The Ipcress File: Grey Tweed Jacket

Ipcress-File-Tweed-Jacket

Michael Caine stars as the unsophisticated spy Harry Palmer in 1965 film The Ipcress File, produced by James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman. Palmer is quite the opposite of James Bond and lives a very unglamourous life. Unlike Bond, Palmer never looks perfect, he wears glasses, he does desk work, he wakes up alone and he shops at the supermarket. Palmer’s clothes, however, aren’t completely unlike Bond’s, but they still leave something to be desired. 1980s Bond tailor Douglas Hayward was famously Michael Caine’s tailor, but it is unknown if he made the clothes for The Ipcress File.

Broken-Twill

Broken Twill

Palmer is introduced wearing a tweed jacket in black and grey broken twill. Broken twill has a similar look to barleycorn but is also like a very small herringbone weave. Herringbone is actually a type of broken twill. A grey broken twill tweed jacket actually isn’t so far from the type of jacket Bond would wear. Palmer’s jacket is a button two with natural shoulders. It has narrow lapels with a very gradual roll, making the button two jacket look almost like a button three jacket.

Ipcress-File-Tweed-Jacket-2The jacket also has double vents, a single button on each sleeve—the jacket’s buttons are black plastic—and hip pockets with narrow flaps. Palmer sometimes wears the pocket flaps tucked in, like when he carries a folded newspaper in his hip pocket (see image at the end of the article). Keeping small items in outer pockets does enough to disturb the jacket’s lines without having items sticking out from the pockets. Palmer demonstrates the way no gentleman should carry his newspaper.

Palmer wears medium grey worsted wool trousers under the jacket. They have a darted front, slanted side pockets, an extended waistband, buckle side adjusters and a tapered leg with turn-ups. There ought to be a little more contrast between the jacket and trousers, and a shade lighter in grey would be enough to give the two pieces more separation. The trousers most likely come from the suit Palmer wears later in the film. Palmer’s black shoes keep within the city tones of the outfit.

Ipcress-File-Blue-Shirt-FlannelsPalmer’s pale blue shirt is the least refined part of his outfit. Though the spread collar has a good width, the length of the collar points is rather puny. The collar is stitched 1/8 inch from the edge rather than the traditional 1/4 inch. The shirt has square single cuffs for cufflinks. These are not the stiff single cuffs that one wears for full evening dress but instead cheap, flimsy cuffs similar to the modern convertible cuffs that can be worn either with a button or with cufflinks. Palmer’s shirt has a breast pocket, which further brings the origin of Palmer’s shirt into question.

There is one item that Palmer takes from Bond’s wardrobe: a navy knitted tie. Bond wears a navy knitted tie in Goldfinger, made just a year earlier, and he wears it again in You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Palmer ties his knitted tie—most likely—in a half windsor knot like George Lazenby ties his knitted ties as Bond. But unlike Bond, Palmer wears a tie bar, and it suspiciously does not keep Palmer’s tie in place.

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Q’s Town and Country Style

Q-Goldfinger

Who is wearing the trendier suit in Goldfinger, James Bond or Q? Except for narrow lapels and covered buttons, Bond’s blue suit is classic in every way. Q’s (Desmond Llewelyn) solid brown tweed suit, however, has many features that date it to the 1960s. Like Bond’s suit jacket, Q’s suit jacket has narrow lapels, but it also has narrow pocket flaps that are placed rather low. The short double vents are another 1960s detail. But perhaps the most outdated part of the suit is the way the quarters are cut. The front of the jacket cuts away below the waist as it ordinarily would, but the curve of the front edge into the hem has a very small radius that’s almost—but not quite—a sharp corner.

Q-Goldfinger-2The suit’s overall silhouette, however, is a classic button two jacket with natural shoulders and just a little drape in the chest. The jacket also has swelled edges and 2-button cuffs. The trousers likely have single or double forward pleats, which were the common suit trouser styles in England at the time. They are finished with turn-ups. Q’s suits almost always have fit problems, and on this suit the collar stands away from the neck and the sleeves are too long. This is because actor Desmond Llewelyn has round shoulders and needs his jackets to be cut longer in back to be balanced. He’s not an easy man to fit.

Q’s cream shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. His tie is black with narrow burgundy stripes and a narrower white pencil stripes below each burgundy stripe. If it is a regimental tie, can anyone identify it? His shoes are brown, which match the overall town-and-country look of the outfit.

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Kamal Khan: Grey Jacket

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When Kamal Khan, played by Louis Jourdan, dresses in western clothing in Octopussy, the outfits are similar to outfits Bond wears. His dinner suit is just as classic and his navy suit is just as minimal. His jacket in a broken twill weave of dark and light grey wool is equally simplistic, but it’s also not boring. There’s a continuity error, however, since there were at least two of these jackets used in filming. One of the jackets buttons one and the other buttons two. Other than this discrepancy, the jackets are the same. They have straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and they are cut with a clean chest and are shaped through the waist. The jackets have 1-button cuffs, no vent and jetted pockets with a ticket pocket. The jacket’s vent-less skirt signifies that this jacket is not for sporting use, and the straight jetted pockets follow the vent-less rear’s clean look and non-sporting purpose. The buttons are all black leather, something that sets this jacket apart from all of Bond’s jackets. Bond instead prefers slightly less rustic horn buttons for his jackets.

This sports coat buttons one.

This jacket buttons one.

Khan’s jacket sleeves are flamboyantly a little short to show off more shirt cuff. It’s usually recommended to show between 1/4″ and 1/2″ of shirt cuff when the arms are at rest, though, like Roger Moore’s character Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders, Kamal Khan also shows too much shirt cuff. Shorter jacket sleeves visually shortens the arm length, and it’s possible that Louis Jourdan thinks his arms are too long. But over an inch of shirt cuff simply looks disruptive and like a mistake.

This sports coat buttons two. Notice its short sleeves.

This jacket buttons two. Notice its short sleeves.

Charcoal trousers complement and provide the necessary contrast to the lighter grey jacket. We can’t see if they have pleats or not, but they have a sharp crease. Khan’s light blue shirt has a spread collar and 2-button cuffs. The tie is navy with raised rectangles, woven in a checker pattern. Khan ties it in what is probably a half windsor knot. Overall, the outfit is timeless in both the colour palate and its proportions. The only thing that doesn’t fit in well today is the jacket’s vent-less skirt, but like everything else it comes in and out of fashion.

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Evelyn Tremble: Too Many Patch Pockets

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Evelyn Tremble, played by Peter Sellers, is one of the many characters who become James Bond in the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale. He wears a very interesting tweed jacket on his visit to MI6. The button three jacket is made in a check with wide stripes of brown and a mix of brown and blue, separated with a grid of dark brown and a red overcheck. The jacket has softly-padded shoulders, a clean chest, narrow lapels, double vents and three-button cuffs. Though it must have been on purpose, the jacket’s collar noticeably stands away from the neck. This could be due to a poor fit, or the jacket could just deliberately be placed hanging off one side to make the character look sloppy. Tremble’s character is nothing like the James Bond he is recruited to be, and one of the things that sets him apart from Bond is his occasionally careless manner of dress.

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The pockets are a very unique part of this jacket. In addition to the usual breast pocket and two hip pockets there is also a ticket pocket. All of the pockets are patch pockets with slanted flaps. Patch pockets with flaps creates a very casual—but also bulky—look. Ordinary welt breast pockets are typical on jackets with flapped patch pockets to avoid having an awkward flapped patch breast pocket, but this jacket has the flapped patch breast pocket. When a jacket has a patch breast pocket, most often all the pockets are all open pockets. Most unusual is the inclusion of a patch ticket pocket. Because it’s a patch pocket, the pockets cannot overlap and the flap ends up above the waist because of the extra height needed for the patch. An ordinary welt and flap ticket pocket would have been best so the flap wouldn’t be so high up. Such a high ticket pocket visually shortens the torso considerably, and Peter Sellers was a slightly shorter-than-average man at 5’8″. Thus the extra patch pocket makes the jacket look very crowded. Ticket pockets in general can look crowded on a shorter man, but in any case there’s far too much going on with the pockets on this jacket.

Evelyn-Tremble-Tweed-Jacket-3Tremble’s cream shirt fits much better than the suit does and may have been made by Frank Foster, who often made shirts for Peter Sellers. The shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. Tremble wears a red knitted tie. The taupe trousers have a flat front and, most likely, cross pockets like his other trousers in the film have.

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Woman of Straw: The Blue Suit from Goldfinger

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The cloth of Sean Connery’s blue suit in Q’s lab in Goldfinger is somewhat mysterious. It is a heavy weight, has a mottled colouring and has a woollen texture. That means it’s either tweed or flannel. Most likely it is a herringbone flannel. We get another look at the same Anthony Sinclair suit in Woman of Straw, and in this film—the suit’s original appearance—the suit is a three-piece. There’s no question it’s the same suit. The cut is the same button two with natural shoulders and a draped chest. It has swelled edges, cloth-covered buttons and jetted pockets. The vents are still a mystery. The poor lighting in this film makes the vent style difficult to make out, but I believe I see double vents. See the enhanced screenshot below.

Click image to enlarge

The trousers have double forward pleats. The waistcoat is the same style as the waistcoats in Goldfinger: six buttons with five to button. Connery, however, fastens the bottom button, which is meant to be left open. This disrupts the otherwise clean lines of the waistcoat. The covered buttons down the waistcoat make a big impact, since without the waistcoat the covered buttons almost go unnoticed. Covered buttons aren’t ordinarily seen outside of formalwear, but they were popular in the 1960s on lounge suits as well. The Avengers’ John Steed also wore suits with covered buttons.

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This is a town and country suit, meaning it can effectively transition between relaxed country wear and business. The cloth has a country texture in a city colour, and the jetted pockets are a more formal city touch. Even though this suit is appropriate in both the city and country, it fits in better here than it does in Q’s lab. The houndstooth suit that Bond wears in M’s office also seems more appropriate in this film.

Connery wears this suit a few times throughout Women of Straw. Early in the film he wears a solid light blue tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot just like he does in Goldfinger. The white or off-white shirt has a moderate spread collar, a placket and double cuffs. Later in the film he wears a solid black tie, also tied in a four-in-hand knot, and the white or off-white shirt has a wider spread collar like in Goldfinger. He wears a white pocket handkerchief with both outfits.

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Equestrian Pursuits

Houndstooth-Sports-Coat

Bond’s second hacking jacket of the series is a bit more bold than the first one, but it’s just as traditional. Goldfinger features Bond’s first hacking jacket, a subtle barleycorn tweed. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features Bond’s second hacking jacket, a bolder houndstooth tweed. But it’s a rather simple check, in black, brown and cream with a red overcheck. The jacket is made by Dimi Major, with lightly padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s a button three with one button on the cuffs and the hacking jacket features of slanted pockets and a deep single vent. Slanted pockets are easier to access on horseback whilst the deep vent helps the jacket to split in back over the horse.

Click the image for a close-up of the weave.

Click the image for a close-up of the weave.

Bond almost never fastens the top button on his button three jackets. On most of Bond’s button three jackets the lapels gently roll at the top button. Here, Lazenby interrupts the roll by fastening the top button. Dimi Major cuts his button three jackets to look great either with both to the top and middle buttons closed or just the middle button closed. Unlike ordinary sports coats, riding jackets are longer and have three buttons placed higher on the chest, with all three meant to fasten. Lazenby’s hacking jacket is cut like a typical sports coat, meaning the bottom button isn’t meant to fasten. Closing the top button puts this jacket more in the spirit of riding jackets. But fastening the top button is also necessary to hold in the day cravat.

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The beige shirt has a stock collar, which extends around to close at the left side of the neck instead of the front. It looks unbroken across the front and is meant to be worn with a stock tie or a day cravat, of which Bond wears the latter. Bond’s cravat is also beige and is worn with a pin. The beige jodhpurs—likely made of cavalry twill wool due to its elastic properties—are worn with a belt and fit into Bond’s tall, black riding boots. Since I’m not involved in the equestrian world, I cannot judge the appropriateness of the outfit. The only part of this outfit that may be worn outside of equestrian activity is the hacking jacket, and the rest of the outfit should be limited to equestrian pursuits.

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In A View to a Kill, Roger Moore wears another equestrian outfit, but with a conventional shirt and knitted tie.

The Saint: Dressing Down Tweed

Saint-Grey-Tweed

Roger Moore wears a smart casual outfit of a tweed jacket with a polo neck jumper in a fifth series episode of The Saint titled “The Death Game”. The jacket is made in a grey tweed with a small check and is in a button-three cut with a little drape and natural shoulders. It has the trendy 1960s details of narrow lapels, short double vents and single-button cuffs. The open patch pockets allow this jacket to be worn more casually.

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The polo neck jumper is made in beige cashmere. The trousers are light grey wool, most likely in a cavalry twill weave. They have a narrow, tapered leg with plain bottoms. The hem is short with no break because of the narrow leg, and to compensate for the short length Moore wears black, short boots with elastic gussets on the sides. Though black boots go well with grey trousers, brown would be better suited for the country setting and casual nature of the outfit.

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Marnie: English-American Style

Marnie-Herringbone-Jacket

In 1964’s Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Sean Connery wears an elegant mix of American Ivy League—as worn by Felix Leiter in Goldfinger—and English Savile Row style. I’m not talking about the “Updated American” suit, which takes the American sack suit and adds darts to the jacket—and sometimes pleats to the trousers. I’m talking about the way one wears his clothes. Another Hitchcock leading man, Cary Grant famously dressed in an English-American manner, often combining English tailoring with American accessories. Polo Ralph Lauren is currently the most well-known purveyor of this style, whilst New York and Chicago’s Paul Stuart and Charleston’s Ben Silver also excel at selling this style of clothing, both in their tailoring and in their accessories.

Marnie-Herringbone-Jacket-2Though Connery’s sports coats and trousers in Marnie are likely English in origin, he wears them in a decidedly American manner. This jacket is a woolen herringbone tweed in black and grey. It buttons three, with the lapel rolling over the top button. That type of lapel roll is typically associated with American tailoring, though English tailors have been known to cut their suits this way as well. Though all of the suits in Marnie have a somewhat full cut, this jacket may be cut a bit fuller, since Americans often wear their sports coats larger to be able to accommodate a jumper underneath. The full cut works well on Connery, since a more athletic cut wouldn’t drape as well considering his large drop. Still, the jacket has plenty of shape. Like the suits in Marnie, this jacket has flap pockets, 3 buttons on the cuffs and no vent.

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The trousers are English in cut. They have double forward pleats, a tapered leg with turn-ups, side tabs and an extended waistband closure. The choice of charcoal for the trousers isn’t the best since there is little contrast with the jacket. However, there is contrast in texture, and that counts for something. In comparison to the trousers, the shirt is an American classic that Connery never wore as Bond: a button-down. The key to a successful button down collar is in the roll. The buttons are placed a bit higher up than where the collar points fall to assist the roll. The button-down is a rather casual collar, and thus Connery only wears it with sports coats in Marnie. Most people in England would never wear a tie with a button-down collar, since the buttons are there to help the collar stand up when it is unbuttoned more than they are there frame the tie. Connery also wears his ties in Marnie much different from how he wears them as Bond. The ties are narrower in Marnie, and narrower than his already somewhat narrow lapels. The tie is plain black, and he clips it to his shirt with a tie bar. He wears the bar with a slight downward angle. And in some shots the tie tucked into his trousers, meaning his ties are an extra-long length considering Connery’s height. Because the tie is so narrow, it’s difficult to tell if he is using a Windsor or Half Windsor knot. The lace-up shoes are black, keeping all the colours of the outfit in black, white and grey.