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

Recovery

Casino-Royale-Recovery

James Bond recovers from Le Chiffre’s torture in Casino Royale wearing comfortable, loose clothing. The first outfit consists of a dressing gown over a jumper and t-shirt. The dressing gown is made of woven cotton in navy with a white grid check, and it has a shawl collar and a patch breast pocket. It probably has a belt and patch pockets on the hips, but we don’t see them since Bond is covered in a white towel below the waist. The light grey ribbed wool V-neck jumper has a full fit. Under the jumper, Bond wears a black crew-neck t-shirt.

Casino-Royale-Recovery-2

Bond later recovers in a light blue cotton dressing gown. This gown has collar but Bond doesn’t fold it over. Under this dressing gown Bond wears a dark grey crew-neck t-shirt and navy sweatpants. His shoes are brown trainers.

Casino-Royale-Recovery-3

As Bond’s recovery progresses he wears another outfit made up of parts of the previous two outfits. He again wears the light grey V-neck jumper from the first recovery outfit with the navy sweatpants from the second recovery outfit. Under the jumper he wears a white t-shirt, and white underwear peaks out above the trousers. His shoes are white trainers. The clothes in these three outfits are all worn for comfort and not style. One could say the jumper is too baggy or that James Bond should never wear sweatpants, but Bond is appropriately dressed for his situation, and he doesn’t look so bad either.

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?

SIS Tracksuit

Skyfall-Tracksuit

James Bond trains in a royal blue tracksuit in Skyfall, and it’s only Bond’s second of the series. The first is a velour tracksuit in A View to a Kill, and whilst this one isn’t as luxurious it’s more practical and appropriate for Bond. Despite being a Royal Navy officer, Bond wears a PTI (Physical Training Instructor) jacket of the British Army, issued by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) with a silver SIS crest on the upper left chest. There is a jetted zip pocket above the crest, and it’s the only outer pocket on the jacket. The jacket has a zip-front with set-in sleeves, a crew neck and ribbed elastic cuffs.

Skyfall-BaselayerThe matching trousers complete the tracksuit. They have ribbed elastic bottoms like the cuffs on the jacket sleeves. The legs have a rib sewn down the centre of each leg. The ribs give the legs a creased look—this type of cotton cloth won’t take a crease—so the tracksuit has a more military-like look. Some may think it looks affected but I think it’s a nice touch.

Skyfall-Tracksuit-2Underneath the tracksuit Bond wears a dark blue-grey long-sleeve, crew-neck shirt in a waffle knit. The shirt has regular shirt-style sleeves, and the narrow shoulders are emphasise Daniel Craig’s large deltoids. The sleeves have cuffs in a a finer knit but Bond rolls up the sleeves to the elbow. The shirt’s upper left chest has the same SIS as on the jacket. Bond’s socks are white athletic crew socks. The trainers are the Adidas Gazelle 2 model in Dark Indigo suede with Argentina Blue (pale blue) stripes. The soles are white rubber.

Navy Herringbone Raincoat

Navy-Herringbone-Raincoat

Yesterday was Daniel Craig’s 46th birthday, and in honour of that and spring approaching we take a look at his elegant navy raincoat in Casino Royale that he wears over his charcoal blue plaid suit. The raincoat is made in herringbone cotton and has set-in sleeves. The lapels can fold over and button at the top, and the coat has four buttons down the front, including the button at the top of the lapels. The coat has lapped seams, edges stitched 3/8″ from the edge and a relatively short centre vent. Daniel Craig wears the coat open and lets the belt hang in the back.

Navy-Herringbone-Raincoat-2The raincoat has straight hip pockets with flaps and a slanted breast pocket with a flap. It’s not unusual, but it’s also not common, for outer coats to have flapped breast pockets. It’s certainly more unusual for suits and sports coats to have flapped breast pockets, though Roger Moore wears suits with flapped breast pockets in The Saint, The Persuaders and Moonraker, and a sports coat with a flapped breast pocket in The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Basic Navy Overcoat

Quantum-Navy-Overcoat

In Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig wears a navy wool overcoat over his charcoal suit in London. The single-breasted knee-length coat has a similar look to the suit jackets in the film with some of the same details. Like the suit jacket underneath, the overcoat has pagoda shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and the shoulders are fairly large so they fit comfortably over the suit jacket. The coat buttons three and has a very low button stance with the buttons spaced closer together than is typical. The lower button stance combined with the wide lapels looks very elegant, but it’s not as practical in keeping out the cold. This coat could benefit from a fly front, which would make it look even more elegant, but without the fly front it’s a little more versatile and can be worn less formally.

The front is darted and the waist is suppressed to give the overcoat an athletic silhouette. The coat has straight flap pockets with a ticket pocket, another detail that matches the suit jacket. It also has the same “barchetta” breast pocket, an Italian touch that Tom Ford puts on his rather English-styled clothes. The cuffs button four and there is a centre vent in back. Daniel Craig wears the coat open, which would mean he’s not cold enough to button up the coat. It could also be that he had it unbuttoned in the car and left it in that state, since a long buttoned coat can be cumbersome and quite warm in a heated car.

Quantum-Navy-Overcoat-2

Open-Collar Shirts

TWINE-Open-Collar

For most people today, ties are limited to wearing only for special occasions. A formal shirt—dress shirt to the Americans—is meant to be worn with a tie, but it’s common now to wear them with the collar open. James Bond has worn his collar open as far back as You Only Live Twice and as recently as Skyfall. In You Only Live Twice, Sean Connery folds his collar flat to behave more like a camp collar. Otherwise, Bond lets his collar stand up more naturally.

The two-button collar

Since the formal shirt’s collar is meant to be worn with a tie, it doesn’t always look right when worn open. Wide cutaway collars are too formal to be worn open, but narrow collars open don’t work so well either. Some people will disagree, but I think a middle-of-the-road spread collar is best, which is the type of collar James Bond usually wears open. Small, flimsy collars worn without a tie make an equally flimsy impression. A taller, firmer collar is most effective when worn open. Roger Moore’s 2-button collar in Live and Let Die is a great example of this, as is Daniel Craig’s large Tom Ford collar in Quantum of Solace.

Button-Down-CollarIn A View to a Kill, Roger Moore’s open-collared shirts have a button-down collar, a rather casual style that’s best worn without a tie. The buttons keep the collar points anchored to the shirt, propping up the collar. Hidden button-down collars are a similarly effective option for those who don’t like the look of a button-down collar. Yet another option is magnetic collar stays. Some will say that only a button-down collar, and never a spread or point collar, can be worn without a tie.

Collar-Outside-JumperWhen wearing a jumper it’s often debated whether to wear the shirt collar inside or outside the jumper’s collar. Roger Moore wears his collars outside a V-neck jumper in The Spy Who Loved Me and outside a crew-neck jumper in For Your Eyes Only. Pierce Brosnan does the same with his crew-neck jumper in GoldenEye. Currently it’s more fashionable to wear the collar inside the jumper, like Timothy Dalton does in The Living Daylights. When wearing a jacket, the shirt collar should stay inside the jacket’s collar, not over it like in Moonraker.

Open-Collar-Grey-SuitThe placement of the first button under the collar makes a difference as to how well the collar stands up. A higher first button keeps the collar standing up better. Turnbull & Asser’s first button is 3 inches from the bottom of the collar. Frank Foster’s first button is a mere 1 3/4 inches from bottom of the collar, which considerably helps keep the collar stand up. Roger Moore fastens all buttons under the collar on his Frank Foster button-down shirt in A View to a Kill (see image above), and it shows how high that first button is. However, that top button is ordinarily too high for Moore to keep fastened. When he wears his collar open, he typically also leaves open the first button, if not both the first and second buttons. Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig also leave the first button open on their shirts.

In Licence to Kill, Timothy Dalton keeps his top button fastened, showing that he’s not as relaxed as Bond usually is with an open collar (see image below). Though dark lounge suits aren’t worn well without a tie, more informal summer suits and sports coats can be worn without a tie more effectively. It’s common to see men dressing in a dark suit and open collar for business these days, and in a professional setting only the collar button should be open. Unbuttoning more isn’t appropriate for men in a professional setting, especially when there’s chest hair present.

Dalton-Blue-Suit

Introducing Daniel Craig

Daniel-Craig-Press-Conference

Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond in Casino Royale at a lavish press conference on 14 October 2005, which was coincidentally Roger Moore’s 78th birthday. For this event Daniel Craig wore a Brioni suit, which at the time was a well-recognised part of James Bond’s image. Though his suit was reported by People to be “charcoal grey,” the suit looks more like charcoal blue, if not navy. The colour, whatever it actually is, was the right choice. Blue is Daniel Craig’s best colour and is the classic Bond colour as well, at far as Fleming is concerned. The suit has a button two jacket cut with Brioni’s usual straight, padded shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and it has medium-width lapels, flapped pockets and double vents. The trousers have a flat front and a slight taper to the leg with a plain hem. This suit is as evenly balanced as a suit can be and will never look outdated. It’s most likely a ready-to-wear suit, judging by the less than perfect fit. Whilst there aren’t any significant fit problems, the jacket could use a little more shaping.

Craig’s sky blue shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. His red tie has a pattern of fancy yellow and purple spots, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. With the suit he wears a black belt and black derby shoes. Since Daniel Craig and Casino Royale were on their way to taking James Bond back to his roots, this rather unremarkable outfit looks appropriately less luxurious than Brosnan’s Brioni suits that came before. The first-rate quality, however, is still present. These clothes don’t draw attention to themselves, good or bad, but at the same time Bond’s clothing should be a little more interesting. And indeed a little more interesting the clothing was in Casino Royale.