Kerim Bey: Light Grey Suit

Kerim-Bey

Kerim Bey, played by Pedro Armendáriz in From Russia with Love, is not only one of the most charismatic characters of the James Bond series, but he is also one of the best-dressed. In a number of scenes he wears a light grey pick-and-pick wool suit, made of different shades of grey for more depth in the cloth than a solid light grey would have.

Kerim-Bey-2The suit jacket has straight shoulders, a clean chest and three buttons down the front. The buttons are spaced closer together than on a contemporary button three jacket, and the middle button is placed at the waist level. This jacket could look good either with the top two buttons fastened—the way Bey wears the jacket—or with only the middle button fastened. The lapels have a nice roll above the top button, but that roll would continue further down if only the middle button were fastened. The jacket has moderately narrow lapels, and a long collar makes the lapel notches smaller than usual for a more fashionable 1960s look. The jacket also has three buttons on the cuffs, jetted pockets and no vent. The suit trousers have a tapered leg with turn-ups, and, most likely, reverse pleats.

Kerim-Bey-3Bey wears a cream shirt with a spread collar, placket and double cuffs, and he shows a folded white linen handkerchief in his jacket’s breast pocket. He wears two ties with this suit. His first tie is charcoal grey satin with a pairing of a white stripe and a slightly wider black stripe going down from the Bey’s right shoulder to his left hip, opposite the traditional English direction. Bey wears this tie when he first meets Bond and on the Orient Express. The second tie’s stripes go the other direction, up from Bey’s right hip to his left shoulder. This tie has a silver satin ground with a thin black stripe, a wide dark grey stripe beneath it with a space in between, another thin black stripe with a wide dark grey stripe touching it beneath it, and a thin brown stripe spaced below. Bey wears the second tie when he discusses with Bond the plans to steel the Lektor. Bey’s shoes are black.

René Mathis: Draping Knitwear

Mathis-Villa

Along with Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter, Giancarlo Giannini’s René Mathis is one of Daniel Craig’s Bond’s best-dressed allies. When Bond visits Mathis at his new Tuscany Villa in Quantum of Solace, Mathis is stylishly dressed in an open-collar button-down shirt with a jumper tied around his neck. The pale blue button-down shirt is most likely made of a linen and cotton blend, since it’s lightweight and slightly rumpled. The button-down collar has an stylish roll for a casual look, and the inside of the collar band contrasts in ecru. The shirt has a placket, button cuffs and a mitre-cut breast pocket. The mitre-cut breast pocket is a rectangle, open at the top, with the bottom corners angled off.

Mathis-Villa-2Mathis wears a light blue-grey cashmere jumper like a scarf around his neck with the arms tied in front and the body draped over his back. It may be worn for a little warmth, but it’s probably worn primarily for style. He may have tied the jumper around his neck so he can conveniently don it if the weather becomes too cold, but since he’s at home he could just as easily leave it anywhere he wants to. Mathis wears flat-front navy linen trousers with a light brown suede belt and light brown leather slip-on shoes. The belt and shoes nicely complement the navy trousers, and the contrast is stylish for a casual outfit. This type of contrast, however, would not be appropriate for a suit. Mathis’ metal sunglasses are the Ray Ban Caravan model.

There’s more of Mathis’ clothing to come later.

Yukata at Tanaka’s Home

Bond-Tanaka-Kimono

Of all the cultures James Bond visits, he outwardly shows the most appreciation for Japanese culture in You Only Live Twice. He follows many of the Japanese’s customs even before he “becomes” Japanese. As a guest at Tiger Tanaka’s home, Bond wears a yukata and slippers. The yukata is a casual kimono made of cotton, and the name “yukata” means bathing clothes. Bond does indeed wear a yukata at the baths at Tanaka’s home.

Bond-Tanaka-Kimono-2

Bond’s yukata is a printed pattern of grey on white that resembles trees and water. It has a shawl collar and the front parts overlap left side over right side across the body. The yukata is held closed around the waist with a black sash called an obi, and it’s tied in back. The yukata’s length reaches the ankles, and the wide sleeves end at the middle of the forearm. Tiger Tanaka’s yukata has all of the characteristics of Bond’s yukata, but his has a light grey ground with closely-spaced indigo lengthwise stripes and wavy black crosswise stripes that create a scale-like pattern. Bond wears dark brown slippers, and Tanaka wears cream slippers.

Since I know little about Japanese garments and have never worn them, I found most of my information on the yukaka Wikipedia entry. If anyone knows more about these Japanese garments, feel free to comment below.

Felix Leiter: The Seersucker Suit

Leiter-Seersucker

Rik Van Nutter’s Felix Leiter in Thunderball wears a blue and white striped suit made of a thin, puckered cotton cloth called seersucker. The blue and white seersucker suit is an American warm-weather staple and an fitting suit for a CIA agent in the tropics. The stripes on Leiter’s suit are narrower than usual for seersucker, but they aren’t nearly as narrow as the stripes on the related pincord suit are.

Leiter-Seersucker-2Whilst Cec Linder—Van Nutter’s predecessor as Felix Leiter in Goldfinger—dresses all out in the American Ivy League style in a suit with natural shoulders and an undarted front, Van Nutter wears his American classic in an updated cut. His button three suit jacket has straight shoulders, a draped chest and a darted, suppressed waist. The lapels are a classic width and reach halfway from the collar to the edge of the shoulder. The jacket also has flapped hip pockets, double vents and three buttons on the cuffs. The suit’s buttons are made of mother of pearl. The suit trousers have reverse pleats, tapered legs and plain bottoms. The suit is more of a 1950s style than a 1960s style, but Leiter still looks cool and confident in it.

Leiter-Seersucker-3Under the suit Leiter wears a white shirt with a spread collar—another break from the traditional American style—and button cuffs. His black silk knitted tie is tied in a four-in-hand knot. He wears black shoes and a narrow black belt. The black accessories may be unimaginative, but they provide a needed gravitas to his otherwise casual outfit. Leiter carries with him a fedora-style straw Panama hat that has a tall C-crown and a black ribbon. Leiter’s black sunglasses look like they’re by Ray-Ban, but if anyone knows better than I do feel free to comment below.

Felix Leiter: The Tan Linen Suit

Felix-Leiter-Tan-Linen-Suit

Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter may have proven to be the only one other than Jack Lord’s who can rival Bond’s style and cool demeanour. In Quantum of Solace he wears a tan linen suit that’s just as nice as any of Bond’s tropical suits. The suit jacket is probably a button two and has natural shoulders and a clean fit. The jacket also has open patch hip pockets, a welt breast pocket and a four buttons on the cuffs. The jacket’s buttons are a summery white mother of pearl. The suit trousers have a flat front and a plain hem.

Felix-Leiter-Tan-Linen-Suit-2Leiter’s white shirt has a button-down collar, front placket and rounded single-button cuffs. The button-down collar looks great open since the buttons keep the collar standing up, even with the first button of the shirt open. The button-down collar also identifies Leiter as an American, even though Cec Linder was the only Leiter to previously wear a button-down collar. The only part of this outfit that isn’t done so well are the shoes. They’re brown slip-ons with a rather bulbous toe and thick black rubber soles. But since they’re only seen in publicity stills and not in the film they’re not worth complaining about too much.

Leiter’s tan suit and white shirt outfit has similarities to the original Felix Leiter’s beige suit in Dr. No and, especially, James Bond’s tan linen suit in GoldenEye. The balanced proportions and classic fit of this suit make it one of the most timeless suits worn by any character in the Bond films.

Minister of Defence: A Flattering Three-Piece for a Corpulent Figure

Minister-of-Defence-A-View-to-a-Kill

Minister of Defence Frederick Grey, played by Geoffrey Keen, is a recurring character in the six Bond films from The Spy Who Loved Me through The Living Daylights. He’s always well-dressed and very traditionally dressed for the city. Though his clothes are very sober and don’t particularly stand out, they’re remarkable in that they are always very flattering to his short and corpulent figure. Whilst tall and slim men don’t need much help to look good, a well-tailored suit can do wonders for the not so fortunate. The minister almost certainly wears bespoke suits, and they perhaps could be Geoffrey Keen’s own. For someone who is rarely in more than two brief scenes in each Bond film, it’s hard to imagine the film production would spend for a bespoke suit for each film. The Minister appears in two scenes in A View to a Kill, and he wears the same three-piece suit in both his scene at the beginning of the film and his scene at the end of the film.

Minister-of-Defence-A-View-to-a-Kill-2The Minister’s suit in A View to a Kill is dark warm grey with very closely-spaced light grey pinstripes, with about six stripes to the inch. The closely-spaced pinstripes have the effect of making the suit overall look more like medium grey. The suit jacket has a traditional English cut, with lightly-padded straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The chest is full cut to give the impression of a smaller waist, and the chest darts are placed further to the side than they typically would be to give a flattering shape to the Minister’s corpulent figure. The button two suit jacket has classic proportions—the lapel width, gorge height and button stance are evenly balanced and do not look dated. That balance is also key to flattering the Minister’s larger figure. The jacket has a single vent, three buttons on the cuffs and slanted hip pockets. The waistcoat has five buttons. The suit trousers aren’t seen, but double forward pleats and braces are likely.

The Minister's second appearance in A View to a Kill, with a light blue shirt and navy tie.

The Minister’s second appearance in A View to a Kill, with a light blue shirt and navy tie.

The Minister’s shirt in his first scene is cream and has a classic English spread collar with a quarter-inch of tie space and button cuffs. With the cream shirt he wears a navy tie with white dots, tied in four-in-hand knot. The Minister’s shirt in his second scene is light blue with a more moderate spread collar, and his tie is navy, again tied in a four-in-hand knot.

Sir Godfrey Tibbett: The Light Grey Morning Suit

Tibbett-Morning-Dress

In A View to a Kill, Sir Godfrey Tibbett, like Bond, wears the morning suit variation of morning dress where the morning coat, waistcoat and trousers match each other. Tibbett is played by Patrick Macnee, who is best-known for playing the dandy John Steed in The Avengers, and Macnee still looks effortlessly stylish as Tibbett. Tibbett’s suit is light grey, woven of grey and white yarns, and it could possibly be pick-and-pick. Light grey is the classic shade for the morning suit, more so than the much darker grey that Bond’s morning suit is. The morning suit is less formal than non-matching morning dress, and it’s best worn for less formal occasions. Royal Ascot is thus the ideal place to wear a morning suit.

Bond-Q-Tibbett-Morning-DressThe morning suit’s coat is cut and detailed the same as the more traditional black morning coat. It is a body coat with a waist seam for a close fit, and it is cut away in the front skirt below the button and curves around to the tails in back. Tibbett’s morning coat has the traditional single button link closure and peaked lapels, and it is cut with a clean chest and straight shoulders. It has three buttons on the cuffs and a breast pocket. The single-breasted waistcoat has six buttons—the bottom is left open—and no lapels. The buttons on the morning coat and the waistcoat are polished grey horn.

Bond-Tibbett-M-Morning-DressTibbett’s white shirt is a regular formal shirt with a spread collar and—like on M’s shirt with morning dress—button cuffs. Button cuffs don’t belong with morning dress, and some would argue that attached soft collars don’t belong with morning dress either. At least Tibbett’s wider spread collar is more formal than the narrower point collars that M and Q wear. Tibbett a grey and white printed spitalfields tie, and it is tied in a windsor knot. He wears the same light grey felt top hat with a black ribbon and white carnation in his lapel that the other men wear, but his brown, unlined suede gloves are an interesting change.

Sir Godfrey Tibbett’s morning suit concludes this series on morning dress. I’ll write about Zorin’s charcoal grey herringbone morning suit at a later date.

Q: Morning Dress with a Double-Breasted Waistcoat

Q-Morning-Dress-2

Like M, Q wears a black morning coat to Royal Ascot in A View to a Kill. The morning coat has a link closure, which I wrote about in the description of M’s morning coat. Q leaves his morning coat open and the inner button of the link clousure is left dangling, but both the outer and inner buttons are present unlike on M’s coat, which is missing the outer button. There are four buttons on the cuffs, and the coat’s buttons are either plastic or polished horn. Q’s morning coat is cut with natural shoulders, and as usual they are a little too wide for him. Q’s trousers are dark grey striped, though the stripes aren’t as bold as they traditionally should be. They are cut with a high rise and traditional English double forward pleats and have a plain hem.

Q-Morning-Dress-1

Many consider the double-breasted waistcoat to be the most elegant style of waistcoat for morning dress, but it’s just as equally appropriate as the single-breasted waistcoat. Q’s taupe waistcoat has six buttons with three to button. The buttons are spaced close together and in a keystone formation. The buttons are mother-of-pearl, which is common for morning dress waistcoats. The waistcoat has peaked lapels, and the peaks are very low on the chest. The bottom of the waistcoat is cut straight across, and the length just covers the waistband of the trousers. The length of the waistcoat is very important because when it’s too long it throws off the proportions of the body, and the right or wrong length is more noticeable in a waistcoat cut straight across the bottom. A shorter waistcoat and high rise trousers is much more flattering than the longer waistcoat and low rise trousers that are seen today.

Look for the dangling link button sticking out on the shank from Q's jacket.

Look for the dangling link button sticking out on the shank from Q’s jacket.

The light brown knitted tie closely matches to the waistcoat in colour but not in dressiness. A knitted tie is the least formal of all ties and thus isn’t suitable with morning dress, which is the dressiest of daytime clothes that people still wear today. Q wears a regular white formal shirt with his morning dress, which has an unflatteringly short point collar and double cuffs. Like M, Q also wears a white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket, and he wears his in a straight fold. Q’s shoes are black derbies with an apron toe, and, like his tie, they aren’t as dressy as shoes should be for morning dress. Q follows the others in his group and wears a white carnation in his lapel and a light grey felt top hat with a black ribbon when he is at the race . However, Q is the only man in the bunch who does not wear gloves.

Traditional striped trousers and the odd choice of apron-front derby shoes

Traditional striped trousers and the odd choice of apron-front derby shoes