Charcoal Flannel Again

The charcoal flannel suit has made many appearances throughout the Bond series, sometimes as a 2-piece suit and other times with a waistcoat, as Roger Moore wears his in A View to a Kill. This suit is made by Douglas Hayward with natural shoulders, a low 3-button front and a single vent in the rear. The coat has flapped pockets and 3-button cuffs. The waistcoat has 6 buttons and the trousers have a flat front, straight leg and plain bottoms.

Bond’s shirt has a bengal stripe pattern in what is probably pink and white, with a contrasting white spread collar and contrasting white cuffs. The contrast collar was a symbol of power in the 1980s, though it’s origins are in the detachable collars and cuffs that are now relegated to daytime formal wear. The repp tie is bright scarlet, a colour that complements Roger Moore’s complexion very well. Bond’s shoes are black slip-ons. Though he doesn’t wear it, Bond places a light brown trilby on the hat rack when he enters the office.

22 thoughts on “Charcoal Flannel Again

  1. This suit again shows what a master of his craft Doug Hayward was and illustrates how an actor with an innate sense of elegance like Roger Moore makes them look so good.

    The suits Moore wore in his last three 1980’s movies have never (in my opinion) been surpassed. This outfit, with the 3 button suit jacket, color and styling complements the very first Hayward suit Moore wears in the opening scenes of For Your Eyes Only (which you already covered) even down to the shirt choice though, with the greatest respect Matt, I think the Bengal stripes here are a shade of red rather than brown, which the tie is intended to match.

    I look forward to your post for the “office” suit from Octopussy. Another example of perfect tailoring.

    • I thought the same about the shirt stripes initially, but when I look at the shirt close up there is no red. Perhaps they are dark burgundy.

  2. Something just occurred to me as I rethought my previous comment– isn’t this supposed to take place in late June, seeing as in the next scene Bond attends Royal Ascot? Surely even in London flannel may be a bit too warm, but maybe this is just a personal comfort preference. I still really like this suit though, not trying to nit-pick. Just an observation.

    • Yes, this is supposed to be June, though I’m writing about it now since I find this suit more relevant to the current season. A mid to lightweight serge would be more practical in June.

  3. I must agree with David – Haywood’s suits are beautifully, timelessly cut. I too look forward to the “office (and auction) suit” from Octopussy.

  4. “The suits Moore wore in his last three 1980’s movies have never (in my opinion) been surpassed. ” m I fully agree – it never ceases to amaze me that in any blog devoted to 007′s fashions, one invariably reads about “Moore’s unfortunate choices” and “1970′s safari suits”. Hayward’s suits are sheer perfection – I doubt anybody could replicate them today!

  5. The suit reminds me of a very similar outfit in the Persuaders, by Castle then. The differing details would be the button stance, shirt cuffs and vents, but the Bengal burgundy stripes, contrasting collar tie and grey flannel all check. “well, as long as the cuffs and collar match” as the other fella’ would say…

  6. Dan, my theory is that a section of Bond fans simply never took to Roger Moore and his portrayal of Bond (despite his having made the greatest number of movies in the role) and these type of baseless jibes are tied into this.

    The subject of like and dislike is, of course, subjective but facts aren’t. For the purpose of this blog’s remit, Roger Moore could, arguably, have been the most elegant of all the Bonds.

  7. “The suits Moore wore in his last three 1980’s movies have never (in my opinion) been surpassed. ”

    Let’s not forget Moonraker in ’79. That tweed suit with the elbow patches, and the elephant grey silk suit are some of my absolute favourites.

  8. I love those suits as well; my only reservation with the outfits in Moonraker might be with the DB blazer with notch lapels (they should be peaked) in the teaser sequence at the beginning, when Bond is thrown out of the plane.

  9. While I love the 1962-1964 suits of Connery and Sinclair, I do think that the Hayward suits of 1981-1985 are the most timeless of the series. And I do think that no one’s fit better than Moore’s suits of 1979-1985 (there were some issues with the blazers of 1979 and 1981).

    David & Dan, I too find the insults hurled at Roger Moore’s portrayal to be tiresome and polemical, and often just inaccurate. And his (alleged) “unfortunate choices” were quite conservative for the time and generally in keeping with the character.

    • You don’t like Sinclair’s suits in Thunderball and You Only Live Twice? And all of Moore’s suits fit well, even though the Angelo suits of 1977-79 are the most dated. I prefer the suits that Cryil Castle made for Moore in his first two Bond films, and those really aren’t all that dated either. Moore’s 3-button suits by Hayward are the most timeless, as the low button stance is more noticeable as it is on the 2-button suits.

    • Matt,

      I have nothing against the suits in 1965 and 1966. But off-hand, I think the suits looked better in the first three because I think there were more of them. I don’t recall Thunderball being much of a suit movie and Connery’s weight and general physical deterioration distracts from otherwise nice suits in You Only Live Twice. And I agree that Castle’s suits in 1973 and 1974 were very nice (though I think some are much more classic than others). Outside of the dinner suit in The Spy Who Love Me, I wasn’t that impressed with the suits in that movie (though the film itself is one of my favorites), but I am sure they fit well. Whether it was Roger or someone else, someone made sure they always fit well.

    • Christian,

      I agree that YOLT isn’t much of a “suit movie”, in part due to Connery’s weight gain, but some of the outfits in Thunderball aren’t bad. I liked the lightweight suit in the famous “she’s just dead” scene, and, as a tweedy professor, I especially liked the brown hacking jacket in the Shrublands scene.

    • Dan,

      I want to make clear – I don’t think that the suits in Thunderball are bad at all. They look quite good. There are just more memorable suits in Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, and Dr. No. And the hacking jacket, which I too like, is first from Goldfinger. And in You Only Live Twice, I look forward to Matt covering the “Mr. Fisher suit”. But Connery just looked better, and the suits fits better, in the first four movies, and Thunderball just doesn’t have a lot of suits. The ones that are there look terrific as always, though the suits in Goldfinger and From Russia With Love seem a bit more polished and better-fitted.

  10. I agree Matt. I watched The Man With The Golden Gun last weekend, and I think that Moore’s suits in that film look great, especially the single-breasteds. The one detail that really jumps out and dates them are the trouser flairs, but apart from that I think they look good and the fit is excellent. My favorite suit in that film is the charcoal one you covered some months ago.

    How about taking a look at the grey one he wears in Andrea Anders’ hotel room, or the double-breasted he has on outside the Bottoms Up?

    • Kyle,

      I have always thought that TMWTGG had the best outfits of the entire series; I loved the DB blazers, the blue-gray suit you mentioned in your post, and I especially loved the much-maligned red and grey plaid Moore wears on Scaramanga’s island. It’s the sort of outfit one has to wear with panache, and Moore had that in spades!

    • The Marine Blue Suit and the Charcoal Suit from Scaramanga’s Island are terrific.

  11. It’s interesting to read my fellow contributor’s likes and dislikes in order to guage a trend, which is apparent to me now.

    What I can see seems to be that classically cut dark suits and maybe shades of grey or cream seem to have a universal acceptance regardless of which actor wears them and regardless of 2 or 3 piece. It’s when one get’s away from these “safe havens” that things begin to get governed more by personal biases or changes in sartorial norms over the years. For example, when items like certain colour and fabric sports coats, suits in brown hues, blazers, denim and, dare I broach the topic, safari influenced clothing, that divergent views emerge.

    By way of example, the only suit (disregarding the dinner suit and naval clothing) Bond wears in The Spy Who Loved Me, appears to me to be a light brown dupioni silk made by the same tailor that produced the Elephant Grey colour silk suit from Moonraker which has almost universal admiral from contributors. I agree. It’s beautiful. However, I personally find nothing wrong with the brown one but I await with interest the opinions of the other contributors when you do cover this suit.

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