The Saint: The Light Brown Three-Piece Suit

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One of Simon Templar’s favourite suits to wear when travelling to climates warmer than Great Britain’s is a light brown worsted three-piece suit. Roger Moore wears this suit tailored by Cyril Castle in many episodes of The Saint‘s fifth series, including the final episode of that series featured here titled “The Gadic Collection” when Templar travels to Istanbul. The suit jacket resembles others that Moore wears in this season of The Saint. The jacket is a button three, and the lapels roll gently at the top button. The jacket is cut with natural shoulders and a draped chest, which gives the suit a more relaxed look for the warmer climate. The flapped hip pockets are slanted, and the breast pocket has a flap to give this suit a sportier look, whilst narrow lapels and narrow pocket flaps reflect the contemporary 1960s trends. The jacket has turnback “gauntlet” cuffs with a large single button, and there are double vents at the rear.

Saint-Light-Brown-Suit-2Under the jacket Moore wears a button six waistcoat, and he fastens all six buttons. Unlike most other waistcoats in The Saint, which have a straight bottom, this waistcoat has the traditional pointed bottom. The waistcoat also has notched lapels and four welt pockets. The back of the is in a medium brown lining and has a waist-adjusting strap. Though three-piece suits are often associated with increased formality, a waistcoat is just as appropriate with a dark city worsted as it is with a sportier suit like this lightweight brown suit.

Saint-Light-Brown-Suit-3The suit’s trousers have a darted front, cross pockets, belt loops and two rear pockets. At different points in the episode the belt loops can be seen used with a brown belt and unused. Ideally the trousers worn with a three-piece suit would be without belt loops and supported by side adjusters or braces. The belt creates an unsightly bulge under the waistcoat. The leg is tapered with a plain hem. Moore wears his usual cream shirt with this suit, and the shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a plain front. The shirt is possibly from Sulka, who Templar mentions in an earlier episode of The Saint, or Washington Tremlett, whose shop was next-door to Cyril Castle’s. Moore’s long relationship with Frank Foster most likely didn’t start until the following series of The Saint.

Saint-Light-Brown-Suit-4Moore wears two ties with the suit. The first tie is olive green satin silk, which is the tie that Moore typically wears with this suit. After Templar discards his olive tie he dons a solid brick red repp tie. Both ties are tied in a small four-in-hand knot with a dimple. Moore’s tan socks and brown short boots follow the outfit’s earth-toned colour scheme. The boots are like shorter chelsea boots with elastic gussets on the sides.

The cream shirt, olive tie and light brown suit flatter Roger Moore’s warm spring complexion better than the common cool, dark city colours do. People often criticise Moore for wearing brown suits in his 1970s Bond films because those people associate brown suits with fashion trends from that decade, and brown suits were indeed popular at that time. But Moore didn’t wear them just because they were fashionable in the 1970s, and he didn’t only wear brown suits in the 1970s. Per this article, he wore brown suits in the 1960s, and he wore them in the 1980s too. Roger Moore wore brown suits because they looked good on him.

Danger Man: Black Tie Without a Dinner Suit

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In the 1965 Danger Man episode titled “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove”, John Drake dresses in faux black tie. He wears a dark lounge suit with black tie accessories, something that should only been done when travelling light. However, this episode takes place at home in London, and Drake owns a dinner suit, so it doesn’t make sense for Drake to be wearing a lounge suit as a dinner suit. Black and navy suits are the best to wear in this situation, with charcoal working not quite as well. Danger-Man.co.uk has some colour stills from this episode, and the suit appears to be dark forest green. If the colours are accurate, it’s a flashy colour for a lounge suit, but since it’s not going to be mistaken for a business suit it works better in this situation. The suit also has a self-stripe, which elevates the dressiness.

Faux-Black-Tie-2The jacket buttons two and has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, four buttons on the cuffs, jetted pockets, and no vent. The last two details make this suit work better for dressy evening wear. Peaked lapels would also help make a lounge suit work better for makeshift black tie, but this suit has notched lapels since single-breasted suits with peaked lapels weren’t so common in the 1960s. Drake wears the suit jacket with two pairs of trousers. The first pair matches the jacket, and it has double forward pleats and belt loops that are hidden under the cummerbund. The second pair, which looks lighter than the jacket and is probably dark grey, has a flat front. Anthony Sinclair, who also made Sean Connery’s suits in the Bond films, likely tailored this suit as he made many clothes for John Drake actor Patrick McGoohan.

Faux-Black-Tie-3Drake wears proper black tie accessories with the suit. The dress shirt has a bib, spread collar and double cuffs in cotton marcella, and the collar and cuffs have edge stitching. The body of the shirt is a white-on-white stripe and the buttons are black to resemble studs. Drake’s bow tie is black silk but the cummerbund is a fancy patterned silk, and it is possibly in a colour other than black. The shoes are black plain-toe derbies. Early in the episode Drake wears a boutonniere in his lapel buttonhole.

Apart from Patrick McGoohan sharing the same tailor as Sean Connery, this episode has another connection with James Bond: Desmond Llewellyn, who played Q in 17 Bond films, appears in this episode.

Puffed Pocket Squares

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The puffed silk pocket square is the standard for those who wish to add a splash of colour in their breast pocket instead of the staid folded white linen handkerchief. To create a puff, lay the handkerchief flat and pick it up by pinching it from the centre. Slide it though your hand to gather it together, turn up the bottom and place the pocket square in your breast pocket. Once in the pocket you can adjust the pocket square to puff it up.

GoldenEye-Plaid-SuitIn GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan wears solid pocket squares that pick up one of the colours in his tie. In the M’s office scene, Brosnan matches a medium blue pocket square to the medium blue squares in the tie (right). A light brown or gold pocket square would also have been a good choice to echo the tie’s light brown squares. In the Q’s lab scene he wears another medium blue pocket square that is lighter than but still echoes the base colour of his tie (top). It’s the easiest choice to match the tie’s base colour, but it would be more interesting if Brosnan matched his pocket square to the red or yellow in the tie. He again wears a medium blue pocket square with his navy birdseye suit in Russia, which subtly echoes the lighter blue in the birdseye weave.

In The World is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan wears a rather unexciting grey puffed silk pocket square with his pinstripe suit, but it echoes both the grey in the tie and the suit’s pinstripes. It’s a smart match whilst at the same time is subtle enough that it doesn’t look too studied.

Remington-Steele-Pocket-SquareBrosnan was no stranger to wearing puffed silk pocket squares in GoldenEye. He consistently wore them in Remington Steele, but then he most often went for the uninspired method of matching the pocket square to the base colour of his tie, and he occasionally matched his pocket square to his shirt as well. There were some exceptions to that, like in the second season premiere “Steele Away with Me”. Brosnan uses a red pocket square to echo the pink spots on his tie (left). It complements the outfit without looking too studied. But this method of matching the pocket square doesn’t only apply to matching with ties. Pocket squares can also be effectively used to echo the colour of a stripe or check in a shirt or a suit. Brosnan also could have worn a yellow pocket square to echo the stripes in his shirt.

Moonraker-Pocket-SquareRoger Moore shows in Moonraker how not to wear a pocket square, with his cream suit in Rio de Janeiro. He wears a light brown pocket square that’s such a close match to the shirt it’s probably made from the same cotton (right). Daniel Craig’s matching light blue pocket square and shirt aren’t so bad because they’re in a very neutral colour, but Moore’s shirt and pocket square are far more noticeable. A pocket square should not be an exact match to any other part of the outfit—unless it’s white or otherwise very neutral—or else it looks amateurish and unstylish. It’s a shame that Moore’s only pocket square in his seven Bond films is a failure since Moore is otherwise one of the most creatively-dressed Bonds.

Matching a patterned pocket square with a patterned shirt or tie can be difficult because there can often end up being too much going on. Wearing a patterned pocket square that has the same colours as the tie is almost as bad as wearing a matching tie and pocket square. If you find yourself often without a tie, a patterned pocket square can often be the best thing since it can add the interest that is lost without a tie. And no, there is no rule about not wearing a pocket square without a tie.

Goldeneye: Ian Fleming in Black Tie

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Though Dominic Cooper who plays Ian Fleming in the recent miniseries doesn’t look anything like Fleming, Charles Dance does. Dance has a small role—and his first screen film role—as one of Emile Leopold Locque’s henchmen in For Your Eyes Only, but he stars as Ian Fleming in a 1989 television movie called Goldeneye. Though Ian Fleming is typically seen in photos wearing a bow tie, I’ve never seen a photo of him in black tie. In Goldeneye, Fleming wears a black double-breasted dinner suit in a scene that takes place during the years of World War II.

Charles-Dance-Goldeneye-Black-Tie-2The dinner jacket has straight military-like shoulders with roped sleeveheads, peaked lapels and, as is traditional on a dinner jacket, no vent. However, the picture quality isn’t good enough to tell how many buttons are on the dinner jacket. Ian Fleming was a fan of double-breasted suits, and he dressed Hugo Drax in a double-breasted suit similar to one of his own with “turnback”—or gauntlet—cuffs. It’s very likely that the real Fleming would have owned a double-breasted dinner jacket. Fleming preferred to dress in a rather relaxed manner, and the double-breasted dinner jacket is just slightly less formal than the single-breasted dinner jacket. Plus it allows him to forego a waist-covering in a more legitimate way than Sean Connery does in his Bond films.

The picture quality isn’t good enough to tell if the dinner suit’s trousers have pleats, but based on the silhouette they most likely have double forward pleats. That was the standard style that English tailors made at the time. Narrow black braces hold up the trousers. Not much had changed in English tailoring from the time this takes place during World War II to the late 1980s when Goldeneye was made, and the biggest difference came with lighter-weight cloths. This dinner suit doesn’t look as heavy as one that would have been worn in Ian Fleming’s time, but otherwise it’s fairly convincing.

Charles-Dance-Goldeneye-Black-Tie-3Fleming’s white dress shirt has a marcella bib, and though marcella-front shirts are ordinarily without a placket—like Daniel Craig’s dress shirt in Skyfall—for a cleaner, dressier look, this shirt has a raised placket that takes three black onyx studs and has quarter-inch stitching. The spread collar and double cuffs are made in cotton marcella as well, and they have quarter-inch stitching. The cufflinks match the studs. The shirt has shoulder pleats in the back. The black bow tie is a classic thistle shape, and he wears a white puffed silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. The shirt and bow tie are classic and, like the dinner suit, look just as good now as they did in 1989 or during World War II.

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And if you’ve forgotten who Charles Dance plays in For Your Eyes Only, to the right is a picture of his character, Claus.

Fleming: Royal Navy Uniform

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In the end of the first episode and throughout the the second episode of the miniseries Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, Ian Fleming, played by Dominic Cooper, wears a World War II Royal Navy commander’s uniform very similar to what Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan all wore as James Bond. The uniform is made by a bespoke tailor—as far as the story is concerned—with a very clean, fitted military cut. The shoulders aren’t as built-up as one would expect, but they are padded and there’s a little roping at the sleevehead. It is double-breasted with eight buttons on four to button. The jacket has jetted pockets, short double vents and the rank insignia of commander on the sleeve, consisting of three rings of gold braid with the executive curl in the upper braid. Appropriately, the jacket is made in a dark navy, heavy serge cloth.

Fleming-Uniform-2The jacket is tailored to a much shorter than traditional length, which helps Dominic Cooper look just a little closer to the much taller man that the real Ian Fleming was. The shorter jacket length isn’t as noticeable because the uniform is so dark. Fleming is shot in ways that make Cooper look taller, and there aren’t many shots that emphasise how short the jacket is. As a result, it ends up appearing in proportion to Cooper’s body whilst also giving his legs extra length.

Fleming-Shirt-Tie-BracesThe trousers have a flat front with frogmouth pockets and a fishtail—or braces—back. The back is curved up higher to be more comfortable with braces. It’s the same reason why Ralph Fiennes’ trousers in Skyfall have extending tabs that the braces attach to. The braces are beige with brown stripes. They have light brown leather ends. The braces don’t go with the rest of the outfit, but when he’s all dressed it doesn’t matter because the braces are hidden. He wears a white shirt with a long, soft point collar and double cuffs. Fleming ties his black repp tie, naturally, in a four-in-hand knot. His shoes are black lace-ups.

We even get to see what kind of undergarments Fleming wears. His t-shirt has short sleeves and a rather large crew neck opening, but it’s not quite a scoop neckline. His white pants have double reverse pleats and about a 6-inch inseam. The real Ian Fleming specified Bond’s underpants in The Man with the Golden Gun to be made of sea island cotton, which the author probably also wore himself.

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Perhaps the best part of Fleming’s naval uniform is the navy greatcoat. Roger Moore briefly wears a similar greatcoat in The Spy Who Loved Me over his uniform, but we see much more of this coat. It’s a full length coat that hits mid-calf, and in such a heavy weight it’s an extremely warm coat. Fleming wears it unbuttoned because it’s probably too warm to button it up. The double-breasted coat has twelve gilt buttons on the front, with six on each side in a keystone formation. There is decorative stitching on the left front panel of the coat that frames the keystone, from the buttonhole on the bottom right across to the bottom decorative button on the left, and up the row of decorative buttons. Notch lapels allow the coat to fasten to the top. It has straight, flapped pockets, a deep centre vent, swelled edges and a half belt in back that buttons on either end. The epaulettes match the uniform’s jacket sleeves and have three rings of gold braid with the executive curl in the upper braid. With the coat Fleming wears a Royal Navy peaked cap with a black cover—which was later replaced universally with white as seen in the Bond films—and a black peak with a row of oak leaves.

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Fleming: The 1939 Navy Three-Piece Suit

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Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond is a currently-airing mini series starring Dominic Cooper as James Bond creator Ian Fleming, and the first episode takes place at the beginning of World War II in 1939. The mini-series opens with Fleming in 1952 as he is finishing Casino Royale, the first of the James Bond novels. A conversation between Fleming and his wife introduces the concept that Fleming and Bond are one in the same. “It’s just a pot boiler. Just words, nothing more. Make believe,” says Fleming.

Fleming-Navy-Suit-3“Really?” his wife responds. “Is that why he has your golf handicap and taste in vodka?”

“He’s not me,” retorts Fleming.

“You as you would like to be. Your fantasy,” states Fleming’s wife. And that’s what the series is about.

We know that Fleming also passed on his unique fashion sense to Bond. The first episode at first features Fleming wearing typical late 1930s clothing in busy patterns with extraneous accessories. That’s not what we think of Fleming or Fleming’s Bond wearing. Fleming was not known to be a flamboyant dresser, yet he was a quirky one. The last of the suits in the mini-series before being fitted for his naval uniform is a suit one could picture Fleming wearing in 1939: a navy worsted three-piece suit. It has the straight shoulders, the draped chest and the nipped waist that was the fashion at the time, in a one-button cut with wide peaked lapels. It has jetted pockets, 3-button cuffs and no vent.

The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. We don’t get a good look at front of the trousers but double forward pleats were typical for English tailoring at the time. The trousers have turn-ups. As we can see with other trousers in this episode, Fleming wears braces, so it would naturally follow that he wears them with this suit as well.

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Fleming’s white shirt has a long, soft point collar. The collar is designed to be worn with a collar bar or pin, and earlier in the episode Fleming wears the former on his collars. Fleming was generally known to not be a fan of fussy accessories, and here he just lets the collar points hang. This shirt also has double cuffs, so Fleming hasn’t yet given up long sleeves. Fleming didn’t like dirty shirt cuffs, but he is still wearing them. I am interested to see if the series shows the development of Fleming’s sartorial quirks. We haven’t yet seen Fleming’s penchant for bow ties in the mini-series, though the real Fleming can occasionally be seen in a four-in-hand tie in photos. Fleming here, of course, ties a four-in-hand knot for his steel blue tie with a printed pattern of white horizontal lines intersected by dark blue diamonds. His black shoes may be derbies, but we don’t get a very clear look at them. They aren’t the moccasins that Fleming wore and dressed Bond in.

Fleming-Charcoal-OvercoatOver his suit, Fleming wears a charcoal melton, double-breasted chesterfield coat. It has six buttons with two to fasten, and it’s a traditional length hitting just below the knee. It has a single vent, peaked lapels, a welted breast pocket and welted hip pockets. With the overcoat Fleming wears a black lord’s hat, which is like a cross between a homburg and a fedora. It has an unbound curled brim, a thick black grosgrain ribbon and a crown with a centre dent and a front pinch.

The clothes look very authentic, from the cuts and styles to the accurately heavy suiting. The cloth weight is often where film costumes make their mistake. The average suiting was considerably heavier 75 years ago, and it gradually started getting lighter after World War II. A 1930s-style suit made in a modern 8 oz cloth won’t look authentic. Since there are few photos of Ian Fleming at this young age we don’t know for certain how he would have dressed, but this outfit looks like something a young James Bond might have worn in the 1939. It’s stylish and fashionably appropriate for a playboy, but not too flashy for a spy.

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The Saint: Three-Piece, Shawl-Collar Dinner Suit

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Tonight is the only night of the year many people wear a dinner suit. In the two-part episode of The Saint titled “The Fiction Makers”, Roger Moore wears a three-piece dinner suit, something only Pierce Brosnan to date has worn as James Bond. “The Fiction Makers” was filmed as part of Series 5, so the clothes stylistically follow the others from Series 5, but it was aired in December 1968 as part of Series 6 and later released as a feature film. The midnight blue dinner suit tailored by Cyril Castle has a deep lustre that means it must be made of mohair. The dinner jacket has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads. It is a button one, with the button elegantly placed low about two inches below Moore’s natural waist. The narrow midnight blue satin shawl collar gently rolls down to the button and lacks the belly of a typical shawl collar. The dinner jacket follows black tie tradition with jetted pockets and no vent. The cuffs button three and have midnight blue satin gauntlet cuffs. All of the buttons are covered to match the lapels.

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The button three waistcoat matches the midnight blue mohair dinner jacket and also has midnight blue satin silk shawl lapels. The buttons are spaced apart a little more than they traditionally are on an evening waistcoat—about 2″ apart like on a regular daywear waistcoat instead of 1.5″ inches apart—making the front a little taller. It’s commonly said that waistcoats go better with peaked-lapel dinner jackets and cummerbunds go better with shawl-collar dinner jackets. The formality of the waistcoat does indeed better match peaked lapels, and the angular shape of the waistcoat “V” complements the angles of peaked lapels. But there’s also nothing wrong with wearing a waistcoat with a shawl-collar dinner jacket. A U-shaped waistcoat goes well with a shawl collar dinner jacket, though Roger Moore’s waistcoat has a regular V-front. However, Moore’s waistcoat has rounded shawl lapels that match the dinner jacket’s shawl collar, helping to connect the two pieces. The waistcoat’s straight bottom also does away with the angles the typical waistcoat has at the bottom, helping it to better complement the shawl-collar dinner jacket.

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The trousers, of course, match the dinner jacket and waistcoat. The trousers have tapered legs, cross pockets and a midnight blue satin stripe down the side of each leg. The white dress shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a pleated front with mother-of-pearl buttons down the placket. Moore’s bow tie is midnight blue satin silk to match the facings on the dinner suit.

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Danger Man: Nailhead Suit

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In my last post on Danger Man there was some doubt as to whether or not the suit was from Sean Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair, whom Danger Man‘s star Patrick McGoohan also patronised. In the 1965 Danger Man episode titled “The Mercenaries”, McGoohan wears a button two suit that more closely resembles Connery’s suits. The natural shoulders have gentle roping, the chest is full-cut, and the front darts extend below the pockets to the bottom of the jacket to give extra fullness to the chest. The trousers have double forward pleats, but unlike Connery’s trousers these are designed to wear with a belt and have plain hems.

A closeup of the nailhead cloth.

A closeup of the nailhead cloth.

Besides the cut, the jacket’s cuffs button four like all of Sean Connery’s suits do. The pockets have flaps and there is no vent. This suit is in a lightweight semi-solid nailhead cloth, and thanks to colour stills we know that this suit is medium grey. Nailhead is often confused with birdseye, but they are neither the same pattern nor the same weave. Nailhead is made in an even twill weave and looks like a grid of squares.

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McGoohan’s pale blue shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. On black-and-white film, the shirt comes out as an uninteresting light grey. White shirts always look best in black-and-white, which is one reason why they were so popular in classic film. The tie is red with black stripes, and McGoohan wears it with a tie bar a little above the waist. Again, the tie looks really bland in black-and-white. McGoohan’s belt and shoes are black.

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This episode features Shane Rimmer, who appeared in three James Bond films.