The exact cloth of Sean Connery’s blue suit in Goldfinger and Woman of Straw is a difficult one to make out. It’s a heavy cloth and has a mottled appearance, so it’s certainly a woollen. But is it tweed or flannel? It has a subtle stripe effect that suggests the cloth is woven in a herringbone weave, so I thought it could be a herringbone tweed. But in herringbone tweeds the weave is well-defined and easy to see. In a woollen flannel, however, the nap mostly obscures the weave, which is the case with Connery’s blue suit. So, could it be herringbone flannel?
I never saw or even heard of herringbone flannel until a reader of The Suits of James Bond who is a fan of the Connery Bond suits found a Fox Brothers herringbone flannel cloth in his search for a cloth to replicate the blue suit. Fox Brothers is one of England’s most well-known manufacturers of flannel, and their Char Blue Herringbone Jacketing flannel is a close match to what Connery’s blue suit in Goldfinger is made of. The cloth is a 500/530 gram or 18 oz weight and is featured under Fox’s jacketing range. It is based on a cloth from the 1930s, when practically all suits were made from heavier cloths than what most suits are made from today. Though it’s labelled a jacketing, it makes a good suiting for cold weather. It would have been a more typical weight for a winter suit in the 1960s when Connery wore his suit. Connery’s blue suit indeed looks to be quite heavy, especially compared to his usual lightweight worsteds. However, I’d guess that Connery’s suit is made from a cloth slightly lighter than this one. The herringbone pattern on Connery’s suit looks larger than this cloth’s pattern, and his suit is a richer blue than Fox’s char blue. Whilst it may not be a perfect match, it is the closest I’ve seen to Connery’s suit and gives insight to what Connery’s suit is likely made of.
The Fox Brothers cloth is code FS405 B2237/84 and can be purchased online at The Merchant Fox.
Sean Connery wears a casual outfit for a brief boat outing in Woman of Straw. On top he wears a black and brown horizontal-striped crew-neck jumper, probably made of cashmere. The jumper has black ribbed collar, cuffs and hem. The tan gabardine trousers have single reverse pleats. Connery was rarely seen wearing trousers with reverse pleats in the 1960s—he mostly wore forward pleats. Whilst they aren’t particularly slimming, they fit his large thighs very well.
It’s time again to look at one of Sean Connery’s Goldfinger suits in its original setting in Woman of Straw. Both Woman of Straw and Goldfinger end with Sean Connery in the same charcoal grey woollen flannel, three-piece suit. This slightly rustic suit does just as well in Woman of Straw‘s country setting as it does in Goldfinger‘s dressier setting of Bond on his way to meet the president. It is Connery’s usual Anthony Sinclair suit. The button two jacket has natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a full chest and a nipped waist. It has four buttons on the cuffs, jetted pockets and no vent. The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button, though Connery fastens the bottom button. Because the bottom button is not meant to close, the bottom of the waistcoat bunches up rather unattractively. The trousers have double forward pleats and button side adjusters.
The shirt and tie in Woman of Straw differ slightly from what Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. The elegant white shirt has a self-stripe pattern, which is either created by a mini-herringbone weave or a fancy white-on-white weave. Due to the country context the mini-herringbone is more likely since it’s not as formal as a white-on-white stripe. The shirt has a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs with rounded corners. The black satin tie is a little formal for a woollen flannel suit, but at the same time it creates a pleasant contrast with the texture of the flannel suit. It is tied in a small four-in-hand knot. Like he does in Goldfinger, Connery wears a white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket in Woman of Straw, but here it’s folded in a single point instead of in a TV fold. His shoes are black.
Sean Connery wears two stylish double-breasted overcoats in Woman of Straw that didn’t make it into Goldfinger. Over this charcoal flannel suit he wears a very dark navy double-breasted, knee-length overcoat. It has six buttons with three to button, narrow notched lapels and slanted hip pockets. The overcoat is cut with natural shoulders, has set-in sleeves and is slightly shaped through the body. There’s no name for this style of overcoat, but nevertheless it is a very elegant coat. With the overcoat Connery has a dark hat with a white lining, but it’s difficult to what type of hat it is or what colour it is. A trilby would be most likely considering the relative informality of the coat and flannel suit, and it could be the same brown trilby that Connery wears in Goldfinger or one similar to it.
The cloth of Sean Connery’s blue suit in Q’s lab in Goldfinger is somewhat mysterious. It is a heavy weight, has a mottled colouring and has a woollen texture. That means it’s either tweed or flannel. Most likely it is a herringbone flannel. We get another look at the same Anthony Sinclair suit in Woman of Straw, and in this film—the suit’s original appearance—the suit is a three-piece. There’s no question it’s the same suit. The cut is the same button two with natural shoulders and a draped chest. It has swelled edges, cloth-covered buttons and jetted pockets. The vents are still a mystery. The poor lighting in this film makes the vent style difficult to make out, but I believe I see double vents. See the enhanced screenshot below.
Click image to enlarge
The trousers have double forward pleats. The waistcoat is the same style as the waistcoats in Goldfinger: six buttons with five to button. Connery, however, fastens the bottom button, which is meant to be left open. This disrupts the otherwise clean lines of the waistcoat. The covered buttons down the waistcoat make a big impact, since without the waistcoat the covered buttons almost go unnoticed. Covered buttons aren’t ordinarily seen outside of formalwear, but they were popular in the 1960s on lounge suits as well. The Avengers’ John Steed also wore suits with covered buttons.
This is a town and country suit, meaning it can effectively transition between relaxed country wear and business. The cloth has a country texture in a city colour, and the jetted pockets are a more formal city touch. Even though this suit is appropriate in both the city and country, it fits in better here than it does in Q’s lab. The houndstooth suit that Bond wears in M’s office also seems more appropriate in this film.
Connery wears this suit a few times throughout Women of Straw. Early in the film he wears a solid light blue tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot just like he does in Goldfinger. The white or off-white shirt has a moderate spread collar, a placket and double cuffs. Later in the film he wears a solid black tie, also tied in a four-in-hand knot, and the white or off-white shirt has a wider spread collar like in Goldfinger. He wears a white pocket handkerchief with both outfits.
Like most of the clothes in Woman of Straw, Sean Connery’s black dinner suit almost exactly resembles its counterpart in Goldfinger. It has notch lapels, a single-button fastening and no vents. The biggest difference are that the lapels on this dinner jacket are narrower than the ones in Goldfinger. This dinner jacket also adds gauntlet cuffs like Connery previously wore in Dr. No and From Russia With Love. Connery wears it in the same fashion as he does in Goldfinger: a small, private dinner. Just like the older men Bond has dinner with in Goldfinger, the older Ralph Richardson in this scene wears a shawl collar dinner jacket.
The dress shirt has a spread collar, small pleats on the front, mother of pearl buttons down the placket and double cuffs. Connery wears it with a narrow black bow tie and a white linen pocket handkerchief folded with a single point. If he is wearing a waist covering, it can’t be seen.
In Woman of Straw, Sean Connery wears a pair of light blue swimming shorts that are now well-known because of Designing 007 at the Barbican last year. The shorts were hardly seen in the film, but a picture of Connery wearing them surfaced and Sunspel recreated them for the Barbican show since they were mistakenly thought to have been worn in Thunderball. These shorts might have more in common with the From Russia With Love swimming trunks, which have a similar front pocket. They are arguably more elegant and more refined than any that Connery wore in the Bond films. The original shorts have a medium-low rise, an inseam of about 3 inches, an extended waistband closure, and a set-in pocket on the front right with a button-down flap. There is a small round cutout at the at the bottom of the side of each leg. The waist is fitted without a belt. On top Connery wears a light blue shirt with a spread collar and the cuffs rolled up. The bottom is cut with a vent at each side.
In a brief scene from Woman of Straw where his uncle (Ralph Richardson) gets married, Anthony Richmond (Sean Connery) wears a very appropriate marine blue suit for an informal maritime wedding. This is one of the few suits—or perhaps the only suit—in Woman of Straw that isn’t also featured in Goldfinger. The rich blue colour is most appropriate for social occasions and is very fitting at sea. Anthony Sinclair most likely made this suit since it has his natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads, slightly draped chest, and gently shaped silhouette. The style is a more formal button-one cut with narrow peaked lapels that is perfect for a wedding, and it’s has also been a trendy style for the past few years. The pockets are jetted, though we can’t make out any of the other details. We don’t see much of the trousers, but they are most likely Connery’s usual style with double forward pleats and side adjusters.
The white shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. The solid blue tie is a shade very similar to—but slightly darker than—the suit. It is done up in a four-in-hand knot. The folded white pocket handkerchief is angled so that only one corner sticks out. We don’t see the shoes, but for a wedding they would most certainly be black.
Not until next week will I be getting to Designing 007 at the Barbican, but the people at Anthony Sinclair have re-created the iconic grey glen plaid suit from Goldfinger for the exhibition. A few months before Goldfinger, Sean Connery wears appears to be that suit in Woman of Straw, sans waistcoat. The jacket has the same 2-button front, flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, double vents and 4-button cuffs, and the trousers have forward-pleated trousers with side adjusters. Connery wears the suit with a sky blue shirt. The shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. Connery wears a brown satin tie, a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket and black shoes.