James Bond and the Gauntlet (Turnback) Cuff

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Gauntlet Cuffs on Sean Connery’s dinner jacket in Dr. No

Before we are introduced to James Bond’s face in Dr. No, we first see his dinner jacket’s satin silk gauntlet cuffs. The gauntlet cuff, also known as a turnback cuff, is a turned back cuff at the end of the sleeve that extends approximately to the first button. It’s a subtle Edwardian detail that saw a resurgence in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. The cuff is mostly decorative, but it can add unique character to one’s dinner jacket, suit jacket, odd jacket or overcoat.

There’s almost no restriction on what type of jacket or coat can have a gauntlet cuff. Some say it’s a sporty detail and should only be worn on sports coats and sporty suits. These people may prefer them on heavier cloths like tweeds and flannels because a heavier cloth gives the cuff more relief from the sleeve. Others only favour them on dinner jackets because the dinner jacket descended from the cuff-adorned smoking jacket or they may think the gauntlet cuff is too flashy to be on anything else. A gauntlet cuff can be appropriate on almost any jacket or coat, whether it’s light or heavy, whether it’s formal or informal, or whether it’s single-breasted or double-breasted. Tailcoats and frock coats historically have taken gauntlet cuffs, but the cuffs on those were made in a different style from the cuffs that Bond wears.

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Gauntlet Cuffs on Daniel Craig’s’s dinner jacket in Quantum of Solace

James Bond creator Ian Fleming was a fan of gauntlet cuffs and often wore them on his jackets, from double-breasted suit jackets to country tweed jackets. He dressed a number of his characters in his James Bond stories in suit jackets with gauntlet cuffs, including Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, Wing Commander Rattray in “From a View to a Kill” and Dr. Fanshawe in “The Property of a Lady”, for whose dress he describes as “neo-Edwardian fashion”. Fleming uses the terms “turnback cuffs”, “turned-back cuffs” and “turned-up cuffs”, respectively.  Fleming also specified “two new suits with cuffs” for James Bond to wear disguised as Sir Hillary Bray in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Cuffs in this case still likely mean gauntlet cuffs, since a British person would probably not refer to trouser turn-ups as “cuffs” like an American would. Fleming never specified gauntlet cuffs on Bond’s own clothes, and the literary Bond would probably not have worn gauntlet cuffs considering the minimalist tendencies Fleming gave him.

In the films, James Bond has mostly worn gauntlet cuffs on his dinner jackets. Sean Connery’s midnight blue Anthony Sinclair dinner jacket in Dr. No and his similar dinner jacket in From Russia with Love have midnight blue satin silk gauntlet cuffs with four buttons. Roger Moore wears an off-white silk dinner jacket made by Cyril Castle with single-button self gauntlet cuffs in The Man with the Golden Gun. Daniel Craig brought back the gauntlet cuff on his Tom Ford midnight blue dinner jacket in Quantum of Solace, and this time the cuffs are are half gauntlet cuffs (more on this below) in black satin silk with five buttons. Though this dinner jacket was an homage to the original Dr. No dinner jacket, Tom Ford is a fan of gauntlet cuffs and has them on many of the dinner jackets in his line. Bond’s only piece with gauntlet cuffs that isn’t a dinner jacket is the Roger Moore’s double-breasted chesterfield in Live and Let Die, also made by Cyril Castle. The cuffs on the chesterfield fasten with one button. David Niven wears gauntlet cuffs as Sir James Bond in the 1967 Casino Royale film, for which his clothes were made by Ian Fleming’s tailor Benson, Perry & Whitley.

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Gauntlet Cuffs on Roger Moore’s dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun

Cyril Castle made many jackets for Roger Moore with gauntlet cuffs before he was Bond, as Castle was Moore’s tailor for The Saint and The Persuaders television series. Most of Moore’s suit jackets and sports coats in the colour series of The Saint have gauntlet cuffs with a single button whilst the dinner jackets usually have gauntlet cuffs with three buttons. In The Persuaders, Roger Moore wears a striped double-breasted blazer with single-button gauntlet cuffs.

There are a number of different styles of gauntlet cuffs, including some that the buttons go through. Gauntlet cuffs are typically a separate piece laid on to the end of an ordinary sleeve, which is obvious in the case of silk cuffs on a dinner jacket. When in the same cloth as the rest of the jacket, they are still typically made from a separate piece and not just folded back. It’s not impossible to have a cuff that is folded back, but if there’s a pattern it will not match. There are other types of cuffs on a jacket or coat, but James Bond only wears the kind that are laid on separately. Gauntlet cuffs work best on narrow sleeves, whereas on wide sleeves they may look or feel too heavy.

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Gauntlet Cuffs on Roger Moore’s double-breasted chesterfield coat in Live and Let Die

All of Bond’s gauntlet cuffs have an elegant curved shape—they all curve out of the way of the first cuff button—but there are slight differences in the way the cuffs are styled. Connery’s cuffs starts at the corners of the cuff’s opening and look the most integrated with the sleeve of all of Bond’s cuff designs. Moore’s cuffs start in from the corner to line up with the center of the button, so the corner of the sleeve opening can be tucked under the opposite end of the gauntlet cuff (Moore leaves the corner of the sleeve untucked). These cuffs, however, look less integrated with the sleeve than Connery’s do. Craig’s cuffs are only half gauntlet cuffs, in which the cuffs wrap around only the outside of the arm. They end at and are sewn into the seam at the front of the arm. The inside of the arm isn’t seen much, but this kind of cuff seems like a shortcut when compared to a full gauntlet cuff.

Comparing the cuffs: Anthony Sinclair, left; Cyril Castle, middle; Tom Ford, right

Comparing the cuffs: Anthony Sinclair, left; Cyril Castle, middle; Tom Ford, right

Though gauntlet cuffs are mostly decorative, they have one practical purpose: they protect the end of the sleeve. When worn out, the gauntlet cuff can be removed to reveal an unworn sleeve edge under the cuff. When made in contrasting silk on a dinner jacket, the cuff can be replaced. Half gauntlet cuffs, however, do not protect the full edge of the sleeve and are even more decorative than the full gauntlet cuff. All this said, the protective advantage to gauntlet cuffs is only beneficial on overcoats. The ends of the sleeves on dinner jackets, suit jackets and sports coats should not wear out because one’s shirt sleeves should be a little longer than one’s jacket sleeves to protect the jacket sleeves.

How James Bond Looks Masculine and Sophisticated in His Suits

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Nobody else combines masculinity and sophistication in the way that James Bond does. The masculinity comes from looking as much like the ideal man from the western perspective. This ideal man’s body is lean, strong and overall athletic. it is tall with broad shoulders, a muscular chest and small waist. The ideal man’s torso has a V-shape, which is masculine because it’s not a common shape for women to have. The sophistication comes from a well-tailored suit. A well-tailored suit can give man a more masculine shape, can show off a masculine figure or can downplay a masculine figure. All three of these aspects of tailoring can be desirable, depending on the body type one has. This article focuses on the suits that Bond wears that best deal with a masculine but elegant silhouette.

Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits emphasise his masculine physique whilst downplaying some aspects of it. Connery doesn’t need much help in the shoulders, and his jackets have soft shoulders that follow his shoulder line but have a little structure to smooth out the shoulders to give them more elegant lines. The chest has a full, swelled shape to build on the strength in the chest. There are two buttons on the front of the jacket in a low stance to create a deep “V” on the front of the jacket to highlight Connery’s masculine shape.

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Because Sean Connery had a very athletic physique, Anthony Sinclair decided to soften it by not making the waist as suppressed as he normally would. A tightly suppressed wasp waist in the normal Savile Row fashion with Sean Connery’s fabled 13-inch drop would look neither elegant nor manly. The waist on Connery’s jackets is still very shaped, but it’s not tight. Too much waist suppression can make one look feminine, and stressing an overly athletic physique detracts from the elegance of a suit by making someone look too much like a body builder.

I find that Sean Connery’s narrow lapels in the 1960s also help drawn attention to his large chest. Narrow lapels make the chest look wider by showing more expanse of chest. Connery’s considerably wider lapels in Diamonds Are Forever cover two-thirds of his chest, giving him a visually narrower chest.

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For the slighter Bonds Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, large shoulders on their jackets give them a stronger look. If they wore suits with natural shoulders they wouldn’t have the necessary imposing look that an action hero needs. The shoulders on many of Dalton’s suit jackets, however, were too strong and draw too much attention to themselves. Brosnan’s Brioni suits, however, gave him a more natural look that was still built-up. Additionally, the two buttons in a low stance on Dalton’s suits, like on Connery’s, give him a more athletic look by drawing attention to the chest.

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Daniel Craig takes a different approach to looking masculine and strong in his suits. Whilst Connery’s suits work with his body, Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall fight against his body. They have the goal to make him look like he worked out so much that his muscles are bursting out of his suit. He wears suits meant for someone with a 38-inch chest and more likely has a chest around 40 inches. Narrow shoulders on the jackets allow Craig’s deltoids to push the sleeves out a little. A too-small chest splays open to give the impression Craig’s chest muscles are bigger. Ripples at the waist further the impression that Craig is turning into the Hulk. Unlike Connery’s method of looking stronger, Craig’s method is devoid of elegance and sophistication. Clean lines, not ripples, are a mark of refinement.

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Craig’s method also does not achieve its goal to make him look more muscular. Suits—particularly Tom Ford’s—are very structured and can’t stretch like a t-shirt or jumper to show off the form of his muscles. Knitted, not woven, garments are best used to show off one’s body. A suit that is too small ripples and pulls the same way whether one is too muscular or too fat for it. And putting Craig in a suit that is too small for him has the effect of making him look smaller, not bigger. This method would work better with someone who is genuinely more imposing with a chest much larger than Craig’s 40 inches. Narrow shoulders downplay his breadth and the V-shape of his torso. The short jacket length makes his torso look smaller overall. The positive effect of a short jacket length, however, is that it makes Craig look taller in wide shots by extending the perceived length of his legs. That’s the one way his suits in Skyfall make him look more masculine. However, the lower rise on his trousers partially negates the height benefits of the shorter jackets by shortening his lower half. The suits in Spectre mostly have the same problems but to a lesser extent than in Skyfall. The shoulders in Spectre are wider in comparison to Craig’s body and allow the sleeves to hang more elegantly.

Like on Connery’s 1960s suits, most of Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall and Spectre have narrow notched lapels that make Craig’s chest look larger. But one of Craig’s suits in Spectre has wide peaked lapels: the black herringbone Tom Ford “Windsor” suit. These wide peaked lapels have a different effect from wide notched lapels. Peaked lapels point up and out, extending the width of the chest and shoulders. The belly of the lapels added perceived depth to the chest. Wide notched lapels with a higher and more horizontal gorge, as well as some belly, can counter the narrowing effect of wide lapels.

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Though the right tailoring can make a man look more masculine or more sophisticated, clothes can not add the attitude, charisma and personality needed to truly be like James Bond.

Navy Blazers: More Than Navy Suit Jackets with Metal Buttons

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

How James Bond Wears a Suit for Evenings Out

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

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

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

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

Marine Blue Suit

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

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

James Bond wears a navy suit with subtle grey pinstripes in Casino Royale

James Bond wears a navy suit with subtle grey pinstripes in Casino Royale

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

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

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

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

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

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

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

A Blue Bathrobe, Courtesy of Dr. No

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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.

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Honey is holding Bond’s sandals, with hers inside

Strangways: A 1950s Silk Suit

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Comparison: Suit Trousers in the First Two Bond Films

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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.