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.

Count Lippe’s Casual Brown Tweed Suit

Count-Lippe-Tweed-Suit

Count Lippe (Guy Doleman) is a SPECTRE agent Bond encounters at the Shrublands health farm in the English countryside in Thunderball. The basis for Lippe’s clothes in the film was taken from Ian Fleming’s description of Lippe in the Thunderball novel:

He was an athletic-looking six foot, dressed in the sort of casually well-cut beige herring-bone tweed that suggests Anderson and Sheppard. He wore a white silk shirt and a dark red polka-dot tie, and the soft dark brown V-necked sweater looked like vicuna. Bond summed him up as a good-looking bastard who got all the women he wanted and probably lived on them—and lived well.

Like in the novel, Count Lippe’s suit in the film is tweed, though it is not herringbone. The mottled appearance makes it very difficult to tell what pattern the cloth is, though if I had to guess I think I see a fine check. It is not beige, however, but a darker taupe-brown overall that looks great in England’s countryside. The tweed is made up of brown yarns likely mixed with cream and green, and possibly other colours too.

Count-Lippe-Tweed-Suit-2

Though the suit in the film is casual in style, the button two jacket with slightly narrow lapels does not have the uniquely relaxed Anderson and Sheppard drape cut that the literary Bond identified Lippe’s suit by. The chest does not have much drape, and the shoulders have too much padding. Anderson & Sheppard’s cut, by contrast, is known for its soft look in both the shoulders and the chest, and sometimes foregoes the front darts on the jacket. Lippe’s suit jacket has the casual details of two open patch pockets at the hips and a matching breast pocket. The cuffs have three buttons, placed very close to the end of the cuff. Based on the way the jacket pull at the skirt, it likely does not have any vents, though the rear is not seen. The jacket’s buttons are light and dark brown horn, and the buttonholes are a bold medium brown that stands out. Judging by the suit jacket’s oversized shoulders and buttons being vey close to the ends of the sleeves, this suit was likely made for another actor for another production and altered to fit Doleman for Thunderball. The suit trousers have gently tapered legs. Though the top of the trousers is not seen, they likely have double forward pleats.

Count-Lippe-Tweed-Suit-Shoes

Notice Lippe’s elegant chestnut brown shoes

Under the suit jacket Lippe wears a light brown doeskin wool waistcoat, which has a felt-like appearance. Its inclusion was likely inspired by the “soft dark brown V-necked sweater” that Fleming writes about, but the waistcoat is not quite a casual as a sweater. Lippe’s tattersall shirt has a cream ground with a large check in a number of colours, which are difficult to decipher. It may include navy, green, purple, red and orange. Country tattersall shirts are typically woven in a twill weave to have a softer and more casual look than crisp poplin. Lippe’s shirt has a spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is medium brown wool and tied in a half-windsor knot. Just peaking out of Lippe’s breast pocket is a puffed green silk pocket handkerchief with purple dots, which would suggest that those two colours are very likely in the tattersall shirt. Silk handkerchiefs go well with wool ties because of the contrasting textures. Lippe’s shoes are elegant chestnut brown plain-toe slip-ons. Though they are beautiful shoes, such a heavy suit would look better with sturdier brogues.

Count-Lippe-Car-Coat

Over his suit, Lippe wears a car coat that is designed to resemble a shearling coat, particularly with its lambswool-faced shawl collar. Whilst the body of a shearling coat is sheepskin suede, this coat is brown wool melton. The heavy, firm, dull, felted melton has a fine nap that can look almost like suede, especially in the drab brown colour, but it is a traditional cloth for overcoats as well as blankets. The double-breasted coat has four brown leather buttons on the front with two to button. The hem and sleeves are finished with four bands of stitching, like one would find on a covert coat. There are slanted pockets on the front with flaps, and the flaps also have the same four rows of stitching to match the hem and sleeves. The sleeves have buttoned straps, and the back has short double vents.

Count-Lippe-Car-Coat-2

D. Major Bespoke Tailors: OHMSS Style

George Lazenby in a cream suit made by Dimi Major

George Lazenby in a cream linen suit made by Dimi Major

Dimi Major is known to James Bond fans as the tailor who made George Lazenby’s suits  for his role as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. D. Major Bespoke Tailors Ltd. continues today under the ownership of Dimi’s son Andrew Major and Andrew’s sister. Andrew Major was kind enough to answer a number of questions for me about the history of the firm and the firm’s work on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Even though Major Tailors only did work for one James Bond film, their clothing played a substantial part in the look of the film and is one reason why the film holds up well today.

D Major Linen Suit

A recent linen suit jacket made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors. Apart from the patch pockets it is not so different from the suit Lazenby wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Dimi Major and the history of D. Major Bespoke Tailors

Dimi Major was originally trained to be a tailor by his father, and then moved to London where he worked at Bailey and Weatherill—known to readers of this blog as Patrick Macnee’s tailor for The Avengers—for almost a decade. By that the end of his tenure at Bailey and Weatherill, Major was ready to open his own business where he lived in the Fulham area of London, and since 1959 Major Tailors has been located there at 11 Royal Parade, Dawes Road. Andrew said it was very important to his father to own his premises.

For a few years in the 1960s, Douglas Hayward, later known one of London’s most famous celebrity tailors, formed a partnership with Major. Hayward is known to James Bond fans as the tailor who made Roger Moore’s suits in his three Bond films from the 1980s, and he is also know for formerly being the to Michael Caine, Terence Stamp and many others. Hayward left Major in 1968 when he acquired his own premises in Mayfair. Andrew told me that his father and Hayward remained friends until Major’s death in 2004.

A recent navy chalkstripe double-breasted suit made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors

A recent navy chalkstripe double-breasted suit made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors

The Silhouette

Andrew Major cuts and fits all of Major Tailor’s garments, and he was trained by his father. The silhouette of the suits he cuts is still similar to what Major made for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He said about the cut:

My father always aimed for an elegantly shaped cut, with soft shoulders and a medium-weight canvas for the coat and a slim but not over-fitted line to the trousers. The emphasis has always been on a classic look with a nod to the fashion of the day, without adopting the often fleeting extremes of style. Of course, as bespoke tailors we aim to give our clients what they want while always trying to advise them on what looks most flattering for them. The suits we make tend to last quite a long time, so in the long run it is advisable to avoid being too faddish. This remains our ethos to the present day.

This cut is still the same as what Dimi Major made for George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby’s suit jackets have a 1960s flair and were made with slightly short with narrower trousers than a classic look would prescribe, but they were certainly not too faddish and do not look out of date today. Major’s attitude towards the fashions of the day is shared by most tailors, even many Savile Row tailors. A good tailor tries to make the client look his or her best above all else.

A tweed three-piece suit made by Major Tailors

A recent tweed three-piece suit made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors

Major Tailors and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Dimi Major made most of George Lazenby’s tailored wardrobe for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Not only did he make the suits, dinner jackets, sports coats and trousers, but also the three-quarter-length peacoat-like overcoat and the Victorian Ulster coat for the Sir Hilary Bray disguise. Andrew Major could not find any records that they made Lazenby’s infamous highland dress, though the firm has made a number of jackets for highland dress over the years but not kilts.

On-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service-Ulster-Coat

George Lazenby in an Ulster made by Dimi Major

Not only did Major make clothes for George Lazenby, but they also made clothes for Bernard Lee (M), Gabriele Ferzetti (Draco) and Telly Savalas (Blofeld). For Lee they made two three-piece outfits (though not suits), though there are no records for his green velvet smoking jacket. Andrew Major told me that they have made similar smoking jackets for clients, who want a less complicated smoking jacket that is styled more like a dinner jacket, like M’s is. For Ferzetti they made his navy nailhead three-piece suit and his black lounge outfit for the wedding. Ferzetti’s jackets have stronger shoulders than Lazenby’s have, and that could have been requested by costume designer Marjory Cornelius to give Ferzetti’s suits are more continental look. For Savalas they made the overcoat with the astrakhan collar. Andrew Major said “I know that my father was very proud of his work when he saw it on screen.” After all, Major was responsible for creating the tailored clothing for all of the film’s male leads.

Gabriele Ferzetti in a navy nailhead three-piece suit made by Dimi Major

Gabriele Ferzetti in a navy nailhead three-piece suit made by Dimi Major

Peter Hunt, the director of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was already a client of Dimi Major before the film was made. It is unknown if he influenced the producers to choose Major to do the tailoring for the film in the way that Terence Young brought in his tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to make suits for Sean Connery in the Bond films. Major also made at least one suit for Bond producer Harry Saltzman, though Andrew does not know when. Andrew also told me that they had made suits for another James Bond actor for personal use, but he is unable to disclose whom.

A navy chalkstripe suit by Dimi Major

A navy chalkstripe suit by Dimi Major

Beyond Bond

Major Tailors has tailored many stars for other films, television and theatre over the years. They made George Segal’s suits for the 1973 film A Touch of Class, which resemble George Lazenby’s suits despite having wider lapels. Tony Curtis was also a client of Major’s for many years, including at the time of The Persuaders. Andrew is unable to confirm if Curtis wore any suits from Major in the series.

You can find out more about D. Major Bespoke Tailors at MajorTailors.com

15 Quotes from the James Bond Films About Tailors, Suits and Menswear

Here are 15 quotes from the James Bond series that Bond says about his clothing, Bond says about other men’s clothing and other characters say about Bond’s clothing.

Dr. No

Dr-No-Savile-Row

1

Felix Leiter: Interesting … where were you measured for this, bud?
James Bond: My tailor. Savile Row.
Leiter: That’s so? Mine’s a guy in Washington.

Sean Connery’s suit was actually from Anthony Sinclair on Conduit Street, which intersects Savile Row. Savile Row is known worldwide for its tailoring whilst Conduit Street—which was historically home to a number of tailors—is not. Sinclair himself said “I make only a Savile Row style”, so Connery’s comment is not entirely false. “Savile Row” is often used as a term to describe traditional English tailoring, though only tailoring firms on the Row should be allowed to call themselves “Savile Row” tailors.

Dr-No-Quite-Suitable

2

James Bond: Am I properly dressed for the occasion?
Sister Lily: Quite suitable.
Bond: Suitable for what?

From Russia with Love

From-Russia-with-Love-Benz

3

James Bond on Benz’s suit: Not mad about his tailor, are you?

Goldfinger

Goldfinger-Meet-me-here

4

M to James Bond: Meet me here at seven. Black tie.

Thunderball

Thunderball-Think-I-had-a-hat

5

James Bond: I think I had a hat when I came in.

Bond did indeed have a hat, but he was wearing it with a completely different outfit when he arrived at the office. The navy blazer Bond was wearing when he arrived in a hurry from the country was too informal for the office, so when he had a chance he changed his clothes to a more appropriate three-piece suit. Who knows what happened to his hat? Perhaps it was misplaced during production and this line was added to account for the error.

Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Tailor-Hong-Kong

6

James Bond: I know a good tailor in Hong Kong.

Bond mentions this tailor again when he visits Hong Kong in Die Another Day.

Live and Let Die

Live-and-Let-Die-Double-Vents

7

James Bond: That’s fine. You can fit the rest this afternoon.
Tailor: Right, sir.
Bond: Don’t forget the double vents. (The suit jacket was mistakenly made with a single vent.)
[Looking at ties]
Bond: [Picking out the brown tie he dons] This will do nicely. It’s [another tie is] a little frantic, I’ll keep the other three.

Live-and-Let-Die-Ties

The Man with the Golden Gun

The-Man-with-the-Golden-Gun-Humiliated-tailors

8

James Bond: I mean sir, who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?
M: Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!

Moonraker

Moonraker-Tailors-heart

9

Dr. Holly Goodhead: Have you broken something?
James Bond: Only my tailor’s heart.

Octopussy

Octopussy-Stuck-a-knife

10

James Bond: You wouldn’t have a small piece of thread in that [a coil of rope], would you Q? Somebody seems to have stuck a knife in my wallet.
Q: They missed you? What a pity.

A View to a Kill

A-View-to-a-Kill-Tibbett

11

James Bond, as James St. John Smyth: Well Tibbett, you heard what Miss Jenny Flex said. There is a reception at six.
Sir Godfrey Tibbett, as Bond’s valet: Yes, sir.
Bond: So, I shall be needing a white jacket and a black tie.
Tibbett: Yes, sir.
Bond: And if possible, a clean shirt.
Tibbett: Yes, sir.
Bond: Oh my lord, Tibbett, look at the state of my clothes! How on earth do you pack my bags?
Tibbett: Sorry, sir.
[On tape]
Bond: Oh my lord, what the devil’s wrong with these shoes? It looks as though they were wiped over with an oily rag!
Tibbett: I’m terribly sorry, sir.

The Living Daylights

Living-Daylights-Fancy-Dress-Ball

12

Saunders to James Bond: You’re bloody late. This is a mission, not a fancy-dress ball!

Die Another Day

Die-Another-Day-Send-up-my-tailor

13

James Bond to Mr. Chang: Perhaps you could send up my tailor … and some food.

Casino Royale

Casino-Royale-Suit-disdain

14

Vesper Lynd to James Bond: All right … by the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. Naturally you think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it.

By the context of Vesper’s line, Bond’s Brioni suit is standing in for a Savile Row suit. But wearing a suit with disdain or contempt is certainly not the way of Fleming’s Bond, who considered the way people dress to be a very important part of their character. By the end of the Casino Royale film, Bond grows to appreciate the suits he wears.

Casino-Royale-I-have-a-dinner-jacket

15

James Bond: I have a dinner jacket.
Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table.
Bond: How? … It’s tailored.
Lynd: I sized you up the moment we met.

The latter is a proper dinner jacket, such as the one Bond wears with a single button, peaked lapels, jetted pockets and no vent. The dinner jacket that Bond already has (but not shown on screen) is likely questionable in style, with two or three buttons on the front, notched lapels, flapped pockets and a single vent. In reality, however, it would be very unlikely for Vesper to purchase such a well-fitting dinner jacket for Bond. Bond is correct to question how Vesper got him a tailored jacket, especially on such short notice, and expected it to fit well.

Lines about women’s clothing have been left out, but the great “That’s quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing”, from Diamonds Are Forever, and “You get your clothes on … and I’ll buy you an ice cream”, from For Your Eyes Only, deserve honourable mention. If there are any lines left out that you think should have been included, feel free to mention them below.

Midnight Blue Dinner Suits

Skyfall-Dinner-Suit-Midnight-Blue

Since Skyfall was released in 2012, midnight blue dinner suits (tuxedos) have become very popular. James Bond has had a long history of wearing midnight blue dinner suits, starting with Bond’s introduction in Dr. No, so Skyfall is by no means a first for James Bond in a midnight blue dinner suit. In fact, half of James Bond’s dinner suits (excluding ivory dinner jackets and the midnight blue velvet dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever) have been midnight blue. The midnight blue dinner suit is by no means a fashion of the day.

Dr. No Dinner Suit

Sean Connery wearing a midnight blue dinner suit in Dr. No

Midnight blue is a very dark shade of blue named after the colour of the midnight sky that can easily be mistaken for black. It’s more of a type of black than it is a type of blue. The point of making dinner suits in midnight blue instead of black is so they look darker than black, and not look noticeably blue. In artificial lighting midnight blue ends up looking like a richer black, and Daniel Craig’s dinner suit in Skyfall pictured at the top is a good example of this. The blue body of the dinner jacket looks darker than its actually black lapels! If a midnight blue dinner suit is obviously blue it is too light and not actually midnight blue. Dinner suits in lighter shades of blue, such as navy, marine blue and royal blue, are a current fad and not actually midnight blue, which many people are calling them. The elegant contrast of classic evening wear is lost with these lighter dinner suits.

Skyfall-Dinner-Suit-Midnight-Blue-Daytime-2

Daniel Craig’s midnight blue dinner jacket in Skyfall looks blue in bright daylight, but it is still a very dark blue. The contrast between the midnight blue cloth and black lapels is only noticeable in daylight, which isn’t a problem since dinner jackets should only be worn at night.

Navy, marine blue and royal blue suits came into fashion after people saw Daniel Craig wearing a royal blue dinner suit on the Skyfall posters. Skyfall had a very large advertising budget, and posters of this royal blue dinner suit were everywhere. Daniel Craig was actually wearing a midnight blue dinner suit—the same as what he wears in the film—but the poster’s designer enhanced the colours of the photo to make the dinner jacket lighter and bolder. Whoever is responsible for choosing to enhance the dinner suit’s blue on the poster may be responsible for this fashion trend.

A poster for Skyfall with Daniel Craig in a colour-enhanced dinner suit

A poster for Skyfall with Daniel Craig in a colour-enhanced dinner suit. The actual dinner suit is much darker, as seen in the image above.

Midnight blue dinner jacket can have either black or midnight blue silk facings and trimmings. Sean Connery’s, George Lazenby’s and Pierce Brosnan’s (in Tomorrow Never Dies) midnight blue dinner suits are faced in midnight blue, whilst Roger Moore’s, Pierce Brosnan’s (in The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day) and Daniel Craig’s midnight blue dinner suits are faced in black. It is easier to find a bow tie and cummerbund to match black facings than it is to find a blue bow tie and cummerbund to match blue facings. A midnight blue dinner jacket should be treated exactly the same as a black dinner jacket—because midnight blue is a shade of black—and worn with matching trousers.

Pierce Brosnan wearing a midnight blue dinner jacket in The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan wearing a midnight blue dinner jacket in The World Is Not Enough

James Bond’s Three Piece Suits

Thunderball-Flannel-Suit

Three-piece suits have been an iconic part of James Bond’s look since he exited the lavatory on Goldfinger’s private jet wearing a grey glen check suit in Goldfinger. Since Daniel Craig will be wearing a three-piece suit again in Spectre, I thought it would be helpful to look back at James Bond’s past three-piece suits.

The waistcoat

The inclusion of a matching waistcoat (vest) along with the jacket and trousers is what makes a suit a three-piece suit. Bond usually wears a traditional waistcoat that has six buttons and a small cutaway at the bottom. Sometimes the bottom button is on the cutaway, but even if it is not, Bond does not fasten the bottom button. The bottom button on a waistcoat is never fastened out of tradition, but it is also never fastened to allow the bottom of the waistcoat needs to spread apart when seated. In Thunderball (pictured top) the waistcoats are cut straight across the bottom, and all buttons are meant to fasten. The straight-bottomed waistcoats look a little like sleeveless cardigans and are thus slightly less formal. Bond has occasionally worn waistcoats with five buttons or seven buttons, and in Goldfinger and The World Is Not Enough, the waistcoats have notched lapels. Bond’s waistcoats typically have four welt pocked on the front, and the back of the waistcoat is made in the same material as the jacket’s lining.

Goldfinger-Grey-Three-PIece-Suit-Waistcoat

Bond showing off the waistcoat to his three-piece suit in Goldfinger

How James Bond wears his three-piece suits

Most of Bond’s three-piece suits are made of dark worsteds or flannels and worn in London. Sean Connery wears a dark brown three-piece suit to the office in Thunderball, and George Lazenby wears two navy three-piece suits (herringbone and chalk stripe) to the office and the College of Arms in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. From Moonraker in 1979 to The World Is Not Enough twenty years later in 1999, Bond all but twice wears three-piece suits to the office and in other London scenes.

Navy-Herringbone-Suit

Bond at the office in a navy herringbone three-piece suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

A dark three piece suit gives Bond a traditional, confident and powerful look that is appropriate for his formal office setting. Bond’s dark three-piece suits are most often navy with pinstripes or chalk stripes, but charcoal flannel is another favourite colour for Bond’s three-piece suits. Bond has also worn three piece suits in a business setting in navy herringbone, navy birdseye, grey herringbone, grey windowpane, grey rope stripe and black pinstripe suitings.

For mourning the death of his “brother” in Diamonds Are Forever, Bond wears a black three-piece suit. Today people may consider a three-piece suit too flashy for a funeral, even in somber solid black. Bond also wears two sporty three-piece suits outside of London for non-business occasions: the grey glen check suit in Goldfinger and the brown tweed suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Casino-Royale-Three-Piece-Suit

Bond in a three-piece suit in Lake Como in Casino Royale

The last time Bond wore a three-piece suit was at Lake Como in Casino Royale. Considering the location, the navy pinstripe suit that Bond wears is out of place. A solid navy or grey two-piece suit would have been better since the three-piece is too serious and pinstripes suggest the office. Though Bond is often overdressed, he is overdressed more than usual in this scene. However, the three-piece suit in Casino Royale signifies that Bond has completed his first mission and is now the more suave and mature James Bond we know from the previous twenty films.

Though the three-piece suit is a little out of place at Lake Como, it is even more out of place on the oil rig during during the climax of Diamonds Are Forever. Bond looks absolutely ridiculous wearing his navy pinstripe three-piece suit there, though it conceals Connery’s heavier figure better than practical tactical gear would have. In fact, a well-fitting three-piece suit is one of the most flattering things a man can wear.

How to wear a three-piece suit

Wearing a three-piece suit has a few difference to wearing a two-piece suit. It allows the jacket to be worn open and still look just as presentable as it does with it closed. If you remove your suit jacket at your desk like Bond does in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you will look more dressed with a waistcoat. The waistcoat, however, cannot replace the suit jacket for any occasions a suit is required.

Bond at his desk in just his waistcoat

Bond at his desk in just his waistcoat in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The correct proportions and fit are more important with three-piece suits than they are with two-piece suits because they have a waistcoat to tie the pieces all together. It is important that the waistcoat and trousers work together to prevent the shirt from showing between the bottom of the waistcoat and the top of the trousers. The waistcoat needs to cover the the trousers’ waistband. The problem with wearing a waistcoat with modern low-rise trousers is that the waistcoat has to be very long. When the waistcoat is too long it cannot conform to the body as well, which makes the body look heavier when the jacket is removed. A long waistcoat also makes the torso look larger overall, which is not flattering. A waistcoat that is too long will also be uncomfortable to sit in. Wearing trousers with a traditional rise is the only proper way to wear a three-piece suit so the suit as a whole can fit and move with the body in the best way possible.

Octopussy-Grey-Rope-Stripe-2

M, the Minister of Defence and Bond, all in three-piece suits in Octopussy

Three-piece suits should never be worn with belts since they leave a lump under the waistcoat. Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig wear three-piece suits with belts in their Bond films, as opposed to Sean Connery and George Lazenby who wear suit trousers with side adjusters. Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory in Skyfall wears his three-piece suits with braces, which are the best option for trouser support when wearing a waistcoat. Braces are the only sure way to prevent the trousers from sagging and revealing the shirt below the waistcoat. And if you don’t want anyone to know you are wearing braces, the waistcoat keeps them perfectly hidden. I am surprised that the films have not—or at least not from what can be seen—put Bond in braces when wearing a three-piece suit. The trousers often slip down in action to reveal a sliver of the shirt. This could have been avoided with braces, and nobody would ever know or think that Bond is wearing braces when they are hidden under a waistcoat.

James Bond Shows How a Suit Should Fit

James Bond has often set a good example for how a suit should fit. I’ve previously written about classic proportions and different parts of the suit, but not about overall fit. There is no one way a suit must fit, but there are general guidelines. Today’s slim-fit suits (like Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall) and the late 1980s and 1990s baggy suits (like Timothy Dalton’s suits in Licence to Kill) can follow the trends without being poorly-fitted messes. Whilst suits that bunch up or pull are not by any means well-fitting suits, a full-fitting suit and a close-fitting suit can both be equally well-fitting if they have clean lines and are comfortable to wear. The fit of a suit is primarily judged at a natural standing position, but how it moves with the body is also important since a well-fitted suit should never hinder anything but the most unnatural movements. A well-fitting suit should be comfortable to drive, eat or dance (but not breakdance) in.

For this example I am using Sean Connery’s famous grey glen check suit from Goldfinger made by Anthony Sinclair. It has a very classic fit, neither particularly full nor trim. It has fuller cut than what is fashionable today, but the same fit principles apply still.

James-Bond-Suit-Fit

The Jacket

  1. 1Collar: The jacket’s collar must hug the neck when standing both in a natural standing pose and though a little movement, and there must not be any creasing in the upper back below the collar. About a 1/2 inch to 1 inch of the shirt’s collar should show above the suit’s collar.
  2. 2Shoulders: The jacket’s shoulders should be wide enough for the sleeve to hang cleanly, which usually means a jacket’s shoulders are just a bit wider than a man’s natural shoulders. A man’s shoulders are rounded whereas a tailored jacket’s shoulders and sleeves meet at an angle, so it’s hard to compare the two. If your muscles push your sleeve out, the shoulders are too narrow. If the shoulders stick out further than your biceps, the shoulders are too wide. Anywhere in between is an acceptable shoulder width. The width of the shoulders should also be in proportion with the size of your head. Divots at the top of the sleeve do not mean the shoulders are too wide (as often thought) but rather that the chest is too tight across the back or the sleeves are not hung at the correct angle.
  3. 3Chest: The chest can be full and draped with a clean fold in front of the sleeve or close-cut and clean. The chest needs to be large enough that the arms can move without binding the chest. If the chest is too large there will be undesirable diagonal folds in the back. English tailors often cut their jackets with small folds at the sides the back behind the arms to allow for movement whilst keeping the silhouette very neat.
  4. 4Waist: The waist should not be so tight as to cause pulling, though a small “X” at the fastened button is acceptable. Sean Connery’s and Pierce Brosnan’s suit jackets did not fit closely around the waist, but they were still shaped at the waist. George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig all wear their suit jackets closer at the waist. As long as the jacket doesn’t pull at the waist (like on Daniel Craig’s suit jackets in Skyfall), the waist can have as much or as little tapering as you like.
  5. 5Sleeves: The sleeves should be wide enough to hang cleanly but not wide enough to look baggy. A sleeve that is too narrow will feel constricting. In general, the sleeve should follow the shape of the arm as it narrows towards the wrist, but it should be wide enough to comfortably fit a double cuff if you wear them. The angle that the sleeve is hung has a big impact on how cleanly it hangs. The wrong angle can cause wrinkles and discomfort. The angle that the sleeve follows should be how your arms fall at a natural stance. Armholes also play a part, and they should be snug, but not tight, around the armpit. This is known as a “high armhole” because the bottom of the armhole is high into the armpit, and it is one of the few places where snugness considerably increases mobility. A higer armhole allows the sleeve to move more independently of the chest. Read more on jacket sleeves.
  6. 6Sleeve length: The jacket’s sleeve should extend to the wrist bone. One-quarter to one-half inch of shirt cuff should extend past the jacket’s cuffs. This isn’t just to visually balance the shirt collar sticking out at the back of the neck but also to protect suit jacket cuffs from unnecessary wear. Shirts—or even just shirt cuffs—are much cheaper to replace than a suit that has frayed at the end of sleeves.
  7. 7Jacket length: The jacket should be around half the length from the base of the neck to the ground, and it must be long enough to cover the buttocks. English jackets tend to be on the longer side whilst Italian jackets tend to be on the shorter side. Fashion dictates that jacket are to be cut shorter now, just as they were cut longer in the 1990s. But within the current fashions, the jacket should still cover the buttocks or else it throws off the proportions of the body and can make the male figure look less masculine. But unlike any of the other fashions that flout proper fit, there is no loss of practicality or loss of clean lines with a jacket that is too long or too short. Visual balance is the only reason.
  8. 8Vents: If the jacket has a vent or vents, the vent or vents must stay closed. If there are no vents, the jacket should drape cleanly around the seat and not cause the front to pull open. Any man can wear any style of vent as long as the skirt of the jacket is properly fitted. Read more on vents.

The Trousers

  1. 9Waist: The trousers’ waist should be large enough to sit just at the waist without feeling too tight, and it should not be too lose as too sag. Side adjusters and belts exist only for minute adjustments, not to make the trousers a full size smaller. Trousers worn with braces should be slightly larger so they can hang freely.
  2. 10Rise: The trouser rise is the difference between the outseam and the inseam. The typical trouser rise has become shorter over the past fifty years, though it should still be long enough so the trousers can sit high enough to prevent the shirt and tie from showing beneath a fastened jacket button. The suit has a cleaner look when there is no break between the jacket and trousers. Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall and Spectre have a long enough rise to prevent this, though the trousers tend to sag lower.
  3. 11Front: Whether the trousers have forward pleats, reverse pleats, darts or a flat front, the front should lay flat without pulling at the crotch or opening the pockets. When there are pleats, the pleats should lay flat and only open when you sit or place your hands in your pockets.
  4. 12Legs: The legs can be wide or narrow as long as they have a clean drape with an uninterrupted crease. Trousers that cling to the leg are too tight and put unnecessary stress on the trousers. Suit trousers don’t stretch, so being too tight is not only uncomfortable but also impractical. Too-tight trousers also cannot keep a sharp crease and will not have the smart look that suit trousers demand.
  5. 13Hem: Full break, half break and no break are all valid options. The trousers are too short when sock can be seen when standing and too long when they pool on top of the shoe or reach the floor in the back. Wider legs need to be hemmed longer and narrower legs need to be hemmed shorter to achieve the same kind of break.

The Waistcoat

  1. 14Chest and waist: The front of the waistcoat must lay close to the chest. The waist should also fit closely, and the adjustable strap at the back should, like trousers adjusters, be used for small adjustments.
  2. 15Length: The waistcoat’s bottom button should be at the bottom of the trousers’ waistband to prevent the shirt from showing between the waistcoat and the trousers when left open. To keep the body in proportion, the waistcoat should not end far below the natural waist. A waistcoat that is too long makes the torso look heavier and the legs look shorter, which is rarely flattering. The waistcoat that is too long will also be uncomfortable when sitting. Because it ends not far below the waist and the second-to-bottom button is placed at the waist (the bottom button should not be fastened), it does not get in the way of sitting. If there is a gap between the waistcoat and the trousers, it is usually a problem with the trouser rise being too short, not the waistcoat being too short.

Sean Connery’s suit does not always look perfect, but that’s due to the “wear and tear that goes on out there in the field”. Because it’s a lightweight suit, it wrinkles more readily than a heavier suit would.

Another Suit from Spectre Revealed

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Daily Mail has once again posted images from the filming of Spectre. This time Daniel Craig is wearing a light navy Tom Ford suit with a light windowpane pattern. The windowpane may be overlaid on a subtle glen check pattern, though from the quality of the photos it’s hard enough to see the windowpane. The style and fit of the suit is, quite unfortunately, practically identical to the suits in Skyfall. Clearly it’s not a suit meant for moving around in!

The suit jacket looks like it has two buttons, but it may have three like in Skyfall. It also has straight shoulders, narrow notched lapels, a single vent, four buttons on the cuffs—with the last button left open—and slightly slanted hip pockets with flaps. As for the fit, the jacket length is again too short to cover his buttocks and it is too small all around. A suit should not be so binding, no matter how much one moves around. No matter how tight a suit is it doesn’t show off Daniel Craig’s muscular physique. Tight knitted garments, like the mock polo neck jumper, conform to the body and move with the body because they can stretch, whilst tight woven garments, especially tailored garments with a lot of internal structure, are unable to stretch. Suits can mould to the body, but they still have to fit well first, and they need a little allowance in areas for movement. The suit may be too tight because Daniel Craig is wearing a safety harness under it, but the costume designer Jany Temime should have accounted for that, just as she ordered a suit with longer sleeves for riding a motorbike in Skyfall. One things this suit from Spectre improves on over the Skyfall suits are wider shoulders, so at least Daniel Craig looks more powerful in this suit. The flat-front suit trousers are again a little too tight, and they aren’t staying up as high as they are supposed to sit on the waist. When the trousers sag, it causes the front to look messy and show below the fastened jacket button. The trousers have an extended waistband with side adjusters, and the legs are finished with turn-ups.

The white shirt is certainly an improvement over the Skyfall shirts since the tab collar is replaced with a point collar. Still, one would expect at least a semi-spread for such an English hero. The shirt also has double cuffs, which don’t quite fit inside the suit jacket’s narrow sleeves. One area that this shirt is not improved over the Skyfall shirts is the colour. Light blue flatters Daniel Craig’s light complexion more than white does, which washes him out a little. The tie is navy (possibly with a pattern that can’t be seen), and the navy tie with a navy suit is one of the most classic Bond combinations, though it is most often done with a blue shirt. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Since the knot is so narrow, the tie likely has a very light interlining. Craig also wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket. The shoes are probably the Crockett & Jones Norwich model. They are black five-eyelet, cap-toe derby shoes with Dainite studded rubber soles. His socks are a rather boring and unstylish black. Navy would have been a better choice, since it would extend the line of possibly-too-short trouser legs.

See more photos and read about the filming at Daily Mail.

The Cannonball Run: A Bond-like Navy Blazer

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The Cannonball Run is almost like an eighth film to feature Roger Moore playing James Bond. Moore plays Seymour Goldfarb, Jr., who identifies as “some goy movie star named Roger Moore,” as his Jewish mother says. In pretending to be Roger Moore, Goldfarb naturally acts and dresses like James Bond. Moore’s performance in The Cannonball Run (essentially as James Bond) is even more tongue-in-cheek than in his Bond films, but here that kind of performance is welcome. Like James Bond, Goldfarb also drives a Aston Martin DB5 in Silver Birch. This exact car was one of the four Aston Martins used as Bond’s car in Goldfinger and originally was registered BMT 216 A (it is registered 6633 PP in The Cannonball Run). This same car was originally featured in an episode of The Saint titled “The Noble Sportsman” made in 1963 and painted Dubonet Red. Also like James Bond, Goldfarb sleeps with a gun under his pillow. His gun is a Walther PP, the same as what James Bond uses in the film Dr. No.

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As for dressing like James Bond, Moore’s character has the right idea but doesn’t get everything quite right in his execution, especially not with the three black tie outfits. The best outfit he wears is the navy blazer and beige trousers when the character is introduced. The outfit overall is similar to the blazer Moore later wears as James Bond when selecting a horse with Max Zorin (Christopher Walkin) in A View to a Kill, minus the day cravat. Since the film was made in America, the clothes would have been sourced in America, and it shows in the details.

The button two navy blazer’s silhouette, however, is still English-inspired with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. The details are common for American blazers: patch pockets (at least the hip pockets; I can’t tell if the breast pocket is) and a single vent. The blazer has three buttons on the cuffs, and the blazer’s buttons are shanked brass. The notched lapels are a little wide, but overall they don’t look particularly dated.

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The beige trousers that Roger Moore wears with the blazer are cut with a flat front and straight legs. The waistband has side adjusters and a hidden clasp closure. The side pockets are slanted. Moore’s pale blue shirt has a long point collar worn open, rounded single-button cuffs and a wide front placket. The shirt was most likely American-sourced and probably has a breast pocket. The collar and cuffs are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge, and the placket is stitched about 3/8 inch from the edge. As Seymour Goldfarb, Moore wears an accessory he rarely wears as James Bond: a pocket square. Moore’s is a light blue silk handkerchief rolled in his breast pocket. Moore wears dark brown socks and dark brown lace-up shoes, contrasting with the slip-on shoes he ordinarily wears.

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