a hint of green whilst others may have a hint of purple. It’s not uncommon now to see celebrities wear a black suit and black shirt sans tie, and I find that is more successful than with a tie when it is worn in a casual evening setting. But in that case, a dark grey shirt would be a way to improve that type of outfit and still keep it all dark. I must admit, there is something cool about wearing all black, but wearing a black suit, a black shirt and a black tie is not the best way to do it.

One of my VHS box sets from 1999, released shortly before The World Is Not Enough. It came with GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and some Connery and Moore films. At the time I got this, I though the all-black look was cool.

One of my VHS box sets from 1999, released shortly before The World Is Not Enough. It came with GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and five others. At the time I got this, I though the all-black look on James Bond was cool.

You can dimple your tie

Pierce-Brosnan-Dimple

Pierce Brosnan usually dimples his ties.

Some people insist that a tie must always be tied with a dimple, but Bond shows that it is not always necessary. There are many advantages to putting a dimple in your tie. The dimple helps to neatly fit the wide blade of your tie neatly through a tight tie knot and it helps the tie arch out from the neck. The thicker and narrower the tie the more difficult it is to get a dimple in the tie.

Daniel-Craig-Dimple

Daniel Craig often dimples his ties, and he even gets a small dimple in his narrow Skyfall ties.

Without a dimple the tie will end up with a fold at one side or both sides of the knot, like in Connery’s example below. That’s how Connery’s ties usually are, and it goes well with the stylishly asymmetrical look of the four-in-hand knot. Ties as narrow as Connery’s (3 inches wide or less) are difficult to dimple.

Sean-Connery-Tie-Side-Fold

Connery’s tie has a fold at the side.

There’s no right or wrong to dimpling a tie. Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig are the Bonds who most often dimple their ties, but it’s not something they do consistently.

Roger-Moore-Dimple

One of the rare occasions Roger Moore has a dimple in his tie is in A View to a Kill, perhaps due to the extra formality of the occasion. Moore also wears his ties with a dimple a few times in Moonraker.

Hospital Pyjamas

Hospital-Pyjamas

In Die Another Day, Bond is held by MI6 in a secured hospital room wearing pyjamas provided for him. A hospital gown would be expected for a scene like this but it’s much better to see Bond in pyjamas. The pyjamas are very basic. The shirt has four buttons, a breast pocket and long sleeves without cuffs. The trousers have a drawstring waist. The outfit is like a combination between pyjamas and scrubs, probably made in the same light blue cotton/polyester material and made with the same cheap construction.

Hospital-Pyjamas-2

Remington Steele: 80s Style

Remington-Steele-1986-Suit

Here’s a dark grey semi-solid suit that Pierce Brosnan wears in the 1986 episode of Remington Steele, “Suburban Steele.” It’s not a style for anyone to aspire to, except perhaps Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill. It’s done in the same 1980s style, with large shoulders, a full cut, a low button stance, low-gorge and reverse-pleat trousers, but it’s better executed. Pierce Brosnan was wearing mostly double-breasted suits in the later seasons of Remington Steele, but a few single-breasted suits stuck around.

Remington-Steele-1986-Suit-2

Though it’s not oversized in comparison to the suits in Licence to Kill, it still has a fashionably full cut. The jacket has a button two jacket with flap pockets, three-button cuffs and no vents. The lapels are a little narrower than Dalton’s, but they aren’t much better. The trousers have double reverse-pleats and plain hems.

Remington-Steele-1986-Suit-5

Brosnan wears a white English shirt with a moderate spread collar, double cuffs, no breast pocket and front placket. The tie is dark plum with red polka dots, tied in a four-in-hand knot. He wears a puffed pale yellow silk handkerchief with red polka dots in his breast pocket. The muted colour palate of the tie and pocket square are very much of their time, but the outfit is still well-coordinated. His belt and slip-on shoes are black.

Remington-Steele-1986-Suit-4With a black knitted tie and white linen pocket square, Timothy Dalton could have worn a suit like this in Licence to Kill and brought Bond’s fashion into the 80s in a more elegant and more Bondian manner.

 

Dressing for Heat in Vietnam

Tomorrow-Never-Dies-Blue-Shirt

Though Pierce Brosnan didn’t go too far into oversized 1990s fashions in his tailoring, the dark blue linen shirt he wears in Tomorrow Never Dies has a fashionably full fit. A full fit is more practical in hot weather than today’s popular slim-fit is. However, Brosnan’s shirt is simply too large with the shoulder seam down his arms. The shirt’s point collar with edge stitching was fashionable at the time, and other details include square 1-button cuffs, a button-through breast pocket on the left, no front placket, shoulder pleats and a rounded hem. The shirt is made by Angelo Litrico. The black cotton and lyrca blend jogging trousers have an elasticated waist. The blue plimsoll trainers are made by Trax, and Brosnan wears them without socks. This outfit is the low point in Brosnan’s Bond clothing. It could have been done much better, simply with a better fitting shirt and chinos instead of stretch trousers.

Tomorrow-Never-Dies-Blue-Shirt-2

This outfit in both its entirety and just the shirt alone have been auctioned at Bonhams in Knightsbridge. On 6 March 2007 the shirt sold for £660. On 16 June 2009 the whole outfit sold for £1,200 and the shirt alone sold for £1080.