Sean Connery wears a well-cut black, notch-lapel, button one dinner jacket in Never Say Never Again. For such a grand occasion peak lapels should be in order, but Bond isn’t usually one for being the most formally-dressed in the room. Nevertheless, he still is far better dressed than Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer). Largo dresses similar to the original, played by Adolfo Celi, in a white double-breasted dinner jacket, but wears a black shirt and has none of the elegance of the original villain’s clothing. Back to Connery’s clothing, the dinner jacket is tailored with natural shoulder and has jetted pockets, double vents and 3-button cuffs. The buttons are black horn. The dinner suit’s trousers have a flat front and a satin stripe down the side.
with the Turnbul & Asser shirt
Connery’s shirt has a spread collar, placket with onyx studs, and single-button cocktail cuffs that button down. The shirt is made by Turnbull & Asser, though he wears a Frank Foster shirt in at least one shot. The Frank Foster shirt can be identified by its narrower placket with stitching close together down the middle. Foster is the inventor of the button-down cocktail cuff that we see here, first worn by Roger Moore in an episode of The Saint. The bow tie is black satin in a classic thistle shape, and Connery wears no waist-covering. The shoes are black derbys that appear to be well-polished calf leather and not patent.
with the Frank Foster Shirt
Skyfall is released today in the UK, and a new quartermaster is introduced. But let’s take a look back 49 years ago. From Russia With Love introduced Desmond Llyewlyn’s famous Q character, and he went on to appear in 16 more Bond films. He’s first seen in M’s office wearing a 3-piece Prince of Wales check suit and looking the best-dressed he ever was in the series. It’s his own suit—the budget didn’t allow for minor characters’ wardrobes—made in a Savile Row style and probably bespoke. The Prince of Wales check cloth is black and white with red lines framing the pattern. The jacket is a very traditional button three with padded shoulders, a full chest and a nipped waist. It has flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. Q wears the jacket unbuttoned except for in a close-up shot, a continuity error. When he has it buttoned, only the middle is fastened.
The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button and the trousers have forward pleats. Q wears a cream shirt with a spread collar and a Brigade of Guards regimental tie with navy and maroon stripes. Director of From Russia With Love, Terence Young, directed Llewelyn in a 1950 film called They Were Not Divided. Lewellyn played a Guards Officer and Young himself was a former Guards Officer. The tie is surely a nod to the film they did together 13 years earlier.
Whilst Bond’s suit is influenced by 1960s fashions with its two buttons and narrow lapels, Q’s suit doesn’t belong to any era.
As we all know, Auric Goldfinger loves gold and he loves to wear it. He wears gold cufflinks, a gold watch and a gold ring. Gold clothing would be a bit garish, so he chooses a mostly brown and yellow wardrobe. And it’s a wardrobe that flatters his autumn complexion. Gert Frobe’s peachy skin and red-blonde hair is best flattered by muted, but rich, warm colours that are perfect for the current autumn season out in the country. Goldfinger’s checked suit that he wears in England and Switzerland is the perfect example. The tweed cloth has a golden brown ground with a grid of black and green, intersected by a red overcheck.
The suit jacket is a button one with a shawl collar, a 1960’s fashion that didn’t quite catch on. The shawl collar comes from Goldfinger’s love for smoking jackets and denotes a bespoke pedigree. The jacket has jetted pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and no vent. The jacket has softly padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a draped chest, which gives the illusion of a waist. The cut with its properly placed button stance is a very flattering look for Goldfinger. We can’t see much of the trousers so we can’t tell if there are pleats, but they have a full cut, have plain bottoms, sit above the waist and are most likely supported by braces. That’s the only way trousers will stay up on a corpulent figure and the most flattering look on his body.
Bond and Goldfinger both are wearing brown, but notice how Goldfinger’s rich brown clothing flatters his warm complexion whilst Connery’s muted brown clothing flatters his cool complexion.
Goldfinger wears a pale yellow shirt with a short, rounded point collar and double cuffs. His narrow tie is brown satin silk. He wears black derby shoes or boots. The hat is a medium brown trilby, with a very narrow brim and tapered crown, and it appears to be suede.
Bond and Kerim Bey are overdressed for the Gypsy camp
In From Russia With Love, Bond wears a charcoal flannel suit to dinner at the gypsy camp. This is a typical Anthony Sinclair suit: a lower two-button style, natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a little drape and a nipped waist. This suit jacket has double vents, four buttons on the cuffs and flapped pockets. The trousers have double forward pleats with button-tab waist adjusters and turn-ups.
The shirt and tie are also the usual. The pale blue Turnbull & Asser shirt has a spread collar, a placket, rear darts and cocktail cuffs. The tie is a navy grenadine. At the beginning of the evening Bond starts out with a white linen handkerchief folded in his breast pocket but removes it to wipe his hands. Later in the evening he puts it back in. In a continuity error, Bond wears two pairs of shoes with this suit: black 2-eyelet derbies and black slip-ons. His socks are black with a red band around the top. Or the red band could be something else.
A Gypsy girl repairs Bond’s shirt
As Roger Moore celebrates his 85th birthday today, we look at some very relevant tailoring from his past. A blue-grey, subtle Glen Urquhart check suit first featured in the fifth series episode of The Saint “The Helpful Pirate” has quite a few similarities to the suits Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall. The similarities are the obvious ones: three buttons down the front, very narrow lapels, a shorter jacket length (though Moore’s isn’t as short as Craig’s), a single vent and flat front trousers—Moore’s are actually darted, but it’s the same idea—with a tapered leg. This suit is unique in The Saint in that it’s the only one that stylistically bridges the more traditional suits from the first four series to the more rakish suits in the fifth and sixth series.
The overall cut is where 1966 and 2012 differ. Cyril Castle’s suit jacket for Moore has natural shoulders whilst Tom Ford’s suit jacket for Craig has slightly built-up shoulders. Moore’s jacket has a full, draped chest whilst Craig’s has a cleaner, close-fitting chest, but both have a lot of waist suppression. Moore’s trousers have a higher rise than Craig’s, and the legs are narrow but not skin-tight. Moore’s jacket has the added details of single-button gauntlet cuffs and a ticket pocket.
Moore wears the suit with an ecru shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs. A grenadine tie knotted four-in-hand makes a connection to the Bond films, though Moore’s is an aubergine purple, a colour Sean Connery never wore. Moore wears black slip-on shoes and ecru socks, unusually I suppose to match the shirt.
In another connection to Bond, Vladek Sheybal, who played SPECTRE agent Kronsteen in From Russia with Love, is featured in this episode.
Black isn’t the best camouflage at night, but at least it reflects no light so it’s better than light or bright-coloured clothing. Shades of greys are standard for night camouflage because they better blend in with surrounding. But similar to his black outfit in Goldfinger, Bond once again wears black to sneak around Largo’s Palmyra estate at night in Thunderball. The biggest problem with this outfit in the dark is the shiny buttons. Bond’s fitted black long-sleeve polo jumper has a three-button opening at the neck, of which he fastens various buttons at different times, but never the top button. It has ribbed cuffs and a ribbed hem.
The black trousers have flat front with button-side adjusters and plain bottoms. Bond wears black dress ankle boots, probably the same as what he wears with his suits in this film. They are a shorter ankle height, fit with elastic and have leather soles, which are not the best choice for scaling a roof.
On another note, check out the article I wrote for Clothes on Film—On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: The Primer for Skyfall.
A tan wool gabardine suit is perfect for in San Francisco’s mild autumn and spring, and even summer there too. Tan has always been a flattering colour on Roger Moore, but it’s especially beneficial to his aging visage (or facelift) in A View to a Kill. This suit has the usual cut of Roger Moore’s classic 1980’s suits, with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a clean chest. The jacket is a button two with double vents, flapped pockets and 3 buttons on the cuffs. The buttons are lighter than the suit, made of beige horn. The lapels here differ in shape from Douglas Hayward’s signature notch lapels, which are cut straight across the top. The lapels have a concave curves along the top, and the pocket flaps are also curved on the side instead of straight down. Does that mean this suit was not cut by Douglas Hayward like most of Moore’s tailoring in the 1980’s? It probably still was. The shoulders match Hayward’s natural shoulder and the cut through the body is the same, down to the placement of the buttons and the hip pockets. The trousers have a flat front and a straight leg with a plain hems.
Moore wears a cream shirt by Frank Foster with a spread collar and rounded single-button cuffs. The tie is bronze with white and blue stripes. Moore wears dark brown slip-on shoes and black socks. The socks may be a very dark brown, but they look black and don’t match any other part of the outfit. He also matches the shoes with a brown belt with a silver-toned buckle.
As many of you know, today is the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No as well as Global James Bond Day. The first outfit I wrote about when I started this blog two years ago was Bond’s first dinner suit in Dr. No (now with additional information added to the article), but I merely touched on the outerwear comprised of a navy melton Chesterfield coat and a black homburg. The Chesterfield is a rather dressy coat, appropriate with black tie, black lounge (stroller) and dressier lounge suits (dark worsteds). It tends to look out of place even over a sports coat. Chesterfield coats are typically made in dark colours like navy, charcoal and black, in a milled melton cloth or a herringbone weave. It’s a longer coat that hits below the knee, and it’s a fitted coat that is darted and shaped through the waist. The length and heavy weight make it a very warm coat. Single-breasted models, like what Sean Connery wears, have a fly front with 3 covered buttons. This coat has notch lapels, a long vent down the back, jetted hip pockets and a welted breast pocket. Connery’s coat has a black velvet collar, a formal as well as a practical element; the collar will wear out before most other parts of the coat, and replacing black velvet is easy compared to finding matching wool. However, a Chesterfield coat does not need to have a velvet collar nor does a velvet make a coat a Chesterfield.
The first hat of the series Bond throws on the coat tree at the office is a black homburg, a hat which occupies the same formality spectrum as the Chesterfield coat. A homburg is best worn with black tie, black lounge and dressier lounge suits. The homburg is identified by its dented crown (without a pinch) and a stiff, bound brim turned up all the way around. Bond’s hat has a thicker black grosgrain ribbon than his trilby. With black tie less worn today, formal outerwear is even less commonly worn. However, as suits and dinner suits are being made of increasingly lightweight cloths, the Chesterfield coat is even more relevant for cold weather today. Die Another Day saw a missed opportunity for another Chesterfield. Whilst everyone else was wearing some sort of overcoat, Pierce Brosnan seemed unusually comfortable in snow-covered Iceland without one.