Vijay’s Double-Breasted Navy Blazer

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Easily one of the most likeable characters of the Bond series, Octopussy‘s Vijay, played by tennis player Vijay Amritraj, is a British agent undercover at Kamal Khan’s sports club as a tennis pro. He dresses appropriately for a man at a country club in a navy worsted double-breasted blazer, beige trousers and a day cravat.

Notice the tennis racquets on the blazer's button

Notice the tennis rackets on the blazer’s buttons

Vijay’s blazer has six buttons in the traditional configuration of two to button. The buttons have a low stance. The shanked buttons are brass, each engraved with a pair of tennis rackets fitting for the character. The blazer is likely English ready-to-wear, cut with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a suppressed waist. It has long double vents, three buttons on the cuffs and flapped pockets.

The beige wool gabardine trousers are cut with a straight leg and likely a flat front. Vijay’s white poplin shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a placket stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The placket identifies this as an English shirt. Under the shirt, Vijay wears a textured silk day cravat in grey with 1/4″ red stripes widely spaced.

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Vijay’s shoes are black leather horse-bit slips, which Roger Moore wears in his 1970s Bond films but not in Octopussy. The stunt driver of the Tuk Tuk taxi, however, wears light brown trainers that fasten with two velcro straps.

Strangways: A 1950s Silk Suit

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Kingston-based British agent John Strangways, played by Timothy Moxon, is talked about far more than he is seen. He appears in the opening scene of Dr. No and is soon killed. His death brings James Bond to Jamaica and is the reason for Bond’s first cinematic mission. From the looks of his suit, it would appear that Strangways hadn’t returned to England for quite some time to update his wardrobe. His suit has a full cut dating it to the 1950s.

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Strangways’ suit is made of silk and is the natural silk colour, which is a light beige. The jacket has a full cut with drape in the chest and a nipped waist. The shoulders are soft and natural, and in following the drape cut they are slightly extended. The jacket has two buttons on the front with a medium stance. The lapels are slightly on the narrow side, and they have a low buttonhole. The welt breast pocket has a steep slant and is placed low on the chest. The hip pockets are difficult to see, but I believe they may be open patch pockets. There are three buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The suit trousers have forward pleats—likely two on each side—and very full, tapered legs with plain hems.

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With the suit Strangways wears a white shirt with a short spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is deep red with a subtle tonal pattern and is tied in a four-in-hand knot. It has a crest or some decoration embroidered on the top, though I can’t tell what it is. He also wears a white linen handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket.

Strangways’ shoes are perhaps the most adventurous part of his outfit. They’re casual two-eyelet desert boots in tan suede with crepe soles. Though they are less formal than the rather informal suit, they fit the relaxed country club setting.

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Tiger Tanaka’s Grey Suits

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M’s Japanese counterpart in You Only Live Twice, Tiger Tanaka, dresses more like James Bond than M. Tanaka, played by Tetsuro Tamba, likely wears Japanese-tailored suits in a style that appear to be inspired by what Sean Connery wears as James Bond. It is also possible that the suits are English-tailored. Tanaka wears a charcoal grey lightweight wool two-piece suit when he first meets Bond, and later he wears light grey lightweight pick-and-pick wool suit.

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Like Bond’s suit jackets, Tanaka’s suit jackets have two buttons with a low stance, a full chest, suppressed waist and narrow lapels. Like many of Bond’s suit jackets in other films, Tanaka’s jackets have straight, jetted hip pockets. Both the charcoal grey and light grey suit jackets have three buttons on the cuffs. The charcoal grey jacket has a single vent whilst the light grey jacket has no vents.

Tanaka’s suit jackets differs from Bond’s primarily in the shoulders. Whilst Bond’s jackets have soft shoulders, Tanaka’s jackets have extended, straight shoulders to give him the look of a man in power. The jackets’ shoulders, however, are too conspicuously built out. Building up the shoulders can indeed make a man look more powerful, but it must be done in moderation. The jackets look big on Tanaka, and indeed they have the intention to make him look bigger, but they still have mostly a neat fit. There is excess drape in the back, but it was likely accepted due to the desire for a full cut.

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Tanaka’s suit trousers have pleats like Bond’s suit trousers have, but Tanaka’s trousers have a single reverse pleat instead of double reverse pleats. The waistband has an extension with a hook and eye closure. There are likely adjustable tabs at the sides since Tanaka needs neither a belt nor braces. Compared to Connery’s more traditional tapered legs with turn-ups, Tanaka’s suit trousers have more fashionable straight legs and plain hems.

With both suits Tanaka wears a white shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs. The ties that Tanaka wears with each suit are printed and held against the shirt with a silver tie bar. With the charcoal grey suit, the tie is a navy and burgundy print, with the two colours fading into each other. With the light grey suit, the tie is a light grey geometric print. Tanaka knots his ties with a windsor or half windsor knot. Tanaka also wears black slip-on shoes and a white folded linen handkerchief in his breast pockets, an item Bond stopped wears a few years earlier.

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The Psychologist’s Houndstooth Check Suit

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Dr. Hall, the psychologist in Skyfall played by Nicholas Woodeson, is one of the best-dressed men in the film. Woodson wears glasses and facial hair as Dr. Hall to give him a more psychologist-like look, and in turn his bald head, facial hair and thick, arched eyebrows make him resemble an older Sean Connery. That may or may not have been intentional.

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Dr. Hall’s three-piece suit is a black and white houndstooth check in a lightweight flannel wool. It’s a country pattern in city colours, making it appropriate for Dr. Hall’s more relaxed profession but not out of place in London. The literary Bond chose to wear his black and white houndstooth suit—most likely a two-piece—in the country, where it is equally appropriate.

The button two suit jacket has wide and straight shoulders, slightly narrow notched lapels, straight flapped pockets, double vents and four buttons on the cuffs. The waistcoat has either five or six buttons. The trousers have a trim leg, but they are hardly seen. The suit’s buttons and buttonholes are both black.

The poplin shirt is white with a blue and black grid check, which slightly clashes with the suit’s check because of a similar scale. The shirt’s texture is much smoother than the suit’s texture, and the pattern is far less intense than the suit’s pattern, so the shirt still works with the suit. The shirt has a moderate spread collar, single button cuffs and a front placket. Dr. Hall’s navy tie has white and purple polka dots, and he ties it in a four-in-hand knot.

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Bill Tanner: Double-Breasted Charcoal Flannel Suit

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Though Bernard Lee’s M generally wasn’t a fan of double-breasted suits—but he wears one in Dr. No—his chief of staff Bill Tanner prefers them. James Villiers plays Tanner in For Your Eyes Only to take M’s place for the one film whilst M is on leave, as a result of Bernard Lee’s death. Tanner wears two double-breasted suits of the same style in For Your Eyes Only: a charcoal rope stripe suit, which was already covered here two years ago, and a charcoal flannel suit. The charcoal flannel suit and the rest of the outfit have a very conservative approach. The suit is most likely made by an English tailor.

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The jacket has six buttons with two to button, but Tanner fastens only the bottom button in the manner attributed to Prince George, Duke of Kent. The middle row of buttons is made to fasten as well as the bottom row that Tanner fastens. Though the button stance is slightly lower than what is common today for English tailors, it’s only about an inch lower. A higher button stance, however, is better if the wearer chooses to only fasten the bottom button. The jacket has a classic British military cut with straight, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, similar to what Dege & Skinner or Gieves & Hawkes make. The jacket has a clean chest made fuller by leaving the middle row of buttons open, a gently shaped waist and a flared skirt. It is detailed with flapped pockets, deep double vents and three buttons on the cuffs. Neither lapel has a buttonhole.

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Tanner wears two different shirts and ties with this suit. The first shirt is medium blue end-on-end with white stitching to bring out the white in the shirt’s weave. The shirt has a spread collar, placket and double cuffs with the link holes placed close to the fold. The collar, cuffs and placket are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge. Tanner wears a solid navy tie without a discernible weave, tied in a four-in-hand knot. The colours of this outfit recall a common combination that Sean Connery’s James Bond often wears with his charcoal flannel suits. Tanner also wears a navy and white striped silk pocket square with a thick navy border, which is stuffed casually, but elegantly, into his suit jacket’s breast pocket. The navy in the pocket square picks up the navy in the tie whilst the white stripes bring out the white in the end-on-end shirt.

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The second outfit is not as nice as the first. The shirt is a complicated shadow stripe pattern of grey and maybe other colours on a cream background. The shirt’s warm tone does not flatter Tanner’s winter complexion. It has a moderate spread collar and sleeves too short to be seen. The tie is solid burgundy, likely repp, and tied in a four-in-hand knot. He does not wear a pocket square with this outfit.

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