Layer Cake: A Navy Pinstripe Suit Jacket with Jeans

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In the 2004 film Layer Cake, Daniel Craig wears striped suit jackets with jeans instead of the matching suit trousers. It was a popular fashion trend at that time, and it is still popular in some circles. Just as the mullet hairstyle has been described as “business in the front, party in the back”, wearing a pinstriped suit jacket with jeans has a similar effect. The suit jacket on the top is all business whilst the denim jeans on the bottom are as casual as trousers can be. Those who favour the mullet may see some appeal in this unorthodox combination, but like the mullet, this is not a conventionally attractive look. It’s difficult to make any tailored jacket look good with jeans, but rustic tweeds come closest since they match the rough, heavy look of denim. Robert Redford shows a great example of how to pair a tweed jacket with jeans in the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor.

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Craig’s jacket in Layer Cake can by no means be called a sports coat. Sports coats are, as the name suggests, sporty, whilst pinstriped jackets are business wear and part of a suit. The main thing that separates a suit jacket from a sports coat is the cloth it is made from. Sports coats are made from a material that has texture, whether it’s tweed, hopsack, cashmere, silk, linen, corduroy or any number of other materials. These materials are either solid or have a checked pattern. Suits can also be made of any of these textured materials, but they would informal sports suits and not business suits. Business suits are typically made from smooth worsteds and sometimes flannel. They may be solid, semi-solid, striped or have a subtle check.

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Certain cloths can work for both business suits and sports coats, like solid navy serge, bolder checks and woollen flannel. Jackets in these materials, however, need sporty details to make them work as sports coats, These details may include contrasting buttons, swelled edges, patch pockets or slanted pockets. But most worsteds don’t work well as odd jackets, especially not jackets with pinstripes or chalk stripes. And you can’t just put contrasting horn buttons on any suit jacket and turn it into a sports coat.

Daniel Craig’s navy pinstripe jacket is a suit jacket because it is made in a worsted business suit material. The button two jacket is tailored with straight shoulders, gently roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a suppressed waist. It was most likely purchased ready-to-wear from an English brand. The jacket has a high button stance, straight flap pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and double vents. The jacket mostly fits well, though the sleeves are too long.

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Craig wears the suit jacket with medium wash denim jeans. The jeans have a medium-low rise, five pocket design and straight legs. A wide brown belt holds up the jeans. Craig’s shoes are dark brown chelsea boots.

Craig wears two different shirts with this outfit, a white formal shirt and a grey t-shirt. The white shirt has a tall two-button spread collar, two-button cuffs, front placket stitched 3/8″ from the edge in the traditional English fashion. The placket means that the shirt is from an English brand, and the tall collar likely signifies a brand with a slight fashion edge or a special fashion line. Craig wears the shirt tucked into his jeans.

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When Craig doesn’t wear the white shirt, he wears only a grey crew neck, raglan-sleeve t-shirt under the jacket. Unlike with the white shirt, Craig does not tuck the t-shirt. Though the body of the shirt drapes over Craig’s body, the short sleeves fit tightly around his upper arm. Though t-shirts go well with jeans, it makes the suit jacket look even more out of place with the jeans. T-shirts have a practical disadvantage with tailored jackets. Whilst shirts with a collar and long sleeves protect the jacket from the body’s oils and shedding, t-shirts offer the jacket not protection. Because jackets are considerably more expensive than shirts are, it makes sense to protect them.

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The Rock: Sean Connery’s Navy Three-Piece Suit

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A happy 85th birthday today to Sean Connery. In The Rock, Sean Connery plays John Mason, a British national who escaped from Alcatraz. The Mason character was written as an homage to Bond and has a lot in common with Bond. John Spencer’s character FBI Director Womack states that Mason is a British operative but says, “Of course the British claimed they’d never heard of him.” Womack also says, “This man knows our most intimate secrets from the last half-century…Mason’s angry. He’s lethal. He’s a trained killer.”

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Mason even speaks like Bond when he responds to Nicolas Cage’s character Goodspeed’s introduction with the Diamonds Are Forever line, “But of course you are.” For Mason to agree to cooperate with the FBI, he makes a Bond-like demand: “I want a suite, a shower, a shave, the feel of a suit.” The new navy worsted three-piece suit he gets is what matters most, as far as this blog is concerned.

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Though The Rock was released in 1996, Sean Connery’s suit more closely resembles an late 1980s/early 90s suit. The button two suit jacket has a low button stance and a very low gorge, which places the lapel notch almost in the middle of the chest. Sean Connery’s prominent shoulders make the jacket’s shoulders look more padded than they actually are. Still, the shoulders have a fair amount of padding, but natural sleeveheads gives the shoulders a natural but neat curve.

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The suit jacket is cut with a moderately full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three cuff buttons and no vent in the rear. The suit’s waistcoat has five buttons. The suit trousers have a full cut, likely with double or triple reverse pleats. The legs are wide but slightly tapered. The suit is very similar to the suits Timothy Dalton wears in Licence to Kill, but Connery’s suit has a much cleaner fit. Though this suit is strongly influenced by fashion in its proportions, it follows the principles of a good fit.

Connery’s white shirt has a spread collar with tie space and a sewn interfacing (revealed by a poor sloppy job), front placket and square cuffs with either one or two buttons. The collar design and construction could mean that this shirt is from an English maker. The tie has alternating wide navy and gold stripes. The navy stripes are woven in a twill weave whilst the gold stripes are woven with floats to look like a basket weave. Connery’s shoes are black single monk shoes.

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1980s White Swimming Trunks

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In Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery shows off a better body than he had when he had left the James Bond series in Diamonds Are Forever. For his final scene as James Bond, Connery wears a pair of white swimming trunks. They have red stripes down the sides that curve into the hem and form a vent. Between the red and white sections is a thin line of black piping. The swimming trunks sit about three inches below the waist and have a short inseam of approximately 3 inches.

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These swimming trunks have a similar fit to what Sean Connery wears 18 years earlier in Thunderball, but the style has been updated. They are a little looser around the hips, and the material looks lighter. These swimming trunks resemble the athletic shorts that were popular in the 1980s. Instead of a belt, these trunks have an elasticised waist and maybe a drawstring.

In trying to find out who sold these swimming trunks, I’ve discovered that many brands at the time made very similar trunks. Some of these brands include Balboa, Jantzen (who made Sean Connery’s swimming trunks in Thunderball), Islander, Laguna and Styled in California. Most of these brands make their trunks with a flapped patch pocket on the right side, with Jantzen being the exception. Since these swimming trunks do not have a side pocket, Jantzen possibly the maker of these trunks. That would be a welcome throwback to Thunderball, the film that Never Say Never Again remade.

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Street People: A Familiar Tan Cotton Suit

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Sean Connery’s suits in Goldfinger aren’t the only clothes to have been worn by a James Bond actor in a previous non-Bond film. In Connery’s case, many of his clothes in Goldfinger were originally made for Woman of Straw. During Roger Moore’s longest break between Bond films, he made an Italian film called Street People in 1976. Though Street People was released half a year before filming in Egypt began for The Spy Who Loved Me, a certain cotton suit jacket from Roger Moore’s Street People wardrobe was reused. That cotton jacket is the tan jacket with safari details that Moore wears in the Cairo and Giza scenes in The Spy Who Loved Me.

In Street People, the cotton jacket was part of a tan suit with matching trousers, possibly made by Angelo Roma, Moore’s tailor at the time. In most cases, suit jackets don’t work well without the matching trousers, but the casual cotton material as well as the sporty safari details make this jacket work well on its own. It may even work better with the stoned-coloured trousers that Moore wears it with in The Spy Who Loved Me. In Street People, the details on the jacket are brought to attention more by the wearing trousers that don’t distract from the jacket (not that the trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me are distracting).

The suit gets soaked.

The suit gets soaked.

Tan is one of the best colours for a cotton suit since it looks great for warmer weather and fits the suit’s casual material. Tan also looks great with Roger Moore’s warm tan complexion and golden brown hair.

The structured suit jacket could have been made by Angelo Roma since the silhouette is similar to the other suit jackets that Roger Moore wears in both The Spy Who Loved Me and in Street People. It has a clean, trim cut with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a suppressed waist. If the wide lapels don’t make the jacket look dated, the safari-esque details do. It has shoulder straps, a belted back with a deep single vent, belted sleeves, patch hip pockets with flaps and a set-in breast pocket with a flap. The jacket has swelled edges all over to reinforce the garment.

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Differing from Roger Moore’s typical suit jackets at the time, the lapels have a slight fishmouth shape and the front quarters are cut closed with the bottom corners only a little rounded. The closed, straight quarters give this jacket a more military look that goes with the safari details. The jacket’s brown buttons are probably made from the Tagua nut which comes from the seed of a tropical palm and is similar to ivory. These buttons are also known as corozo and are commonly used by Italian makers for suit buttons since they can be dyed in colours to match the suit. In brown they go especially well with the safari jacket look.

The suit trousers are similar to the Angelo Roma suit trousers that Roger Moore wears in The Spy Who Loved Me. They have a flat front, no belt loops and wide, flared legs. They differ from Moore’s trousers in his Bond films by having turn-ups. The turn-ups are approximately two inches, but they don’t look so tall because the bottoms of the trouser legs are so wide. Ordinary 1 1/2 inch turn ups would look very short on such a wide hem. Despite the suit being one of the most fashion-forward items Roger Moore has ever worn, it is well tailored and creatively tailored.

Notice the turn-ups on the trousers

Notice the turn-ups on the trousers

Moore wears this suit either with a open-neck cobalt blue shirt or a dark brown polo neck jumper. The cobalt blue shirt has a long point collar, a front placket and cocktail cuffs with a rounded and contoured shape. The shirt is made by Frank Foster. The contoured shape of the cuffs is different from the straighter cocktail cuff design that Foster made for The Man with the Golden Gun and Moonraker before and after this film, respectively, but Foster used to experiment more with cocktail cuff shapes. The collar and collar band shapes on this shirt are very similar to the collars Foster made for The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, but this collar is a little shorter. The shirt’s buttons are shiny medium blue and possibly made of shell. Moore wears the collar button as well as the first three buttons below the collar open. The buttons are spaced a little closer together and higher than on an ordinary shirt, but it’s still a lot of buttons to have open and looks a bit sleazy.

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The dark brown ribbed polo neck jumper must be lightweight to be comfortable in the seemingly warm weather in this film. However, even a lightweight jumper looks too heavy to wear with a light cotton suit.

With the suit, Moore wears dark brown socks, except for one shot where light brown socks are visible. His shoes are chestnut brown square-toe slip-ons. Briefly he wears a pair of large plastic oval sunglasses.

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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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