Though it’s not something I typically write about, here’s an entry along the lines of another Bond clothing blog, Affordable Bond. The online tailor Knot Standard consulted me about creating a James Bond dinner suit to commemorate the release of Skyfall and the 50th Anniversary of the series. They designed a Bond-esque dinner suit, one that takes cues both from the clothes today and from what Sean Connery wore in the 1960s. Like what Bond wore in both Dr. No and Skyfall, the dinner jacket is midnight blue—which under certain light looks darker than black—with a 1-button front and a shawl collar. The trousers are a cross between the modern and traditional styles, with single forward pleats and side adjusters. All the details, however, are customizable. The fit is classic, will suit most body types and won’t go out of date. Although it’s not cheap, it’s very difficult to find a classically-styled, midnight blue dinner suit in this price range. And I jumped at the chance to have a brand make that happen.
The first on-screen appearance of James Bond came with the “Casino Royale” television play on CBS’s Climax! in 1954, with Bond played by American actor Barry Nelson. In this production James Bond is an American agent with “Combined Intelligence” and nicknamed “Jimmy.” But also, he isn’t the best-tailored character, wearing an oversized dinner jacket. British agent Clarence Leiter (Michael Pate) in his black dinner suit and Le Chiffre (Peter Lorre) in his light-coloured, double-breasted dinner jacket both looked better tailored than Bond.
Bond wears a light-coloured dinner jacket, which has been coloured “buff” in cover art, and I concur with the artist’s choice of colour. The dinner jacket is full-cut and very similar to the tailoring in Licence to Kill, with wide shoulders and a low button stance. The dinner jacket buttons one and has a shawl collar. It has no vents, jetted pockets and three buttons on the cuffs. The buttons are darker than the cloth, suggesting brown horn.
Bond’s trousers are black and are most likely help with with braces. Sometimes you can see a hint of something dark under the jacket, and that is probably the braces. The shirt has a soft point collar, double cuffs and a placket front with 3 onyx studs, and the cufflinks match the studs. Bond wears a black satin batwing bow tie and a black satin cummerbund. The flower in his lapel is most likely a red carnation, which doesn’t look so appealing on black-and-white television. He also wears a pocket square, which is either red—to match the flower—or black.
Skyfall‘s costume designer Jany Temime introduced a British icon to the Bond series: the Barbour jacket. Barbour is famous for its waxed cotton jackets, which are both waterproof and stylish. Bernhard Roetzel praises the Barbour in his book Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion:
This jacket protects you from bad weather, but it also protects you from the risk of being improperly dressed. And it’s true: if you are not sure what to put on you can always fall back on the Barbour – as long as it’s not too warm, that is.
And Roetzel means that literally, even going as far to say it is better to wear a Barbour and a sweater than a poorly-fitting dinner suit. Perhaps costume designers in the past may have thought the Barbour is too recognisable or too snobbish for Bond, but it’s an appropriate jacket for Bond to wear in a casual country setting.
Bond’s Barbour jacket in Skyfall is a limited edition by To Ki To, designed by Tokihito Yoshida, in olive waxed cotton, cut similarly to a lounge coat. It has three large buttons on the front, with the top button placed further apart. Further up the lapels there is a tab and smaller button (which has been removed), but the tab is held back with a button under the lapel. If the tab were extended, the button that Bond uses to hold it back would be used to secure a throat latch to the chest. The throat latch would also attach to buttons on either side of the collar, which have also been removed. There is also another small button that closes the top of the lapels. The shoulders have patches of a different, greener material. The front of the jacket has two flapped bellows pockets on the hips, with the bellows made from the same material as the shoulder patches. There is also a flapped, inset breast pocket, and the back of the jacket has vertical zip pockets on the sides of the skirt. The jacket comes with a hood, but since the hood is not worn the zip and buttons that the hood attaches to has been removed. The sleeve openings are finished with a stripe of brown leather binding. A lot has been removed from the original jacket to streamline it to just Bond’s needs.
Underneath the Barbour Bond wears a cashmere round neck jumper by N.Peal in “Blue Wave,” with a brown scarf tucked in to the jumper. And under the jumper Bond wears an off-white, long-sleeve henley shirt. His trousers are dark brown cords—the Conduane Iggy Jeans from All Saints. He wing-tip boots are the Crockett & Jones Islay model in Dark Brown Scotch Grain.
Barbour, N.Peal and Crockett & Jones are all taking advantage of the Bond connection to their products. For the rest of the items, I thanks the collectors at ajb007 for their research. More images will come following the Blu-ray release.
Pierce Brosnan brings back the button two suit in Die Another Day after wearing primarily button three suits in his previous Bond films. Of the two examples of the style in this film, the first is a beige linen suit and the second is a grey pinstripe, which is featured here. This suit introduces an updated raised button stance, which has become popular over the past 10 years. Fashion has since taken this further by raising the jacket hem as well. Brosnan’s jacket has a traditional length, though the higher button stance doesn’t do his increasing waistline any favours. The jacket has slanted pockets with a ticket pocket, four buttons on the cuffs and double vents. The trousers have a darted front—with a rather generous rise compared to what has become of trouser rises over the past decade—and turn-ups.
Brosnan wears the suit with a light blue Brioni shirt that has a wide spread collar, placket and double cuffs. Since he wears the suit twice in the film, each time it’s with a different tie. The first tie is grey with a blue circle motif, and the tie is still available from Turnbull & Asser. The second tie is a pattern of red rectangles on a navy ground (see below). Brosnan wears black shoes with this suit.
A tab collar is a point collar with a tab that connects the two sides of the collar underneath the tie. Though tab collar is British in origin, it tends to be shunned by the British these day. Most collars other than the spread and cutaway collars are. The Prince of Wales (Edward) was the first to wear the tab collar, and he wore both pointed and rounded variations. Following its introduction, the tab collar was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It saw a revival in the 1960s and last saw some popularity during the early 1990s in the United States. Throughout Skyfall, James Bond wears Tom Ford shirts with a tab collar, a first for the character. Bond’s tab collar has a button tab, though more traditional ones fastened with a stud. Some makers in the 1980s and 90s used a snap fastener for the tab. The collar usually has a soft interfacing like a button-down collar so it can curve around the tie. However, Tom Wolfe, who today often wears tab-collar shirts made by Alexander Kabbaz, wears a tall, stiff tab collar like some of the originals were. Some tab collars can take collar stays for a stiffer look, though Bond keeps his soft with an elegant roll.
The tab collar does more to frame the tie than to frame the face. They work best with the classic four-in-hand knot because of its small size. The collar pushes the knot and the whole tie out from the neck and body to create an elegant arch. The similar pinned collar achieves the same goal. A collar pin is much flashier, a style we often saw on Pierce Brosnan in the early Remington Steele episodes. The biggest disadvantage to the tab collar is that it can’t be worn without a tie. But in Skyfall, Bond always keeps his tie on to preserve the tab collar’s neat appearance.
Skyfall opens with Bond wearing a black and white pick-and-pick suit from Tom Ford. Also known as sharkskin, this semi-solid pattern woven in an even twill weave looks like tiny steps going up the suit. We’ve seen the pick-and-pick suit on Bond at least once before, in The World is Not Enough. As opposed to a solid medium grey, which can look very flat, the pick-and-pick is far more interesting. This is one of four excellent cloths that costume designer Jany Temime chose the suits in Skyfall. The opening sequence is full of action and a suit is quite impractical for the scene. We don’t know why Bond is wearing a suit, for any other reason than being James Bond.
The jacket has a very close fit with a length that comes short of covering his behind, a very fashionable look for the past few years. The shoulders are straight but narrow. Bond keeps the jacket open since the tight fit makes the action sequences difficult, but it looks better open instead of binding when closed. Some jackets were made with longer sleeves for when Bond is on a motorcycle, so when his arms are extended it doesn’t look like his sleeves ride up. It buttons three down the front and matches with three buttons on the cuffs, and Bond leaves the last button open. The flapped pockets are on a shallow slant and the back of the jacket has a single vent. The trousers have a flat front with side adjusters, though it looks like they tend to slip down. They are cut with a narrow leg and a low rise, and the bottoms have turn ups. The hem is very short, but because the trousers are narrow and he’s wearing a boot they still break.
Bond wears a white Tom Ford shirt with a tab collar, placket and double cuffs. The Tom Ford tie has a complex black and silver check pattern that resembles a grenadine weave. The narrow tie is tied in a four-in-hand knot, which fits very nicely in the yab collar. Bond wears a folded white handkerchief in his breast pocket. Bond’s shoes are black calf, 2-eyelet chukka boots with a Dainite sole, the Crockett & Jones Tetbury model.
In the scene pictured above, Bond does what Bond does and adjusts his cuff after getting shook up. But it looks like other parts of his outfit could use a bit more adjustment.
You don’t need to have seen Skyfall to have gotten a good look at the Skyfall dinner suit. Daniel Craig has already worn his dark navy Tom Ford O’Connor dinner suit in plenty of other appearances, such as the Olympic opening ceremony and in a pre-taped sketch for Saturday Night Live. On all the posters the dinner suit looks like a bright navy. It doesn’t look nearly so bright in the film, even in the daylight scenes, and it’s in the range of classic midnight blue. In the casino’s yellow lighting it looks blacker than black does under that lighting, which comes out looking brown. The cloth has a bit of a sheen that suggests mohair.
The dinner jacket is very closely fitted and just a bit too short, providing the fashionable “iconic for 2012″ look that costume designer Jany Temime aimed for, as she mentioned to the Associated Press. The shoulders are straight and narrow with roped sleeveheads. It’s a traditional button one with a shawl collar, faced in black satin silk. Also in satin silk are the buttons and pocket jettings. The dinner jacket has three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent, a first for Bond on a dinner jacket. I’m not sure the reason why a single vent was chosen; it’s too sporty for semi-formal wear and it’s really only something Americans do. It’s the only non-traditional detail in the outfit. The trousers have a traditional fit with a long rise and tapered legs, as opposed to the tight-fitting, low-rise trousers on the regular lounge suits in the film. The trousers have plain hems.
The Tom Ford dress shirt is cotton voile with a pique bib, collar and cuffs. The shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a plain front that closes with shanked mother of pearl buttons that look like studs. The cufflinks match the studs. Craig wears a black grosgrain—with the ribs lengthwise—bow tie, a black satin cummerbund and a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket. The trousers are held up with white moire braces, though the trousers have side adjusters as well. The shoes are black calf plain-toe wholecuts, the Crockett & Jones Alex. One example of this suit was sold at Christie’s on 5 October 2012 for £46,850 as part of “FIfty Years of James Bond: The Auction.” The dinner suit up for auction was labelled size 48F (equal to a US/UK 38R), even though it was bespoke.
The final scene of Goldfinger features Sean Connery in his second three-piece suit of the series, a charcoal grey woolen flannel. Bond believes he’s on his way to meeting the President, giving Bond a reason to wear the added formality of a waistcoat. A flannel suit is also comfortable for an flight, since it’s both comfortably soft and warm. The suit is the usual Anthony Sinclair suit, a button two with natural shoulders and a full chest. The jacket is detailed with four buttons on the cuffs, jetted pockets and no vent. The buttons are made of dark grey horn.
The waistcoat has 6 buttons with 5 to button. The inside of waistcoat and the sleeves share the same navy and white striped lining. The trousers are cut with double forward pleats and have button side adjusters and plain hems. Connery wears a white shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs with rounded corners, and he wears a black knitted silk tie. His shoes are black. The suit is very similar to the next one Bond wears, featured in Thunderball‘s pre-title sequence. The Thunderball suit differs most obviously by having a straight bottom to the waistcoat and turn-ups on the trousers.