Two Lapel Buttonholes on a Double-Breasted Jacket

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A buttonhole in each lapel on Roger Moore’s Douglas Hayward blazer in For Your Eyes Only

Why do double-breasted jackets and coats often have a buttonhole at the top of each lapel whilst single-breasted jackets and coats only have a buttonhole at the top of the left lapel? It is because double-breasted jackets and coats symmetrically have both buttons and buttonholes down the left and right sides whilst a single-breasted jacket or coat only has buttons down the right side and buttonholes down the left side. The buttonholes at the top of the lapels reflect what’s below. Though peaked lapels on a double-breasted jacket never fold over and close like single-breasted notch lapels sometimes do on sports coats, pea coats and some double-breasted overcoats—like the greatcoat—are able to fasten up to the top. These coats do have a button on each side either under the collar or at the top of the chest for the lapels to fold over and fasten to. The two buttonholes on a double-breasted coat are carried over from these more functional garments.

A buttonhole in each lapel on Pierce Brosnan's double-breasted overcoat

A buttonhole in each lapel on Pierce Brosnan’s double-breasted Brioni overcoat in Tomorrow Never Dies

Dimi Major put a buttonhole in each lapel of George Lazenby’s double-breasted car coat and blazer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Douglas Hayward made Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in For Your Eyes Only, his double-breasted suit jacket in Octopussy and his double-breasted dinner jacket in A View to a Kill with a buttonhole in each lapel. Brioni put a buttonhole in each lapel in Pierce Brosnan’s double-breasted blazer in GoldenEye and in his double-breasted overcoats in Tomorrow Never DiesThe World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Sean Connery’s, Roger Moore’s and Pierce Brosnan’s naval uniform jackets and Roger Moore’s naval greatcoat all have a buttonhole on each lapel, and the greatcoat’s lapels can close to the top. Daniel Craig’s greatcoat in Quantum of Solace also has a buttonhole in each lapel, and like Roger Moore’s greatcoat it can close to the top.

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A buttonhole only in the left lapel in Roger Moore’s double-breasted Cyril Castle suit jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun

Cyril Castle, however, only put a single buttonhole in the left lapel in Roger Moore’s double-breasted chesterfield and silk suit jacket in Live and Let Die and Roger Moore’s double-breasted suits, blazer and white dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun. A single lapel buttonhole on a suit jacket discards the ancestry and symmetry of having two lapel buttonholes for instead considering only the actual usage of a suit jacket’s lapel buttonhole: the boutonnière. Even when there is a buttonhole in both lapels, only the left buttonhole should be used for a boutonnière if you are so inclined to wear a boutonnière.

Daniel Craig’s Billy Reid pea coat in Skyfall also only has a lapel buttonhole on the left, which takes into account the reality that even if the lapels were closed, only the left side would actually fasten over to a button on the right. There wouldn’t be a jigger button at the top of the coat like there is at the waist. Since the Billy Reid pea coat has peaked lapels and no buttons at the top, it actually can’t close at the top like a traditional pea coat could anyway.

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No buttonholes in the lapels of Roger Moore’s double-breasted Angelo Roma dinner jacket in Moonraker

Angelo Vitucci didn’t put any lapel buttonholes in the two double-breasted dinner jackets in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and the double-breasted blazer in Moonraker. This is the coward’s solution for those who can’t decide if a double-breasted jacket should have a lapel buttonhole in the left lapel or both lapels. Though history and symmetry says there should be a buttonhole in each lapel of a double-breasted jacket, it’s not a faux pas to have one buttonhole only in the left lapel. No lapel buttonholes at all ends up looking cheap and leaves no place to wear a flower.

The Russia House: Blazer and Duffle Coat

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In the 1990 film The Russia House, Sean Connery plays Bartholomew “Barley” Scott Blair, the head of a British publishing film turned spy. Though the character is a spy, he’s nothing like James Bond. Connery dresses how an older man in Britain would traditionally dress, and he wears layers to withstand Moscow’s cold weather. Connery’s wardrobe in the film consists of V-neck jumpers, knitted ties, informal outercoats, a navy suit, a checked jacket and a navy blazer.

Connery-Russia-House-Blazer-2Connery’s button two navy blazer has natural shoulders that go against the trendy large shoulder of 1990, but slightly wide lapels and the moderately low gorge and button stance reflect the fashions of the time. Though blazers ordinarily have vents in the rear due to their sporty nature, this one reflects the fashions of 1990 and has no vent. Like Connery’s navy blazer in Dr. No, this blazer also has an open patch breast pocket and open patch hip pockets, swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs. This blazer’s buttons are brass. Bonhams in Knightsbridge auctioned the blazer on 16 June 2009 for £120. The blazer was made for Sean Connery by the costumiers Angels.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-Coat-2Under the blazer, Connery wears a medium grey sleeveless, V-neck jumper, which both keeps Connery warm and makes the outfit more casual. Connery’s dark green corduroy trousers have double forward pleats and are worn with a brown alligator-texture belt. The ecru shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs, a front placket and rear shoulder pleats. Connery wears a knitted tie with red and navy horizontal stripes, and it’s most likely tied in a half windsor knot. Connery’s shoes are dark brown.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-CoatOver the blazer, Connery wears a camel-coloured, heavy woollen duffle coat. The duffle coat is a casual coat characterised by its toggle closure. Connery’s coat has four wooden toggles that fasten with rope, and they go down the front from the collar to the waist. The coat is knee-length without a vent in the rear, but no vent is needed when the coat is free to spread apart in front below the waist. The coat has shoulder patches, two open patch pockets, buttoned straps on the sleeves and a hood. There are straps to button around the neck that connect with elastic around the back of the neck. Connery also keeps warm with an olive wool or cashmere scarf and a brown felt fedora with a centre dent, front pinch and brown ribbon.

Jaws: The Azure Double-Breasted Blazer

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Jaws, played by the 7’2″ Richard Kiel, should be one of the scariest Bond villains, considering his imposing size and fierce metal teeth. However, his clumsiness and sometimes unfashionable clothing choices contribute to the comic relief side of the character. Jaws’ azure blue double-breasted blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me takes away some of Jaws’ ferociousness. Though light blue blazers were common in the 1970s, they weren’t then and aren’t now particularly fashionable. The light colour makes Jaws look less threatening than dark colour would. The blazer is probably made of polyester, though it holds up well though a car crash off a cliff and being literally kicked off a train. Jaws simply brushes the dirt off himself after these incidents and walks away undamaged and unwrinkled.

Jaws-Blazer-2The double-breasted blazer is a good choice for a tall man like Jaws because the rows of buttons help break up his height, and the longer length of Jaws’ blazer shortens the perceived leg length to ground him. The ideal length of a blazer or suit jacket should be half the distance from the base of the neck to the ground, but Jaws’ blazer is longer than that. Though Jaws is already a bulky man, the shoulders of his blazer are built up and out to make him look even more imposing. The blazer has polished solid brass buttons; there are four with two to button on the front and three on each cuff. The blazer also has three open patch pockets, wide peaked lapels without buttonholes, and double vents. Apart from the too long sleeves, the blazer fits quite well. And considering Richard Kiel’s size, the blazer is probably made bespoke for Jaws by a costumier.

Jaws-Ecru-ShirtJaws’ trousers are dark grey and have a dart on each side in the front and two darts on each side in the rear. They have a slightly flared leg, slanted side pockets, no rear pockets and zip-style side-adjusters. Under the blazer, Jaws wears an ecru shirt with a fashionably large point collar that has a generous amount of tie space. The shirt’s rounded single-button cuffs are attached to the sleeves with gathers. The shirt’s placket is stitched 1/4″ from the edge to match the collar and cuff stitching. The back of the shirt is tailored with darts. Jaws’ tie is cream with a light blue, black and beige crescent pattern. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot, and Jaws takes a moment to fix his tie after he is kicked off a train. Jaws’ shoes are black derbies.

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.