Professor Dent’s (Anthony Dawson) clothing has a few similarities to Bond’s, but overall he dresses in a far more ordinary fashion. Dent’s suit is a two and two check in black and white. The jacket is a button three with the lapels rolled to the middle button, and it is cut full with natural shoulders. The cuffs have two buttons, spaced apart. Dent’s narrow tie has wide red, olive and black stripes—in the opposite direction from most regimental stripes—and he ties it in a Windsor knot. He wears black shoes and a black belt with the suit.
Dent wears two different shirts with this suit. The first (above) is white with a button-down collar, placket and square-cut barrel cuffs. The second (top) is sky blue with a spread collar, placket and cocktail cuffs. Bond was not the only person in Dr. No to wear cocktail cuffs, but Dent’s are not the same. They both are rounded and have a wide spread, but Dent’s lay flat and have the buttons spaced further apart. Whilst Turnbull & Asser made Sean Connery’s shirts, Frank Foster made this shirt from Anthony Dawson.
Felix Leiter, James Bond’s American counterpart, has never been as cool as when he was first portrayed by Jack Lord in Dr. No. Lord’s successor Cec Linder plays Leiter as a stodgier character, dressed in Ivy League style, whilst Lord dresses younger and more fashionably. Since it’s only 1962, the suit has a lot in common with 1950s styles. The suit is made in beige tropical wool. The button three jacket has padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and a relaxed cut through the body with front darts. The back has short double vents—a popular 1960s style—that are no deeper than 6 inches and are more for style than for function. The hip pockets are welted like the typical breast pocket, another style that was more commonly seen in the ’60s. The lapels are a little on the narrow side, with tiny notches. The cuffs have three buttons, spaced out, and the suit’s buttons are light brown horn. The suit trousers have a flat front, cross pockets, side adjusters and turn-ups.
Leiter’s white shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket. The tie is solid dark brown. His shoes are brown moccasins. His most well-known accessory is his pair of cat-eye sunglasses, which have since become primarily worn by women. Nevertheless, Felix Leiter looks hipper than Bond with his sunglasses, which he places in his outer breast pocket when he removes them. No Felix Leiter other than Jack Lord comes close to having a competing screen presence with Bond, and his cool look has a large part to do with it.
Sean Connery has both buttons on his dark grey suit fastened in Dr. No.
Sean Connery’s tailoring in his Bond films is often admired for its clean, simple lines and limited colour scheme. But wearing suits didn’t come naturally to Connery, and on three occasions he makes the mistake of buttoning the bottom button on his suit jackets. The first is in Dr. No, when wearing tailored clothing was still very new to him, and presumably director Terence Young did not catch the brief mistake. The second is when Bond enters his hotel room in Istanbul and suddenly his bottom button is fastened, even though it was when he entered the lift. The third time came in Diamonds Are Forever. On neither of Connery’s suit jackets should the bottom button ever be fastened.
Connery fastens the bottom button on his linen suit in Diamonds Are Forever.
It’s typically advised that only the top button on a button two jacket should be fastened. This is because the front is cut away below the top button and the lower button doesn’t meet up with the buttonhole. Thus, fastening the lower button causes the jacket to pull across the hips. It restricts movement and makes it difficult to sit. Also, it shortens the perceived leg length, rather than extending the leg to the waist. But some button two jackets are designed to have both buttons fastened.
On a paddock-cut button two jacket, both buttons are meant to fasten. The button stance is raised, usually placing the two buttons equidistant above and below the waist. Placing both buttons higher means that the bottom button can be fastened without restricting movement. The front on a paddock cut is only cutaway below the bottom button. President John F. Kennedy, British politician Anthony Eden and the Duke of Windsor are known for wearing this cut. In his later years, the Duke of Windsor only fastened the bottom button on his paddock-cut jackets for a longer lapel line. Roger Moore wears a couple paddock-cut suits with button-three jackets in The Persuaders, which adds a third button at the top.
Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s paddock-cut suit in The Persuaders. It has a slanted, flapped breast pocket and flared link-button cuffs
In Dr. No, James Bond returns to his flat after a briefing at the office. Bond is wearing a dinner suit and carrying a chesterfield and homburg. Beside the front door we see an umbrella stand holding a classic stick umbrella with a black canopy, an item we’ve never seen Bond use. A brown trilby is sitting on top of the umbrella. Bond removes his shoes in the foyer and proceeds to his bedroom in stocking feet. When Bond opens the door the first item of clothing we see is a dark trilby lying on its crown on the floor with the dent pushed out, and Sylvia Trench is using it to improve her golf game. A pair of charcoal trousers is on a hanger, hanging on a the closet door, and they are likely the same trousers Bond wears later with his navy blazer.
Sylvia Trench puts on one of Bond’s pyjama shirts. The shirt is made of a self-stripe off-white cotton and has light blue piping along the edges as well as on the patch chest pocket and the base of the cuffs. The shirt has a straight hem all the way around the bottom with no vent. There are four buttons down the front, of which Trench buttons the bottom three. A shawl collar is cut from the same piece as the shirt’s front panels. We can also see a light blue piece of clothing sitting on a chair behind Trench, but it’s difficult to tell what it is.
As many of you know, today is the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No as well as Global James Bond Day. The first outfit I wrote about when I started this blog two years ago was Bond’s first dinner suit in Dr. No (now with additional information added to the article), but I merely touched on the outerwear comprised of a navy melton Chesterfield coat and a black homburg. The Chesterfield is a rather dressy coat, appropriate with black tie, black lounge (stroller) and dressier lounge suits (dark worsteds). It tends to look out of place even over a sports coat. Chesterfield coats are typically made in dark colours like navy, charcoal and black, in a milled melton cloth or a herringbone weave. It’s a longer coat that hits below the knee, and it’s a fitted coat that is darted and shaped through the waist. The length and heavy weight make it a very warm coat. Single-breasted models, like what Sean Connery wears, have a fly front with 3 covered buttons. This coat has notch lapels, a long vent down the back, jetted hip pockets and a welted breast pocket. Connery’s coat has a black velvet collar, a formal as well as a practical element; the collar will wear out before most other parts of the coat, and replacing black velvet is easy compared to finding matching wool. However, a Chesterfield coat does not need to have a velvet collar nor does a velvet make a coat a Chesterfield.
The first hat of the series Bond throws on the coat tree at the office is a black homburg, a hat which occupies the same formality spectrum as the Chesterfield coat. A homburg is best worn with black tie, black lounge and dressier lounge suits. The homburg is identified by its dented crown (without a pinch) and a stiff, bound brim turned up all the way around. Bond’s hat has a thicker black grosgrain ribbon than his trilby. With black tie less worn today, formal outerwear is even less commonly worn. However, as suits and dinner suits are being made of increasingly lightweight cloths, the Chesterfield coat is even more relevant for cold weather today. Die Another Day saw a missed opportunity for another Chesterfield. Whilst everyone else was wearing some sort of overcoat, Pierce Brosnan seemed unusually comfortable in snow-covered Iceland without one.
Stuntman Bob Simmons was the first man to appear as Bond in the Bond films. Simmons appears in the famous gun barrel sequence opening in Dr. No, and the footage is reused in From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. Simmons appears through the gun barrel in black and white, but it’s not very easy to tell what he is wearing. The suit has a Savile Row silhouette with strong shoulders, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s probably a button 3 jacket and there appears to be a single vent. The trousers have a narrow leg and are hemmed without a break. The suit is dark, but not black, so it’s most likely charcoal or navy. Simmons wears a white pocket handkerchief and a darker than white shirt, which would most likely be light blue. Like Connery he wears a dark tie and black shoes. And most iconicity, he wears a trilby, which would continue in all gun barrel sequences through Diamonds Are Forever.
Every other gun barrel sequence features an outfit from the film they were first used on. For Thunderball it’s the navy blazer and grey trousers. For On Her Majesty’s Secret Service it’s the navy herringbone suit. For Live and Let Die it’s the navy suit that’s barely seen under his chesterfield coat in New York. For The Spy Who Loved Me it’s the double-breasted dinner suit, and from then on Bond only does the gun barrel sequence in black tie. For The Living Daylights it’s the notch lapel dinner suit. For GoldenEye it’s the 3-piece dinner suit. And for Quantum of Solace Bond goes back to wearing a suit, but they also filmed one in his shawl-collar dinner suit.
Around the corner from Pall Mall on St James’s Street in the London district of St James’s are two stores associated with the first Bond films. The first is Lock & Co. Hatters, where Sean Connery got his trilby in Dr. No. The closest hat they have to what Connery wore is the Sandown model, and no matter what colour it looks in the film they insist it was brown. The hat in the shop did not look to be the same brown as in Dr. No, but on-screen colours can be deceiving. Lock & Co. is known for it’s trilby hats, “coke” (bowler) hats and vintage, refurbished silk top hats, which are nobody is able to produce anymore. They also have a large selection of American-style fedoras and tweed hats and caps.
To find out more visit LockHatters.co.uk
The other St James’s Street shop is John Lobb Ltd., a family-run bespoke shoemaker to royalty and is rumoured to have made Sean Connery’s shoes for the early Bond films. They do the work on the premises, and the shop is like a museum. Craftsmen work right in the front of the shop, using old-fashioned methods and working with vintage machines as well as their hands. They have separate people who each specialise in their own craft, whether it be last-making, lasting, stitching, dyeing, etc.
The wall to the right when you walk in is lined with countless unique examples of the shoes they produce, but they can make just about any style. Though most people would never consider spending so much money on bespoke shoes (their price is in line with the most expensive of bespoke suits), it’s a wonderful place to visit just to see one of the few makers left who do it the old way. John Lobb Ltd. is not to be confused with John Lobb Paris, which has been owned by Hermes since 1976.
You can see examples of John Lobb Ltd.’s work at JohnLobbLtd.co.uk
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:
- 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.