Anatomy of a Sulka Shirt


Only in GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan wears shirts from the famous luxury clothier Sulka. Though I’ve written about Sulka’s shirts before, these wonderful shirts deserve a closer look. I own a Sulka shirt of roughly of the same vintage as the shirts in GoldenEye. Whilst my shirt is ready-to-wear (and purchased second-hand), Pierce Brosnan’s shirts are likely bespoke. Though Pierce Brosnan didn’t start using Sean Connery’s shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser until Tomorrow Never Dies, costume designer Lindy Hemming appropriately chose Sulka to make James Bond’s shirts in GoldenEye. Sulka was originally a New York company but also had other shops in the United States as well as in London and Paris. The shirt I will be examining is made in Italy and is the closest of my Sulka shirts in style to Pierce Brosnan’s shirts based on the placket design. I have other Sulka shirts made in France, but those have a different style of placket, as well as different collar and cuff construction. Does anyone know where Pierce Brosnan’s bespoke shirts from Sulka would have been made if purchased through the London shop?


The collar is a moderate spread collar, wider than a point collar but narrower than the traditional spread collar. The points measure 2 7/8, the back height measures 1 3/4 and the collar band measures 1 1/8 in front. There is 1/2 tie space and the collar points sit 4 1/2 apart. This Sulka collar has the same measurements as the Classic Turnbull & Asser collar. The collar is stitched 1/4 from the edge and has removable collar stays. The collar has a fused interfacing, which is how most Italian shirtmakers do their collars. Fusible interfacings are affixed to the outer piece of the collar with a heat-activated adhesive, and by stiffening the outer layer of the collar they make the collar very easy to iron. The shape of the collar on my shirt is similar to Pierce Brosnan’s collar, but the collar on my shirt has twice as much tie space to give it a wider spread.


The double cuff measures 5 1/4″ when unfolded, and the link holes are roughly in the middle of the folded cuff, but slightly off-centre away from the fold. Italian shirtmakers usually place their link holes in the middle of the cuffs whilst English shirtmakers place their link holes closer to the fold. Placing the link holes further from the fold keeps the cuff from flaring out and getting caught inside the jacket sleeve, but it has the downside of keeping the cufflinks more hidden. The cuffs have a slightly rounded corner, but the stitching is squared. Like the collar, the cuffs are stitched 1/4″ from the edge and have a fused interfacing. The sleeve has two outward-facing pleats opposite the cuff’s opening to fit the larger sleeve into a smaller cuff. The sleeve’s gauntlet has a button.

The placket is similar to an English-style placket; it is just under 1 3/8″ wide and stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The stitching on the placket matches the stitching at the sleeve attachment and at the base of the cuff. The placket has a fused interfacing to keep it crisp. There are six buttons down the front of the shirt, not including the collar, and the shirt’s buttons are mother of pearl.


The shirt’s tails are made in the the typical manner for a shirt meant to be tucked: contoured to be higher at the sides than in the front and back. The back of the shirt has a split yoke, but the sides of the yoke are not angled and the stripes go straight across the shoulders as it the yoke were one piece. Under the yoke the shirt has a pleat on either side to give ease over the shoulder blades.


Unlike Pierce Brosnan’s shirts, my shirt has a breast pocket. The pocket has rounded corners and a straight bottom. Like on most ready-to-wear shirts the pocket is a little too large and looks out of proportion on the chest. The pocket is placed very close to the sleeve, which may be placed as such so it stays hidden under an open jacket.


A Military Jacket and Vest in Archangel


Pierce Brosnan brought James Bond into the 1990s by turning the spy into an action hero in a way no Bond had done before. With less spying and more extraordinary stunts, Brosnan’s Bond started wearing more combat gear to better suit the stunts, as well as suit Bond’s new action hero image. For jumping off the dam and infiltrating the weapons facility at Archangel in the opening of GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan wears a military jacket, military trousers and an assault vest.


Brosnan’s black jacket is a modified American M-1965 field jacket—also called the M65—and made by the venerable Angels and Bermans costumiers. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why James Bond, a British agent, should be dressed in American military gear in Russia, other than because costume designer Lindy Hemming liked the way it looked. Since the jacket is made of cotton and nylon blend, Bond must be wearing a thermal liner or thermal underwear beneath to keep warm in northern Russia.

The mid-hip length jacket has a zip front, covered with a fly that secures with press studs. The jacket’s front has two bellows patch pockets on the chest and two set in pockets below the waist, each with a pointed flap that secures with a press stud. There are also patch pockets on the upper sleeves. Hidden inside the jacket around the waist is a drawstring to give the jacket some shape. The shoulders have straps and the collar stands up with a hood hidden inside a zipped compartment. The collar has a nylon strap with velcro on the left side to fasten to the right side of the collar to keep it closed. The upper left side of the collar also has a buttonhole, with no apparent button on the other side. The cuffs close with velcro.


Over the jacket Brosnan wears a black assault vest that was also made by Angels and Bermans. The vest has a zip front with a nylon strap around the waist that secures with a plastic side-release clasp. The back of the waist strap has a smaller adjustable strap. There are four large pouches along the bottom, two smaller pouches on the right side of the chest with one taller pouch below it. All are kept close with velcro on nylon straps. At waist level on the right is another pouch that secures closed with a flat and press stud. On the left side there is a holster to fit a Walther PPK with a suppressor. The holster is held in place with nylon straps that attach to the vest with plastic side-release clasps, and the PPK is held in the holster with a velcroed nylon strap over the top. There is a pack on the back of the vest to hold a parachute in case the bungee jump went wrong. Bond’s partner Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) wears a very similar vest.


Brosnan’s black trousers are modified M-1965 field pants, which, like the jacket, are made of a cotton and nylon blend. They have angled, flapped inset pockets on the front for easy access as well as cargo patch pockets on the side of the thighs. The trouser legs tighten around the ankles with either velcro or a drawstring. The black nubuck derby boots have a four pairs of eyelets at the bottom, two pairs of speed hooks above the eyelets and another pair of eyelets at the top. They have moccasin toes and lug soles. The boots are made by Timberland, and back of the sole even say “Timberland” with the tree logo next to it. Brosnan wears black leather gloves with black wool cuffs in the outdoor scenes.


An example of Pierce Brosnan M65 field jacket was sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on 16 November 2005 for £10,800 ( Two examples of Sean Bean’s assault vest—which is similar to Brosnan’s vest—were sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on 16 Jun 2009. A vest sold along with Bean’s black Sketchers boots for £1,056 (, and another vest sold along with Bean’s jumpsuit, which he wears under the vest, for £960 (

Thanks to the people at for previously identifying elements in this outfit.

Brioni and a Disciple, Angelo Roma

Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni pinstripe suit in The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni three-piece suit in The World Is Not Enough

Brioni is very well-associated with making James Bond’s suits in the five films from GoldenEye to Casino Royale, tailoring both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig under supervision of costume designer Lindy Hemming. But years before Pierce Brosnan took over the James Bond role in 1995, Brioni’s style came to the Bond series in 1977 when Angelo Roma provided Roger Moore’s suits for The Spy Who Loved Me, and then again two years later in Moonraker. Angelo Vitucci, a former manager of Brioni Coutoure and Brioni model, started Angelo Roma. Angelo Roma is not to be confused with the more famous and adventurous Roman fashion house Angelo Litrico, You can read more about Angleo Vitucci’s time with Brioni in this article and this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Angelo Vitucci brought Brioni’s Roman silhouette to his own suits. The Roman silhouette is based closely on the English military and equestrian cut popularised by tailors like H. Huntsman, Henry Poole and Dege & Skinner, and it is defined by powerful, straight and padded shoulders, often with roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. Though the style of Roger Moore’s suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker is eclipsed by wide lapels and flared trouser legs, the cut of the suit jacket is classic and not far removed from classic examples of Brioni’s tailoring. In the image below on the right, I’ve narrowed Moore’s lapels to a balanced width—as well as narrowed the tie and shortened and widened the collar—to demonstrate what a classic cut the suit has. Compare it to the original suit on the left below.


Roger Moore wearing a grey dupioni silk suit Angelo Roma suit in Moonraker

The suit in the altered image essentially has the same look as a classic Brioni suit. If the gorge (the seam where the collar meets the lapels) wasn’t so curved, it almost looks like it could be from Savile Row! English tailors typically cut their gorges straighter than the Italians, though some Italians also cut their gorges very straight. It’s amazing what a difference just the width of the lapels makes to the perception of the chest size and shoulder width. The balanced lapel width gives Moore a more masculine chest without making him look barrel-chested like in his suits in The Saint do. Angelo Vitucci is quoted in a 1954 article in the Panama City News-Herald about Brioni tailoring:

“‘Mainly,’ comments Signor Vitucci, ‘our suits are designed to camouflage figure faults, like bow legs or other unfortunate handicaps.’ No cuffs on Brioni’s trousers. It’s not a matter of saving cloth but saving appearance. Uncuffed trousers, explains Angelo, give a clean, uncluttered look and are more hygienic besides, since they do not catch dust.”

Brioni appears to have changed their mind about trouser turn-ups when they made Pierce Brosnan’s trousers. Though James Bond’s relationship with Italian tailoring started with a disciple of Brioni, Brioni finally came to the James Bond series sixteen years after Moonraker in GoldenEye.

Charcoal Windowpane-Cream Shirt

Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal windowpane Brioni suit in GoldenEye

The excellent book Dressed to Kill: James Bond, The Suited Hero names Checchino Fonticoli as Brioni’s master tailor who fits Pierce Brosnan in his suits for GoldenEye. He was capable of altering Brioni’s house style to make just the right look for James Bond in the 1990s. Lindy Hemming’s is quoted in the book saying, “I wanted a company which was capable of tailoring in the Savile Row manner”. Brioni’s Roman style is certainly reminiscent of military Savile Row tailoring as I mentioned above, though, as stated in the book, Hemming also wanted the suits to look current just as Anthony Sinclair’s suit did in the 1960’s:

“We discussed style and proportion and came up with a very modern jacket shape; although classic, it is slightly longer and looks good with three buttons as well as two. I also wanted to incorporate traditional details such as ticket pockets which would suggest that the clothing might have come from Savile Row.”

Whilst Savile Row tailors, especially those in the military tradition, would probably not make their suit jackets as loose as Pierce Brosnan’s were in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Hemming’s choice of Brioni was more for their ability to produce a large number of suits quickly than it was for their Italian style. As well as ticket pockets, Brosnan’s Brioni suits mostly have double vents and slanted pockets to carry on the illusion of an English suit. Hemming is also quoted in Dressed to Kill saying, “This man [Bond] must look immaculate, not strange or foppish or too fashionable.”

At the time, Brosnan’s suits could have been more fashionable if the trousers had triple pleats (like the trousers with his navy blazer in GoldenEye) or quadruple pleats instead of classic double pleats. But Lindy Hemming failed in not making Brosnan’s suits too fashionable since they have very full cut in his first two Bond films. The tight-fitting suit trend now as Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall makes the loose cut of Brosnan’s suit jackets even more apparent.


Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal flannel Brioni suit in Tomorrow Never Dies

Though Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits are cut trimmer like an English suit, they lack the English details that costume designer Lindy Hemming put on Brosnan’s suits, like the ticket pockets, slanted pockets and, usually, double vents. Craig’s Brioni suits have straight pockets and, on all but one, single vents, which are still classic styles and ultimately have no bearing on a suit’s style. Whilst Brosnan’s Brioni suits are characterised by their long, loose cut and low button stance, Craig’s Brioni suits have a trimmer cut and classic button stance like Moore’s Angelo suits, and a very high gorge. It’s difficult to draw direct comparisons between Moore’s, Brosnan’s and Craig’s Italian suits since they all reflect their contemporary fashions, but they all are tied together with the straight, padded shoulders and clean chest that define the Roman tailoring that Brioni made popular.


Daniel Craig wears a charcoal blue Brioni suit in Casino Royale

Sulka Shirts


Pierce Brosnan wears white poplin, ivory poplin and blue end-on-end shirts as well as a pleated fly-front dress shirt from Sulka in GoldenEye. Originally a New York company, Sulka expanded to have stores elsewhere in the United States, in London on Old Bond Street and in Paris. Sulka closed its last store in 2002. Sulka was amongst the world’s finest men’s clothing shops, and costume designer Lindy Hemming made an excellent choice to dress James Bond in their shirts and ties for GoldenEye.

Sulka-ShirtBrosnan’s shirts have a moderate spread collar, bordering on a point collar. The collar points are about 2 3/4″ long, and the collar has about 3/8″ tie space. Brosnan wears shirts from Sulka with both double cuffs and button cuffs. The double cuffs have the link holes placed slightly off-centre further the fold, which keeps the cuff neater but hides the cufflinks further into the jacket sleeves. The button cuffs are rounded with a single button. The collar and cuffs are stitched 1/4″ from the edge, as they traditionally are. The placket is 1 3/8″ wide and stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The shirts have shoulder pleats under the split yoke in the back.

Cool in Cuba: A Tan Linen Suit


On his arrival in Cuba in GoldenEye, Bond wears a linen or linen blend twill suit made by Brioni. The twill suiting is two-tone, woven with light brown and white yarns to effectively look tan overall. The twill weave helps the linen to wrinkle less than it would in plain weaves, though it’s not going to breathe as well. But since it’s linen it still wears cool. The button three suit jacket is full cut with straight shoulders. It has swelled edges, button three cuffs and straight pockets with flaps. The trousers have a wide leg with double or triple reverse pleats, and the bottoms are finished with turn-ups. Bond wears the suit trousers without the jacket on the beach and rolls up the bottoms.

Goldeneye-Tan-Suit-2Bond’s white shirt from Sulka is most likely a blend of linen and cotton. This shirt has a moderate spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. Though double cuffs are a little out of place with this rather casual suit, Bond is not committing a faux pas either by wearing them. Double cuffs would look more congruous if Bond were wearing a tie, however, this suit is casual enough that it can work well the way Bond wears it without a tie. Bond’s shoes are medium brown brogues, which look rather heavy for such a light suit. On the other hand, the Persol sunglasses are the perfect accessory for a linen suit in Cuba.

Later on the beach, Bond wears what appears to be his suit trousers without the suit jacket, but with a different white shirt. This shirt, possibly also from Sulka, is likely made of all linen. Not much of the shirt can be seen, but it has shoulder pleats and a softer collar with stitching further from the edge than on the first white shirt.

Puffed Pocket Squares


The puffed silk pocket square is the standard for those who wish to add a splash of colour in their breast pocket instead of the staid folded white linen handkerchief. To create a puff, lay the handkerchief flat and pick it up by pinching it from the centre. Slide it though your hand to gather it together, turn up the bottom and place the pocket square in your breast pocket. Once in the pocket you can adjust the pocket square to puff it up.

GoldenEye-Plaid-SuitIn GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan wears solid pocket squares that pick up one of the colours in his tie. In the M’s office scene, Brosnan matches a medium blue pocket square to the medium blue squares in the tie (right). A light brown or gold pocket square would also have been a good choice to echo the tie’s light brown squares. In the Q’s lab scene he wears another medium blue pocket square that is lighter than but still echoes the base colour of his tie (top). It’s the easiest choice to match the tie’s base colour, but it would be more interesting if Brosnan matched his pocket square to the red or yellow in the tie. He again wears a medium blue pocket square with his navy birdseye suit in Russia, which subtly echoes the lighter blue in the birdseye weave.

In The World is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan wears a rather unexciting grey puffed silk pocket square with his pinstripe suit, but it echoes both the grey in the tie and the suit’s pinstripes. It’s a smart match whilst at the same time is subtle enough that it doesn’t look too studied.

Remington-Steele-Pocket-SquareBrosnan was no stranger to wearing puffed silk pocket squares in GoldenEye. He consistently wore them in Remington Steele, but then he most often went for the uninspired method of matching the pocket square to the base colour of his tie, and he occasionally matched his pocket square to his shirt as well. There were some exceptions to that, like in the second season premiere “Steele Away with Me”. Brosnan uses a red pocket square to echo the pink spots on his tie (left). It complements the outfit without looking too studied. But this method of matching the pocket square doesn’t only apply to matching with ties. Pocket squares can also be effectively used to echo the colour of a stripe or check in a shirt or a suit. Brosnan also could have worn a yellow pocket square to echo the stripes in his shirt.

Moonraker-Pocket-SquareRoger Moore shows in Moonraker how not to wear a pocket square, with his cream suit in Rio de Janeiro. He wears a light brown pocket square that’s such a close match to the shirt it’s probably made from the same cotton (right). Daniel Craig’s matching light blue pocket square and shirt aren’t so bad because they’re in a very neutral colour, but Moore’s shirt and pocket square are far more noticeable. A pocket square should not be an exact match to any other part of the outfit—unless it’s white or otherwise very neutral—or else it looks amateurish and unstylish. It’s a shame that Moore’s only pocket square in his seven Bond films is a failure since Moore is otherwise one of the most creatively-dressed Bonds.

Matching a patterned pocket square with a patterned shirt or tie can be difficult because there can often end up being too much going on. Wearing a patterned pocket square that has the same colours as the tie is almost as bad as wearing a matching tie and pocket square. If you find yourself often without a tie, a patterned pocket square can often be the best thing since it can add the interest that is lost without a tie. And no, there is no rule about not wearing a pocket square without a tie.

James Bond’s Brogues


The Church’s Chetwynd brogue, the shoe Pierce Brosnan wears in GoldenEye. Brosnan’s shoe is a darker brown than this.

The full brogue is a versatile shoe that can be worn from casual wear to business wear. The full brogue is set apart from lesser brogues by the wing tip. It has perforations—called “broguing”—along every seam, a medallion on the toe and a heel counter. Though the classic full brogue is an oxford—a shoe with closed lacing, called a balmoral to the Americans—they can just as often be found in a derby—blucher to the Americans. There are even monk, boot and slip-on brogues. Pierce Brosnan wears the Chruch’s Chetwynd model, a full-brogue oxford, in brown. In GoldenEye he wears them with his double-breasted navy blazer and beige trousers, but he also dresses them down with a navy jumper and tan moleskin trousers. A pair of these was sold at Christies on 19 December 2007 for £1,080. A pair of black full-brogue oxfords in the Church’s Douglas model from The World is Not Enough was sold at Christie’s on 12 February 2001 for £1,528. The complex style of the full brogue works best with rustic, heavier clothes and less so with city business dress, but the latter can still be done. In Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery wears black full-brouge derby shoes with his black, light grey and navy pinstripe suits.


Sean Connery’s full-brogue derby shoes

Pierce Brosnan also wears a dressier variation called the semi-brogue in GoldenEye with his navy birdseye suit. The semi-brogue is the same as the as the full brogue with one big exception: it has a regular cap toe instead of a wing tip. Otherwise the shoe has broguing along all the seams, a heel counter and a toe medallion. This shoe is better for business suits than the full brogue, but the complex detailing on the shoes means they are still not ideal for dressier occasions. Brosnan’s semi-brogue oxford is the Church’s Diplomat model.


The Church’s semi-brogue Diplomat model in GoldenEye

The simplest brogue is the quarter brogue, also called a punch-cap-toe. In Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig wears the Church’s Philip quarter brogue oxfords with his suits. This shoe is almost as dressy as the stitched cap-toe oxford and can be worn in the most formal, and least formal, of suit-wearing occasions.


Daniel Craig’s Church’s Philiip quarter-brogue oxfords in Quantum of Solace

There are other brogue styles that Bond does not wear. The austerity brogue is a wing-tip shoe without any perforations. There is also the longwing brogue, in which the wings extend around the entire shoe. The longwing, which is popular in American, has derby-style lacing and is the most casual of all brogues. Finally, I can’t leave out the ghillie brogue, which is mostly worn with Scottish highland dress and has no tongue.

Lindy Hemming: Blue and Brown for Brosnan

How much should a man match his clothing for the day? Sean Connery’s James Bond wardrobe follows a simple system: navy ties with navy suits, navy or black ties with grey suits, and brown ties with brown suits. Shirts are white, light blue and cream. And the suitings are simple, in blue or grey with the occasional brown. The literary Bond has an even simpler system of dressing, which always matched a black knitted tie with a navy suit.

Blue-Brown/Charcoal Suit

Lindy Hemming, the costume designer on all four of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films, developed a system for dressing Brosnan, one with very carefully planned outfits that coordinate in both obvious and subtle ways. Hemming often used limited colour palates but combined the colours in unique ways. She incorporated the not-so-common combination of blue and brown into many of the outfits, and we saw that done in a few different ways. In one method she matches a charcoal suit with a navy and brown tie. We first saw that in Tomorrow Never Dies with the two-piece suit in Hamburg (above left). The diamond-pattern tie also picks up the light blue in Brosnan’s shirt. In the opening scene of The World is Not Enough, we see the blue and brown tie come back in a chevron pattern with the charcoal suit (above right). That suit appears to be solid charcoal but it actually has blue and brown threads in it, which is the reasoning for the tie’s colour. Logically, the suit in Tomorrow Never Dies would also have blue and brown threads.

Blue-Brown/Light Suit

The chevron tie from the opening scene of The World is Not Enough returns later in the film with what appears to be a medium grey suit. But upon a closer look, that suit is made up of blue and light brown yarns (above right). When those two colours in the right tones—opposites—are combined, they balance each other and the overall result looks grey. With this suit later in the film, Brosnan wears a blue tie with light brown ticks, also pulling out the colours in the suit. A white shirt helps to neutralise the suit’s colour, since if he wore a blue or cream shirt, one of the suit’s other colours would have been more noticeable.

Similar to the light blue and brown suit in The World is Not Enough, Brosnan wears a blue and sand Prince of Wales check suit (above left) for his visit to the office in GoldenEye. The blue and sand colours again balance each other and the suit looks almost grey. Here the tie is blue and light brown, to emphasize the two dominant colours in the suit. Though the tie is more blue, though the ivory shirt balances that out with more warmth. And the blue pocket handkerchief coordinates with both the suit and tie.

Blue-Brown/Navy Birdseye Suit

One suit we see in all four of Brosnan’s is the semi-solid (usually Birdseye) navy suit, which tones the navy down with a white. Hemming probably finds that Brosnan looks better in a muted navy rather than a rich navy (which looks great on someone like Roger Moore), and she accessorises those suit in two different manners. In GoldenEye (above left) and Tomorrow Never Dies (above middle), those suits are worn with ivory shirts. In GoldenEye the tie is navy, gold and cream, whilst the tie in Tomorrow Never Dies is a similar combination of navy and bronze. And there he goes a step further by matching the bronze in his tie with a light brown overcoat. In Die Another Day (above right), Brosnan wears a tie of navy and gold squares with his navy birdseye suit in a brief plane scene. So again, we see that combination of blue and brown tones.

Before Brosnan, James Bond had never matched his clothes so carefully. But like Connery’s Bond wardrobe, we see consistency throughout Brosnan’s Bond films. As a graphic designer I have a great appreciation for the Lindy Hemming’s colour matching, though it makes Bond look like he’s trying too hard. Should James Bond—or any man—match his clothes so carefully?