Charles Robinson: A Navy Three-Piece Suit with Red Stripes

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Colin Salmon plays M’s aide and Deputy Chief of Staff Charles Robinson in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, but it’s not until his third and last Bond film that he is dressed almost to a level of elegance equal to James Bond’s. That is not to say that he is dressed like Bond. Robinson is dressed in Die Another Day in a much flashier manner in a navy three-piece suit with red chalk stripes. The suit is most likely from an English brand, judging both by the jacket’s cut and the presence of a ticket pocket.

The button two suit jacket has padded shoulders with a slight pagoda effect that is emphasised by roped sleeveheads. The jacket has a clean chest and a gently suppressed waist. The pockets are straight with a ticket pocket. The waistcoat has five buttons down the front, and Robinson leaves the bottom button open. The waistcoat, however, is too long and reaches far below the waist. The length is a common problem with ready-to-wear waistcoats. Waistcoats are made too long to make up for people wearing their trousers too low, but waistcoats weren’t originally designed to be so long and thus are unable to fit the body well below the waist. The waistcoat’s buttons are also too far apart. Robinson’s suit trousers have a straight leg and probably a flat front. Apart from the waistcoat, the suit fits very well. The waistcoat gives this suit away as ready-to-wear.

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Robinson’s pink poplin shirt appears to be from Turnbull & Asser. The shape of the collar—mostly the inward curve of the outer edge—matches the shape of the Classic Turnbull & Asser collar and the double cuffs have the link holes very close to the fold, just as Turnbull & Asser makes theirs. The shirt also has a narrow front placket. The pink in the shirt pulls out the suit’s red stripes.

The red tie also coordinates with the suit’s red stripes. The tie has horizontal ribs, which means the tie is woven with a 45-degree twill weave. Since good ties are cut on the bias (cut on a 45-degree angle to the cloth’s warp and weft threads), a 45-degree twill wale will either become horizontal or vertical. Robinson’s tie has a fine yellow windowpane pattern. The tie is tied in a windsor knot with a dimple. Robinson’s black shoes have too heavy a sole to be worn with this elegant suit, a problem that is hardly noticeable when the shoes only have a couple seconds on screen.

Whilst Robinson isn’t perfectly dressed, he is one of the best-dressed men in Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films.

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Columbo: Three-Piece Dinner Suit

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With New Year’s Eve coming up shortly, let’s look at more black tie inspiration. Milos Columbo, played by Topol in For Your Eyes Only, looks elegant in his three-piece dinner suit. It was most likely tailored by the same man who made who made Columbo’s blazer, Conduit Street tailor Robbie Stanford. The button one dinner jacket has straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. The lapels and collar are very unique in that lapels have horizontal peaks like the Tautz lapel, and the edge of the collar is angled up to form a notch. There are three buttons on the cuffs. The jacket’s buttons are black horn, just like on Bond’s dinner jacket.

Columbo’s dinner jacket unfortunately has two very noticeable faults. The pockets are slanted and have flaps, and the flaps are made worse with a satin silk facing. Slanted pockets are not appropriate on a dinner jacket because of their sporting origins, and bulky pocket flaps are at odds with the dinner jacket’s elegant minimalism. Columbo’s dinner jacket also has double vents, which would be okay if they were a moderate 10″ length like James Bond’s are in the same scene. However, Columbo’s vents are about 14″ long, a quite excessive length since they almost reach the waist. Double vents this long unnecessarily flap about and are especially inelegant for a dinner jacket. Both the pocket style and the vent length are carried over from 1970s fashions, but the dinner jacket does not look like something from the 1970s overall. Though the details are not ideal, they don’t detract from the jacket’s beautiful cut.

Notice the very deep vents, approximately 14" long

Notice the very deep double vents, approximately 14″ long

With the dinner suit, Columbo wears an elegant low-cut, button three, black silk waistcoat. The waistcoat’s U-shaped opening is less common than the V-shaped opening, but it is just as classic. The waistcoat accomplishes its job of covering the waist, whilst it shows off as much of the shirt from as possible. The U-front waistcoat is almost like a cummerbund in that it is hardly seen—or not even seen at all—when the jacket is buttoned. Columbo’s waistcoat has covered buttons in the same silk as the waistcoat’s front, and it does not appear to have lapels.

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Columbo wears a white dress shirt made by Frank Foster with a spread collar, pleated front and double cuffs. The shirt’s placket is stitched close to the centre, and it closes with smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, which were also on the shirt Columbo wears with his blazer later in the film. The double cuffs are secured with large, round black cufflinks that have Columbo’s dove emblem in white, and the holes in the cuff are positioned off-centre towards the fold. Columbo’s black silk thistle-shaped bow tie matches his lapels.

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The dove cufflinks, plus a number of gold rings.

Bill Tanner: A Modern English Navy Pinstripe Suit

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Rory Kinnear, who appeared as M’s aide Bill Tanner in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, will return to the roll next year in Spectre. Tanner’s suits in Skyfall have a modern English look; they’re slightly more modern-looking than Mallory’s bespoke Timothy Everest suits but not fashion-forward as James Bond’s shrunken Tom Ford suits. One of Tanner’s three suits in Skyfall is a basic button-two navy suit with grey pinstripes. Grey pinstripes are more subtle than the traditional white pinstripes or bolder rope stripes and chalk stripes, but they’re good for the man who doesn’t want to draw undue attention to himself. The shoulders are lightly-padded, the chest is full and the waist is suppressed. Unlike Bond’s suit jackets in Skyfall, Tanner’s suit jacket is made to a tradition length that covers the buttocks. The button stance is high—a trend that started in the previous decade—but it doesn’t agree with Tanner’s figure. Judging by the pulling around the waist, the suit is most likely ready-to-wear.

The jacket has slanted pockets with a ticket pocket, and the front edges of the pockets are rounded much more than pockets ordinarily are. There are double vents in the back. The cuffs have four buttons, with the buttons spaced apart in groups of two. The suit’s trousers have a flat front, low rise and tapered legs with turn-ups. The low rise is most fashionable aspect of the entire suit, and it unfortunately causes the shirt and tie to show beneath the jacket’s button.

The unique spacing of the jacket's four cuff buttons

The unique spacing of the jacket’s four cuff buttons

Based on the arrangement of the cuff buttons as well as the suit’s style and silhouette, the suit is most likely from the English brand Hackett London. It particularly resembles Hackett’s “Chelsea” cut suit. The Hackett website has an interesting description for their “Chelsea” model:

For the classic Hackett Chelsea cut, think James Bond, who never lets trivial matters such as saving the world from super-villains get in the way of rocking a good suit … It tapers in to define the waist, with double venting used at the rear to ensure that the snug fit doesn’t become constrictive when sitting, or grappling with Russian spies. As you would expect with classic British style, combining subtlety and sharpness is the key here; high armholes accentuate a strong chest, but little to no padding allows the shoulder to gradually slope down, providing a more natural silhouette than Italian suits.

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Tanner wears this navy pinstripe suit on two occasions in Skyfall, and he wears it with a different shirt and tie each time. He favours stripes shirts. The first shirt is white with a pattern of thick light blue, medium blue and navy stripes, and the second shirt is cornflower blue with thick white stripes. Both shirts have a spread collar with medium-length points and a  considerable half-inch of tie space. The collar is too wide and short for Tanner’s round head. A more moderate spread with longer points would better flatter Tanner’s face. The shirts have double cuffs.

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When pairing a striped shirt with a striped suit the stripes need to be considerably different so they don’t clash. Usually the difference is achieved in the scale; the stripes on the second shirt (see below) are spaced much closer together than the stripes on the suit are. Though the spacing of the first shirt’s stripes is similar to the spacing of the suit’s stripes, the much more intense stripes on the shirt prevent it from clashing with the very subtle pinstripes on the suit.

The tie that Tanner wears with the first shirt is navy with small white boxes arranged in a grid. The tie he wears with the second shirt is navy with larger pink squares in a diagonal layout. He ties his ties in four-in-hand knots. With all of his suits, Tanner wears black oxfords with a chiseled toe and black Dainite studded rubber soles, and his trousers are supported by black belt that matches his shoes.

The second shirt and tie that Tanner wears with his navy pinstripe suit

The second shirt and tie that Tanner wears with his navy pinstripe suit

Draco’s Suits: Navy Nailhead and Grey Chalkstripe

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Marc Ange Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti) in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of Bond’s best-dressed allies of the series. He is introduced wearing a perfectly-fitted navy nailhead three-piece suit. Nailhead is not to be confused with birdseye, but both are tiny repeating patterns. Whilst birdseye is a specific pattern of round dots with a unique weave, nailhead can be a variety of patterns. In any case, the nailhead is a pattern of squares rather than circles, or it’s a small pattern on a square grid unlike the diagonal repeat of the bridseye pattern. Draco’s nailhead suit is similar to the diagram below:

Draco-Nailhead

Draco’s suit jacket is a button three suit with the lapels gently rolled over the top button. It has a structured cut with straight, padded shoulders cut on the bias, gently-roped sleeveheads, a full-cut chest and a suppressed waist. The jacket’s front darts continue straight down below the jetted hip pockets to the jacket’s hem. There are three buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. The suit’s trousers have a darted front, slanted side pockets and a tapered leg with deep two-inch turn-ups. The suit is trimmed with black horn buttons.

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The suit overall has a very timeless style with balanced proportions. Whilst Draco’s suit doesn’t look as modern as George Lazenby’s Bond’s suits do, it doesn’t look old-fashioned either. If the jacket had pocket flaps and vents it would easily look more modern. The suit most likely is made by an Italian tailor, judging by the cut—especially the shape of the Roman-style shoulders—and since actor Gabriele Ferzetti is Italian.

Draco’s pale blue shirt has a moderate spread collar, front placket and mitred two-button cuffs, with the outer button left open. The navy tie has wide grey repp stripes bordered by narrower champagne-coloured stripes, with the stripes in the British direction. Draco ties it in a four-in-hand knot. He finishes the outfit with black shoes and a red carnation in his lapel.

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Later in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Draco wears a dark grey flannel chalkstripe double-breasted suit that isn’t seen much. The suit jacket has the same straight, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads that the three-piece navy nailhead suit has. The very wide peaked lapels with a considerable amount of belly, however, give the suit a distinct 1930s look. The white shirt that Draco wears with the double-breasted suit is made in the same style that he wears with the three-piece suit with a moderate spread collar and front placket. The tie has repeated sections of small mid blue, turquoise and green stripes on a navy ground, and Draco ties it in a four-in-hand knot.

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Announcing Spectre—Daniel Craig in a Blue Jumper

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At a press conference yesterday morning, Bond 24 was christened Spectre, and Skyfall’s costume designer Jany Temime was confirmed to be returning. So what did Daniel Craig wear to this press conference? He dressed down elegantly in a jumper, grey wool trousers and a shirt and tie. Thanks to James Bond Lifestyle, the round-neck jumper is identified as the “Oxford” model from N.Peal, the same one that he wears in Skyfall. But it’s in a different colour: a deep royal blue that flatters Daniel Craig’s warm spring complexion. Under the jumper, Craig wore a white shirt with a narrow collar—presumably a point collar but it could possibly be a tab collar—and a navy tie. V-neck jumpers typically work better with a tie than round-neck jumpers do since the V-neck leaves a space for the tie. The round neck jumper awkwardly sits over the tie knot. On the other hand, a crew-neck jumper over a tie looks like something one would wear when removing a jacket after returning home from work. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it shows an unstudied elegance. Craig allowed shirt cuff to show beyond the jumper’s sleeves.

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Craig wore grey wool flat-front trousers with turn-ups and Crockett & Jones Molton chukka boots (again, identified by James Bond Lifestyle) with the jumper. The Molton is a three-eyelet chukka with rubber soles sold at Barneys New York. Craig’s boots were black suede, an unusual combination of colour and material. Black is the dressiest colour for footwear whilst suede is a rather informal material. Black looks good when it’s well-shined leather, and in suede it looses that characteristic whilst lacking the interest that the brown colour can give suede. Black suede looks very dull and flat. However, the black goes with the grey and blue in the outfit whilst suede chukka boots match the casual look of outfit. Black suede is very difficult to pull off due to its unorthodox nature, yet Craig makes it work.

Daniel Craig’s outfit certainly looked elegant, but was it appropriate for a grand announcement of a new Bond film? Does it give insight to what he will wear in Spectre? Perhaps not. Craig wore a suit and tie at the press conferences announcing his first three Bond films, though only at the Quantum of Solace press conference did Craig wear an outfit from the upcoming film (the charcoal suit he wears in the London scenes). The Spectre press conference certainly looks like a more spontaneous affair than the previous press conferences, not only in the way Daniel Craig is dressed but also in the way the other actors are dressed. Nobody appears to be wearing costume.

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Ralph Fiennes, who plays M in Spectre, wore a beautiful charcoal birdseye suit with an azure blue shirt. The suit jacket is a button two with jetted pockets and no vents, and the trousers have forward pleats and turn-ups and are held up with braces that button on the outside of the waistband. However, Fiennes made the mistake of fastening the bottom button of the jacket instead of the top. The suit jacket has a fairly soft construction for what is most likely a bespoke English suit, judging by the full chest, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and the lapel had rolled over the top button down to the bottom button. This was most likely the result of a poor pressing because no English tailor would design a suit to button so low as to show the trouser waistband above the jacket’s button. Fiennes’ wore shoes with plain toe and were likely chelsea boots, though they were mostly hidden by the trousers. Fiennes’ suit is also not one that should be worn without a tie. That suit and the occasion warranted a tie.

Spectre‘s Director Sam Mendes wore a sloppy-looking suit with both the sleeves and the trousers too long. It was as if he borrowed a suit for the event. The jacket has three buttons and he fastened the bottom two buttons.

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Ben Whishaw, who plays Q in Spectre, wore one of the least attractive outfits of the men at the event. He wore a black, button four unstructured jacket, baggy black trousers that bunch at the waist, black derby shoes and white shirt with the collar buttoned but no tie. He was probably inspired by the Twelfth Doctor to button his collar without a tie, but it is nevertheless an unattractive look. Rory Kinnear, who plays Tanner, dressed similarly to Daniel Craig in a jumper, though his outfit isn’t quite as refined.

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Christoph Waltz, who plays Franz Oberhauser, was perhaps the best-dressed man at the Spectre press conference in a outfit of a well-fitting suit and tie that’s appropriate for the grand occasion. The suit is a tone-on-tone brown Glen Urquhart check and has a button two jacket with flapped pockets and a single vent with flat front and plain-hemmed trousers. He unfortunately had the right pocket flap tucked whilst he left pocket flap out. He wore it with a white shirt that had an edge-stitched point collar and a burgundy tie with a brown grid and white dots. He knotted the tie in a windsor knot. His shoes are light brown cap-toe oxfords, a flashy and fashionable, yet stylish, choice.

Gareth Mallory: Grey Suit Trousers with Braces

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To contrast Daniel Craig’s fashionably-cut suits in Skyfall, Ralph Fiennes’s character Gareth Mallory wears four timeless suits made by modern tailor Timothy Everest. They have a trim, modern cut, but overall the suits have classic proportions with a jacket length that covers the rear and medium-width lapels. In a brief scene where M visits Mallory in his office, he is seen in dark grey suit trousers without his suit jacket. We know the trousers are part of a suit because the suit jacket can be seen draped over a chair.

The suit jacket is single-breasted and cut with straight, padded shoulders in the Savile Row tradition. Unlike on the blue chalk stripe suit that Mallory wears later in the film, this suit jacket has straight, flapped pockets and no ticket pocket. It has a single vent that is roughly 10 inches deep. It’s a shame that this suit jacket plays an extra in the scene instead of getting the leading role it deserves. Since Mallory has a high government position and is in his own office, he can appropriately leave his jacket off whilst meeting with M. However, the suit jacket would be better cared for on a hanger in the closet. Mallory must have a better place to keep his jacket. Hanging the jacket on the back of a chair is not a healthy way to take care of a meticulously-shaped bespoke suit jacket. However, if the suit jacket was stuck in a closet we wouldn’t even get a glimpse of it apart from the little of it that is seen in the psychologist scene. Part of the film’s budget went to Mallory’s bespoke suits, after all, and by keeping the suit jacket in the back of the shot they make use of it. The same is done with his charcoal pinstripe suit jacket later in the film.

Notice the suit jacket on the chair behind M

Notice the dark grey suit jacket on the chair behind M

The trousers, for once, have the starring role of all the clothes in this scene. They have a flat front and single rear darts on either side. The trousers sit high at the waist, and they don’t need pleats to do so, though they look a little tight around the hips. The waistband has a long extension—to keep the front straight—and slide-buckle side adjusters. The trousers have slanted side pockets and a button-through jetted pocket on the right in the rear. The legs have a trim and tapered cut, but they aren’t tight like on Daniel Craig’s suits.

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Mallory uses braces—known as suspenders to some Americans—to hold up his trousers, though he also uses the trousers’ side adjusters to keep the waistband close to the waist. The braces attach inside the waistband at the front and on extended tabs in the rear. The extension tabs allow the braces to sit higher like they would on the old-fasioned fishtail braces back, making the braces more comfortable. The tabs can be tucked inside the trousers if Mallory only wanted to use the side adjusters to hold up his trousers. Braces, however, are by far the most secure method of holding up the trousers. Mallory’s braces are navy with a navy embroidered fleur-de-lis braces motif and were made by Albert Thurston. The braces have black leather ends and trimmings—which most likely match Mallory’s unseen shoes—and brass levers. Braces set Mallory apart as an old-fashioned man, but they also mean that he is a man who wants to get the job done the right way and doesn’t settle for nonsense—or belts.

Mallory’s cotton poplin shirt is a deep sky blue, which slightly overpowers his light, cool, low-contrast summer complexion. The shirt has a moderate spread collar, double cuffs attached to the sleeve with pleats, and a narrow English-style placket that is stitched 3/8 inch from the edge. Mallory’s tie is navy with a raised woven purple lattice diagonally across the tie. Mallory ties it in a four-in-hand knot.

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Captain Nash’s Grey C-Crown Trilby

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James Bond wears a different type of trilby than he ordinarily does during the climax of From Russia with Love with his dark grey pick-and-pick suit. It’s actually not even Bond’s own trilby, but it originally belonged to the British agent from Station Y, Captain Nash (William Hill). When Bond arrives in Zagreb to meet Captain Nash, Red Grant (Robert Shaw) finds him first, kills him, takes his trilby and briefcase and poses as him while wearing a grey and brown striped suit. After Bond kills Grant it becomes his turn to wear the trilby. “Nash” has an escape route, which is in reality just Grant’s escape route, and Bond follows it. Though wearing the hat is not part of the escape route, Bond wears it to loosely disguise himself as Nash. However, the hat is left behind under a rock during the escape after Bond shoots down the helicopter that chases him.

Captain Nash holding the grey trilby

Captain Nash holding the grey trilby

So what makes this trilby so much different than the tribys that Sean Connery’s Bond usually wears? Instead of brown, this trilby is dark grey and has a narrow grey grosgrain ribbon around the base of the crown. Also, Nash’s trilby has a taller crown blocked in the C shape, unlike the centre dent that Bond prefers. The C-crown, also known as the teardrop crown, is the shape where the back of the crown is like a bowl (the C) and the front comes to a point. The centre of a C-crown is also domed, but it;s only slightly domed on Nash’s hat since it was shaped by hand. The front point of the crown necessitates that the front of the hat has a large pinch. Since the back of the crown is wider than the front when blocked with a teardrop shape, the back of the hat is consequently lower. On Nash’s hat the back is much lower than the front. The crown of a trilby can be blocked in many styles, so a hat with the more typical centre dent could be transformed into a hat more like this.

From-Russia-with-Love-Grey-C-Crown-Trilby-Hat-2Like most trilby hats, the British version of the usually-larger-brimmed fedora, Nash’s trilby has a tapered crown and a short brim. The brim is roughly two inches wide, bent down at the front and curled up at the back. It is finished with a raw edge. Inside, Nash’s hat has a tan leather sweatband around the base and a white silk lining. The maker of the trilby is unknown, though Lock is certainly a possibility.

We don’t get to see Nash wearing the trilby, but Grant and Bond wear it differently. Grant wears it back on his head, as if it’s slightly too small on him. Bond, on the other hand, wears the hat more forward and lower in front. Just a guess, but perhaps Nash does not wear the hat because it was only purchased in Bond’s size, which didn’t fit Nash.

Red Grant wearing the grey trilby

Red Grant wearing the grey trilby

Q’s Glen Urquhart Check Suit in The Living Daylights

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Q has a long tradition of wearing glen check suits, starting with Desmond Llewelyn’s first appearance as Q in From Russia with Love. Most of the time the suits have a button three jacket, and the suits are often three-piece suits. The suit Q wears in his lab in The Living Daylights is very similar to the suit he wears in From Russia with Love in that it’s a three-piece black-and-white glen check suit with a button-three jacket, cut in a very classic and very English style.

This suit is a black-and-white Glen Urquhart check with a light blue overcheck. The suit jacket has natural shoulders with slightly roped sleeveheads, and it is cut with a little drape in the chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket’s natural shoulders go against the trend in the late 1980s for large, extended, padded shoulders, yet Q has very large shoulders himself and more than a little padding would look completely unnatural on him. His natural shoulder line is almost horizontal! The jacket has slanted flap pockets with a ticket pocket, but Q wears the flaps tucked in. However, in a continuity error sometimes the left pocket flap is untucked. Like most classic English tailoring in the 1980s, the suit jacket has double vents. The jacket is detailed with four buttons on the cuffs, and the suit’s buttons are black plastic.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons, and Q follows tradition by leaving the bottom button open. The suit trousers are full-cut without pleats or turn-ups. Non-pleated trousers were not very popular in the late 1980s and make Q look outdated to those who followed fashion trends at the time. It’s quite the opposite of what most people think today about trouser pleats, however, the full cut of Q’s trousers through the thigh would still make him look old-fashioned today. Q’s trousers don’t necessarily look outdated so much as they look sloppy.

Q-Glen-Urquhart-Check-Suit-The-Living-Daylights-Tie-2With the suit, Q wears a sky blue shirt with a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. His regimental tie is black with a double gold stripe. The tie has a motif of silver Prince of Wales’s feathers badges. The Prince of Wales’s feathers is a symbol of Wales that consists of three ostrich feathers emerging from a coronet. The tie also has a motif of red and green roses. Though I don’t know exactly what this tie represents, I suspect it represents a Welsh regiment of the British Army, going by the badge and welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn’s service in the British Army during World War II. If anyone knows what this tie represents, please leave a comment below. Q also wears an identification tag pinned to his lapel.

Q-Glen-Urquhart-Check-Suit-The-Living-Daylights-3Q’s tobacco suede two-eyelet derbys are an interesting choice of footwear for a Glen Urquhart check suit worn in London. The English are known for wearing black shoes with their suits in town, so wearing light-coloured suede shoes with his suit is a dandyish, but stylish, choice. The contrast between the shoes and the suit is unfortunately accentuated by Q’s unstylish choice of black socks. Grey or coloured socks would be a better choice to link the shoes with the rest of the outfit. Q is not intended to be a fashionable or particularly stylish character, though he is well aware of the way he is dressed and there is always plenty of charm in his outfits.