This outfit from The Man with the Golden Gun may be the one most to blame for Roger Moore’s undeserved reputation for always wearing a leisure suit as James Bond. This safari jacket, made of cream-coloured silk or a linen and silk blend, is really the only one that’s a 100 percent product of the 1970s. Unlike Moore’s traditional safari shirts, this one is a structured jacket. It has natural—but structured—shoulders, set-in sleeves and a tailored waist. It has most of the traditional details of a classic safari jacket: shoulder straps and four flapped patch pockets with inverted box pleats. The sleeves have buttoned straps around the cuffs as well as a vent. The front has a dart that extends to the bottom hem. The front of the jacket has four buttons, and Moore leaves the top button open. It has a long, single rear vent.
What takes this jacket, more than any of Moore’s other safari jackets, into the 1970s are two things: the collar and the stitching. A safari jacket should have a shirt-type collar, but this jacket has a a long, dog-ear style, leisure-suit collar. The other really fashionable aspect of this jacket is the dark, contrast stitching that’s found all over the jacket. It’s on the collar, lapels, shoulder straps, cuff straps and pockets. And Moore wears the jacket with medium brown, slightly-flared-leg trousers, so it’s not a suit.
The ecru shirt is the standard from Frank Foster, with a large spread collar, front placket and 2-button cocktail cuffs. The tie is solid dark brown. The slip-on shoes are dark brown or black with an apron front and a strap with a buckle at the side.
The Sea Wolves, starring Gregory Peck, Roger Moore and David Niven, takes place in India during World War II and features a wealth of both military khaki drill uniforms and civilian safari shirts, jackets and suits. Though Roger Moore had already been well-known for his safari suits by the time this film was released in 1980, here his safari clothes are in a much older and traditional context. Of the safari clothing in the film, the suit featured in this article is a beige cotton drill shirt-jacket with matching trousers. The shirt-jacket has a shirt collar and 2-button shirt-style cuffs. It has four buttons down the front below the collar, two flapped patch pockets on the hips, and shoulder straps. The back is very interesting, with a half belted waist, an inverted box pleat down the middle from the yoke to the waist, and a single vent below the waist. The matching trousers have a flat front rather than the pleats that would have been more common in the early 1940s.
Back of the safari jackets: Roger Moore, left; Gregory Peck, right
Moore’s sky blue shirt has a spread collar, plain front, single-button barrel cuffs, an open chest pocket and shoulder straps. Moore wear a light brown leather belt and beige suede shoes with this outfit. It is unknown if Frank Foster made the safari clothes for this film like he did for some of the Bond films. But not only was Roger Moore a customer of his, so was Gregory Peck. Peck’s clothing in The Sea Wolves is actually a bit more elegant than Moore’s is in this film, with buttoned-up safari shirts, pleated trousers and more. But Moore’s look is more modern and casual, and in the right setting it could still look relevant today.
None of Roger Moore’s infamous safari suits are identical. The safari suit in Octopussy is one of the most classic, being in tan, and it doesn’t have the flared 1970′s trousers to date it. It’s now 1983, and Moore has continued to wear safari suits. And why not? It’s a classic piece of English clothing, and most appropriate for the safari that Bond finds himself being hunted in. Frank Foster said he made the shirt-jacket, and he said it’s made of worsted wool. High twist wool in a plain weave is very comfortable in warm weather, and that’s what this cloth appears to be. The lack of wrinkles in this safari suit also shows that it’s made of wool and not pure cotton or linen. Though cotton or linen would be more comfortable, wool is very durable and looks great on screen. Plus, the tan colour is great camouflage against the Monsoon Palace’s stone.
The shirt-jacket is tailored like a shirt, as a safari jacket should be. But the cut is more complex than a typical shirt. It has two front panels, two back panels and a western yoke across the shoulders with a point in the middle. The front panels have darts under the arms that extend forward to the middle of the hip pockets, and the side seams are pushed back and have deep vents. There are four buttons down the front, on a wide placket. The collar is a formal-shirt-type point collar, but larger and without a button. The front has four patch pockets with box pleats and pointed button-flaps. The sleeves end in shirt-style cuffs, fastening with a single button. Completing the safari shirt look are the essential shoulder straps. The trousers have a flat front and straight legs. Here in light brown are Moore’s usual—but inappropriate—slip-on shoes.
A close-up of the open-weave cloth and Seiko G757 digital watch
If there is one place appropriate to wear safari clothing it has to be the jungle. In Moonraker, Bond wears a beige cotton drill safari suit that’s quite traditional, at least above the knee. The safari shirt/jacket has a 5-button front, including the collar button, and Bond buttons the bottom three. It has four patch pockets with flaps and box pleats, deep side vents, 1-button cuffs and shoulder straps. A fitted cut is the biggest difference this safari jacket has from the traditional safari jacket, which has a straight cut and a belt instead. This safari jacket shows little of the 1970′s trends.
The matching trousers are full-cut with a slightly flared leg, the only concession in this outfit to the 1970s. They are worn with a tan, brown and white striped web belt with a D-ring buckle. The only thing really inappropriate with this outfit are the beige slip-on shoes. Waxed leather boots probably would have been a better choice.
Roger Moore is well known for his casual safari clothing. I’ll never understand why some people insist on comparing these clothes to leisure suits when they are rooted in traditional safari clothes. They are also quite appropriate for the hot weather in Thailand. The sage green linen (or linen and cotton blend) safari shirt-jacket is a cross between a shirt and a jacket. It is constructed like a shirt without a lining or interfacings, but it is worn out like a jacket and has many features are more often found on jackets than shirts. It has a 4-button front with a camp collar, a belted back and long side vents. It has traditional safari jacket features such as epaulette straps and box-pleat patch pockets with flaps. The buttons are mother of pearl. Moore wears the sleeves rolled up to just below the elbow. This piece was made by Moore’s shirtmaker, Frank Foster.
The beige trousers have a flat front with a flared leg. The material may be tropical wool, linen, silk, or some combination of the three. Bond’s ribbed socks match the trousers. His shoes are brown low-vamp, tassel slip-ons.
Cotton isn’t used much in tailored clothing because it’s not a very strong fibre compared to wool, linen or silk. Because it isn’t going to last as long, it’s typically not worth the tailor’s effort and expense of making into a structured suit or sports coat. Nevertheless, that’s what Roger Moore wears here and it keeps him cool in Cairo. It’s a structured sports coat made with a canvassed front, shoulder padding, and sleevehead wadding. The coat has swelled edges all over to reinforce the garment. Shoulder epaulette straps bring this into safari jacket territory, though it’s more of a sports coat with safari jacket features, like a belted back with a deep single vent, belted sleeves, and patch hip pockets with flaps. The set-in breast pocket also has a flap. The brown buttons are not horn, but probably made from the Tagua nut which comes from the seed of a tropical palm and is similar to ivory. It’s a commonly used material for buttons and goes especially well with the safari jacket look.
The stone-coloured trousers have a flat front, flared leg and no belt. Bond’s blue chambray cotton shirt has a long point collar and tab cuffs. The tie has stripes in the American right-shoulder-to-left-hip direction in light blue, dark blue, white and red. It is tied with a double-four-in-hand knot, recognizable by it’s long shape. Bond’ socks are beige. The shoes are light brown suede horse-bit moccasins with a tall heel, probably made by Gucci. Look here for more on that shoe style next week.