James Bond’s Coat Closet

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Only in Dr. No and Live and Let Die so far do we get to see where James Bond lives, but in Live and Let Die we also get a glimpse inside his coat closet. We can see five coats in his closet. From left to right there is a shepherd’s check coat, a light grey suede trench coat, a navy double-breasted chesterfield with a velvet collar that Bond wears to New York in the following scene, a beige cotton trench coat and a charcoal or dark brown coat. Bond enters his coat closet wearing a yellow dressing gown made by Washington Tremlett.

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Only a sliver of the sleeve of the checked coat is seen. It is a black and grey shepherd’s check tweed, which might have some other colours subtly woven in. The coat likely has raglan sleeves. Bond would possibly wear such a coat over his tweeds in winter.

The second coat is a grey suede trench coat, likely single-breasted. It has set-in sleeves (differentiating it from the raglan-sleeved balmacaan), a large, pointy collar, thick belt loops and dark brown buttons. Though Roger Moore doesn’t wear any trench coats in his Bond films, he wears them in many television shows and films including The Saint, The Persuaders, That Lucky Touch, The Wild Geese and The Muppet Show. In the 1987 James Bond retrospective Happy Anniversary 007, Moore wears both a traditional tan gabardine trench coat and a light brown corduroy trench coat.

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The fourth coat is another trench coat, but this one is a more classic double-breasted cotton gabardine trench coat. Traditionally they come in a darker tan colour, and this one is a lighter beige. It has an eight-button double-breasted front and set-in sleeves but lacks the shoulder straps of the classic trench coat. The belt is not visible, but it doesn’t mean there is no belt. It is similar to the more traditional trench coat that Bond carries into the office in For Your Eyes Only. Neither of the trench coats in Bond’s closet are traditional versions of the trench coat and take cues from the fashions of the day.

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The last coat in the closet is hardly seen, and the closet is so dark in the corner that it is difficult to tell what style it is and whether it is black, charcoal or dark brown.

Besides the clothes in the closet, the hangers are also important to note. Bond’s hangers are somewhat thick and slightly contoured to give proper support to the jacket’s shoulders. The more the hangers resembles human shoulders the better support they provide. Structured overcoats and top coats—as well as suits—need the support of hangers that resemble human shoulders to maintain their shape. Thin, straight hangers are fine for unstructured garments like trench coats, but can cause dimples and collapsed shoulders on structured coats.

Roger Moore’s Infamous Flared Trousers

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Roger Moore’s trousers in his 1970s James Bond films are notorious for their flared or bell-bottom legs. Though the flares were most exaggerated in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Roger Moore will forever be remembered for these trousers. That is unfortunate because Moore’s trousers have some interesting details beyond the rather pitiful flares. Moore’s suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers in the 1970s were all very similar, though in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun they were made by Mayfair tailor Cyril Castle, and in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker they were made by Roman tailor Angelo Roma. Though most today would say the trousers are ruined by the flared legs, there are many interesting details at the top of the trousers.

Along with the flared legs, some may also say that the trouser waist sits too high. A higher waist gives Moore the illusion of being taller, and it gives his actual waist the definition it needs. When the trousers are worn with a jacket, the higher waist keeps the shirt from being visible beneath the fastened jacket button and creates an overall sleeker silhouette.

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Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

Cyril Castle’s Trousers

Cyril Castle’s trousers have subtly flared legs, which would now be called “boot-cut.” They taped gently to the knee and gently flare out below the knee. If there could be an elegant example of flared mens trousers, this would be it. Castle took the fashion trend and did the best he could with it. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

In Live and Let Die the suit trousers are made with “DAKS top” button-tab side adjusters with three buttons, whilst the odd trousers and casual trousers are worn with belts. The suit trousers also have an extended waistband with a hidden clasp closure. Both the waistband extension and the side tabs have a rectangular shape with rounded corners. In The Man with the Golden Gun, all of Roger Moore’s trousers that can be seen are worn with belts. Some of the casual trousers may have been made by someone other than Castle, but they are all made without side pockets.

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Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

The tops of Castle’s trousers have a unique style. The front has long darts of approximately four to five inches sewn down the middle of either side. It’s effectively like having small pleats, but since they’re sewn down the trousers have the cleaner look of flat fronts. Castle obviously believed that trousers without pleats still needed to have shape in the front.

There are neither pockets on the sides of the trousers nor frogmouth pockets on the front of the trousers. This gives the trousers a very clean look, and when Moore moves about there are no pockets to gape open. Instead, the trousers have top-entry pockets on each side at the waistband seam. They’re like coin pockets that would be placed on the right side, but these pockets are larger. These top-entry can be found on Moore’s suit trousers in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, and on many of his casual trousers as well.

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Roger Moore reaching into the left top pocket of his Cyril Castle suit trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun

The back of the Cyril Castle trousers has a button through pocket and a pair of darts on either side. Ordinarily, darts on the back of trousers go from the bottom of the waistband down to the top of the pockets, but on Castle’s trousers the inner darts extend further through the pockets to give more fullness to the seat. Castle offsets those darts slightly to the outside of the centre of the pocket so not to interfere with the buttons. The second dart on either side goes from the bottom of the waistband to the outer corner of the pocket. Placing the darts to the side of the pockets rather than spacing them over the middle of the pockets—where pairs of rear are typically placed—throws the fullness toward the hips where it may be more useful for Moore’s body. Through his unique method of using darts, Cyril Castle is able to give Moore the fullness through the seat, hips and thighs that he needs without using pleats.

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Cyril Castle linen trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun. Look closely for the two darts above and through the rear right pocket.

Angelo Roma’s Trousers

The tops of Angelo Roma trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker aren’t seen very much since they are usually hidden under jackets and jumpers. Like Cyril Castle, Angelo made suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers for the Bond films he worked on. They’re cut with wider flared legs than the Castle trousers are, though from the knee up they still have a very classic look. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

Like the Castle trousers, the Angelo trousers are also made without side pockets. However, they have nothing to make up for the lack of pockets. Some of the trousers, like the black casual trousers in Moonraker, have no rear pockets at all. The trousers chose clean lines over utility, which is an approach women’s clothes often follow. The lack of rear pockets highlights the shape of the buttocks instead of camouflaging it with pockets. The trousers on the dinner suit for The Spy Who Loved Me go the traditional route of having a rear jetted pocket only on the right.

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Angelo Roma dinner suit trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me

The front of the Angelo trousers is plain without darts. Like most better flat front trousers, these trousers are made with a pair of darts on either side in the rear. The darts extend from the bottom of the waistband to where the top of the rear pockets would be, and the darts would be spaced equidistant from the centre of each pocket. This is how two darts on each side of the rear of men’s trousers are typically done. The suit trousers and odd trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me are made with an squared extended waistband. They are neither worn without a belt nor have an adjustable waistband. They are made to exactly the right size so no assistance is needed. Such a waistband is not practical since almost everybody’s waist fluctuates a little. The casual trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and most of the trousers in Moonraker are worn with belts.

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Pocket-less Angelo Roma black trousers in Moonraker

Kananga in Black Lounge

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When representing his island nation of San Monique at the United Nations, Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) wears black lounge in Live and Let Die. Black lounge is made up of a black lounge coat, a black or contrasting waistcoat and grey checked or striped trousers. It’s like morning dress but with a lounge coat instead of a morning coat. Black lounge sits in formality between the lounge suit and morning dress, and some consider it to be the daytime equivalent of black tie. Whilst black tie is worn for festive occasions, black lounge can either be worn for not only festive occasions but also in certain professional settings and to funerals.

The black lounge coat that Kananga wears as part of the black lounge outfit is also known a the stroller or Stresemann, named after German chancellor Gustav Stresemann. It fastens with a single button and has peaked lapels, jetted pockets and no vent to mimic the details of the morning coat.

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Roger Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle likely made this outfit. Though Kananga’s two double-breasted suits have narrow wrap and flared link cuffs that clearly identify those suits as Castle’s work, this suit has less to go on. Still, it is most likely Castle’s work. It has a very similar silhouette to Kananga’s double-breasted suits, with the jacket’s full chest, closely shaped waist and low button stance. It also has the same narrow, strongly-padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads that Kananga’s double-breasted suits have. Castle padded the shoulders of Kananga’s suit jackets much more than he did for James Bond’s suit jackets to make Kananga look more like the powerful leader of an island nation.

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The shirt collar should always be worn under the waistcoat, but sometimes clothes fall out of place.

Kananga’s waistcoat matches the lounge coat in black, and the black waistcoat is appropriate for the serious occasion of attending United Nations meeting. A light-coloured waistcoat, like the light grey waistcoat James Bond wears with black lounge to his own wedding in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is a better alternative for festive occasions. The waistcoat fastens with six buttons and has a regular notched bottom. The trousers are medium grey with black stripes and have a darted front. The trousers’ front dares are fairly long and placed above the crease, just like on Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle trousers, so this gives another hint that these clothes were tailored by Castle.

Under the black lounge jacket, Kananga wears a white shirt with a long point collar and mitred two-button cuffs. Such a dressy outfit should require double cuffs, but in this more business-like setting the button cuffs aren’t entirely inappropriate. The tie is silver with a fancy self jacquard-woven pattern that is difficult to make out. Kananga ties it in a four-in-hand knot. He also has a white linen handkerchief folded in his breast pocket with two corners pointing out and a red carnation in his lapel.

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Striped Ties

The Royal Navy Regimental Tie

The Royal Navy Regimental Tie

Roger Moore’s James Bond is the only one who wears striped ties. Until Moore became Bond, all of James Bond’s ties were solid. The only exception is the tie Bond wears as Sir Hilary Bray, but since it is Sir Hilary’s own tie and part of a disguise it don’t count. Bond’s own first non-solid tie of the series in Live and Let Die is quite appropriate since it’s a Royal Navy regimental stripe. Striped ties often come with an affiliation, and Q’s Brigade of Guards tie in From Russia With Love is another example of that. Regiments, colleges, universities, clubs and more have their own colours and stripe patterns, and only people who are affiliated with such ties should wear them. Regimental-striped ties are typically woven in a repp weave, and the stripes are woven, not printed.

Moore-Double-Breasted-Blazer-4In almost all British striped ties the stripes go up from the wearer’s right to left. The ascending stripes help draw the eye upward, and they harmonise with the left-over-right buttoning of men’s clothing. American striped ties take British patterns and change the direction, descending from the wearer’s right to left. When the stripe direction is changed the tie’s affiliation is lost and anyone can rightfully wear it.

Not all stripes have an affiliation. Moore’s brown-striped tie in The Spy Who Loved Me likely does not have an affiliation. The Italian striped ties in Moonraker, whilst following the American direction, are printed silk and have little in common with the regimental striped ties. Moore also wears striped ties in The Man with the Golden Gun (with his navy blazer, picture above) and in For Your Eyes Only (with his navy chalkstripe suit, pictured below). These ties may have an affiliation, but I am unaware of what they may be. If anyone knows what those ties represent, please comment below.

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All Blue

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No, I’m not talking about the Miles Davis tune “All Blues.” Usually when Sean Connery wears a blue suit in the Bond films, everything else he wears is blue. Well, everything but the black shoes and white pocket handkerchief. The first time we see the monochrome blue outfit is in M’s office in From Russia With Love (pictured above). He wears a solid navy suit with a matching solid navy tie and light blue shirt. A light blue shirt is very important since it provides contrast from all the dark blue in the suit and tie. Though both the suit and tie are navy, the tie is a little lighter than the suit. To some, this mismatch is not desirable, and it’s practically unavoidable when pairing two items that are very close in colour. Those people would say to avoid wearing things close in colour to avoid the mismatch. But it’s an integral part of the classic Bond look.

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Once again in You Only Live Twice (pictured above) we see the same all blue outfit. This time the suit and tie are reversed: the suit is light navy and the tie is dark navy tie. Do you think it’s better for the tie to be slightly lighter or slightly darker than the suit? Ideally, it’s best to get them as close as possible, in not only the value (lightness or darkness of a colour) but also the hue (gradation of colour). A warm blue tie will not go well with a cool blue suit, even if they are similar in value. Connery brings back the all-blue look in Diamonds Are Forever (below), this time with blue chalk stripes added. This time is Connery’s closest suit and tie match, and the tie is only a little lighter. I also can’t leave out the navy grenadine ties that Connery wears with his navy blazers—to which he always gets a close match with the tie—but with grey trousers there’s no longer a monochrome look.

Navy-Blue-Pinstripe-SuitRoger Moore starts out as Bond in Live and Let Die wearing a blue suit, blue overcoat, blue shirt and blue tie (pictured below). But does this outfit qualify as monochrome? Even though the tie is primarily navy, the red stripes technically disqualify this outfit from the all blue category, but for the purposes of pairing a blue tie with a blue suit, it’s all blue. The tie is the darkest navy of the outfit, followed by the overcoat and then the suit. They are all very similar.

Navy-ChesterfieldWe don’t see Bond wearing a blue monochrome outfit again until Daniel Craig becomes Bond. I’m not going to count the navy linen suit and light blue shirt worn in the black and white pre-title sequence, since the scene is black and white, and a large brown belt breaks up the blue. But the first suit in Quantum of Solace (pictured below) is very similar to Connery’s striped suit in Diamonds Are Forever. The suit is navy with light blue stripes, the shirt is pale blue and the tie is a pattern of mid blue and black squares. The blue and black of the tie combine to make it look navy overall. The tie does not to completely disqualify the outfit from being all blue, but it doesn’t have the 100% monochrome look of Connery’s classic outfits either. The patterned tie is much easier to pair with the suit than a solid navy tie is.

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The navy-on-navy look is something Bond has inspired many to copy, but it’s not easy to get right. And whether Bond gets it right or not is up to you. If you attempt this look, it helps to have multiple solid navy ties in your collection and good lighting to figure out which one works best with the outfit.

The San Monique Dressing Gown

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Most men don’t travel with dressing gowns and instead wear the ones provided by the hotels they stay at. More often than not, the dressing gowns Bond wears are not his own. Some are nicer than others, and the one Bond wears in his hotel suite in San Monique is one of the more luxurious ones. It’s a rather nice dressing gown for one provided by a hotel, and even better hotels typically only provide basic terrycloth robes since they can easily be washed in hot water with the towels. This is a traditional dressing gown with a shawl collar and belt, and it has a breast and two hip patch pockets. Bond turns back the cuffs, which have a short vent at the end. The dressing gown is made from a dark blue plush material with a simple light blue embroidered paisley design. The pattern looks dated now, but not terribly so. It’s a suitable dressing gown for a 1973 James Bond.

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Dr. Kananga: The Purple Suit

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The flashier a man dresses the less he should be trusted. Roger Moore’s James Bond may have been dandier than Sean Connery’s Bond, but Moore’s style is quite restrained in comparison to Live and Let Die villain Dr. Kananga. Kananga’s dress is varied—from tasteful to tawdry—but Kanaga and Bond appear to share one thing in common: the same tailor. Kanaga wears two double-breasted suits that look very much like Cyril Castle creations, one tan and a one purple. For this comparison, let’s look at the purple suit. The jacket has six buttons with two to button, and like Moore’s double-breasted jackets it has a narrow wrap (less overlap). The cut is the same, with a clean chest and softly-padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads. Kanaga’s jacket has the same slanted pockets, deep double vents and flared link cuffs—but with a more pronounced flare than Moore’s. The lapels are wider than Moore’s but are the same shape.

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The trousers are the same cut as Moore’s trousers, with a slightly flared leg. The cloth is a printed pattern in purple and grey (which tones down the purple), and since it’s printed it’s either polyester or silk. Considering Cyril Castle probably tailored the suit, silk is likely. The tie has a printed pattern of bronze diamonds on a dark purple ground, and the puffed pocket handkerchief matches the tie in colours but not pattern. Kananga wears a yellow shirt, the opposite in colour from the purple suit making it a natural choice. It has a long point collar and button cuffs. A few Bond villians, like Emilio Largo from Thunderball and Kamal Khan from Octopussy, have admirable wardrobes, but Kanaga does not. Though his suit is well-tailored, only a villain belongs in a purple suit.

The Beige Linen Suit

Beige-Linen-SuitAfter Bond lands his hang glider, he reverses his navy leisure suit into an elegant beige linen suit. Does this count as one of the brown suits that people criticise Roger Moore for wearing? Beige suits, along with darker tan and lighter cream suits, are all classic warm-weather suits. Since it’s not the best colour for business in the city, linen is a great cloth for it because it takes the suit down a level in formality. And even though Bond wears a tie with this suit, it’s the type of suit that can look appropriate without one. The suit is cut by Cyril Castle in the same button-two style as the rest of the suits from Live and Let Die, with slanted pockets, flared link cuffs and double vents. The trousers have a darted front, button-tab side-adjusters and slightly flared legs. They have two rear pockets and large coin pockets on both sides of the trousers accessed from just below the waistband but no side pockets.

Beige-Linen-Suit-2The lightweight brown and white butcher stripe shirt is something different for Moore. It’s one of the few shirts he wears in the Bond series that isn’t made by Frank Foster. It has a two-button spread collar with no tie space, square two-button cuffs, no back darts, and a front placket. The placket is stitched 1/4 inch from the edge, unlike Foster’s plackets that have the stitching close to the centre. The two-button collar suggests that this shirt is from an Italian maker, but the excellent fit means that the shirt is probably still bespoke or altered ready-to-wear. Bond wears a wide red-brown satin silk tie, tied in a large four-in-hand knot with a very large dimple. The black socks and shoes are out of place with the casual linen suit, but they are a carryover from the navy leisure suit worn earlier.

The two-button collar

The two-button collar