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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The Offence: A Navy Suit Like Bond

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The Offence is the first film Sean Connery made when he exited the James Bond role after Diamonds Are Forever. The film was made in 1972 and is directed by Sideney Lumet. Connery plays Dectective-Sergeant Johnson, a police officer who is distressed by and haunted by the violent crimes he has investigated over his career. In a scene where Johnson is interrogated by the detective superintendent, played by Trevor Howard, he wears a navy mini-herringbone-weave suit. Connery was dressed by costume designer Vangie Harrison, who is better known for her work on Get Carter, which was made a year earlier. In his navy suit, Sean Connery is dressed very much like both Michael Caine is in Get Carter as well as the literary James Bond is.

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The suit jacket has three buttons with the lapel rolling over the top button. It has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and it is cut with a full chest and a nipped waist. The pockets are flapped, and there are four buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. The suit trousers have tapered legs, but the front is not seen. This is not a suit characteristic of the early 1970s like what Sean Connery wears in Diamonds Are Forever. The jacket’s notched lapels and pocket flaps are balanced widths, the jacket’s vent is not too deep and the trousers have classic tapered legs. Apart from having a third button on the front, this suit resembles Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits that he wears in all of his James Bond films. This film was made in London, so Sinclair still would have been convenient. Even if it’s not from Sinclair, the suit is much nicer than a suit one would expect a police detective to wear. It fits very well, with the only problem being that the sleeves are just a little too long.

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With the navy suit, Connery wears a white shirt with a point collar—which he unbuttons during the heat of the interrogation—and double cuffs. Since the character isn’t supposed to be a style-conscious man, he wears his double cuffs improperly. He fastens them in a barrel fashion with a button or a cufflink that looks like a button. Cufflinks wouldn’t fit the character. His black textured silk tie is tied in a Windsor knot. Wearing a white shirt and black tie—which somewhat resembles a knitted tie—with a navy suit follows the style of the literary James Bond. If it wasn’t for the tie’s Windsor knot, this might be the closest Sean Connery has ever dressed to the literary Bond. Even his shoes are black slip-ons.

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Marnie: A Black, White and Red Houndstooth Jacket

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Previously I wrote about the black and grey herringbone tweed sports coat that Sean Connery wears as Mark Rutland in the 1964 Alfred Hitchcock film Marnie. The houndstooth check sports coat that Connery also wears in Marnie is made in the same style as the herringbone sports coat, and he wears it in a very similar manner. The jacket’s houndstooth check is in black and white (or rather slightly off white), and it has a windowpane that replaces the black in the check with red. The colours of this jacket look great on Connery’s cool complexion and allow it to work in informal settings outside the country. The cloth of this jacket is very similar to the cloth of George Lazenby’s hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The jacket is likely made by an English tailor and is cut with straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line, roped sleeveheads, a full chest and a full waist. Though the shoulders look English, the jacket has a fuller cut since Americans often like to wear their sports coats fuller than their suit coats. The men’s costume designer on Marnie, James Linn, was likely American, and Rutland is supposed to be either American or English-American in the film. Nevertheless, the jacket still has some shape, which would show better if Connery buttoned the jacket. The jacket buttons three, but the lapel gently rolls over the top button. The jacket is detailed with flap pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and no vent. It’s an odd style choice to make a sports coat without a vent, especially one in a sporty tweed, but when worn for social occasions and not riding, the lack of vent does not matter. Non-vented jackets are very popular amongst the men in Hitchcock’s films since they have a cleaner look than a vented jacket.

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The medium grey flannel trousers are made in an English style. They have double forward pleats, a tapered leg with turn-ups, button side tabs to adjust the waist and an extended waistband closure. The choice of medium grey for the trousers isn’t the best since they have little contrast with the jacket. However, there is a bit of contrast in texture: woollen tweed for the jacket versus woollen flannel for the trousers. Flannel trousers are the perfect match for a tweed jacket. From a distance, however, the jacket’s pattern looks like solid medium grey, and because the trousers have a cooler tone than the jacket, the outfit, unfortunately, looks like a mismatched grey suit. The scale of the jacket’s check isn’t large enough to work with similarly-toned trousers.

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The jacket and trousers look like a mismatched suit from a distance.

In comparison to the English-style trousers, the shirt is an American classic that Connery never wears as James Bond: a button-down shirt. The key to a successful button-down collar is in the roll. The buttons are placed a bit higher up than where the collar points fall to assist the roll. The button-down collar is a rather casual collar, and thus Connery only wears it with sports coats in Marnie. Most people in England today would never wear a tie with a button-down collar, and button-down collars aren’t as popular in America as they used to be either. Connery’s white button-down shirt has a front placket and most likely single-button cuffs. Connery’s narrow tie is plain black, and he clips it to his shirt with a tie bar, something he never wears as James Bond. The tie bar, however, comes loose and leaves the tie dangling. There’s nothing wrong with a dangling tie, but it should not be dangling with a tie bar. Because the tie is so narrow, it is difficult to tell if he knotted the tie in a windsor or a half windsor knot. The lace-up shoes are black, and whilst they look rather serious in the informal country setting they match the black in both the jacket’s check and the tie.

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The Man from Hong Kong: A 1970s Blazer

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I have previously written about all of the James Bond actors in roles other than James Bond except George Lazenby. Lazenby hasn’t had many other starring roles, but it wouldn’t be fair to not have representation of Lazenby outside the Bond series on this blog. Whilst Lazenby is very well-dressed as Bond, he unfortunately doesn’t dress so well in other roles. By leaving James Bond, George Lazenby made not only a bad career choice but also a bad fashion choice. His poor wardrobe is quite evident in the 1975 Australian/Hong Kong co-production The Man from Hong Kong. The film, released in the United State as The Dragon Flies, stars Jimmy Wang-Yu as Inspector Fan Sing-Ling with George Lazenby as gangster Jack Wilton.

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Lazenby wears a dark navy double-breasted blazer in The Man from Hong Kong. It is fashionable along the lines of Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in Moonraker, but this blazer has different problems, both due to 1970s fashion and due to fit. The blazer has six buttons in the traditional arrangement with two to button. It is detailed with patch pockets, single-button cuffs, swelled edges and silver-toned buttons. One of the best parts of this blazer is its elegant English-inspired silhouette. It has straight shoulders that are just the right width, a clean chest and a tightly—but neatly—suppressed waist. However, it has the serious fit problem of the jacket’s collar standing away from the neck.

More obvious than the fit problem are the fashion problems. Peaked lapels can be wider than notched lapels, but Lazenby’s fashionably wide lapels almost reach all the way across his chest to his sleeves. And a bigger problem with the blazer than the lapels is its very long single vent. Single vents are designed to split across the back of a horse whilst a straight double-breasted front is not, so the styles are incongruous. A single vent also doesn’t balance with the double-breasted front.

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Lazenby wears this blazer as a part of two outfits. The first outfit is a sporty one with an open-neck shirt and white trousers. The dark blue and white chambray shirt has a long point collar, worn outside of the blazer’s collar. Lazenby wears the collar and two buttons down the placket open. The two-button cuffs have rounded corners. The white trousers are probably polyester and have a pronounced flare to the leg, more pronounced than on any of Roger Moore’s 1970s James Bond trousers. The socks and venetian slip-ons are also white.

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The second outfit with the blazer includes a pale blue shirt, tie and mid grey trousers. The shirt has an eyelet collar worn with the kind of collar bar where the balls unscrew at the ends. Some consider this the most elegant kind of collar bar since everything fits together, though it can also be considered the most affected. A pin, clip or a slide-bar on a regular point collar looks more naturally stylish since the collar doesn’t have holes. The tie is a black, blue and red plaid, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Not much of the grey trousers can be seen, though they don’t appear to be as flared as the white trousers.

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Woman of Straw: A Brown Houndstooth Suit and Donegal Tweed Overcoat

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Most of Sean Connery’s tailored clothing in Goldfinger was first featured in the 1964 film Woman of Straw, which was made just before Goldfinger. Some of the suits fit the Woman of Straw setting much better than they fit Goldfinger. The brown houndstooth check suit is especially more fitting for Woman of Straw than it is for Goldfinger. In Woman of Straw Connery wears the suit on a country estate, whilst in Goldfinger he wears it to the office for briefing from M. James Bond occasionally knowingly breaks the rules, and I certainly don’t just mean the rules of how to dress properly. Nevertheless, wearing this country suit to the office is not likely something M appreciated. In Woman of Straw we get to see this beautiful suit in its intended setting.

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The suit is a somewhat heavy mid brown and black fine houndstooth check made by Anthony Sinclair. The button two jacket is cut with natural shoulders, a draped chest and a gently suppressed waist. It has country details like slanted flap pockets with a ticket pocket and a long single vent. The jacket has four buttons on the cuffs. The trousers have double forward pleats, button-tab side-adjusters and tapered legs. Unlike in Goldfinger, Connery does not wear an odd waistcoat with this suit in Woman of Straw, though he does wear that beige waistcoat with his barleycorn tweed hacking jacket. The lack of waistcoat gives this suit a much different look than it has in Goldfinger.

The suit's cloth close up

The suit’s brown houndstooth check cloth close up

A blue shirt and blue tie also make the suit look much different than it does in Goldfinger. Blue offers a nice colour contrast to brown whilst cooling down the brown outfit to better flatter Sean Connery’s cool complexion, but for blue and brown to work together they need to have contrast in value. Dark brown and navy don’t go so well together, and neither does light brown and light blue. See the image below of the light brown overcoat and light blue shirt for a combination that doesn’t clash but doesn’t quite work so well either. But light brown with navy works and dark brown with light blue works. The latter is evident here.

The pale blue shirt is made in the same style as Connery’s shirts in Goldfinger, with a wide spread collar, rounded double cuffs and placket stitched close to the centre. The steel blue repp silk tie is tied in a very small four-in-hand knot. Like in Goldfinger, Connery wears this suit in Woman of Straw with a white linen handkerchief folded in a single point in his breast pocket. It may have just been left in the pocket from Woman of Straw when he wears the suit in Goldfinger.

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Over this suit Connery wears a light brown donegal tweed overcoat that is not worn in Goldfinger. The coat is like a cross between a single-breasted coat and a double-breasted coat in that it has a large overlap and peaked lapels, but the overlap isn’t as large as most double-breasted coats and there is only one column of buttons to fasten. The additional overlap is there for extra warmth. The coat has a fly front that hides the buttons, but if the one column buttons showed they would be off-centre. The coat has slanted hip pockets with flaps, a breast welt pocket, a single vent in the rear and plain cuffs with a short vent.  The coat’s length is to just below the knee, making it a very warm, practical coat for the country. This overcoat may have also been made by Anthony Sinclair.

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OSS 117’s Alpaca Dinner Suit

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It’s almost the end of another year. For many people New Year’s Eve means black tie, and Jean Dujardin’s example in the French spy spoof OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is just as good as any of James Bond’s. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is similar in its humour to Get Smart and is one of the best spy spoofs of the past decade. In the 2006 film that takes place in 1955, Dujardin plays Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117. The OSS 117 novels by Jean Bruce and original serious films predate James Bond novels and films, respectively. There is much inspiration taken from Sean Connery’s James Bond films in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.

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“Ce sera l’occasion de porter mon smoking en alpaga/A perfect occasion to wear my alpaca dinner jacket.” —Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath

Bonisseur de La Bath says that his black dinner suit is made of alpaca, and since the cloth has a bit of a sheen it is certainly possible that it truly is alpaca. Alpaca wool is unusual for a dinner suit, though its silky and luxurious hand makes it appropriate for evening wear. However, it wears warmer than ordinary sheep’s wool, making it a rather poor choice for the hot and dry desert climate in Cairo. Mohair would have been a better choice, though “alpaca tuxedo” sounds more humourous.

The suits for OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies were beautifully made for Jean Dujardin by Parisian tailor Joseph Kergoat. The dinner jacket has a traditional button one front and medium-width, satin-silk-faced peaked lapels without a buttonhole. The jacket is cut with wide, lightly-padded shoulders, gently roped sleeveheads, a full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket has satin silk pocket jettings, three-button cuffs and no vent. The jacket’s buttons are black plastic. The dinner suit’s trousers have a darted front, tapered legs and a satin silk stripe down each leg. Though much of this film is modelled on Sean Connery’s Bond films from the 1960s, non-pleated trousers are inconsistent with both what Connery wears in his 1960s Bond films and what was popular in the 1950s. These trousers should have had pleats to be more accurate, though pleats were becoming very unfashionable at the time the film was made.

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Bonisseur de La Bath wears a white dress shirt with a short spread collar, double cuffs and a pleated bib with twelve pleats on each side. The front is fastened with three mother-of-pearl studs—with regular buttons the rest of the way down below the bib—and the cuffs are fastened with matching mother-of-pearl cufflinks. With the outfit he wears a black satin silk batwing bow tie, a black satin silk cummerbund and a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket.

Bonisseur de La Bath’s shoes are black patent leather cap-toe oxfords. The patent leather shoe for black tie traditionally has a plain toe since it is dressier than a cap toe, but a patent leather oxford with a cap toe isn’t a serious faux pas. The shoes are the Crockett & Jones “Chatham” model, which has cemented soles instead of welted soles. Cemented soles cannot be replaced like welted soles can, but they look more sleek since they don’t have a welt and thus can be trimmed close to the uppers.

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The November Man: The Grey Silk Suit

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Pierce Brosnan returned to the spy/action genre earlier this year in Roger Donaldson’s The November Man. Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA officer who has no reservations about killing or torturing people. The character would certainly not be mistaken for an older James Bond as he is certainly not a gentleman by any means. However, Olga Kurylenko, who played Camille in Quantum of Solace, plays a similar character to what she plays in her Bond film. Brioni, Pierce Brosnan’s suit supplier for his Bond films, provided some of the clothes for The November Man, according to a Brioni press release.

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One of Peter Devereaux’s nicest outfits in the film is his slubby grey and white pick-and-pick silk suit that he wears with a black shirt. The outfit is not Devereaux’s own but one that Olga Kurylenko’s character Alice Fournier picked out for him from the closet in an apartment they broke into. The grey suit flatters Brosnan’s very cool complexion, though it brings out the grey in his partially-dyed hair. The suit jacket is updated from the boxy, built-up jackets that Brosnan wore in his Bond films to one with more shape and straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line. It fits well, has balanced proportions and has a classic length that covers his rear. Like Brosnan’s Bond suit jackets, this jacket has roped sleeveheads, double vents and slanted hip pockets with a ticket pocket. There are four buttons on the sleeves, and the buttons are sewn in an overlapping “waterfall” style, a common method for tailors in Naples, Italy. The jacket has contrasting button in black plastic, which dress down the suit.

Unlike the darted Brioni suit trousers with a medium-high rise that Pierce Brosnan wore in his last two James Bond films, Devereaux’s suit trousers have a flat front and a lower rise. The lower rise does not flatter Brosnan, who is now almost beyond a middle-aged man and has a paunch. It also doesn’t help that he lets the trousers sag below his stomach. He keeps them loose so he can stick a gun in his trouser waistband, a bad habit that Brosnan’s Bond had as well. Brosnan wears the trousers with a black belt.

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Though black shirts (and other dark shirts) should not usually be worn with suits, Devereaux’s silk suit is not a business suit but rather one that can be dressed up or down for social occasions. Devereaux dresses the suit down with a dark shirt sans tie. The black shirt nicely contrasts with the suit in the same way a black necktie would, but without a tie a light-coloured shirt wouldn’t provide enough contrast with the light-coloured suit to balance Pierce Brosnan’s high-contrast winter complexion. The shirt has black buttons, a spread collar, a plain front and two-button scalloped cuffs, which Devereaux wears unbuttoned.

Devereaux’s shoes are the Nike Free Run 2 in all black. Though trainers such as these are inappropriate with a suit, the filmmakers—no doubt on purpose—show very little of the shoes. They are really only noticeable if one pauses the film during the three split-second shots when the shoes are visible. Since Pierce Brosnan is 61 years old, and The Novmeber Man requires him to do many action scenes, trainers are unfortunately necessary. When he was James Bond he was in much better shape and able to do the same kind of action in proper shoes.

The Nike trainers

Nike Free Run 2 black trainers

The Thomas Crown Affair: The Dinner Suit That Wasn’t Allowed

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It has widely been said that Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond contract states that he “wasn’t allowed to wear a tuxedo in any other film” (read at IMDB). Rather than cut or alter a scene in 1999’s The Thomas Crown Affair that places Brosnan at a “black and white ball”, Brosnan sports a midnight blue wool dinner suit and improperly wears it with an open shirt collar and an untied white bow tie so that he is not wearing true black tie. The dinner suit is made by Milanese tailor Gianni Campagna, who made all of the elegant suits for The Thomas Crown Affair. The button one dinner jacket is cut with a clean chest and straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line, and it has black satin peaked lapels, jetted pockets, four-button cuffs and no vent. The buttons on the dinner jacket are black corozo.

The dinner suit has a matching midnight blue waistcoat, properly low-cut with three buttons and black satin shawl lapels. The dinner suit trousers are cut with double reverse pleats, in the Italian traditional.

Though the men at the ball surrounding Brosnan are dressed in proper black tie, Brosnan wears the nicest dinner suit and has by far the nicest shirt. Most of other men are following the 1990s fashion trend of wearing an attached wing collar with black tie, which is a modern imitation of the traditional stiff, detachable wing collar. Brosnan, on the other hand, wears a classic dress shirt from Turnbull & Asser with a spread collar. The shirt also has double cuffs, shoulder pleats and a pleated front with mother-of-pearl studs down the placket.

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Brosnan, however, wears the shirt unbuttoned at the collar and open at inconsistently the first stud or both the first and second studs. Wearing the shirt open further distances it from a proper black tie outfit, which would breach his James Bond contract. And instead of a proper black silk bow tie, Brosnan drapes around his neck—rather that ties around his neck—a white cotton marcella bow tie, again to distance the outfit from black tie. A white bow tie should only be worn with the more formal white tie dress code and never black tie. Wearing an improper white bow tie with a dinner suit, wearing the bow tie untied and wearing the shirt collar open allows Brosnan to wear a dinner suit outside of the Bond series without breaching his contract.

At a black tie event, dressing as Pierce Brosnan does here is unacceptable. Since the dress code is black tie, that means a black bow tie is required. Anything else, such as a white bow tie or a black four-in-hand tie, violates the dress code—that is what traditionally sets apart the help from the guests. And wearing the shirt collar unbuttoned and the bow-tie draped over the neck is both sloppy and disrespectful to the host. On the other hand, someone as wealthy as Thomas Crown can sometimes make his own rules and dress however he wants to. He certainly could get away with it at a charity ball, though no amount of money should give a gentleman reason to disrespect his host by dressing sloppily and improperly.

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