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.

The Blue Gingham Shirt

Blue-Gingham-Camp-Shirt

As the weather gets warmer it’s time to look at summer clothes again. In Thunderball, Sean Connery briefly wears a camp shirt in blue and white gingham, a check that is great for summer in any type of shirt. The shirt has a camp collar, an open breast pocket, a straight hem with side vents and shoulder pleats at the back. Other than the colour, the shirt is the same as the pink and white gingham shirt Connery also wears in Thunderball.

Blue-Gingham-Camp-Shirt-2The light blue swimming trunks from Jantzen are the same as what Connery wears with the rose-coloured camp shirt earlier in the film. They sit just below the waist and have a short inseam. The trunks have button-down belt loops that hold a built-in black belt.

Frogmouth Pockets

Connery-Goldfinger-Frogmouth-Pockets

Frogmouth pockets in Goldfinger

Frogmouth pockets, also called western pockets or full top pockets, were popular on trousers in the 1960s and 1970s. As opposed to traditional on-seam or slanted pockets that are accessed from the side, frogmouth pockets are accessed from the front like pockets on jeans. But unlike pockets on jeans, frogmouth pockets are not curved. They are slightly slanted down across the front, and offset down from the waistband so the pocket is in the middle of the hips rather than on top of the hips. On lower-rise trousers the frogmouth pockets don’t need to be offset from the waistband. Unlike side pockets, frogmouth pockets don’t flare open trousers that fit tightly across the hips. Frogmouth pockets aren’t very fashionable today, but with the popularity of jeans and tight trousers it’s surprising that the frogmouth pocket hasn’t made a comeback. Though the style naturally goes with today’s trends, they will continue to look dated to the 1960s and 70s unless they come back into mainstream fashion.

Moore-Frogmouth-Pockets

Douglas Hayward trousers in For Your Eyes Only

Sean Connery’s brown cavalry twill trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball have frogmouth pockets, as do some of his casual trousers. Douglas Hayward, who made Roger Moore’s suits in his 1980s Bond films, put frogmouth pockets on Moore’s suit trousers. They can be seen on the grey flannel suit in For Your Eyes Only and on the black trousers worn with the white dinner jacket in Octopussy.

Connery-YOLT-Frogmouth-Pockets

Notice the dart above the pocket.

Whilst pleated trousers can’t have frogmouth pockets, both flat front and darted front trousers can. Frogmouth pockets and darts aren’t often seen together, but Sean Connery’s grey trousers in You Only Live Twice have a dart above the middle of the frogmouth pockets. Darts can also be along the front edge of the pocket, which is how the brown trousers in Goldfinger are made, and it may be the case for Moore’s Hayward trousers too. Roger Moore’s trousers in The Persuaders have offset jetted frogmouth pockets that cut through the front dart, which is in the middle above the trousers’ leg crease.

Sleeve Width

Jack-Lord-Felix-Leiter

There’s more to well-fitting jacket sleeves than the right length. Jacket sleeve width is an oft-forgotten aspect of fit, and a well-fitting sleeve subtly makes a jacket much more flattering. Compare Sean Connery’s James Bond to Jack Lord’s Felix Leiter. Whose sleeves look better? Connery’s sleeves neatly taper whilst Lord’s sleeves are very full from shoulder to cuff. Sleeves should taper to the cuff, and altering sleeve width can be a risky endeavour. The sleeve opening should be large enough to fit a double cuff with enough room for it to slide through easily. A sleeve that’s too tight is restricting and will crease readily. The sleeve’s width should also be in balance with other parts of the suit. A very tapered sleeve looks out of place on a suit with a full-cut jacket and wide trouser legs, but that doesn’t mean the sleeve should be as wide as the trousers legs are either. Connery’s sleeves mimic the taper of his trouser legs whilst Lord’s wide sleeves don’t mesh well with the rest of his outfit.

Daniel-Craig-Sleeves

Daniel Craig appropriately shows roughly 1/2″ of shirt cuff in Skyfall, though his jacket sleeves taper too much. The sleeves should drape more smoothly with the arms relaxed like this.

Sleeve length is the easiest part of the sleeve to alter—as long as buttonholes haven’t been cut—so there’s no excuse for sleeves that are too long. The jacket sleeves should end roughly at the wrist bone so they show 1/4- to 1/2-inch of shirt cuff when the arms are relaxed, and this applies to button cuffs and double cuffs. Showing shirt cuff is ultimately a personal preference, but it’s something James Bond does more often than not. Visually, it balances the shirt collar showing in above the back of the jacket collar. Practically, it protects the edges of the jacket sleeves and prevents fraying. Shirt cuffs and shirts are much cheaper to replace than an entire suit because of frayed jacket cuff edges.

A perfect sleeve

A perfect sleeve

Another thing related to the sleeve that people often mention is the armhole and that it should be high. A high armhole means that the armhole is short in height and the bottom of the armhole is high into the armpit. The armhole should be felt in the armpit, but it shouldn’t dig into the armpit. A higher armhole gives the arms more vertical motion, so even though it might feel tighter it is actually less constricting. The width of the armhole is also important, since an armhole that is too narrow will constrict movement and cause the upper sleeve to bind. The armhole cannot be altered, and most ready-to-wear suits have rather large armholes that can fit people of different shapes. Unfortunately that leaves the majority of men with an armhole that is often far too large.

Woman of Straw: Casual Boating

Woman-of-Straw-Striped-Jumper

Sean Connery wears a casual outfit for a brief boat outing in Woman of Straw. On top he wears a black and brown horizontal-striped crew-neck jumper, probably made of cashmere. The jumper has black ribbed collar, cuffs and hem. The tan gabardine trousers have single reverse pleats. Connery was rarely seen wearing trousers with reverse pleats in the 1960s—he mostly wore forward pleats. Whilst they aren’t particularly slimming, they fit his large thighs very well.

The Dress Watch

Dr-No-Dress-Watch

A dress watch with black tie in Dr. No

James Bond is known for wearing sports watches like the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster with suits and black tie, but such watches should be worn only with sportswear and not with dressier outfits. The practice of wearing a sports watch with a suit is common now, but just because a watch is expensive and well-made doesn’t mean it goes well with all fine clothing. For dressy outfits exists the dress watch.

A dress watch with a suit in You Only Live Twice

A gold dress watch with a suit in You Only Live Twice

A dress watch is simpler, lighter and overall more elegant than a sports watch. Typically the case is thinner, the bezel is narrower, the crown is smaller and the dial is cleaner. Often it has a leather strap rather than a metal bracelet. Though we remember Sean Connery’s Rolex Submariner in the four Bond films, in most of Connery’s Bond films he also occasionally wears with his suits or black tie a gold dress watch from Gruen. This watch has a white dial and a black fabric strap. It may not be as iconic as or comparable in make to the Rolex, but it goes much better with the dressier clothing. Though Connery often commits the faux pas of wearing his Rolex diving with his suits, he only wears his Rolex once with Black Tie in Goldfinger’s opening scene. Bond has an excuse, however, in this case: he had just been diving!

After Sean Connery left the role, James Bond doesn’t again wear a dress watch until Roger Moore wears a two-tone Seiko undercover as James St. John Smythe in A View to a Kill. More recently, Daniel Craig’s Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra in some scenes of Skyfall is a sports watch, but its simple style means it can work with a suit in a pinch. It’s an elegant sports watch but a little clunky as a dress watch.

I do not plan to write more on James Bond’s watches because there is already a wealth of material available written by more knowledgable people than I. For a list of all of Bond’s watches, visit JamesBondWatches.com

An Unused Brown Pinstripe Suit

DAF-Brown-Pinstripe-Suit-not-used

Clothes are often made for film productions that are either never used or made as a gift for the stars. Diamonds Are Forever features a staggering seven lounge suits, three sports coats and three dinner jackets. It is the most tailored clothing that Bond wears in any one film, but Sean Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair made even more clothes than that for Diamonds Are Forever. Sinclair also made a chocolate brown pinstripe worsted two-piece suit at the same time as he made the rest of the suits, but it didn’t feature in the film. It has a button two jacket with slanted flap pockets, and it most likely has double vents like the rest of the suits in the film have.

The suit was sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 17 September 1998, and it can be seen in the picture above from the Christie’s catalogue on the right beside the black dinner suit and cream linen suit, both also from Diamonds Are Forever. This brown pinstripe suit sold for £575, which is considerably less than the selling prices of the suits that Sean Connery actually wears in the film.

Folding the Pocket Square

The plain-weave glen check suit in From Russia with Love

Sean Connery’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds are both fond of the folded handkerchief in their jacket breast pockets. Sean Connery’s Bond always wears white linen—it goes with everything—whilst Daniel Craig’s Bond matches his cotton handkerchief to his white and light blue shirts. Though silk handkerchiefs are made only to be used pocket squares, cotton and linen handkerchiefs can be used either as a pocket square or as something to blow one’s nose in. Folding a handkerchief to wear as a pocket square is relatively simple, but depending on the size of the handkerchief it may need to be folded differently to fit in the breast pocket. The handkerchief should be folded to fill the breast pocket without being so tight that it binds when you move around. Bond typically uses a rectangular fold know as the TV fold or the presidential fold, amongst other names.

Pocket-Square-Fold

Most breast pockets will fit a handkerchief folded to roughly 3 inches wide. That’s easy with squares around 11 to 12 inches and around 17 to 18 inches. For squares of both those sizes fold it in half right side over left, and then fold if in half again top to bottom. Now you should have a single folded edge along the top, and this will be the top edge of the handkerchief that shows outside the breast pocket. If your initial square measured around 11 to 12 inches just fold it in half right side over left and you’ll have the right size to put in your breast pocket. If your initial square measured more than 12 inches you’ll need to fold it in three sections, though you may need to make one of the three sections smaller to better fill the space in the breast pocket. Again, keep the outside edge a folded edge. In my visual demonstration above I’m using a 15-inch handkerchief.

So far I’ve left out the final steps of placing the handkerchief in the breast pocket. Before placing the handkerchief in the pocket you have the option to iron it flat, which can tame springy linen. Fold it in half again bottom to top and place it in the pocket with the amount you want to show. The handkerchief won’t sit at the bottom of the pocket, so to get it to fill the height of the pocket I hold the top in place whilst using the back end of a pen or pencil to push the rest of the handkerchief down into the bottom of the pocket.

Handkerchief-in-pocket

Bond keeps his handkerchiefs looking neat by keeping the edges of the handkerchiefs hidden, but dandies will show the edges of their handkerchiefs. Many are made with coloured borders that can be nice to show. If you choose to show the edges of the handkerchief, it looks best when the edges are rolled and sewed by hand. A machine-sewn edge should be kept hidden.

How do you like to wear your pocket squares?