Felix Leiter, James Bond’s American counterpart, has never been as cool as when he was first portrayed by Jack Lord in Dr. No. Lord’s successor Cec Linder plays Leiter as a stodgier character, dressed in Ivy League style, whilst Lord dresses younger and more fashionably. Since it’s only 1962, the suit has a lot in common with 1950s styles. The suit is made in beige tropical wool. The button three jacket has padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and a relaxed cut through the body with front darts. The back has short double vents—a popular 1960s style—that are no deeper than 6 inches and are more for style than for function. The hip pockets are welted like the typical breast pocket, another style that was more commonly seen in the ’60s. The lapels are a little on the narrow side, with tiny notches. The cuffs have three buttons, spaced out, and the suit’s buttons are light brown horn. The suit trousers have a flat front, cross pockets, side adjusters and turn-ups.
Leiter’s white shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket. The tie is solid dark brown. His shoes are brown moccasins. His most well-known accessory is his pair of cat-eye sunglasses, which have since become primarily worn by women. Nevertheless, Felix Leiter looks hipper than Bond with his sunglasses, which he places in his outer breast pocket when he removes them. No Felix Leiter other than Jack Lord comes close to having a competing screen presence with Bond, and his cool look has a large part to do with it.
In The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger Moore wears a more adventurous wardrobe than he did in Live and Let Die. For one of the furthest suits from what Sean Connery had established as the classic Bond look, Moore wears a dark olive, double-breasted suit cut by Cyril Castle. The suit has very closely-spaced lighter pinstripes with wider-spaced red chalkstripes. The jacket has six buttons on the front with two to button, double vents, slightly slanted pockets with flaps, and flared link-button cuffs. The trousers have a darted front and flared leg.
The shirt is a white and gold bengal stripe in a twill weave, made by Frank Foster. The shirt has a spread collar, placket front and and two-button cocktail cuffs. The tie is light olive shantung silk, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Even though the outfit is in all earth tones, Moore wears black shoes. But because this suit is worn after dark, black shoes are appropriate, and they don’t clash when not in daylight.
Bond’s Rolex Submariner with a close-up of the striped suit and shirt cloths
In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Daniel Craig plays journalist Mikael Blomkvist, a man who doesn’t quite have James Bond’s sharp sense of style. In the 2011 film, Blomkvist wears a black three-piece suit, with a modern cut. Though Bond rarely wears black suits, for a party in the evening it’s an appropriate choice. The button two jacket is trim-cut with straight shoulders, and Blomkvist wears it open for the brief time we see him in it. The waistcoat has five buttons, and they are placed low and close together. Craig leaves the bottom button open, and when he later takes off his suit jacket he unbuttons the top button as well. The flat front trousers have a plain hem. They are worn with a belt and have too short a rise to be worn with a waistcoat, thus some of the shirt peaks through.
Though Bond never wears a mid grey shirt, it works very well with this suit. The darker shirt tones down the formality and severity of the black suit, but it’s not too dark either. The shirt has a spread collar and front placket. The placket is stitched a quarter-inch from the edge, whilst the collar is stitched an eighth-inch from the edge. The narrow black tie is woven in a ribbed ottoman weave. Blomkvist wears the shirt collar unbuttoned and his tie loosened, a sloppy look that would be out of character for Bond. But it’s in character for Blomkvist, as it has been a fashionable look as of late for younger people. Daniel Craig is too old to look fashionable with a loosened tie, if anyone can indeed look fashionable with a loosened tie. Naturally, he wears black shoes with the black suit.
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.
Sean Connery has both buttons on his dark grey suit fastened in Dr. No.
Sean Connery’s tailoring in his Bond films is often admired for its clean, simple lines and limited colour scheme. But wearing suits didn’t come naturally to Connery, and on three occasions he makes the mistake of buttoning the bottom button on his suit jackets. The first is in Dr. No, when wearing tailored clothing was still very new to him, and presumably director Terence Young did not catch the brief mistake. The second is when Bond enters his hotel room in Istanbul and suddenly his bottom button is fastened, even though it was when he entered the lift. The third time came in Diamonds Are Forever. On neither of Connery’s suit jackets should the bottom button ever be fastened.
Connery fastens the bottom button on his linen suit in Diamonds Are Forever.
It’s typically advised that only the top button on a button two jacket should be fastened. This is because the front is cut away below the top button and the lower button doesn’t meet up with the buttonhole. Thus, fastening the lower button causes the jacket to pull across the hips. It restricts movement and makes it difficult to sit. Also, it shortens the perceived leg length, rather than extending the leg to the waist. But some button two jackets are designed to have both buttons fastened.
On a paddock-cut button two jacket, both buttons are meant to fasten. The button stance is raised, usually placing the two buttons equidistant above and below the waist. Placing both buttons higher means that the bottom button can be fastened without restricting movement. The front on a paddock cut is only cutaway below the bottom button. President John F. Kennedy, British politician Anthony Eden and the Duke of Windsor are known for wearing this cut. In his later years, the Duke of Windsor only fastened the bottom button on his paddock-cut jackets for a longer lapel line. Roger Moore wears a couple paddock-cut suits with button-three jackets in The Persuaders, which adds a third button at the top.
Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s paddock-cut suit in The Persuaders. It has a slanted, flapped breast pocket and flared link-button cuffs
Noble House, a novel by James Clavell, was adapted into a television miniseries in 1988 starring Pierce Brosnan. The miniseries also features other Bond actors, such as John Rhys-Davies from The Living Daylights and Burt Kwouk from Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and the 1967 Casino Royale spoof. Brosnan plays Ian Dunross, chairman of the oldest and largest of the British-East Asia trading companies. The character’s suits would most probably be made by a tailor in Hong Kong, and it’s likely that the clothes for the miniseries were made by a tailor in Hong Kong since that’s where it was filmed. The Hong Kong tailoring looks like Savile Row tailoring minus the English flair. The miniseries featured a lot of nice tailoring which holds up rather well today, better than what Timothy Dalton was wearing at the time as Bond.
Because Brosnan plays a business man he is dressed in a lot of stripes throughout the mini-series. Here we will look at one of his striped suits, a navy three-piece suit with alternating thick and thin pinstripes. The jacket is a button three, and although the lapels roll to the top button they still have a gentle, elegant roll. The shoulders are straight and built up with roping, but they aren’t as excessively large as the shoulders that were popular at the time. The jacket has 3 buttons on the cuffs, flapped pockets and a single vent.
The suit trousers have double reverse pleats but with a somewhat trim leg for the era. The waistcoat is the weakest part of the suit. It has 6 buttons with 5 to button, but it is more like a 5-button with an extra button added on to the bottom since the bottom button is ill-spaced and looks like an afterthought. The waistcoat is also too long, and the buttons are placed to far apart, for a less elegant look. Brosnan wears the suit with a white shirt with closesly-spaced blue pencil stripes, and it has a point collar and double cuffs. Striped shirts can work well with striped suits if the scale of the stripes are much different, but they are very close here and somewhat clash. This is a recurring problem with the clothes in Noble House. The tie is navy with white polka dots, tied in either a windsor or half-windsor knot. He also wears a folded white linen pocket square, which is far more sober than the puffed silks he previously wore in Remington Steele. The outfit is more business than Bond with two striped pieces of clothing, but if either the shirt or suit was solid it would be a great outfit for Bond.
In Dressing the Man, Alan Flusser defines drape as:
The manner in which a garment hangs from the shoulder or waist. For example, the English drape (or English lounge) is an intended style feature of men’s jackets or outercoats pioneered in the early 1920s by the Prince of Wales’s maverick tailor Frederick Scholte, inspired by the guards coat; it is characterized by fullness across the chest and over the shoulder blades to form flat vertical wrinkles for form, comfort, and the impression of muscularity. The draped silhouette dominated men’s tailored fashions throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
The classic drape cut has large, padded shoulders and a nipped waist, to emphasise and build upon a man’s V-shaped torso. Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suit jackets were cut with a mild amount of drape, though his jackets do not have the built-up shoulders of the classic drape suit. Though Cyril Castle made some of Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint with a draped chest, the drape was mostly absent from his Bond suits. The extra chest fullness practically serves Bond, by not only offering extra ease in movement but also better concealing his PPK. Even though the chest is larger than usual, it doesn’t mean the suit is a size larger. Very few tailors still do a drape cut, and even Anderson & Sheppard who was once known for their drape now mostly cuts a trim, clean chest. Drape has a markedly old-fashioned look that isn’t in line with today’s trim fashions. Still, English tailors use drape in the most basic definition of the term: they allow the cloth to hang from—but also conform to—the body rather than cling to it.
A drape cut in The Saint
In Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan briefly wears a charcoal serge suit. It’s his typical Brioni button three suit with straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads. Charcoal serge is a great year-round cloth in a temperate climate. Serge is a basic four-harness twill weave with 45-degree wales on both sides. It’s great for suits and—in navy—blazers. Brosnan wears the suit with a white Brioni shirt that has a wide spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket. His mid-blue tie has a tiny pebbled or honeycomb pattern, similar to grenadine garza fina silk. But the tie’s texture is probably woven with floats instead. It’s tied in a four-in-hand knot. Brosnan enters the scene wearing an overcoat and scarf, which I will look at in more detail later.