About Matt Spaiser

I am a graphic designer in New York. If you have any questions about James Bond's clothing feel free to send me an e-mail.

Napoleon Solo’s First Suit—1960s American Style

The-Man-From-UNCLE-Taupe-Suit

Ian Fleming’s character Napoleon Solo, played by Robert Vaughn in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is introduced in 1964 as American television’s answer to James Bond. The pilot episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. titled “The Vulcan Affair” became the first episode of the series and was later made into the feature film To Trap a Spy. Napoleon Solo’s first suit in this first episode is based in traditional American style, but it applies 1960s fashion trends to it. The suit overall is very much a product of 1960s fashions, and the trends of the decade pervade the suit in a much more exaggerated way than any of James Bond’s suits of the decade do. The suave American spy dresses quite a bit differently from 007.

The-Man-From-UNCLE-Taupe-Suit-2

The suit is made of lightweight taupe wool, likely blended with mohair judging by the suit’s sheen. It is probably woven in brown and white yarns. The suit jacket is detailed in a very 1960s manner. The jacket has only a single button on the front and one button on each cuff. The narrow notched lapels are rounded rather than squared. The jacket has slanted pockets with narrow flaps, and both the lapels and the pocket flaps have swelled edges. The rear double vents are very short and about only four or five inches long.

In the American tradition, the shoulders are natural with little or no padding and the front has no darts. The lack of front darts makes the jacket look somewhat boxy, but it still fits closely and has waist suppression. The main different between a jacket with darts and a jacket without darts is that the one without darts has less fullness in the chest. Solo’s jacket has a very clean and close-fitting chest, whilst the waist is suppressed through the rear side seams and the darts under the arms. In following 1960s fashion, the jacket has a shorter-than-traditional length, but it is just long enough to cover the buttocks. This contrasts with today’s short jackets, which have no intention of keeping the buttocks covered. Vaughn has long legs, and the shorter jacket still makes him look out of proportion. The fashionably short length has the benefit of making the 5’10” Robert Vaughn look a little taller. Especially next to the 5’7″ David McCallum who plays Illya Kuryakin, Vaughn looks rather tall.

The-Man-From-UNCLE-Taupe-Suit-3

The suit trousers have a flat front, long rise, tapered legs and no belt loops. The long rise is the most significant part of Solo’s suit that separates it from today’s suits. It is long enough to almost meet the jacket’s front button. Going against American tradition, the trousers have plain hems. The trousers also are hemmed short, making these what some call high-water or flood trousers. It’s a traditional American style to hem the trousers too short, and Solo’s are about two inches above where the trousers would meet the shoes in front. The short hem shows off Solo’s black socks.

Solo’s white button-down shirt follows traditional American style just as many parts of the suit do. Likely made of oxford cloth, the shirt has a soft button-down collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a front placket. The narrow tie is black with a pronounced diagonal rib and tied in a small four-in-hand knot. The tie is held against the shirt with small tie clip placed just above the height of the jacket’s button. The tie clip is hidden when the jacket is buttoned.

The-Man-From-UNCLE-Taupe-Suit-4

Solo’s black shoes are an American style of shoe called longwing bluchers. Longwings have a pointed toe cap like a wing-tip, but they have wings extending the full length of the shoe. Bluchers are similar to derbys in that they have open lacing, but on bluchers the vamp and quarters are one piece, and they have tabs sewn to the front for the lacing eyelets.

When off duty, Solo removes his jacket and tie, unbuttons the shirt’s collar and dons a beige cardigan. The heavy ribbed cardigan is mid-hip-length and fits close to the body. From the collar down to the hem, the front of the cardigan has seven smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and Solo leaves the top button open. The cuffs have four smaller buttons, like what would be found on a suit jacket. The cardigan has a turndown collar, side vents and a patch pocket on the bottom of either side of the front. The cardigan’s front edge, the collar and the top of the pockets have black piping. The unbuttoned shirt reveals a white crew-neck undershirt, which is something Americans are accustomed to wearing. When the shirt is buttoned with a tie, a crew-neck undershirt follows the base of the shirt’s collar so the outline of the undershirt’s neck does not show. With the shirt unbuttoned, however, a crew-neck undershirt is distracting.

The-Man-From-UNCLE-Cardigan

Though fans of certain American and 1960s fashions may appreciate this outfit, I suspect many fans of James Bond’s style will not. The fashionable and American style of Napoleon Solo differs considerably from the more traditional and English style that James Bond wears the same year in Goldfinger. After the first episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Solo’s clothes became a little less fashionable, but also less interesting.

On a Bond-related note, this episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. features a brief uncredited—but unmistakeable—appearance of Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me‘s and Moonraker‘s Jaws) as a thug.

Comparing Mr. White’s Grey Jackets and More

Mr. White in Casino Royale

Mr. White in Casino Royale

Just as James Bond is supposed to be wearing the same navy pinstripe suit in the beginning of Quantum of Solace as he is at the end of Casino Royale, Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) is supposed to be wearing the same clothes in those scenes as well. The change of costume designer from Lindy Hemming for Casino Royale to Louise Frogley for Quantum of Solace means that Mr. White’s clothes in Casino Royale were reinterpreted for Quantum of Solace. In Quantum of Solace the clothes have a more traditional and classic look than they have in Casino Royale, and at the same time they also look more modern.

Mr-White-Quantum-of-Solace-3

Mr. White in Quantum of Solace

The jackets in both films are very similar at first glance, but they have many differences. The part that is most different is the cloth, even though they are similar colours. In Casino Royale the jacket is lightweight and charcoal with a thin grey grid check, whilst in Quantum of Solace it’s a heavier donegal tweed in a black and dark grey basket weave. In both films the jacket is likely a button two, but it’s difficult to see since Mr. White never buttons it. Both jackets have flapped pockets and four buttons on the cuffs, but the jacket in Casino Royale has a single vent whilst the jacket in Quantum of Solace has double vents. The cut is also fuller in Casino Royale. The jacket’s shoulders in Casino Royale are straight with a good amount of padding whilst they are softer in Quantum of Solace and have roped sleeveheads.

Based on the Casino Royale jacket’s full cut, straight shoulders and shape of the lapels, it could possibly be made by Brioni, who made Daniel Craig’s suits and shirts as well as the tailored clothes for all the men at the poker table at the casino in that film. I have no guesses as to who made the jacket in Quantum of Solace.

Mr-White-Casino-Royale

Mr. White in Casino Royale

The trousers in Casino Royale are brown and grey pick-and-pick, which ends up looking like taupe. They have single reverse pleats—the more common Italian style of pleats that opens outwards—and were a very popular style when Casino Royale was made in 2006. By 2008 when Quantum of Solace was made, pleated trousers had vanished from many stores. Mr. White’s trousers have a flat from in Quantum of Solace to reflect this. The trousers in Quantum of Solace are also a different colour: black and grey pick-and-pick. These trousers are the same two colours that are found in the jacket’s tweed, but the trousers contrast the jacket with a smaller scale and smoother texture.

The shirts in both films have the same idea but different executions. The Casino Royale shirt is dark blue with a white hairline stripe. It has a point collar, rounded button cuffs and a plain front with no placket. The Quantum of Solace shirt has a more classic look in medium blue oxford, which is a basket weave in medium blue and white yarns. It also has a point collar and rounded button cuffs, but it differs from the Casino Royale shirt with a raised placket and a breast pocket.

Mr-White-Quantum-of-Solace

Mr. White in Quantum of Solace

The ties in each film also have similar ideas but different executions. In Casino Royale the tie is navy with a brown pebble pattern, and in a diagonal arrangement over the tie are white dots surrounded by four light blue dots. The combination of blue and brown in the tie is a combination that costume designer Lindy Hemming often dressed Pierce Brosnan in for his Bond films. She must not have liked that combination for Daniel Craig, but she found another character to use it on with Mr. White in Casino Royale. For Quantum of Solace, Frogley chose the colours she liked from the Casino Royale tie and came up with her own take on it. This tie is simpler and is a solid navy with white and light blue squares.

Mr-White-Casino-Royale-3

Mr. White in Casino Royale

The shoes, though the same light brown colour in both films, are much different styles. In Casino Royale the shoes are cap-toe oxfords with thin leather soles, whilst in Quantum of Solace the shoes are plain-toe four-eyelet derbys with studded rubber soles. The Casino Royale shoes are dressier and more elegant, but the more casual shoes in Quantum of Solace better match the formality of the sports coat. The belts in both films are darker shades of brown than the shoes, but the belt looks even darker in Quantum of Solace. Mr. White’s socks in Casino Royale are dark brown whilst in Quantum of Solace they are medium brown.

Mr. White in Quantum of Solace

Mr. White in Quantum of Solace

Overall, Mr. White’s outfit in Quantum of Solace is more elegant and more like something James Bond himself would wear. Bond, however, would be more likely to wear black shoes than light brown with grey trousers. The outfit in Casino Royale, on the other hand, is flashier and more continental due to the jacket’s more modern pattern and there being more colours in the outfit.

A Military Jacket and Vest in Archangel

GoldenEye-Assault-Vest

Pierce Brosnan brought James Bond into the 1990s by turning the spy into an action hero in a way no Bond had done before. With less spying and more extraordinary stunts, Brosnan’s Bond started wearing more combat gear to better suit the stunts, as well as suit Bond’s new action hero image. For jumping off the dam and infiltrating the weapons facility at Archangel in the opening of GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan wears a military jacket, military trousers and an assault vest.

GoldenEye-Assault-Vest-M65-Jacket

Brosnan’s black jacket is a modified American M-1965 field jacket—also called the M65—and made by the venerable Angels and Bermans costumiers. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why James Bond, a British agent, should be dressed in American military gear in Russia, other than because costume designer Lindy Hemming liked the way it looked. Since the jacket is made of cotton and nylon blend, Bond must be wearing a thermal liner or thermal underwear beneath to keep warm in northern Russia.

The mid-hip length jacket has a zip front, covered with a fly that secures with press studs. The jacket’s front has two bellows patch pockets on the chest and two set in pockets below the waist, each with a pointed flap that secures with a press stud. There are also patch pockets on the upper sleeves. Hidden inside the jacket around the waist is a drawstring to give the jacket some shape. The shoulders have straps and the collar stands up with a hood hidden inside a zipped compartment. The collar has a nylon strap with velcro on the left side to fasten to the right side of the collar to keep it closed. The upper left side of the collar also has a buttonhole, with no apparent button on the other side. The cuffs close with velcro.

GoldenEye-Assault-Vest-M65-Jacket-2

Over the jacket Brosnan wears a black assault vest that was also made by Angels and Bermans. The vest has a zip front with a nylon strap around the waist that secures with a plastic side-release clasp. The back of the waist strap has a smaller adjustable strap. There are four large pouches along the bottom, two smaller pouches on the right side of the chest with one taller pouch below it. All are kept close with velcro on nylon straps. At waist level on the right is another pouch that secures closed with a flat and press stud. On the left side there is a holster to fit a Walther PPK with a suppressor. The holster is held in place with nylon straps that attach to the vest with plastic side-release clasps, and the PPK is held in the holster with a velcroed nylon strap over the top. There is a pack on the back of the vest to hold a parachute in case the bungee jump went wrong. Bond’s partner Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) wears a very similar vest.

GoldenEye-Assault-Vest-M65-Jacket-3

Brosnan’s black trousers are modified M-1965 field pants, which, like the jacket, are made of a cotton and nylon blend. They have angled, flapped inset pockets on the front for easy access as well as cargo patch pockets on the side of the thighs. The trouser legs tighten around the ankles with either velcro or a drawstring. The black nubuck derby boots have a four pairs of eyelets at the bottom, two pairs of speed hooks above the eyelets and another pair of eyelets at the top. They have moccasin toes and lug soles. The boots are made by Timberland, and back of the sole even say “Timberland” with the tree logo next to it. Brosnan wears black leather gloves with black wool cuffs in the outdoor scenes.

GoldenEye-Timberland-Boots

An example of Pierce Brosnan M65 field jacket was sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on 16 November 2005 for £10,800 (http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/11808/lot/395/). Two examples of Sean Bean’s assault vest—which is similar to Brosnan’s vest—were sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on 16 Jun 2009. A vest sold along with Bean’s black Sketchers boots for £1,056 (https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/16808/lot/98/), and another vest sold along with Bean’s jumpsuit, which he wears under the vest, for £960 (https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/16808/lot/95/).

Thanks to the people at ajb007.co.uk for previously identifying elements in this outfit.

Roger Moore’s Infamous Flared Trousers

Moonraker-Black-Flared-Trousers

Roger Moore’s trousers in his 1970s James Bond films are notorious for their flared or bell-bottom legs. Though the flares were most exaggerated in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Roger Moore will forever be remembered for these trousers. That is unfortunate because Moore’s trousers have some interesting details beyond the rather pitiful flares. Moore’s suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers in the 1970s were all very similar, though in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun they were made by Mayfair tailor Cyril Castle, and in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker they were made by Roman tailor Angelo Roma. Though most today would say the trousers are ruined by the flared legs, there are many interesting details at the top of the trousers.

Along with the flared legs, some may also say that the trouser waist sits too high. A higher waist gives Moore the illusion of being taller, and it gives his actual waist the definition it needs. When the trousers are worn with a jacket, the higher waist keeps the shirt from being visible beneath the fastened jacket button and creates an overall sleeker silhouette.

Cyril-Castle-Beige-Suit-Trousers

Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

Cyril Castle’s Trousers

Cyril Castle’s trousers have subtly flared legs, which would now be called “boot-cut.” They taped gently to the knee and gently flare out below the knee. If there could be an elegant example of flared mens trousers, this would be it. Castle took the fashion trend and did the best he could with it. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

In Live and Let Die the suit trousers are made with “DAKS top” button-tab side adjusters with three buttons, whilst the odd trousers and casual trousers are worn with belts. The suit trousers also have an extended waistband with a hidden clasp closure. Both the waistband extension and the side tabs have a rectangular shape with rounded corners. In The Man with the Golden Gun, all of Roger Moore’s trousers that can be seen are worn with belts. Some of the casual trousers may have been made by someone other than Castle, but they are all made without side pockets.

Cyril-Castle-Grey-Suit-Trousers

Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

The tops of Castle’s trousers have a unique style. The front has long darts of approximately four to five inches sewn down the middle of either side. It’s effectively like having small pleats, but since they’re sewn down the trousers have the cleaner look of flat fronts. Castle obviously believed that trousers without pleats still needed to have shape in the front.

There are neither pockets on the sides of the trousers nor frogmouth pockets on the front of the trousers. This gives the trousers a very clean look, and when Moore moves about there are no pockets to gape open. Instead, the trousers have top-entry pockets on each side at the waistband seam. They’re like coin pockets that would be placed on the right side, but these pockets are larger. These top-entry can be found on Moore’s suit trousers in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, and on many of his casual trousers as well.

Cyril-Castle-Suit-Trousers-Coin-Pocket

Roger Moore reaching into the left top pocket of his Cyril Castle suit trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun

The back of the Cyril Castle trousers has a button through pocket and a pair of darts on either side. Ordinarily, darts on the back of trousers go from the bottom of the waistband down to the top of the pockets, but on Castle’s trousers the inner darts extend further through the pockets to give more fullness to the seat. Castle offsets those darts slightly to the outside of the centre of the pocket so not to interfere with the buttons. The second dart on either side goes from the bottom of the waistband to the outer corner of the pocket. Placing the darts to the side of the pockets rather than spacing them over the middle of the pockets—where pairs of rear are typically placed—throws the fullness toward the hips where it may be more useful for Moore’s body. Through his unique method of using darts, Cyril Castle is able to give Moore the fullness through the seat, hips and thighs that he needs without using pleats.

Cyril-Castle-Linen-Trousers-Rear

Cyril Castle linen trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun. Look closely for the two darts above and through the rear right pocket.

Angelo Roma’s Trousers

The tops of Angelo Roma trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker aren’t seen very much since they are usually hidden under jackets and jumpers. Like Cyril Castle, Angelo made suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers for the Bond films he worked on. They’re cut with wider flared legs than the Castle trousers are, though from the knee up they still have a very classic look. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

Like the Castle trousers, the Angelo trousers are also made without side pockets. However, they have nothing to make up for the lack of pockets. Some of the trousers, like the black casual trousers in Moonraker, have no rear pockets at all. The trousers chose clean lines over utility, which is an approach women’s clothes often follow. The lack of rear pockets highlights the shape of the buttocks instead of camouflaging it with pockets. The trousers on the dinner suit for The Spy Who Loved Me go the traditional route of having a rear jetted pocket only on the right.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Dinner-Suit-Trousers

Angelo Roma dinner suit trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me

The front of the Angelo trousers is plain without darts. Like most better flat front trousers, these trousers are made with a pair of darts on either side in the rear. The darts extend from the bottom of the waistband to where the top of the rear pockets would be, and the darts would be spaced equidistant from the centre of each pocket. This is how two darts on each side of the rear of men’s trousers are typically done. The suit trousers and odd trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me are made with an squared extended waistband. They are neither worn without a belt nor have an adjustable waistband. They are made to exactly the right size so no assistance is needed. Such a waistband is not practical since almost everybody’s waist fluctuates a little. The casual trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and most of the trousers in Moonraker are worn with belts.

Moonraker-Black-Pocket-less-Trousers

Pocket-less Angelo Roma black trousers in Moonraker

Comparing Daniel Craig’s Navy Pinstripe Suits

Casino-Royale-Navy-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit

The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

Quantum of Solace begins moments after Casino Royale ends with James Bond wearing a two-piece navy pinstripe suit. Bond is supposed to be wearing the same three-piece suit from at the end of Casino Royale, but the change from a three-piece suit to a two-piece suit is not because we’re meant to think that James Bond removed his waistcoat. Naturally if a man wants to shed a layer of his three-piece suit, he’s going to take off his suit jacket and not the waistcoat. The reason why James Bond is no longer wearing a waistcoat in Quantum of Solace is because a change in costume designer meant a reinterpretation of the Casino Royale outfit. These two suits are the only two in the series that can be fairly judged by comparison since story-wise they are supposed to be the same suit.

Quantum-of-Solace-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit

The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

For the final scene of Casino Royale, costume designer Lindy Hemming dressed James Bond in a three-piece Brioni suit to signify that Daniel Craig’s new Bond had become the more sophisticated James Bond we knew from previous Bond films who takes pride in dressing up. This was a large step from being a man who didn’t have a proper dinner jacket earlier in the film. Lousie Frogley assumed the costume designer position for Quantum of Solace and abandoned Brioni for Tom Ford. Perhaps she decided to put Bond in a two-piece suit rather than a three-piece suit because he hadn’t matured into the classic Bond character yet, because a three-piece suit didn’t fit the Lake Garda setting or because a two-piece suit worked more effectively for the intense action stunts. A three-piece suit also would not have looked so great if Frogley was intent on Bond removing his tie. She at least kept the suit a navy pinstripe to maintain a modicum of continuity between the films. But even though the suits are both navy with pinstripes, the pinstripes are white in Casino Royale whilst the pinstripes are light blue in Quantum of Solace. The stripes on both suits are spaced no more than a half-inch apart.

Casino-Royale-Navy-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit-2

The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

The cuts of the Brioni and Tom Ford suits are very different. The Brioni suit jacket has straight shoulders with a healthy amount of shoulder padding whereas the Tom Ford suit jacket has much softer pagoda shoulders, which have a slight concave shape. Both suits have roped sleeveheads. The Tom Ford jacket has a more shaped silhouette than the Brioni jacket has, with a more defined waist. Though both suit jackets fit closely, the Brioni has a boxier silhouette. Wearing the suit jacket open adds to the boxy look. Both suit jackets have three buttons with the middle button placed at the middle of body’s waist. The Brioni jacket’s lapels roll gently at the top button, whilst the Tom Ford jacket’s lapels have a harder roll down to the middle button for a button two silhouette. The Brioni sleeves are cut full at the upper arm and taper down to the cuffs. By contrast, the Tom Ford sleeves are narrower through the upper arm and have a slight flare at the end for a dash of English style. Both suit jackets’ sleeves are slightly too long, but it is hardly noticeable in Quantum of Solace since Bond’s arms are hardly ever at his side. The Tom Ford suit also has a little skirt flare, which is lacking in the Brioni suit’s more Italian cut.

Quantum-of-Solace-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-2

The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The two suit jackets’ details vary too. Both jackets have straight pockets with flaps, but the Tom Ford jacket adds a ticket pocket. Whilst the Brioni suit jacket has a typical angled breast pocket, the Tom Ford jacket has a curved “barchetta” breast pocket, which is a Neapolitan-inspired detail. The Brioni jacket has four buttons on the cuff whilst the Tom Ford jacket has five buttons on the cuffs, worn with the last button open. The Tom Ford suit has double vents, but the vent style on the Brioni suit is difficult to tell. It may also have double vents, but considering that Bond’s other worsted suits in Casino Royale have single vents it could be a likely possibility here too.

The suit trousers between the Brioni and Tom Ford suits have different cuts. Both trousers have straight legs with little tapering, but the Brioni trousers have much wider legs. The Tom Ford trousers have a flat front whilst the Brioni trousers have a small dart on either side of the front placed beside the side pockets. The side pockets on the Brioni suit trousers are slightly slanted off-seam, but the pockets on the Tom Ford trousers are on the seam, which curves forward at the top. The Brioni trousers are worn with a belt and the Tom Ford trousers have slide-buckle side-adjusters placed on the waistband seam. Both suits’ trousers have turn-ups.

Quantum-of-Solace-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-4

The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The part of the outfit that is the least changed between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace is the shirt: both are light blue cotton poplin. The Casino Royale shirt is made by Brioni and the Quantum of Solace shirt is made by Tom Ford. The shirt in Quantum of Solace, however, is a paler blue than the shirt in Casino Royale. Both have moderate spread collars, front plackets and double cuffs, though the collar in Casino Royale sits a little higher and closer to the face.

Quantum-of-Solace-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-3

The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The ties are both blue neat patterns, but they have different patterns and colours. The Casino Royale tie (maker unknown) is a honeycomb pattern in blue and white, and the Quantum of Solace tie (made by Tom Ford) is roughly a pattern of blue and black squares. In Casino Royale Bond ties the tie with a four-in-hand knot whilst in Quantum of Solace he ties it with a windsor knot. The tie in Casino Royale has a very heavy interlining, which makes the knot quite large. Though Bond wears a folded white pocket handkerchief with his other suits in Quantum of Solace, he foregoes the handkerchief with this outfit so it more closely matches the Casino Royale outfit.

Bond, of course, wears black shoes with both suits, but the styles and makers, again, are different. In Casino Royale he wears the John Lobb Luffield, which is a two-eyelet derby. In Quantum of Solace he switches to the Church’s Philip perforated cap-toe oxford. This is one of the least noticeable differences between the two outfits since the shoes are hardly seen.

Casino-Royale-Navy-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit-John-Lobb-Luffield

The John Lobb Luffield two-eyelet derby in Casino Royale

Through comparing the suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, I have described some of the essential differences between Brioni’s and Tom Ford’s silhouettes and styles, though both makers offer a numbers different styles.

Do you prefer the three-piece suit in Casino Royale or the two-piece Tom Ford suit in Quantum of Solace?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

To save you the trouble of asking, yes, I will be posting a comparison of Mr. White’s two similar outfits from these same scenes.

Kananga in Black Lounge

Kananga-Black-Lounge

When representing his island nation of San Monique at the United Nations, Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) wears black lounge in Live and Let Die. Black lounge is made up of a black lounge coat, a black or contrasting waistcoat and grey checked or striped trousers. It’s like morning dress but with a lounge coat instead of a morning coat. Black lounge sits in formality between the lounge suit and morning dress, and some consider it to be the daytime equivalent of black tie. Whilst black tie is worn for festive occasions, black lounge can either be worn for not only festive occasions but also in certain professional settings and to funerals.

The black lounge coat that Kananga wears as part of the black lounge outfit is also known a the stroller or Stresemann, named after German chancellor Gustav Stresemann. It fastens with a single button and has peaked lapels, jetted pockets and no vent to mimic the details of the morning coat.

Kananga-Black-Lounge-2

Roger Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle likely made this outfit. Though Kananga’s two double-breasted suits have narrow wrap and flared link cuffs that clearly identify those suits as Castle’s work, this suit has less to go on. Still, it is most likely Castle’s work. It has a very similar silhouette to Kananga’s double-breasted suits, with the jacket’s full chest, closely shaped waist and low button stance. It also has the same narrow, strongly-padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads that Kananga’s double-breasted suits have. Castle padded the shoulders of Kananga’s suit jackets much more than he did for James Bond’s suit jackets to make Kananga look more like the powerful leader of an island nation.

Kananga-Black-Lounge-3

The shirt collar should always be worn under the waistcoat, but sometimes clothes fall out of place.

Kananga’s waistcoat matches the lounge coat in black, and the black waistcoat is appropriate for the serious occasion of attending United Nations meeting. A light-coloured waistcoat, like the light grey waistcoat James Bond wears with black lounge to his own wedding in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is a better alternative for festive occasions. The waistcoat fastens with six buttons and has a regular notched bottom. The trousers are medium grey with black stripes and have a darted front. The trousers’ front dares are fairly long and placed above the crease, just like on Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle trousers, so this gives another hint that these clothes were tailored by Castle.

Under the black lounge jacket, Kananga wears a white shirt with a long point collar and mitred two-button cuffs. Such a dressy outfit should require double cuffs, but in this more business-like setting the button cuffs aren’t entirely inappropriate. The tie is silver with a fancy self jacquard-woven pattern that is difficult to make out. Kananga ties it in a four-in-hand knot. He also has a white linen handkerchief folded in his breast pocket with two corners pointing out and a red carnation in his lapel.

Kananga-Black-Lounge-4

Osato’s Charcoal Suit

Osato-Charcoal-Suit

Though black is now the prevailing colour for the lounge suit in Japan, that is not shown to be the case in You Only Live Twice back in 1967. Mr. Osato (Teru Shimada), the head of Osato Chemicals and Engineering and a SPECTRE agent, wears a charcoal grey suit for his meeting with James Bond, or rather “Mr. Fisher”. Though black would suit his complexion well, charcoal is just as flattering and gives Osato a more approachable appearance. Osato’s outfit, though not ostentatious, is fitting for a man in charge of a large company.

Osato-Charcoal-Suit-2

Though weather can get hot in Japan, Osato’s suit is made of a heavy, fuzzy woollen flannel. The suit jacket is cut to make Osato look larger than the short man of no more than five and a half feet that he is. The button two jacket is cut with a full chest and a gently nipped waist. The shoulders are straight and narrow with a lot of padding, to give Osato’s shoulders a little extra height. The jacket is too short to cover his rear, but since Osato’s legs are very short in comparison to his torso, the shorter jacket length actually gives his body better proportions. The a short length also makes Osato’s legs look longer to help make him look a little taller. The jacket’s button stance is low by today’s standards, but it helps to give him the stronger look someone in his position desires to show authority. The jacket has jetted hip pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The trousers have tapered legs and plain hems with no break.

Osato-Charcoal-Suit-3

Osato’s cream shirt has a wide spread collar and double cuffs. He wears two different ties with this suit. During his meeting with Bond he wears a dark grey satin tie, tied in a windsor knot. Because the tie is narrow and has a lightweight interlining, the windsor knot ends up being a respectable size. However, it could possibly be a half-windsor knot. Later in the film in Blofeld’s volcano lair, Osato wear the same suit and shirt with a navy tie with subtle self-stripes ascending from Osato’s right to left. This tie is also tied in a windsor or half-windsor knot. With both ties he wears a silver tie bar straight across the tie in the middle of his chest. It should ideally be on the lower half of the tie so it doesn’t distract from the face. Osato also wears a white cotton or linen handkerchief with a grey border in his breast pocket. With the grey tie Osato angles the handkerchief to point towards the face, and with the navy tie he angles it to point toward the shoulder. Osato’s shoes are black plain-toe derbys with either three or four eyelets.

Osato-Charcoal-Suit-Navy-Tie

Getting Seated in a Suit

Casino-Royale-Unbutton-Jacket

There are three things James Bond does when he sits down in his suits. The first is something often recommended for sitting, and that is unbuttoning the jacket. This only applies to single-breasted jackets since double-breasted jackets should always be left fastened. Seeing that only one of the suit jacket’s buttons should be buttoned anyway—only the top button of two buttons and only the middle button of three buttons—it’s easy to open one button when sitting down. Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds can often be seen unbuttoning their jackets to sit, though other Bonds do it occasionally too. Unbuttoning the jacket makes it more comfortable to sit in, relieves the stress on the button and prevents creases. Notice in the image above, both Bond and Le Chiffre unbutton their dinner jackets when sitting down. Bond also pushes the front of the jacket to the sides to avoid sitting on it, thus avoiding unnecessary creasing and feeling tied down.

On the other hand, James Bond often leaves his suit jackets buttoned when seated, especially in the earlier films. It helps the action between sitting and standing to flow better, and it avoids clumsy fiddling on screen. When Bond opens his suit jacket in Osato’s office in You Only Live Twice, it is done outside the frame. On many occasions when Bond sits with his jacket unbuttoned, he already had unbuttoned it for another reason. And when Bond stands up, he typically fastens his jacket if it wasn’t already fastened. It’s a good habit to have.

Some button three jackets are cut for the top two buttons to fasten, and if you fasten more than one button on your jacket you should leave the buttons fastened when sitting down. When James Bond has two buttons on his button three hacking jacket fastened in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he leaves them both fastened when sitting. Fiddling with more than one button when sitting and standing looks too fussy.

Skyfall-Sitting

The second, and most frequent, thing Bond does when sitting down is give a tug at his trouser legs. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan do this most regularly of all the Bonds. Bond isn’t pulling up his trousers to show off his socks but instead to relieve stress on the trousers. Tugging up the trousers just a little takes stress off the knees to make the trousers more comfortable, to keep the crease sharp and to prevent the knees from wearing out. Even Daniel Craig manages to pull up his tight suit trousers a little in Skyfall. Notice both Bond and Mallory tugging at their trousers legs in the image above.

Brosnan-Sitting

The third part of James Bond’s ritual when getting seated—especially for Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds—is adjust his shirt cuffs and cufflinks. Notice Pierce Brosnan adjusting both his trousers and his cuffs in the image above. Sometimes the shirt cuffs get stuck inside the suit sleeves and need to be pulled out of the jacket sleeve and straightened when sitting down. Cufflinks, however, rarely need to be adjusted.

Do you unbutton your jacket, adjust your cuffs or lift up your trousers when getting seated?