Is the Casino Royale Three-Piece Suit a Copy of the Goldfinger Suit?

Casino-Royale-Goldfinger-Suit-Comparison

I don’t know who started this, but the following quote ended up in Casino Royale‘s trivia section on IMDB: “The three-piece suit worn by James Bond at the end of the film is a navy version of the gray suit worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger.” Others have repeated this.

Like the iconic grey glen check suit made by Anthony Sinclair that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger, the Brioni navy pinstripe suit that Daniel Craig wears in the final scene of Casino Royale is also a three-piece suit. And that’s where the similarities end. Both suits are excellent suits, but the basic styles of the suit are different, the silhouettes are different and the small details that make the Goldfinger suit so unique are absent from the Casino Royale suit.

The Goldfinger suit jacket has two buttons on the front whilst the Casino Royale suit jacket has three buttons. The Goldfinger suit jacket is cut with soft shoulders and a full chest whilst the Casino Royale suit jacket is cut with stronger straight shoulders and a lean chest. The Goldfinger suit jacket has a ticket pocket whilst the Casino Royale suit jacket does not. The Casino Royale jacket has wider lapels. Both jackets have straight pockets with flaps and four buttons on the cuffs, and the Casino Royale jacket may also have double vents like the Goldfinger suit, but those details aren’t all that special since that’s what the average suit has.

Casino-Royale-Three-Piece

The waistcoat in Goldfinger has six buttons with only five to button, whilst the waistcoat in Casino Royale is cut with all buttons able to fasten. The waistcoat in Goldfinger has four welt pockets whilst the waistcoat in Casino Royale has only two. The trousers in Goldfinger have double forward pleats, plain hems andside adjusters whilst the trousers in Casino Royale have darts and turn-ups and are worn with a belt. The Goldfinger suit’s trouser legs are narrow and tapered whilst the Casino Royale suit’s trouser legs are wide and straight.

What makes the glen check suit in Goldfinger special? Apart from it being the first three-piece suit of the Bond series, it’s Sean Connery’s only three-piece suit that has lapels on the waistcoat. Pierce Brosnan brought back the lapelled waistcoat with his pinstripe suit in The World Is Not Enough. This key detail, however, is absent from the three-piece suit in Casino Royale. The absence of lapels on the waistcoat is the most significant detail that shows the Casino Royale suit was hardly inspired by the Goldfinger suit.

Magnoli Clothiers, who makes clothes inspired by the clothes James Bond wears, also says the Casino Royale suit “was based loosely on Sean Connery’s classic Goldfinger Suit.” Magnoli adds a ticket pocket and side adjusters to his version of the suit to make it resemble Connery’s suit more, but those details are not present on the actual Casino Royale suit.

Goldfinger-Grey-Three-PIece-Suit-Waistcoat

Even when people attempt to truly copy the grey three-piece Goldfinger suit, they get it wrong. An attempt at copying the Goldfinger suit was done in Catch Me if You Can, but the suit in that film was made in the wrong pattern, and the style was either Americanised or modernised with squarer shoulders, wider lapels, shorter vents and medium-rise flat front trousers. At least they got two of the Goldfinger suit’s key details: a ticket pocket and lapels on the waistcoat.

James Bond has so far worn 20 three-piece suits in the series, with more coming in Spectre, and the three-piece suit in Casino Royale is no more a copy of the Goldfinger suit than it is of most of the other 18 three-piece suits. Costume designer Lindy Hemming may have wanted to put James Bond in a three-piece suit that could be iconic on the level of the Goldfinger suit, but the significance of the suit doesn’t mean the actual suits have much in common. The Goldfinger suit is iconic because it is not only a very unusual suit, but it also has a significant reveal with James Bond exiting the aeroplane lavatory. The reveal of the Casino Royale suit comes along with the introduction of a more confident and mature 007, and the suit has significance in the character development.

If Daniel Craig’s navy pinstripe three-piece suit could be compared to another suit in the Bond series, it has most in common with George Lazenby’s three-piece navy chalkstripe suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Though the Italian cut of Craig’s Brioni suit is considerably different from Lazenby’s thoroughly British Dimi Major suit, the details and overall styles are very similar. The most obvious thing is that both suits are navy with stripes. Both suit jackets button three down the front, and neither jacket has a ticket pocket. Both suits’ trousers have a darted front and a straight leg, though Lazenby’s trouser legs are considerably narrower than Craig’s trouser legs. Sean Connery’s navy three-piece suit in Diamonds Are Forever also has a few things in common with the Casino Royale suit, such as the lack of a ticket pocket, a full six-button waistcoat and darted-front trousers, though Connery’s jacket only has two buttons and his trouser legs are tapered.

To give a definitive answer to the question posed in the title of this article, no, the Casino Royale three-piece suit is by no means a copy of the Goldfinger suit. If someone was trying to copy any suit from Goldfinger, they did a very poor job. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the Casino Royale suit, it is just a very different three-piece suit.

Basted for Bond: Examining Anthony Sinclair

“Basted for Bond” is a new series of infographics that examines the cuts and details of the jackets, trousers, waistcoats and coats made by the different tailors who have made clothes for James Bond. The first of the series examines the clothes of Sean Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair. The illustrations below account for almost all of the different styles that Sinclair made for Connery throughout his six Bond films, with variations for dinner jackets, blazers, sports coats and more. Please enjoy below.

Basted-for-Bond_Anthony-Sinclair

 

1980s White Swimming Trunks

Never-Say-Never-Again-Swimming-Trunks

In Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery shows off a better body than he had when he had left the James Bond series in Diamonds Are Forever. For his final scene as James Bond, Connery wears a pair of white swimming trunks. They have red stripes down the sides that curve into the hem and form a vent. Between the red and white sections is a thin line of black piping. The swimming trunks sit about three inches below the waist and have a short inseam of approximately 3 inches.

Never-Say-Never-Again-Swimming-Trunks-2

These swimming trunks have a similar fit to what Sean Connery wears 18 years earlier in Thunderball, but the style has been updated. They are a little looser around the hips, and the material looks lighter. These swimming trunks resemble the athletic shorts that were popular in the 1980s. Instead of a belt, these trunks have an elasticised waist and maybe a drawstring.

In trying to find out who sold these swimming trunks, I’ve discovered that many brands at the time made very similar trunks. Some of these brands include Balboa, Jantzen (who made Sean Connery’s swimming trunks in Thunderball), Islander, Laguna and Styled in California. Most of these brands make their trunks with a flapped patch pocket on the right side, with Jantzen being the exception. Since these swimming trunks do not have a side pocket, Jantzen possibly the maker of these trunks. That would be a welcome throwback to Thunderball, the film that Never Say Never Again remade.

Never-Say-Never-Again-Swimming-Trunks-3

A Guide to Bond’s Pinstripes and Chalk Stripes

Quantum-of-Solace-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-3

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.

The-World-Is-Not-Enough-Pinstripe-Suit-2

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

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

Skyfall-Dinner-Suit-Midnight-Blue

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.

Dr. No Dinner Suit

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.

Skyfall-Dinner-Suit-Midnight-Blue-Daytime-2

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

Thunderball-Flannel-Suit

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.

Goldfinger-Grey-Three-PIece-Suit-Waistcoat

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.

Navy-Herringbone-Suit

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.

James Bond Shows How a Suit Should Fit

James Bond has often set a good example for how a suit should fit. I’ve previously written about classic proportions and different parts of the suit, but not about overall fit. There is no one way a suit must fit, but there are general guidelines. Today’s slim-fit suits (like Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall) and the late 1980s and 1990s baggy suits (like Timothy Dalton’s suits in Licence to Kill) can follow the trends without being poorly-fitted messes. Whilst suits that bunch up or pull are not by any means well-fitting suits, a full-fitting suit and a close-fitting suit can both be equally well-fitting if they have clean lines and are comfortable to wear. The fit of a suit is primarily judged at a natural standing position, but how it moves with the body is also important since a well-fitted suit should never hinder anything but the most unnatural movements. A well-fitting suit should be comfortable to drive, eat or dance (but not breakdance) in.

For this example I am using Sean Connery’s famous grey glen check suit from Goldfinger made by Anthony Sinclair. It has a very classic fit, neither particularly full nor trim. It has fuller cut than what is fashionable today, but the same fit principles apply still.

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The Jacket

  1. 1Collar: The jacket’s collar must hug the neck when standing both in a natural standing pose and though a little movement, and there must not be any creasing in the upper back below the collar. About a 1/2 inch to 1 inch of the shirt’s collar should show above the suit’s collar.
  2. 2Shoulders: The jacket’s shoulders should be wide enough for the sleeve to hang cleanly, which usually means a jacket’s shoulders are just a bit wider than a man’s natural shoulders. A man’s shoulders are rounded whereas a tailored jacket’s shoulders and sleeves meet at an angle, so it’s hard to compare the two. If your muscles push your sleeve out, the shoulders are too narrow. If the shoulders stick out further than your biceps, the shoulders are too wide. Anywhere in between is an acceptable shoulder width. The width of the shoulders should also be in proportion with the size of your head. Divots at the top of the sleeve do not mean the shoulders are too wide (as often thought) but rather that the chest is too tight across the back or the sleeves are not hung at the correct angle.
  3. 3Chest: The chest can be full and draped with a clean fold in front of the sleeve or close-cut and clean. The chest needs to be large enough that the arms can move without binding the chest. If the chest is too large there will be undesirable diagonal folds in the back. English tailors often cut their jackets with small folds at the sides the back behind the arms to allow for movement whilst keeping the silhouette very neat.
  4. 4Waist: The waist should not be so tight as to cause pulling, though a small “X” at the fastened button is acceptable. Sean Connery’s and Pierce Brosnan’s suit jackets did not fit closely around the waist, but they were still shaped at the waist. George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig all wear their suit jackets closer at the waist. As long as the jacket doesn’t pull at the waist (like on Daniel Craig’s suit jackets in Skyfall), the waist can have as much or as little tapering as you like.
  5. 5Sleeves: The sleeves should be wide enough to hang cleanly but not wide enough to look baggy. A sleeve that is too narrow will feel constricting. In general, the sleeve should follow the shape of the arm as it narrows towards the wrist, but it should be wide enough to comfortably fit a double cuff if you wear them. The angle that the sleeve is hung has a big impact on how cleanly it hangs. The wrong angle can cause wrinkles and discomfort. The angle that the sleeve follows should be how your arms fall at a natural stance. Armholes also play a part, and they should be snug, but not tight, around the armpit. This is known as a “high armhole” because the bottom of the armhole is high into the armpit, and it is one of the few places where snugness considerably increases mobility. A higer armhole allows the sleeve to move more independently of the chest. Read more on jacket sleeves.
  6. 6Sleeve length: The jacket’s sleeve should extend to the wrist bone. One-quarter to one-half inch of shirt cuff should extend past the jacket’s cuffs. This isn’t just to visually balance the shirt collar sticking out at the back of the neck but also to protect suit jacket cuffs from unnecessary wear. Shirts—or even just shirt cuffs—are much cheaper to replace than a suit that has frayed at the end of sleeves.
  7. 7Jacket length: The jacket should be around half the length from the base of the neck to the ground, and it must be long enough to cover the buttocks. English jackets tend to be on the longer side whilst Italian jackets tend to be on the shorter side. Fashion dictates that jacket are to be cut shorter now, just as they were cut longer in the 1990s. But within the current fashions, the jacket should still cover the buttocks or else it throws off the proportions of the body and can make the male figure look less masculine. But unlike any of the other fashions that flout proper fit, there is no loss of practicality or loss of clean lines with a jacket that is too long or too short. Visual balance is the only reason.
  8. 8Vents: If the jacket has a vent or vents, the vent or vents must stay closed. If there are no vents, the jacket should drape cleanly around the seat and not cause the front to pull open. Any man can wear any style of vent as long as the skirt of the jacket is properly fitted. Read more on vents.

The Trousers

  1. 9Waist: The trousers’ waist should be large enough to sit just at the waist without feeling too tight, and it should not be too lose as too sag. Side adjusters and belts exist only for minute adjustments, not to make the trousers a full size smaller. Trousers worn with braces should be slightly larger so they can hang freely.
  2. 10Rise: The trouser rise is the difference between the outseam and the inseam. The typical trouser rise has become shorter over the past fifty years, though it should still be long enough so the trousers can sit high enough to prevent the shirt and tie from showing beneath a fastened jacket button. The suit has a cleaner look when there is no break between the jacket and trousers. Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall and Spectre have a long enough rise to prevent this, though the trousers tend to sag lower.
  3. 11Front: Whether the trousers have forward pleats, reverse pleats, darts or a flat front, the front should lay flat without pulling at the crotch or opening the pockets. When there are pleats, the pleats should lay flat and only open when you sit or place your hands in your pockets.
  4. 12Legs: The legs can be wide or narrow as long as they have a clean drape with an uninterrupted crease. Trousers that cling to the leg are too tight and put unnecessary stress on the trousers. Suit trousers don’t stretch, so being too tight is not only uncomfortable but also impractical. Too-tight trousers also cannot keep a sharp crease and will not have the smart look that suit trousers demand.
  5. 13Hem: Full break, half break and no break are all valid options. The trousers are too short when sock can be seen when standing and too long when they pool on top of the shoe or reach the floor in the back. Wider legs need to be hemmed longer and narrower legs need to be hemmed shorter to achieve the same kind of break.

The Waistcoat

  1. 14Chest and waist: The front of the waistcoat must lay close to the chest. The waist should also fit closely, and the adjustable strap at the back should, like trousers adjusters, be used for small adjustments.
  2. 15Length: The waistcoat’s bottom button should be at the bottom of the trousers’ waistband to prevent the shirt from showing between the waistcoat and the trousers when left open. To keep the body in proportion, the waistcoat should not end far below the natural waist. A waistcoat that is too long makes the torso look heavier and the legs look shorter, which is rarely flattering. The waistcoat that is too long will also be uncomfortable when sitting. Because it ends not far below the waist and the second-to-bottom button is placed at the waist (the bottom button should not be fastened), it does not get in the way of sitting. If there is a gap between the waistcoat and the trousers, it is usually a problem with the trouser rise being too short, not the waistcoat being too short.

Sean Connery’s suit does not always look perfect, but that’s due to the “wear and tear that goes on out there in the field”. Because it’s a lightweight suit, it wrinkles more readily than a heavier suit would.