Poll: Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall’s climax?

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Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall's climax?

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Skyfall gives a few nods to past James Bond films to commemorate the series’ 50th anniversary, and the most notable of these nods is the return once again of the Aston Martin DB5 that Bond first drives in Goldfinger. In Goldfinger, Bond is first seen with the Aston Martin at the Stoke Park golf club in the English countryside and soon after in the Swiss mountains wearing a brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket. The hills of Scotland where Bond takes the Aston Martin in Skyfall could have provided a great opportunity to bring back the tweed sports jacket. Instead, Bond wears a Barbour waxed cotton sports jacket.

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The Barbour jacket in Skyfall is the limited edition by To Ki To, designed by Tokihito Yoshida. It is made in Barbour’s classic olive waxed cotton with three buttons down the front, flapped bellows pockets on the hips. It’s not the traditional Barbour with a zip front but rather a sports jacket like Bond’s tweed jacket in Goldfinger is, so it’s not as practical as the traditional Barbour jacket. Barbour calls the current version of the model the “Beacon Sports Jacket” and describes it as such:

The three-pocket waxed Beacon Sports jacket is an iconic blazer-style button through, inspired by the limited edition Barbour Sports Jacket worn by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film, Skyfall in 2012.

It’s an excellent choice Bond considering Barbour’s English heritage and the damp, cool Scotland location, and it’s about time Bond wore a Barbour. But at the same time, Bond has a long history of wearing tweed and it’s a shame Bond didn’t use this opportunity to wear it. Apart from the brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger and Thunderball, Bond wears a houndstooth tweed hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a herringbone tweed jacket and a plaid tweed jacket in Diamonds Are Forever, a tweed-inspired lightweight plaid jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun, a donegal tweed suit in Moonraker, a brown tweed jacket in Octopussy, a grey tweed jacket and a brown barleycorn tweed jacket in A View to a Kill, a tweed-esque gun club check jacket in The Living Daylights and a charcoal windowpane cheviot tweed suit in The World Is Not Enough.

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The tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger

Scotland would have been a great place for Bond to wear a tweed jacket again, since Scotland is known for tweed, namely Harris Tweed. The cool, damp weather is perfect. Bond finds the Barbour jacket in the Skyfall Lodge, so he wears it for his showdown with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). But would a tweed jacket have been appropriate considering the context? Of course! A tweed jacket is harder-wearing than a waxed cotton Barbour jacket and just as great for action. If Bond could wear a sports jacket made of waxed cotton he could just as effectively have worn a sports jacket made of tweed. The cut of Bond’s Barbour jacket gives it no advantage over a tweed jacket either. Since tweed jackets are designed for country sports like shooting, they are very practical for a scene full gunfire. Tweed jackets are especially practical for shooting if they have bi-swing shoulder pleats and bellows pockets to store extra rounds. And a tweed jacket had the same details as Bond’s Barbour sports jacket, like the bellows pockets, it wouldn’t be any dressier. There’s nothing that Bond’s Barbour jacket did that tweed could not have done just as well, if not better.

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Tweed is once again popular and not just for old men. Trendy shops like Topman (which provided Daniel Craig chinos’s in Skyfall) and H&M sell tweed or tweed-esque sports jackets. Other shops that provided clothes for Skyfall sell tweed sports jackets, like Acne Studios, Billy Reid and, of course, Tom Ford. Tweed is hardly a thing of the past, and if Bond wore a tweed jacket unfortunately-cut like his suit jackets in Skyfall he would look trendier than he does in his Barbour sports jacket. And we know from The Golden Compass that Daniel Craig looks brilliant in brown tweed. For a fashionable look, Bond could wear the collar of a tweed jacket turned up like he does with his Barbour. Many traditional tweed jackets have a throat latch that connects either side of the collar across the front when it is turned up, so turning up the collar of a tweed jacket would not be inappropriate.

For Bond to wear a tweed jacket instead of the Barbour sports jacket, he would need to wear something underneath it other than the Henley shirt and round neck jumper that he wears with the Barbour sports jacket. He could keep the jumper and wear a collared sports shirt under it instead of the Henley, or he could keep the Henley and wear a polo jumper over it instead of the round neck jumper. Either way, a shirt collar is necessary under a tweed jacket, both to prevent the tweed from irritating the neck and to prevent the oils on the neck from soiling the tweed. The rest of the outfit, however, would go perfectly with a tweed jacket in olive—like the Barbour—or in medium brown like Connery’s jacket in Goldfinger. The corduroy trousers, the pebble grain leather boots and the scarf would still go perfectly with a tweed jacket.

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Overall, the Barbour sports jacket is a fantastic choice for Skyfall‘s climax, and it is certainly much classier than Pierce Brosnan’s tactical gear for battle. But a tweed jacket would have been just as appropriate for the character, the story and the location. Not using a tweed is a missed opportunity to further connect Goldfinger‘s Aston Martin scenes to the Skyfall‘s Aston Martin scenes, a well as connecting Bond’s country wardrobe from the past to the present.


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Sean Connery’s Unique Shirts in Goldfinger

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Anthony Sinclair’s release of a Goldfinger-inspired shirt with rounded double cuffs motivated me to take a closer look at the actual shirts that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. Terence Young, the director of the first two Bond films Dr. No and From Russia with Love, established the look of Bond’s wardrobe. Goldfinger, however, had a new director, Guy Hamilton, and some of the wardrobe choices were different. Knitted silk ties replaced grenadine ties, the tailored clothes were more country than city since most of them came from Connery’s previous film Woman of Straw, and the shirts were different. Turnbull & Asser most likely did not make the shirts for Goldfinger like they did for all of Sean Connery’s other Bond films. Shirtmaker Frank Foster is a possibility, though Dr. No is Connery’s only Bond film he says he made shirts for.

Click on the photo to enlarge. Notice the faint broken stripe on the cuff.

Click on the photo to enlarge and see the faint broken stripe on the cuff.

Instead of just solid white, light blue and cream shirts like Connery wears in his other Bond films, Connery wears mostly striped shirts in Goldfinger. The dress shirts with both the off-white and black dinner jackets have a fancy white-on-white satin stripe pattern. With his suits, Connery’s shirts are all white with a faint broken grey stripe. The stripe almost disappears in most shots, but it’s visible in close-ups. And yes, the shirt with the famous light grey glen check suit is not solid white. It too has the faint broken stripe. The shirt that Sean Connery wears with his brown hacking jacket has the same broken stripe, but on ecru instead of on white.

The shirts in Goldfinger have a classic English spread collar with approximately a 2 3/4″ point length and 3/8″ of tie space. The spread is around 5″ wide. The collar is made with a stiff sewn interfacing but isn’t worn with collar stays.

Goldfinger-Shirt-Rounded-Double-CuffGoldfinger is Sean Connery’s only Bond film that he does not wear cocktail cuffs in. Instead, he wears double cuffs (French cuffs) throughout the film. The double cuffs on the shirt he wears with his suits and hacking jacket have a rounded corner whilst the double cuffs on the shirts he wears with black tie have a large mitred corner, cut about halfway to the fold of the roughly 2 3/4″ deep cuff. Both the rounded corner and the mitred corner have the benefit of sliding more smoothly though the jacket sleeve than a square double cuff, which can snag on the inside of a jacket sleeve. Different style double cuff corners may possibly indicate different shirtmakers, though the cuffs appear to both be the same size and the link holes are in the same position. The link holes on all the double cuffs are around a 1/4″ off centre towards the fold, making them about 1 1/4″ from the fold. The cuffs are attached to the sleeve with shirring.

Notice the mitred corner on the double cuff

Notice the mitred corner on the double cuff of Sean Connery’s dress shirt in Goldfinger‘s pre-title sequence

The plackets on the shirts in Goldfinger are slightly different than the plackets on the shirts in Connery’s other Bond films. See the image at the top. The placket is a little wider and stitched further from the edge than on the Turnbull & Asser placket. It isn’t identical, however, to the plackets that Roger Moore wears on his Frank Foster shirts in his James Bond films, which are stitched very close to the centre. The placket on the Goldfinger shirts is identical to the placket that Roger Moore wears on his shirts in the two-part episode of The Saint titled “Vendetta for the Saint”, and that shirt was most likely made by Frank Foster.

Goldfinger-Dress-ShirtThere’s more to the Goldfinger shirts than meets the eye. It’s too bad that only the dress shirt with the off-white dinner jacket in the pre-title sequence is the only shirt in the film we see without a jacket or waistcoat over it. The shirt has a much trimmer and cleaner fit through the body and the sleeves than the Turnbull & Asser shirts Sean Connery previously wore in Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Whilst the shirts in From Russia with Love have darts to shape the shirt through the waist, this shirt has a cleaner fit without darts.

The “Legend” Jumper by Slazenger Heritage Gold

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Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Goldfinger‘s release on 17 September 1964, Slazenger collaborated with Anthony Sinclair to reissue the Slazenger jumper that Sean Connery wears when playing golf in Goldfinger. The new wine red V-neck jumper revived the original gold panther logo that graces the left breast of Connery’s jumper. However, the new jumper has been updated in a number of ways, so it’s not an exact copy. It is woven in a superfine two-fold Merino wool, whilst Connery’s jumper is likely acrylic—as Slazenger often made and still makes their jumpers—in a chunkier knit. The ribbing on the cuffs and hem is much finer than on Connery’s jumper. The short V-neck opening may be the most noticeable difference on the new jumper, as the V isn’t nearly as deep. David Mason of Anthony Sinclair told me about his decision to update the Slazenger jumper in its reissue:

It’s just not my philosophy to create exact copies. Things must evolve. I often ask myself, “What would Anthony be doing if he was still with us now?”. The Slazenger sweater is a good case in point. The objective was to design a product that is instantly recognisable and clearly related to the original, yet very modern, wearable and totally up to date.

Slazenger-Legend-Jumper-BoxThis is certainly a more wearable jumper today than an exact replica of Connery’s would be. It’s not a baggy jumper like Connery’s is. Even though the fit has been updated to be shorter and cleaner, it still has a classic fit. If you’re undecided on whether to get a certain size, I recommend sizing down if you like your jumpers to fit closely. For instance, my chest measures 38 inches, so I should wear a medium per the sizing guide (38-40). However, I found that a small (35-37) has a cleaner fit on me and is not too tight. The medium would better fit a size 40, which is at the top end of the recommended medium size range.

The jumper comes packaged beautifully in a heavy black cardboard box with a magnetic closure containing a “quality certificate” and a very large descriptive tag about the history of the jumper in Goldfinger and Slazenger Heritage.

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Anthony Sinclair has also just recently released a white twill double cuff shirt, and the cuffs have rounded corners like on Sean Connery’s shirts in Goldfinger. The shirt comes with either a semi-cutaway or a cutaway collar in either a regular or slim fit. The Anthony Sinclair shirt is “evolved” in its style from the original shirts in Goldfinger that may have been made by Frank Foster. Anthony Sinclair also just released a number of new blue grenadine tie colours, for a total of seven different blue grenadine ties ranging from ice to midnight.

Visit AnthonySinclair.com for more information on the Slazenger jumper and the other new offerings.

Horn Buttons

Horn buttons on Sean Connery's hacking jacket in Goldfinger

Horn buttons on Sean Connery’s hacking jacket in Goldfinger

Real horn buttons are often a mark of a quality suit. They’re currently the standard at most Savile Row tailors and can be found on many of James Bond’s suits over the years. There are quality alternatives to horn buttons, such as corozo nut buttons—often preferred by the Italians—and mother of pearl buttons. Some of the best suits may have inferior alternatives for buttons, thus buttons have no bearing on the overall make of a suit. Quality buttons like horn have the power to improve the look of any well-fitting suit. Horn buttons typically come from ox or buffalo horn, and the buttons are cut out of the hollow part of the horn, whilst toggles—like on a duffle coat—are made from the solid tip.

Goldfinger Charcoal FlannelAnthony Sinclair presumably found horn buttons to be too countrified for most city suits and ordinarily used plastic buttons on his worsteds. But on some of his more rustic suits, like Sean Connery’s three-piece grey flannel suits in Goldfinger and Thunderball, he used grey horn buttons. Sinclair used light brown horn buttons on the hacking jacket in Goldfinger that match both the jacket’s rustic look and its colour. As standard practices amongst tailors changed, Sinclair put horn buttons on most of Sean Connery’s suits in Diamonds Are Forever. The buttons in that film usually match the colours of the suits as close as possible, and the buttons are polished horn for a less rustic appearance.

Lazenby-Tweed-Jacket-Horn-ButtonsGeorge Lazenby’s suits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service all have horn buttons. The navy suits have black horn, the cream linen suit has beige horn, the glen check suit has dark grey horn, and the tweed three-piece suit and the houndstooth sports coat have medium brown horn. The black lounge coat Lazenby wears in the wedding scene has black horn buttons whilst the light grey waistcoat has dark grey buttons. Suit buttons ordinarily match the colour of the suit as closely as possibly, or at least aim to have little contrast. More contrast in buttons results in a less dressy look.

Like Sean Connery’s suits, most of the Cyril Castle suits that Roger Moore wears in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun have plastic buttons. His beige sports coat in Live and Let Die, however, has matching beige horn buttons. The Angelo Roma suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker mostly have non-horn buttons, but the brown tweed suit in Moonraker has medium brown horn buttons, which are a natural fit for the country suit.

Horn buttons on the dinner jacket in For Your Eyes Only

Horn buttons on the dinner jacket in For Your Eyes Only

Douglas Hayward, who made Roger Moore’s suits for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, uses dark brown or black horn buttons on navy and charcoal suits, beige horn buttons on his tan and light brown suits, and black horn buttons on the morning suit in A View to a Kill. The brown tweed sports coats have medium brown horn buttons. Hayward does not use horn buttons on his medium grey suits and sports coats.

Surprisingly, Hayward even puts horn buttons on his dinner jackets. The black dinner jackets in For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and the midnight blue dinner jacket in A View to a Kill have black horn buttons. Horn buttons are paradoxically more refined and more rustic than the black plastic buttons that English tailors often used to use on dinner suits as a simpler alternative to covered buttons. Plastic button today on any item of clothing are seen as undesirable in favour of natural materials, but if horn buttons are to be worn on a dinner jacket they should ideally be the polished type. The dull horn buttons that Hayward chose for his dinner jackets, as beautiful as they are, look out of place. Hayward also uses beige horn buttons on the white linen dinner jacket in A View to a Kill, which could allow it to double as a sports coat. But again, the horn buttons are too rustic for even a white dinner jacket.

Tom-Ford-Horn-ButtonsTom Ford often mimics English styles in his suits, and the English practice of using horn buttons is present on his suits. Consequently, Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall have mostly dark brown or black horn buttons. The grey pick-and-pick suit in Skyfall is the exception with grey horn-effect plastic buttons. There will be more to come on other types of button later.

Auric Goldfinger: The Brown and Gold Silk Dinner Jacket

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Goldfinger may just as well have said in this scene, “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to dye my dinner jacket a shade of gold.” All of Goldfinger’s clothes are gold in colour, or close to it in yellow or brown. Even though Goldfinger is one of the most garishly-dressed villains, there are still a few things to admire about his clothes. He certainly knows what he likes, and that’s something to admire. And as one could expect from a man with a fortune in gold, he wears very expensive clothes. His button one, shawl-collar, brown silk dinner jacket is certainly very expensive, but even though it was made for him it doesn’t fit all that well. That may be because silk—especially lightweight shantung silk—doesn’t have much give and doesn’t tailor as easily as wool does. The flaws in the fit are quite noticeable; there are ripples in the upper chest and pulls at the waist, and the collar sometimes stands away from the neck on the right side. The dinner jacket is cut with a clean chest, and the shoulders have a little padding that attempts to straighten Goldfinger’s very large, round shoulders. The jacket has no vent, three buttons on the cuffs and jetted pockets, all following the classic dinner jacket style.

Goldfinger-Silk-Dinner-Jacket-3A brown dinner jacket lacks the elegance of a black or ivory dinner jacket, but on the other hand it flatters Goldfinger’s warm autumn complexion more that the more traditional colours would. The gold shantung silk lapels bring Goldfinger’s favourite colour into the dinner jacket, and gold metal—or likely brass considering it’s only a film costume—buttons add another level of gaudiness to the jacket. Metal buttons would ordinarily make any jacket look like a blazer, but Goldfinger’s dinner jacket still looks like a dinner jacket since the gold buttons somewhat match the colour of the lapels.

Goldfinger-Silk-Dinner-Jacket-2Under the dinner jacket, Goldfinger wears classic black trousers. They probably have a silk stripe down the side of each leg, but the scene is dark and the trousers aren’t seen much so it’s difficult to tell. Goldfinger’s white-on-white stripe dress shirt has a rounded point collar—it’s not as rounded as a club collar—and double cuffs. The front is pleated, the placket is stitched close to the centre and the buttons—not studs—are shanked gold metal. Goldfinger follows black tie convention and wears a black batwing bow tie. He wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket. His shoes are black.

Could it be herringbone flannel?

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The exact cloth of Sean Connery’s blue suit in Goldfinger and Woman of Straw is a difficult one to make out. It’s a heavy cloth and has a mottled appearance, so it’s certainly a woollen. But is it tweed or flannel? It has a subtle stripe effect that suggests the cloth is woven in a herringbone weave, so I thought it could be a herringbone tweed. But in herringbone tweeds the weave is well-defined and easy to see. In a woollen flannel, however, the nap mostly obscures the weave, which is the case with Connery’s blue suit. So, could it be herringbone flannel?

Fox-FlannelI never saw or even heard of herringbone flannel until a reader of The Suits of James Bond who is a fan of the Connery Bond suits found a Fox Brothers herringbone flannel cloth in his search for a cloth to replicate the blue suit. Fox Brothers is one of England’s most well-known manufacturers of flannel, and their Char Blue Herringbone Jacketing flannel is a close match to what Connery’s blue suit in Goldfinger is made of. The cloth is a 500/530 gram or 18 oz weight and is featured under Fox’s jacketing range. It is based on a cloth from the 1930s, when practically all suits were made from heavier cloths than what most suits are made from today. Though it’s labelled a jacketing, it makes a good suiting for cold weather. It would have been a more typical weight for a winter suit in the 1960s when Connery wore his suit. Connery’s blue suit indeed looks to be quite heavy, especially compared to his usual lightweight worsteds. However, I’d guess that Connery’s suit is made from a cloth slightly lighter than this one. The herringbone pattern on Connery’s suit looks larger than this cloth’s pattern, and his suit is a richer blue than Fox’s char blue. Whilst it may not be a perfect match, it is the closest I’ve seen to Connery’s suit and gives insight to what Connery’s suit is likely made of.

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The Fox Brothers cloth is code FS405 B2237/84 and can be purchased online at The Merchant Fox.

Frogmouth Pockets

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Frogmouth pockets in Goldfinger

Frogmouth pockets, also called western pockets or full top pockets, were popular on trousers in the 1960s and 1970s. As opposed to traditional on-seam or slanted pockets that are accessed from the side, frogmouth pockets are accessed from the front like pockets on jeans. But unlike pockets on jeans, frogmouth pockets are not curved. They are slightly slanted down across the front, and offset down from the waistband so the pocket is in the middle of the hips rather than on top of the hips. On lower-rise trousers the frogmouth pockets don’t need to be offset from the waistband. Unlike side pockets, frogmouth pockets don’t flare open trousers that fit tightly across the hips. Frogmouth pockets aren’t very fashionable today, but with the popularity of jeans and tight trousers it’s surprising that the frogmouth pocket hasn’t made a comeback. Though the style naturally goes with today’s trends, they will continue to look dated to the 1960s and 70s unless they come back into mainstream fashion.

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Douglas Hayward trousers in For Your Eyes Only

Sean Connery’s brown cavalry twill trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball have frogmouth pockets, as do some of his casual trousers. Douglas Hayward, who made Roger Moore’s suits in his 1980s Bond films, put frogmouth pockets on Moore’s suit trousers. They can be seen on the grey flannel suit in For Your Eyes Only and on the black trousers worn with the white dinner jacket in Octopussy.

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Notice the dart above the pocket.

Whilst pleated trousers can’t have frogmouth pockets, both flat front and darted front trousers can. Frogmouth pockets and darts aren’t often seen together, but Sean Connery’s grey trousers in You Only Live Twice have a dart above the middle of the frogmouth pockets. Darts can also be along the front edge of the pocket, which is how the brown trousers in Goldfinger are made, and it may be the case for Moore’s Hayward trousers too. Roger Moore’s trousers in The Persuaders have offset jetted frogmouth pockets that cut through the front dart, which is in the middle above the trousers’ leg crease.

Q’s Town and Country Style

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Who is wearing the trendier suit in Goldfinger, James Bond or Q? Except for narrow lapels and covered buttons, Bond’s blue suit is classic in every way. Q’s (Desmond Llewelyn) solid brown tweed suit, however, has many features that date it to the 1960s. Like Bond’s suit jacket, Q’s suit jacket has narrow lapels, but it also has narrow pocket flaps that are placed rather low. The short double vents are another 1960s detail. But perhaps the most outdated part of the suit is the way the quarters are cut. The front of the jacket cuts away below the waist as it ordinarily would, but the curve of the front edge into the hem has a very small radius that’s almost—but not quite—a sharp corner.

Q-Goldfinger-2The suit’s overall silhouette, however, is a classic button two jacket with natural shoulders and just a little drape in the chest. The jacket also has swelled edges and 2-button cuffs. The trousers likely have single or double forward pleats, which were the common suit trouser styles in England at the time. They are finished with turn-ups. Q’s suits almost always have fit problems, and on this suit the collar stands away from the neck and the sleeves are too long. This is because actor Desmond Llewelyn has round shoulders and needs his jackets to be cut longer in back to be balanced. He’s not an easy man to fit.

Q’s cream shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. His tie is black with narrow burgundy stripes and a narrower white pencil stripes below each burgundy stripe. If it is a regimental tie, can anyone identify it? His shoes are brown, which match the overall town-and-country look of the outfit.

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