Gold: Dressing Up a Bold Shirt

Gold-Beige-Suit

Gold features Roger Moore in a James Bond-esque story but in a slightly more flamboyant wardrobe. Like Moore’s navy double-breasted suit in Gold, the beige jacket in that film could have been picked straight out of Live and Let Die or The Man with the Golden Gun. The jacket—perhaps made of a silk and linen blend—is tailored by Cyril Castle in the same style as the single-breasted suits that Moore wears in his first two Bond films. The button two jacket has softly-padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and medium-width lapels. It is detailed with slanted pockets, deep double vents and flared link cuffs. The tan wool trousers, though similar in value, contrast in texture and hue. have a darted front, a coin pocket below the waistband and a slightly flared leg.

Gold-Beige-Suit-2The shirt is where Moore breaks from Bond style. It has a rust and navy check on a cream ground. Whist the pattern is bolder than something Bond would wear, the shirt has the same spread collar and cocktail cuffs that Moore’s Frank Foster shirts in Live and Let Die have. Such a bold shirt needs a simple tie, and Moore wears a solid rust-coloured tie that pulls out the rust in the shirt’s check. He ties it in a four-in-hand or a double-four-in-hand knot. Though the tie works well with the jacket and shirt, the bold shirt could keep the outfit interesting without a tie. This is the kind of outfit that can be worn well without a tie, but the tie keeps the outfit “tied” together. With the suit, Moore wears dark brown shoes, a wide dark brown belt and aviator sunglasses.

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Felix Leiter: The Tan Linen Suit

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Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter may have proven to be the only one other than Jack Lord’s who can rival Bond’s style and cool demeanour. In Quantum of Solace he wears a tan linen suit that’s just as nice as any of Bond’s tropical suits. The suit jacket is probably a button two and has natural shoulders and a clean fit. The jacket also has open patch hip pockets, a welt breast pocket and a four buttons on the cuffs. The jacket’s buttons are a summery white mother of pearl. The suit trousers have a flat front and a plain hem.

Felix-Leiter-Tan-Linen-Suit-2Leiter’s white shirt has a button-down collar, front placket and rounded single-button cuffs. The button-down collar looks great open since the buttons keep the collar standing up, even with the first button of the shirt open. The button-down collar also identifies Leiter as an American, even though Cec Linder was the only Leiter to previously wear a button-down collar. The only part of this outfit that isn’t done so well are the shoes. They’re brown slip-ons with a rather bulbous toe and thick black rubber soles. But since they’re only seen in publicity stills and not in the film they’re not worth complaining about too much.

Leiter’s tan suit and white shirt outfit has similarities to the original Felix Leiter’s beige suit in Dr. No and, especially, James Bond’s tan linen suit in GoldenEye. The balanced proportions and classic fit of this suit make it one of the most timeless suits worn by any character in the Bond films.

Largo: The White Camp Shirt

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Emilio Largo, dare I say the best-dressed villain in the Bond series, looks just as smart in casual attire as he does in tailored clothing. Largo’s white camp shirt in Thunderball is likely a linen and cotton blend. It has a camp collar and long sleeves with rounded single-button cuffs. The body has a straight cut with a straight hem and side vents. There are six buttons down the front, including the collar, and the last two buttons are increasingly spaced farther apart going down than front. The collar, cuffs and front edge are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge. There is a crease down the middle of each side of the shirt, which means that Largo stores his shirts folded. Clearly his valet did not iron the shirt before he wore it. Some people like creases in their shirts, but they properly should be ironed out.

Largo-Camp-Shirt-2Compared to Connery’s camp shirts, Largo’s camp shirt is much longer, more like the length of a dress shirt to be tucked. Perhaps he had it made that way so it could transition from a casual daytime shirt to a dressier evening shirt that he can wear tucked under a blazer. Frank Foster makes his formal shirt hems exactly the same as this shirt’s hem, so there is no reason why this shirt couldn’t be worn both tucked and untucked. And seeing that Frank Foster constructs his shirt hems and vents exactly like this shirt’s hem and vent, this could possibly be one of his shirts.

Pierce Brosnan wears a very similar shirt almost 40 years later in Die Another Day, except his shirt has a pocket and he wears the sleeves rolled up. The lack of a pocket on Largo’s shirt—as well as wearing his sleeves down with the cuffs fastened—makes his look a bit dressier.

Largo-Camp-Shirt-3Largo’s trousers are charcoal blue linen and are ironed with a sharp crease down the leg. The have a plain hem and most likely a flat front. Though Largo is amongst the more tastefully-dressed Bond villains, his choice of shoes is rather flashy. They’re blue suede derbies with a tassels on the laces and crepe soles. I’m not saying that the shoes aren’t tasteful—they’re actually quite stylish—but they’re unlikely to be an item Bond would wear. Largo’s choice of black socks, on the other hand, is rather unstylish unless he was matching his socks to his eyepatch. Blue-grey socks to match the trousers, though difficult to find, would be the natural colour of socks to wear. Blue or grey socks of any shade would look better than black.

The White Linen Shirt

White-Linen-Shirt

In a brief scene in Die Another Day in Cuba, James Bond wears a white linen, long-sleeve camp shirt. White is the dressiest colour for shirts, but when made of linen in a casual style it’s great for dressing down in hot weather because white is best at reflecting the heat of the sun. Long sleeves may seem impractical to wear in the heat, but they protect the skin from the sun when outdoors during the day. For the evening, long sleeves make this a slightly dressier shirt than if it had short sleeves. Nevertheless, Bond rolls the sleeves up his forearm for a more casual look. The shirt has an open breast pocket on the left, which is a great place to keep sunglasses.

White-Linen-Shirt-2The shirt has a camp collar, which is a one-piece collar without a separate collar band. This camp collar is made up of a top-side piece of fabric and an underside piece of fabric, probably with an interfacing fused to the top piece. The top piece of fabric continues down into the inside front of the shirt for a seamless look when the top front of the shirt rolls over. The collar’s underside piece of fabric attaches to the front of the shirt at the base of the neck like an ordinary collar does. The front edge of the shirt has quarter-inch stitching that goes up into the collar. When there is no placket, a shirt ordinarily has no stitching on the front edge for a cleaner look. But since the top side of the collar extends down to the inside front of the shirt, the quarter-inch stitching visually continues the collar into the shirt body, and it holds the shirt together as well. Unlike how Sean Connery’s camp collars in Thunderball lay flat, Brosnan’s camp collar is designed to stand up and roll over. Also unlike Connery’s camp collars, Brosnan’s camp collars have a button and buttonhole at the top.

The shirt is the only part of the outfit we can see, and we can’t even tell if Bond tucks the shirt in or leaves it out. Bond is likely wearing dark linen trousers and brown suede chukka boots like what he wore earlier in the film with the less sophisticated blue floral shirt.

Cool in Cuba

Goldeneye-Tan-Suit

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.

Goldeneye-Tan-Suit-2Bond’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.

Dressing for Heat in Vietnam

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Though Pierce Brosnan didn’t go too far into oversized 1990s fashions in his tailoring, the dark blue linen shirt he wears in Tomorrow Never Dies has a fashionably full fit. A full fit is more practical in hot weather than today’s popular slim-fit is. However, Brosnan’s shirt is simply too large with the shoulder seam down his arms. The shirt’s point collar with edge stitching was fashionable at the time, and other details include square 1-button cuffs, a button-through breast pocket on the left, no front placket, shoulder pleats and a rounded hem. The shirt is made by Angelo Litrico. The black cotton and lyrca blend jogging trousers have an elasticated waist. The blue plimsoll trainers are made by Trax, and Brosnan wears them without socks. This outfit is the low point in Brosnan’s Bond clothing. It could have been done much better, simply with a better fitting shirt and chinos instead of stretch trousers.

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This outfit in both its entirety and just the shirt alone have been auctioned at Bonhams in Knightsbridge. On 6 March 2007 the shirt sold for £660. On 16 June 2009 the whole outfit sold for £1,200 and the shirt alone sold for £1080.

The Beige Linen Suit

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After Bond lands his hang glider, he reverses his navy leisure suit into an elegant beige linen suit. Does this count as one of the brown suits that people criticise Roger Moore for wearing? Beige suits, along with darker tan and lighter cream suits, are all classic warm-weather suits. Since it’s not the best colour for business in the city, linen is a great cloth for it because it takes the suit down a level in formality. And even though Bond wears a tie with this suit, it’s the type of suit that can look appropriate without one. The suit is cut by Cyril Castle in the same button-two style as the rest of the suits from Live and Let Die, with slanted pockets, flared link cuffs and double vents. The trousers have a darted front, button-tab side-adjusters and slightly flared legs. They have two rear pockets but no front pockets.

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The lightweight brown and white butcher stripe shirt is something different for Moore. It’s one of the few shirts he wears in the Bond series that isn’t made by Frank Foster. It has a 2-button spread collar with no tie space, square 2-button cuffs, no back darts, and a front placket. The placket is stitched 1/4 inch from the edge, unlike Foster’s plackets that have the stitching close to the centre. The two-button collar suggests that this shirt is from an Italian maker, but the excellent fit means that the shirt is probably still bespoke. Bond wears a wide red-brown satin silk tie, tied in a large four-in-hand knot with a very large dimple. The black socks and shoes are out of place with the casual linen suit, but they are a carryover from the navy leisure suit worn earlier.

The two-button collar

The two-button collar

Terrycloth Shirt

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Sean Connery is reintroduced as a 1970′s James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever wearing a ribbed terrycloth shirt. For Connery, terrycloth isn’t limited to his playsuit in Goldfinger. Terrycloth shirts were popular in the 1970s, and they must have done a great job at absorbing sweat in the warm setting where Bond wears this shirt. The mottled cream and beige shirt has four large buttons down the front placket, a camp collar, two breast pockets with flaps and box pleats, and a straight hem. The short sleeves are in two sections, with the ribs in a perpendicular direction on the lower pieces. The back of the shirt has a box pleat. The cream linen trousers have a flat front, plain hems and no belt. As seen in behind the scenes photos, Connery does not wear shoes with this outfit.

Click image for a close-up

Click image for a close-up of the terrycloth