M: The Double-Breasted Grey Flannel Suit

M-Dr-No

Ralph Fiennes isn’t the first M to wear a double-breasted suit. Fifty years earlier Bernard Lee wore his one and only double-breasted suit as M in Dr. No. Like many of Lee’s suits and Fiennes’ double-breasted suit, this suit is flannel. In particular, this suit is a mid grey woollen flannel, which has the old-fashioned look that’s well-suited for the character. Whilst Fiennes’ suit is traditional and not characteristic of any era, Lee’s suit is very characteristic of suits from the 1950s. Its large, padded shoulders and wide lapels were outdated for 1962, as was the buttoning style. The jacket has four buttons in a keystone arrangement with one to button, which was never a very popular style with English tailors. It wasn’t uncommon in the 1940s and 1950s, but by the 1960s the low-buttoning double-breasted suits were out of fashion. The style returned in the 1980s and has been out of fashion since the mid 1990s. It’s not as classic as the style of Ralph Fiennes’ double-breasted suit, but if it is cut well—which can’t usually be said for the baggy 1980s examples—and fits well it can be a good choice for shorter or heavier men. Lee’s jacket has jetted pockets, 3-button cuffs and no vents. As is traditional on a double-breasted jacket, both peaked lapels have a buttonhole since both sides of the jacket have fastening buttonholes. For From Russia With Love, Bernard Lee wears a more contemporary suit, though it’s still a little more traditional than Sean Connery’s suits.

M-Dr-No-2Though Bernard Lee’s M’s is known for his bow ties, he wears a black four-in-hand tie that has a fancy self pattern in his first appearance in the James Bond series. The tie is a fashionable, narrow width and it’s much narrower than his lapels. Though the narrow tie is a bit incongruous with the wide lapels, it works much better than the opposite would. He uses a tie pin to anchor the tie to his shirt. Lee doesn’t return to wearing four-in-hand ties until the final act of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. His shirt is a fine bengal stripe in light grey and white, which complements his grey hair and grey eyes. The shirt has a spread collar, plain front and double cuffs. He wears a white linen pocket handkerchief that is mostly obscured by his wide lapels.

Foreman of Signals wears a cardigan

Foreman-of-Signals

The Foreman of Signals in Dr. No, played by John Hatton, has proven to be a more memorable dresser for other people than he has been for me. After I posted about the new Q’s cardigan, comparisons started to be drawn to this uncredited character who also wears a cardigan and tie. He wears a very basic charcoal cardigan with five buttons and ribbed cuffs, turned back. Under the cardigan he wears a white shirt with brown pencil stripes. The shirt’s wide spread collar provides enough room for the windsor-knotted, solid red-brown tie. He wears charcoal trousers with a light brown belt.

Foreman-of-Signals-2

In comparison to the new Q, the Foreman of Signals is dressed much less colourfully. His outfit’s only colour is the dull red-brown tie, whilst Q’s outfit has brown, red and blue. Q’s cardigan follows the current trend for a closer fit, but that also makes him look younger. The Foreman and Q both wear the same half-frame style glasses, though Q’s are black and the Foreman’s are brown.

Foreman-of-Signals-3

Grey Flannel Trousers

Flannel-Trousers

On the 51st anniversary of the release of Dr. No we look at Sean Connery’s favourite complement to his navy blazers: dark grey flannel trousers. The trousers in Dr. No are closer to charcoal and don’t provide enough contrast with the blazer, but in Thunderball he wears trousers a little lighter that look better with navy. Connery’s trousers are made from woolen flannel, which is a very soft but very warm-wearing cloth, making it an odd choice to wear in Jamaica. These flannel trousers are made in the same style as Connery’s suit trousers, with double forward pleats and turn-ups. The waistband has a square extension with a hook-and-eye closure and side-adjusters with the usual three mother-of-pearl buttons on each side.

Bond fastens his shoulder holster down to his side-adjuster

Bond fastens his shoulder holster down to his side-adjuster

A Hot Summer Night

White-Pyjamas

Some of us may be experiencing warm weather at this time of year. Whilst in Jamaica in Dr. No, James Bond sleeps in only white pyjama trousers. Like most, they have a full cut and drawstring waistband. They are most likely made of a fine Sea Island cotton, which is soft, lightweight and comfortable in the heat. The alternative would be silk, which wears warm and is best avoided on hot summer nights.

Professor Dent: Cocktails Cuffs Are Not Just For James Bond

Professor-Dent-Blue-Shirt

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.

Professor-Dent-White-Shirt

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: The Tropical Beige Suit

Jack-Lord-Felix-Leiter

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.

Jack-Lord-Felix-Leiter-2

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.

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Almost Never Button the Bottom Button

Charcoal-Suit-Both-Buttons-Done-Up

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.

Cream-Linen-Suit

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.

Button-2-Paddock-comparison

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.

Persuaders-Button-3-Paddock

Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s paddock-cut suit in The Persuaders. It has a slanted, flapped breast pocket and flared link-button cuffs

Bond’s Flat

Bond's Flat--Umbrella Stand

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 hat lying on its crown on the floor, and Sylvia Trench is using it to improve her golf game. The hat at first resembles as bowler, but it doesn’t have the brim of the bowler. It could just be a trilby with the crown pushed out.  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.

Bond's Flat--Trilby

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.

Bond's Flat--Sylvia Trench Pyjamas