The Saint: Dressing Down the Navy Blazer

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Compared to most sports coats, which are at home in the country, the navy blazer is better suited at seaside and resort towns. However, the single-breasted navy blazer is one of the most versatile sports coats, and due to its solid navy colour it can just as effectively be dressed up in the city as it can be dressed down at a resort. Roger Moore playing Simon Templar shows a great example of the latter when he wears his blazer in the 1965 episode of The Saint titled “The Spanish Cow”.

Casual-Navy-Blazer-2In the first through fourth series of The Saint from 1962 to 1965, Moore often wears a button three, lightweight wool navy blazer with straight flapped pockets, a ticket pocket, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. Tailor Cyril Castle made no less than two examples of such a blazer made since it got more wear than any other item of clothing in the show. The blazer in “The Spanish Cow” isn’t much different than the blazer that Moore wears in the first episode of The Saint three years earlier in 1962, except the shoulders are softer and the lapels are just a little narrower. The fashionably narrow lapels, however, look disproportionately narrow and are somewhat unflattering on Moore.

Casual-Navy-Blazer-3So how does Moore dress down his navy blazer? Underneath the blazer he wears a light-coloured camp shirt with a straight, untucked hem. The shirt has a one-piece camp collar that stands up nicely inside the blazer’s collar, which is the key to successfully wearing any shirt other than a formal shirt under a jacket (unless you like to wear t-shirts under your jackets). And because the shirt has a camp collar and not a more formal collar, Moore doesn’t have to worry about people thinking he forgot his tie. In the 1960s, wearing a formal shirt without a tie wasn’t done. It wasn’t something that Simon Templar or James Bond ever did in the 60s, unless you count Sean Connery’s pink shirt in You Only Live Twice. Moore’s trousers are stone-coloured cotton and have either a flat front or darted front and a plain hem. He wears canvas slip-on shoes with white rubber soles, and he matches his white socks to the soles of his shoes. Essentially, Moore put his tailored blazer on top of a very casual outfit, and it works successfully. The blazer’s soft, natural shoulders help it to work better when worn casually.

Simon Templar mentions the name of his shirtmaker in a conversation with the “South of France” police chief Colonel Latignant—a recurring character played by Arnold Diamond—when Latignant comments on the shirts in Templar’s suitcase:

Templar: And how is the most efficient chief of police in the South of France?

Latignant: That depends.

Templar: Oh—on what?

Latignant: On your behaviour in the South of France.

Templar: My behaviour everywhere is impeccable.

Latignant: So is your taste in shirts. These are magnificent.

Templar: Sulka makes them for me in London.

Colonel Latignant (Arnold Diamond) holding one of Moore's Sulka shirts

Colonel Latignant (Arnold Diamond) holding one of Simon Templar’s Sulka shirts

Comparison: The Button Three Double-Breasted Blazer

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Reader TheLordFlasheart made the excellent suggestion of comparing similar outfits worn by different James Bonds throughout the series, so I had to find two outfits that I think could be compared fairly. I’ve chosen to begin with comparing George Lazenby’s and Roger Moore’s button three double-breasted blazers. These are the only two Bonds who have worn this naval-uniform-like blazer, and they wore them only five years apart. Considering Bond’s background as a commander in the Royal Navy, this is a very appropriate style for the character. In the naval tradition, both blazers have metal buttons, and both have silver-toned buttons rather than the ordinary brass. Though both blazers are English-tailored, neither have straight, uniform-like shoulders. The shoulders have less padding than military uniforms do for a more natural and civilian look. Roped sleeveheads are typical of the military style, and whilst Moore’s blazer has a little roping, Lazenby’s blazer doesn’t have any. Both blazers, however, have a clean and fitted military-like cut through the body.

The two blazers have the appropriate detail of double vents, though both also have the then-trendy detail of slanted pockets. Slanted pockets are also known as “hacking pockets” because of their equestrian origins, and the blazer’s origins are quite far from that. That makes slanted pockets an unconventional choice for a blazer—especially a double-breasted blazer—but it was nevertheless a fashionable choice. Though unconventional and trendy, I rather like the rakish slanted pockets. Lazenby’s blazer adds a ticket pocket.

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Some aspects of fashion had changed significantly between On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 and The Man with the Golden Gun 1974. As far as the blazer is concerned, those differences are in length and lapel width. Though Lazenby’s single-breasted jackets have medium-width lapels, the double-breasted blazer has narrow peaked lapels similar to those on a Royal Navy uniform. Roger Moore’s blazer has wider lapels, but since it’s double-breasted the lapels don’t proportionately look too wide. Lieutenant Hip shows how ridiculously wide double-breasted lapels could be in 1974, with the points only about a quarter-inch from touching the armhole. Lazenby’s blazer is slightly shorter than Moore’s traditional-length blazer, which was a trend in the late 1960s. Moore’s blazer has a slightly narrower wrap than Lazenby’s blazer, which was the way Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle cut double-breasted jackets and didn’t reflect any particular trends. Lazenby’s blazer adds the sporty detail of swelled edges, whilst Moore’s has the unique link-button cuffs.

Trouser leg width changed more than anything else between 1969 and 1974. We don’t see much of the trousers that Moore wears with his blazer, but it’s assumed he wears trousers with a slightly flared leg. Lazenby’s trousers and very narrow and tapered, though they are still neatly tailored. Lazenby’s trousers are light grey and Moore’s trousers are charcoal and white, respectively.

Frank Foster made both Moore’s and Lazenby’s shirts. Moore wears his blazer with a blue and white mini-Bengal stripe shirt and a white shirt, whilst Lazenby wears his blazer with sky blue and pink shirts. Lazenby’s shirts have a narrower collar than Moore’s shirts have, and the collar choices were probably what Foster or the costume designer through looked best on the actors rather than what fashion trends dictated. Lazenby’s shirts have single-button cuffs whilst Moore’s shirts have cocktail cuffs. Lazenby’s ties are medium-width navy and red knitted ties, and Moore’s ties are wide slate blue satin and white and navy striped. The tie width, of course, matches the lapel width.

Though Lazenby’s look would certainly look more fashionable today than Moore’s would, I think both Lazenby and Moore wear their blazers very well. Both dress in good taste and neither commit any sartorial sins. Who do you think wore the button three double-breasted blazer better?

Happy Anniversary 007: The Corduroy Trench Coat and Navy Blazer

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Roger Moore takes a look back at twenty five years of James Bond films in Happy Anniversary 007, a compilation of Bond clips that aired in 1987 shortly before the release of The Living Daylights. At 59 years old, Moore looks a little better than he did two years earlier in A View to a Kill, probably due to the darker hair die. He appears throughout to talk about the situations Bond faced in his past fourteen films, but he’s playing himself as if he were Bond. Apart from the killing, there was little difference between Roger Moore and the Bond character he played. Moore’s personal wardrobe at the time included clothes he wore as Bond along with other clothes by the same makers. In Happy Anniversary 007, Roger Moore wears some clothes that he had previously worn as Bond, but most of the tailored clothes are likely from his own wardrobe. I can’t imagine the budget for this would have room for Douglas Hayward tailoring that is used so sparingly. Moore wears a total of eight different outfits in this film.

A close-up of the corduroy

A close-up of the corduroy

Roger Moore wears a very interesting trench coat made in light brown corduroy, but it has practically all of the traditional trench coat details. It’s a full-length coat that hits just below the knee, and it has the raglan sleeves found on an ordinary trench coat. Also like an ordinary trench coat this coat has ten buttons on the front, but the buttons are brown leather that go well with the corduroy. The coat has usual trench coat details like shoulder straps, a yoke across the upper back, a storm flap in front, and a self belt and wrist straps that close with a leather buckles. The pockets are angled with large welts. The coat has a gold satin lining over the shoulders and upper back with a plaid lining the rest of the way down.

Corduroy, especially in the wide wale that this is, was very popular in the 1980s. Narrower wales have been more popular in the past decade, though the wider wale corduroy wears warmer. This coat is neither designed for the rain nor for the extreme cold but for the cool days of autumn. Thus Moore’s beige leather gloves are probably unlined. Corduroy also makes this coat too informal for a suit, but Roger Moore wears a blazer underneath.

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Roger Moore’s dark navy blazer is tailored by Douglas Hayward in the same fashion he made all of Moore’s clothes for his three James Bond films in the 1980s. It’s a button two, and unlike what was popular at the time this blazer has natural shoulders and a higher gorge (the seams where the collar and lapels meet). After Bond Roger Moore stopped following fashions and stuck with a classic style. The blazer has three buttons of the cuffs, and all the buttons are white metal. His trousers are dark grey flannel wool. Moore’s white shirt is not made by his usual—or perhaps former at this time—shirtmaker Frank Foster. It has a small, narrow button-down collar. Apart from it being a poor example of a button-down collar—see Cec Linder’s Felix Leiter in Goldfinger for a proper button-down collar—it’s not flattering to Moore either. The shirt has 1-button cuffs. And Moore ties his crimson satin tie in a four-in-hand knot. If Roger Moore was still Bond for one more film, is this how he would be dressed?

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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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Emilio Largo: The Eight-Button Blazer

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In Thunderball, villain Emilio Largo played by Adolfo Celi wears a double-breasted navy blazer that has eight buttons with three to button. It’s a very rare style that recalls naval uniforms more than the standard double-breasted blazer does, and as a blazer it’s most famously associated with Prince Charles. Largo treats this blazer like a dressing gown and dons it without a shirt underneath when he gets out of the water after a dive. The only other things he wears with it are his black diving trousers and a burgundy silk day cravat. It’s not an ordinary way to wear a blazer, but aboard his own ship Largo can wear whatever he pleases. There is one scene, however, that shows him more dressed in his blazer, with a white button-cuff shirt and stone-coloured trousers, along with the day cravat.

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The blazer is most likely English-tailored and has an appropriate structured, military cut with its padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads and clean chest. It has double vents, jetted hip pockets and three-button cuffs. The shanked buttons are made of polished brass, without any ornamentation.

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Largo wearing the blazer with a shirt and trousers.

Columbo: Navy Blazer

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Fashion in the early 1980s rebelled against the excess of the 1970s style, and that excess would take only a few years to return to fashion. In the early 80s we see a number of well-dressed men in the Bond series, and Topol’s Columbo in For Your Eyes Only is one of them. The navy double-breasted blazer is made by tailor Robbie Stanford, who was two doors down from Anthony Sinclair at 27 Conduit St. The blazer has a typical English cut, with straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads. On the front there are four buttons with two to button, the traditional English arrangement minus the top two vestigial buttons. Those buttons are done away with here to make room for a patch breast pocket. The two hip pockets are also open patch pockets. The blazer has swelled edges, slightly narrow peak lapels, double vents and two-button cuffs. The buttons are brass with an anchor motif.

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Columbo’s cream shirt is likely made by Frank Foster. It has a spread collar and square-cut, 2-button cuffs, and the buttons are a contrasting smoked mother of pearl. The cream gaberdine trousers have a flat front and frogmouth pockets. He wears the trousers with a white belt. Columbo’s outfit is great for warm weather, especially by the water—or on the water where Columbo wears his.

The blazer was sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 12 December 2001 for £447.

Remington Steele: Navy Blazer

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from “Etched in Steele”

To make up for the poorly received white dinner jacket, here’s a classic navy blazer that Pierce Brosnan wears in the first season of Remington Steele. It’s still not a perfect outfit, but Brosnan wears this staple very well. It’s a button two jacket with narrow pagoda shoulders, a clean chest and a close fit through the body. The chest fits a little too tight, since it bows open easily. It has swelled edges, flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, four-button cuffs and deep double vents. The buttons are shinier and less yellow than the typical brass, so they are likely gold-plated. Here we will look at two of the six episodes in the first season that feature this blazer: “Steele Belted” and “Etched in Steele.”

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from “Etched in Steele”

In “Steele Belted” the trousers are light grey wool with a flat front, and the shirt is sky blue with yellow and dark stripes. In “Etched in Steele” the trousers are dark grey with double reverse pleats, and the shirt is pale blue. Both shirts are the same style. They have a short point collar worn with a collar bar, and rounded double cuffs worn unfolded with the cufflinks only in outer holes. This would signify that his shirts were bought ready to wear and they could not obtain shirts with a long enough sleeve for his collar size. Later in the first season Brosnan starts wearing different shirts where he could wear the double cuff properly.

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from “Steele Belted”

In “Steele Belted” Brosnan wears a solid burgundy repp tie and a burgundy satin silk pocket square. The square is not exactly the same as the tie, but it’s a bit too close. However, it’s not an offensive combination either. In “Etched in Steele” the tie is a red repp tie with thin yellow and blue stripes, and the pocket square is solid red. Brosnan knots his ties in a Windsor knot. The ties are narrow enough and light enough that a Windsor knot doesn’t overwhelm the small collar. Pierce Brosnan is almost never seen without a pocket square in Remington Steele, and it’s something he carried over to GoldenEye. But in Remington Steele he often—but not always—plays it too safe by matching the pocket square to the base colour of his tie. Finishing the outfits are black shoes and a black belt.

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from “Steele Belted”

Never Say Never Again: Blue Blazer

Sean Connery wears a single-breasted blue blazer in a number of his Bond films and carries the blazer over to Never Say Never Again. This blazer is cut and detailed exactly like the suit jackets in the film, with natural shoulders, a 2-button front, 3-button cuffs, flapped pockets and double vents. The jacket relies solely on its polished brass buttons to define it as a blazer. It appears dressier than the blazers Connery wore in the Bond series, which were further differentiated from suit jackets with patch pockets and swelled edges.

Connery wears medium-dark grey flat front trousers with angled side pockets, and his belt and shoes are black. Connery wears this outfit twice in the film, with a different shirt and repp striped tie each time. The shirts are made by Turnbull & Asser or Frank Foster and have a spread collar and 1-button, button-down cocktail cuffs. The first is pale blue and the second is a slightly darker and more saturated sky blue. The first tie is navy with burgundy and pale yellow stripes, though the navy is warmer than the blazer’s cool navy and clashes. The second tie is has larger gold and burgundy stripes on a lighter navy with a cooler tone that’s much more agreeable with the blazer.