Comparison: Grey Suits in Dr. No and Diamonds Are Forever

Dr. No, left, and Diamonds Are Forever, right

Dr. No, left, and Diamonds Are Forever, right

Anthony Sinclair tailored almost all of Sean Connery’s suits in the James Bond series, from Dr. No in 1962 to Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The overall cut of Connery’s suits didn’t change much throughout the 1960s, but by 1971 there was a noticeable change in style. We will take a closer look at this change using the light grey suit from Dr. No and a similar light grey suit from Diamonds Are Forever, to at least keep the cloth constant. The shoulders—the foundation of a suit’s silhouette—are the same in both 1962 and 1971: natural with roped sleeveheads. The chest, however, is different. The Dr. No suit has a draped chest whilst the Diamonds suit has a much cleaner chest.

Dr-No-Grey-Suit-3The most obvious difference between the Dr. No and Diamonds suits is the lapel width. The lapel width isn’t exaggerated in either case, but it is noticeably wider in Diamonds than it is in Dr. No. The lapels were narrower in Connery’s other 1960s Bond films, but they were also a different shape. The gorge—the seam where the collar meets the lapel—is much steeper in Dr. No than it is in any of Connery’s other Bond films.

Hip pocket flaps also follow the lapel width. Though none of the suit jackets in Dr. No have pocket flaps, many of the suits in Connery’s subsequent Bond films throughout the 1960s have narrow pocket flaps that reflect the decade’s narrow lapel width. Wide pocket flaps in Diamonds reflect the new decade’s wide lapels, and the suits in Diamonds Are Forever feature the widest pocket flaps of the entire Bond series. In addition to have fashionably wide flaps, the pockets are also slanted, following a popular trend that had been around since the mid 60s. The pockets in Dr. No are placed unusually low, and pockets that low would look even more odd if they had flaps. The pockets are below the jacket’s bottom button, whilst ordinarily they are at the level of or just a little higher than the bottom button. The pockets in subsequent Bond films are higher.

The jacket’s button stance is lower in Diamonds than it is in Dr. No. For From Russia with Love, the button stance was lowered, and it stayed lower in all of Connery’s Bond films through Diamonds Are Forever. The button stance in Dr. No is both more in line with today’s trends and more classically proportioned, but the lower button stance certainly lends a stronger appearance by emphasising the chest and Connery’s V-shaped torso. Because the lapels and tie are wider in Diamonds Are Forever, the button stance doesn’t really look so low. The low button stance in From Russia With Love through Thunderball emphasised Connery’s athletic build, whilst in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever it helped make his no-longer-athletic body look more athletic.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Grey-Suit-2The length of Connery’s double vents increased over time. The vents in Dr. No are roughly 8 inches, which followed the trend towards short vents. They are still a practical length compared to the ultra-short double vents on Jack Lord’s suit in Dr. No. Connery’s vents increased to about 10 inches two years later in Goldfinger, and they are around 12 inches deep in Diamonds. The trend towards deeper vents started in the late 1960s and continued to the early 1980s. Deep double vents are both slimming and heightening because they create vertical lines that extend the line of the leg. Connery needed as much help as he could get in Diamonds, and the deeper double vents are indeed flattering.

Another detail that could easily go unnoticed is that the colour of the buttons has changed. The grey buttons in Dr. No match the suit whereas the dark grey buttons in Diamonds contrast with the suit. The darker buttons in Diamonds look nice but they draw attention to Connery’s waist, which isn’t one of his better areas.

Dr-No-Grey-Suit-2The change in trouser style is one of the biggest changes from Dr. No to Diamonds. In the 1960s, all of Connery’s suit trousers have double forward pleats, whilst in Diamonds they have a small dart on in front of the side pocket on either side. The rise is a little shorter in Diamonds than in Dr. No. The rise was lowered after Dr. No when the jacket’s button stance was also lowered. The legs in both Dr. No and Diamonds both have a trim and tapered cut, though the leg in Diamonds is tapered a little less. The bottoms in Dr. No were finished with turn-ups whilst the bottoms in Diamonds are finished with a plain hem. Only before in Goldfinger did Connery wears his suit trousers with plain hems.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Grey-Suit-3The Turnbull & Asser shirts didn’t change much between Dr. No and Diamonds. Obviously, the white shirt in Dr. No has gone to cream in Diamonds. The collar got a little taller and the collar points got a little longer, but not by much. The shirts still have the same cocktail cuffs, though Connery only fastens the first button in Diamonds to allow the cuff to roll over the second button. The ties follow the lapel width, and the tie in Dr. No is navy grenadine whilst the tie in Diamonds is black with varying ribs.

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, except perhaps Jeffrey Wright, comes close to having a competing screen presence with Bond, and his cool look has a large part to do with it.

Jack-Lord-Felix-Leiter-3

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 four 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. It happens a second time in Dr. No when both of the buttons on Bond’s blazer are fastened when he watches the Three Blind Mice’s hearse fall off the cliff. The third 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 fourth 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