Also known as white tie, full evening dress is now worn primarily at state dinners, very fancy balls and a select few other occasions. For many occasions where it was once worn, black tie has now replaced it. Though James Bond never wears full evening dress, Roger Moore wears it in the 1962 episode of The Saint titled “The Charitable Countess.” The focus of full evening dress is the evening tailcoat. Bond has in fact worn a different type of tailcoat: a morning coat. Like the morning coat, the evening tailcoat has a waist seam and tails in the back. The evening tailcoat is either black or midnight blue, with black satin silk peaked lapels. Moore’s tailcoat, made by Cyril Castle, is cut with natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads, just as Moore’s lounge coats are. The front is double-breasted with three buttons down each side, but the front panels do not meet or fasten. Though not all tailcoats have breast pockets, Moore’s evening tailcoat has a welt breast pocket, adorned with a white linen handkerchief. There are four buttons on each sleeve, and all of the buttons on the tailcoat are in covered satin silk.
The trousers have a long rise, double forward pleats and a silk braid down the side of each leg. Because the trousers sit so high it’s necessary that they are held up with braces. Though we don’t see Moore with the tailcoat off, he is most likely wearing braces. The single-breasted waistcoat is made of white cotton marcella. It is low cut with three mother of pearl buttons and square-cut lapels, and it is most likely backless. The shirt’s front has a stiff marcella bib to match the waistcoat. The front of the shirt closes with two mother of pearl studs. The shirt has a stiff, detachable wing collar and single link cuffs (stiff, single-layer cuffs to wear with cuff links). The bow tie is also white cotton marcella to match the shirt and waistcoat. Moore wears the most traditional accessories with his evening wear: a black plush silk top hat and white kidskin gloves. However, he goes a step too far and carries a walking stick.
This is a perfect example of full dress. The only mistake is that in some scenes Moore is wearing the bow tie behind the collar points. The bow tie should always be in front of the collar points. More recently Roger Moore wears full evening dress in the 2011 television feature A Princess for Christmas, but it’s a most atrocious example of the style in every manner. It looks rather like a rental and fits very poorly. Full dress is very difficult to fit well when not bespoke, especially since the waistline of the tailcoat, the bottom of the waistcoat and the waist of the trousers all need to fit perfectly. The tailcoat’s waistline should mirror the waistline of the person wearing the tailcoat, though it can be adjusted to make one look taller or shorter. The waistcoat needs to be shorter so it does not show below the jacket’s waistline. And the trousers need to sit extra high on the waist so they are completely covered by the waistcoat. Cyril Castle fits all three parts perfectly for Moore.
See Black Tie Guide for more on full evening dress.
In Dressing the Man, Alan Flusser defines drape as:
The manner in which a garment hangs from the shoulder or waist. For example, the English drape (or English lounge) is an intended style feature of men’s jackets or outercoats pioneered in the early 1920s by the Prince of Wales’s maverick tailor Frederick Scholte, inspired by the guards coat; it is characterized by fullness across the chest and over the shoulder blades to form flat vertical wrinkles for form, comfort, and the impression of muscularity. The draped silhouette dominated men’s tailored fashions throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
The classic drape cut has large, padded shoulders and a nipped waist, to emphasise and build upon a man’s V-shaped torso. Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suit jackets were cut with a mild amount of drape, though his jackets do not have the built-up shoulders of the classic drape suit. Though Cyril Castle made some of Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint with a draped chest, the drape was mostly absent from his Bond suits. The extra chest fullness practically serves Bond, by not only offering extra ease in movement but also better concealing his PPK. Even though the chest is larger than usual, it doesn’t mean the suit is a size larger. Very few tailors still do a drape cut, and even Anderson & Sheppard who was once known for their drape now mostly cuts a trim, clean chest. Drape has a markedly old-fashioned look that isn’t in line with today’s trim fashions. Still, English tailors use drape in the most basic definition of the term: they allow the cloth to hang from—but also conform to—the body rather than cling to it.
A drape cut in The Saint
Roger Moore’s Simon Templar is well-dressed to a funeral in the Series 6 episode of The Saint, “Legacy for the Saint.” To keep warm in the cemetery he wears a charcoal grey car coat. The coat’s length is a few inches above the knee but is still considerably longer than a suit jacket so it can be worn over it. A car coat is shorter than the typical overcoat to make it easier when entering and exiting a car. Topcoats are often shorter as well, but they are also lighter and Moore’s coat is not. We don’t see much of the coat in “Legacy for the Saint,” but it makes another brief appearance in “The Time to Die.” The coat is cut with natural shoulders, buttons three, and has 3 buttons on the cuffs and a single vent.
The Saint in a charcoal car coat
Under the coat Moore wears a three-piece suit made by Cyril Castle in charcoal with a very narrow-spaced light grey stripe. The suit coat has softly-padded shoulders, a draped chest and nipped waist typical of Castle’s tailoring, and like all of Moore’s single-breasted suits in The Saint this one buttons three. The suit coat is characteristic of the 1960′s Neo-Edwardian style, with narrow notched lapels, slanted flap pockets, double vents and single-button gauntlet cuffs. The length of the jacket is slightly shorter than the typical length, though not nearly as short as fashionable jackets today. The waistcoat buttons six with notch lapels and a straight bottom. And in his waistcoat pockets he wears a pocket watch with a fob chain. The trousers have a flat front with plain hems.
Moore’s ecru Frank Foster shirt has a spread collar, plain front and cocktail cuffs, and this is the first episode we see Moore wearing cocktail cuffs. The turnback of the cocktail cuffs in The Saint has a much wider spread compared to the cuffs he wears later in the Bond films. They have some similarities to the Turnbull & Asser cuffs Sean Connery wore, but these lay flatter, as Foster prefers.
Though Moore does not often wear black, the funeral setting of the episode makes this the time to include black into the outfit. Moore wears a narrow, black satin silk tie and a black silk pocket handkerchief folded with two points. A black suit for a funeral is not necessary, and for someone who isn’t an immediate family member of the deceased a black suit can come off as excessively somber. Templar wears the perfect amount of black for attending a friend’s wedding. And the shoes are black as well, of course.
As Roger Moore celebrates his 85th birthday today, we look at some very relevant tailoring from his past. A blue-grey, subtle Glen Urquhart check suit first featured in the fifth series episode of The Saint ”The Helpful Pirate” has quite a few similarities to the suits Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall. The similarities are the obvious ones: three buttons down the front, very narrow lapels, a shorter jacket length (though Moore’s isn’t as short as Craig’s), a single vent and flat front trousers with a tapered leg. This suit is unique in The Saint in that it’s the only one that stylistically bridges the more traditional suits from the first four series to the more rakish suits in the fifth and sixth series.
The overall cut is where 1966 and 2012 differ. Cyril Castle’s suit jacket for Moore has natural shoulders whilst Tom Ford’s suit jacket for Craig has slightly built-up shoulders. Moore’s jacket has a full, draped chest whilst Craig’s has a cleaner, close-fitting chest, but both have a lot of waist suppression. Moore’s trousers have a higher rise than Craig’s, and the legs are narrow but not skin-tight. Moore’s jacket has the added details of single-button gauntlet cuffs and a ticket pocket.
Moore wears the suit with an ecru shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs. A grenadine tie knotted four-in-hand makes a connection to the Bond films, though Moore’s is an aubergine purple, a colour Sean Connery never wore. Moore wears black slip-on shoes and ecru socks, unusually I suppose to match the shirt.
In another connection to Bond, Vladek Sheybal, who played SPECTRE agent Kronsteen in From Russia with Love, is featured in this episode.
In the 5th series of The Saint, Roger Moore wears a unique sports coat with a pleated back, tailored by Cyril Castle. This outfit in particular is seen in the episode “The Convenient Monster.” The fabric is a grey and cream tweed herringbone. The 3-button sports coat has natural shoulders and a crooked cut, which puts more fabric to the front of the coat in front of the neck point showing less shirt and raising the collar. Moore buttons the top 2 buttons, which serves to keep him warm outdoors in Scotland. A heavy tweed jacket is always best in a 3- or 4-button front that buttons to the top because they are meant to be worn outdoors in cold weather or indoors in old, drafty homes.
Notice the pleats above and below the belt
The back has a belt and two pleats above and below the waist on each side, with no vents. The jacket is detailed with swelled edges, 1-button barrel cuffs and four flapped pockets. The two hip pockets are slanted down and the two breast pockets are slanted up. The flaps are narrow to match the narrow lapels. The double, flapped breast pockets and belted and pleated back place this coat in the sporting tradition, though the lack of a vent means this coat is not meant for riding.
Tan Cavalry Twill
The ecru shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. Moore wears an olive satin tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Moore’s trousers are tan cavalry twill, which is a heavy fabric characterized by double twill wales. Moore wears black socks and black slip-on shoes with elastic gussets, though black is at odds with the rest of the outfit where earth tones dominate. But black shoes are neutral and can be worn with anything, despite them not being the most stylish option.
After my first entry covering The Saint was well received, here’s another from episode 2 of series 5 called “Interlude in Venice.” This episode is notable for featuring two actors from the Bond series: Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) and Paul Stassino (Angelo Palazzi and Major Derval in Thunderball). Moore wears a white dupioni silk dinner jacket made by Cyril Castle. The dinner jacket has a 1-button front, shawl collar and 3-button gauntlet cuffs. The buttons are white mother of pearl. The jacket is tailored with natural shoulders, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. Like a proper dinner jacket, it has jetted pockets and no vents.
Notice the gauntlet cuffs (turn-back on the dinner jacket)
The dinner jacket is worn with black flat-front trousers with a black satin stripe down each leg. There is no cummerbund or waistcoat. Moore’s white dress shirt has a spread collar, pleated front and double cuffs. A close-up of the cuffs shows a pique texture, which is not typical of pleated shirts. A pleated front would not be practical nor effective in a heavy pique fabric, so maybe only the collar and cuffs are made in the pique fabric. But a pleated pique front is still possible. It might also be the case that the shirt in the close-up shots is a different shirt altogether. Moore wears a black silk (probably barathea) bow tie and keeps a black handkerchief in his breast pocket.
For this blog to have a continued life after I run out of clothes from the Bond series, I’ll need to find some other material. If Roger Moore was chosen for Bond instead of Connery in the 1960s, here’s how we might have seen Bond dressed. Roger Moore had the same tailor in the 1960s as he did in his 1970s Bond films: Cyril Castle of Conduit Street in London. Yes, that’s the same street that Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair had his premises, and their styles had a few similarities. They both cut suits with natural shoulders and full chests, though Castle uses more waist suppression. But whilst Sean Connery wore 2-button suits, all of Roger Moore’s suits as Simon Templar had the more traditional 3-button front. The button stance is fairly low, corresponding to Moore’s low waist, and only the middle button is fastened. The lapels are very narrow, narrower than Connery’s ever were.
The example here is from the first episode of Series 2 of The Saint, titled “The Fellow Traveller,” which aired September 1963. The fabric has a narrow-spaced pinstripe, with about three stripes to the inch, and Moore had many similarly striped suits throughout The Saint. Black-and-white television means that it’s impossible to know the colour, but considering how dark this suit is I would guess navy rather than charcoal. This suit has flapped pockets, 3-button cuffs and no vent. We don’t see much of the trousers, but most of the trousers in the series have a flat front.
The shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. I would guess that the shirt’s colour is cream. It’s not bright enough to be white, and light blue would turn out more grey in black-and-white. Templar’s narrow satin tie is tied with a four-in-hand knot. I won’t even attempt to guess the colour, so just use your imagination. Templar also wears a pocket handkerchief, stuffed in with two corners sticking out. This blog will cover more suits worn in The Saint in the future.