It’s not often that we get a close-up shot of Bond’s footwear, but Diamonds Are Forever gives us a lucky break on a number of occasions. The most traditional shoe to wear with a lounge suit is the cap-toe oxford (balmoral to Americans), and here Bond wears black cap-toe oxfords with a black and white glen plaid suit and mid-grey socks. It’s the most formal of all dress shoes and always appropriate to wear with a lounge suit or daytime formal wear. The oxford is one of the most common types of dress shoes and can be found readily from makers all over the world. To more clearly illustrate the style the Crockett & Jones Connaught is pictured below.
One thing slightly unusual is that Bond’s oxfords appear to have heel counters. Typically heel counters are found on semi-brogue and full-brogue oxfords, but most makers leave them out on plain cap-toe oxfords for a cleaner look. There’s nothing wrong with heel counters on a plain oxford but it’s an uncommon detail nonetheless.
On a number occasions Sean Connery’s Bond wears a single-breasted navy blazer. The navy blazer (with metal buttons) has long been a staple of the classic American wardrobe, but of course it’s origins were in England. The English don’t favour the blazer as much as the Americans do, who will wear them on just about any occasion, casual or formal, business or social. The English adorn theirs with double vents (as seen in Bond’s examples) rather than the single vent that is most common on American blazers. A proper blazer is more than just a navy suit jacket with metal buttons, as is commonly seen in examples off the pegs. To further distinguish Bond’s blazers are, along with the metal buttons are three open patch pockets—and swelled edges in Diamonds Are Forever. Bond’s blazers are most likely made in a wool serge, which is typical of naval uniforms, the blazer’s ancestor. Another weave suitable for the blazer is hopsack, a basketweave.
Notice Bond’s brown trilby on the coat rack
Bond’s blazers all have a 2-button front, the same as his suit jackets. Bond wears navy blazers in Dr. No, Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever. The buttons are gunmetal, brass and brass, respectively. In Dr. No there are only two buttons on the cuff, whereas there are four buttons on the cuffs in the later two films. In all three films Connery wears his blazer with dark grey trousers, a light blue shirt with cocktail cuffs and a navy grenadine tie, and in Dr. No he also wears a white linen pocket square. The navy blazer is a versatile piece of a man’s wardrobe, just be sure not to overuse it.
In Thunderball we see James Bond sporting a knee-length topcoat in brown herringbone tweed on his trip from Shrublands health clinic to his office in London. Bond was previously seen carrying this coat at the funeral in the opening of the film. The coat has flapped pockets, a fly front and a vent in the back. He has a brown trilby and black suitcase in his hand. Underneath the coat Bond wears a navy blazer and grey flannels, which we will take a look at in the next entry.
For the wedding of James and Tracy Bond, James Bond wears a form of semi-formal day wear called “black lounge,” known to the Americans as a stroller and to the Germans as a Stresemann. It is worn the same way as morning dress except a lounge coat replaces the morning coat (cutaway coat to the Americans). Bond’s coat is most likely black, though there sometimes appears to be a hint of blue. The coat has peak lapels and buttons two. Traditionally this type of jacket has only one button, like the typical morning coat does. The cuffs have 3 buttons and there are double vents at the back.
The waistcoat is grey and has 6 buttons, and the trousers are in a matching grey. Traditionally trousers worn with this type of outfit are the same as with morning dress: stripeed or checked, only in black, white and grey. Bond’s shirt is white with a spread collar and double cuffs, and the tie is a light blue-grey satin, tied with a Windsor knot. Bond wears black slip-ons, though the traditional shoe would be an cap-toe oxford or balmoral, shoe or boot. Whilst the traditional hat for such an outfit would be a black Homburg or bowler, Bond brings along a black trilby. And since it is his wedding, Bond wears a white carnation in his lapel.
I had a request to write about the suit Bond wore on the train in Casino Royale, so here it is. Let me start out with a quote from Vesper Lynd in this scene: “By the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. Naturally you think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it.” By this I would assume they’re trying to pass off Bond’s Brioni suit as a bespoke Savile Row suit, but the cut of Brioni is distinctly Roman and not British. The shoulders are too square and too built up, giving the impression of a new-money-rich executive rather than an old-money, public school educated man.
The cloth is navy with a subtle, closely-spaced grey pinstripe that’s hardly there. This isn’t very British either, as they ordinary prefer their stripes to stand out, or at least appear to be there. The suit has a 3-button front and 4-button cuffs with straight, flapped pockets. We see very little else of this suit, but it’s likely that this suit is detailed in the same way as the suit in the following scene, which will be covered at a later date. That suit has a single vent and darted front trousers with turn-ups, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that this suit has the same. At one point there’s a shot of the trousers beneath the table, and it appears that the trousers have an extended waistband. Bond isn’t wearing a belt with this suit like he does with the grey suit in the following scene. Lindy Hemming always dressed Pierce Brosnan with a belt so I’m sure this suit was meant to be belted too. Someone must have assumed that since Bond is sitting at a table throughout the scene that nobody would see the trousers. Or perhaps someone just forgot. It wouldn’t be the first wardrobe mistake in the Bond series.
The shirt is a white-on-white twill stripe with a fine blue or grey pinstripe centred on each white stripe. The scale of the shirt’s stripes conflicts with the similar scale of the suit’s stripes; patterns worn together should always be different in size so they don’t compete. The tie has a burgundy ground with a neat pattern of, what appears to be, yellow dots with a white pin-dot in the centre.
Whilst Sean Connery always wore beautiful suits during his tenure as James Bond, he wasn’t always most appropriately dressed. For his visit to M’s office in Goldfinger, Bond makes a poor choice of clothing and dons a country suit, a mid brown and black fine houndstooth check. Brown isn’t a colour worn for conducting business in London, and Bond is indeed supposed to appear as a businessman working for Universal Exports. Not only is the fabric inappropriate, but the hacking pockets (flapped), ticket pocket (not flapped) and long single vent solidify this as a country suit. One thing that does bring up the formality is the odd waistcoat, in beige wool. The trousers may or may not have pleats. The shirt is also quite formal, a white-on-white tonal stripe with a spread collar and double cuffs. The tie is a dark brown silk knit. For the only time in the series, Connery folds his white linen pocket square into a point. Bond picks up his brown trilby off the rack as he leaves the office to top things off. Make what you will of this ensemble.
Quantum of Solace started right where Casino Royale left off. Because of the change of costume designer (from Lindy Hemming to Louise Frogley) and a new suit maker (Tom Ford instead of Brioni), the sartorial transition was rather rough. The most obvious continuity error is the change from a 3-piece suit to a 2-piece, though it’s not just the same same suit sans waistcoat but a whole new suit altogether. The cloth is still a navy pinstripe but the stripes went from white to light blue and are now spaced closer together. This Tom Ford suit is cut and detailed exactly the same as all the other suits in the movie, which means that the latter suit has a 3-roll-2 button stance instead of a full 3-button front, 5 buttons on the cuff instead of 4, and the addition of a ticket pocket. The Tom Ford shoulders, while still structured, have a more natural look on Daniel Craig than the Brioni shoulders do.
The shirt in Quantum of Solace is still light blue cotton poplin with double cuffs but the collar isn’t as strong as the Brioni collar, which overwhelms Craig’s face and neck. The tie isn’t the same but it’s a pattern of blue and black squares. The shoes have gone from a 2-eyelet derby to the Church’s Philip perforated cap-toe oxford. Apart from the basics of the outfit, Louise Frogley seemed less interested in continuity and more interested in dressing Bond how she pleased. Whilst Tom Ford is a much better fit for Daniel Craig than Brioni, it would’ve been nice to keep the suit a 3-piece.
Yesterday I wrote about James Bond’s first striped 3-piece suit. The last time Bond wore a striped 3-piece suit was in the final scene of Casino Royale. The choice to put Bond in a 3-piece suit at the end of Casino Royale was made to show the final transformation of a rough novice to the more familiar sophisticated OO7. This Brioni suit is navy with a subtle pinstripe in a light-weight worsted wool. The jacket has a 3-button front, 4-button cuffs, and flapped pockets. We don’t get a good look at the rear but we see enough to tell that it’s vented, though it’s difficult to discern how many vents. The trousers have a darted front and turn-ups, and might even have a belt. There appears to be a bit of a bulge under the waistcoat where a belt buckle would be, which is one reason not to wear a belt with a waistcoat. Ideally one should only wear braces with a 3-piece suit to keep the trousers neatly in place under the waistcoat. There is no need to be scared to wear braces; they will never be seen because they are always hidden under the waistcoat. The waistcoat isn’t fitted particularly well as you can see large ripples across the chest. A properly-fitted waistcoat should always lay completely flat. The full 6-button style is too long for Daniel Craig’s less than 6-foot-tall body. A 6-button-5 style like what Sean Connery wore in Goldfinger would be a better match for his height.
Whilst I’m critiquing the fit, another problem that stands out is the too-long sleeves. Sleeves should end at the wrist and allow 1/4 to 1/2 inch of shirt cuff. Not only is showing a bit of linen aesthetically pleasing, it also eases the wear on the ends of your sleeve. Fraying shirt cuffs are easier and cheaper to repair or replace than a suit.
Daniel Craig’s Broni shirt is light blue poplin with a tall spread collar and double cuffs. The tie is a honeycomb pattern in blue and white. The shoes are black plain-toe 2-eyelet derbies (John Lobb Luffield).