How James Bond Wears a Suit for Evenings Out


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.


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.


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


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.


Honey is holding Bond’s sandals, with hers inside

Strangways: A 1950s Silk Suit


Kingston-based British agent John Strangways, played by Timothy Moxon, is talked about far more than he is seen. He appears in the opening scene of Dr. No and is soon killed. His death brings James Bond to Jamaica and is the reason for Bond’s first cinematic mission. From the looks of his suit, it would appear that Strangways hadn’t returned to England for quite some time to update his wardrobe. His suit has a full cut dating it to the 1950s.


Strangways’ suit is made of silk and is the natural silk colour, which is a light beige. The jacket has a full cut with drape in the chest and a nipped waist. The shoulders are soft and natural, and in following the drape cut they are slightly extended. The jacket has two buttons on the front with a medium stance. The lapels are slightly on the narrow side, and they have a low buttonhole. The welt breast pocket has a steep slant and is placed low on the chest. The hip pockets are difficult to see, but I believe they may be open patch pockets. There are three buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The suit trousers have forward pleats—likely two on each side—and very full, tapered legs with plain hems.


With the suit Strangways wears a white shirt with a short spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is deep red with a subtle tonal pattern and is tied in a four-in-hand knot. It has a crest or some decoration embroidered on the top, though I can’t tell what it is. He also wears a white linen handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket.

Strangways’ shoes are perhaps the most adventurous part of his outfit. They’re casual two-eyelet desert boots in tan suede with crepe soles. Though they are less formal than the rather informal suit, they fit the relaxed country club setting.


Comparison: Suit Trousers in the First Two Bond Films


Connery’s suit trousers in Dr. No

Throughout the 1960s, Anthony Sinclair tailored all of Sean Connery’s suit trousers in the same style. They have double forward pleats, the traditional English-style pleats that opens towards the fly. The leg is tapered and has approximately 1 3/4″ turn-ups. The trousers’ waistband has an approximately 2 1/2″ square extension that keeps the front of the waistband straight, and it closes with a hidden clasp so there are no buttons visible on the front. Inside, the trousers are secured with two buttons and a zip fly. The sides of the waistband have button-tab “Daks tops” side adjusters with three buttons—usually made of smoke mother-of-pearl—on each side. The side pockets are on the side seams, and there is one button-through jetted pocket in the rear on the right side.

Connery's updated suit trousers in From Russia with Love

Connery’s updated suit trousers in From Russia with Love

Though all of Sean Connery’s suit trousers in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice are made with the same features, the trousers’ cut was updated after the first Bond film, Dr. No. The change can be seen in the second Bond film, From Russia with Love. The rise in Dr. No is extremely high by today’s standards, and it was even high for 1962. A year later for From Russia with Love, Sinclair lowered the rise slightly to correspond with the new lower button stance on his suit jackets. The rise is still high for today’s fashions, but it doesn’t look quite as old-fashioned. The cut was also trimmed down overall. The deep pleats seen on the Dr. No trousers were made shallower for From Russia with Love, and as a result the trousers fit closer around the hips and thighs. Though this updated fit continued through the 1960s, by You Only Live Twice Connery’s pleated trousers were markedly unfashionable and old-fashioned.

Comparison: Grey Suits in Dr. No and Diamonds Are Forever

Dr. No, left, and Diamonds Are Forever, right

Dr. No, left, and Diamonds Are Forever, right

Anthony Sinclair tailored almost all of Sean Connery’s suits in the James Bond series, from Dr. No in 1962 to Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The overall cut of Connery’s suits didn’t change much throughout the 1960s, but by 1971 there was a noticeable change in style. We will take a closer look at this change using the light grey suit from Dr. No and a similar light grey suit from Diamonds Are Forever, to at least keep the cloth constant. The shoulders—the foundation of a suit’s silhouette—are the same in both 1962 and 1971: natural with roped sleeveheads. The chest, however, is different. The Dr. No suit has a draped chest whilst the Diamonds suit has a much cleaner chest.

Dr-No-Grey-Suit-3The most obvious difference between the Dr. No and Diamonds suits is the lapel width. The lapel width isn’t exaggerated in either case, but it is noticeably wider in Diamonds than it is in Dr. No. The lapels were narrower in Connery’s other 1960s Bond films, but they were also a different shape. The gorge—the seam where the collar meets the lapel—is much steeper in Dr. No than it is in any of Connery’s other Bond films.

Hip pocket flaps also follow the lapel width. Though none of the suit jackets in Dr. No have pocket flaps, many of the suits in Connery’s subsequent Bond films throughout the 1960s have narrow pocket flaps that reflect the decade’s narrow lapel width. Wide pocket flaps in Diamonds reflect the new decade’s wide lapels, and the suits in Diamonds Are Forever feature the widest pocket flaps of the entire Bond series. In addition to have fashionably wide flaps, the pockets are also slanted, following a popular trend that had been around since the mid 60s. The pockets in Dr. No are placed unusually low, and pockets that low would look even more odd if they had flaps. The pockets are below the jacket’s bottom button, whilst ordinarily they are at the level of or just a little higher than the bottom button. The pockets in subsequent Bond films are higher.

The jacket’s button stance is lower in Diamonds than it is in Dr. No. For From Russia with Love, the button stance was lowered, and it stayed lower in all of Connery’s Bond films through Diamonds Are Forever. The button stance in Dr. No is both more in line with today’s trends and more classically proportioned, but the lower button stance certainly lends a stronger appearance by emphasising the chest and Connery’s V-shaped torso. Because the lapels and tie are wider in Diamonds Are Forever, the button stance doesn’t really look so low. The low button stance in From Russia With Love through Thunderball emphasised Connery’s athletic build, whilst in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever it helped make his no-longer-athletic body look more athletic.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Grey-Suit-2The length of Connery’s double vents increased over time. The vents in Dr. No are roughly 8 inches, which followed the trend towards short vents. They are still a practical length compared to the ultra-short double vents on Jack Lord’s suit in Dr. No. Connery’s vents increased to about 10 inches two years later in Goldfinger, and they are around 12 inches deep in Diamonds. The trend towards deeper vents started in the late 1960s and continued to the early 1980s. Deep double vents are both slimming and heightening because they create vertical lines that extend the line of the leg. Connery needed as much help as he could get in Diamonds, and the deeper double vents are indeed flattering.

Another detail that could easily go unnoticed is that the colour of the buttons has changed. The grey plastic buttons in Dr. No match the suit whereas the dark grey horn buttons in Diamonds contrast with the suit. The darker buttons in Diamonds look nice but they draw attention to Connery’s waist, which isn’t one of his better areas.

Dr-No-Grey-Suit-2The change in trouser style is one of the biggest changes from Dr. No to Diamonds. In the 1960s, all of Connery’s suit trousers have double forward pleats, whilst in Diamonds they have a small dart on in front of the side pocket on either side. The rise is a little shorter in Diamonds than in Dr. No. The rise was lowered after Dr. No when the jacket’s button stance was also lowered. The legs in both Dr. No and Diamonds both have a trim and tapered cut, though the leg in Diamonds is tapered a little less. The bottoms in Dr. No were finished with turn-ups whilst the bottoms in Diamonds are finished with a plain hem. Only before in Goldfinger did Connery wears his suit trousers with plain hems.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Grey-Suit-3The cream Turnbull & Asser shirts didn’t change much between Dr. No and Diamonds. The collar got a little taller, it narrowed a little and the collar points got a little longer, but not by much. The shirts still have the same cocktail cuffs, though Connery only fastens the first button in Diamonds to allow the cuff to roll over the second button. The ties follow the lapel width, and the tie in Dr. No is navy grenadine whilst the tie in Diamonds is black with varying ribs.

M: The Double-Breasted Grey Flannel Suit


Ralph Fiennes isn’t the first M to wear a double-breasted suit. Fifty years earlier in Dr. No, Bernard Lee wore his one and only double-breasted suit as M. Like many of Lee’s suits and Fiennes’ double-breasted suit, this suit is flannel. In particular, this suit is a mid grey woollen flannel, which has the old-fashioned look that’s well-suited for the character. Whilst Fiennes’ suit is traditional and not characteristic of any era, Lee’s suit is very characteristic of suits from the 1950s. Its large, padded shoulders and wide lapels were outdated for 1962, as was the buttoning style. The jacket has four buttons in a keystone arrangement with one to button, which was never a very popular style with English tailors. It wasn’t uncommon in the 1940s and 1950s, but by the 1960s the low-buttoning double-breasted suits were out of fashion. The style returned in the 1980s and has been out of fashion since the mid 1990s. It’s not as classic as the style of Ralph Fiennes’ double-breasted suit, but if it is cut well—which can’t usually be said for the baggy 1980s examples—and fits well it can be a good choice for shorter or heavier men.

Lee’s jacket has jetted pockets, 3-button cuffs and no vents. As is traditional on a double-breasted jacket, both peaked lapels have a buttonhole since both sides of the jacket have fastening buttonholes. For From Russia With Love, Bernard Lee wears a more contemporary suit, though it’s still a little more traditional than Sean Connery’s suits.

M-Dr-No-2Though Bernard Lee’s M’s is known for his bow ties, he wears a black four-in-hand tie that has a fancy self pattern in his first appearance in the James Bond series. The tie is a fashionable, narrow width and it’s much narrower than his lapels. Though the narrow tie is a bit incongruous with the wide lapels, it works much better than the opposite would. He uses a tie pin to anchor the tie to his shirt. Lee doesn’t return to wearing four-in-hand ties until the final act of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. His shirt is a fine bengal stripe in light grey and white, which complements his grey hair and grey eyes. The shirt has a spread collar, plain front and double cuffs. He wears a white linen pocket handkerchief that is mostly obscured by his wide lapels.

Foreman of Signals wears a cardigan


The Foreman of Signals in Dr. No, played by John Hatton, has proven to be a more memorable dresser for other people than he has been for me. After I posted about the new Q’s cardigan, comparisons started to be drawn to this uncredited character who also wears a cardigan and tie. He wears a very basic charcoal cardigan with five buttons and ribbed cuffs, turned back. Under the cardigan he wears a white shirt with brown pencil stripes. The shirt’s wide spread collar with edge stitching provides enough room for the windsor-knotted, solid red-brown tie. He wears charcoal trousers with a light brown belt.


In comparison to the new Q, the Foreman of Signals is dressed much less colourfully. His outfit’s only colour is the dull red-brown tie, whilst Q’s outfit has brown, red and blue. Q’s cardigan follows the current trend for a closer fit, but that also makes him look younger. The Foreman and Q both wear the same half-frame style glasses, though Q’s are black and the Foreman’s are brown.


Grey Flannel Trousers


On the 51st anniversary of the release of Dr. No we look at Sean Connery’s favourite complement to his navy blazers: dark grey flannel trousers. The trousers in Dr. No are closer to charcoal and don’t provide enough contrast with the blazer, but in Thunderball he wears trousers a little lighter that look better with navy. Connery’s trousers are made from woolen flannel, which is a very soft but very warm-wearing cloth, making it an odd choice to wear in Jamaica. These flannel trousers are made in the same style as Connery’s suit trousers, with double forward pleats and turn-ups. The waistband has a square extension with a hook-and-eye closure and side-adjusters with the usual three mother-of-pearl buttons on each side.

Bond fastens his shoulder holster down to his side-adjuster

Bond fastens his shoulder holster down to his side-adjuster