Danger Man: A Fine Glen Plaid Suit

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The 1960′s spy television show Danger Man has a lot in common with the Bond films. Danger Man was produced by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment, which also produced Roger Moore’s series The Saint and The Persuaders. Many of the guest stars in Danger Man have also appeared in the Bond films, including Anthony Dawson, Eunice Gayson, Walter Gotell, Charles Grey, Geoffrey Keen, Burt Kwouk, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Zena Marshall, Lois Maxwell, George Pastell, Donald Pleasence, Shane Rimmer, Robert Shaw and Paul Stassino. But the common ground between the Bond films and Danger Man continues. Patrick McGoohan, the star of Danger Man, had the same tailor as Sean Connery did, Anthony Sinclair. I think this plaid suit could be one of the suits Anthony Sinclair made for McGoohan, but it has more drape than Connery’s suits do.

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McGoohan’s suits have a similar cut to Sean Connery’s suits, with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a draped chest and a gently suppressed waist. Since the show began in 1960 the lapels are a little wider than on Connery’s suits, but the shape of the lapels is similar to the shape of the lapels on the Dr. No suits. This glen plaid suit, seen in the two images about in its first appearance from the fifth episode title “The Lovers”, has a button two jacket with flap pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. The fine plaid is similar to plaid in Goldfinger, but this one has an overcheck that I would guess is light blue. If the plaid suit is the same one I’ve seen in colour publicity stills, the plaid is the traditional black and white.

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In subsequent appearances, McGoohan occasionally wears this suit with a matching waistcoat. This can be seen in the images above and below, taken from the episode “The Sisters”. “The Sisters” briefly features Anthony Dawson, who went on to play Professor Dent in Dr. No. The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button, and when McGoohan wears the waistcoat he leaves the suit jacket unbuttoned. The suit trousers have double forward pleats and turn-ups, just like Connery’s suit trousers have.

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In both appearances featured here, McGoohan wears the suit with a dark satin tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot, and a white shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs. The shoes are light brown two-eyelet, split-toe derbies. The character John Drake is supposed to be American in the first series, which would explain such light-coloured shoes with a suit. They at least look very nice with the suit on black-and-white film. Connery’s black shoes were typical for an Englishman.

All Blue

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No, I’m not talking about the Miles Davis tune “All Blues.” Usually when Sean Connery wears a blue suit in the Bond films, everything else he wears is blue. Well, everything but the black shoes and white pocket handkerchief. The first time we see the monochrome blue outfit is in M’s office in From Russia With Love (above). He wears a solid navy suit with a matching solid navy tie and light blue shirt. A light blue shirt is very important since it provides contrast from all the dark blue in the suit and tie. Though both the suit and tie are navy, the tie is a little lighter than the suit. To some, this mismatch is not desirable, and it’s practically unavoidable when pairing two items that are very close in colour. Those people would say to avoid wearing things close in colour to avoid the mismatch. But it’s an integral part of the classic Bond look.

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Once again in You Only Live Twice (above) we see the same all blue outfit. This time the suit and tie are reversed: the suit is light navy and the tie is dark navy tie. Do you think it’s better for the tie to be slightly lighter or slightly darker than the suit? Ideally, it’s best to get them as close as possible, in not only the value (lightness or darkness of a colour) but also the hue (gradation of colour). A warm blue tie will not go well with a cool blue suit, even if they are similar in value. Connery brings back the all-blue look in Diamonds Are Forever (below), this time with blue pinstripes added. This time is Connery’s closest suit and tie match, and the tie is only a little lighter. I also can’t leave out the navy grenadine ties that Connery wears with his navy blazers—to which he always gets a close match with the tie—but with grey trousers there’s no longer a monochrome look.

Navy-Blue-Pinstripe-SuitRoger Moore starts out as Bond in Live and Let Die (below) wearing a blue suit, blue overcoat, blue shirt and blue tie (below). But does this outfit qualify as monochrome? Even though the tie is primarily navy, the red stripes technically disqualify this outfit from the all blue category, but for the purposes of pairing a blue tie with a blue suit, it’s all blue. The tie is the darkest navy of the outfit, followed by the overcoat and then the suit. They are all very similar.

Navy-ChesterfieldWe don’t see Bond wearing a blue monochrome outfit again until Daniel Craig becomes Bond. I’m not going to count the navy linen suit and light blue shirt worn in the black and white pre-title sequence, since the scene is black and white, and a large brown belt breaks up the blue. But the first suit in Quantum of Solace (below) is very similar to Connery’s pinstripe suit in Diamonds Are Forever. The suit is navy with light blue stripes, the shirt is pale blue and the tie is a pattern of mid blue and black squares. The blue and black of the tie combine to make it look navy overall. The tie does not to completely disqualify the outfit from being all blue, but it doesn’t have the 100% monochrome look of Connery’s classic outfits either. The patterned tie is much easier to pair with the suit than a solid navy tie is.

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The navy-on-navy look is something Bond has inspired many to copy, but it’s not easy to get right. And whether Bond gets it right or not is up to you. If you attempt this look, it helps to have multiple solid navy ties in your collection and good lighting to figure out which one works best with the outfit.

George Lazenby in Anthony Sinclair

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The most well-known photos of George Lazenby as Bond come from a shoot of him leaning against a lamppost in front of the clock tower—now called the Elizabeth Tower—at the Palace of Westminster. This photo shoot took place at Lazenby’s casting, and he’s wearing what’s supposedly an Anthony Sinclair suit. Lazenby claimed to have gone to Sean Connery’s tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to look more like Connery for a better at the role. If the story is true than this is the Anthony Sinclair suit.

This suit has the same natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads as Sinclair’s suits. It has a full chest and gently suppressed waist, which also resembles Sinclair’s cut. Like the suits Connery wears as Bond, this suit has two buttons on the front and four buttons on the cuffs. The pockets are slanted with flaps. The suit trousers have a tapered leg and plain bottoms. The cloth is a large, but faint, plaid. The suit isn’t as rakish as Lazenby’s suits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are, but it certainly makes Lazenby look the part of Bond. The only problem with the suit is that the collar doesn’t hug the neck as it should, but that’s most likely due to the poses causing the suit to not sit evenly across the shoulders.

The shirt has a small spread collar with no tie space, and it definitely doesn’t resemble a shirt from Frank Foster, who made Lazenby’s shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Serivce. The double cuffs have the link holes close to the fold, a characteristic of English double cuffs. In the traditional Bond manner, Lazenby wears a dark knitted tie. His shoes are an elegant style of low-vamp slip-on, with the inner quarter extending as strap over the vamp like a monk shoe would.

Two Bathrobes

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In For Your Eyes Only, Bond wears two bathrobes aboard the research vessel Triana. After being painfully pulled through the water in his t-shirt and cotton trousers, Bond dons the most comfortable thing he can: a terrycloth bathrobe. Bond has worn terrycloth bathrobes starting in Dr. No, but they are likely never his own. This one his most likely found in a closet on the ship. The prussian blue terrycloth has a pile of very long, absorbent loops that dry him and keep him warm. It’s not luxurious but it serves its purpose. The robe has raglan sleeves and a shawl collar, and there are three stripes of the cloth missing the pile around the collar. Though we don’t see much of this bathrobe, it most certainly has a belt around the waist, and it probably has patch pockets under the belt.

White-Velour-BathrobeThe second robe is a more lavish white velour, the kind you might find in the closet at a luxury hotel. Velour is knitted and has a fine cut pile, which is very soft but not so absorbent. Some are lined in terrycloth to be a more absorbent bathrobe, but if not it’s great for lounging around. Like a more classic dressing gown it has a shawl collar, a belted waist, a patch breast pocket, two patch pockets below the belt and set-in sleeves with turnback cuffs. Like the blue bathrobe, this robe is most likely not Bond’s own and probably belonged to Sir Timothy Havelock, the owner of the Triana.

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Get Smart: Smartly Dressed

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Though I’m an American, I haven’t shown much American inspiration here. When I was a young child, there was a spy I preferred to watch over James Bond: Maxwell Smart in the American television show Get Smart. Get Smart spoofed James Bond on countless occasions—and featured a Sunbeam similar to the one Sean Connery did in Dr. No—but it spoofed many other things other than Bond, and even went beyond the spy genre. Maxwell Smart, played by Don Adams, was not a very smart spy, but he was always smartly dressed. Smart was voted one of the “Ten Best-Dressed Spies.”

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In the ninth episode, “Satan Place,” Adams wears a grey pick-and-pick three-piece suit with a button-one jacket and a double-breasted waistcoat. The jacket has straight shoulders, a clean chest and a shorter length. The shorter length helps to lengthen Don Adam’s legs and make him look a little taller—he was 5’9″. The jacket’s single button cuffs match the single button on the front, which both were popular in the 1960s. The jacket has short double vents, which were also very popular in the 1960s. The pockets are slanted, and the breast pocket is flapped. Though the lapels are narrow, the width isn’t exaggerated and would fit in well with today’s trends.

The double-breasted waistcoat has six buttons with three to button, notch lapels, two welt pockets and a straight bottom. The trousers have a darted front, slanted side pockets and a tapered leg. They have turn-ups and no break, which was the standard in America at the time. Though the jacket’s shorter length is a trend that has returned today—and returned in a more exaggerated way—the trousers are unlike modern trousers and have a traditional cut. They sit at the waist, which is especially important in a three-piece suit because the waistcoat needs to reach the top of the trousers without a gap. Fashionable three-piece suits today lengthen the waistcoat so it reaches the trousers, but that throws off the proportions of the body.

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Notice the cocktail cuffs

Besides the beautiful suit, this ecru shirt is another reason I chose to include this outfit.  This episode is one of only a few where Don Adams wears a shirt with cocktail cuffs. Adams usually wears double cuffs. A number of actors on 1960s American television wore cocktail cuffs, including Martin Landau and Dick Van Dyke, and the latter wore them consistently for a few years. The shirt also has a plain front and a tall, moderate spread collar with 2-buttons to help shorten Don Adam’s long neck. The tie is red with a small pattern or texture that I can’t make out. Adam’s shoes are slightly taller slip ons with a plain toe and tall heel. Maxwell Smart needs a slip-on shoe that is easy to take off when he needs to use his shoe phone. Since shorter trousers were trendy at the time, taller shoes were also popular so less sock is shown. These shoes aren’t boots, but the little bit of extra height around the ankle helps keep the socks hidden.

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See the 2-button collar

The costume design in the credits is as follows: “Maxwell Smart’s Special Wardrobe Design by…RON POSTAL”. Postal is also credited as a “Mr. McQueen’s Wardrobe Consultant” in the Thomas Crown Affair. Later in Get Smart, Botany 500 is credited for the wardrobe.

The Persuaders: The Cardigan-Blazer

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One of the most unique pieces of clothing that Roger Moore wears in The Persuaders is a cardigan that’s styled like a blazer. There are a number of different blazers in The Persuaders, and I’ve already written about the striped blazer. Though this piece is worn in seven episodes of the series, the example here is from the episode “Element of Risk”. Sometimes he wears it with a white polo neck, and other times he wears it with an open-neck shirt and day cravat. But here he dresses it up with a tie. Though it has elements of a blazer, it’s no more formal than the typical cardigan. The navy cardigan is a six-button double-breasted with two to button. It has a collar and notch lapels, short side vents, open patch pockets and three buttons on the cuffs. The buttons are brass, which is what gives this cardigan the blazer look. The length of the cardigan is longer than most cardigans, but it’s shorter than the length of a blazer, though similar to what’s popular today for a jacket.

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The mid-grey trousers are made at Cyril Castle by his trouser-maker at the time, Richard Paine. The trousers have a straight leg, plain bottoms, front darts and jetted pockets angled across the front. The lilac shirt is the usual style in the series, with a large, moderate spread collar, 1-button, button-down cocktail cuffs and a plain front. The purple tie has a double-rib weave. He also wears tall brown zip boots.

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Also with this outfit, Moore wears a cream-coloured cotton trench coat. Although it is a lighter colour than the traditional tan, it still is longer than knee-length with five rows of buttons to the collar. However, it is missing many of the traditional details, like the shoulder straps, the storm flap and the belt. Instead of a belt, the coat is fitted through the body.

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Darted Trousers

Darts on the front of Roger Moore's trousers, in-line with the crease

Darts on the front of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun, in-line with the crease. Click the image for a closer look.

The one style of trousers that people never talk about is the darted front. We always hear about pleats versus no pleats, but darts are left out. A dart is essentially a pleat that is sewn shut, but it’s not very noticeable. All trousers have darts in the rear, one or two on each side over the pocket—or over where the pocket would be if there is none. For medium to high rise trousers, a dart in the front is better than a plain front so the trousers can better curve over the hips. Only high-end ready-to-wear brands and bespoke tailors seem to appreciate the effectiveness of darts in the front of trousers

Darts on the front side of Daniel Craig's Brioni trousers

Darts on the front side of Daniel Craig’s Brioni trousers in Casino Royale. Click the image for a closer look.

Trouser darts in front are not as deep as trouser pleats are, and there is only one on each side instead of two. Though darts don’t provide extra cloth for the trousers to expand when sitting like pleats do, they help curve the trousers over the hips. They also can help the problem of side pockets that flare out on flat front trousers. Some tailors place the dart where the main pleat would be on pleated trousers, and some place it less noticeably off to the side. I cannot say in which place the dart is more effective. Can you still call trousers with a dart in front “flat front”? Maybe. With a dart the front is no longer flat, it is curved.

Darts on the front side of Pierce Brosnan's trousers in Die Another Day. Click the image for a closer look.

Darts on the front side of Pierce Brosnan’s trousers in Die Another Day. Click the image for a closer look.

I have most certainly labelled some darted trousers as flat front because it’s difficult to see darts on screen. Now that I have the series on Blu-ray, I can better see those kinds of details. but not in every example. It appears that Lazenby’s dinner suit trousers have darts, but those are the only suit trousers we see without a jacket. All of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle—the tailor who made Roger Moore’s suits in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun—trousers have darts, which are in-line with the trouser crease. Castle gives Moore’s trousers very long front darts, which most likely help the fit at the expense of a clean look. Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Brioni trousers that don’t have pleats have darts, and Brioni places them closer to the side pocket. Anthony Sinclair made his darts the same way for Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever.

Darts on the front side of Sean Connery's Anthony Sinclair trousers in Diamonds Are Forever. They are easier seen when wet. Click the image for a close look.

Darts on the front side of Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair trousers in Diamonds Are Forever. The darts are easier seen when wet. Click the image for a closer look.

Pleated Trousers

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Sean Connery wearing trousers with double forward pleats

Though pleated trousers may not be currently fashionable, every James Bond except Roger Moore has worn them. There are essentially two different kinds of the pleats, forward pleats and reverse pleats. Forward pleats fold in and reverse pleats fold out. Reverse pleats are the type of pleats that were most popular from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Forward pleats are associated with English style whilst reverse pleats are associated with Italian style. In America the popularity of each style was more evenly split in the 1930s-1950s, and again in the 1980s when pleats became popular again. By the 2000s, most makers switched to reverse pleats with only a handful left making the traditional forward pleats.

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Sean Connery wearing trousers with double forward pleats

Forward pleats are sometimes called “inverse pleats” or “tuc pleats” (at Paul Stuart), and I recently heard someone call them “straight pleats.” They are even sometimes called “regular pleats” even though they haven’t been the regular pleat style for some time now. Because they are the opposite of what became the standard pleat style, some people incorrectly call them reverse pleats. On forward-pleated trousers, the pattern for the trousers is extended from the crotch and inside of the leg twice the depth of the pleat, usually down to the knee. The added fullness is neatly kept to the inside of the leg. When there is a second pleat, the extra cloth is taken from the outer edge on the hips. Sean Connery wears double-forward-pleated trousers with all of his suits in the 1960s, during a time when pleats were becoming increasingly less popular. But Connery isn’t the only Bond to have worn forward pleats. George Lazenby’s tweed suit trousers have forward pleats, and some of Timothy Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights have forward pleats.

Daniel Craig wearing trousers double reverse pleats Pierce Brosnan wearing trousers double reverse pleats

Daniel Craig wearing trousers with double reverse pleats

Reverse pleats are the standard pleats today, or at least they were a few years ago before pleats completely went out of fashion. Reverse pleats first appear on Bond in The Living Daylights. Pierce Brosnan’s suit trousers in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies all have reverse pleats, and the herringbone linen suit trousers in The World is Not Enough have them too. Daniel Craig’s dinner suit trousers in Casino Royale have double reverse pleats, which are the last pleated trousers that Bond wears. The extra cloth for reverse pleats is all taken from the outside of the leg. This gives the trousers a baggier look, which goes well with full-cut jackets. Though Bond’s pleats typically come in pairs, Timothy Dalton wears trousers with triple reverse pleats in Licence to Kill, and Pierce Brosnan wears trousers with triple reverse pleats with his blazer in GoldenEye. Whilst the second pleat on double-pleated trousers helps to keep the main pleat closed, a third pleat on the side only adds extra fullness. That fullness was very popular from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, but in Dalton’s case it serves no practical purpose. When full-cut trousers were popular during that time, not only were triple-pleated trousers popular but other pleat styles were too. Some trousers had box pleats and inverted box pleats, usually with an additional reverse pleat towards the side.

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Timothy Dalton wearing trousers with double reverse pleats

The purpose of pleats is a practical one, both to allow the trousers to expand when seated and to better fit the curves of the hips. The second purpose doesn’t apply to the currently fashionable trousers that sit low on the hips. Forward pleats usually look trimmer than reverse pleats, though reverse pleats are easier to fit ready-to-wear. When forward pleats pull open, the crease no long hangs straight down. When reverse pleats pull open, the front crease is still straight down. Poorly-fitted trousers with reverse pleats thus look better than poorly-fitted trousers with forward pleats. But in my experience, well-fitting trousers with forward pleats are the most flattering. Forward pleats are more slimming because they draw the eye inward instead of outward.

Pierce wearing trousers double reverse pleats

Pierce Brosnan wearing trousers with double reverse pleats

Though trousers pleats are currently out of fashion, there’s no denying the advantages. The common aversion to pleats today is that people associate them with baggy trousers. But when well-fitted, trousers can be trim whilst at the same time having the practical advantage of pleats.