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.

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.

Octopussy-Ivory-Dinner-Jacket

Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in Octopussy

Basted for Bond: Examining Roger Moore’s Douglas Hayward Clothes

The latest “Basted for Bond” infographic breaks down the jackets, trousers and waistcoats that Roger Moore wears in For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, made by legendary celebrity tailor Douglas Hayward. Though the low button two jacket is the mainstay of Moore’s Hayward wardrobe, he also wears button three jackets, very low-buttoning double-breasted jackets and a morning coat, all and more examined in the following infographic.

Basted-for-Bond_Douglas-Hayward

The Zorin Industries Blouson

Zorin-Industries-Blouson

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.

Zorin-Industries-Blouson-3

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.

Zorin-Industries-Blouson-2

Minister of Defence: A Flattering Three-Piece for a Corpulent Figure

Minister-of-Defence-A-View-to-a-Kill

Minister of Defence Frederick Grey, played by Geoffrey Keen, is a recurring character in the six Bond films from The Spy Who Loved Me through The Living Daylights. He’s always well-dressed and very traditionally dressed for the city. Though his clothes are very sober and don’t particularly stand out, they’re remarkable in that they are always very flattering to his short and corpulent figure. Whilst tall and slim men don’t need much help to look good, a well-tailored suit can do wonders for the not so fortunate. The minister almost certainly wears bespoke suits, and they perhaps could be Geoffrey Keen’s own. For someone who is rarely in more than two brief scenes in each Bond film, it’s hard to imagine the film production would spend for a bespoke suit for each film. The Minister appears in two scenes in A View to a Kill, and he wears the same three-piece suit in both his scene at the beginning of the film and his scene at the end of the film.

Minister-of-Defence-A-View-to-a-Kill-2The Minister’s suit in A View to a Kill is dark warm grey with very closely-spaced light grey pinstripes, with about six stripes to the inch. The closely-spaced pinstripes have the effect of making the suit overall look more like medium grey. The suit jacket has a traditional English cut, with lightly-padded straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The chest is full cut to give the impression of a smaller waist, and the chest darts are placed further to the side than they typically would be to give a flattering shape to the Minister’s corpulent figure. The button two suit jacket has classic proportions—the lapel width, gorge height and button stance are evenly balanced and do not look dated. That balance is also key to flattering the Minister’s larger figure. The jacket has a single vent, three buttons on the cuffs and slanted hip pockets. The waistcoat has five buttons. The suit trousers aren’t seen, but double forward pleats and braces are likely.

The Minister's second appearance in A View to a Kill, with a light blue shirt and navy tie.

The Minister’s second appearance in A View to a Kill, with a light blue shirt and navy tie.

The Minister’s shirt in his first scene is cream and has a classic English spread collar with a quarter-inch of tie space and button cuffs. With the cream shirt he wears a navy tie with white dots, tied in four-in-hand knot. The Minister’s shirt in his second scene is light blue with a more moderate spread collar, and his tie is navy, again tied in a four-in-hand knot.

Sir Godfrey Tibbett: The Light Grey Morning Suit

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In A View to a Kill, Sir Godfrey Tibbett, like Bond, wears the morning suit variation of morning dress where the morning coat, waistcoat and trousers match each other. Tibbett is played by Patrick Macnee, who is best-known for playing the dandy John Steed in The Avengers, and Macnee still looks effortlessly stylish as Tibbett. Tibbett’s suit is light grey, woven of grey and white yarns, and it could possibly be pick-and-pick. Light grey is the classic shade for the morning suit, more so than the much darker grey that Bond’s morning suit is. The morning suit is less formal than non-matching morning dress, and it’s best worn for less formal occasions. Royal Ascot is thus the ideal place to wear a morning suit.

Bond-Q-Tibbett-Morning-DressThe morning suit’s coat is cut and detailed the same as the more traditional black morning coat. It is a body coat with a waist seam for a close fit, and it is cut away in the front skirt below the button and curves around to the tails in back. Tibbett’s morning coat has the traditional single button link closure and peaked lapels, and it is cut with a clean chest and straight shoulders. It has three buttons on the cuffs and a breast pocket. The single-breasted waistcoat has six buttons—the bottom is left open—and no lapels. The buttons on the morning coat and the waistcoat are polished grey horn.

Bond-Tibbett-M-Morning-DressTibbett’s white shirt is a regular formal shirt with a spread collar and—like on M’s shirt with morning dress—button cuffs. Button cuffs don’t belong with morning dress, and some would argue that attached soft collars don’t belong with morning dress either. At least Tibbett’s wider spread collar is more formal than the narrower point collars that M and Q wear. Tibbett a grey and white printed spitalfields tie, and it is tied in a windsor knot. He wears the same light grey felt top hat with a black ribbon and white carnation in his lapel that the other men wear, but his brown, unlined suede gloves are an interesting change.

Sir Godfrey Tibbett’s morning suit concludes this series on morning dress. I’ll write about Zorin’s charcoal grey herringbone morning suit at a later date.

Q: Morning Dress with a Double-Breasted Waistcoat

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Like M, Q wears a black morning coat to Royal Ascot in A View to a Kill. The morning coat has a link closure, which I wrote about in the description of M’s morning coat. Q leaves his morning coat open and the inner button of the link clousure is left dangling, but both the outer and inner buttons are present unlike on M’s coat, which is missing the outer button. There are four buttons on the cuffs, and the coat’s buttons are either plastic or polished horn. Q’s morning coat is cut with natural shoulders, and as usual they are a little too wide for him. Q’s trousers are dark grey striped, though the stripes aren’t as bold as they traditionally should be. They are cut with a high rise and traditional English double forward pleats and have a plain hem.

Q-Morning-Dress-1

Many consider the double-breasted waistcoat to be the most elegant style of waistcoat for morning dress, but it’s just as equally appropriate as the single-breasted waistcoat. Q’s taupe waistcoat has six buttons with three to button. The buttons are spaced close together and in a keystone formation. The buttons are mother-of-pearl, which is common for morning dress waistcoats. The waistcoat has peaked lapels, and the peaks are very low on the chest. The bottom of the waistcoat is cut straight across, and the length just covers the waistband of the trousers. The length of the waistcoat is very important because when it’s too long it throws off the proportions of the body, and the right or wrong length is more noticeable in a waistcoat cut straight across the bottom. A shorter waistcoat and high rise trousers is much more flattering than the longer waistcoat and low rise trousers that are seen today.

Look for the dangling link button sticking out on the shank from Q's jacket.

Look for the dangling link button sticking out on the shank from Q’s jacket.

The khaki knitted tie closely matches to the waistcoat in colour but not in dressiness. A knitted tie is the least formal of all ties and thus isn’t suitable with morning dress, which is the dressiest of daytime clothes that people still wear today. However, khaki knitted ties are worn as part of Royal Artillery service dress, and Q could very well be wearing the tie for that significance.

Q wears a regular white formal shirt with his morning dress, which has an unflatteringly short point collar and double cuffs. Like M, Q also wears a white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket, and he wears his in a straight fold. Q’s shoes are black derbies with an apron toe, and, like his tie, they aren’t as dressy as shoes should be for morning dress. Q follows the others in his group and wears a white carnation in his lapel and a light grey felt top hat with a black ribbon when he is at the race . However, Q is the only man in the bunch who does not wear gloves.

Traditional striped trousers and the odd choice of apron-front derby shoes

Traditional striped trousers and the odd choice of apron-front derby shoes

M: Morning Dress

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M in Morning Dress, on the right, with his grey felt top hat on his desk

Since Royal Ascot is next week, we’re going to look at M’s, Q’s, and Sir Godfrey Tibbett’s morning dress in A View to a Kill. I already wrote about Bond’s morning dress in A View to a Kill a few years ago. M’s (Robert Brown) morning dress will be the first in this morning dress series, since his is the most pedestrian. The morning coat—known as a cutaway to the Americans—is a type of tailcoat worn for formal daytime occasions, and it is almost always single-breasted compared to the double-breasted evening tailcoat. The front skirt cuts away to the tails in the back. It looks almost like a long suit jacket that is cut away in front, but it has a waist seam like the evening tailcoat and other body coats. M’s black morning coat is the classic model with a single button link closure and peaked lapels. The link closure is traditionally two shanked buttons on a chain with a buttonhole on each side of the front, and when the link button connects the two side the front edges meet instead of overlap. It looks like there are two buttons on the front side by side, and it gives the jacket a more symmetrical look since one side isn’t overlapping the other. It’s somewhat like a cufflink, though it doesn’t pull the two sides of the jacket so closely together. M’s link closure is made a little differently. His coat has a regular single button on the right side with a corresponding buttonhole on the left side, but there is also a button on a long thread shank sewn on the backside of the jacket behind where the regular button sewn. To complicate things, M’s jacket appears to be missing the regular button attached to the front of his coat and only has the button that comes from behind, so I cannot use M to illustrate the way the link button properly looks. M morning coat buttons are black horn, and there are three buttons on the cuffs. The coat has a welt breast pocket but no other pockets.

M-Morning-Dress-2Under the morning coat M wears a medium grey button six waistcoat. Waistcoats with morning dress are traditionally light colours—light grey, light blue, buff and cream—and sometimes made of linen, but M’s medium grey worsted wool waistcoat still provides enough contrast for the same effect. Since M’s waistcoat is wool, it’s possible that he took it from one of his three-piece suits. It’s not ideal to use a waistcoat from a suit, but as long as it’s light enough in colour it works. M’s trousers are hardly seen, but they look like they are solid grey in a shade darker than the waistcoat. Most likely they follow morning dress tradition and have some sort of pattern. They aren’t the bold grey and black “cashmere stripe” pattern, which is the most formal of morning dress trousers. Most likely they are a fine houndstooth pattern in black and white, which could appear as solid grey from a distance. Checks in black and white are just as traditional for morning trousers and are great for the less formal of morning dress occasions like Royal Ascot. Because the three pieces of M’s morning dress do not match, it cannot be called a “morning suit” like Bond’s all-matching morning dress can be called. The black coat with separate waistcoat and trousers is more formal and more traditional than the morning suit.

M-Bond-Morning-DressM’s shirt is an ordinary white formal shirt and not the most appropriate shirt for morning dress. It has a point collar and button cuffs. Though detachable collars are no longer a necessity with morning dress, a more formal wide spread collar like what Bond wears is preferable to M’s point collar. Double cuffs are also preferable to button cuffs, but M’s button cuffs mostly stay hidden inside the jacket sleeves. M wears an amethyst-grey lightly-ribbed silk tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. M wears all of the traditional Royal Ascot morning dress accessories: a light grey felt top hat with a black ribbon, thin and unlined light grey gloves with a button at the wrist, and a white carnation boutonniere. Of the four men in morning dress, M and Q are the only ones wearing handkerchiefs in their breast pockets. M’s handkerchief is white linen and folded with three points peeking out.

Though M doesn’t completely follow morning dress protocol, he makes due with what he has and his clothes fit well. His outfit might not be perfect, but he is still elegantly dressed for the race.