Layer Cake: The Kilgour Navy Suit

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In Daniel Craig’s “screen test” for James Bond, the 2005 film Layer Cake, he wears a ready-to-wear navy suit from Kilgour. The suit was designed by Kilgour’s creative director Carlo Brandelli in his signature style. Brandelli, a London-born fashion designer, interior designer and artist, joined Kilgour in 2004, left in 2009 and returned again in 2013. The style of the suit recalls traditional Savile Row but at the same time updates it with a distinctive sleek, modern look. The suit jacket has single-button front with the button at the waist, and the jacket’s quarters gently cut away below the button. It is cut with a clean chest, a nipped waist and lightly-padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads. The jacket is detailed with a single vent, slanted flap pockets and four buttons on the cuffs. The jacket’s buttons are made of black horn.

Layer-Cake-Kilgour-Navy-Suit-4The suit trousers have a medium rise so they sit only about two inches below the jacket’s button. The rise is high enough to prevent the shirt from showing the jacket’s single button. The trousers have a darted front, straight leg, slanted side pockets and “DAKS top” side adjusters with three mother of pearl buttons.

Layer-Cake-Kilgour-Navy-Suit-3Daniel Craig’s shirt is pale blue and has a moderate spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket.  Though the collar and cuffs are stitched 1/4-inch from the edge, the rather narrow placket is stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The placket is just like what Thomas Pink makes, and this shirt and the others in the film could possibly be from there. If this shirt isn’t from Thomas Pink, it is certainly English in origin. The navy tie has a raised woven honeycomb texture, which looks like the “Astaire” tie that Thomas Pink used to sell. Craig’s shoes are black leather high-vamp slip-ons with an elastic strip across the instep under the tongue.

The entire colour scheme of the outfit is very Bond-like, and all the blue brings out the best in Daniel Craig’s warm, spring complexion and blue eyes. Though the clothes are ready-to-wear, they fit well except for when the jacket’s collar stands away from the neck. Daniel Craig looks great in the English style and proves in Layer Cake that he can look very much the part of James Bond.

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The James Bond clothes and pose

In 2011, I wrote about the cream suit Daniel Craig wears in the final scene of Layer Cake.

Assignment K: A Double-Breasted Suit by Douglas Hayward

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Stephen Boyd stars as Philip Scott in the 1968 spy thriller Assignment K, and throughout the film he wears suits by Douglas Hayward. Douglas Hayward tailored Roger Moore’s suits for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, and he also made suits for Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Steve McQueen and many other stars. One of the four suits that Boyd wears in Assignment K is a medium grey worsted flannel double-breasted suit. Worsted flannel is can be lighter in weight than the traditional woollen flannel, but being flannel it still has a fuzzy nap. The serge weave is visible under the nap on a worsted flannel, whilst no weave is visible on a woollen flannel. Worsted flannel has a sleeker look than woollen flannel does, but the nap keeps him warm in West Germany’s winter.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-2Boyd’s double-breasted suit jacket has the traditional arrangement of six buttons with two to button, and it is tailored with natural shoulders, a clean chest and suppressed waist. The jacket’s peaked lapels are made in the Tautz style, which means they have a horizontal gorge. They look slightly less formal than standard peaked lapels that point up towards the shoulder. The jacket also has double vents, three buttons on the cuffs, flapped pockets and a royal blue lining. The suit trousers’ legs taper to the knee and are straight from the knee to the plain hem. Not much of the the trousers’ legs are seen, but if they match Boyd’s other suit trousers in the film they have frogmouth pockets and are worn with a belt. The front does not have pleats, but it is probably darted.

Assignment-K-Charcoal-OvercoatBoyd’s sky blue shirt is likely made by Frank Foster. It has a wide spread collar, square double cuffs attached to the sleeves with shirring, rear side pleats, rear darts and a placket stitched close to the centre. Boyd wears two different ties with this suit: the first is solid silver and the second is solid black. Boyd’s shoes are black. Over the suit, Boyd wears a charcoal melton wool overcoat, which he wears over every suit in the film. The coat is three-quarter length to just above the knee. It has three buttons down the front, three buttons on the cuffs, slanted flap pockets and a rear vent. Like the suit jacket, the overcoat has natural shoulders. With the overcoat, Boyd wears dark grey suede gloves.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-3Assignment K has a few connections to James Bond besides both using tailor Douglas Hayward. The director of this film Val Guest, directed parts of the Casino Royale spoof a year earlier. Assignment K also features the actor Jan Werich, who was originally cast as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. Producer Albert Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert of You Only Live Twice decided that Werich was not right for the villainous role and replaced him with Donald Pleasence.

Evelyn Tremble: The Gun Club Check Suit

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Once Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) becomes one of the many James Bonds in the 1967 spoof Casino Royale, he starts dressing better. His gun club check suit is an excellent example of the improvement in his wardrobe. The gun club check is black and red on a white ground, and in these colours and a small scale it works well as a casual city suit rather than the sporty country suit one would expect out of a gun club check. Little of the suit jacket is seen, but it is certainly made by the same tailor who made his second dinner suit. This button three suit jacket has the same straight shoulders and fishmouth “cran Necker” notch lapels that the dinner jacket has. The suit jacket has flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and probably double vents.

Peter-Sellers-Check-Suit-2Much more of the suit trousers than the suit jacket are seen. The trousers are very much of their time, with a darted front and frogmouth pockets. The leg is tapered to the knee and straight from the knee to the hem. The rear right pocket is jetted with a button through it whilst the rear left pocket has a flap. The trousers have a fairly traditional rise.

Peter-Sellers-Check-Suit-3Since Sellers wears this suit without the jacket more than he does with the jacket, his shirt becomes the main focus of the outfit. And it deserves to be the main focus because it’s beautifully-made and well-fitted.The shirt is made of cream voile with a double layer in the front so it is not sheer like the back and sleeves are. It has a spread collar, a front placket and a darted back with side pleats. The double cuffs have the link holes close to the fold, and the outer edge of the cuff has a large curve like on Sean Connery’s cocktail cuffs. The cuffs are attached with shirring. The shirt is possibly made by Frank Foster, who made shirts for Peter Sellers in other films. With the outfit, Sellers wears a dark brown knitted tie that he sometimes keeps tucked into his trousers. The trousers are held up with black textured leather belt that clashes with Sellers’ burgundy shoes, and it’s the only mistake he makes in what’s a rather elegant and Bond-like outfit.

The Russia House: Blazer and Duffle Coat

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In the 1990 film The Russia House, Sean Connery plays Bartholomew “Barley” Scott Blair, the head of a British publishing film turned spy. Though the character is a spy, he’s nothing like James Bond. Connery dresses how an older man in Britain would traditionally dress, and he wears layers to withstand Moscow’s cold weather. Connery’s wardrobe in the film consists of V-neck jumpers, knitted ties, informal outercoats, a navy suit, a checked jacket and a navy blazer.

Connery-Russia-House-Blazer-2Connery’s button two navy blazer has natural shoulders that go against the trendy large shoulder of 1990, but slightly wide lapels and the moderately low gorge and button stance reflect the fashions of the time. Though blazers ordinarily have vents in the rear due to their sporty nature, this one reflects the fashions of 1990 and has no vent. Like Connery’s navy blazer in Dr. No, this blazer also has an open patch breast pocket and open patch hip pockets, swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs. This blazer’s buttons are brass. Bonhams in Knightsbridge auctioned the blazer on 16 June 2009 for £120. The blazer was made for Sean Connery by the costumiers Angels.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-Coat-2Under the blazer, Connery wears a medium grey sleeveless, V-neck jumper, which both keeps Connery warm and makes the outfit more casual. Connery’s dark green corduroy trousers have double forward pleats and are worn with a brown alligator-texture belt. The ecru shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs, a front placket and rear shoulder pleats. Connery wears a knitted tie with red and navy horizontal stripes, and it’s most likely tied in a half windsor knot. Connery’s shoes are dark brown.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-CoatOver the blazer, Connery wears a camel-coloured, heavy woollen duffle coat. The duffle coat is a casual coat characterised by its toggle closure. Connery’s coat has four wooden toggles that fasten with rope, and they go down the front from the collar to the waist. The coat is knee-length without a vent in the rear, but no vent is needed when the coat is free to spread apart in front below the waist. The coat has shoulder patches, two open patch pockets, buttoned straps on the sleeves and a hood. There are straps to button around the neck that connect with elastic around the back of the neck. Connery also keeps warm with an olive wool or cashmere scarf and a brown felt fedora with a centre dent, front pinch and brown ribbon.

The Rocketeer: A Purple Dinner Jacket

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1991’s The Rocketeer is one of the few films to feature Timothy Dalton in well-tailored 20th century clothing. Since the film takes place in 1938, what Dalton wears is more costume rather than clothing. However, not all of the clothing is accurate to the late 1930s. Dalton plays movie star and Nazi villain Neville Sinclair, who wears a muted dark purple dinner jacket that is fitting for his character. Purple is quite an unusual colour for a dinner jacket, but it’s not unusual for a smoking jacket, an ancestor of the dinner jacket. I don’t know if purple dinner jackets were popular in the late 1930s, but purple had seen a rise in popularity a few years before The Rocketeer was made. Jack Nicholson famously wore a purple suit as the joker in Batman two years earlier, and Miami Vice popularised purple and lavender clothes for men. A purple dinner jacket is less formal than the traditional black or midnight blue jacket, which makes it an acceptable—but nevertheless flashy—choice for a night out as Sinclair wears his.

Rocketeer-Purple-Dinner-Jacket-2The purple dinner jacket is cut with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a clean chest. The jacket is full-cut, but it still fits well and isn’t a size too large like the jackets in Licence to Kill are. The jacket drapes elegantly without any extra folds of cloth. The wide, dark purple silk peaked lapels elegantly roll down to the jacket’s single button. The buttons are covered in the same dark purple silk that the lapels are faced in. The jacket has no vent, jetted pockets and three buttons on the cuffs. The black trousers have double reverse pleats and the traditional black silk stripe down each leg.

Rocketeer-Purple-Dinner-Jacket-4The black brocade waistcoat is one of the least historically-correct parts of this outfit. The waistcoat has five buttons with the bottom left open, peaked lapels and a full collar. A proper evening waistcoat, which is low-cut with three or four buttons, would have been worn at the time rather than a high-buttoning daytime-style waistcoat in a fancy evening cloth. Sinclair’s white-on-white stripe dress shirt has a point collar, double cuffs and a placket with two black onyx studs. His bow tie is black barathea silk in a batwing shape. His shoes are patent leather.

Rocketeer-Purple-Dinner-Jacket-3Sinclair also wears a red boutonnière pinned to his lapel. Besides looking unsightly, pinning a boutonnière to a silk lapel can easily damage the facing. Ideally, the boutonnière’s stem should be stuck through the lapel’s buttonhole and held in place by a loop sewn on the back of the lapel. One should only resort to pinning a boutonnière when the lapel has no buttonhole. But there is a buttonhole hiding behind Sinclair’s boutonnière, so he has no excuse for pinning it to his lapel.

Marnie: A Glen Check Suit Appropriate For Bond

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In honour of Sean Connery’s 84th birthday earlier this week, let’s look at a glen check suit he wears in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie that’s quite befitting for James Bond. The lightweight black and white glen check cloth is in a hopsack weave, and it’s very similar to the cloth of the glen check suit that Connery wears in Goldfinger. However, the two-and-two—or puppytooth—section of the glen check has a smaller repeat. The cloth is approximated in the diagram below.

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The button three suit jacket has narrow lapels that roll through the top button but not down to the middle button. The jacket is cut with a full chest, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and it has no vent, three buttons on the cuffs and pockets with very narrow flaps. The buttons are grey horn, as opposed to the grey plastic buttons that are on Sean Connery’s worsted Anthony Sinclair suits for Bond. Not much of the trousers can be seen, but they most likely follow the other suit trousers in the film and have double forward pleats, turn-ups and button-tab side-adjusters.

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The white shirt—it looks cream, but I suspect that’s due to the way the film is treated because all of the colours have been warmed—has a spread collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a placket stitched close to the centre like on Frank Foster’s shirts. The narrow black repp tie—which isn’t as interesting as the textured dark grenadine ties Sean Connery often wears as Bond—anchors the overall light-coloured outfit by giving the outfit the necessary contrast to flatter Connery’s cool, high-contrast complexion. Because the tie is so narrow, it’s difficult to tell if the symmetrical knot he is using a Windsor or Half Windsor knot. Connery secures his tie with a tie bar that is mostly obscured by his jacket, slightly angled downward and placed about an inch below the jacket’s top button.

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Gold: Dressing Up a Bold Shirt

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Gold features Roger Moore in a James Bond-esque story but in a slightly more flamboyant wardrobe. Like Moore’s navy double-breasted suit in Gold, the beige jacket in that film could have been picked straight out of Live and Let Die or The Man with the Golden Gun. The jacket—perhaps made of a silk and linen blend—is tailored by Cyril Castle in the same style as the single-breasted suits that Moore wears in his first two Bond films. The button two jacket has softly-padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and medium-width lapels. It is detailed with slanted pockets, deep double vents and flared link cuffs. The tan wool trousers, though similar in value, contrast in texture and hue. have a darted front, a coin pocket below the waistband and a slightly flared leg.

Gold-Beige-Suit-2The shirt is where Moore breaks from Bond style. It has a rust and navy check on a cream ground. Whist the pattern is bolder than something Bond would wear, the shirt has the same spread collar and cocktail cuffs that Moore’s Frank Foster shirts in Live and Let Die have. Such a bold shirt needs a simple tie, and Moore wears a solid rust-coloured tie that pulls out the rust in the shirt’s check. He ties it in a four-in-hand or a double-four-in-hand knot. Though the tie works well with the jacket and shirt, the bold shirt could keep the outfit interesting without a tie. This is the kind of outfit that can be worn well without a tie, but the tie keeps the outfit “tied” together. With the suit, Moore wears dark brown shoes, a wide dark brown belt and aviator sunglasses.

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The Ipcress File: Grey Tweed Jacket

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Michael Caine stars as the unsophisticated spy Harry Palmer in 1965 film The Ipcress File, produced by James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman. Palmer is quite the opposite of James Bond and lives a very unglamourous life. Unlike Bond, Palmer never looks perfect, he wears glasses, he does desk work, he wakes up alone and he shops at the supermarket. Palmer’s clothes, however, aren’t completely unlike Bond’s, but they still leave something to be desired. 1980s Bond tailor Douglas Hayward was famously Michael Caine’s tailor, but it is unknown if he made the clothes for The Ipcress File.

Broken-Twill

Broken Twill

Palmer is introduced wearing a tweed jacket in black and grey broken twill. Broken twill has a similar look to barleycorn but is also like a very small herringbone weave. Herringbone is actually a type of broken twill. A grey broken twill tweed jacket actually isn’t so far from the type of jacket Bond would wear. Palmer’s jacket is a button two with natural shoulders. It has narrow lapels with a very gradual roll, making the button two jacket look almost like a button three jacket.

Ipcress-File-Tweed-Jacket-2The jacket also has double vents, a single button on each sleeve—the jacket’s buttons are black plastic—and hip pockets with narrow flaps. Palmer sometimes wears the pocket flaps tucked in, like when he carries a folded newspaper in his hip pocket (see image at the end of the article). Keeping small items in outer pockets does enough to disturb the jacket’s lines without having items sticking out from the pockets. Palmer demonstrates the way no gentleman should carry his newspaper.

Palmer wears medium grey worsted wool trousers under the jacket. They have a darted front, slanted side pockets, an extended waistband, buckle side adjusters and a tapered leg with turn-ups. There ought to be a little more contrast between the jacket and trousers, and a shade lighter in grey would be enough to give the two pieces more separation. The trousers most likely come from the suit Palmer wears later in the film. Palmer’s black shoes keep within the city tones of the outfit.

Ipcress-File-Blue-Shirt-FlannelsPalmer’s pale blue shirt is the least refined part of his outfit. Though the spread collar has a good width, the length of the collar points is rather puny. The collar is stitched 1/8 inch from the edge rather than the traditional 1/4 inch. The shirt has square single cuffs for cufflinks. These are not the stiff single cuffs that one wears for full evening dress but instead cheap, flimsy cuffs similar to the modern convertible cuffs that can be worn either with a button or with cufflinks. Palmer’s shirt has a breast pocket, which further brings the origin of Palmer’s shirt into question.

There is one item that Palmer takes from Bond’s wardrobe: a navy knitted tie. Bond wears a navy knitted tie in Goldfinger, made just a year earlier, and he wears it again in You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Palmer ties his knitted tie—most likely—in a half windsor knot like George Lazenby ties his knitted ties as Bond. But unlike Bond, Palmer wears a tie bar, and it suspiciously does not keep Palmer’s tie in place.

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket