As suggested by The Suits of James Bond reader “Le Chiffre,” I am giving you the opportunity to vote on which of Bond’s attempts to be sartorially fashionable you find to be least successful. Choose the one you think is most inappropriate for Bond, the one you think is most dated, or the one you just don’t like. Here are your three options:
1. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): A silk suit in a light brown colour commonly associated with the 1970s, with wide lapels, swelled edges and flared trousers. Read more.
2. Licence to Kill (1989): An oversized suit with wide shoulders, low notch lapels, a low button stance and triple-reverse-pleat trousers. Read more.
3. Skyfall (2012): An overly-tight suit that unnecessarily pulls and creases, with narrow lapels, a short jacket length and low-rise skinny trousers. Read more.
Which of Bond's most fashionable suits is the worst?
The Spy Who Loved Me (37%, 1,067 Votes)
Licence to Kill (35%, 1,015 Votes)
Skyfall (28%, 840 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,922
If there’s another Bond film that you think has worse clothing, please feel free to mention it in the comments below.
The Spy Who Loved Me has Bond wearing the most naval clothing of any film in the series. Not only does Bond wear a dress uniform and greatcoat, he also wears battle dress, a style that dates to World War II. The dark navy serge jacket is waist-length and buttons three down the front with notch lapels. The bottom of the jacket has an extended tab for a tighter fit at the waist. There is a patch breast pocket with button flap and box pleat on each side of the chest. The cuffs close around the wrist with one button. The jacket has epaulettes that mark the rank of commander. The buttons are shanked brass.
Underneath the jacket Bond wears a light navy polo neck shirt. The trousers match the jacket and have a long rise, darted front and straight leg. They are worn with a belt, which is hidden under the jacket. The shoes are black polished leather derbies.
A few examples of the pieces in this outfit sold across a few auctions at Bonham’s in Knightsbridge. The jacket sold for £9,600 on 16 November 2005 and another for £11,760 on 6 March 2007. A false front for the jacket to wear under a wetsuit was sold for £720 on 16 June 2009 after failing to sell at three previous auctions. A pair of trousers was sold for £384 on 16 June 2009. All of these pieces are made by Bermans & Nathans.
The most iconic ski suit of the Bond series would have to be the bright yellow jumpsuit from The Spy Who Loved Me‘s pre-title sequence made by Bogner. It’s an iconic ski suit because of the scene’s memorable ending with the Union Flag parachute, though bright yellow and red are not colours typically associated with Bond in any way. Yellow and red also prove to not be the most effect colours for Bond to wear since it makes him an easier target for the Soviet agents. Along with the rest of the film’s wardrobe, the skiwear is the most dated of the series and hasn’t held up as well as Moore’s 1980′s skiwear has. The Soviets’ skiwear in black with red stripes—also provided by Bogner—by contrast doesn’t look nearly as dated.
The front of Bond’s ski suit zips with the Bogner “B” zip fastener and has a turndown collar. It has a patch pocket on the left chest with a V-shaped bottom. The waist is cinched with a belt, and under the belt there’s a zip pocket on the right side seam and a patch pocket on the front left. The sleeve openings have a zip closure, and on the upper left sleeve is Bogner’s “W” logo in green, red and blue crosswise stripes. The outfit is accented in bright red with a red toque, red rucksack and red ski boots. Bond tones down the outfit with black gloves, and the gloves have the same “W” logo found on the sleeve. The ski goggles have a yellow frame to match the ski suit. Underneath the ski suit Bond wears a white poloneck.
In The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore wears a navy 2-button blazer that’s almost identical to the one he wears two years later in Moonraker. It’s made by Angelo Roma with a clean cut and straight, narrow, roped shoulders in classic Roman style that echoes English military tailoring. The lapels are an inch wider than they need to be, but they don’t detract from the excellent fit and timeless cut of the blazer. The blazer is detailed with silver-toned metal buttons, not shanked but with 4-holes like a regular button, sewn with navy thread. There are four buttons on each cuff, slanted pockets with a ticket pocket (which isn’t present on the Moonraker blazer) and deep double vents.
The white gabardine trousers have a flat front and bell bottoms, which if might ever be appropriate would be appropriate here. In white—worn with a navy blazer—they evoke a sailor’s uniform, and Moore is indeed wearing the trousers out at sea. The Frank Foster shirt is cream with mid blue stripes spaced different lengths apart. Though at some parts it looks like the stripes are grouped in threes, it doesn’t all follow that pattern. The shirt has a large point collar and tab cuffs. The tie is mid blue shantung silk, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Moore wears black horsebit slip-ons and black socks. The outfit overall could best be described as dressy resort-wear. White trousers, though classic, dress down the blazer. They are best worn in a warm climate far from the city, where mid grey trousers work best.
Last year we looked at the elephant grey silk suit Bond wears in Moonraker. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond wears an identical suit from Angelo, Roma in light brown dupioni silk that wonderfully complements Moore’s warm complexion as well as the mediterranean surroundings. The lapels are wide and the trouser legs are flared, but the fit is superb. The suit coat has a clean cut with straight, structured shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a 2-button front, swelled edges, patch hip pockets and deep double vents. The flat front trousers have no side pockets and no visible method of tightening the waist. The trousers are fitted through the hips and thighs until the legs start to flare out a few inches above the knee.
Bond wears two shirts with this suit. The first is a fancy striped pattern in ecru and brown. The second shirt is solid ecru. Both shirts are made by Frank Foster with a deep point collar, tab cuffs and Foster’s unique placket front. Bond’s tie has wide stripes in cream, light brown and dark brown, and it’s tied in a four-in-hand knot. The shoes are light brown horse-bit slip-ons. Light brown socks extend the line of the leg into the shoes.
Though not all the same, the Roman shoulder, military shoulder and equestrian shoulder are all strongly structured shoulders with a straight line and more generous padding. Though the shoulders may be built up, they aren’t necessarily stiff. The width and amount of padding vary depending on the tailor and depending on the current trends. Characterised by a clean, strong silhouette, the Roman style has its origins in the military and equestrian style on Savile Row. H. Huntsman is a good example of a Savile Row tailor who makes an equestrian style. Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have all worn this style shoulder in the Bond films.
Most of Roger Moore’s suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker come from Angelo Roma. These suits have narrow, straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads.
Timothy Dalton wears suits in Licence to Kill with the straight, oversized shoulders that were popular at the time. Though his suit is more characteristic of something from a Milan fashion house, the idea of a straight, built-up shoulder is the same.
Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have both worn suits from Brioni, the most famous Roman tailor. Brioni’s shoulders are very similar to what Angelo made for Roger Moore, though they tend to be wider. When Brosnan started the role in 1995, Brioni’s shoulders were wider and more built up, following the 1990s trends, and by The World is Not Enough had a more classic look (see the top image).
In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond wears a naval greatcoat over his naval uniform. The full-length greatcoat has a double-breasted front that buttons to the top with twelve shanked metal buttons, and Bond leaves the top buttons open. Shoulder straps hold Bond’s Commander rank insignia. The deep navy coat is most likely made of wool melton. It’s a heavy coat that keeps out the wind on the seas and keeps warm everywhere. Bond also wears a Royal Navy peaked cap with a white cover, a back band and a black peak with a row of oak leaves.
The naval uniform Bond wears underneath can be seen here.
The Blue No. 1 dress seen here is the best uniform and worn on ceremonial occasions. Bond wears this officer’s uniform for briefings in You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies. The colour of the wool is a true navy, which almost looks black. The jacket is an 8-button double breasted with 4 to button, and the gilt buttons have a crown and anchor motif. The double-breasted lapels have a buttonhole in each peak. 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. The style of the trousers can vary, but often they are made with traditional forward pleats. They may have side adjusters, a self-belt or some other method of holding them up.
Roger Moore with Desmond Llewelyn in The Spy Who Loved Me
Officers’ dress uniforms are typically made by bespoke tailors who specialize in military cuts. A military cut has strong, padded shoulders (often with roped sleeveheads), a clean chest and a long skirt. Connery and Moore may have had their uniforms made by their tailors Anthony Sinclair and Cyril Castle, respectively. However, it’s also possible that costumiers Bermans & Nathans made the uniforms. Bermans & Nathans made other naval wear for Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me. Brioni may have made Brosnan’s uniform, as it has a cut reminiscent of Brioni’s tailoring, but it’s still a possibility that costumiers Angels & Bermans made it.
Pierce Brosnan with Joe Don Baker in Tomorrow Never Dies
A peaked cap with a white crown accompanies the uniform. Connery’s white shirt has a point collar and double cuffs and Brosnan’s shirt has a spread collar and single cuffs. Moore’s shirt has a point collar (with a large amount of tie space) but his jacket sleeves are too long and the shirt cuffs are not seen. They wear solid dark navy ties in a four-in-hand knot. The shoes are shined black leather, most likely oxfords.