Tailoring for the Times: Roger Moore

ROGER MOORE (1973-1974, Cyril Castle)

1. Flared trousers: Flared trousers became popular with a certain crowd in the 1960s and made it to mainstream fashion by the 1970s. This is the most fashionable trend we’ve seen in Bond’s suits and the most highly criticised one. However, Moore’s flared trousers only hint at the fashion trend in the early 1970s.

2. Wide lapels: Moore’s lapels narrowed in Live and Let Die to a more classic width from what Connery wore in Diamonds Are Forever, though in The Man with the Golden Gun Moore brings back the wider lapels. Still, the lapels are acceptably wide. If Tom Ford has his way these lapels are going to become trendy again.

Castle’s jackets for Moore’s had flared cuffs that fasten with two linked buttons. It’s common for English tailors to flare out the sleeves at the ends (in any decade), but the link button is a unique touch. It emphasizes the sleeve flair to harmonize with the flared trouser, but it wasn’t mimicking any fashion trends.

Some may think the colour brown should be on here since brown was a trendy colour in the 1970s that Moore occasionally wore. But Sean Connery also wore a few brown suits, and Daniel Craig even wore a brown suit in Quantum of Solace, so it’s not limited to the 1970s. He wore brown suits in the Saint during the 1960s, and Moore was still wearing brown suits into the 1980s, when they became more popular in America due to President Reagan’s influence. Connery wore much duller browns than Moore since they better suited his cool complexion. Moore’s warmer complexion, on the other hand, looked great in warm brown tones. Moore’s brown suits were typically worn in the mediterranean, with some in America and Hong Kong. He didn’t wear nearly as much brown as he wore grey and blue, and he never wore brown in London, following the old (declared dead in 1939) rule “no brown in town.”

ROGER MOORE (1977-1979, Angelo)

1. Flared trousers: The trousers widen with a more pronounced flare later in the 1970s to fully embrace the fashion trend.

2. Wide lapels: The same happens with the lapels—they widen. However, the pocket flaps stay narrow.

These are as trendy as Roger Moore’s suits get, and these are the suits that Moore is most remembered for. Though the details are influenced by the era, the cut of the jacket is not. Other dated aspects of Bond’s wardrobe include very long collar points and tall heels on his slip-ons.

ROGER MOORE (1981-1985, Douglas Hayward)

1. Low button stance: The only thing that dates Moore’s suits in the 1980s is a low button stance. Hayward preferred a lower button stance, though it seems that he made it even lower in the 1980s. A lower button stance lengthens the torso, which helps rather barrel-chested Moore. It also emphasizes the V-shape of the male torso, however it comes at a cost: the leg line is shortened. That is not much of a concern for Moore since he already has fairly long legs. Apart from the low button stance, Moore’s tailoring in the 1980s doesn’t succumb to any other now-dated fashion trends.

Tailoring for the Times: Sean Connery and George Lazenby

Every Bond has made some fashion concessions to the times they lived in, and some have more than others. In this series of articles we’re going to take a look at each Bond, comparing the subtle nods to the times in his tailoring as well as the more obvious ones. But this assessment won’t be considering the classic elements that come in and out of fashion, like pleated versus flat front trousers. Casual clothes, which are far more influenced by the times, won’t be discussed here.

SEAN CONNERY (1962-1967)

1. Narrow lapels: They were slightly on the narrow side in Dr. No, but starting in From Russia with Love the lapels became the narrow ones commonly associated with the 1960s. And with narrow lapels comes narrow pocket flaps. Menswear designer and writer Alan Flusser wrote, “The lapel of a well-styled suit should extend to just a fraction less than the halfway mark between the collar and shoulder line.” All other lapel widths are measured in comparison.

2. Tapered trouser legs: Anthony Sinclair tapered his trousers in a military fashion, though they were tapered quite dramatically. A full thigh (Connery had large thighs) tapers into narrow bottoms.

2-button suits had becomes something of a fashionable element in the 1960s in comparison to the more traditional 3-button suit, but 2-button suits had already been around for years so it’s difficult to count it as something of the times. By the late 1960s they had become the standard and have been in that position ever since, so it’s not something we think about being fashionable now. But it was still no fashion extreme since 1-button suits and 4-button suits were far trendier at different points in the decade.

The cut of the jacket takes elements from a number of English styles, with its full, draped chest, soft shoulders and suppressed waist. None of that can be attributed to any decade. As for other wardrobe elements, Connery popularized cocktail-cuff shirts. That style saw its greatest popularity in the 1960s though it was not something popular enough to become dated since. And since tie width goes along with lapel width, that will not be mentioned going forward.

GEORGE LAZENBY (1969)

1. Shorter jacket length: Lazenby’s suit jackets were slightly shorter than the standard English jacket, a trend that saw some popularity in the 1960s. But unlike the modern fashion, the jacket isn’t short enough to draw attention to its shorter length.

2. Narrow-leg trousers: Narrow-leg trousers were also popular in the 1960s, and, compared to Connery’s trouser leg, Lazenby’s trouser leg fit closer through the thigh. Still, others at the time were wearing even narrower trouser legs.

3. Additional flair: Some of Lazenby’s suits had steeply slanted hacking pockets, a part of the 1960s’ “Peacock Revolution” to which Lazenby’s deeper vents and more rounded quarters can also be attributed.

But for the most part, Lazenby wore classic, close-cut English suits with softer shoulders than the typical Savile Row suit has. His trousers had a lower rise than Connery’s but not at all low by today’s standards. His most dated piece are the two ruffled-front dress shirts.

SEAN CONNERY (1971)

1. Wide lapels: Connery’s lapels are now on the wide side, and thus his pocket flaps are wider too. The 1970’s doesn’t have monopoly on wide lapels; they were popular for a good portion of the 1930s as well.

Everything else is pretty much timeless. Trouser legs are still tapered, though not as much as before. Connery’s pleats from before are also gone, and flat-front trousers had become much more fashionable by the late 1960s. Both pleated and flat-front trousers are equally classic.

Sean Connery’s narrow lapels and George Lazenby’s closer cut have been very popular since the mid 2000s, though designers like Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren are trying to bring back a look similar to what Connery wore in Diamonds Are Forever: a classic cut width wider lapels. In the next article we’ll take a look at the increasingly wide lapels, as well as the return to classic style, in an assesement of Roger Moore’s fashion choices.

Frank Foster: Measuring and Fitting

During my stay in London I went to see Frank Foster—who has made shirts for Roger Moore and George Lazenby in addition to countless other stars—to order shirts and interview him. The interview will be coming later in multiple parts but for now I will discuss the experience of bespeaking shirts from Frank Foster.

Just a selection of the many cloths lying around the shop

Foster’s shop is a working shop in a basement at 40 Pall Mall; it doesn’t provide the luxury experience of a Jermyn Street street or Savile Row shop, but it doesn’t need to. There is a minimum of six shirts for the first order and each shirt costs £135, no matter the cloth. The minimum of six shirts is because of the extra effort involved with creating the pattern, but once the pattern is created future shirts can be ordered with ease.

A vintage buttonhole machine

The first thing I did was pick out cloths, for which Foster’s wife Mary, who does much of the sewing, helped me. They have countless rolls of cloth spanning a hundred years lying all around the shop. I attempted to convey the colours and types of cloth I wanted and Mary found for me the closest that they had. I also asked her to find me cloths she though would flatter my complexion, and Foster helped me with that as well. It’s good to have an idea of what you want before going in but also to be open to discovering a beautiful cloth you never thought existed. Mary clips off a piece of the cloth I choose to review later, and Foster tapes down the chosen clippings to a book for reference. The cloths I chose ended up being a cream poplin, an ivory royal oxford, a blue zendaline (which Mary called the “Rolls-Royce” of shirtings and said Roger Moore had often worn similar cloths), a white-on-white stripe and a blue and white hairline stipe.

Mary’s sewing machine

After Foster tapes the cloth into his book he takes note of the style of each shirt. I’m having all long-sleeve shirts made in the traditional English style with no pocket and a placket on the front. Foster asked if I had a particular collar style in mind or if I wanted him to come up with something that would best suit my face and neck, and I chose the latter. I had on a standard Turnbull & Asser shirt and he told me something lower and slightly wider spread in comparison would suit me best. He’s a true artist and sketches everything to show me. For the cuffs I chose a variety of styles that only Frank Foster can do: three shirts with 2-button cocktail cuffs, two shirts with 1-button button-down cocktail cuffs and one shirt with a tab cuff.

Frank Foster measuring me for a shirt

I went in the Tuesday I arrived in London to be measured and by Friday they were able to have a fitting ready. Very few shirt makers still do a fitting, but it significantly helps in getting a better fit. The fitting shirt is made of one of the cloths I chose, but it has no buttons or buttonholes, no collar and only one cuff. Foster pinned the shirt to perfect his measurements of my body. I’ll be receiving one shirt first and if all is well they will make the remaining five.

Frank Foster fitting the blue and white hairline stripe shirt

Conduit Street

No. 29 Conduit Street

Anthony Sinclair, Sean Connery’s tailor for the Bond films, had his premises on Conduit Street just off Savile Row in Mayfair, and his suits’ unique silhouette had come to be known as the “Conduit Cut” after the street he was on. At one time there were a number of tailors on Conduit Street, but some were bombed out during World War II. Other tailors set up their shops on Conduit Street in the 1950s and 1960s though all are gone now. I walked up to Conduit Street with David Mason and Richard Paine of Anthony Sinclair, where Paine, who apprenticed with Anthony Sinclair and Cyril Castle, showed us where their premises used to be. Sinclair was at No. 29 Conduit Street (pictured above), which is now the western half of Moschino—they have the ground level of Nos. 28 & 29 Conduit Street. During the 1960s Sinclair occupied the first floor (which is one up from street level, for the American readers). When Paine joined Sinclair in the 1970s, Sinclair had expanded to the ground floor and the second floor. The entrance was on the left, where there is now a window. Sinclair had previously been located at Gerrard Street in what is now Chinatown.

No. 42 Conduit Street

Cyril Castle’s premises was at No. 42 Conduit Street during the years he made clothes for Roger Moore, where Wardrobe is currently. He had the ground level, though, according to Paine, the door was in the centre with windows on either side. Castle had previously been located at 10 Sackville Street, just a few doors down from where Anthony Sinclair is now.

Many thanks to David Mason and Richard Paine for a wonderful afternoon and for kindly sharing their wealth of information.

Anthony Sinclair Today

I met with David Mason and Richard W Paine of Anthony Sinclair, Sean Connery’s tailor of the Bond films, on Thursday for an educational and enjoyable afternoon. Mason is the creative director of Anthony Sinclair and is responsible for the firm’s resurrection. Richard Paine is a cutter who apprenticed with Sinclair in the 1970s and continued the firm under his own name after Sinclair retired. Paine previously started with Roger Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle in 1968 doing trimmings and later tailored Moore’s trousers for The Persuaders.

Basement Workshop 

Anthony Sinclair shares its premises at No. 6 Sackville Street with tailors Jones, Chalk and Dawson; Meyer & Mortimer; Kathryn Sargent; Tom Brown and Brian Russell, and shirtmaker Sean O’Flynn. Whilst each firm does it’s own cutting, they share the tailors and trimmers in the basement.

Richard Paine (left) and David Mason (right) 

Paine (above left) was wearing a 1-button suit he cut for himself in 1998, in a true Conduit Cut just as Sinclair taught him. The jacket has natural shoulders, a draped chest and a suppressed waist, with no vent in the back. Paine doesn’t have Connery’s incredibly large drop, but the Conduit Cut suits him just as well. The trousers have a straight leg and double reverse pleats, which he prefers over Sinclair’s traditional forward pleats.

Mason (above right) was wearing a navy hopsack blazer with mother of pearl buttons made in a trimmer cut by his cutter at Nutters, which he also heads. Mason made his shirt with a cocktail cuff in the same style as Connery’s, which nobody else makes, not even Turnbull & Asser. He even buttons his cuff with the second button open, like Connery did in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. And his tie was one of the new Anthony Sinclair grenadine ties, for which he sourced the exact same Italian grenadine silk that Turnbull & Asser has been using for many decades. It’s slightly different from most garza grossa grenadine and has a heavier look. The grenadine ties are 3 1/4-inches wide and are available in 5 colours. They will soon be featured on their website.

Richard Paine cutting suit with two pairs of trousers out of a blue Prince of Wales check Super 120s cloth from Holland & Sherry, in the front window of the shop.

I later walked with Mason and Paine up to Conduit Street to see the famous location. More on that to come in a few days.

You can read more about Anthony Sinclair in an previous article here or on their website, anthonysinclair.com

A Visit to Designing 007

I spent Wednesday afternoon at the Barbican’s Designing 007, curated by Neil McConnon with guest curators Bronwyn Cosgrave and Lindy Hemming. Pieces from all Bonds are represented, with some of the tailors and brands included being Anthony Sinclair, Brioni, Douglas Hayward, Tom Ford, Turnbull & Asser, Sulka and Bogner. I’ll try not to give away too much in my review. Dinner jackets and ski suits have the most representation in the exhibition, each with their own rooms, but other clothing pieces find their way scattered throughout the exhibition.

It’s the magnificent casino room that features of a number of black tie outfits from throughout the series. The lighting is such that it proves midnight blue indeed looks blacker than black under artificial light. The current Anthony Sinclair firm, including David Mason and Richard Paine (who apprenticed with Anthony Sinclair and Cyril Castle), recreated the Dr. No dinner suit in a true midnight blue cloth as Connery’s was, and only in close comparison to a true black does it look anything but black. The recreation of this dinner suit also featured a link-button* front, which was not seen on the original. This had to be done, according to David Mason, because of the extreme difficulty to fit a mannequin they had not been able to see beforehand. It’s not an ideal situation to say the least, just the same as it would be to fit a customer for a suit he had never seen in person. The awkward pose of the Sean Connery mannequin leaning on the Aston Martin posed different challenges, but in the end Mason did an excellent job elegantly fitting the two suits his firm recreated for the exhibition.

After seeing some clothes in person, it shows just how little can be relied on on-screen colours. There weren’t many surprises, but the blue ski suit from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was much lighter than it looked on screen. The notes called it “sky blue.” That difference could also explain some inconsistent colours between the old DVDs and the newer Blu-ray releases. The notch-lapel dinner jacket in The Living Daylights (incorrectly labeled as from Licence to Kill) was revealed to have a slubby, silk texture. The Quantum of Solace dinner suit also revealed some oddities: the silk gauntlet cuffs only wrap around the outside half of the sleeve and the trousers have turn-ups, a serious black tie faux-pas.

Sean Connery’s swimming trunks, beautifully recreated by Sunspel, are based on a picture of Connery taken behind the scenes, not of any he actually wore in any of the Bond films. The trunks are actually from Woman of Straw, not Thunderball as stated in the exhibition’s notes.

There’s a good mix of original pieces and re-creations for the exhibition, both of Bond’s clothes and of other characters’ clothes. Some of the other pieces most worth seeing I’ll leave to surprise you on your own visit. Photos are not allowed, but a good representation of the exhibition can be found here. Only the Aston Martin with the Sean Connery mannequin outside the exhibition (pictured above) can be photographed. And don’t hesitate to bring along your wife, girlfriend or mother because there are numerous examples of the female characters’ costumes as well. In addition to the costume, there are many iconic props and set pieces as well, which would impress any Bond fan. Overall, the exhibition is presented in a modern and sophisticated way that fully suits the Bond aesthetic.


*A link button is an extra button on a long thread shank sewn on the reverse side opposite the ordinary fastening button. It is brought forward and used instead of the regular button to fasten the front together without overlapping, making the front of the jacket symmetrical.

Never Say Never Again: Blue Blazer

Sean Connery wears a single-breasted blue blazer in a number of his Bond films and carries the blazer over to Never Say Never Again. This blazer is cut and detailed exactly like the suit jackets in the film, with natural shoulders, a 2-button front, 3-button cuffs, flapped pockets and double vents. The jacket relies solely on its polished brass buttons to define it as a blazer. It appears dressier than the blazers Connery wore in the Bond series, which were further differentiated from suit jackets with patch pockets and swelled edges.

Connery wears medium-dark grey flat front trousers with angled side pockets, and his belt and shoes are black. Connery wears this outfit twice in the film, with a different shirt and repp striped tie each time. The shirts are made by Turnbull & Asser or Frank Foster and have a spread collar and 1-button, button-down cocktail cuffs. The first is pale blue and the second is a slightly darker and more saturated sky blue. The first tie is navy with burgundy and pale yellow stripes, though the navy is warmer than the blazer’s cool navy and clashes. The second tie is has larger gold and burgundy stripes on a lighter navy with a cooler tone that’s much more agreeable with the blazer.

Woman of Straw: The Glen Plaid Suit before Goldfinger

Not until next week will I be getting to Designing 007 at the Barbican, but the people at Anthony Sinclair have re-created the iconic grey glen plaid suit from Goldfinger for the exhibition. A few months before Goldfinger, Sean Connery wears appears to be that suit in Woman of Straw, sans waistcoat. The jacket has the same 2-button front, flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, double vents and 4-button cuffs, and the trousers have forward-pleated trousers with side adjusters. Connery wears the suit with a sky blue shirt. The shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. Connery wears a brown satin tie, a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket and black shoes.