James Bond’s Many Brown Suits

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Roger Moore is often criticised for succumbing to 1970s fashion and causing him to wear uncharacteristic brown suits in his James Bond films. However, Bond has worn brown suits spanning five decades, from Goldfinger in 1964 to Quantum of Solace in 2008. Brown suits have a very long history that is independent of 1970s fashion. Brown suits are traditionally worn in the country made of rustic cloths like tweed and flannel. Brown worsted suits also have a long history, though they were never a conservative choice in London.

Goldfinger-Houndstooth-Suit

The first brown suit in the series is Sean Connery’s brown and black houndstooth check country suit (pictured above) that he wears to the office in Goldfinger. No fashion trends influenced the colour of this suit, though it’s not the most appropriate choice for conducting business in the city. This is the perfect suit for country pursuits—and it was cut for that purpose for Connery to first use in the film Woman of Straw—and the dark colour and subtle pattern fit the James Bond character. Later in Goldfinger for the scene at Fort Knox, Bond wears a worsted brown striped suit (pictured top). This suit likely has black mixed with the brown, since the suit’s colour is very dark and muted. It’s certainly not a country suit, though it’s not a conservative choice to wear in town either. It works best for business and dressy occasions outside of the city, and it’s certainly appropriate to wear when foiling a villain’s plans at Fort Knox. A brown worsted suit is a great choice for when a proper city suit is too dressy but a traditional country suit is too relaxed. This kind of dark, muted brown also suits Connery’s complexion better than light, rich browns. Connery dresses it up with a white shirt, black tie and black shoes. Conservative accessories can make a brown worsted suit passable for business in the city, depending on the setting.

Connery Anthony Sinclair Brown Suit

In Thunderball Sean Connery again wears a muted brown suit, but this time it’s a three-piece brown suit at the office (pictured above). Like the striped suit, this suit is brown mixed with black, and Connery dresses it up conservatively with a simple cream shirt, a solid brown grenadine tie and black shoes. Being a three-piece makes the suit dressier, and that tries to make up for the less conservative colour. Keep in mind that James Bond was never one to follow all the rules.

TickSuit

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service George Lazenby wears a bolder brown suit for the swiss mountains; it is brown tweed with a cream tick pattern and a rust windowpane (pictured above). This might seem a bit too bold for Bond, but it actually belongs to the man Bond is impersonating: Sir Hilary Bray. Bray himself wears this suit to work at the College of Arms in London. Like Connery’s brown suits, it’s a muted brown but much lighter. It’s a very traditional country suit with hardly any influence from the era’s fashions.

Roger Moore is the Bond known for wearing brown suits, but since he’s not the first—or the last—Bond to have worn brown, most criticisms toward him for wearing brown aren’t quite fair. There’s never anything inappropriate about the colour of his brown suits, especially since he never wears them in London and only where they fit the—usually warm—location. The first brown suit he wears in Live and Let Die is only a basted brown worsted suit for a fitting with his tailor. Though the brown is dark like Connery’s brown suits, it’s not as muted. This is the first of Bond’s brown suits that is a result the fashions of its time. However, the colour is very flattering to Roger Moore’s warm complexion. Moore has a much different complexion than the two Bonds the came before him, and to dress him the same would not have been the best look for him.

The brown worsted suit returns in The Man with the Golden Gun, though this time it takes the form of olive. It’s still a classic suit colour, though it should be worn in the same settings that brown is worn in. Like brown, olive is very flattering to Moore’s warm complexion, and it suits the Hong Kong setting very well.

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The most notorious of Moore’s brown suits in the silk suit in The Spy Who Loved Me because it’s a light brown (pictured above). Though it’s the furthest from being a conservative business suit, it’s the perfect colour to wear in the Mediterranean. Sure, marine blue and light grey would also have been excellent choices, but there’s nothing wrong with light brown for an informal suit. It’s not just 1970s fashions that dictated Moore’s preference for this colour; it’s actually one of the best colours to flatter Moore’s warm complexion. Roger Moore wears a three-piece suit in a very similar brown—also in the Mediterranean—over ten years earlier in The Saint. And Moore wears this kind of light brown suit as Bond—again in the Mediterranean—in For Your Eyes Only. 1970s fashion was gone by this time, but light brown still looked fantastic on Moore.

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One of Moore’s brown suits is of the very traditional, country-type of brown suit: the brown donegal tweed suit in Moonraker (pictured above). Though the style of the suit is influenced by 70s fashions, the colour and cloth are certainly not. Though the wide lapels and flared trouser legs are poor fashion choices, brown tweed could not more perfectly fit the setting of a hunt in the country.

Though many of Pierce Brosnan’s suits have some brown in them, the only suit of his that is noticeably brown is his Prince of Wales check suit in GoldenEye. It recalls Sean Connery’s houndstooth check suit in Goldfinger, and like that suit, this one is not a good choice for the office in London either. Most recently, Daniel Craig wears a muted brown hopsack suit in Quantum of Solace (pictured below). Like Connery’s brown suits, this one is a very muted brown. Craig looks no less like James Bond in this suit than he does in his blue and grey suits. In fact, the warmer tones of this suit compared to his dark blues and greys is very flattering to Craig’s warm complexion. Though Bond is best known for his blue and grey suits, the brown suit is so not against the established Bond look as many believe.

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I’ve left out the beige and tan suits from this article since those are in a different category: warm-weather suits.

Shirt Pockets

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Pockets are a common feature on shirts, but what shirts should have pockets? A true dress shirt—a shirt for black tie, white tie or morning dress—should never have a pocket, but on the other hand, pockets are always appropriate on sports shirts and work shirts. What about formal shirts (called dress shirts in the US) with pockets? Pockets generally make a shirt less dressy, so should the shirts you wear with your suits and sports coats have pockets? Most formal shirts in the US have a left breast pocket whilst most formal shirts in the UK do not. Formal shirts in the UK are typically dressier than their American counterparts in many other ways: poplin versus pinpoint, double cuffs versus button cuffs, spread and cutaway collars versus point and button-down collars. In the UK, a shirt with double cuffs never has a pocket, though some makers put pockets on their button-cuff shirts.

An unsightly pocket peaking out from under Timothy Dalton's suit in Licence to Kill

An unsightly pocket peaking out from under Timothy Dalton’s suit jacket in Licence to Kill

James Bond almost never wears pockets on his formal shirts, with the exception being two of the worst shirts Bond has ever worn in Licence to Kill. These shirts have the standard single American oversized, open patch pocket with a pointed bottom. Since the film was made in Mexico and Florida, the shirts were more than likely sourced in America. Most Americans are used to pockets on all formal shirts, so much that I witnessed a man returning a shirt he thought was defective because it did not have a pocket. If a man is wearing a suit or a jacket, the pockets in the jacket are there to be used. If a man is not wearing a suit or jacket, a sports shirt is usually appropriate. Formal shirts with pockets are most useful for the man who does not wear a jacket in the office, though there are more elegant ways to carry things away from one’s desk. Unlike a structured jacket, a shirt has no support for anything in the pocket. Anything heavier than a couple pieces of paper in a shirt pocket ruins the lines of the shirt.

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A single pocket on Roger Moore’s Frank Foster sport shirt in For Your Eyes Only

Pockets are at home on sport shirts, and James Bond has worn many sports shirts with pockets. Sean Connery’s many short-sleeve camp shirts in Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, Pierce Brosnan’s two camp shirts in Die Another Day and Daniel Craig’s floral shirt in Casino Royale all have on the left side of the chest a small open breast pocket with rounded bottom corners. Roger Moore’s short-sleeve shirts in For Your Eyes Only made by Frank Foster similarly have open patch pockets on the left, but his have mitred bottom corners. These pockets are all correctly sized to the proportions of the body and drape neatly on the chest. Roger Moore also wears a blue long-sleeve Frank Foster sports shirt (auctioned at Prop Store) under his gilet in For Your Eyes Only that has a mitred patch pocket that matches the mitred shirt cuffs. In Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig’s polo shirts each have a small patch pocket on the left.

A pocket on Daniel Craig's Sunspel polo in Casino Royale

A pocket on Daniel Craig’s Sunspel polo in Casino Royale

The sportiest of sports shirts—as well as work shirts and military shirts—have a patch pocket on both sides with a flap and button, and often a box pleat. Many of Bond shirts have this pocket style, like the terrycloth shirt in Diamonds Are Forever, a number of the shirts in Licence to Kill and the printed shirt in Skyfall (pictured top) have two breast pockets.

A Poncho and Sombrero on Horseback

Moonraker-Poncho

Roger Moore’s James Bond wears more disguises—and more outlandish disguises—than all of the other Bond actors. Just as he rides a camel wearing a keffiyeh with agel, a tunic and a cloak in the desert in The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond rides a horse wearing a poncho in South America in Moonraker. This is one of Bond’s most pointless disguises; it looks like he’s just wearing a poncho for fun. It helps him fit in with his surroundings, but Bond may have gone too far this time.

The poncho is a simple garment, which is essentially a blanket draped over the body with a hole for the head. Bond’s long poncho reaches the knees and has a boat neck opening for the head. Traditionally, ponchos are made of wool, and Bond’s likely is. Bond’s poncho is woven in beige, tan, medium brown and dark brown stripes, varying in sizes. The bottom ends of the poncho have a short beige fringe.

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Under the Poncho Bond wears a brown and white plaid shirt. The clear white in the shirt looks a little jarring against the warm, muted colours in the poncho, but this outfit isn’t meant to be a perfectly-coordinated fashion piece. The shirt still goes decently well with the poncho over it. The shirt has a medium-sized point collar and button cuffs. Inside the shirt’s collar Bond wears a dark brown silk neckerchief.

Bond’s dark brown trousers are bombachas, which are similar to breeches since they fasten around the leg below the knee. Bombachas are longer and fuller-cut than breeches; they are actually really baggy. Bond’s bombachas end around the top of his black leather riding boots. At one point, the bombachas ride up a little to reveal Bond’s tall brown socks.

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Bond’s black hat is a sombrero cordobés, also known as an Andalusian sombrero. The hat originated in Córdoba, Spain, and the character Zorro is known for wearing this hat. The black felt sombrero cordobés has a wide, flat brim and a flat crown. It also has a black triple-rope band at the base of the crown and a leather chin cord. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Tracy wears a similar hat to the bullfight.

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Since I am not an expert on South American clothing, most of my research on these clothes came from Wikipedia and websites of the makers of this style of clothing. Feel free to correct me on anything wrong!

The Zorin Industries Blouson

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To blend in at Max Zorin’s mine in A View to a Kill, James Bond discards his brown leather blouson for a Zorin Industries blouson that he steals. The waist-length, zip-front, lightly padded Zorin Industries blouse jacket is essentially a bomber jacket. It looks teal-grey in the film, though in most promotional stills the jacket looks blue-grey, in a cool shade similar to air force blue. It is either made of cotton or a cotton blend with nylon or polyester. The zip fastening is brass.

Zorin-Industries-Blouson-Collar

Except for a small portion in front, the jacket’s hem is ribbed and elasticised to fit closely around the top of the hips. The cuffs are also ribbed and elasticised. The ribbed stand-up collar has a tab sewn on the left side, which can extend across the neck and button on the opposite side. Bond leaves the collar open with the tab folded back and held in place with a button. The front of the jacket has four patch pockets with pointed flaps secured with poppers. The top edge of the pockets slopes downward to the outside. The bottom two pockets take up the entire bottom half of the jacket, as seams just below the flaps across the waist in front would indicate.

Zorin-Industries-Blouson-Back

The back of the blouson has the Zorin Industries logo on a large patch. The logo is a large “Z” with a white outline, and it has a diagonal lowercase “i” inside it. The “Z” sits on a green circle that has an inset white border. Bond steals a grey hard hat, which also has the Zorin Industries logo on the front.

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Under the Zorin blouson, Bond wears the same outfit that he wears under his brown leather blouson in the preceding scenes. His sky blue shirt, which is probably made of oxford cloth, is made by Frank Foster and has a button-down collar, front placket with the stitching close to the centre and rounded, single-button cuffs.

The dark, cool brown flannel trousers are without pleats and have wide legs with plain bottoms. The socks are dark brown to match the trousers. The trousers are worn with a black leather belt, and the shoes are black slip-ons with leather soles, Moore’s usual shoes. Brown shoes would have been a better match for the brown trousers and casual nature of the outfit, but the black shoes don’t clash since the trousers are a very cool brown.

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Shirt Collar Width, Height and Point Length—and Poll!

Turnbull & Asser Spread

Sean Connery wearing a spread collar in From Russia with Love

The shirt’s collar is one of the most important parts of a man’s outfit because it frames the face. Whilst fit ranks paramount for all parts of a man’s outfit, the collar’s shape and proportions rank equal to its fit. The width of the spread between the collar points is often mentioned, but collar height and point length are equally important. The three most basic collar styles are the spread collar, the semi-spread collar and the point collar. A wider collar is slightly dressier than a narrow collar, but James Bond has worn collars of all widths for different purposes throughout the series.

Collars

The Spread Collar

The spread collar is the wide, classic English collar. It may also be known as an English spread collar or a semi-cutaway collar. The English may call this a classic collar since it’s the standard collar for shirtmakers there. A wider collar such as the spread collar best flatters and balances people who have an angular jaw like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig. On the other hand, the wide spread collar emphasises a wide face and should be avoided by people with a very round face or square jaw.

Sean Connery wears a spread collar, usually made by Turnbull & Asser, in all of his James Bond films except Dr. No (which is discussed below), and the collar flatters his angular jaw. George Lazenby wears a spread collar on his Frank Foster shirt for the wedding outfit due to the more formal nature of the black lounge coat, and it returns to the series in Roger Moore’s on his Frank Foster shirts in his three Bond films in the 1980s: For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill. Pierce Brosnan brings them back again on his Turnbull & Asser shirts in Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough. The spread collar is Bond’s favourite collar to wear with black tie, even when he wears other collars with his regular suits.

George Lazenby wears a point collar in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

George Lazenby wears a point collar in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The Point Collar

The point collar has the narrowest spread of the three basic collar. It is sometimes also called a forward point collar or a straight collar. Americans may call this a classic collar. The button-down collar is usually a variation on the point collar with a softer or no interfacing and buttons that hold down the collar points. The point collar best flatters men with a round face or square jaw, whilst it would extended a long face or an angular jaw.

Bond has worn very few point collars in the series. Many of George Lazenby’s Frank Foster shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have point collars, but a large amount of tie space prevents the collars from looking too narrow. It isn’t the ideal collar for Lazenby, but it doesn’t look bad on him either. Roger Moore’s Frank Foster shirts in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker also have point collars, and even without the oversized they collars are too narrow for Moore’s angular jaw.

Daniel Craig wearing a semi-spread collar in Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig wearing a semi-spread collar in Quantum of Solace

The Semi-Spread Collar

The collar that almost any man can look good in is the semi-spread collar. It is a moderate spread collar that is narrower than classic spread collar but wider than a point collar. Some call this the Kent collar, after Prince George, Duke of Kent. Some in England also call this the classic collar, proving that there is no consensus on that term. When the collar spread is around a 45º angle is can be described as neither narrow nor wide, which makes the semi-spread collar a rather neutral collar. It’s the safest collar for any situation and won’t offend conservative dressers on either side of the pond.

The semi-spread collar is the collar James Bond wears most often throughout the series. However, it works best for people with an oval face like George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. George Lazenby wears semi-spread collars on some of his Frank Foster shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore wears them on his Frank Foster shirts in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, Timothy Dalton wears them on his shirts in The Living Daylights, Pierce Brosnan wears them on his Sulka shirts in GoldenEye and Daniel Craig wears them on his Brioni shirts in Casino Royale and his Tom Ford shirts in Quantum of Solace.

Collar-Height

Height and Point Length

The height of the collar and the length of the collar points should always be considered, especially since there is a considerable variety available. Today, collars with a short height and shorts points are trendy because they complement the narrow lapels that are also popular. However, most men are not flattered by such skimpy collars. A short collar with short points flatters a man with a short neck and an overall smaller head. On most men, however, a short collar will make their neck look awkwardly long and their head look too large in proportion to the rest of their body. Timothy Dalton’s undersized spread collars in Licence to Kill are not a good choice for him. Whilst his neck looks fine with a short collar height—a slightly taller collar would still be better—his head looks large against the short collar points. Apart from in Licence to Kill, Bond has avoided wearing short collars.

Octopussy Grey Rope Stripe

Roger Moore wearing a tall spread collar with long points in Octopussy

On the other hand, a collar that is too tall with points too long will overwhelm the face. A short neck will disappear under a tall collar, and a long points shrink the head. Roger Moore is known for wearing tall collars with long points, especially in his films from The Spy Who Loved Me and later. These large collars work for Roger Moore, and not just in the context of his wide lapels. His neck is long and his head is fairly large. In Live and Let Die, Moore wears a spread collar that is so tall it fastens with two stacked buttons. Few men have such a long neck that they truly need a two-button collar, but the second button provides a necessary rigidity so it can withstand the pressure from a tie. Daniel Craig’s tall Brioni collars in Casino Royale shorten his neck, though the point length is a good medium. The long Tom Ford collar points in Quantum of Solace make Craig’s head look a little small.

Extreme-Collars

Extreme Collars: Cutaway, Narrow Point and Beyond

The extreme collars, such as the cutaway collar and narrow point collar, are for those who want to make fashion statements. The spread collar is sometimes called a cutaway collar, but the cutaway collar term is ordinarily reserved for the especially wide examples. Some may call the wide cutaway collar a Windsor collar. Like the spread collar, the cutaway can only look good on someone with a very angular face. But even the most angular faces will still look best in a regular spread collar. Rather than widen a narrow, angular jaw, the contrast from a cutaway collar may start to emphasise it. Likewise, the roundest faces will not be flattered more by a very narrow point collar than by a classic point collar. A very narrow collar cannot balance the weight of a large head and will end up looking like a balloon on a string.

Sean-Connery-Dr-No-Cutaway-Collar

Sean Connery wearing a cutaway collar in Dr. No

These extreme collars have only been worn occasionally in the Bond films. Sean Connery wears cutaway collars on his Turnbull & Asser shirts throughout Dr. No, Roger Moore wears a cutaway collar on his Frank Foster shirt with morning dress in A View to a Kill and Pierce Brosnan wears Brioni shirts with cutaway collars in Die Another Day. Pierce Brosnan’s collars get wider with every Bond film he does, though the cutaway collar is certainly too wide for his oval face. The extreme cutaway collars that are trendy today are more severe than James Bond’s examples, whilst Bond’s cutaway collars are more like the collar originally made popular by the Duke of Windsor.

The tab collar that Daniel Craig wears on his Tom Ford shirts in Skyfall is like a variation on the narrow point collar. A narrow point collar would not flatter Daniel Craig’s angular face, but the his tab collar is a little different. The curve around the tie softens Craig’s angular jawline, and the collar points flare out below the tab to give the collar some needed breadth. If the collar just went straight down without the curves and flare it would not be the least bit flattering to Daniel Craig’s face. Still, a spread collar is a better choice for Daniel Craig’s angular jaw.

Daniel Craig wearing a tab collar in Skyfall

Daniel Craig wearing a tab collar in Skyfall

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Mainly Millicent: Roger Moore’s First Appearance as James Bond

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In an episode of the BBC sketch comedy show Mainly Millicent from July 1964, Roger Moore played James Bond nine years before he officially played the role in Live and Let Die. Mainly Millicent starred English actress Millicent Martin, and in this sketch she plays Russian spy Sonia Sekova on holiday. James Bond is also on holiday and is dressed down in a light grey tweed sports coat with a small, subtle check. The sketch can be found on the Live and Let Die DVD and Blu-ray disc as well as on YouTube.

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In this sketch Roger Moore’s James Bond outfit is almost identical to his Simon Templar outfits. Access to Moore’s wardrobe for The Saint wouldn’t have been difficult since both The Saint and Mainly Millicent were filmed at ATV’s Elstree studios (http://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk/studio%20history.htm), which are in Hertfordshire just outside of London. Moore actually first wears this sports coat in The Saint’s second series episode “The Work of Art” in 1963. In a January 1964 episode titled “Luella”, Simon Templar convinces a woman that he is James Bond, and he is wearing this sports coat. That episode also features Moore’s Live and Let Die co-star David Hedison. This grey tweed jacket made it into the colour episodes five years later, and I previously wrote about how Moore dresses it down in the episode “The Death Game”. See it in colour!

The same grey tweed jacket in "The Death Game"

The same grey tweed jacket in “The Death Game”

Cyril Castle made this jacket in the usual button three single-breasted style he made for Moore throughout the 1960s. The cuts of the suit jackets and sports coats vary a little in the shoulders and chest, depending on how dressy they are. This is one of the least dressy sports coats and thus has natural shoulders without roping and has more drape in the chest. The waist is cut closely in the back, though from the front it looks a little shapeless. Interestingly, the quarters are cut more square and not as rounded as they ordinarily are on Cyril Castle’s jackets. This jacket is detailed with swelled edges, single-button cuffs, open square patch pockets with rounded corners, a welt breast pocket and short, six-inch double vents.

Like most of Moore’s jackets from The Saint, this jacket has very narrow lapels that aren’t all that flattering to Moore, especially due to the drape in the chest. The drape cut was developed in the 1930s when wide lapels were trendy and complemented the wide chest, so ultra-narrow lapels don’t go well with most of Moore’s jackets in The Saint. Despite the narrow lapels, Cyril Castle’s jackets are cut very well.

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In Mainly Milicent, Moore wears this jacket with dark trousers that are probably charcoal. They actually look black, but it is unlikely that they would be. They are cut with narrow, tapered legs. If they are like Moore’s other trousers from this era they have a darted front and frogmouth pockets. He wears his usual shirt from The Saint: ecru with a classic spread collar and double cuffs. The tie, however, is where Moore dresses more like James Bond than Simon Templar. Whilst Templar’s solid ties are satin silk and brightly-coloured, for his first appearance as James Bond he wears the classic Bond tie: a black knitted silk tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. During a fight, Moore’s tie becomes dislodged from inside his jacket and hangs outside of it for the rest of the sketch, revealing the square bottom. Moore’s shoes are black and have very tall, two-inch “cuban” heels, which were made popular at the time by The Beatles. They’re the trendiest part of the outfit and certainly not something James Bond would wear, but they’re hardly seen.

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It’s not surprising that Moore wears his Saint wardrobe in this sketch, but the black knitted tie is the perfect touch. Someone on the staff for Mainly Millicent must have read Ian Fleming’s novels and knew that James Bond wears a black knitted tie. It was a simple way to dress Simon Templar more like Bond. Since this episode is from the summer of 1964, Goldfinger had not yet been released and that would be the first time the film Bond wears a knitted tie.

The grey tweed jacket in Luella in the scene where Bond whispers to a woman that he is James Bond

The same grey tweed jacket in the Saint episode “Luella” This is from the scene where Templar whispers to a woman that he is James Bond

The Saint: A Glen Urquhart Check Suit

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The Saint’s first episode “The Talented Husband”, which premiered a day before Dr. No on Thursday the 4th of October 1962, briefly introduces Roger Moore’s incarnation of Simon Templar quite similarly-dressed to Bond in a black shawl-collar dinner jacket. However, the first lounge suit Moore wears in this episode is a Glen Urquhart check suit, most likely in grey and cream but possibly in brown and cream. It has a light-coloured overcheck that is probably light blue, which would go well with either a grey or a brown check. The first lounge suit of the series established the generally pared-down look for Roger Moore’s tailored wardrobe in the show’s first four black-and-white series. All of Moore’s suits for The Saint were made by Cyril Castle of Conduit Street in London. Moore later wears this Glen Urquhart check suit in the first series episodes “The Loaded Tourist”, “The Element of Doubt”, “The Man Who Was Lucky” and “The Charitable Countess”, and in second series episodes as well.

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The suit jacket is cut with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a full-cut—but clean—chest and a suppressed waist. A low button stance makes Roger Moore’s chest look more masculine and imposing, and narrow lapels add to this effect. The lapels are roughly the same width as Sean Connery’s lapels in his mid-1960s Bond films, but these lapels are the widest of all the suits’ lapels in The Saint. Most of Moore’s other suits’ lapels are a bit narrower and less flattering to Moore’s build.

The jacket is detailed with straight, flapped hip pockets, a flapped ticket pocket and three buttons on the cuffs. This jacket has one major difference from all of Moore’s other suit jackets in the black-and-white episodes of The Saint; whilst most of them have a single vent, this suit jacket has roughly 8-inch double vents. The buttons match the overall colour of the suit—either light grey or light brown—but the buttonholes contrast in a much darker colour. The suit’s trousers have a darted front and frogmouth pockets. The legs are full-cut through the thigh and tapered neatly to much narrower plain hems.

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With this suit Moore wears what is most likely a pale blue shirt, which would match the suit’s blue overcheck. If the shirt isn’t blue it would have to be ecru. It has a spread collar and rounded double cuffs. His narrow, medium-dark satin tie—which I guess is red—is tied in a small, asymmetrical four-in-hand knot. His shoes are light brown slip-ons, which are an appropriate match for this sporty suit. Moore wears a straight-folded white linen handkerchief in his suit jacket’s breast pocket.

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This episode features the Bond girl actress Shirley Eaton, who, two years later, would go on to play her most famous role: the gold-painted Jill Masterson in Goldfinger. She gives a solid performance with Moore for a great start to the seven years of The Saint.

What is your favourite style of jacket vent?

Dr-No-Double-Vents

What is your favourite style of jacket vent?

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Whilst the front of a jacket is defined by the number of buttons it has, the back is defined by the number of vents. The front of the jacket has different kinds of lapels and pockets to break it up and give it interest whilst the back has only vents. The vents are a very important part of the jacket since they add functionality as well as distinguish the look of the back.

Single Vent

Daniel Craig's suits have single vents in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits have single vents in Skyfall.

Single vents (also called centre vents) are when the centre back seam of the jacket is opened at the bottom. Single vents are most associated with American clothing, but like most origins in tailoring they come from England. Single vents were developed for riding, and the single vent splits the jacket’s skirt evenly on either side of the horse. Naturally, the hacking jacket, like what Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger and George Lazenby wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, has a single vent, and it’s quite a long single vent (12 to 13 inches) so it has enough room to split neatly over the back of a horse. Many of Sean Connery’s and Daniel Craig’s suit jackets also have single vents, which is the most tradition vent style on a single-breasted jacket. Single vents have the disadvantage of exposing the buttocks in action scenes or when a man reaches his hands into his trouser pockets. It’s a bit less of a disadvantage with a body like Daniel Craig’s, though double vents would still look neater.

On suit jackets, the length of a single vents typically range from 8 to 10 inches.1960s fashions sometimes resulted in shorter vents around six inches long, though James Bond never succumbed to this fashion. Longer vents of around 12 to 13 inches were popular in the 1970s and early 1980s, though the only long single vents Bond wears at that time are on his safari-esque sports coats in The Man with the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Goldfinger-Hacking-Jacket-Vent

Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair hacking jacket in Goldfinger has a long single vent to the waist.

Double Vents

Double vents (also called side vents) are when the rear side seams are opened at the bottom, and they are typically associated with English tailoring. Double vents didn’t become standard for English tailors until the late 1960s. At that time it was more of a trend, but the trend stuck. Before the late 1960s, English tailors generally would put single vents on single-breasted jackets and double vents on double-breasted jackets. This system creates a symmetry between the front and back of the jacket. Double-breasted jackets should never have single vents, only double vents if it has vents. Double-breasted jackets take double vents on the back to balance the double columns of buttons in front.

Roger Moore's Cyril Castle suit jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun has deep double vents

Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suit jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun has deep double vents

For the past decade, double vents have been very popular and can be found on Italian clothing and American clothing. Currently, double vents are most popular on English, American and Italian tailoring. They haven’t been this popular in America since the 1960s and in Italy since the 1970s. Double vents are dressier than single vents, though they still have their origins in riding like single vents have. They allow more waist suppression than single vents do, and they allow a man to reach into his side trouser pockets with the least disruption to the lines of the jacket. They also extend the line of the leg for a slimmer and taller appearance. Like with single vents, double vents are typically 8 to 10 inches in length but varied with fashion trends. 6-inch double vents weren’t uncommon in the 1960s, and double vents up to 13 inches deep weren’t uncommon in the 1970s to the early 1980s. When over 10 inches, double vents can be a bit unruly, but that’s part of the charm.

Marine-Blue-Suit-Double-Vents

Even when the Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suit jacket flaps in the wind, the double vents keep his rear covered.

Double vents sometimes continue the line of the side seams straight down, which can cause the vents to stick out over the rear. The double vents on Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits are made like this and emphasise his large rear. The double vents on Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suits and Pierce Brosnan’s Brioni suits are also made like this, but their rears aren’t as large so the style work better on them.

George Lazenby’s Dimi Major suits, Roger Moore’s Angelo and Douglas Hayward suits and Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace have double vents that flare outward. By flaring out, the vents actually hang straighter down the sides of the body. This keeps the vents looking neat no matter their length. Whilst the flare is noticeable from the back, the flare gives added shape to the waist whilst masking a large rear. The flared double vents have a more English look than straighter double vents have.

Flared double vents on George Lazenby's Dimi Major suit jacket

Flared double vents on George Lazenby’s Dimi Major glen check suit jacket

No Vents

Jackets without any vent are most associated with Italian clothing, and the Italians did indeed make jackets without vents in the 1950s and later in the 1980s through the early 2000s when vents were commonly found on English and American tailoring. A non-vented skirt is not an Italian style, as often stated. It’s a traditional style for all tailoring, and before vents became popular in the 1950s most jackets were made without a vent. When the non-vented style was popular in the 1980s, many sports coats were made without vents, but sports coats usually have vents due to their sporting heritage. Sean Connery wears many suit jackets without vents in his Bond films, especially in Goldfinger and Thunderball. Timothy Dalton also wears jackets without vents in Licence to Kill, a result of the trends at the time for non-vented jackets.

Sean Connery's dinner jacket in Thunderball follows tradition with no vents

Sean Connery’s dinner jacket in Thunderball follows tradition with no vents

All of the Bond actors, except George Lazenby, have at times worn dinner jackets without vents. Roger Moore’s double-breasted dinner jackets in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are his only jackets of the series without vents. Vents are still considered by many to be a faux pas on a dinner jacket, since vents have sporting origins and the dinner jacket is never worn for sports. When Bond has vents on his dinner jackets they are double vents. The exception to this is the single vent on his dinner jacket in Skyfall, though single vents are too sporty and not dressy enough for dinner jackets.

Some people recommend different style jacket skirts for different types of builds. I’ve heard people say that single vents are better for a large rear than double vents are. I’ve also heard people say the opposite. Others say that no vent is best for a large rear. Poor-fitting jacket skirts can cause any kind of vents to split open or stick out. Poor-fitting double vents can have a “shelf” effect where the back flap sticks out. A tight skirt or waist with a single vent will cause the vent to open, revealing the buttocks. A tight skirt without any vents will pull the front of the jacket open at the hips and cause creasing at the back. These are all ready-to-wear issues. When the skirt of a ready-to-wear jacket is too tight, it can be difficult to fix, though letting out the waist helps in some cases. A bespoke tailor can create a well-fitting and flattering jacket skirt for any build in any vent style.

Sean Connery's naval uniform in You Only Live Twice has short double vents

Sean Connery’s naval uniform in You Only Live Twice has short double vents