A Guide to Bond’s Pinstripes and Chalk Stripes

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Since From Russia with Love, striped suits have been a staple of James Bond’s wardrobe. There are many different kinds of stripes for suits, including pinstripes, chalk stripes and variations on those stripes, such as bead stripes, rope stripes, track stripes, multi-stripes, shadow stripes, self stripes and more. There are not universally accepted definitions for all of these different stripes, but suiting stripes are defined purely on the appearance of the stripe and not how far they are spaced apart. James Bond has worn all of these different types of stripes, with the chalk stripes being the most common.

Pinstripes

A pinstripe is a stripe that is very fine but usually well-defined. Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that pinstripes are “fine stripes the width of a pin scratch resulting from the use of white, gray, or other yarns in a series in the warp of a worsted fabric.” Hardy Amies writes in ABC of Men’s Fashion that pinstripes “are really a series of dots”. These two definitions aren’t exactly the same, but they aren’t at odds with each other either.

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Pierce Brosnan wears a dark charcoal suit with grey pinstripes in The World Is Not Enough

Pinstripes are often woven into the cloth separately from the background weave on a Dobby loom rather than as simply part of the background weave. In those cases the pinstripe isn’t one or two of every twenty to forty or so yarns in the weave, but it’s added to the cloth in on top of the base colour. This helps makes the pinstripe more defined and keeps it from blurring into the cloth. These kinds of pinstripes are often made of silk or mercerised cotton instead of wool so they stand out even more. A variation on the pinstripe is the bead stripe, also called a beaded pinstripe or a rain pinstripe, which looks like a line of tiny beads spaced apart. These can be either one or two yarns wide. On some pinstripes, two yarns of beads alternate above and below to create a more continuous pinstripe. This kind of stripe is what tailor Richard Anderson calls a “true” pinstripe in his book Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smoothed.

A single-yarn pinstripe woven as part of the warp in a twill weave can also have a bead effect since the twill wales break the stripe. These single-yarn pinstripes that are part of the background weave don’t stand out as much as the kind described above and often can’t be seen clearly from a distance. When woven into the cloth, a stripe that is two yarns wide can look either like a pinstripe or a chalk stripe depending on the weave and type of cloth. In these cases the stripe could fairly be called either a pinstripe or a chalk stripe.

The track stripe is a variation where the pinstripes come in groupings of two or three, with the stripes in each grouping spaced one or two yarn’s width apart.

Chalk Stripes

A chalk stripe is woven two to five yarns wide and resembles the lines of a tailor’s chalk, hence the name. Chalk stripes are woven as part of the warp of the weave, which makes the stripes less defined than typical pinstripes. Amies describes the difference, “‘pin’ stripes … look very ‘set’ when compared to ‘chalk’ stripes, the outlines of which are blurred and thus blend with the background.”

From-Russia-with-Love-Chalk-Stripe-Suit

Sean Connery wears a navy flannel suit with grey chalk stripes in From Russia with Love

Chalkstripes, especially in wider spacings, are less formal than pinstripes. Chalk stripes are woven as two to four yarns of every forty or so yarns. A true chalk stripe is a stripe on a flannel cloth, which gives it a blurry appearance that resembles chalk. Wider stripes on worsted suitings can also be called chalk stripes. On a plain weave a chalk stripe has a pebbled effect and may be called a pearl chalk stripe. On a twill weave the diagonal wales make diagonal breaks in the stripe. This kind of chalk stripe mimics the look of twisted rope, and consequently this stripe is called a rope stripe or a cable stripe.

Worsted suits with stripes are best worn in a business setting, especially in the darkest of charcoal and navy worsteds. Riccardo Villarosa and Giuliano Angeli write in The Elegant Man, “It seems as if the design on the fabric of a pinstriped suit was inspired by the lines in accounting books. In reality, continuous or dotted lines be traced to the lines of the trousers worn with a morning coat, which was very popular in London during the first half of the century.” Pinstripes, however, do resemble the lines in ledger books more than they resemble the much bolder stripes of trousers worn with a morning coat, and thus they look most appropriate in a business setting. Flannel chalk stripes, on the other hand, can work well in social settings, especially when in lighter shades of charcoal and navy. Pinstripes and chalk stripe cloths are best made up as suits and not as odd jackets or trousers. Pinstripes and chalk stripes look too serious enough to wear outside of a suit, and they look best when they can continue from the shoulders down to feet.

James Bond’s Striped Suits

James Bond’s first striped suit is in From Russia with Love, and it is navy flannel with wide-spaced grey chalk stripes (pictured above under the “Chalk Stripes” header). The grey stripes don’t stand out as much as white chalk stripes would, but it is overall a very classic chalk stripe suit. This suit works well in Venice in a non-office setting because the flannel cloth and wider stripe spacing make this suit less formal than the typical striped suit.

This dark brown suit in Goldfinger has subtle shadow stripes

This dark brown suit in Goldfinger has subtle shadow stripes

Bond’s second striped suit is a brown shadow stripe suit worn in the Fort Knox scene in Goldfinger. Shadow stripes are created in two ways, either by a variation in the weave—woven on a dobby loom—in the same colour as the background of the suit or by using darker yarns. When the stripe is the same colour as the background of the suit it can also be called a self stripe. Shadow stripes can be any thickness, from one yarn to many more than a chalkstripe. Bond’s suit in Goldfinger has a stripe most likely two yarns wide.

Bond wears a navy chalk stripe suit to the office in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Bond wears a navy chalk stripe suit to the office in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond starts a long tradition of wearing striped suits in London along with a tradition of three-piece suits. The suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is navy flannel with white chalk stripes in a narrower spacing than on the suit in From Russia with Love. The narrower spacing gives the traditional chalkstripe a more modern and slightly more formal look. Narrower spacing between stripes became more popular in the 1960s, and Roger Moore wore suits with stripes spaced much closer than this throughout The Saint.

Sean Connery wear a navy suit with blue chalk stripes in Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery wear a navy suit with blue chalk stripes in Diamonds Are Forever

In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond visits Blofeld’s oil rig dressed for business in a navy suit with blue chalk stripes. Chalk stripes on worsted suitings are fairly bold when in white, but since these stripes are medium blue they don’t have so much contrast with the suit’s background. Blue stripes are an effective way to wear stripes without the fear of making too bold of a statement in stripes. However, in some settings blue stripes may be seen as too fashionable compared to the bolder, yet more traditional, white stripes.

Roger Moore's first chalk stripe suit is grey with white stripes

Roger Moore’s first chalk stripe suit in The Man with the Golden Gun is grey with white stripes

In The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger Moore continues the tradition started in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service of wearing stripes in London. Moore’s suit is a double-breasted medium grey flannel with white chalk stripes. Medium and lighter greys are not as popular in London as dark greys are, and consequently this suit has a less business-like appearance. This suit could just as easily be worn for a daytime social occasion, but the colour is too light to wear in the evening. Later in The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond wears an olive multi-stripe double-breasted suit out at night in Hong Kong. A multi-stripe pattern has a series of stripes in different weights or colours. The olive suit in The Man with the Golden Gun has both different weights and different colours, with a series of very closely-spaced tan pinstripes between wider-spaced red chalk stripes. Multi-stripes are the least serious of all suit stripes and function better for social occasions than for business.

The pinstripes on Roger Moore's office suit in Moonraker are so close together that they can only be seen clearly in this close-up shot

The pinstripes on Roger Moore’s office suit in Moonraker are so close together that they can only be seen clearly in this close-up shot

The next time Bond visits the office is in Moonraker, and once again he wears a striped suit. This time it’s a navy pinstripe suit, and the pinstripes are spaced so close together that they dull and lighten the navy from a distance and thus make the suit look blue-grey. The suit has about six pinstripes per inch.

For-Your-Eyes-Only-Navy-Chalkstripe-Suit

Roger Moore wears a navy chalk stripe suit in For Your Eyes Only

Bond returns to more traditional styles of clothing in For Your Eyes Only, and in his visit to the office he once again wears a striped three-piece suit. And just as Sean Connery and George Lazenby wore before, Roger Moore wears a navy chalk stripe suit. This suit is worsted flannel, so the stripe is more defined than it is on Connery’s and Lazenby’s fuzzier woollen flannel suits. Moore continues wearing a striped three-piece suit to office in Octopussy, but this time it’s a worsted dark grey twill rope stripe, a more defined variant of the chalk stripe. A View to a Kill is Roger Moore’s only Bond film in which he does not wear a striped suit to the office.

Timothy Dalton wears a navy suit with grey chalk stripes in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton wears a navy suit with grey chalk stripes in The Living Daylights

TImothy Dalton’s Bond continues the tradition of wearing a striped three-piece suit to the office in The Living Daylights with a navy suit with narrow-spaced grey chalk stripes. Though the grey stripes are thick and spaced close together, being grey prevents them from looking overbearing. After The Living Daylights Bond does not wear a striped suit again for twelve years. The next striped suit comes in The World Is Not Enough, when Bond wears a dark charcoal three-piece suit with subtle grey pinstripes to the office (pictured above under the “Pinstirpes” header). The grey stripes on this suit are of the “bead stripe” variety.

Daniel Craig wears a navy suit with track stripes in Casino Royale

Daniel Craig wears a navy suit with track stripes in Casino Royale

Every Bond film that follows The World Is Not Enough has Bond wearing a striped suit. Die Another Day sees Bond wearing a suit in dark grey with light grey pinstripes. Bond even wears two navy pinstripe suits in Casino Royale: a suit on the train with narrow-spaced, hardly seen grey pinstripes and a three-piece suit with slightly wider-spaced light grey double track stripes in Italy. This is the first film since Sean Connery’s Bond films that Bond wears striped suits outside of London, but he wears them to show he is in a business mindset. In Quantum of Solace, Bond wears a navy suit with blue pinstripes. These stripes are three yarns wide, with the three yarns creating horizontally arranged series of dots. I consider the stripes on this suit pinstripes rather than chalk stripes because the yarns are very fine and make up narrow stripes of pin dots. These stripes are spaced a half-inch apart.

James Bond wears a navy suit with subtle grey pinstripes in Casino Royale

James Bond wears a navy suit with subtle grey pinstripes in Casino Royale

Bond’s latest striped suit in a fancy charcoal rope stripe suit in Skyfall. The charcoal suiting is in a twill weave, as is necessary for a rope stripe, except on either side of each grey rope stripe there is a plain-woven section framing the stripe, hence the “fancy” part. With the exception of Skyfall, Bond’s striped suits in recent years have tended more towards pinstripes than chalk stripes.

Daniel Craig wears a charcoal suit with grey rope stripes in Skyfall

Daniel Craig wears a charcoal suit with grey rope stripes in Skyfall

More Spectre Filming in London

Spectre London Tom Ford Suit

Spectre has been filming in London as of late, and James Bond is appropriately dressed for the city in a grey pinstripe suit and “Crombie” coat. There are many photos at Daily Mail. The Tom Ford suit is a combination of styles from Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, but it’s also something new. The suit is dark grey with narrow-spaced white pinstripes, which makes the suit look medium grey overall.

The suit jacket goes back to the Quantum of Solace buttoning arrangement of three buttons with the lapels rolled to the middle button. The lapels are narrow, but not overly so. The shoulders are straight with a little padding, the chest is clean and the waist is very suppressed, with only a little pulling at the button. The fit is much cleaner than the fit in Skyfall. The jacket has a single vent and slightly slanted pockets. All of each cuff’s four buttons are fastened, something unusual—but an improvement—for Craig’s Bond’s who usually leaves the last button open on his Tom Ford suits. The last buttonhole is longer than the rest, as usual for Tom Ford’s suits.

The biggest problem with the suit jacket is its length. Like the suit jackets in Skyfall, it’s about an inch too short—or perhaps two inches too short if you want a traditional English length. The too-short jacket emphasises his hips more and takes away from his masculine physique. In addition to being fashionable, the shorter length may be done to make Craig look taller. Overall, the fit is a huge improvement over the suits in Skyfall, and costumer designer Jany Temime has corrected some of the mistakes she made in her first Bond film.

The trousers have a flat front with side adjusters and turn-ups. Turn-ups with flat front trousers has a long tradition in America, and now with Bond since he has been wearing non-pleated suit trousers with turn-ups since The World Is Not Enough. The legs are narrow, but they have enough room to allow Bond to move around without constraint. The rise looks extremely low, but the trousers also appear to be sagging. Even with the sagging, the rise is still lower than it should be to ensure that no shirt and tie show beneath the jacket’s fastened button. They don’t look particularly comfortable around the fork.

The white shirt has a point collar—which is rather un-British—and double cuffs. The tie is grey and may be solid or have a discreet pattern. The tie is tied in a four-in-hand knot with a well-formed dimple. Bond’s shoes are are black five-eyelet, cap-toe derby shoes on a chiselled last with Dainite studded rubber soles, and most likely the Crockett & Jones Norwich model. Bond also wears Tom Ford sunglasses in some photos.

Spectre London Tom Ford Crombie Coat

The navy “Crombie coat” is made by Tom Ford in Crombie’s famous style. The “Crombie coat” is essentially a three-quarter length chesterfield, and most classically in navy. Crombie has long been so well known for making this type of topcoat that the style is universally known by the brand name. Tom Ford only sets this coat apart from Crombie’s models with his curved “barchetta” breast pocket.

The topcoat is fitted with straight shoulders, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. The front is darted. In following the classic Crombie style, Bond’s Tom Ford topcoat has a navy velvet collar, a fly front with three large hidden buttons, straight pockets with flaps, a single vent and three buttons on the cuffs. Bond only fastens the middle button, which detracts from the elegance of the fly front because the top and bottom buttons are visible. And if the purpose of wearing a topcoat is to stay warm, why only fasten one button? It looks too tight to have the top button fastened anyway, which makes this a poorly fitted coat. The sleeves are also too short. The sleeves on an outercoat should be long enough to cover the shirt sleeves but not get in the way of the hands. Sleeves should be longer for the most warmth. The navy three-quarter coat with a velvet collar recalls Roger Moore’s double-breasted chesterfield in Live and Let Die. It’s just one of a few elements of Bond’s wardrobe in Spectre that has similarities to the clothes in Live and Let Die.

Comparing Daniel Craig’s Navy Pinstripe Suits

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The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

Quantum of Solace begins moments after Casino Royale ends with James Bond wearing a two-piece navy pinstripe suit. Bond is supposed to be wearing the same three-piece suit from at the end of Casino Royale, but the change from a three-piece suit to a two-piece suit is not because we’re meant to think that James Bond removed his waistcoat. Naturally if a man wants to shed a layer of his three-piece suit, he’s going to take off his suit jacket and not the waistcoat. The reason why James Bond is no longer wearing a waistcoat in Quantum of Solace is because a change in costume designer meant a reinterpretation of the Casino Royale outfit. These two suits are the only two in the series that can be fairly judged by comparison since story-wise they are supposed to be the same suit.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

For the final scene of Casino Royale, costume designer Lindy Hemming dressed James Bond in a three-piece Brioni suit to signify that Daniel Craig’s new Bond had become the more sophisticated James Bond we knew from previous Bond films who takes pride in dressing up. This was a large step from being a man who didn’t have a proper dinner jacket earlier in the film. Lousie Frogley assumed the costume designer position for Quantum of Solace and abandoned Brioni for Tom Ford. Perhaps she decided to put Bond in a two-piece suit rather than a three-piece suit because he hadn’t matured into the classic Bond character yet, because a three-piece suit didn’t fit the Lake Garda setting or because a two-piece suit worked more effectively for the intense action stunts. A three-piece suit also would not have looked so great if Frogley was intent on Bond removing his tie. She at least kept the suit a navy pinstripe to maintain a modicum of continuity between the films. But even though the suits are both navy with pinstripes, the stripes are grey track stripes in Casino Royale whilst the stripes are light blue pinstripes in Quantum of Solace. The stripes on both suits are spaced no more than a half-inch apart.

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The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

The cuts of the Brioni and Tom Ford suits are very different. The Brioni suit jacket has straight shoulders with a healthy amount of shoulder padding whereas the Tom Ford suit jacket has much softer pagoda shoulders, which have a slight concave shape. Both suits have roped sleeveheads. The Tom Ford jacket has a more shaped silhouette than the Brioni jacket has, with a more defined waist. Though both suit jackets fit closely, the Brioni has a boxier silhouette. Wearing the suit jacket open adds to the boxy look. Both suit jackets have three buttons with the middle button placed at the middle of body’s waist. The Brioni jacket’s lapels roll gently at the top button, whilst the Tom Ford jacket’s lapels have a harder roll down to the middle button for a button two silhouette. The Brioni sleeves are cut full at the upper arm and taper down to the cuffs. By contrast, the Tom Ford sleeves are narrower through the upper arm and have a slight flare at the end for a dash of English style. Both suit jackets’ sleeves are slightly too long, but it is hardly noticeable in Quantum of Solace since Bond’s arms are hardly ever at his side. The Tom Ford suit also has a little skirt flare, which is lacking in the Brioni suit’s more Italian cut.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The two suit jackets’ details vary too. Both jackets have straight pockets with flaps, but the Tom Ford jacket adds a ticket pocket. Whilst the Brioni suit jacket has a typical angled breast pocket, the Tom Ford jacket has a curved “barchetta” breast pocket, which is a Neapolitan-inspired detail. The Brioni jacket has four buttons on the cuff whilst the Tom Ford jacket has five buttons on the cuffs, worn with the last button open. The Tom Ford suit has double vents, but the vent style on the Brioni suit is difficult to tell. It may also have double vents, but considering that Bond’s other worsted suits in Casino Royale have single vents it could be a likely possibility here too.

The suit trousers between the Brioni and Tom Ford suits have different cuts. Both trousers have straight legs with little tapering, but the Brioni trousers have much wider legs. The Tom Ford trousers have a flat front whilst the Brioni trousers have a small dart on either side of the front placed beside the side pockets. The side pockets on the Brioni suit trousers are slightly slanted off-seam, but the pockets on the Tom Ford trousers are on the seam, which curves forward at the top. The Brioni trousers are worn with a belt and the Tom Ford trousers have slide-buckle side-adjusters placed on the waistband seam. Both suits’ trousers have turn-ups.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The part of the outfit that is the least changed between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace is the shirt: both are light blue cotton poplin. The Casino Royale shirt is made by Brioni and the Quantum of Solace shirt is made by Tom Ford. The shirt in Quantum of Solace, however, is a paler blue than the shirt in Casino Royale. Both have moderate spread collars, front plackets and double cuffs, though the collar in Casino Royale sits a little higher and closer to the face.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The ties are both blue neat patterns, but they have different patterns and colours. The Casino Royale tie (maker unknown) is a honeycomb pattern in blue and white, and the Quantum of Solace tie (made by Tom Ford) is roughly a pattern of blue and black squares. In Casino Royale Bond ties the tie with a four-in-hand knot whilst in Quantum of Solace he ties it with a windsor knot. The tie in Casino Royale has a very heavy interlining, which makes the knot quite large. Though Bond wears a folded white pocket handkerchief with his other suits in Quantum of Solace, he foregoes the handkerchief with this outfit so it more closely matches the Casino Royale outfit.

Bond, of course, wears black shoes with both suits, but the styles and makers, again, are different. In Casino Royale he wears the John Lobb Luffield, which is a two-eyelet derby. In Quantum of Solace he switches to the Church’s Philip perforated cap-toe oxford. This is one of the least noticeable differences between the two outfits since the shoes are hardly seen.

Casino-Royale-Navy-Pinstripe-Three-Piece-Suit-John-Lobb-Luffield

The John Lobb Luffield two-eyelet derby in Casino Royale

Through comparing the suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, I have described some of the essential differences between Brioni’s and Tom Ford’s silhouettes and styles, though both makers offer a numbers different styles.

Do you prefer the three-piece suit in Casino Royale or the two-piece Tom Ford suit in Quantum of Solace?

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To save you the trouble of asking, yes, I will be posting a comparison of Mr. White’s two similar outfits from these same scenes.

Getting Seated in a Suit

Casino-Royale-Unbutton-Jacket

There are three things James Bond does when he sits down in his suits. The first is something often recommended for sitting, and that is unbuttoning the jacket. This only applies to single-breasted jackets since double-breasted jackets should always be left fastened. Seeing that only one of the suit jacket’s buttons should be buttoned anyway—only the top button of two buttons and only the middle button of three buttons—it’s easy to open one button when sitting down. Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds can often be seen unbuttoning their jackets to sit, though other Bonds do it occasionally too. Unbuttoning the jacket makes it more comfortable to sit in, relieves the stress on the button and prevents creases. Notice in the image above, both Bond and Le Chiffre unbutton their dinner jackets when sitting down. Bond also pushes the front of the jacket to the sides to avoid sitting on it, thus avoiding unnecessary creasing and feeling tied down.

On the other hand, James Bond often leaves his suit jackets buttoned when seated, especially in the earlier films. It helps the action between sitting and standing to flow better, and it avoids clumsy fiddling on screen. When Bond opens his suit jacket in Osato’s office in You Only Live Twice, it is done outside the frame. On many occasions when Bond sits with his jacket unbuttoned, he already had unbuttoned it for another reason. And when Bond stands up, he typically fastens his jacket if it wasn’t already fastened. It’s a good habit to have.

Some button three jackets are cut for the top two buttons to fasten, and if you fasten more than one button on your jacket you should leave the buttons fastened when sitting down. When James Bond has two buttons on his button three hacking jacket fastened in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he leaves them both fastened when sitting. Fiddling with more than one button when sitting and standing looks too fussy.

Skyfall-Sitting

The second, and most frequent, thing Bond does when sitting down is give a tug at his trouser legs. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan do this most regularly of all the Bonds. Bond isn’t pulling up his trousers to show off his socks but instead to relieve stress on the trousers. Tugging up the trousers just a little takes stress off the knees to make the trousers more comfortable, to keep the crease sharp and to prevent the knees from wearing out. Even Daniel Craig manages to pull up his tight suit trousers a little in Skyfall. Notice both Bond and Mallory tugging at their trousers legs in the image above.

Brosnan-Sitting

The third part of James Bond’s ritual when getting seated—especially for Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds—is adjust his shirt cuffs and cufflinks. Notice Pierce Brosnan adjusting both his trousers and his cuffs in the image above. Sometimes the shirt cuffs get stuck inside the suit sleeves and need to be pulled out of the jacket sleeve and straightened when sitting down. Cufflinks, however, rarely need to be adjusted.

Do you unbutton your jacket, adjust your cuffs or lift up your trousers when getting seated?

15 Quotes from the James Bond Films About Tailors, Suits and Menswear

Here are 15 quotes from the James Bond series that Bond says about his clothing, Bond says about other men’s clothing and other characters say about Bond’s clothing.

Dr. No

Dr-No-Savile-Row

1

Felix Leiter: Interesting … where were you measured for this, bud?
James Bond: My tailor. Savile Row.
Leiter: That’s so? Mine’s a guy in Washington.

Sean Connery’s suit was actually from Anthony Sinclair on Conduit Street, which intersects Savile Row. Savile Row is known worldwide for its tailoring whilst Conduit Street—which was historically home to a number of tailors—is not. Sinclair himself said “I make only a Savile Row style”, so Connery’s comment is not entirely false. “Savile Row” is often used as a term to describe traditional English tailoring, though only tailoring firms on the Row should be allowed to call themselves “Savile Row” tailors.

Dr-No-Quite-Suitable

2

James Bond: Am I properly dressed for the occasion?
Sister Lily: Quite suitable.
Bond: Suitable for what?

From Russia with Love

From-Russia-with-Love-Benz

3

James Bond on Benz’s suit: Not mad about his tailor, are you?

Goldfinger

Goldfinger-Meet-me-here

4

M to James Bond: Meet me here at seven. Black tie.

Thunderball

Thunderball-Think-I-had-a-hat

5

James Bond: I think I had a hat when I came in.

Bond did indeed have a hat, but he was wearing it with a completely different outfit when he arrived at the office. The navy blazer Bond was wearing when he arrived in a hurry from the country was too informal for the office, so when he had a chance he changed his clothes to a more appropriate three-piece suit. Who knows what happened to his hat? Perhaps it was misplaced during production and this line was added to account for the error.

Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Tailor-Hong-Kong

6

James Bond: I know a good tailor in Hong Kong.

Bond mentions this tailor again when he visits Hong Kong in Die Another Day.

Live and Let Die

Live-and-Let-Die-Double-Vents

7

James Bond: That’s fine. You can fit the rest this afternoon.
Tailor: Right, sir.
Bond: Don’t forget the double vents. (The suit jacket was mistakenly made with a single vent.)
[Looking at ties]
Bond: [Picking out the brown tie he dons] This will do nicely. It’s [another tie is] a little frantic, I’ll keep the other three.

Live-and-Let-Die-Ties

The Man with the Golden Gun

The-Man-with-the-Golden-Gun-Humiliated-tailors

8

James Bond: I mean sir, who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?
M: Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!

Moonraker

Moonraker-Tailors-heart

9

Dr. Holly Goodhead: Have you broken something?
James Bond: Only my tailor’s heart.

Octopussy

Octopussy-Stuck-a-knife

10

James Bond: You wouldn’t have a small piece of thread in that [a coil of rope], would you Q? Somebody seems to have stuck a knife in my wallet.
Q: They missed you? What a pity.

A View to a Kill

A-View-to-a-Kill-Tibbett

11

James Bond, as James St. John Smyth: Well Tibbett, you heard what Miss Jenny Flex said. There is a reception at six.
Sir Godfrey Tibbett, as Bond’s valet: Yes, sir.
Bond: So, I shall be needing a white jacket and a black tie.
Tibbett: Yes, sir.
Bond: And if possible, a clean shirt.
Tibbett: Yes, sir.
Bond: Oh my lord, Tibbett, look at the state of my clothes! How on earth do you pack my bags?
Tibbett: Sorry, sir.
[On tape]
Bond: Oh my lord, what the devil’s wrong with these shoes? It looks as though they were wiped over with an oily rag!
Tibbett: I’m terribly sorry, sir.

The Living Daylights

Living-Daylights-Fancy-Dress-Ball

12

Saunders to James Bond: You’re bloody late. This is a mission, not a fancy-dress ball!

Die Another Day

Die-Another-Day-Send-up-my-tailor

13

James Bond to Mr. Chang: Perhaps you could send up my tailor … and some food.

Casino Royale

Casino-Royale-Suit-disdain

14

Vesper Lynd to James Bond: All right … by the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. Naturally you think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it.

By the context of Vesper’s line, Bond’s Brioni suit is standing in for a Savile Row suit. But wearing a suit with disdain or contempt is certainly not the way of Fleming’s Bond, who considered the way people dress to be a very important part of their character. By the end of the Casino Royale film, Bond grows to appreciate the suits he wears.

Casino-Royale-I-have-a-dinner-jacket

15

James Bond: I have a dinner jacket.
Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table.
Bond: How? … It’s tailored.
Lynd: I sized you up the moment we met.

The latter is a proper dinner jacket, such as the one Bond wears with a single button, peaked lapels, jetted pockets and no vent. The dinner jacket that Bond already has (but not shown on screen) is likely questionable in style, with two or three buttons on the front, notched lapels, flapped pockets and a single vent. In reality, however, it would be very unlikely for Vesper to purchase such a well-fitting dinner jacket for Bond. Bond is correct to question how Vesper got him a tailored jacket, especially on such short notice, and expected it to fit well.

Lines about women’s clothing have been left out, but the great “That’s quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing”, from Diamonds Are Forever, and “You get your clothes on … and I’ll buy you an ice cream”, from For Your Eyes Only, deserve honourable mention. If there are any lines left out that you think should have been included, feel free to mention them below.

Midnight Blue Dinner Suits

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Since Skyfall was released in 2012, midnight blue dinner suits (tuxedos) have become very popular. James Bond has had a long history of wearing midnight blue dinner suits, starting with Bond’s introduction in Dr. No, so Skyfall is by no means a first for James Bond in a midnight blue dinner suit. In fact, half of James Bond’s dinner suits (excluding ivory dinner jackets and the midnight blue velvet dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever) have been midnight blue. The midnight blue dinner suit is by no means a fashion of the day.

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Sean Connery wearing a midnight blue dinner suit in Dr. No

Midnight blue is a very dark shade of blue named after the colour of the midnight sky that can easily be mistaken for black. It’s more of a type of black than it is a type of blue. The point of making dinner suits in midnight blue instead of black is so they look darker than black, and not look noticeably blue. In artificial lighting midnight blue ends up looking like a richer black, and Daniel Craig’s dinner suit in Skyfall pictured at the top is a good example of this. The blue body of the dinner jacket looks darker than its actually black lapels! If a midnight blue dinner suit is obviously blue it is too light and not actually midnight blue. Dinner suits in lighter shades of blue, such as navy, marine blue and royal blue, are a current fad and not actually midnight blue, which many people are calling them. The elegant contrast of classic evening wear is lost with these lighter dinner suits.

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Daniel Craig’s midnight blue dinner jacket in Skyfall looks blue in bright daylight, but it is still a very dark blue. The contrast between the midnight blue cloth and black lapels is only noticeable in daylight, which isn’t a problem since dinner jackets should only be worn at night.

Navy, marine blue and royal blue suits came into fashion after people saw Daniel Craig wearing a royal blue dinner suit on the Skyfall posters. Skyfall had a very large advertising budget, and posters of this royal blue dinner suit were everywhere. Daniel Craig was actually wearing a midnight blue dinner suit—the same as what he wears in the film—but the poster’s designer enhanced the colours of the photo to make the dinner jacket lighter and bolder. Whoever is responsible for choosing to enhance the dinner suit’s blue on the poster may be responsible for this fashion trend.

A poster for Skyfall with Daniel Craig in a colour-enhanced dinner suit

A poster for Skyfall with Daniel Craig in a colour-enhanced dinner suit. The actual dinner suit is much darker, as seen in the image above.

Midnight blue dinner jacket can have either black or midnight blue silk facings and trimmings. Sean Connery’s, George Lazenby’s and Pierce Brosnan’s (in Tomorrow Never Dies) midnight blue dinner suits are faced in midnight blue, whilst Roger Moore’s, Pierce Brosnan’s (in The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day) and Daniel Craig’s midnight blue dinner suits are faced in black. It is easier to find a bow tie and cummerbund to match black facings than it is to find a blue bow tie and cummerbund to match blue facings. A midnight blue dinner jacket should be treated exactly the same as a black dinner jacket—because midnight blue is a shade of black—and worn with matching trousers.

Pierce Brosnan wearing a midnight blue dinner jacket in The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan wearing a midnight blue dinner jacket in The World Is Not Enough

James Bond’s Three Piece Suits

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Three-piece suits have been an iconic part of James Bond’s look since he exited the lavatory on Goldfinger’s private jet wearing a grey glen check suit in Goldfinger. Since Daniel Craig will be wearing a three-piece suit again in Spectre, I thought it would be helpful to look back at James Bond’s past three-piece suits.

The waistcoat

The inclusion of a matching waistcoat (vest) along with the jacket and trousers is what makes a suit a three-piece suit. Bond usually wears a traditional waistcoat that has six buttons and a small cutaway at the bottom. Sometimes the bottom button is on the cutaway, but even if it is not, Bond does not fasten the bottom button. The bottom button on a waistcoat is never fastened out of tradition, but it is also never fastened to allow the bottom of the waistcoat needs to spread apart when seated. In Thunderball (pictured top) the waistcoats are cut straight across the bottom, and all buttons are meant to fasten. The straight-bottomed waistcoats look a little like sleeveless cardigans and are thus slightly less formal. Bond has occasionally worn waistcoats with five buttons or seven buttons, and in Goldfinger and The World Is Not Enough, the waistcoats have notched lapels. Bond’s waistcoats typically have four welt pocked on the front, and the back of the waistcoat is made in the same material as the jacket’s lining.

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Bond showing off the waistcoat to his three-piece suit in Goldfinger

How James Bond wears his three-piece suits

Most of Bond’s three-piece suits are made of dark worsteds or flannels and worn in London. Sean Connery wears a dark brown three-piece suit to the office in Thunderball, and George Lazenby wears two navy three-piece suits (herringbone and chalk stripe) to the office and the College of Arms in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. From Moonraker in 1979 to The World Is Not Enough twenty years later in 1999, Bond all but twice wears three-piece suits to the office and in other London scenes.

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Bond at the office in a navy herringbone three-piece suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

A dark three piece suit gives Bond a traditional, confident and powerful look that is appropriate for his formal office setting. Bond’s dark three-piece suits are most often navy with pinstripes or chalk stripes, but charcoal flannel is another favourite colour for Bond’s three-piece suits. Bond has also worn three piece suits in a business setting in navy herringbone, navy birdseye, grey herringbone, grey windowpane, grey rope stripe and black pinstripe suitings.

For mourning the death of his “brother” in Diamonds Are Forever, Bond wears a black three-piece suit. Today people may consider a three-piece suit too flashy for a funeral, even in somber solid black. Bond also wears two sporty three-piece suits outside of London for non-business occasions: the grey glen check suit in Goldfinger and the brown tweed suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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Bond in a three-piece suit in Lake Como in Casino Royale

The last time Bond wore a three-piece suit was at Lake Como in Casino Royale. Considering the location, the navy pinstripe suit that Bond wears is out of place. A solid navy or grey two-piece suit would have been better since the three-piece is too serious and pinstripes suggest the office. Though Bond is often overdressed, he is overdressed more than usual in this scene. However, the three-piece suit in Casino Royale signifies that Bond has completed his first mission and is now the more suave and mature James Bond we know from the previous twenty films.

Though the three-piece suit is a little out of place at Lake Como, it is even more out of place on the oil rig during during the climax of Diamonds Are Forever. Bond looks absolutely ridiculous wearing his navy pinstripe three-piece suit there, though it conceals Connery’s heavier figure better than practical tactical gear would have. In fact, a well-fitting three-piece suit is one of the most flattering things a man can wear.

How to wear a three-piece suit

Wearing a three-piece suit has a few difference to wearing a two-piece suit. It allows the jacket to be worn open and still look just as presentable as it does with it closed. If you remove your suit jacket at your desk like Bond does in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you will look more dressed with a waistcoat. The waistcoat, however, cannot replace the suit jacket for any occasions a suit is required.

Bond at his desk in just his waistcoat

Bond at his desk in just his waistcoat in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The correct proportions and fit are more important with three-piece suits than they are with two-piece suits because they have a waistcoat to tie the pieces all together. It is important that the waistcoat and trousers work together to prevent the shirt from showing between the bottom of the waistcoat and the top of the trousers. The waistcoat needs to cover the the trousers’ waistband. The problem with wearing a waistcoat with modern low-rise trousers is that the waistcoat has to be very long. When the waistcoat is too long it cannot conform to the body as well, which makes the body look heavier when the jacket is removed. A long waistcoat also makes the torso look larger overall, which is not flattering. A waistcoat that is too long will also be uncomfortable to sit in. Wearing trousers with a traditional rise is the only proper way to wear a three-piece suit so the suit as a whole can fit and move with the body in the best way possible.

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M, the Minister of Defence and Bond, all in three-piece suits in Octopussy

Three-piece suits should never be worn with belts since they leave a lump under the waistcoat. Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig wear three-piece suits with belts in their Bond films, as opposed to Sean Connery and George Lazenby who wear suit trousers with side adjusters. Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory in Skyfall wears his three-piece suits with braces, which are the best option for trouser support when wearing a waistcoat. Braces are the only sure way to prevent the trousers from sagging and revealing the shirt below the waistcoat. And if you don’t want anyone to know you are wearing braces, the waistcoat keeps them perfectly hidden. I am surprised that the films have not—or at least not from what can be seen—put Bond in braces when wearing a three-piece suit. The trousers often slip down in action to reveal a sliver of the shirt. This could have been avoided with braces, and nobody would ever know or think that Bond is wearing braces when they are hidden under a waistcoat.

Another Suit from Spectre Revealed

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Daily Mail has once again posted images from the filming of Spectre. This time Daniel Craig is wearing a light navy Tom Ford suit with a light windowpane over a glen check. The style and fit of the suit is, quite unfortunately, practically identical to the suits in Skyfall. Clearly it’s not a suit meant for moving around in!

The suit jacket looks like it has two buttons, but it may have three like in Skyfall. It also has straight shoulders, narrow notched lapels, a single vent, four buttons on the cuffs—with the last button left open—and slightly slanted hip pockets with flaps. As for the fit, the jacket length is again too short to cover his buttocks and it is too small all around. A suit should not be so binding, no matter how much one moves around. No matter how tight a suit is it doesn’t show off Daniel Craig’s muscular physique. Tight knitted garments, like the mock polo neck jumper, conform to the body and move with the body because they can stretch, whilst tight woven garments, especially tailored garments with a lot of internal structure, are unable to stretch. Suits can mould to the body, but they still have to fit well first, and they need a little allowance in areas for movement. The suit may be too tight because Daniel Craig is wearing a safety harness under it, but the costume designer Jany Temime should have accounted for that, just as she ordered a suit with longer sleeves for riding a motorbike in Skyfall. One things this suit from Spectre improves on over the Skyfall suits are wider shoulders, so at least Daniel Craig looks more powerful in this suit. The flat-front suit trousers are again a little too tight, and they aren’t staying up as high as they are supposed to sit on the waist. When the trousers sag, it causes the front to look messy and show below the fastened jacket button. The trousers have an extended waistband with side adjusters, and the legs are finished with turn-ups.

The white shirt is certainly an improvement over the Skyfall shirts since the tab collar is replaced with a point collar. Still, one would expect at least a semi-spread for such an English hero. The shirt also has double cuffs, which don’t quite fit inside the suit jacket’s narrow sleeves. One area that this shirt is not improved over the Skyfall shirts is the colour. Light blue flatters Daniel Craig’s light complexion more than white does, which washes him out a little. The tie is navy (possibly with a pattern that can’t be seen), and the navy tie with a navy suit is one of the most classic Bond combinations, though it is most often done with a blue shirt. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Since the knot is so narrow, the tie likely has a very light interlining. Craig also wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket. The shoes are probably the Crockett & Jones Norwich model. They are black five-eyelet, cap-toe derby shoes with Dainite studded rubber soles. His socks are a rather boring and unstylish black. Navy would have been a better choice, since it would extend the line of possibly-too-short trouser legs.

See more photos and read about the filming at Daily Mail.