Light Blue Suit

The light blue suit has fallen out of favour, but it made one of its few appearances in the Bond series in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It’s a great suit for the warmer days of spring and for summer, and it is best in a pick-and-pick (or other semi-solid pattern) of blue and white rather than a solid blue. A solid blue might give the impression of the powder blue suits that were popular in the 1970s, but Lazenby wears a more sophisticated example when shopping at Rossio Square in Lisbon. Lazenby’s suit has a 3-button front with a clean cut, straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line, and double vents. It’s detailed with cran Necker Parisian lapels, swelled edges and one-button cuffs. Lazenby wears the suit with a white shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs, a navy knit tie and black shoes.

Trouser Adjusters

Anthony Sinclair’s Side Adjusters in Dr. No

Though the go-to method of supporting trousers these days is the belt, English suits weren’t traditionally worn with belts. The Duke of Windsor famously went to an American tailor to have his suit trousers with belt loops made because his London tailored refused to. And there are many reasons not to wear a belt with a suit:

  1. A belt breaks the visual flow from the coat to the trousers, especially on a lighter suit. A suit should be one.
  2. A belt buckle disrupts the line of a fitted suit coat.
  3. A belt buckle creates a lump under a waistcoat on a 3-piece suit.
  4. Trousers will sag during the day with a belt and need to be pulled up.

Only braces can solve problem 4, but the other three problems can be solved with side adjusters. By the 1950s it was common for English tailors to make trousers with an adjustable waistband system to take the place of braces, and there are a number of different types of waistband adjusters.

Cyril Castle’s Side Adjusters in Live and Let Die

Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits all featured “DAKS tops,” originally made by Simpson’s of Piccadilly. The name is a portmanteau of “Dad” and “slacks.” The style has buttoning tabs on the sides, connected with hidden elastic across the back. One drawback to this is that the adjusters can only be tightened to where the buttons are placed, though the elastic helps for a snug fit. There are usually two or three buttons—often of mother of pearl—on each side, and Connery used one of the buttons on the left to secure his shoulder holster. Roger Moore also wore this style on his Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die.

Tom Ford’s Side Adjusters in Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig introduced another classic trouser adjuster style to the Bond series with his Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace. The Tom Ford side adjusters are two strips of cloth brought together with a slide buckle, though a more casual variation can be found that uses D-rings. As opposed to button-tabs, this style allows for an exact adjustment. Other styles of side adjusters exist, such as a waistband that expands and contracts with a locking zip fastener. There are also adjusters that look like DAKS tops but don’t have elastic across the back, and thus they do not function as well.

Remington Steele: Button One Glen Urquhart Suit

When Remington Steele began in 1982, Pierce Brosnan had a wardrobe of classic, English-inspired suits. As the series progress Brosnan switched over to modern Italian fashions, such as low-buttoning double-breasted suits. Very few of the series’ original suits made it past the second season, but one that did was a 3-piece, 1-button black and cream Glen Urquhart check suit with an intersecting red windowpane. This suit was first seen in the second episode of the series and saw many appearances throughout the first season and in promotional photos. Brosnan wore it once in the second season, sans waistcoat, and once again in the fifth episode of the third season, titled “Blue Blooded Steele.” The images here are taken from that episode, where Steele impersonates a duke. And what an fitting suit for a duke.

with Efrem Zilbalist, Jr.

Most of Brosnan’s suits from the beginning of the series were 3-piece suits, but this is only one of two that had a single-button jacket. The 1-button suit jacket may be cut just like a 2-button suit jacket—as Brosnan’s is here—or it may be cut away more at the front skirt. The button (black on this suit) should be at the same place as the top button on a 2-button suit. 1-button suits saw their highest popularity in the 1960’s where they could be seen on television stars such as Patrick Macnee, Don Adams, Dick Van Dyke and Eddie Albert, and jazz musicians like Miles Davis. Some people continued to wear 1-button suits, such as former game show host Bob Barker, and H. Huntsman on Savile Row is famously known for the style.

A close-up of the fabric and the slanted shoulder seam. With Stephanie Zimbalist.

This jacket is cut with pagoda shoulders and a shoulder seam that runs diagonally back down the shoulder rather than straight across like most do. It has deep double vents, flapped pockets and 3-button cuffs. The waistcoat has a 5-button front with the bottom worn open. The trousers have a flat front, a straight leg and plain hems. The only thing wrong with this suit is that the trousers are worn with a belt, which disrupts the line of waistcoat. In Remington Steele, Pierce Brosnan routinely wears his 3-piece suits —and even his dinner suits—with a belt.

Brosnan’s pale blue shirt has a moderate spread collar, placket front and double cuffs. The narrow tie is black with a pattern of silver ovals, tied in a small four-in-hand knot. A casually stuffed red silk handkerchief brings out the red windowpane in the suit. Brosnan wears black shoes and a black belt.

Beige Suit in Tangiers

Score one for Timothy Dalton. I find this beige wool gaberdine suit from Benjamin Simon worn in The Living Daylights to be Dalton’s most successful of the series for a number of reasons. Most importantly the suit fits well, but it’s also a classic style. The jacket’s shoulders are straight and padded, but not built up or out too much as most of his other suits are guilty of. The only problem with the suit is large armholes that impede arm movement. That’s what causes the shoulders to raise when the arms are raised, and most off the peg suits are plagued with this problem.

The jacket is a classic 2-button with double vents, flapped pockets and 3-button cuffs. The trousers have classic double forward pleats that recall Connery’s trousers.

It’s well known that Timothy Dalton is not comfortable dressed up, and here he forgoes the tie. Without a tie he looks more comfortable, and it’s okay to wear a casual suit—like one made of beige gaberdine—without a tie. The darker business suits that Dalton wears in Licence to Kill don’t work nearly as well sans tie. His cream shirt has an undersized spread collar, a placket front and 1-button cuffs. Dalton wears brown slip-ons and a brown braided leather belt.

Light Grey Linen Suit

Grey isn’t a very popular colour for linen, which is most often found in its natural beige colour. When not natural, other earth tones, white and blue are still far more popular than grey linen. But this grey linen suit made by Brioni is quite appropriate for Bond’s arrival in the Bahamas in Casino Royale. The suit coat has a 3-button front, 4-button cuffs, double vents and flapped pockets, cut with straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads.

The unusual thing about this suit is the peak lapels. Peak lapels typically aren’t found on single-breasted coats outside of formalwear. Another name for peak lapels is double-breasted lapels, and that’s because they are the standard for double-breasted coats. The trousers have a darted front and turn-ups. The legs are also full-cut, which has many benefits with linen. Because linen has the tendency to wrinkle more than any other cloth, a tighter leg will only cause more wrinkles. A full leg also wears cooler than a tight leg.

Bond’s shirt is white with fancy self patterns, alternating track stripes with large and small chains on a white open plain-weave. The shirt has shorts sleeves, shoulder straps, a placket front, back darts and a large, two-button spread collar. Bond wears dark brown suede 2-eyelet derby shoes and commits the faux pas of wearing a black leather belt with brown shoes. The sunglasses are from Persol, model 2244.

Grey-Linen-Suit-Shoes

Tom Ford at 92nd Street Y

As part of 92nd Street Y’s Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis series, Tom Ford—the designer of Daniel Craig’s suits in Quantum of Solace and the next Bond film Skyfall—spoke about his personal and professional life in a sold-out talk with moderator Fern Mallis—best known as the creator of New York’s Fashion Week. 92nd Street Y is a world-class cultural institution in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and its Fashion Icons series has already featured great designers including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Ford talked a little about his clothes, but he gave more insight into his personal life and tastes that reflects the clothes we see in his collection now.

Ford wore his usual dark charcoal grey 2-button suit with wide peak lapels. The suit had the shoulders typically seen on his recent suits, with no padding but plenty of stiff canvassing to give them a natural but clean line, along with roped sleeveheads. The suit also had a single vent and straight pocket with large flaps, including a ticket pocket. Four visible buttons on the cuffs finished the sleeves, and most likely there was a fifth unbuttoned at the end. Though his jacket covered the top of his trousers, a fullness through the leg suggest they have double forward pleats like in his latest collection. His white shirt had a pinned collar and double cuffs. He wore a solid black tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot, and a reverse-puffed black-and-white-patterned pocket square. The shoes were black chelsea boots. Overall his style was similar to what James Bond would wear, combined with Classic Hollywood, and everything fit him superbly.

Ford’s interest in dressing well started as a child in the 1960s, when he wore suits and carried a briefcase to school because he thought a book bag looked messy. And because of his different choices he was picked on and beaten by other students. “The first case of bullying for having too much style,” Mallis commented.

Tom Ford is unique amongst fashion designers because, as he said, he is focused on “making a product that was about quality.” He said, “I’m a practical, commercial  fashion designer” and “always designed jackets with two sleeves.” Fashion is not an art for him, and he mentioned the most commercial things about his clothes are surprisingly their highest quality and highest price. But people are interested in quality and are willing to pay for it. He started the Tom Ford line because he didn’t like what he found when he went shopping, so he designed what he wanted to wear and figured others were looking for the same thing. And for those looking for the best quality as well as an innovative twist on classic style, Tom Ford delivers.

Ford is not interested in doing an “H&M colection” and said he’s only interested in “the best stitching, the best fabric, the best quality, and that’s what excites me.” Details also interest Ford: “Not everyone cares that their buttonholes open. It drives me crazy if my buttonholes don’t open.” Ford called himself a perfectionist. But when asked if he cared that most people can’t afford to buy his clothes, Ford said “you don’t have to wear designer clothes to have style” and mentioned if you want to wear something more affordable from his collection you can buy a pair of his sunglasses.

For much of the evening Tom Ford talked about things beyond fashion, such as his penchant for taking four to five baths a day and walking around the house mostly naked. He’s no longer interested in living in New York City or any city because there’s too much stimulation. Said Ford, “I had to leave New York to find out who I was as a designer.” Though he spends much of his time on his ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, his predominately grey collections are most at home in the city.

You can see a clip from the event below:

You can find more about the Tom Ford event at 92nd Street Y’s Tumblr page.

Pagoda: The Other Natural Shoulder

When most people think of natural shoulder suits, it’s the soft shoulder that curves down at the ends to follow the shoulder into the arm. But we often forget that the shoulder has a concave shape too, though some men don’t have a shoulder like this. The pagoda shoulder suit emphasizes that concave part of the shoulder but doesn’t curve down at the end like some other natural shoulder suits do. Instead the shoulder line curves out, often ending with a roped sleevehead to emphasize the concave shape. Usually this type of shoulder has padding on the end to keep the shape, but some tailors may achieve this look with just proper sewing and canvas. It’s not a very common type of shoulder, but it’s found on Tom Ford’s Regency model that Daniel Craig wears in Quantum of Solace. Some of Timothy Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights also featured a pagoda shoulder.

Safari Suit in the Iguazu

If there is one place appropriate to wear safari clothing it has to be the jungle. In Moonraker, Bond wears a beige cotton drill safari suit that’s quite traditional, at least above the knee. The safari shirt/jacket has a 5-button front, including the collar button, and Bond buttons the bottom three. It has four patch pockets with flaps and box pleats, deep side vents, 1-button cuffs and shoulder straps. A fitted cut is the biggest difference this safari jacket has from the traditional safari jacket, which has a straight cut and a belt instead. This safari jacket shows little of the 1970’s trends.

The matching trousers are full-cut with a slightly flared leg, the only concession in this outfit to the 1970s. They are worn with a tan, brown and white striped web belt with a D-ring buckle. The only thing really inappropriate with this outfit are the beige slip-on shoes. Waxed leather boots probably would have been a better choice.