Though I don’t know if it was a trend in 1965, Bond wears a matching sports shirt and trouser set in Thunderball. And it’s in a vivid royal blue. Out of Sean Connery’s casual Bahamas outfits in Thunderball, this one dates the worst. It looks like a well-fitting set of pyjamas, but Connery pulls it off. The shirt has a camp collar, four buttons down the front, and a straight hem. The hem of the short sleeves is turned up and sewn all the way around. The back of the shirt has shoulder pleats, which are pressed all the way down the shirt. There are two lower patch pockets on the front. If the shirt is of the quality we have come to expect from Bond, the white buttons are likely mother of pearl.
Though we see little of the trousers, they have a tapered leg and are pressed with a crease. Bond wears black slip-on shoes—probably the same shoes we see later when Bond puts his foot in the basin—and no socks. Goldfinger and Thunderball are the only times that Bond wears a straw hat. This pork pie hat is natural straw with a blue and white checked cotton ribbon. The hat has a telescopic crown with no pinch, and a short brim that’s turned up in back. A short brim is unusual for a straw hat since it provides little shade from the sun, but it’s part of the more typical pork pie style. To make up for the short brim, Bond wears the Wayferer-style sunglasses that we see more of later in the film.
Sean Connery’s second black and white plaid suit in From Russia With Love is almost identical to the glen plaid suit in Dr. No. The cloth is woven in a plain weave, making it better suited for warmer weather than the more traditional twill-weave Glen Urquhart check suit Connery wears earlier in From Russia With Love. The scale of the pattern on this suit isn’t as fine as the similar check in Dr. No, but all the details are the same except for pocket flaps being present on this suit. The button-two suit jacket has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a draped chest and a nipped waist. It has double vents and four-button cuffs. The suit trousers have double forward pleats and turn ups.
Connery’s pale blue shirt is from Turnbull & Asser and has a spread collar, front placket and two-button cocktail cuffs. He wears a navy grenadine tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. He wears a white linen folded pocket handkerchief, black socks and black derby shoes. His hat is a brown felt trilby.
In Dr. No, James Bond returns to his flat after a briefing at the office. Bond is wearing a dinner suit and carrying a chesterfield and homburg. Beside the front door we see an umbrella stand holding a classic stick umbrella with a black canopy, an item we’ve never seen Bond use. A brown trilby is sitting on top of the umbrella. Bond removes his shoes in the foyer and proceeds to his bedroom in stocking feet. When Bond opens the door the first item of clothing we see is a dark trilby lying on its crown on the floor with the dent pushed out, and Sylvia Trench is using it to improve her golf game. A pair of charcoal trousers is on a hanger, hanging on a the closet door, and they are likely the same trousers Bond wears later with his navy blazer.
Sylvia Trench puts on one of Bond’s pyjama shirts. The shirt is made of a self-stripe off-white cotton and has light blue piping along the edges as well as on the patch chest pocket and the base of the cuffs. The shirt has a straight hem all the way around the bottom with no vent. There are four buttons down the front, of which Trench buttons the bottom three. A shawl collar is cut from the same piece as the shirt’s front panels. We can also see a light blue piece of clothing sitting on a chair behind Trench, but it’s difficult to tell what it is.
On Christmas Eve morning in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Blofeld greets the girls outside wearing a British warm in light brown herringbone wool with a collar and lapels faced in light brown astrakhan fur. An astrakan-trimmed coat is a bit over-the-top for James Bond, but it is perfect for a villain, for whom nothing is ever too extreme. The British warm is a double-breasted, knee length overcoat. It usually has six buttons with three to button, as Blofeld’s does, though the fancy lapels and collar are not typical of a British warm. Blofeld’s coat has slanted pockets with large flaps on the front. Blofeld wears an astrakhan hat that matches the coat’s collar and lapels, and he also wears brown gloves.
The clothes Blofeld wears underneath the British warm appear to be the same as what he wears later during the battle at Piz Gloria. The brown zip-front jacket is made by Bogner, probably of an insulating synthetic material designed for skiing in. It has a short stand-up collar, vertical zip pockets on the front, a brown stripe on the sides and elasticised cuffs. Blofeld’s brown breeches match the jacket and are most likely made by Bogner as well. The legs extend a couple inches below the knee and tighten with a buckle. Underneath the jacket Blofeld wears a white mock polo neck jumper. He wears long, thick brown socks and brown suede-effect, rubber-soled ankle boots. The boots are most likely not real suede if the intent is to wear them in snow.
Bond stopped Blofeld’s plot and the world had a happy Christmas. I wish you all a happy Christmas.
As many of you know, today is the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No as well as Global James Bond Day. The first outfit I wrote about when I started this blog two years ago was Bond’s first dinner suit in Dr. No (now with additional information added to the article), but I merely touched on the outerwear comprised of a navy melton Chesterfield coat and a black homburg. The Chesterfield is a rather dressy coat, appropriate with black tie, black lounge (stroller) and dressier lounge suits (dark worsteds). It tends to look out of place even over a sports coat. Chesterfield coats are typically made in dark colours like navy, charcoal and black, in a milled melton cloth or a herringbone weave. It’s a longer coat that hits below the knee, and it’s a fitted coat that is darted and shaped through the waist. The length and heavy weight make it a very warm coat. Single-breasted models, like what Sean Connery wears, have a fly front with 3 covered buttons. This coat has notch lapels, a long vent down the back, jetted hip pockets and a welted breast pocket. Connery’s coat has a black velvet collar, a formal as well as a practical element; the collar will wear out before most other parts of the coat, and replacing black velvet is easy compared to finding matching wool. However, a Chesterfield coat does not need to have a velvet collar nor does a velvet make a coat a Chesterfield.
The first hat of the series Bond throws on the coat tree at the office is a black homburg, a hat which occupies the same formality spectrum as the Chesterfield coat. A homburg is best worn with black tie, black lounge and dressier lounge suits. The homburg is identified by its dented crown (without a pinch) and a stiff, bound brim turned up all the way around. Bond’s hat has a thicker black grosgrain ribbon than his trilby. With black tie less worn today, formal outerwear is even less commonly worn. However, as suits and dinner suits are being made of increasingly lightweight cloths, the Chesterfield coat is even more relevant for cold weather today. Die Another Day saw a missed opportunity for another Chesterfield. Whilst everyone else was wearing some sort of overcoat, Pierce Brosnan seemed unusually comfortable in snow-covered Iceland without one.
Stuntman Bob Simmons was the first man to appear as Bond in the Bond films. Simmons appears in the famous gun barrel sequence opening in Dr. No, and the footage is reused in From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. Simmons appears through the gun barrel in black and white, but it’s not very easy to tell what he is wearing. The suit has a Savile Row silhouette with strong shoulders, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s probably a button 3 jacket and there appears to be a single vent. The trousers have a narrow leg and are hemmed without a break. The suit is dark, but not black, so it’s most likely charcoal or navy. Simmons wears a white pocket handkerchief and a darker than white shirt, which would most likely be light blue. Like Connery he wears a dark tie and black shoes. And most iconicity, he wears a trilby, which would continue in all gun barrel sequences through Diamonds Are Forever.
Every other gun barrel sequence features an outfit from the film they were first used on. For Thunderball it’s the navy blazer and grey trousers. For On Her Majesty’s Secret Service it’s the navy herringbone suit. For Live and Let Die it’s the navy suit that’s barely seen under his chesterfield coat in New York. For The Spy Who Loved Me it’s the double-breasted dinner suit, and from then on Bond only does the gun barrel sequence in black tie. For The Living Daylights it’s the notch lapel dinner suit. For GoldenEye it’s the 3-piece dinner suit. And for Quantum of Solace Bond goes back to wearing a suit, but they also filmed one in his shawl-collar dinner suit.
Around the corner from Pall Mall on St James’s Street in the London district of St James’s are two stores associated with the first Bond films. The first is Lock & Co. Hatters, where Sean Connery got his trilby in Dr. No. The closest hat they have to what Connery wore is the Sandown model, and no matter what colour it looks in the film they insist it was brown. The hat in the shop did not look to be the same brown as in Dr. No, but on-screen colours can be deceiving. Lock & Co. is known for it’s trilby hats, “coke” (bowler) hats and vintage, refurbished silk top hats, which are nobody is able to produce anymore. They also have a large selection of American-style fedoras and tweed hats and caps.
To find out more visit LockHatters.co.uk
The other St James’s Street shop is John Lobb Ltd., a family-run bespoke shoemaker to royalty and is rumoured to have made Sean Connery’s shoes for the early Bond films. They do the work on the premises, and the shop is like a museum. Craftsmen work right in the front of the shop, using old-fashioned methods and working with vintage machines as well as their hands. They have separate people who each specialise in their own craft, whether it be last-making, lasting, stitching, dyeing, etc.
The wall to the right when you walk in is lined with countless unique examples of the shoes they produce, but they can make just about any style. Though most people would never consider spending so much money on bespoke shoes (their price is in line with the most expensive of bespoke suits), it’s a wonderful place to visit just to see one of the few makers left who do it the old way. John Lobb Ltd. is not to be confused with John Lobb Paris, which has been owned by Hermes since 1976.
You can see examples of John Lobb Ltd.’s work at JohnLobbLtd.co.uk
In his first four Bond films, Bond wears or carries a brown felt trilby hat. Brown is the most popular colour for a trilby, considering it’s popularity at horse races. As a city hat, brown is still an acceptable colour along with grey and blue. The trilby is characterized by it’s short, stiff brim, which snaps down in front and turns up at the back. The slightly tapered crown has a pinch in the front and a centre dent. At the base of the crown is a very narrow dark brown grosgrain ribbon. The inside has a leather sweatband and is lined.