James Bond Brings Back the Turtleneck

Spectre Teaser Poster

If Daniel Craig’s fashion sense is anything to go on, the turtleneck has boldly returned. Craig had the power to return shawl collar cardigans to the forefront of fashion after wearing them as James Bond in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and he will no doubt do the same for the turtleneck after wearing three in Spectre.

The turtleneck, also known as the polo neck or roll neck, is a knitted jumper that has a close-fitting high collar that rolls over to cover the neck all around. An alternative to the turtleneck is the shorter and more modern mock turtleneck, which does not fold over. Turtlenecks saw their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, while mock turtlenecks ruled in the 1990s. Both the true turtleneck and the mock turtleneck are returning in Spectre.


Daniel Craig wears a dark charcoal grey fine gauge mock turtleneck made of cashmere and silk from British company N.Peal on the teaser poster for Spectre with charcoal tick-patterned trousers and a shoulder holster. This look immediately recalls the 1973 film Live and Let Die, in which Roger Moore wears a black full turtleneck with black trousers and shoulder holster. Craig’s dark grey version better flatters his fair complexion and adds more subtle interest in updating the look. In the film, Craig will be wearing a dark blue-grey suede Racer Jacket from John Varvatos over the mock turtleneck to conceal his gun.

Both Daniel Craig in Spectre and Roger Moore in Live and Let Die were inspired to wear this look after Steve McQueen famously wore a dark blue turtleneck sweater with a shoulder holster as police lieutenant Frank Bullitt in the 1968 film Bullitt. This look is only seen briefly at the end of the film since he is usually wearing a brown herringbone, elbow-patched tweed jacket to hide his gun and holster. Bullitt‘s poster and publicity stills, which are without the jacket, are what made the look so iconic. Not only does Daniel Craig copy McQueen’s turtleneck and shoulder holster look in Spectre, but he also wears the same brown suede Sanders & Sanders “Playboy” chukka boots that McQueen wears in Bullitt.


Steve McQueen in Bullitt

Before Steve McQueen wore the turtleneck and holster in Bullitt, it was a popular look for agents in the television series The Man from U.C.N.L.E. Robert Vaughn first wore this look as Napoleon Solo in the 1965 episode “The Four-Steps Affair”, but David McCallum’s character Illya Kuryakin is more famous for the look and first wore it in the following episode “The See-Paris-and-Die Affair”.


David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin in “The See-Paris-and-Die Affair”

Besides the charcoal grey mock turtleneck, Daniel Craig wears another mock turtleneck in Spectre under a dark grey nylon-front knitted wool blouson from Tom Ford while on his mission in snowy Austria. This example, which is also from N.Peal, is identical to the dark charcoal grey piece, except it is made in a vivid medium shade of blue called “Lapis Blue”.

Daniel Craig wears a third turtleneck in Spectre from N.Peal in a colour they call “Fumo Grey”, which is a light and warm shade of grey. This turtleneck is the more traditional full roll-neck style and is designed for warmth. It is cable-knitted and in a heavier Mongolian cashmere. Craig wears it under a heavy navy wool zip-front blouson in the Austrian Alps.


N.Peal turtleneck in “Fumo Grey” from Spectre

Spectre and Live and Let Die are not the only two James Bond films to feature turtlenecks. Sean Connery introduced the mock turtleneck to the Bond in the 1967 film You Only Live Twice when he wears a grey top to infiltrate the SPECTRE volcano headquarters. Sean Connery wears full turtlenecks in Diamond Are Forever with his brown tweed jackets. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby wears orange and white turtlenecks as part of his golf and ski outfits, respectively.

Roger Moore undoubtedly holds the status as the turtleneck James Bond. In The Spy Who Loved Me he wears a navy turtleneck as part of his naval battle dress, and in Moonraker he wears a cream turtleneck under a double-breasted navy blazer. The 1981 Bond film For Your Eyes Only is tied with Spectre for featuring the most turtlenecks. In this film, Moore wears his turtlenecks under a shearling blouson and a ski jacket in the Italian Alps as well as under a lightweight blouson in Greece. Until Spectre, Die Another Day was the last Bond film to feature a turtleneck. Pierce Brosnan wears a heavy cashmere cable-knit mock turtleneck from the Scottish company Ballantyne, now liquidated, in the 2002 film.

Bond's last turtleneck in Die Another Day

Bond’s last turtleneck in Die Another Day

This article was originally published in 20 Minuten.

What Kind of Underwear Would Bond Wear?


Sea island cotton boxer shorts from Turnbull & Asser, likely what Ian Fleming had in mind for James Bond, and maybe what he wore himself

We see James Bond in swimming trunks, pyjamas and dressing gowns, but we never see James Bond in his underwear in the films. There’s a slight peak of it in Casino Royale, but we can’t tell what kind it is. Bond most likely has varied his underwear styles throughout the decades. Ian Fleming specified “nylon underclothes” in the novel Diamonds Are Forever, which have great drying properties. In The Man with the Golden Gun novel, Fleming wrote about a different, more luxurious type of underwear:

Bond then took off his clothes, put his gun and holster under a pillow, rang for the valet, and had his suit taken away to be pressed. By the time he had taken a hot shower followed by an ice-cold one and pulled on a fresh pair of sea island cotton underpants, the bourbon had arrived.”

The “sea island cotton underpants” are undoubtedly referring to the woven boxer short style, since old-fashioned men in Britain at the time wore little else. The cotton material would be similar or identical to Bond’s sea island cotton shirts that Fleming specified. Some shirtmakers make boxer shorts to match their customers’ shirts. Sean Connery and Roger Moore most likely also wear woven boxer shorts as Bond, considering that was traditionally what men wore in Britain. Roger Moore can be seen in cotton boxer shorts in the 1969 film Crossplot, which took its wardrobe from Moore’s television show The Saint. Connery’s and Moore’s trousers have enough fullness in the thighs to accommodate boxer shorts.

Sean Connery wearing cream boxer shorts and a white vest in Never Say Never Again

Sean Connery wearing cream boxer shorts and a white vest in Never Say Never Again

In the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery wears cream boxer shorts with a white vest (also known as an A-shirt). Bond had just discarded his dinner suit to escape on a bicycle, so he must have been wearing these clothes under his dinner suit. The British ordinarily aren’t fond of undershirts, and Bond almost never wears them. To blend in as an American in Fleming’s novel Live and Let Die, Bond wears “nylon vests and pants (called T-shirts and shorts)”. However, the “nylon underclothes” that Fleming writes about in Diamonds Are Forever may also include vests.

Sunspel Stretch Trunk

Stretch trunk underwear from Sunspel

Underwear is a very personal garment and there’s no way we can guess the different styles of underwear that Bond has worn throughout the series apart from following what the trends were at any given time. Trends in underwear sometimes followed trends in trousers. Boxer shorts were very popular in the 1980s and 1990s when full-cut trousers were popular. However, in a 1985 episodes of Remington Steele titled “Forged Steele”, Pierce Brosnan wears white knitted cotton briefs.


The James Bond Dossier announced last month that Sunpel, who made some of Daniel Craig’s polos and t-shirts for Casino Royale, has provided their stretch cotton brief and their stretch cotton low waist trunk (a short boxer brief) for Daniel Craig to wear in Spectre. This underwear is made of a 92% cotton and 8% elastane blend so it has more stretch than a pure cotton knit. Neither the brief nor the trunk has a front opening. Briefs and trunks are necessary for Daniel Craig since loose boxer shorts would bunch up under his tight trouser legs and prevent the trousers from hanging smoothly over the thighs.

What kind of underwear do you think Bond would wear?

Stretch brief underwear from Sunspel

Stretch brief underwear from Sunspel

Noble House: A Cream Silk Suit for Leisure


Only a year after he finished Remington Steele, Pierce Brosnan played Hong Kong tycoon Ian Dunross in the 1988 television miniseries Noble House. Besides Brosnan, Noble House stars two other actors from the James Bond series, John Rhys-Davies (The Living Daylights) and Burt Kwouk (Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice). Brosnan plays and dresses as Dunross similarly to how he plays and dresses as Steele, though Dunross’ clothes are devoid of the 1980s fashions that dominated his later Steele wardrobe and would plague James Bond in Licence to Kill a year later. For leisure in Hong Kong, Brosnan wears a cream silk suit in Noble House.


The cream suit jacket has three buttons and a different cut than the other suit jackets in Noble House and has a more relaxed look to go with the suit’s more relaxed nature. The shoulders are soft and natural but have a little padding. The shape of the lapels and other small details are identical to on the other suits in the mini-series, meaning this suit is either made by the same tailor or is from the same brand. The other suits are most likely meant to look like they are made by an English-influenced Hong Kong tailor, though this cream suit looks more American.


The back of the jacket is gently shaped but perfectly fitted

The suit jacket lacks front darts in the American Ivy League style, thus the front looks boxy. The chest is very lean and the waist is full. The back of the jacket, however, is suppressed to give the jacket a clean and flattering shape. The traditional American Ivy League style has three buttons with the lapels rolled to the middle button—called a three-roll-two—so that the jacket looks like a button two jacket. This jacket, however, is not made in that style. The lapels on this button three suit jacket only roll gently through the top button and are not pressed all the way down to the middle button, but the lapels roll slightly past the top button when the jacket is button. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent.


The suit’s trousers have a medium rise and double reverse pleats, which are stitched down about an inch at the top to direct the fullness to the hips and keep the pleats neat. Though pleats are not part of the Ivy League style like the undarted suit jacket is, the popularity of pleated trousers in the late 1980s means that they accompany this suit jacket. The trousers have on-seam side pockets and one rear pocket on the right. The legs are gently tapered with plain hems. The trousers are worn with a medium brown belt.


Brosnan’s blue multi-stripe shirt is classic, but it is also what was popular in the 1980s. The cotton is medium blue, possibly end-on-end, with navy, yellow and light blue pencil stripes, spaced about 3/8″ apart. The shirt has a point collar, double cuffs and a front placket. The collar, cuffs and placket have 1/4″ stitching. Brosnan’s tie is red with dark blue repp stripes bordered by olive repp stripes. The striped tie pairs well with the striped shirt because the stripes are of different scales and different intensities. The tie’s stripes are in the American directions—down from the right shoulder to the left hip. If the stripes have any meaning in the UK, the American direction negates the meaning of the pattern. As there is no keeper, each blade of the tie hangs freely. When the tie flips up in the wind, a Polo Ralph Lauren label can be seen under the tie. It is possibly that other piece of clothing that Pierce Brosnan wears in Noble House could also be from Polo.

Brosnan matches a dark blue patterned silk pocket square to the dark blue stripes in the tie and in the shirt. Brosnan also matches his red socks to the base colour of his tie. The shoes are medium brown suede derbys.


Notice the “POLO by Ralph Lauren” label on the back of the tie

The Persuaders: A More Conservative Charcoal Three-Piece Suit


Though Roger Moore often dresses flamboyantly as Lord Brett Sinclair in his early 1970s television show The Persuaders, not all of his clothes are entirely adventurous or fashion-forward. One of Moore’s more conservative pieces of clothing in The Persuaders is a charcoal track-stripe three-piece suit, which he wears in eight episodes. The track stripes are pairs of white or light grey pinstripes, spaced close together. Roger Moore designed his clothes for The Persuaders, and for this one he kept the cloth more conservative. Cyril Castle, Moore’s tailor for The Saint and his first two James Bond films, made the suit.


This cut of this suit is similar to Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint, but the jacket has been updated from the 1960s with wider, more balanced lapels and a higher button stance that gives the suit jacket a timeless look. The jacket has a very British cut with softly padded shoulders, a full chest and a nipped waist. The front buttons three with a medium low stance that has a balanced and flattering look on Roger Moore’s figure. The jacket is detailed with three buttons on the cuffs, slanted pockets and a single vent.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. The bottom of the front edge starts to curve away above the bottom button, thus the bottom button and buttonhole do not line up. The waistcoat also has notched lapels and two welt pockets.


Moore wears a gold chain from one waistcoat pocket to the other. This should mean that Moore has a pocket watch in one waistcoat pocket and a fob in the other, but Moore is wearing a gold wristwatch. Either Moore has both a wristwatch and a pocket watch, or the waistcoat’s chain is purely decorative.

The suit’s trousers are made by Cyril Castle’s trouser maker at the time, Richard Paine. They have jetted cross pocket on the front, and a dart centred on the front of each side cuts through the pocket. There is a button-through pocket on either side in the back. The trousers have a narrow straight leg, following 1960s fashion. Though Moore often dresses flamboyantly in The Persuaders, he wouldn’t adopt the flared looks that became popular in the late 60s until Live and Let Die. The trousers also have belt loops, but Moore doesn’t wear a belt, and the waistcoat keeps the belt loops covered. The trouser waist fits well enough that a belt is not needed.


Moore’s lilac poplin shirt, made by Frank Foster, has a spread collar, a plain front and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten with a single button. Lilac shirts are very versatile, and the colour flatters Moore’s warm complexion. The tie is navy with sets of wide cream, champagne and gold stripes, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. The shoes are black monk shoes with an apron front.

The Avengers: Grey Suit with a Velvet Collar


We lost another great actor from the James Bond series on Thursday, Patrick Macnee. Macnee played Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill, but he’s most well known for playing the secret agent John Steed in The Avengers. In the sixth series, Macnee’s wardrobe was updated with new suits in the style of his fourth series signature velvet-collar suits. In these new suits, designed by himself, a long single vent replaced the double vents and slanted or straight flap pockets replaced the slanted jetted pockets. Some of the new suits have breast pockets. In memory of Patrick Macnee let’s look at one of his grey three-piece suits from The Avengers‘ sixth series.

This mid-grey flannel three-piece suit made by Bailey and Weatherill of Regent Street first features in the second episode of the sixth series, “Game”. “Game” is the show’s first episode after Diana Rigg’s departure and the second episode with Linda Thorson, and it features new opening titles with Macnee wearing this same grey suit. The suit jacket has a traditional English equestrian cut, with strong straight shoulders, a clean chest, a closely fitted waist and a very flared skirt.


The suit jacket continues in the same style as the previous velvet-collar suit jackets with a single button on the front, a single button on each cuff and a dark taupe velvet collar. The skirt has a long single vent, which adds to the equestrian look of the suit. The jacket has no breast pocket and slanted hip pockets with flaps. The earlier suits in this style didn’t have flaps on the hip pockets. The pocket flaps make this jacket look bottom heavy due to the lack of a breast pocket.

The six-button waistcoat has a straight bottom and two welt pockets. The trousers have tapered legs, a flat front and likely slanted side pockets. The suit’s buttons are grey plastic.


With this suit in “Game”, Steed wears an ecru shirt with a spread collar, which looks better with Steed’s round face than the wider cutaway collars that he previously wore looked. The shirt has rounded two-button cuffs, and Steed only buttons the second button. The tie is woven with magenta in one direction and sky blue in another direction like a Solaro cloth, making parts of the tie look sky blue in parts and magenta in other parts, depending on the angle you look at it. The tie is tied in a windsor knot. We don’t see the shoes, but they are likely the grey-green short chelsea boots that he wears with this suit in other episodes.


In the sixth series opening titles

In the opening titles, Steed wears periwinkle shirt with a spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is a printed pattern in pink, orange and white, and he ties it in a windsor knot. The tie is  pinned about an inch below the knot with a deep red polished stone tie pin. He also adds a red carnation in his lapel.

WIth the suit, Steed wears his trademark bowler hat and carries an umbrella. This bowler is in grey with a grey ribbon to match the suit. The umbrella has a grey canopy, also to match suit, and a light whangee curved handle.


Napoleon Solo’s First Suit—1960s American Style


Ian Fleming’s character Napoleon Solo, played by Robert Vaughn in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is introduced in 1964 as American television’s answer to James Bond. The pilot episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. titled “The Vulcan Affair” became the first episode of the series and was later made into the feature film To Trap a Spy. Napoleon Solo’s first suit in this first episode is based in traditional American style, but it applies 1960s fashion trends to it. The suit overall is very much a product of 1960s fashions, and the trends of the decade pervade the suit in a much more exaggerated way than any of James Bond’s suits of the decade do. The suave American spy dresses quite a bit differently from 007.


The suit is made of lightweight taupe wool, likely blended with mohair judging by the suit’s sheen. It is probably woven in brown and white yarns. The suit jacket is detailed in a very 1960s manner. The jacket has only a single button on the front and one button on each cuff. The narrow notched lapels are rounded rather than squared. The jacket has slanted pockets with narrow flaps, and both the lapels and the pocket flaps have swelled edges. The rear double vents are very short and about only four or five inches long.

In the American tradition, the shoulders are natural with little or no padding and the front has no darts. The lack of front darts makes the jacket look somewhat boxy, but it still fits closely and has waist suppression. The main different between a jacket with darts and a jacket without darts is that the one without darts has less fullness in the chest. Solo’s jacket has a very clean and close-fitting chest, whilst the waist is suppressed through the rear side seams and the darts under the arms. In following 1960s fashion, the jacket has a shorter-than-traditional length, but it is just long enough to cover the buttocks. This contrasts with today’s short jackets, which have no intention of keeping the buttocks covered. Vaughn has long legs, and the shorter jacket still makes him look out of proportion. The fashionably short length has the benefit of making the 5’10” Robert Vaughn look a little taller. Especially next to the 5’7″ David McCallum who plays Illya Kuryakin, Vaughn looks rather tall.


The suit trousers have a flat front, long rise, tapered legs and no belt loops. The long rise is the most significant part of Solo’s suit that separates it from today’s suits. It is long enough to almost meet the jacket’s front button. Going against American tradition, the trousers have plain hems. The trousers also are hemmed short, making these what some call high-water or flood trousers. It’s a traditional American style to hem the trousers too short, and Solo’s are about two inches above where the trousers would meet the shoes in front. The short hem shows off Solo’s black socks.

Solo’s white button-down shirt follows traditional American style just as many parts of the suit do. Likely made of oxford cloth, the shirt has a soft button-down collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a front placket. The narrow tie is black with a pronounced diagonal rib and tied in a small four-in-hand knot. The tie is held against the shirt with small tie clip placed just above the height of the jacket’s button. The tie clip is hidden when the jacket is buttoned.


Solo’s black shoes are an American style of shoe called longwing bluchers. Longwings have a pointed toe cap like a wing-tip, but they have wings extending the full length of the shoe. Bluchers are similar to derbys in that they have open lacing, but on bluchers the vamp and quarters are one piece, and they have tabs sewn to the front for the lacing eyelets.

When off duty, Solo removes his jacket and tie, unbuttons the shirt’s collar and dons a beige cardigan. The heavy ribbed cardigan is mid-hip-length and fits close to the body. From the collar down to the hem, the front of the cardigan has seven smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and Solo leaves the top button open. The cuffs have four smaller buttons, like what would be found on a suit jacket. The cardigan has a turndown collar, side vents and a patch pocket on the bottom of either side of the front. The cardigan’s front edge, the collar and the top of the pockets have black piping. The unbuttoned shirt reveals a white crew-neck undershirt, which is something Americans are accustomed to wearing. When the shirt is buttoned with a tie, a crew-neck undershirt follows the base of the shirt’s collar so the outline of the undershirt’s neck does not show. With the shirt unbuttoned, however, a crew-neck undershirt is distracting.


Though fans of certain American and 1960s fashions may appreciate this outfit, I suspect many fans of James Bond’s style will not. The fashionable and American style of Napoleon Solo differs considerably from the more traditional and English style that James Bond wears the same year in Goldfinger. After the first episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Solo’s clothes became a little less fashionable, but also less interesting.

On a Bond-related note, this episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. features a brief uncredited—but unmistakeable—appearance of Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me‘s and Moonraker‘s Jaws) as a thug.

The Avengers: Creative Eveningwear in Red


The first episode of The Avengers in colour, “From Venus with Love” in 1967, takes full advantage of colour by placing Patrick Macnee’s John Steed in a claret red dinner suit. I was inspired to write about this outfit after seeing Selma star David Oyelowo wear a very similar—and equally effective or ineffective, depending on your opinion—outfit at the Oscars last week. Though Steed breaks the rules of black tie, he does so in a creative way. If one is going to break the rules of black tie, breaking the rues should not turn a dinner suit into an ordinary lounge suit. More than one button on a single-breasted dinner jacket, flapped pockets and single vents (or even double vents by some standards) and very boring and pointless ways to mess with black tie tradition. If you are going to break black tie, at least be original! Steed demonstrates how to be creative with black tie, as he does with all of his tailored clothes. If you don’t like this dinner suit, which I’m sure many of you will not, there are photos of Mrs. Peel here to make this article more enjoyable.

Rather than the traditional black or midnight blue, Steed’s dinner suit is made in a colour often used for the garment that inspired the dinner jacket: the smoking jacket. Claret red is a rich colour appropriate for the evening, unlike the shades of grey that a number of men wore to the Oscars this year. Additionally, the dinner suit is made of silk, a luxurious and appropriate for evening clothes. It reflects a lot of light, making it look lighter than it is in a brightly-lit room.


This dinner jacket follows Steed’s signature style: a button one jacket with slanted hip pockets, no breast pocket, double vents and a velvet collar. This style is partially inspired by riding jackets, but it works well for an adventurous dinner jacket. Steed’s signature style already has a single button on the front, as a dinner jacket should. The slanted pockets aren’t a big deal since they are jetted. Though the traditional dinner jacket has no vents, double vents are the more acceptable—and dressier—vent style over a single vent. The burgundy velvet collar may be the oddest part of this dinner jacket, but it’s not entirely inappropriate since it recalls the material the smoking jacket is made from. The dinner jacket has buttons covered in silk, and there is one button on each cuff.

The dinner jacket’s notched lapels are faced in burgundy watered silk to contrast them from the plain, slightly lighter-coloured silk of the dinner jacket’s body. Some may argue that notched lapels are inappropriate on dinner jackets, but they were historically worn for less formal black tie occasions, like private dinners. Since a red dinner jacket isn’t appropriate for any proper black tie occasion, notched lapels fit the dinner jacket’s uses. I would argue, however, that peaked lapels would have been a better choice, though they would take away from the dinner jacket’s intended sporting look.


Tailor Bailey and Weatherill of Regent Street tailored this suit in a traditional English equestrian cut, with strong straight shoulders, a clean chest, a closely fitted waist and a flared skirt. The equestrian cut is similar to the military cut and has a very formal look that is appropriate for a dinner jacket. The dinner suit’s matching trousers are tailored with narrow, tapered legs and are without pleats. They do not have a stripe down the legs.

Steed not only makes bold choices with his dinner suit but also with its accessories. A pale lilac dress shirt—which may be made of silk—stays in the red family but still contrasts with the bold dinner suit. It has a wide spread collar, double cuffs and a plain front. The bow tie is red velvet, which matches the dinner jacket’s collar rather than lapels. Proper black tie means that the bow tie must be black, but since so many other rules are broken here it doesn’t really matter. Steed’s socks are dark burgundy and his chelsea boots are black. Chelsea boots work well for black tie because of their sleek plain-toe, side-gusset design, and they look neat with the narrow trouser legs.


Ultimately, John Steed’s claret red dinner suit would be best worn for a “creative black tie” dress code, or by the host an intimate black tie dinner. It breaks the rules of black tie in creative ways, but it perhaps breaks the rules so much that it doesn’t even resemble a dinner suit much anymore. Nevertheless, it is suit inspired by black tie that certainly looks like it is meant to be worn in the evening, and for that it is a successful design. The outfit’s contrast of intense and muted colours has the same effect as the traditional black tie outfit’s black and white contrast. Steed may not be dressed conservatively like James Bond in an episode with a Bond-inspired title, but not all spies need to be inconspicuous.


Unrelated to this dinner suit, “From Venus with Love” has an amusing scene where Steed takes an eye exam of hat styles on shelves rather than letters on a chart. “From the top, if you please”, says the ophthalmologist. “Trilby, homburg, bowler, cap. Jockey, porkpie, topper, boater, busby, fez,” replies Steed, as he passes the eye exam swiftly and perfectly!

Remington Steele: Opting Out of Black Tie


Black tie events these days are mostly “black tie optional”. The best-dressed men would only wear a dinner jacket to such events, but a dark solid suit is a stylish choice for those who opt out of the dinner jacket. Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele, in the first series episode of Remington Steele titled “Etched in Steele”, wears a charcoal three-piece suit to a black tie party. Considering the way Mr. Steele looks over the people at the event when he arrives, he probably didn’t expect the party to be black tie. Steele is rarely underdressed, and he is actually known to overdress. Nevertheless, Steele would be appropriately dressed in his dark charcoal suit for an event where black tie is optional. Anyone who comes dressed like Steele to a black tie optional event would be a very well-dressed—though still not the best-dressed—gentleman.


The charcoal of Steele’s suit is so dark that it looks black in dim lighting and only shows its true colour when up against true black. A dark navy suit would serve the same purpose at a black tie optional event, and may even be preferable due to its richer colour. Though Steele wears a three-piece suit, a two-piece suit would have been just as appropriate for a black tie optional event.


Steele’s button two suit jacket has narrow pagoda shoulders with roped sleeveheads and a clean chest with a suppressed waist. It has slanted flap pockets, three-button cuffs and double vents. The notched lapels have a steep gorge, a characteristic of 1980s suit jackets, but both the gorge and button stance are at classic heights. Overall, the suit jacket has a classic cut with timeless and balanced proportions. The waistcoat has five buttons, and Steele leaves the bottom button open to follow tradition. The trousers have a flat front and straight legs with plain hems. Steele unfortunately wears the trousers with a belt, which leaves a lump under the waistcoat. Due to the suit’s dark colour and quality of the DVD, the lump is hardly noticeable.


Steele wears the only colour shirt that would be appropriate at a black tie optional event: solid white. It’s really the best colour shirt for any dressy evening occasion, though cream works slightly better for those with a warmer complexion. The shirt has a point collar worn with a gold collar pin, a front placket and double cuffs. Steele’s tie is red with small tan polka dots. Red is a great accent colour for the evening, and it’s the only bold colour that can be traditionally worn along with the black and white of black tie. Red is a classic colour for cummerbunds, and James Bond twice wears a red carnation with his dinner jackets. The only colour that would have been better for Steele’s tie is silver. Black can look rather funereal with a dark three-piece suit, but it’s not an inappropriate choice either for black tie optional. The small tan polka dots in Steele’s red tie coordinate with Steele’s gold collar pin and cuff links. The red silk pocket square coordinates with the tie but lacks the tie’s polka dots to avoid the dreaded matching tie and pocket square. It is folded in sort of a winged puff, but it looks more circular, rather like the red carnations that Bond wears.


Steele’s usual choice of black slip-on shoes is very Bond-like, though it’s not the most appropriate choice for a three-piece suit, especially not in the evening. Though Steele wears his slip-ons well, black cap-toe or plain-toe oxfords would be the ideal choice.