Navy Blazers: More Than Navy Suit Jackets with Metal Buttons

Dr-No-Blazer

What is or isn’t a blazer? By one definition, a blazer is a tailored jacket in navy—or less traditionally in other solid colours—with metal buttons. By another definition it’s a tailored jacket with thick, bright stripes, and it may or may not have metal buttons. Only the first type of blazer is relevant to James Bond. “Blazer” is neither another term for a tailored odd jacket nor a suit jacket, though the term has increasingly been used as such since traditional blazers have because less popular. Bond’s blazers are always blue, from the almost black Royal Navy uniform shade to a bright marine blue.

Single-breasted or double-breasted

Blazers can be either single-breasted or double-breasted. All of James Bond’s single-breasted blazers have two buttons and double vents. Sean Connery wears three similar single-breasted blazers in Dr. No, Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever. Roger Moore wears two similar single-breasted blazers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and another in single-breasted blazer in A View to a Kill.

Lazenby-Blazer

Bond’s double-breasted blazers all have six buttons. Some of Bond’s double-breasted blazers have two to button in the traditional configuration with the top row placed further apart. Other blazers have three to button like a naval reefer jacket, which makes the jacket look rather columnar and give it a higher buttoning point. However, this style looks appropriate for a naval commander. The double-breasted blazers all have double vents like the single-breasted blazers have. George Lazenby wears a double-breasted blazer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore wears double-breasted blazers in The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only and Pierce Brosnan wears a double-breasted blazer in GoldenEye, which has the last appearance of the blazer in the Bond series.

The cloth

Blazers can be made in a variety of different cloths. The most common cloth for a blazer is wool serge. Serge is worsted wool in an even twill weave with a 45° wale. Heavier serge with more defined twill wales looks better as a blazer. Serge is one of the most common materials for a suit, but in navy it can be a great choice for a jacket on it’s own. Serge blazers are the most formal type of blazers due to the cloth being the same as what is often used for a business suits and military uniforms. Plain-weave worsteds are not as good of a choice for a blazer. George Lazenby’s blazer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore’s blazer in For Your Eyes Only, and Pierce Brosnan’s blazer in GoldenEye are likely made of serge.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Navy-Blazer

Hopsack wool is a worsted commonly used for warm-weather blazers. Hopsack is a basketweave and is open and very breathable. Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in The Man with the Golden Gun and single-breasted blazers in The Spy Who Loved MeMoonraker and A View to a Kill are hopsack.

Doeskin makes for the ideal cool-weather blazer. It’s a densely napped flannel woolen with a sheen, not the skin from a deer. It is woven in an even twill weave like serge, but the weave is traditionally not visible through the nap. Sean Connery’s three blazers in Dr. No, Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever appear to be doeskin, even though he wears two of them in tropical locales. Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in Moonraker also appears to be doeskin.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Blazer

Other cloths can make excellent blazers. A soft, thick cashmere is excellent in cold weather whilst silk and linen are exceptional in warmer weather.

The buttons

Some follow the definition that a blazer must have metal buttons to be a blazer. Metal buttons reflect the maritime heritage of the garment. All of James Bond’s blazers have metal buttons, whether brass (polished or unpolished), polished nickel or gunmetal. Pewter buttons are a subtler alternative to brighter metals. At the moment, blazers with metal buttons are unfashionable. Some think they are for old men, some think they are for preps, and others think they are for security guards. The classic metal buttons have solid blank with a shank (metal loop) that sews onto the jacket. Crests should only be worn on the buttons if the crest has a personal significance. Naval motifs on the buttons are common, and Bond wears shanked buttons with such a motif in GoldenEye. Many of Bond’s shanked buttons are simply plain metal.

GoldenEye-Blazer-Buttons

In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, the buttons are metal (nickel on the single-breasted blazers and brass on the double-breasted blazer) with four holes, and the buttons are sewn on with a contrasting navy thread. These buttons have a more modern look than shanked buttons, but they keep the blazer tradition by sticking with metal. Enamel buttons in a metal case are another classic choice for a blazer, but Bond has not worn these.

I believe that buttons other than metal buttons can be used on navy jackets, though whether or not the jackets still qualify as “blazers” is debatable. These buttons need to be different from suit jacket buttons, so that excludes navy or black buttons in plastic or corozo. Horn buttons in any medium to light shades of brown work. Unpolished horn gives the jacket a less assuming look whilst polished horn whilst polished horn, particularly in light shades, can give a shiny gold effect closer to traditional blazer buttons. Smoke mother-of-pearl buttons are great on navy odd jackets and give a blazer look without the metal buttons. Smoke mother-of-pearl buttons are silvery, shiny and almost look like metal, but their variegation makes them more interesting. For lighter-weight jackets in hopsack or linen, blue or white mother-of-pearl buttons are an excellent choice as well, whilst darker horn buttons may look too heavy. For doeskin and cashmere jackets, wood buttons can give the jackets are more rustic look.

Whether or not a navy jacket with non-metal buttons is technically a “blazer”, it can still be a wonderful odd jacket. If the navy odd jacket were to return to the Bond series, this is the form I could see it returning in rather than as a traditional blazer.

The details

Blazers are cut and fit the same as suit jackets. Some people prefer a looser fit for their blazers, sometimes so they can wear a jumper underneath, but there’s no rule that says a blazer should but cut differently than a suit jacket should. All of James Bond’s blazers are structured, cut and fit exactly the same as the suit jackets he wears within the same films as the respective blazers. Most of James Bond’s blazers have details that make them more than ordinary suit jackets with metal buttons. The blazers in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker have swelled edges for a sportier look. All of Bond’s blazers have double vents to follow British tradition, though blazers in the American have single vents. The double vents are key to wearing a blazer like Bond.

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

The pockets on Bond’s blazers are rarely ordinary straight, flapped pockets, though that is what the single-breasted blazer in A View to a Kill and the double-breasted blazers in For Your Eyes Only and GoldenEye have. All three of Sean Connery’s blazers have open patch pockets for not only the hip pockets but for the breast pocket as well. Patch pockets are the most casual type of jacket pocket and are never found on business suits. Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in Moonraker has patch pockets on the hips with flaps. The breast pocket on these blazers is an ordinary welt breast pocket since an open patch breast pocket wouldn’t match the flapped hip pockets, and a flapped patch breast pocket would look rather heavy on the chest.

Moore-Double-Breasted-Blazer-3

Many of Bond’s blazers have slanted “hacking” pockets, which are taken from the double-breasted military greatcoat rather than from the hacking jacket in the case of the blazer. Some of Bond’s blazers with slanted pockets also have ticket pockets.

When and where to wear a blazer

The navy blazer has proven to be one of the most versatile garments. In some parts of America, blazers are appropriate business dress, but they are essentially a type of sports coat and are best worn socially. Bond mostly wears his blazers socially, and he only wears a blazer to the office in Thunderball because he’s hurrying in from the country. Blazers are the most formal of all sports coats due to being a solid, dark colour. A blazer isn’t all that far off from being a navy suit jacket, which is what allows it to be worn in dressier settings. Like a navy suit, the navy blazer is great both during the day and in the evening.

For-Your-Eyes-Only-Blazer

Blazers have a maritime heritage and are always appropriate by the water. Bond wears blazers on tropical islands in Dr. No and Thunderball, aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth sunken in Victoria Harbour in The Man with the Golden Gun, and in the Mediterranean in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and GoldenEye.

Blazers do not need to be worn near water. For social occasions in the city they don’t stick out too much amongst the suits. In the country they’re perfect for drinks at the country club.

What to wear with a blazer

James Bond has worn many different colours in his trouser with his blazers. The trousers worn with a blazer need to contrast the blazer to avoid looking like a mismatched suit, and thus navy, black and charcoal trousers do not pair well. Sean Connery pairs his blazers with dark grey trousers—a shade lighter than charcoal—to dress up the outfit as much as he can. The less contrast there is between the jacket and trousers the more formal the outfit is.

James Bond has worn medium grey, light grey, tan, beige, stone (light taupe) and white trousers with his blazers. Any shade of grey is a great choice for the city or a dressier look, particularly in the evening. Tan, beige and stone give the blazer a sportier and more casual look, and these colours are best worn in the daytime. White trousers, give the blazer a nautical look and should only be worn with a blazer on the water, where Bond wears his blazer with white trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me. Even when worn by the water, white trousers with a blazer can come off a costume-like. Cream and British tan are other great choices to wear that Bond has not worn with his blazers.

Navy hopsack blazer with beige cavalry twill trousers in Moonraker

Navy hopsack blazer with beige cavalry twill trousers in Moonraker

The trousers Bond wears with his blazers are always wool, in woolen flannel for greys and cavalry twill or gabardine for earth tones and white. Tropical and fresco wool, silk, linen and cotton gabardine are other great trouser materials to pair with a blazer, particularly hopsack and lighter serge blazers. Cotton chinos are acceptable with a hopsack blazer, but they should be pressed.

The options for shirts are ties to wear with a navy blazer are limitless. Bond usually wears similar shirts and ties that he would wear with a navy suit. Bond occasionally wears his blazers without a tie for a more casual look. The colour of the shoes should complement the trousers. Oxfords can dress up the outfit whilst slip-ons can dress down the outfit. The many different items that can be worn with a navy blazer to dress it up or down contribute to the incredible versatility of the garment.

Never Say Never Again: Bond Borrows a Striped Bathrobe

Never-Say-Never-Again-Striped-Bathrobe

When Bond arrives aboard Largo’s yacht the Flying Saucer in Never Say Never Again, he’s wearing a wet suit. He removes the wetsuit immediately and when he climbs on deck he’s only wearing a pair of tight, mid-thigh-length navy swimming trunks with red and white stripes. Largo’s butler greets Bond and gives him a bathrobe and matching towel to wear over his shoulders to dry off.

Never-Say-Never-Again-Striped-Bathrobe-2

Bond’s briefly seen swimming trunks

Bond’s striped bathrobe in Spectre makes the striped bathrobe from Never Say Never Again relevant again, though the colour schemes are vastly different. The bathrobe Largo provides Bond has a bold pattern of wide and narrow yellow, navy and periwinkle stripes. There are also narrow sections of white and coloured pin stripes in each of the three respective colours. The bathrobe is made from a very absorbent waffle cotton or microfibre.

The calf-length robe cinches around the waist with a belt. There are two open patch pockets at the sides below the belt. The chest has a black patch with a gold insignia.

Close-up of the waffle fabric

Close-up of the waffle fabric

Like many of the bathrobes and dressing gowns that Bond wears, this one is not Bond’s own and not something to judge his taste by. The pastel colours were very popular in the 1980s, and his polo later in the film follows the same colour scheme. The shared colours between the bathrobe and polo may signify that Bond also got the polo from Largo. However, the shirt and trousers that Bond wears aboard the Flying Saucer inexplicably match his own since he brought no clothes with him.

Never-Say-Never-Again-Striped-Bathrobe-4

James Bond and Double Cuffs

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Rounded double cuffs in Goldfinger

The double cuff, also known as the French cuff, is a type of shirt cuff that folds back on itself and fastens with cufflinks. The double cuff is the most formal type of cuff after the single-link cuff, which also fastens with cufflinks but only has a stiff single layer. For the double cuff to fold over neatly, it needs to have a light and soft interfacing, either fused or sewn. A heavy or stiff interfacing won’t fold over as nicely, and the reason for the cuff folding is to give the cuff stability without the stiffness of the single cuff. Double cuffs should always be fastened in the kissing position and never overlapping like a button cuff.

Double cuffs on a Tom Ford shirt in Quantum of Solace

Square double cuffs on a Tom Ford shirt in Quantum of Solace

The formality of the double cuff makes it the standard cuff on shirts for black tie, though cocktail cuffs are also appropriate with black tie. Double cuffs are a minimum requirement for morning dress, but single-link cuffs are a dressier option. Double cuffs are also appropriate with any suit for any occasion. They pair nicely with blazers and most sports coats as well. The formality of double cuffs, however, demands a tie. They should not be worn in a casual environment.

Double cuffs vary primarily in two ways: the corner style and the placement of the link-holes. Most double cuffs have a square corner. They may also have rounded corners or mitred (angle-cut) corners, and typically this describes the corner at the back edge of the cuff and not the folded edge. Rounded cuffs have the benefit of sliding through jacket cuffs more smoothly. Double cuffs may be styled in other ways, such as with a mitred corner at the fold or with a contoured back edge, but these are fussier and less traditional designs.

Rounded double cuffs in For Your Eyes Only

Rounded double cuffs on a Frank Foster shirt in For Your Eyes Only

Though double cuffs with square corners are technically the most formal, practically there is no difference. Any style of double cuff can be worn the same way. Bond has worn square, mitred and rounded double cuffs with black tie, and he has worn square and rounded double cuffs with his suits. The mitred cuffs on his dress shirts in Goldfinger have unusually large mitred corners.

Notice the large mitred corner on the double cuff

Notice the large mitred corner on the double cuff in Goldfinger

The placement of the link-holes has varied on Bond’s double cuffs. On Bond’s British shirts from Turnbull & Asser and Frank Foster, the link-holes are placed close to the fold, which shows off the cufflinks and gives the cuff both flare and flair. On Bond’s Sulka, Brioni and Tom Ford shirts, the link-holes are centred on the cuffs. This prevents the cuffs from flaring out, meaning they’re less likely to get stuck inside a jacket sleeve. This link-hole placement has the downside of hiding the cufflinks further inside the jacket sleeves.

From Dr. No through Licence to Kill, James Bond almost exclusively wears double cuffs with black tie and other formal wear. Goldfinger is the exception, where Bond also wears double cuffs with his suits and sports coats. Starting with GoldenEye, Bond almost always has worn double cuff shirts with his suits as well.

James Bond breaks the rules in Quantum of Solace when he wears a shirt with double cuffs with his shawl-collar cardigan, but the results are less than favourable. Not only do formal double cuffs clash with this casual ensemble, they bind under a snug knitted cuff.

Quantum-of-Solace-Cardigan-Cuffs

A double cuff shirt from Tom Ford under a shawl-collar cardigan in Quantum of Solace

How James Bond Wears a Suit for Evenings Out

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A midnight blue suit at a cocktail party in Quantum of Solace

Though James Bond is known for wearing black tie in the evening, most people don’t regularly attend such formal events. Bond sometimes goes out for less formal occasions at night, but what does he wear when he still needs to look his best? He wears a suit, naturally. When wearing a suit socially, such as for a cocktail party, an evening at a night club or a special dinner, one must look like they are dressed for pleasure and not for business. Stripes are usually a bad choice for this reason. Checks are great for social occasions, but they aren’t usually dressy enough for the evening unless the check is very subtle. Bond never wears a three-piece suit for evenings out, though in the right cloth a three-piece suit can be a great choice.

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Bond having dinner in a lustrous charcoal suit in The Man with the Golden Gun

The cloth is what separates a social suit from a business suit. The cut of a suit or how many buttons it has doesn’t matter as much as the cloth. Darks suits, especially in blue, work best. The richer colour looks best under artificial light at night. Greys and browns are duller and don’t look as good at night, but in darker shades they can work well in the evening. Though worsteds are perfectly fine, luxurious cloths with a sheen, like mohair and silk, can also help differentiate a social suit from a business suit. Flannel can be a good choice for a casual evening out, like with the charcoal flannel suit Bond wears to dinner at the Roma camp in From Russia with Love.

Marine Blue Suit

A marine blue suit at a nightclub in The Man with the Golden Gun

The marine blue suit that Bond wears in The Man with the Golden Gun when at a nightclub in Beirut has a sheen that suggests mohair, making it perfect for both warm weather and for the club. Also in The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond wears a charcoal mini-herringbone suit that has a lustrous sheen for a dinner with Goodnight. Charcoal doesn’t isn’t as dressy as blue is in the evening, but with a sheen it’s an appropriate choice.

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

Though pinstripes aren’t the best choice for the evening, sometimes they work. When meeting Vesper for drinks on the train in Casino Royale, Bond wears a very dark navy suit with subtle grey pinstripes. Because these stripes are hardly noticeable, they don’t give the suit a business-like impression. However, his drinks are in a business setting with a bank liaison, making the pinstripes quite appropriate.

In Quantum of Solace (pictured top), Bond wears the easiest choice for a cocktail party: a midnight blue suit. Though black suits can work well for such an occasion, a midnight blue suit is infinitely more sophisticated. Being mohair tonic separates this suit even further from business suits, and the sheen raises the suit’s formality.

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Bond dressed in a shiny grey pick-and-pick suit for the Junkanoo in Thunderball

In warm weather, both dark and light suits can work for the evening. In Dr. No, Bond wears a light grey mohair suit at Puss Feller’s nightclub in Jamaica, though Bond donned the suit earlier in the day. The sheen makes it look great at night. In Thunderball, Bond wears a light grey pick-and-pick mohair suit that also works perfectly for a hot evening out at the Junkanoo in the Bahamas. When Bond dresses up for the evening in warm locations and doesn’t wear a suit, he chooses a navy blazer. The navy blazer is the dressiest of sports coats and has many similarities to navy suit jackets. In the context of this article, the dark colour makes the navy blazer look good at night. Bond wears a navy blazer for his date with Miss Taro in Dr. No and at the Junkanoo in Thunderball.

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro in Dr, No

When accessorising, simplicity and contrast are key for these outfits. The elements are usually a dark suit, a light shirt and a solid or subtly patterned tie. The best shirt for the evening is solid white, like what Bond wears to the cocktail party in Quantum of Solace. Light blue can give the ensemble a friendlier look. Striped shirts are okay, so long as there aren’t multiple colours. Ties should be dark, like navy with all of Connery’s evening outfits; vivid, like the burgundy tie Moore wears with the marine blue suit in The Man with the Golden Gun; or lustrous, like Moore’s satin ties. The shinier a tie the dressier it is, and satin ties should be worn exclusively in the evening. Subtle patterns like on Daniel Craig’s ties are also great for the evening.

A Blue Bathrobe, Courtesy of Dr. No

Dr-No-Bathrobe

James Bond wears many bathrobes and dressing gowns throughout the series, and they all started in Dr. No with the bathrobe Bond given after his decontamination shower by Dr. No’s men. The bathrobes and dressing gowns that Bond wears are rarely his own. Bond’s calf-length bathrobe is made of sky blue cotton terrycloth and it is made like any ordinary bathrobe with a shawl collar, turned-back cuffs a patch pocket on the left side of the chest and two patch pockets on the hips. A belt ties around the waist. Bond’s sandals are also provided by Dr. No’s men and are made of woven rope in the natural tan colour of the fibre they are made of. Though slippers are the ordinary footwear to wear with a bathrobe, sandals fit the island location.

Dr-No-Bathrobe-Slippers

Honey is holding Bond’s sandals, with hers inside

James Bond’s Warm-Weather Black Tie Etiquette

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Daniel Craig’s ivory dinner jacket in Spectre

After 30 years, James Bond will once again be wearing an ivory dinner jacket in Spectre. Bond started a tradition of often wearing an ivory dinner jacket in warm climates 51 years ago in Goldfinger. In the six appearances of the ivory dinner jacket throughout the series, Bond has demonstrated how to properly wear warm weather black tie.

Bond’s warm-weather dinner jackets are ivory and not pure white because many natural fibres—particularly wool—have oils that prevent them from being bleached pure white. Calling it a “white” dinner jacket is not incorrect since white is the intended colour. Though Sean Connery’s ivory dinner jackets are made of wool, Roger Moore wears ivory dinner jackets in silk and linen. Daniel Craig’s ivory dinner jacket in Spectre is made of 56% silk and 44% viscose, a cool-wearing semi-synthetic fibre derived from cellulose.

Bond's first ivory dinner jacket in Goldfinger

Bond’s first ivory dinner jacket in Goldfinger

The ivory dinner jacket is part of the black tie dress code, which means it should only be worn after 6 pm. A light jacket does not mean it is for daytime. The jacket follows the conventions of its black and midnight blue counterparts, and the only exception is that the ivory dinner jacket traditionally does not have silk facings. Silk facings on an ivory dinner jacket are typically the mark of the cheap rental, though Daniel Craig’s considerably expensive ivory Tom Ford dinner jacket in Spectre has grosgrain silk facings. It lacks the refined taste of Bond’s previous ivory dinner jackets. Whilst black and midnight blue dinner jackets have silk facings to primarily differentiate them from ordinary lounge jackets, the ivory dinner jacket does not need such a distinctive mark. White dinner jackets are always worn with black or midnight blue trousers that match.

The ivory dinner jacket is strictly worn in warm weather. There’s no absolute consensus as to where the ivory dinner jacket should appropriately be worn, except it should never be worn in the British Isles, never in large cities and only in warm weather. Bernhard Roetzel states in his book Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion, “The white tuxedo is worn at open-air evening parties and on cruises.” Roetzel’s statement suggests that if the weather is warm enough to be comfortable outdoors, the ivory dinner jacket is appropriate.

Sean Connery's ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery’s ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever

The tropics are the most appropriate place for an ivory dinner jacket. Sean Connery wears his ivory dinner jacket in the Goldfinger pre-title sequence in an unknown country in Latin American, a tropical region. Connery again wears the ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever in Las Vegas. Las Vegas in not in the tropics, but the ivory dinner jacket is well-suited for its hot desert climate. The ivory dinner jacket is generally considered appropriate anywhere in the United States during the summer months, though some consider the northern states’ climate to not be right at any time of year for it.

In Thunderball, Bond visits the Bahamas, which is an appropriate location for an ivory dinner jacket. In the casino scene there, Adolfo Celi’s villain Largo is dressed in an elegant double-breasted ivory dinner jacket, whilst Bond contrasts him in an equally suitable midnight blue mohair dinner suit. However, Bond opts for the white dinner jacket in Ian Fleming’s novel Thunderball.

White-Silk-Dinner-Jacket

Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in The Man with Golden Gun

Roger Moore first wears an ivory dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun for a 9 pm dinner with Hai Fat in Thailand, which is within the tropics. Moore later wears an ivory dinner jacket in Octopussy in Udaipur, India, which lies one degree of latitude north of the Tropic of Cancer. Though technically not in the tropics, the weather is certainly hot enough to justify wearing an ivory dinner jacket. When Bond arrives at Kamal Khan’s club in his dinner jacket, the sky is still light. If it is June or July, it could be 6 pm. Only a few scenes later, Bond is having dinner in the same dinner jacket under a night sky.

Roger Moore’s last ivory dinner jacket is worn in daylight in A View to a Kill at Château de Chantilly in France, just north of Paris. Though it is daylight, the reception Bond attends starts at 6 pm, and because this scene takes place not long after the Royal Ascot at the beginning of summer, the sunset in the part of France would have been close to 10 pm. However, the location for wearing an ivory dinner jacket is questionable as it is very far north of the tropics and has the same climate as England. But since the weather is warm and the reception is outdoors, the ivory dinner jacket doesn’t look out of place. The ivory dinner jacket is more appropriate down south in the sub-tropical Mediterranean region, where Roger Moore occasionally wears a white silk dinner jacket in The Saint.

Roger Moore's ivory dinner jacket in A View to a Kill

Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in A View to a Kill

Daniel Craig wears an ivory dinner jacket in Spectre in Morocco, a country with a largely Mediterranean climate. Humphrey Bogart established a precedent for wearing an ivory dinner jacket in Morocco in the 1942 film Casablanca. Based on the trailer, Bond appropriately wears his dinner jacket in the evening whilst having dinner on a train.

Despite the ivory dinner jacket being just as classic as black and midnight blue, they go in and out of fashion, and some people don’t care for them. Hardy Amies writes in his 1994 book The Englishman’s Suit:

One has to say firmly that a white dinner coat is effortlessly ‘naff’. It was derided by those who knew what was what in Venice ten years ago. I don’t suppose it matters what you wear in the Caribbean. But it looks seriously awful in Europe. It is also very impractical. A dinner suit should be made in a cloth of the lightest weight available, in midnight blue, of course. You can then wear it all the year round. The cloth used in white coats is not lighter and, if not wool, creases unattractively.

Also in the 1990s, Bond shared Amies’ opinion and did not wear any ivory dinner jackets. He could have in the Monte Carlo casino in GoldenEye, but every man in the casino is dressed in black. In The World is Not Enough, some men in the Azerbaijan casino are dressed in ivory dinner jackets, but Bond wears midnight blue. It’s a less appropriate location for an ivory dinner jacket, especially considering that it’s wintertime. Bond’s ally Valentin Zukovsky wears a flashy light taupe dinner jacket, which, like the ivory dinner jacket, is better suited for a warmer place.

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Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in Octopussy

What Kind of Underwear Would Bond Wear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunspel Stretch Trunk

Stretch trunk underwear from Sunspel

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

Remington-Steele-Briefs

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

What kind of underwear do you think Bond would wear?

Stretch brief underwear from Sunspel

Stretch brief underwear from Sunspel

The Rock: Sean Connery’s Navy Three-Piece Suit

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A happy 85th birthday today to Sean Connery. In The Rock, Sean Connery plays John Mason, a British national who escaped from Alcatraz. The Mason character was written as an homage to Bond and has a lot in common with Bond. John Spencer’s character FBI Director Womack states that Mason is a British operative but says, “Of course the British claimed they’d never heard of him.” Womack also says, “This man knows our most intimate secrets from the last half-century…Mason’s angry. He’s lethal. He’s a trained killer.”

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Mason even speaks like Bond when he responds to Nicolas Cage’s character Goodspeed’s introduction with the Diamonds Are Forever line, “But of course you are.” For Mason to agree to cooperate with the FBI, he makes a Bond-like demand: “I want a suite, a shower, a shave, the feel of a suit.” The new navy worsted three-piece suit he gets is what matters most, as far as this blog is concerned.

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Though The Rock was released in 1996, Sean Connery’s suit more closely resembles an late 1980s/early 90s suit. The button two suit jacket has a low button stance and a very low gorge, which places the lapel notch almost in the middle of the chest. Sean Connery’s prominent shoulders make the jacket’s shoulders look more padded than they actually are. Still, the shoulders have a fair amount of padding, but natural sleeveheads gives the shoulders a natural but neat curve.

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The suit jacket is cut with a moderately full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three cuff buttons and no vent in the rear. The suit’s waistcoat has five buttons. The suit trousers have a full cut, likely with double or triple reverse pleats. The legs are wide but slightly tapered. The suit is very similar to the suits Timothy Dalton wears in Licence to Kill, but Connery’s suit has a much cleaner fit. Though this suit is strongly influenced by fashion in its proportions, it follows the principles of a good fit.

Connery’s white shirt has a spread collar with tie space and a sewn interfacing (revealed by a poor sloppy job), front placket and square cuffs with either one or two buttons. The collar design and construction could mean that this shirt is from an English maker. The tie has alternating wide navy and gold stripes. The navy stripes are woven in a twill weave whilst the gold stripes are woven with floats to look like a basket weave. Connery’s shoes are black single monk shoes.

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