In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond finds a plaid wool ski jacket—or maybe it’s a ski lodge jacket—to wear over his blue ski suit. He wears it both for warmth and to hide from Irma Bunt and Blofeld’s henchmen. A bold plaid isn’t the ideal find for someone who is trying to keep unnoticed. Unlike the clothes Bond finds in Quantum of Solace, this jacket is not a perfect fit. It’s a size too large. The plaid wool is in black, white purple and orange. The jacket appears to have three grey leather-covered buttons on the front, from the top down to the waist. I would have guessed a coat like this would have a fourth button below the waist, but another button could limit movement when skiing since there isn’t a vent. There are also buttoned straps on the sleeves, slash pockets that are good for hand-warming, and a belt in the back. For additional warmth the jacket has a beige quilted lining.
Bond’s second hacking jacket of the series is a bit more bold than the first one, but it’s just as traditional. Goldfinger features Bond’s first hacking jacket, a subtle barleycorn tweed. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features Bond’s second hacking jacket, a bolder houndstooth tweed. But it’s a rather simple check, in black, brown and cream with a red overcheck. The jacket is made by Dimi Major, with lightly padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s a button three with one button on the cuffs and the hacking jacket features of slanted pockets and a deep single vent. Slanted pockets are easier to access on horseback whilst the deep vent helps the jacket to split in back over the horse.
Bond almost never fastens the top button on his button three jackets. On most of Bond’s button three jackets the lapels gently roll at the top button. Here, Lazenby interrupts the roll by fastening the top button. Dimi Major cuts his button three jackets to look great either with both to the top and middle buttons closed or just the middle button closed. Unlike ordinary sports coats, riding jackets are longer and have three buttons placed higher on the chest, with all three meant to fasten. Lazenby’s hacking jacket is cut like a typical sports coat, meaning the bottom button isn’t meant to fasten. Closing the top button puts this jacket more in the spirit of riding jackets. But fastening the top button is also necessary to hold in the day cravat.
The beige shirt has a stock collar, which extends around to close at the left side of the neck instead of the front. It looks unbroken across the front and is meant to be worn with a stock tie or a day cravat, of which Bond wears the latter. Bond’s cravat is also beige and is worn with a pin. The beige jodhpurs—likely made of cavalry twill wool due to its elastic properties—are worn with a belt and fit into Bond’s tall, black riding boots. Since I’m not involved in the equestrian world, I cannot judge the appropriateness of the outfit. The only part of this outfit that may be worn outside of equestrian activity is the hacking jacket, and the rest of the outfit should be limited to equestrian pursuits.
In A View to a Kill, Roger Moore wears another equestrian outfit, but with a conventional shirt and knitted tie.
The most well-known photos of George Lazenby as Bond come from a shoot of him leaning against a lamppost in front of the clock tower—now called the Elizabeth Tower—at the Palace of Westminster. This photo shoot took place at Lazenby’s casting, and he’s wearing what’s supposedly an Anthony Sinclair suit. Lazenby claimed to have gone to Sean Connery’s tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to look more like Connery for a better at the role. If the story is true than this is the Anthony Sinclair suit.
This suit has the same natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads as Sinclair’s suits. It has a full chest and gently suppressed waist, which also resembles Sinclair’s cut. Like the suits Connery wears as Bond, this suit has two buttons on the front and four buttons on the cuffs. The pockets are slanted with flaps. The suit trousers have a tapered leg and plain bottoms. The cloth is a large, but faint, plaid. The suit isn’t as rakish as Lazenby’s suits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are, but it certainly makes Lazenby look the part of Bond. The only problem with the suit is that the collar doesn’t hug the neck as it should, but that’s most likely due to the poses causing the suit to not sit evenly across the shoulders.
The shirt has a small spread collar with no tie space, and it definitely doesn’t resemble a shirt from Frank Foster, who made Lazenby’s shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Serivce. The double cuffs have the link holes close to the fold, a characteristic of English double cuffs. In the traditional Bond manner, Lazenby wears a dark knitted tie. His shoes are an elegant style of low-vamp slip-on, with the inner quarter extending as strap over the vamp like a monk shoe would.
Though pleated trousers may not be currently fashionable, every James Bond except Roger Moore has worn them. There are essentially two different kinds of the pleats, forward pleats and reverse pleats. Forward pleats fold in and reverse pleats fold out. Reverse pleats are the type of pleats that were most popular from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Forward pleats are associated with English style whilst reverse pleats are associated with Italian style. In America the popularity of each style was more evenly split in the 1930s-1950s, and again in the 1980s when pleats became popular again. By the 2000s, most makers switched to reverse pleats with only a handful left making the traditional forward pleats.
Forward pleats are sometimes called “inverse pleats” or “tuc pleats” (at Paul Stuart), and I recently heard someone call them “straight pleats.” They are even sometimes called “regular pleats” even though they haven’t been the regular pleat style for some time now. Because they are the opposite of what became the standard pleat style, some people incorrectly call them reverse pleats. On forward-pleated trousers, the pattern for the trousers is extended from the crotch and inside of the leg twice the depth of the pleat, usually down to the knee. The added fullness is neatly kept to the inside of the leg. When there is a second pleat, the extra cloth is taken from the outer edge on the hips. Sean Connery wears double-forward-pleated trousers with all of his suits in the 1960s, during a time when pleats were becoming increasingly less popular. But Connery isn’t the only Bond to have worn forward pleats. George Lazenby’s tweed suit trousers have forward pleats, and some of Timothy Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights have forward pleats.
Reverse pleats are the standard pleats today, or at least they were a few years ago before pleats completely went out of fashion. Reverse pleats first appear on Bond in The Living Daylights. Pierce Brosnan’s suit trousers in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies all have reverse pleats, and the herringbone linen suit trousers in The World is Not Enough have them too. Daniel Craig’s dinner suit trousers in Casino Royale have double reverse pleats, which are the last pleated trousers that Bond wears. The extra cloth for reverse pleats is all taken from the outside of the leg. This gives the trousers a baggier look, which goes well with full-cut jackets. Though Bond’s pleats typically come in pairs, Timothy Dalton wears trousers with triple reverse pleats in Licence to Kill, and Pierce Brosnan wears trousers with triple reverse pleats with his blazer in GoldenEye. Whilst the second pleat on double-pleated trousers helps to keep the main pleat closed, a third pleat on the side only adds extra fullness. That fullness was very popular from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, but in Dalton’s case it serves no practical purpose. When full-cut trousers were popular during that time, not only were triple-pleated trousers popular but other pleat styles were too. Some trousers had box pleats and inverted box pleats, usually with an additional reverse pleat towards the side.
The purpose of pleats is a practical one, both to allow the trousers to expand when seated and to better fit the curves of the hips. The second purpose doesn’t apply to the currently fashionable trousers that sit low on the hips. Forward pleats usually look trimmer than reverse pleats, though reverse pleats are easier to fit ready-to-wear. When forward pleats pull open, the crease no long hangs straight down. When reverse pleats pull open, the front crease is still straight down. Poorly-fitted trousers with reverse pleats thus look better than poorly-fitted trousers with forward pleats. But in my experience, well-fitting trousers with forward pleats are the most flattering. Forward pleats are more slimming because they draw the eye inward instead of outward.
Though trousers pleats are currently out of fashion, there’s no denying the advantages. The common aversion to pleats today is that people associate them with baggy trousers. But when well-fitted, trousers can be trim whilst at the same time having the practical advantage of pleats.
Frank Foster is mentioned a lot on here since he was Roger Moore’s shirtmaker for many years, and he also made shirts for Sean Connery, George Lazenby and others. He has played a larger role in the clothing of the Bond films more than any one other person has. I went to Frank Foster in July 2012 to order some bespoke shirts from him. So far I only have one—there are five more on the way—but it’s a beautiful shirt. The cloth is a blue and white hairline stripe. My shirt has many similarities to the ones he made for Roger Moore, but since it’s a bespoke shirt it’s make to complement my face and body.
The collar is a large spread, but not too wide. The points measure a long 3 1/8″, the back height measures 1 7/8″ and the collar band measures 1 3/8″ in front. There is 3/8″ of tie space and the collar points sit 5″ apart for a wider spread. The band is shaped with a concave curve in front of the collar leaves to prevent the band from showing above the tie knot. It’s especially smart to design the band like this when the collar is fairly tall in front, and it’s better for wearing with a tie than a 2-button collar. The collar has a lot of presence, but it’s not so large that it overwhelms the face. It’s the perfect size for my rather large head, but for a small man Foster makes a smaller collar. The collar is stitched 1/4″ from the edge, has removable collar stays, and has a non-fused but fairly stiff interlining. Though the interlining is stiff, it doesn’t feel like cardboard.
My first Frank Foster shirt has button-down cocktail cuffs. Despite getting button-down cocktail cuffs, they are not in the same style that Foster made for Roger Moore in The Persuaders. The shape of my cuff is similar to the cocktail cuffs Roger Moore wears in The Man with the Golden Gun and Moonraker, but the turned-back part is not angled out. The buttonholes for the buttons that hold down the turned-back part point towards the middle of the curves, in the same direction that buttonholes on a button-down collar would point. The cocktail cuff is 6 1/2″ long unfolded, and it folds just short of the halfway point so the under part is sure not to be exposed. The cuffs use a slightly lighter non-fused interlining than what’s in the collar. They are firm but not stiff. Like the collar, the cuffs are stitched 1/4″ from the edge. The cuffs are attached to the sleeve with gathers, and the gauntlet has a button.
Frank Foster’s placket is most easily measured in centimetres. It is 3 1/2 cm wide, which is roughly 1 3/8″. It is stitched 1 1/2 cm (which is a little more than 9/16″) from the edge, making the two lines of stitching only 1/2 cm apart. The placket has no interfacing, and because it is stitched so close to the centre the sides of the placket tend to flare out. The placket is, of course, made this way for that effect. The stitching at the sleeve attachment is 1/2″, which is close to the measurement of the placket stitching but not exact. There are seven buttons down the front of the shirt, not including the collar. Frank Foster uses some of the nicest mother-of-pearl buttons I’ve ever seen, and they have a little more shine and variegation than most have. The stitching and buttonholes are blue to match the shirt. The back of the shirt has a split yoke. There is a dart on either side of the lower back to fit the shirt to the curve of the back whilst giving fullness to the upper back. The hem has a slight curve, making it a little longer in front than at the sides, and little longer in the back than in the front. There are 4 1/2″ vents at the side. The shirt is folded over roughly 1 1/4″ at the bottom and at the vents to keep the hem neat.
The shirt is very English in its style, even though it has many differences from the equally English shirts made by Turnbull & Asser. Where the shirt differs from most English shirts is in the fit. Foster fits his shirts more closely than most English shirt makers by using back darts. Darts aren’t commonly used by English shirt makers except for an extreme drop on people like on Sean Connery.
George Lazenby’s car coat in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a hybrid of different overcoat styles. It’s a navy three-quarter length, double-breasted coat with elements from the British Warm and the peacoat. Like a British Warm it has six buttons on the front with three to button and suit-like pockets. Like a peacoat it has a large collar and broad lapels, which allow the coat to button at the top. It has a deeper single vent than most overcoats, one button on the cuffs and slanted hacking pockets with flaps. The mix of styles on this coat works well together. Though Lazenby wears the coat in a city setting over a chalkstripe suit and, later, a navy blazer, the coat can also be worn almost as casually as a peacoat can be. Lazenby wears the coat with a navy trilby and black leather driving gloves.
“007 never had any respect for government property,” says Q in regards to Bond’s trilby, implying that he supplies Bond’s hats as well as his gadgets. Bond wears two felt trilby hats in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The trilby in the opening scene is probably the same black hat that Bond wears later at his wedding (above). It has a narrow ribbon and C-crown with a front pinch. Bond wears the other trilby (below) with business wear. This one has a wide ribbon and a taller, less tapered crown with a centre dent and pinch. It’s very dark, but it’s probably navy. Both trilby hats have a narrow snap brim, what defines the trilby. Following 1960′s fashion trends the brim is extra short, but it suits Lazenby well.
Darts on the back of a shirt are currently more popular than ever now that people like wearing their clothes tighter. When darts are used, two are typically placed at the back towards the sides. They start above the waist and may extend down to the bottom of the shirt or as far as needed. Most often shirts are shaped as much as possible with the side seams and back darts are used when needed. Traditionally darts are not used on men’s shirts, but can often be found in both the backs and fronts of women’s shirts. But it’s completely acceptable for men to have darts on the back of their shirt for a more shapely and less blousy look. Darts are rarely found on ready-to-wear shirts because the closer fit they provide is very specific to the person wearing the shirt. However, they can easily be added to the shirt if taking in the side seams is not enough.
Turnbull & Asser put darts on Sean Connery’s shirts because of his large drop rather than for a close fit. Without darts, a shirt on someone as athletic as Connery would be much too large around the waist. Connery’s shirt also shows that pleats and darts on the back can work well together.
Frank Foster used darts for George Lazenby and Roger Moore’s shirts to achieve a closer fit. Foster fits his shirts much closer than most English shirtmakers, but the clean, streamlined look is perfect for James Bond. The back is shirred under the yoke for fullness across the shoulder blades, and the darts take in the fullness at the waist. Daniel Craig’s dress shirt in Casino Royale is darted, and his Tom Ford shirts in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall are also darted.