With his charcoal serge suit in Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan wears his second overcoat in the film. It is a navy full-length, single-breasted, button-three coat from Brioni. It has slanted flap pockets with a ticket pocket and four-button cuffs. Though we don’t see it from the back is most likely has a deep single vent. A navy overcoat may be the most versatile coat in a man’s wardrobe, and it looks great day or night. Bond has worn many navy overcoats throughout the series, starting with George Lazenby’s double-breasted three-quarter coat. But this is only the second time Bond wears a scarf in the series, the first being Bond’s masquerade as Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Here it’s solid grey, and he wears it draped around the neck.
In Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan briefly wears a charcoal serge suit. It’s his typical Brioni button three suit with straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads. Charcoal serge is a great year-round cloth in a temperate climate. Serge is a basic four-harness twill weave with 45-degree wales on both sides. It’s great for suits and—in navy—blazers. Brosnan wears the suit with a white Brioni shirt that has a wide spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket. His mid-blue tie has a tiny pebbled or honeycomb pattern, similar to grenadine garza fina silk. But the tie’s texture is probably woven with floats instead. It’s tied in a four-in-hand knot. Brosnan enters the scene wearing an overcoat and scarf, which I will look at in more detail later.
The most common facings for lapels and other trim on a dinner suit is satin silk, but an elegant alternative to satin is grosgrain silk. James Bond has worn dinner suits grosgrain in four films, from Tomorrow Never Dies to Casino Royale, and maybe in others. Grosgrain is a plain weave with crosswise ribs that are created due to a heavier weft than warp. Its most common form is in ribbon, and it can be found around the base of the crown on many hat styles. When a dinner suit is trimmed with grosgrain silk you’ll find the grosgrain trimming on a the lapels and on the stripe down the trouser leg, and on also covered buttons if the dinner suit has them. Pocket jettings shouldn’t be trimmed in silk. Whilst satin silk has a very glossy appearance, grosgrain silk has a rather matte finish but still contrasts nicely with cloths ranging from a classic wool barathea to a warm-weather mohair blend. I’ve been told it’s difficult to find grosgrain in wider widths, thus a ribbed cummerbund is typically made of a similar weave called faille, which has slightly heavier ribs. Faille is a decent match for grosgrain, though the finer grosgrain is better for lapels. The bow tie in the photo above is faille, whilst the lapels are grosgrain. If you’re having a dinner suit with grosgrain facings made for you, the same grosgrain silk can be used to make a perfectly-matched bow tie to go with it.
The image below from Die Another Day shows Pierce Brosnan wearing a midnight blue dinner suit with black grosgrain facings. Midnight blue and black facings are both acceptable for a midnight blue dinner suit, but a midnight blue bow tie to match might just be impossible to find ready-to-wear.
How much should a man match his clothing for the day? Sean Connery’s James Bond wardrobe follows a simple system: navy ties with navy suits, navy or black ties with grey suits, and brown ties with brown suits. Shirts are white, light blue and cream. And the suitings are simple, in blue or grey with the occasional brown. The literary Bond has an even simpler system of dressing, which always matched a black knitted tie with a navy suit.
Lindy Hemming, the costume designer on all four of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films, developed a system for dressing Brosnan, one with very carefully planned outfits that coordinate in both obvious and subtle ways. Hemming often used limited colour palates but combined the colours in unique ways. She incorporated the not-so-common combination of blue and brown into many of the outfits, and we saw that done in a few different ways. In one method she matches a charcoal suit with a navy and brown tie. We first saw that in Tomorrow Never Dies with the two-piece suit in Hamburg (above left). The diamond-pattern tie also picks up the light blue in Brosnan’s shirt. In the opening scene of The World is Not Enough, we see the blue and brown tie come back in a chevron pattern with the charcoal suit (above right). That suit appears to be solid charcoal but it actually has blue and brown threads in it, which is the reasoning for the tie’s colour. Logically, the suit in Tomorrow Never Dies would also have blue and brown threads.
The chevron tie from the opening scene of The World is Not Enough returns later in the film with what appears to be a medium grey suit. But upon a closer look, that suit is made up of blue and light brown yarns (above right). When those two colours in the right tones—opposites—are combined, they balance each other and the overall result looks grey. With this suit later in the film, Brosnan wears a blue tie with light brown ticks, also pulling out the colours in the suit. A white shirt helps to neutralise the suit’s colour, since if he wore a blue or cream shirt, one of the suit’s other colours would have been more noticeable.
Similar to the light blue and brown suit in The World is Not Enough, Brosnan wears a blue and sand Prince of Wales check suit (above left) for his visit to the office in GoldenEye. The blue and sand colours again balance each other and the suit looks almost grey. Here the tie is blue and light brown, to emphasize the two dominant colours in the suit. Though the tie is more blue, though the ivory shirt balances that out with more warmth. And the blue pocket handkerchief coordinates with both the suit and tie.
One suit we see in all four of Brosnan’s is the semi-solid (usually Birdseye) navy suit, which tones the navy down with a white. Hemming probably finds that Brosnan looks better in a muted navy rather than a rich navy (which looks great on someone like Roger Moore), and she accessorises those suit in two different manners. In GoldenEye (above left) and Tomorrow Never Dies (above middle), those suits are worn with ivory shirts. In GoldenEye the tie is navy, gold and cream, whilst the tie in Tomorrow Never Dies is a similar combination of navy and bronze. And there he goes a step further by matching the bronze in his tie with a light brown overcoat. In Die Another Day (above right), Brosnan wears a tie of navy and gold squares with his navy pinhead suit in a brief plane scene. So again, we see that combination of blue and brown tones.
Before Brosnan, James Bond had never matched his clothes so carefully. But like Connery’s Bond wardrobe, we see consistency throughout Brosnan’s Bond films. As a graphic designer I have a great appreciation for the Lindy Hemming’s colour matching, though it makes Bond look like he’s trying too hard. Should James Bond—or any man—match his clothes so carefully?
Pierce Brosnan brings back the button two suit in Die Another Day after wearing primarily button three suits in his previous Bond films. Of the two examples of the style in this film, the first is a beige linen suit and the second is a grey pinstripe, which is featured here. This suit introduces an updated raised button stance, which has become popular over the past 10 years. Fashion has since taken this further by raising the jacket hem as well. Brosnan’s jacket has a traditional length, though the higher button stance doesn’t do his increasing waistline any favours. The jacket has slanted pockets with a ticket pocket, four buttons on the cuffs and double vents. The trousers have a flat front—with a rather generous rise compared to what has become of trouser rises over the past decade—and turn-ups.
Brosnan wears the suit with a light blue Brioni shirt that has a wide spread collar, placket and double cuffs. Since he wears the suit twice in the film, each time it’s with a different tie. The first tie is grey with a blue circle motif, and the tie is still available from Turnbull & Asser. The second tie is a pattern of red rectangles on a navy ground (see below). Brosnan wears black shoes with this suit.
Pierce Brosnan’s last Brioni dinner suit of the series in Die Another Day is the same button one peak lapel jacket that costume designer Lindy Hemming always dresses Bond in. The midnight blue dinner jacket is cut with straight shoulders and a clean chest, but with a rather straight cut through the body that’s flattering to Brosnan’s figure. The jacket is classically detailed with jetted pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The lapels and buttons are covered in black grosgrain silk. The trousers have a flat front.
Even though Brioni made the regular shirts for this film, the dress shirt is probably from Turnbull & Asser. What tells me this is Turnbull & Asser’s double cuff, which has the link holes placed close to the fold, whilst Brioni puts their link holes in the middle. The shirt has a spread collar, a fly placket to cover the buttons and small pleats on the front. Brosnan wears a black ribbed silk, thistle-shaped bow tie. Brosnan follows the classic Bond tradition and wears neither a waistcoat nor a cummerbund with this dinner suit.
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 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).
Bond appears to be going all out with the leather, imitating the dress of the man he’s impersonating, Mr. Van Bierk. On top is a tan suede jacket from General Leather Co. cut in the style of a 3-button lounge coat. It has bi-swing shoulder pleats, a belted-back detail, patch pockets with button-flaps below welted slash pockets on the chest, and 2 buttons on the cuffs.
Underneath the tan jacket Bond wears a shorter dark brown leather jacket. This jacket has a button front and many front pockets. Underneath that jacket Bond wears a dark grey button-down shirt from R.M. Williams over a charcoal crew-neck undershirt from Hanro of Switzerland. Bond’s tan flat front trousers that match the tan suede jacket have slanted side pockets and are worn with a brown belt from Polo Ralph Lauren. Bond’s brown grain-leather and canvas boots are from Kurt Geiger. When Bond meet’s Van Bierk he takes his sunglasses. Can anyone identify the make and model?