On his arrival in Cuba in GoldenEye, Bond wears a linen or linen blend twill suit made by Brioni. The twill suiting is two-tone, woven with light brown and white yarns to effectively look tan overall. The twill weave helps the linen to wrinkle less than it would in plain weaves, though it’s not going to breathe as well. But since it’s linen it still wears cool. The button three suit jacket is full cut with straight shoulders. It has swelled edges, button three cuffs and straight pockets with flaps. The trousers have a wide leg with double or triple reverse pleats, and the bottoms are finished with turn-ups. Bond wears the suit trousers without the jacket on the beach and rolls up the bottoms.
Bond’s white shirt from Sulka is most likely linen or a blend of linen and cotton. This shirt has a moderate spread collar, front placket, shoulder pleats and double cuffs. Double cuffs are a little out of place with this rather casual suit, but Bond isn’t committing a faux pas either by wearing them. Double cuffs would look more congruous if Bond were wearing a tie, however, this suit is casual enough that it can work well the way Bond wears it without a tie. Bond’s shoes are medium brown brogues, which look rather heavy for such a light suit. On the other hand, the Persol sunglasses are the perfect accessory for a linen suit in Cuba.
Whilst the more conservative English ties are made in woven patterns like basket weaves, repp stripes and traditional checks, as well as simply and complex dobby and jacquard patterns, ties made of printed silk are another traditional style. Printed ties are more popular amongst the French and Italian makers, and prints make any type of pattern possible. Woven patterns and motifs can still be very complex, as Turnbull & Asser proves, and the patterns tend to be more vivid. But printing is easier and anything can be printed on silk, from pin-dot patterns to pieces of art. Printed patterns are mostly done on repp- and satin-weave silk.
Roger Moore wears a grey tie with a red printed motif in Live and Let Die and a navy tie with a discreet printed pattern (above) in Moonraker. One or both of the striped ties in Moonraker may also be printed.
A tweed golfing jacket that belong to Ian Fleming was auctioned at Bonhams on New Bond Street on 23 November 2010 and sold for £1,080. This jacket was made by Fleming’s tailor Benson, Perry & Whitley in 1963, only a year before Fleming died. This jacket is most reminiscent of the literary James Bond’s “battered black and white dogtooth suit” that Fleming first mentions in Moonraker, and he subsequently mentions it as the suit that Bond wears for golf in Diamonds Are Forever. This jacket is in a shepherd’s check that is more than twice the size of a houndstooth check. It could have been part of a suit like Bond’s dogtooth suit, but the large scale probably means that this was made only as an odd jacket. Also like Bond’s dogtooth suit, this jacket is a “yellowing” black and white. However, this jacket also has a teal overcheck.
The style of the jacket is the closest to what we can guess Bond’s suit jackets were like. It is a button two with narrow lapels and flapped pockets. Though we can see the cut from the pictures of it laying flat, it is probably cut like Fleming’s other jackets with natural shoulders and a little drape. To match the sporty tweed look, the buttons are black leather. Like on some of the film Bond’s dinner jackets, this jacket has turnback “gauntlet” cuffs as well, with two buttons. Gauntlet cuffs have little bearing on formality, so they are just as appropriate on a sports coat or an overcoat as they are on a dinner jacket. They are, however, too fussy for tailcoats.
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The always well-tailored Emilio Largo, played by Adolfo Celi, is introduced in Thunderball wearing a charcoal three-piece suit. The suit is probably made of worsted flannel since it has a fuzzy nap but doesn’t look as heavy as the typical flannel. The button three jacket is tailored with very strong, straight shoulders and a clean chest. The narrow lapels gently roll over the top button. The jacket also has jetted pockets, three-button cuffs and no vent. The overall cut as well as the stylistic details are all very characteristic of a continental suit. Since the jacket has little fullness in the chest or flare at the shirt, it doesn’t look like an English suit. And neither the Italian character Largo nor the Italian actor Adolfo Celi would have likely used an English tailor. An Italian tailor would most likely have made this suit.
Little is seen of the waistcoat and trousers. Since the top button of the waistcoat isn’t particularly high, I would guess that the waistcoat has five buttons. The trousers have a tapered leg with turn-ups. They are probably pleated, and I would guess they have reverse pleats since the suit is likely of Italian origin. The Italian tailors almost always make their trousers with reverse pleats.
Largo’s cream shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. He uses a four-in-hand knot to tie his black tie with white polka dots. His socks and shoes are black.
Over the suit Largo wears a three-quarter-length camelhair coat. The button three coat has notched lapels, swelled edges, turnback cuffs and a single vent. He wears the coat draped over his shoulders as if it were a cape, and I wouldn’t recommend wearing a coat in such a manner since that seems like something only a flamboyant villain would do. He also wears his charcoal trilby like a dandy: tilted and with the brim turned up all the way around. The hat’s crown has a centre dent and a front pinch, and the roughly 2 1/4″ brim has a sewn overwelt. His cream leather gloves take his outerwear yet another step further into flamboyance.
There’s more to well-fitting jacket sleeves than the right length. Jacket sleeve width is an oft-forgotten aspect of fit, and a well-fitting sleeve subtly makes a jacket much more flattering. Compare Sean Connery’s James Bond to Jack Lord’s Felix Leiter. Whose sleeves look better? Connery’s sleeves neatly taper whilst Lord’s sleeves are very full from shoulder to cuff. Sleeves should taper to the cuff, and altering sleeve width can be a risky endeavour. The sleeve opening should be large enough to fit a double cuff with enough room for it to slide through easily. A sleeve that’s too tight is restricting and will crease readily. The sleeve’s width should also be in balance with other parts of the suit. A very tapered sleeve looks out of place on a suit with a full-cut jacket and wide trouser legs, but that doesn’t mean the sleeve should be as wide as the trousers legs are either. Connery’s sleeves mimic the taper of his trouser legs whilst Lord’s wide sleeves don’t mesh well with the rest of his outfit.
Daniel Craig appropriately shows roughly 1/2″ of shirt cuff in Skyfall, though his jacket sleeves taper too much. The sleeves should drape more smoothly with the arms relaxed like this.
Sleeve length is the easiest part of the sleeve to alter—as long as buttonholes haven’t been cut—so there’s no excuse for sleeves that are too long. The jacket sleeves should end roughly at the wrist bone so they show 1/4- to 1/2-inch of shirt cuff when the arms are relaxed, and this applies to button cuffs and double cuffs. Showing shirt cuff is ultimately a personal preference, but it’s something James Bond does more often than not. Visually, it balances the shirt collar showing in above the back of the jacket collar. Practically, it protects the edges of the jacket sleeves and prevents fraying. Shirt cuffs and shirts are much cheaper to replace than an entire suit because of frayed jacket cuff edges.
A perfect sleeve
Another thing related to the sleeve that people often mention is the armhole and that it should be high. A high armhole means that the armhole is short in height and the bottom of the armhole is high into the armpit. The armhole should be felt in the armpit, but it shouldn’t dig into the armpit. A higher armhole gives the arms more vertical motion, so even though it might feel tighter it is actually less constricting. The width of the armhole is also important, since an armhole that is too narrow will constrict movement and cause the upper sleeve to bind. The armhole cannot be altered, and most ready-to-wear suits have rather large armholes that can fit people of different shapes. Unfortunately that leaves the majority of men with an armhole that is often far too large.
Sean Connery wears a casual outfit for a brief boat outing in Woman of Straw. On top he wears a black and brown horizontal-striped crew-neck jumper, probably made of cashmere. The jumper has black ribbed collar, cuffs and hem. The tan gabardine trousers have single reverse pleats. Connery was rarely seen wearing trousers with reverse pleats in the 1960s—he mostly wore forward pleats. Whilst they aren’t particularly slimming, they fit his large thighs very well.
Who is wearing the trendier suit in Goldfinger, James Bond or Q? Except for narrow lapels and covered buttons, Bond’s blue suit is classic in every way. Q’s (Desmond Llewelyn) solid brown tweed suit, however, has many features that date it to the 1960s. Like Bond’s suit jacket, Q’s suit jacket has narrow lapels, but it also has narrow pocket flaps that are placed rather low. The short double vents are another 1960s detail. But perhaps the most outdated part of the suit is the way the quarters are cut. The front of the jacket cuts away below the waist as it ordinarily would, but the curve of the front edge into the hem has a very small radius that’s almost—but not quite—a sharp corner.
The suit’s overall silhouette, however, is a classic button two jacket with natural shoulders and just a little drape in the chest. The jacket also has swelled edges and 2-button cuffs. The trousers likely have single or double forward pleats, which were the common suit trouser styles in England at the time. They are finished with turn-ups. Q’s suits almost always have fit problems, and on this suit the collar stands away from the neck and the sleeves are too long. This is because actor Desmond Llewelyn has round shoulders and needs his jackets to be cut longer in back to be balanced. He’s not an easy man to fit.
Q’s cream shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. His tie is black with narrow burgundy stripes and a narrower white pencil stripes below each burgundy stripe. If it is a regimental tie, can anyone identify it? His shoes are brown, which match the overall town-and-country look of the outfit.
Daniel Craig’s flat front suit trousers in Quantum of Solace have turn-ups
Permanent turn-ups—known as cuffs to the Americans—have come and gone through fashion over the years. The standard advice given on whether or not to hem trousers with turn-ups is to put them on pleated trousers and not on flat-front trousers. This is just a guideline some people follow and by no means is it a rule. The English aren’t nearly as fond of turn-ups as the Americans are. The traditional American trousers have a flat front with turn-ups whilst the classic British trousers have forward pleats and a plain hem. The only rule is that turn-ups should not be worn on formalwear. Turn-ups have the benefit of weighing down the bottom of the trousers, which is especially useful at keeping lightweight trousers looking neat. Some people think that turn-ups aren’t flattering on the height-challenged. But by weighing down the bottoms, turn-ups keep the crease straight, and reinforcing that straight line is beneficial to the shorter man. Today’s lighter and narrower trousers truly benefit from the added weight of turn-ups. Shorter men should opt for shorter turn-ups around 1 1/2 inches deep whilst taller men can wear turn-ups up to 2 inches deep.
Sean Connery’s Bond typically wears his pleated trousers with deep turn-ups—almost 2 inches—and his non-pleated without turn-ups. The exception to this is in Goldfinger where his pleated suit trousers are all without turn-ups. George Lazenby’s Bond only wears turn-ups on his tweed suit, which is also his only suit with pleated trousers. Roger Moore’s and Timothy Dalton’s Bonds never wear turn-ups. Since 1995 when Pierce Brosnan took over the role, James Bond’s pleated and non-pleated trousers almost consistently have turn-ups. Daniel Craig has continued to wear turn-ups on all suit trousers except the navy linen suit in Casino Royale‘s black-and-white pre-title sequence.