Continuing on the topic of tie weaves, let’s look at some more recent ties in the series. The Tom Ford ties in Skyfall, like the ones that came before in Quantum of Solace, are some of the nicest of the series. Craig has never been dressed in a tie of questionable taste, which places him alongside George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton. Though Dalton’s ties are very forgettable, he never wore anything that could compete with Sean Connery’s wide pink tie in Diamonds Are Forever or Roger Moore’s colourful striped tie in Moonraker. Two of the Tom Ford ties in Skyfall hint back to the classic grenadine ties Sean Connery wears in his Bond films. Though these ties are not solids like Connery’s grenadines, the weave somewhat mimics a grenadine weave, with tightly woven sections between floated yarns. There are no twisted yarns. The tie is woven with a different colour in the warp than in the weft, and it creates an intricate and elegant pattern. The first one (top) is silver on black, worn with the pick-and-pick suit at the beginning of the film.
The second tie is charcoal on light blue-grey (above), worn with the charcoal rope stripe suit. Though the colours are different, reversing the dark and light in the warp and weft gives each tie its own look. Like how Sean Connery wears only grenadine and knitted ties in his Bond films, Daniel Craig only wears neat-pattern ties in his. Craig’s typical ties have the same subtlety of Connery’s ties but with more interest in the pattern than in the weave. These ties have both interest in the pattern and texture, with a good balance of each.
The nicest part of every Tom Ford suit in Skyfall is the suiting. The proper use of the term “suiting” is to describe the cloth a suit is made from; it’s not another word for a suit or multiple suits, like the way some brands have recently started using the term to sound more sophisticated (they don’t!). Tom Ford puts far more importance on the quality of his suiting than most fashion designers do. This suiting from Skyfall looks like a basic charcoal with a narrow-spaced grey rope stripe, but it’s a little fancier than that. The cloth is twill-woven, except on either side of each rope stripe there is a plain-woven section framing the stripe. It adds a subtle dimension to the cloth whilst still keeping it classic.
The cut and style of this suit is the same as the other suits in the film. The fit is tight and short, with narrow, straight shoulders. The jacket buttons three and the narrow lapels roll at the top button, though the tight fit in the chest pulls it open down to the fastened middle button. It is not a three-roll-two like the Quantum of Solace suits. The buttons are placed lower than on most current suits, which is both bad and good. The bad part is that it emphasises how short the jacket is, and the buttons look very low on the jacket. But the good part is that the middle button fastens exactly where it should: at the waist. The button at the waist means that not as much shirt can show above the trousers as on the typical “slim fit” suit, and it helps the jacket to move better with the body. A lower button stance also makes the chest look stronger, which is why a high button stance is rarely a good thing. The flapped hip pockets are on a shallow slant, and the cuffs have three buttons with last one left open. There is a single vent at the rear. The suit trousers have a flat front and are cut with a low rise and narrow leg, and they have a short hem with turn-ups. The trousers have side adjusters with slide buckles and an extended waistband with hook closure.
Bond’s pale blue poplin shirt—also made by Tom Ford—has a soft tab collar, a placket down the front and double cuffs. A pale blue cotton handkerchief folded in the pocket matches the shirt. The tie is made in the same weave as the black and silver tie worn with the pick-and-pick suit earlier in the film. This one is a pattern of light blue-grey and charcoal. The shoes are the black Crockett & Jones Highbury model, a 3-eyelet derby with Dainite rubber studded soles. The Dainite soles are useful in the scenes where this suit is worn because they provide the extra needed traction over traditional leather soles.
The standard collar amongst the English shirtmakers is the spread collar, and it’s the collar Bond wears more often than not. If it’s wider than a point collar and narrower than a cutaway it’s safe to call it a spread collar. A moderate spread flatters almost everyone and is always a safe choice. They’re great with a suit and tie, with a dinner jacket and bow tie, or open, as long as the collar isn’t too wide.
Frank Foster moderate spread collar
Turnbull & Asser made a wider spread for Sean Connery, whilst Frank Foster typically made a rather moderate—but tall—spread for Roger Moore. Sulka made a smaller, moderate spread for Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye, and Turnbull & Asser made a similar spread for Tomorrow Never Dies. For The World Is Not Enough they made a wider spread, and Brioni continued with the wide spread for Die Another Day. Daniel Craig wore Brioni shirts with a more moderate spread in Casino Royale and a similar collar from Tom Ford in Quantum of Solace.
Apart from the obvious differences of length, height and spread width, there’s the matter of tie space. It’s the quarter-inch to half-inch—or more—space between the collar leaves where the collar meets at the neck. Bond’s spread collars almost all have tie space, with the exception of the Brioni spread collars and Roger Moore’s brown stripe, double-button-collar shirt in Live and Let Die. Even with a very wide spread, a little tie space will help the knot to stay in place. Without it the knot often slips down and reveals the collar band above it because the collar leaves will push down the knot. A collar band with tie space is usually angled so the band will not show above the knot. Tie space plays just as large a roll in how large a tie knot can be worn with a collar.
Daniel Craig channels Steve McQueen in Quantum of Solace with a shawl-collared cardigan. The cardigan is black ribbed-knit wool cardigan with five black leather buttons, two patch pockets and turned back cuffs. Bond had only worn a cardigan once before, and that was when he was undercover as Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. So Daniel Craig is really the first to wear a cardigan as James Bond. He previously wears a cardigan in Casino Royale, but it gets more screen presence in Quantum of Solace. Underneath the cardigan Craig wears a white Tom Ford shirt with a tall spread collar, placket front and double cuffs. The khaki pants are Levi’s 306 STA-PREST jeans, the same style as the cream-coloured jeans from earlier in the film. The shoes are Church’s Ryder III two-eyelet chukka boots in brown suede with Dainite studded rubber soles. The aviator sunglasses are Tom Ford model TF108 with blue lenses.
Darted Turnbull & Asser shirt in From Russia With Love
Darts on the back of a shirt are currently more popular than ever now that people like wearing their clothes tighter. When darts are used, two are typically placed at the back towards the sides. They start above the waist and may extend down to the bottom of the shirt or as far as needed. Most often shirts are shaped as much as possible with the side seams and back darts are used when needed. Traditionally darts are not used on men’s shirts, but can often be found in both the backs and fronts of women’s shirts. But it’s completely acceptable for men to have darts on the back of their shirt for a more shapely and less blousy look. Darts are rarely found on ready-to-wear shirts because the closer fit they provide is very specific to the person wearing the shirt. However, they can easily be added to the shirt if taking in the side seams is not enough.
Turnbull & Asser put darts on Sean Connery’s shirts because of his large drop rather than for a close fit. Without darts, a shirt on someone as athletic as Connery would be much too large around the waist. Connery’s shirt also shows that pleats and darts on the back can work well together.
Darted Frank Foster shirt in Octopussy
Frank Foster used darts for George Lazenby and Roger Moore’s shirts to achieve a closer fit. Foster fits his shirts much closer than most English shirtmakers, but the clean, streamlined look is perfect for James Bond. The back is shirred under the yoke for fullness across the shoulder blades, and the darts take in the fullness at the waist. Daniel Craig’s dress shirt in Casino Royale is darted, and his Tom Ford shirts in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall are also darted.
For Skyfall, costume designer Jany Temime chose classic cloths that respect James Bond’s sartorial history, even if the fashionable cut of the suits does not. One of these cloths is a glen plaid in mid grey and black. Connery’s Bond wore a number of glen plaid suits in his Bond films, usually in a finer pattern. This one is most similar to the classic black and white Glen Urquhart check Bond wore in From Russia With Love. Tom Ford calls this a Prince of Wales check, however the original Prince of Wales check was much larger design in rust-brown and white with a navy box of six ends around the four and four (large houndstooth) section. However, the term is very often used to refer to any check based on the Glen Urquhart check, and whether the usage is correct or not is up to you.
The cut and style of this suit is exactly the same as the other Tom Ford suits in the film. The fit is skin-tight, with narrow, straight shoulders. The jacket buttons three and the narrow lapels roll at the top button, though the suit is so tight that the front pulls open at the top button. The flapped hip pockets are on a shallow slant, to hint at the classic English style but not to draw attention to it. The cuffs have three buttons and the last one is left open. There is a single vent at the rear, and the vent is cut with extra overlap as to prevent Bond’s rear from showing. The suit trousers have a flat front and are cut with a low rise and narrow leg. They have side adjusters and an extended waistband with hook closure.
Bond’s sky blue poplin shirt—also made by Tom Ford—has a soft tab collar, a placket down the front and double cuffs. A sky blue cotton handkerchief folded in the pocket matches the shirt. The tie is a square check in blue and alternating black and light grey. The black and light grey in the tie complement the black and grey in the suit. The shoes are the black Crockett & Jones Highbury model, a 3-eyelet derby with Dainite rubber studded soles. Dainite soles are not quite as elegant as the classic leather soles—and they can also feel very stiff in my experience—but they do provide Bond with the extra traction he needs. As far as rubber soles go on dress shoes, Dainite studded soles are amongst the best.
There’s no excuse for the jacket’s collar standing away from the neck.
The most traditional number of button for the front of a suit jacket is three. But there are a few different ways the lapels can be cut and sewn to control the way the lapel rolls. On inexpensive, fully-fused suits, the lapels don’t roll and are pressed flat above the top button. This is something that James Bond never wears. The opposite of that style would be the “3-roll-2″ style, where the lapels act just like on a button two suit and roll down to the middle button. The top buttonhole is also finished on the reverse side, since that’s the side that is visible. This style is most commonly seen in American sack suits, but it’s not limited to that cut. Cary Grant famously wore that style in North By Northwest, and Bond wore it in Quantum of Solace (pictured below). Some see it as an affected style since the top button can’t close, but it’s a well-established classic.
The most common type of button three amongst well-made jackets has the lapel gently rolling from at or just below the top button. Most of Bond’s button three suits are in this style. It looks very elegant with only the middle button closed, but the top can be closed as well. We first saw this style on Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. George Lazenby fastens both the top and middle buttons (pictured below), and the top button breaks the roll. If he only fastened the middle button, the lapel would roll through the top button. Sean Connery’s button three sports coats in Diamonds Are Forever have similar lapels, but he only fasten the jacket at the middle button. Roger Moore wore a few suits in this style made by Douglas Hayward in the 1980s with a lower button stance, and Timothy Dalton wore a navy pinstripe suit in this style in The Living Daylights. Pierce Brosnan most famously wore this style made by Brioni throughout all of his Bond films (pictured top). Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits in Casino Royale followed in the same 3-button style, though a more fitted cut meant that the lapels spread open a bit wider. Every Bond after Lazenby fastens only the middle button, which is usually—and most effectively—placed at the waist to act as a fulcrum for both visual balance and to match where your body pivots. The latter is especially important for action since a button that is placed too low or too high would be restricting.
Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall (pictured below) also have a lapel that rolls from the top button, as you can easily see when the jackets are unbuttoned. But because the jackets are so tight the chest is pulled open more than it looks like it was designed to be. The revers are shown a little bit below the button but not all the way down to the middle button like on the Quantum of Solace suit. If you look at the image of the buttoned suit below you’ll notice that the lapel roll ends at the top button and below that it is just pulled open because it’s too tight.
A lapel that rolls needs canvassing to give it shape and body, which is why some makers just sew canvas in the lapels and fuse the rest of the front. The amount of roll is controlled by the cut of the lapel, where the lapel is attached to the collar and how the innards of the suit are constructed. And a lapel roll isn’t just limited to the button three jacket. Sean Connery’s button two jackets had elegant rolls, especially starting in From Russia With Love as the lapels got narrower. In comparison, Roger Moore’s button two jackets had more typical, flatter lapels.
A tab collar is a point collar with a tab that connects the two sides of the collar underneath the tie. Though tab collar is British in origin, it tends to be shunned by the British these day. Most collars other than the spread and cutaway collars are. The Prince of Wales (Edward) was the first to wear the tab collar, and he wore both pointed and rounded variations. Following its introduction, the tab collar was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It saw a revival in the 1960s and last saw some popularity during the early 1990s in the United States. Throughout Skyfall, James Bond wears Tom Ford shirts with a tab collar, a first for the character. Bond’s tab collar has a button tab, though more traditional ones fastened with a stud. Some makers in the 1980s and 90s used a snap fastener for the tab. The collar usually has a soft interfacing like a button-down collar so it can curve around the tie. However, Tom Wolfe, who today often wears tab-collar shirts made by Alexander Kabbaz, wears a tall, stiff tab collar like some of the originals were. Some tab collars can take collar stays for a stiffer look, though Bond keeps his soft with an elegant roll.
The tab collar does more to frame the tie than to frame the face. They work best with the classic four-in-hand knot because of its small size. The collar pushes the knot and the whole tie out from the neck and body to create an elegant arch. The similar pinned collar achieves the same goal. A collar pin is much flashier, a style we often saw on Pierce Brosnan in the early Remington Steele episodes. The biggest disadvantage to the tab collar is that it can’t be worn without a tie. But in Skyfall, Bond always keeps his tie on to preserve the tab collar’s neat appearance.