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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Crossplot: A Double-Breasted Pinstripe Suit from The Saint

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Roger Moore’s 1969 film Crossplot is like a cross between an episode of The Saint and a James Bond film. Moore plays talent scout Gary Fenn, who is identical in appearance to The Saint character Simon Templar except he has a more fashionable haircut that’s combed forward with longer sideburns. The Cyril Castle suits—an iridescent blue and red dinner jacket, a navy pinstripe double-breasted suit and a charcoal multi-stripe suit—and shirts in the film were taken straight out of Moore’s wardrobe for the final season of The Saint, which had just ended production.

The same suit in the episode of The Saint "The Scales of Justice"

The same suit and shirt, but with a grey tie, in the episode of The Saint “The Scales of Justice”

The navy double-breasted pinstripe suit, which this article will focus on, first appeared in The Saint‘s sixth series episode “The Time to Die” and later in “The Scales of Justice”. The suit’s cloth has very closely-spaced white pinstripes on navy, which from a short distance mixes with and mutes the navy to give the suit a semi-solid charcoal blue effect rather than a classic navy pinstripe look. Suits with closely-spaced pinstripes were something Roger Moore wears throughout The Saint and later wears in Moonraker.

Crossplot-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-2The suit jacket is four-button double-breasted with two to button. It is similar to the classic six button double-breasted jacket but lacks the two vestigial buttons at the chest. Like Cyril Castle’s usual double-breasted suits, this one has a narrow wrap—or overlap—for a slimming effect on Moore. It is cut with natural shoulders and a full chest. It has narrow peaked lapels, which aren’t quite as narrow as the notched lapels Moore wears on his single-breasted suits in Crossplot and The Saint. The narrow peaked lapels are a little more flattering than his ultra-narrow notched lapels. The suit jacket is rakishly detailed with single-button gauntlet—or turnback—cuffs, slanted hip pockets with narrow flaps, and double vents. The suit trousers have a darted front, cross pockets and a tapered narrow leg, and they are worn with a black belt.

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Moore’s cream shirt is made by Bond-series shirtmaker Frank Foster in the same style as all of the shirts that Moore wears in the final series of The Saint. The shirt’s spread collar is larger in proportion to the tie and lapel width. Fashion typically dictates that shirt collar point length and tie and lapel width should match, but it’s usually more flattering to wear a collar that matches the face rather than the jacket’s lapels. The shirt has two-button cocktail cuffs, a plain front and a darted back. The shirt length is short compared to the traditional length of a tucked shirt, but in Frank Foster’s typical manner the shirt’s hem is only slightly curved and has vents on the side.

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The secretary ties Moore’s tie in a four-in-hand knot around her own neck, loosens it and then places it around Moore’s neck. It is solid light blue, and unstylishly Moore wears a matching light blue silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. But it is placed in the pocket in an unstudied two-point fold. It look as if he just stuffed it in his breast pocket and the two points formed naturally, but that is most likely not the case. Moore wears black socks, and his shoes are black slip-ons.

Crossplot-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-BoxersSince we get to see Roger Moore dress into the suit, we get a look at parts of his outfit under the suit we don’t ordinarily get to see. Though we never get to see what James Bond wears under his trousers, Roger Moore’s underwear in Crossplot may give us a clue. When he changes his trousers we see his boxer shorts. They are light blue—perhaps purposely matching his tie—and probably a fine cotton poplin, which is one of the most comfortable types of woven cloths to wear as boxers.

Crossplot-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-ShowerUnfortunately, the suit is ruined and shrunk in Crossplot when Moore is pushed off a boat into the water. Because of he is a gentleman, he leaves his suit, shirt and tie on when taking a shower to warm up when in the company of a lady.

For an additional James Bond connection, Bernard Lee, who plays M in the first 11 Bond films, appears in Crossplot.

The Golden Compass: Atomic Fleck Suit

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In the 2007 fantasy film The Golden Compass, Daniel Craig’s character Lord Asriel dresses in a 1940s-style brown atomic fleck tweed suit. Atomic fleck is similar to donegal tweed but has larger, more pronounced contrasting flecks and slubs. Craig’s tweed is a basketweave in brown and white with large white and yellow flecks. The flecks almost make the suit look like it is sparkling, which reflects the magical aspects of the movie. The flecks also symbolise the spots on Lord Asreil’s “dæmon”, the snow leopard. The “dæmon” is one’s soul that takes the form of an animal.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-4The button three suit jacket is cut with a draped chest and straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads. It has jetted pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and no vent. The suit trousers have single forward pleats, slanted side pockets and wide straight legs with turn-ups. The cut of the suit has a slight 1940s look partially due to a full-cut chest, slightly high button stance and wide trouser legs, but the heavy tweed cloth plays a bigger part in making the suit look old. The Golden Compass, however, does not take place during the 1940s or any other time in our world’s history. It’s a fantasy film that takes place in an alternate world.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-3The contrasting grey waistcoat is one of the most interesting parts of the outfit. The waistcoat’s cloth is a fancy jacquard wear of rose-like diamonds. Though fancy waistcoats are typically silk, this one is not. It is most likely flannel wool. The waistcoat has six buttons, and Daniel Craig leaves the bottom button open. The buttons are shanked pewter and half of the edge is scalloped. There are four welt pockets on the front, and the edge of the waistcoat is finished like a buttonhole and stitched with brown thread. The waistcoat’s back is made in a grey lining material. Whilst the waistcoat is a very elegant and well-cut piece, its cool grey somewhat clashes with the warmth of the rest of the outfit, and it’s a missed opportunity to add more colour to the outfit. A forest green or burgundy waistcoat would add colour and better complement the brown suit

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-2Daniel Craig’s cream shirt has a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. The collar, placket and cuffs are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge. Craig wears a finely knitted dark brown silk tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. He also wears a white linen handkerchief casually folded in his breast pocket with two corners pointing up, which is infinitely more stylish than if he meticulously folded and ironed the handkerchief to have two defined points sticking out.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-ShoesWith the suit, Craig wears brown, 5-eyelet, cap-toe derbys. The vamp on these derbys extends to the back of the shoe, and the eyelets are on flaps that are sewn on top of the vamp in the “blucher” style. The shoes’ wide last and rounded toe gives them a casual look beyond the metal-reinforced eyelets and thick rubber soles. They are laced in an over-under method, where the laces alternate crossing over and under the eyelet flaps. This lacing method reduces friction and is easier to tighten than typical lacing methods.

Besides Daniel Craig, The Golden Compass also features James Bond series alumni Eva Green and Christopher Lee.

The Naked Face: A Needlecord Suit

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In the 1984 film The Naked Face, Roger Moore plays psychiatrist Judd Stevens who dresses in seasonal autumn clothing in the Anglo-American tradition. I previously wrote about Moore’s blue and beige barleycorn tweed jacket in The Naked Face, and most of the clothes in the film follow in a similar vein. Of all the tailored clothing in the film, only a light brown needlecord suit appears to be made by Moore’s regular tailor at the time, Douglas Hayward. Hayward made Moore’s beautiful tailored clothing for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill. This suit is more casual than what Hayward made for the Bond films, and, though the cut is the same as what Moore wore as Bond at the time, it’s probably not a suit Bond would wear. Needlecord, also known as pinwale, is a fine wale cotton corduroy that is perfect for autumn in Chicago, where the film takes place.

The-Naked-Face-Needlecord-Suit-4Like Roger Moore’s Douglas Hayward suits in his last three James Bond films, this suit jacket is cut with a clean chest and natural shoulders with gently roped sleeveheads. The button-two jacket also has the same low button stance and is identically detailed to most of Moore’s Bond suit jackets with flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and double vents. The suit trousers are also like Moore’s trousers in his Bond films at the time: they have a straight leg and frogmouth pockets and are worn with a belt. Apart from the jacket’s low button stance, the suit looks timeless.

The-Naked-Face-Needlecord-Suit-2All of Moore’s shirts in The Naked Face are made by his regular shirtmaker Frank Foster, who made shirts for Moore in all of his Bond films. Moore wears this suit with two different shirts: a blue and white hairline stripe shirt with a spread collar—which is very similar to the shirt he wears with his navy suit in Octopussy—and an ecru shirt with a button-down spread collar. The button-down collar is much wider than the typical American button-down collar, but it still has a gentle roll. This is possibly what Roger Moore’s button-down collars in A View to a Kill would look like if worn buttoned with a tie. Both shirts have a placket with Foster’s identifying stitching close to the centre and extra-rounded single-button cuffs. Though the buttons aren’t clearly seen on these two shirts’ cuffs, another blue and white hairline stripe shirt in the film has a large cuff button like on Foster’s “Lapidus” tab cuffs. It’s possible that these two shirts also have the same large button on the cuffs.

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Notice the poorly-ironed shirt collar. On collars with a sewn interfacing, they can easily bunch up at the stitching. Judd Stevens is well-dressed, but he isn’t faultless like James Bond

With this suit Moore wears a grey-purple knitted wool tie with flat ends. Wool ties go especially nice with corduroy since they complement the rustic, autumnal look, and they have more contrast with corduroy than they do with the other traditional pairings like flannel and tweed. Knitted wool ties are slightly less formal than knitted silk ties, which makes them a great match for such a casual suit like corduroy. The tie’s colour, grey with a hint of purple, is rather dull compared to the rest of the outfit and slightly washes out Moore’s warm complexion. Moore ties it in a four-in-hand knot, and the knot ends up quite wide due to the tie’s bulk.

Moore’s slip-on shoes and belt are dark brown, and the belt’s brass buckle goes well with the light brown colour of the suit. Moore wears dark brown leather gloves with the suit.

The-Naked-Face-Camel-OvercoatOver the suit, Moore wears a single-breasted camelhair overcoat. The full-length overcoat hits just below the knee, which keeps Moore decently warm in the cold and windy Chicago. Like the suit, it has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads. The overcoat has set-in sleeves, three buttons down the front, swelled edges, straight flapped hip pockets, a welted breast pocket, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. He wears the collar turned up for extra warmth. He also keeps warm in a light brown wool flat cap, something James Bond would never wear. They’re associated with older working class men, a category Bond is never associated with. With the cap and large glasses on, Moore looks nothing like James Bond. Over the suit and under the overcoat, Moore drapes a a checked Burberry—or Burberry-style—scarf around his neck. The scarf’s base colour is pale green, the scarf’s check has navy and sky blue stripes lengthwise with black and cream stripes crosswise, and the scarf has a navy lengthwise overcheck and a rust-coloured crosswise overcheck.

Though Roger Moore’s needlecord suit in The Naked Face may not be something James Bond would wear, it’s an elegant suit for informal cool-weather wear. The outfit has a timeless look that would look just as great during this autumn season as it did thirty years ago.

Layer Cake: The Kilgour Navy Suit

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In Daniel Craig’s “screen test” for James Bond, the 2005 film Layer Cake, he wears a ready-to-wear navy suit from Kilgour. The suit was designed by Kilgour’s creative director Carlo Brandelli in his signature style. Brandelli, a London-born fashion designer, interior designer and artist, joined Kilgour in 2004, left in 2009 and returned again in 2013. The style of the suit recalls traditional Savile Row but at the same time updates it with a distinctive sleek, modern look. The suit jacket has single-button front with the button at the waist, and the jacket’s quarters gently cut away below the button. It is cut with a clean chest, a nipped waist and lightly-padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads. The jacket is detailed with a single vent, slanted flap pockets and four buttons on the cuffs. The jacket’s buttons are made of black horn.

Layer-Cake-Kilgour-Navy-Suit-4The suit trousers have a medium rise so they sit only about two inches below the jacket’s button. The rise is high enough to prevent the shirt from showing the jacket’s single button. The trousers have a darted front, straight leg, slanted side pockets and “DAKS top” side adjusters with three mother of pearl buttons.

Layer-Cake-Kilgour-Navy-Suit-3Daniel Craig’s shirt is pale blue and has a moderate spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket.  Though the collar and cuffs are stitched 1/4-inch from the edge, the rather narrow placket is stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The placket is just like what Thomas Pink makes, and this shirt and the others in the film could possibly be from there. If this shirt isn’t from Thomas Pink, it is certainly English in origin. The navy tie has a raised woven honeycomb texture, which looks like the “Astaire” tie that Thomas Pink used to sell. Craig’s shoes are black leather high-vamp slip-ons with an elastic strip across the instep under the tongue.

The entire colour scheme of the outfit is very Bond-like, and all the blue brings out the best in Daniel Craig’s warm, spring complexion and blue eyes. Though the clothes are ready-to-wear, they fit well except for when the jacket’s collar stands away from the neck. Daniel Craig looks great in the English style and proves in Layer Cake that he can look very much the part of James Bond.

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The James Bond clothes and pose

In 2011, I wrote about the cream suit Daniel Craig wears in the final scene of Layer Cake.

Assignment K: A Double-Breasted Suit by Douglas Hayward

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Stephen Boyd stars as Philip Scott in the 1968 spy thriller Assignment K, and throughout the film he wears suits by Douglas Hayward. Douglas Hayward tailored Roger Moore’s suits for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, and he also made suits for Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Steve McQueen and many other stars. One of the four suits that Boyd wears in Assignment K is a medium grey worsted flannel double-breasted suit. Worsted flannel is can be lighter in weight than the traditional woollen flannel, but being flannel it still has a fuzzy nap. The serge weave is visible under the nap on a worsted flannel, whilst no weave is visible on a woollen flannel. Worsted flannel has a sleeker look than woollen flannel does, but the nap keeps him warm in West Germany’s winter.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-2Boyd’s double-breasted suit jacket has the traditional arrangement of six buttons with two to button, and it is tailored with natural shoulders, a clean chest and suppressed waist. The jacket’s peaked lapels are made in the Tautz style, which means they have a horizontal gorge. They look slightly less formal than standard peaked lapels that point up towards the shoulder. The jacket also has double vents, three buttons on the cuffs, flapped pockets and a royal blue lining. The suit trousers’ legs taper to the knee and are straight from the knee to the plain hem. Not much of the the trousers’ legs are seen, but if they match Boyd’s other suit trousers in the film they have frogmouth pockets and are worn with a belt. The front does not have pleats, but it is probably darted.

Assignment-K-Charcoal-OvercoatBoyd’s sky blue shirt is likely made by Frank Foster. It has a wide spread collar, square double cuffs attached to the sleeves with shirring, rear side pleats, rear darts and a placket stitched close to the centre. Boyd wears two different ties with this suit: the first is solid silver and the second is solid black. Boyd’s shoes are black. Over the suit, Boyd wears a charcoal melton wool overcoat, which he wears over every suit in the film. The coat is three-quarter length to just above the knee. It has three buttons down the front, three buttons on the cuffs, slanted flap pockets and a rear vent. Like the suit jacket, the overcoat has natural shoulders. With the overcoat, Boyd wears dark grey suede gloves.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-3Assignment K has a few connections to James Bond besides both using tailor Douglas Hayward. The director of this film Val Guest, directed parts of the Casino Royale spoof a year earlier. Assignment K also features the actor Jan Werich, who was originally cast as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. Producer Albert Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert of You Only Live Twice decided that Werich was not right for the villainous role and replaced him with Donald Pleasence.

Evelyn Tremble: The Gun Club Check Suit

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Once Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) becomes one of the many James Bonds in the 1967 spoof Casino Royale, he starts dressing better. His gun club check suit is an excellent example of the improvement in his wardrobe. The gun club check is black and red on a white ground, and in these colours and a small scale it works well as a casual city suit rather than the sporty country suit one would expect out of a gun club check. Little of the suit jacket is seen, but it is certainly made by the same tailor who made his second dinner suit. This button three suit jacket has the same straight shoulders and fishmouth “cran Necker” notch lapels that the dinner jacket has. The suit jacket has flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and probably double vents.

Peter-Sellers-Check-Suit-2Much more of the suit trousers than the suit jacket are seen. The trousers are very much of their time, with a darted front and frogmouth pockets. The leg is tapered to the knee and straight from the knee to the hem. The rear right pocket is jetted with a button through it whilst the rear left pocket has a flap. The trousers have a fairly traditional rise.

Peter-Sellers-Check-Suit-3Since Sellers wears this suit without the jacket more than he does with the jacket, his shirt becomes the main focus of the outfit. And it deserves to be the main focus because it’s beautifully-made and well-fitted.The shirt is made of cream voile with a double layer in the front so it is not sheer like the back and sleeves are. It has a spread collar, a front placket and a darted back with side pleats. The double cuffs have the link holes close to the fold, and the outer edge of the cuff has a large curve like on Sean Connery’s cocktail cuffs. The cuffs are attached with shirring. The shirt is possibly made by Frank Foster, who made shirts for Peter Sellers in other films. With the outfit, Sellers wears a dark brown knitted tie that he sometimes keeps tucked into his trousers. The trousers are held up with black textured leather belt that clashes with Sellers’ burgundy shoes, and it’s the only mistake he makes in what’s a rather elegant and Bond-like outfit.

The Russia House: Blazer and Duffle Coat

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In the 1990 film The Russia House, Sean Connery plays Bartholomew “Barley” Scott Blair, the head of a British publishing film turned spy. Though the character is a spy, he’s nothing like James Bond. Connery dresses how an older man in Britain would traditionally dress, and he wears layers to withstand Moscow’s cold weather. Connery’s wardrobe in the film consists of V-neck jumpers, knitted ties, informal outercoats, a navy suit, a checked jacket and a navy blazer.

Connery-Russia-House-Blazer-2Connery’s button two navy blazer has natural shoulders that go against the trendy large shoulder of 1990, but slightly wide lapels and the moderately low gorge and button stance reflect the fashions of the time. Though blazers ordinarily have vents in the rear due to their sporty nature, this one reflects the fashions of 1990 and has no vent. Like Connery’s navy blazer in Dr. No, this blazer also has an open patch breast pocket and open patch hip pockets, swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs. This blazer’s buttons are brass. Bonhams in Knightsbridge auctioned the blazer on 16 June 2009 for £120. The blazer was made for Sean Connery by the costumiers Angels.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-Coat-2Under the blazer, Connery wears a medium grey sleeveless, V-neck jumper, which both keeps Connery warm and makes the outfit more casual. Connery’s dark green corduroy trousers have double forward pleats and are worn with a brown alligator-texture belt. The ecru shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs, a front placket and rear shoulder pleats. Connery wears a knitted tie with red and navy horizontal stripes, and it’s most likely tied in a half windsor knot. Connery’s shoes are dark brown.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-CoatOver the blazer, Connery wears a camel-coloured, heavy woollen duffle coat. The duffle coat is a casual coat characterised by its toggle closure. Connery’s coat has four wooden toggles that fasten with rope, and they go down the front from the collar to the waist. The coat is knee-length without a vent in the rear, but no vent is needed when the coat is free to spread apart in front below the waist. The coat has shoulder patches, two open patch pockets, buttoned straps on the sleeves and a hood. There are straps to button around the neck that connect with elastic around the back of the neck. Connery also keeps warm with an olive wool or cashmere scarf and a brown felt fedora with a centre dent, front pinch and brown ribbon.