This is a mission, not a fancy dress ball

Saunders rudely greets Bond, first telling him that he’s late and then saying that he’s overdressed. In The Living Daylights, Bond wears a black shawl-collar dinner jacket with a 1-button front, no vent, jetted pockets and 4-button cuffs. Though the shoulders are a little wide, the dinner jacket fits well through the body. The collar is noticeably wider than the more familiar shawl-collar dinner jackets Bond wore in the 1960s. The trousers have double reverse pleats and a black silk stripe down the sides, and they are held up by white clip-on braces. Proper braces button in and do not clip-on, and Bond isn’t wearing a cummerbund, which at least would hide the clips.

But Bond also shows that he is well dressed for his mission when he turns up the collar and closes it with a Velcro strap, better to hide himself in the dark. Underneath the dinner jacket he wears a white dress shirt with narrow pleats, mother of pearl buttons, a spread collar and double cuffs. He wears a well-tied black satin silk bow tie.

22 thoughts on “This is a mission, not a fancy dress ball

  1. By far and away Dalton's best look. Is this the same dinner suit he wears in Vienna with Kara at the place where they filmed The Third Man?

  2. Very nice blend of classic Bond (1960s) style with the 1980s. And the Velcro closure to help hide him in his assassination perch reminds us this is a serious agent.

  3. Aren't you suppose to skip the cummerbund when wearing braces? I thought the cummerbund kind of symbolizes a belt, and you don't wear both a belt and braces right? Is this wrong?

  4. No, a cummerbund is a waist covering and is worn in place of a waistcoat (vest). A waistcoat does not hold up your trousers either. The cummerbund is a sash and is mostly decorative. It wouldn't do anything to hold up your trousers, and belts have no place in formal wear.

  5. aha, so it is ok to wear both cummerbund and braces! Would you recomend it? The only time I've seen it is in License, but Dalton later takes off his cummerbund since it has rope hidden in it.

  6. Johannes, I would highly recommend you wear both. A cummerbund or waistcoat is necessary to complete the black tie ensemble (with a single-breasted dinner jacket), whilst braces are the most effective way of keeping your trousers up.

  7. Here he wears a shawl collar lapel, and as mentioned above he later wears a notch lapel dinner jacket at the opera. Then, at the end of the picture, he romances Kara in what appears to be a peak lapel dinner jacket.

    Is there a precedent for Bond wearing the 3 different lapel styles of dinner jacket in the one film, Matt?

  8. The only reason I can think of for having showcased 3-different lapel styles in The Living Daylights is just to show variety. Before this whenever Bond wore multiple dinner jackets in the same film the lapel styles were varied. The peak-lapel dinner jacket at the end is double-breasted, showing far more variety of dinner jackets in The Living Daylights than in any other Bond film.

  9. Thanks, Matt.

    Just out of curiosity, how do you know that the peak-lapel dinner jacket was double-breasted? Is there a behind-the-scenes photo showing it? We only see the top half of it in the fifteen seconds or so that it is on screen?

  10. I know the peak-lapel dinner jacket was double-breasted because one was auctioned at Christie's as a dinner suit Timothy Dalton wore in The Living Daylights. While it doesn't prove it, it's very likely it's the same dinner jacket.

  11. We don't know who made the suits in The Living Daylight, but it is probably off the pegs from a British company.

    I don't understand the last request.

  12. Sorry for my grammar. I meant to request that you make an article on the dinner jacket seen later in the film at the place where they filmed Third Man. (The Notched Lapel Jacket as seen in the first comment)

  13. The clothes in The Living Daylights were most likely not from a bespoke tailor. Some were bought off the pegs (the gun club check sports coat) and altered to fit Dalton. Some were made by a costumier in Vienna.

  14. > I meant to request that you make an article on the dinner jacket seen later in the film at the place where they filmed Third Man. (The Notched Lapel Jacket as seen in the first comment)

    I agree with annonymous. Could you make an article on this?

  15. This outfit was produced by an Austrian outfitters according to this information from Christie’s past lots.

    http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/the-living-daylights-1987timothy-dalton/1290030/lot/lot_details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=1290030&sid=0f049de0-488e-4b15-89e5-36403c8f0427.

    This may be of interest regarding the debate about who produced Dalton’s suits in this movie. I expect it was an amalgum of various outfitters.

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