Yesterday in the United States was Memorial Day, the day that starts the summer clothing season. To celebrate the beginning of summer let’s look at the cream linen suit Sean Connery wore in Diamonds Are Forever. It’s a 2-button suit with natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The suit has an open patch breast pocket and lower open patch pockets. It has double vents and 4-button cuffs. The jacket is lined in bronze silk. The darted front trousers have button-tab adjusters and plain bottoms. When Connery arrives at Willard Whyte’s home he can be seen with both his suit buttons fastened, a mistake he first made in Dr. No. It’s the mark of an amateur suit wearer and shows that even though he made it through six Bond films, Connery still wasn’t comfortable wearing suits. Someone on the set should have fixed this, as it looks terribly sloppy.
Bond’s Turnbull & Asser shirt is off-white, with a spread collar, 2-button turnback cuffs (though Bond only fastens the first button), a front placket and rear shoulder pleats. Bond wears the suit twice; the first time is with a brown tie, beige socks and brown derbies. The second time is with a pink repp tie, dark brown socks and brown leather monk strap ankle boots. A pink tie is quite un-Bond-like, but even worse about the tie is the extremely short length. The front blade makes it only three quarters of the way down to his waist, and the rear blade is only a few inches long. Bond ties a Windsor knot, which takes up too much of the tie length.
This suit was sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 14 February 2001 for £2,115.
Bond disguises himself amongst Darx’s Moonraker personnel by donning a Moonraker jumpsuit. The yellow jumpsuit has thick black stripes down the shoulders, arms and legs and black cuffs. The jumpsuit zips down the front, and the forearms have a zip closure as well. The legs have cargo pockets with a snap-flap closure on the sides and at the bottom. The waist is belted, and two boxes sit on the front of the belt. The Moonraker logo sits on the left side of the chest.
The Moonraker boots are yellow with white soles. When piloting the Moonraker shuttle, Bond wears fitted yellow gloves and a black and yellow headset. The headset houses a microphone and covers the top of the head and the back of the head but leaves the crown exposed. I feel a little silly writing about a fake spacesuit, but if Bond wears it this blog will cover it, and nothing will ever be excluded. Look for the Octopussy clown costume in the future!
Most of the time the only black tie rule that Bond typically breaks is forgoing a waist-covering, such as a waistcoat or cummerbund. In Licence to Kill he remembers the cummerbund, but overall the outfit looks like a rental. Whether or not you approve of notch lapels on a dinner jacket these are atrocious, and the satin on the revers accentuates the low 1989 gorge. The low button-stance isn’t nearly as bad as the fact that there are two buttons. A single-breasted dinner jacket should never have more than one button, any more is unacceptable. Only can a double-breasted dinner jacket have more than one button on the front.
The rest of the details are fine: jetted pockets, 3-button cuffs and no vents. As for the cut, it is a size too large, the shoulders have too much padding and are too wide, the sleeves are too long and the jacket fits too large through the body. This cut is typical of late 80s fashion and contributes to Licence to Kill being sartorially the worst film of the series.
Bond’s trousers have double reverse pleats and a silk braid down the leg. They are worn with white braces. Bond’s shirt has a fancy striped bib and a placket front with four onyx studs (the only time Bond wears onyx studs), an undersized spread collar and double cuffs. Bond’s silk barathea bow tie is cut in a narrow batwing shape. Bond’s shoes are black patent slip-ons.
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 darted 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.
In Casino Royale, Bond wears a casual outfit in Miami anchored by a dark brown leather jacket from Giorgio Armani. The zip-front jacket has four outer pockets with flaps and box pleats. Underneath the jacket Bond wears a grey crew-neck t-shirt made by Sunpel. The shirt has a fitted body and a short length. The shirt can be found on the Sunspel website. The flat-front linen trousers are made by Ted Baker in a colour they call “mink”, which is basically taupe.
In a 2006 interview with (what is now) mi6-hq.com, costume designer Lindy Hemming talked about the leather jacket:
“Well, there’s a leather jacket that Daniel wears in the film. That jacket was $4,000 when I saw it in Los Angeles and I showed it to him and we all agreed it had to be in. And so I talked to Armani and they said ‘yes, yes, OK, we’ll make it for you..’ and I thought ‘oh no, we’ll never be able to afford this..’ and I warned everybody and said ‘look,, it’s this really iconic jacket but it cost $4,000…’ and we needed like a huge number, probably 25 – you can see how the budget goes up. But do you know that they made them for me in the factory and they only charged me something like 400 euros each. So things like that are really great. The good thing for me is that the people who make the Bond films, Michael (Wilson) and Barbara (Broccoli), are very, very supportive.”
Every well-dressed man should have a navy blue suit and a charcoal grey suit in his closet. But have you ever thought to combine the two? Daniel Craig wore just that in Casino Royale in a Brioni charcoal blue suit. The fabric is a worsted wool in a subtle plaid made up of charcoal grey and navy. It’s the kind of plaid that looks solid until you get really close. The 3-button jacket has straight shoulders and a clean chest, though the fit in the chest needs a little improvement. The jacket has flapped pockets, 4-button cuffs and a single vent. The darted front trousers have a straight leg with turn-ups.
The Brioni shirt is unusual for Bond: it’s pale blue with light grey stripes. The shirt has a moderate spread collar and double cuffs with rounded corners. Bond’s tie is a classic blue and white macclesfield pattern. The shoes are black 4-eyelet plain-toe oxfords, the John Lobb Becketts model.
A light-weight gabardine wool suit in light brown is a great suit for spring when it’s fairly warm but too early to take out the summer suits. In For Your Eyes Only, Bond wears the light brown suit in Corfu to church for his confession to Q. This suit has a two-button front with a low button stance. It has a soft, natural shoulder with a roped sleevehead. The chest is clean and the waist is fitted. The coat has 3-button cuffs, straight pockets with flaps and double vents. The trousers are cut with a straight leg.
The shirt is light blue poplin, but a little darker than the sky blue shirt Bond wore here earlier. The shirt has a large spread collar. Figuring out the tie is a little tricky. It’s slate blue with stripes or heavy ribs, but there’s more to it than that. Nonetheless, it’s a subtle pattern and well-chosen for Bond. Bond’s shoes are chestnut brown slip-ons.
Bond arrives in India in Octopussy wearing a tan wool gabardine suit. This suit is very similar to the light brown gabardine suit we looked at last week. Gabardine is a tight twill weave with a 63 degree angle due to twice as many warp yarns than filling yarns. The tight weave combined with a clear finish gives the fabric a slight sheen, but too much cleaning and abrasion can cause an unpleasant shine. Gabardine is either woven in a 2×1 or a 2×2 twill weave, the later being more common. You can see its structure below:
Like the gabardine suit in For Your Eyes Only, this one also has a low two-button front, natural shoulders with a roped sleevehead, a clean chest and a fitted waist. The suit coat has 3-button cuffs, straight pockets with flaps and double vents. The suit’s buttons are beige horn. The suit trousers are cut with a straight leg and have plain bottoms. Bond’s white poplin shirt has a spread collar and 1-button barrel cuffs. The tie has brown and tan stripes in the British direction, tied with a four-in-hand or double four-in-hand knot. I’d be more inclined to guess it’s a double four-in-hand due to its elongated shape. Bond’s shoes are deep burgundy slip-ons, and he wears tan socks to match the suit.