The Persuaders: The Tweed Norfolk Suit

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In the 1971 episode of The Persuaders titled “A Home of One’s Own”, Roger Moore wears an old-fashioned Norfolk suit. The brown herringbone tweed sporting suit is made up of a Norfolk jacket and matching tweed trousers. The tweed in a light brown and dark brown herringbone is a classic cloth for the country, whilst also flattering Moore’s warm complexion. Though elements of the Norfolk jacket were popular in 1970s fashion, Moore’s is a very traditional model apart from the late 1960’s trouser cut. For background on the Norfolk jacket, I refer to some of the best menswear writers:

Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that the Norfolk jacket is “considered the first sport jacket.”

Riccardo Villarosa and Giuliano Angeli describe the Norfolk jacket in The Elegant Man as “one of the first garments created especially for sporting activities”. They write about the origins of the jackets name: “It appears as if its name derives from the fact that it was cut for some of the guests at the Duke of Nofolk’s hunting party”.

Bernhard Roetzel writes about the Norfolk jacket in Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion: “It was especially made for shooting, and was therefore a real ‘designer jacket’ in the sense of being designed for a particular purpose, according to the principle that ‘form follows function'”.

Roger Moore’s character Lord Brett Sinclair appropriately wears his norfolk suit in the English country, and it is practical at keeping him warm. However, he does not wear the Norfolk jacket for it’s intended hunting purposes.

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Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s Norfolk suit jacket in the same cut as the other suits in The Persuaders, with straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line, roped sleeveheads and full, but clean chest. This jacket follows the traditional button four front of the Norfolk jacket, as opposed to the standard three buttons on a regular tweed jacket, and all four buttons are meant to fasten. Though Norfolk jackets most often have a straight front, it’s an acceptable variation for the quarters to the slightly cutaway and curved like on Moore’s jacket. Moore usually has all the buttons fastened on his Norfolk jacket, but sometimes the top or the bottom button is left open in a continuity error. Whilst traditionally the Norfolk jacket has a deep single vent to the belt, Moore’s has deep double vents. It is detailed with swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs, and the jacket’s buttons are made of dark brown horn.

Though bellows pockets are the most traditional style of hip pocket on a Norfolk jacket, Moore’s jacket has the less sporting but equally casual style of flapped, rounded patch pockets. Compared to standard patch pockets, these have a little extra fullness sewn into bottom of the pocket to make it more useful if Moore wanted to use them.

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The Norfolk jacket ultimately has two defining features: the belt and the sewn-down braces. The belt buttons through the jacket’s middle button and secures to the right of it with another button. Traditionally the belt is removable, but on Moore’s jacket the belt is sewn down to the back and sides. The braces-like straps are attached from the top of the front hip pockets, up over the shoulder and down to the belt at the waist in the rear. According to Villarosa and Angeli in The Elegant Man, the stitched braces are “designed to support the weight of cartridges in the pockets”. Since the braces go over the chest, the Norfolk jacket does not take a breast pocket.

The suit trousers with the Norfolk jacket match the style of the other trousers in The Persuaders and are made by Cyril Castle’s trouser maker at the time, Richard Paine. They have a dart on each side of the front, and an offset jetted frogmouth pocket cuts through the dart. The trousers legs are tapered to the knee and straight from the knee down in the style popular in the late 1960s. Fashions had already moved to wider and flared legs by the time of this show.

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With the Norfolk suit, Moore wears a beige poplin shirt made by Frank Foster with a spread collar, a front placket and button-down one-button cocktail cuffs. He first wears the collar open with a yellow, gold and brown floral silk day cravat, which keeps the outfit looking casual whilst guarding his neck from the cold. Later in the afternoon for drinks and cards at a local Inn where he is staying, Moore switches the day cravat for a buttoned collar with a gold tie that has a faint self-stripe pattern. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. His shoes are brown side-zip boots with a square toe.

Moore also wears this Norfolk suit in the episodes “Greensleeves” and “The Time and the Place”.

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The Persuaders: A Sporty Striped Suit

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Though Roger Moore wears the flashiest clothes of his career playing Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders, the suits are also amongst the best-tailored and best proportioned of any of Moore’s suits. Cyril Castle, who made Moore’s suits for The Saint and for his first two Bond films, made the suits for The Persuaders. Castle experimented with fashion trends more than most Mayfair tailors did, but at the time The Persuaders was made in 1971 the narrow styles of the 60s were out and the wide styles of the 1970s hadn’t fully taken hold yet. The suits in The Persuaders instead get their flashiness from unconventional colours and patterns along with the occasional odd detail. Roger Moore himself is responsible for all the flashiness, and he is credited with designing Lord Sinclair’s clothes.

Persuaders-Cream-Stripe-Suit-3The episode of The Persuaders titled  “Nuisance Value” features a very unique striped double-breasted suit, and the cloth is what makes it most remarkable. It has a cream base with thick light brown stripes, and medium grey pinstripes are closely spaced in-between the light brown stripes. The medium grey pinstripes also border each light brown stripe. Though striped suits are ordinarily thought of as business suits, this isn’t a typical pinstripe, rope stripe or chalk stripe suit. These stripes unquestionably have a sportier look, and such a sporty suit is appropriate for the Lord Brett Sinclair character who wears suits for fun.

Persuaders-Cream-Stripe-Suit-2The suit jacket is cut in Cyril Castle’s usual double-breasted style. It has six buttons with two to button, and the jacket is cut with an extemely narrow wrap (the overlap in front). The narrow wrap makes the buttons very close together horizontally compared to their farther vertical distance to give the jacket more vertical lines and help slim the slightly heavyish Moore. The jacket has softly-padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a lot of fullness in the chest and a nipped waist. The peaked lapels are made in the Tautz style, in which the top edge of the lapel points horizontally rather than angles up. The lapels are on the wider side of classic width, and, as usual for Castle, there’s only a buttonhole in the left lapel. Double-breasted jackets traditionally have a buttonhole in each lapel since both sides of the jacket fasten. Like on the jackets that Moore wears in his first two Bond films, this suit jacket has flared link-button cuffs, slanted pockets and deep double vents. The buttons are smoked dark grey mother of pearl, which add some additional flash to the suit. The suit trousers have a dart on each side of the front, and an offset jetted frogmouth pocket cuts through the dart. The trousers legs are tapered to the knee and straight from the knee down. Moore wears the trousers with a belt.

Persuaders-Cream-Stripe-Suit-4Under the suit Moore wears a peach-coloured shirt from Frank Foster. It has a spread collar, placket and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten around the wrist with a single button. Peach isn’t a traditional colour for formal shirts, but it’s similar to the classic ecru only a little darker and with a hint of pink. The champagne-coloured tie is a couple shades darker than the shirt, and it pulls out the light brown stripes in the suit. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot. When Moore opens his jacket we can see that the tie is too short and wider than the lapels, but since most of the tie is obscured inside the jacket—and the jacket should always be kept fastened—neither of the tie’s problems actually matter.

Persuaders-BootsMoore’s zip boots are even more fashionable than the colour of his shirt or the pattern of his suit. The boots’ light brown colour fits the Spanish setting and complements the warm colours in the rest of the outfit. The height of the boots is difficult to describe, since they are taller than ankle boots but shorter than mid-calf. They have a square toe and leather soles. Like most of Moore’s shoes, these zip boots are likely Italian-made. Zip boots are ordinarily too casual to wear with a suit, but the sporty nature of this suit makes zip boots almost appropriate.

Persuaders-Grey-Stripe-SuitThis cream, brown and grey-striped suit could easily be confused for another very similar suit that Moore wears in The Persuaders. In the same episode Moore wears another suit that is in the same pattern, but it has a light grey base with thick dark grey stripes instead of a cream base with light brown stripes. Like the cream-based suit, the grey-based suit also has medium grey pinstripes. Both suits have the same cut and same details, except the grey suit has a larger wrap than the cream suit has. Moore wears the all-grey suit with an open-collar black shirt, and a black silk day cravat is tied inside the collar but hangs outside the shirt. He also wears black slip-on shoes, which echo the black shirt and go well with the greys in the suit.

The Persuaders: The Cardigan-Blazer

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One of the most unique pieces of clothing that Roger Moore wears in The Persuaders is a cardigan that’s styled like a blazer. There are a number of different blazers in The Persuaders, and I’ve already written about the striped blazer. Though this piece is worn in seven episodes of the series, the example here is from the episode “Element of Risk”. Sometimes he wears it with a white polo neck, and other times he wears it with an open-neck shirt and day cravat. But here he dresses it up with a tie. Though it has elements of a blazer, it’s no more formal than the typical cardigan. The navy cardigan is a six-button double-breasted with two to button. It has a collar and notch lapels, short side vents, open patch pockets and three buttons on the cuffs. The buttons are brass, which is what gives this cardigan the blazer look. The length of the cardigan is longer than most cardigans, but it’s shorter than the length of a blazer, though similar to what’s popular today for a jacket.

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The mid-grey trousers are made at Cyril Castle by his trouser-maker at the time, Richard Paine. The trousers have a straight leg, plain bottoms, front darts and jetted pockets angled across the front. The lilac shirt is the usual style in the series, with a large, moderate spread collar, 1-button, button-down cocktail cuffs and a plain front. The purple tie has a double-rib weave. He also wears tall brown zip boots.

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Also with this outfit, Moore wears a cream-coloured cotton trench coat. Although it is a lighter colour than the traditional tan, it still is longer than knee-length with five rows of buttons to the collar. However, it is missing many of the traditional details, like the shoulder straps, the storm flap and the belt. Instead of a belt, the coat is fitted through the body.

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Almost Never Button the Bottom Button

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Sean Connery has both buttons on his dark grey suit fastened in Dr. No.

Sean Connery’s tailoring in his Bond films is often admired for its clean, simple lines and limited colour scheme. But wearing suits didn’t come naturally to Connery, and on four occasions he makes the mistake of buttoning the bottom button on his suit jackets. The first is in Dr. No, when wearing tailored clothing was still very new to him, and presumably director Terence Young did not catch the brief mistake. It happens a second time in Dr. No when both of the buttons on Bond’s blazer are fastened when he watches the Three Blind Mice’s hearse fall off the cliff. The third is when Bond enters his hotel room in Istanbul and suddenly his bottom button is fastened, even though it was when he entered the lift. The fourth time came in Diamonds Are Forever. On neither of Connery’s suit jackets should the bottom button ever be fastened.

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Connery fastens the bottom button on his linen suit in Diamonds Are Forever.

It’s typically advised that only the top button on a button two jacket should be fastened. This is because the front is cut away below the top button and the lower button doesn’t meet up with the buttonhole. Thus, fastening the lower button causes the jacket to pull across the hips. It restricts movement and makes it difficult to sit. Also, it shortens the perceived leg length, rather than extending the leg to the waist. But some button two jackets are designed to have both buttons fastened.

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On a paddock-cut button two jacket, both buttons are meant to fasten. The button stance is raised, usually placing the two buttons equidistant above and below the waist. Placing both buttons higher means that the bottom button can be fastened without restricting movement. The front on a paddock cut is only cutaway below the bottom button. President John F. Kennedy, British politician Anthony Eden and the Duke of Windsor are known for wearing this cut. In his later years, the Duke of Windsor only fastened the bottom button on his paddock-cut jackets for a longer lapel line. Roger Moore wears a couple paddock-cut suits with button-three jackets in The Persuaders, which adds a third button at the top.

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Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s paddock-cut suit in The Persuaders. It has a slanted, flapped breast pocket and flared link-button cuffs

Button-Down Cocktail Cuff

Though never seen in the Bond films, both Sean Connery and Roger Moore wore Frank Foster’s shirts with his unique button-down cocktail cuffs. Moore wears the cuff throughout The Persuaders and Connery wears it in Never Say Never Again, for which Frank Foster and Turnbull & Asser both made shirts with this cuff. The earliest appearance of this cuff is in Vendetta for the Saint, the only time Roger Moore wears the cuff in The Saint. The cuff is worn with sports coats, suits and even black tie. Unlike the regular 2-button cocktail cuff, this cuff only fastens around the wrist with a single button and pivots on the button. Two small buttons hold down the rounded corners of the cuff like a button-down collar.

Like a button-down collar, the button-down cuff should have a gentle roll. Thus, the cuff needs to be made with a soft interlining and should never be pressed with a fold. Below is what the cuff looks like unbuttoned and unfolded:

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The Persuaders: The Striped Blazer

In the last of Roger Moore’s many television programmes, The Persuaders!, Moore took an extra role in designing the wardrobe of his character Lord Brett Sinclair. Moore was, at the time, the director of cloth merchant Pearson + Foster, which made suitings for both him and Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!. As a result, Moore wore some of the most unique and interesting fabrics of his career at this time. These bold fabrics were quite appropriate for an English lord and playboy, though too over-the-top for James Bond. Moore’s tailor from The Saint, Cyril Castle, still tailored the clothing. The example here is a double-breasted blazer in a bold, original pattern of wide maroon and green stripes with dark brown/green pinstripes. The fabric is influenced by striped boating blazers, which are usually single-breasted with more contrast in the stripes. The images here are from the second episode, “The Gold Napoleon,” though Moore wore this blazer many times throughout the series in the South of France.

The 6-button blazer in the traditional 2-to-button configuration has crested silver buttons. The wrap (front overlap) is narrower than the typical double-breasted jacket, and the top vestigial buttons are also placed in closer than what is typical. It is cut with soft shoulders, a clean chest, a nipped waist and a long, flared skirt with deep double vents. The blazer has 1-button gauntlet cuffs (with a rounded turnback) and slanted pockets.

Notice Moore’s gauntlet cuffs
In “The Gold Napoleon,” Moore wears the blazer with golden beige wool trousers with plain bottoms and frogmouth pockets. The shirt by Frank Foster is made of a pale lavender poplin with a spread collar and button-down turnback cuffs, which will be discussed in more detail at a later date. The tie is green leaves on a silver ground, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Moore match his trousers with beige socks and wears light brown slip-ons.