M’s Green Smoking Jacket

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In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, M (Bernard Lee) wears a modern take on the smoking jacket in dark green velvet. Traditional smoking jackets have a frog closure—a button or toggle that fastens through an ornamental braided loop—but M’s smoking jacket is updated with a conventional button and buttonhole. Smoking jackets are meant for private wear, either as an alternative to the dinner jacket or as a garment for lounging. M wears his for the latter purpose when tending to his butterfly collection.

M-Smoking-Jacket-2M’s double-breasted, shawl-collar smoking jacket has four buttons with one to button, the same style as his dinner jacket is Goldfinger. It is cut with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a draped chest. M’s smoking jacket has one button on the cuffs rather than the customary ornamental braid that would accompany a frog closure on the front, but the jacket follows tradition with jetted pockets and a non-vented skirt. The black velvet lapels contrast with the body of the smoking jacket, but the buttons are covered in the body’s green velvet. The jacket could essentially be called a velvet dinner jacket, but M wears the jacket in the manner of a smoking jacket.

M-Smoking-Jacket-3Under the jacket, M wears an ecru shirt with a spread collar, button cuffs and a plain front. Around his neck and under the shirt he wears a day cravat in an ancient madder print in brown, red and chartreuse on white. His trousers are dark grey and probably flannel. Though we don’t see M’s footwear, the natural choice for this outfit would be a pair of velvet Albert slippers with quilted linings and leather soles.

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.

Bond in a Women’s Bathrobe

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Like most of Bond’s bathrobes and dressing gowns, the bathrobe Bond wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is not his own. In fact, it’s not even a men’s bathrobe. Tracy (Diana Rigg) wears the bathrobe after she breaks into Bond’s hotel suite, and she leaves the bathrobe behind when she disappears from Bond’s balcony in the middle of the night. Since her dress is on the bed when we first see her in the bathrobe, Tracy probably found the bathrobe in Bond’s hotel suite closet. The bathrobe is likely provided by the hotel in every suite’s closet.

Tracy-BathrobeBond puts on the bathrobe when he wakes up and finds it laying next to him in bed. The robe’s short length is what gives it away a women’s bathrobe, and when Bond sits in the bathrobe it just barely covers the parts that it needs to. On Tracy, the bottom of the bathrobe hits at her upper thigh. Diana Rigg 5’9″ tall, and the short bathrobe plays up the sex appeal of her long legs. Bond, however, is 6’2″ tall and for obvious reasons needs a longer bathrobe. The brief shot of Lazenby just barely wearing the bathrobe that is too short for him may have been for the same reasons Diana Rigg wears it. After all, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features a new younger and fitter Bond.

Bond-Womens-Bathrobe-2The terrycloth bathrobe is white with a windowpane of double navy lines. The lines are thicker in the vertical than in the horizontal, which is an attempt to make the pattern more slimming by emphasising the vertical lines. There are two sets of three navy stripes follows by a single navy stripe around the shawl collar and the ends of the sleeves. The sleeves are worn folded up. A belt ties around the waist.

This may be the only piece of women’s clothing I ever cover on this blog, unless Bond again wears women’s clothing. It’s a shame we don’t get to see Bond wearing the gold silk pyjama suit with blue piping laid out on his bed.

Comparison: The Button Three Double-Breasted Blazer

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Reader TheLordFlasheart made the excellent suggestion of comparing similar outfits worn by different James Bonds throughout the series, so I had to find two outfits that I think could be compared fairly. I’ve chosen to begin with comparing George Lazenby’s and Roger Moore’s button three double-breasted blazers. These are the only two Bonds who have worn this naval-uniform-like blazer, and they wore them only five years apart. Considering Bond’s background as a commander in the Royal Navy, this is a very appropriate style for the character. In the naval tradition, both blazers have metal buttons, and both have silver-toned buttons rather than the ordinary brass. Though both blazers are English-tailored, neither have straight, uniform-like shoulders. The shoulders have less padding than military uniforms do for a more natural and civilian look. Roped sleeveheads are typical of the military style, and whilst Moore’s blazer has a little roping, Lazenby’s blazer doesn’t have any. Both blazers, however, have a clean and fitted military-like cut through the body.

The two blazers have the appropriate detail of double vents, though both also have the then-trendy detail of slanted pockets. Slanted pockets are also known as “hacking pockets” because of their equestrian origins, and the blazer’s origins are quite far from that. That makes slanted pockets an unconventional choice for a blazer—especially a double-breasted blazer—but it was nevertheless a fashionable choice. Though unconventional and trendy, I rather like the rakish slanted pockets. Lazenby’s blazer adds a ticket pocket.

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Some aspects of fashion had changed significantly between On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 and The Man with the Golden Gun 1974. As far as the blazer is concerned, those differences are in length and lapel width. Though Lazenby’s single-breasted jackets have medium-width lapels, the double-breasted blazer has narrow peaked lapels similar to those on a Royal Navy uniform. Roger Moore’s blazer has wider lapels, but since it’s double-breasted the lapels don’t proportionately look too wide. Lieutenant Hip shows how ridiculously wide double-breasted lapels could be in 1974, with the points only about a quarter-inch from touching the armhole. Lazenby’s blazer is slightly shorter than Moore’s traditional-length blazer, which was a trend in the late 1960s. Moore’s blazer has a slightly narrower wrap than Lazenby’s blazer, which was the way Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle cut double-breasted jackets and didn’t reflect any particular trends. Lazenby’s blazer adds the sporty detail of swelled edges, whilst Moore’s has the unique link-button cuffs.

Trouser leg width changed more than anything else between 1969 and 1974. We don’t see much of the trousers that Moore wears with his blazer, but it’s assumed he wears trousers with a slightly flared leg. Lazenby’s trousers and very narrow and tapered, though they are still neatly tailored. Lazenby’s trousers are light grey and Moore’s trousers are charcoal and white, respectively.

Frank Foster made both Moore’s and Lazenby’s shirts. Moore wears his blazer with a blue and white mini-Bengal stripe shirt and a white shirt, whilst Lazenby wears his blazer with sky blue and pink shirts. Lazenby’s shirts have a narrower collar than Moore’s shirts have, and the collar choices were probably what Foster or the costume designer through looked best on the actors rather than what fashion trends dictated. Lazenby’s shirts have single-button cuffs whilst Moore’s shirts have cocktail cuffs. Lazenby’s ties are medium-width navy and red knitted ties, and Moore’s ties are wide slate blue satin and white and navy striped. The tie width, of course, matches the lapel width.

Though Lazenby’s look would certainly look more fashionable today than Moore’s would, I think both Lazenby and Moore wear their blazers very well. Both dress in good taste and neither commit any sartorial sins. Who do you think wore the button three double-breasted blazer better?

The Plaid Ski Jacket

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In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond finds a plaid wool ski jacket—or maybe it’s a ski lodge jacket—to wear over his blue ski suit. He wears it both for warmth and to hide from Irma Bunt and Blofeld’s henchmen. A bold plaid isn’t the ideal find for someone who is trying to keep unnoticed. Unlike the clothes Bond finds in Quantum of Solace, this jacket is not a perfect fit. It’s a size too large. The plaid wool is in black, white purple and orange. The jacket appears to have three grey leather-covered buttons on the front, from the top down to the waist. I would have guessed a coat like this would have a fourth button below the waist, but another button could limit movement when skiing since there isn’t a vent. There are also buttoned straps on the sleeves, slash pockets that are good for hand-warming, and a belt in the back. For additional warmth the jacket has a beige quilted lining.

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Equestrian Pursuits: A Houndstooth Tweed Jacket

Houndstooth-Sports-Coat

Bond’s second hacking jacket of the series is a bit more bold than the first one, but it’s just as traditional. Goldfinger features Bond’s first hacking jacket, a subtle barleycorn tweed. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features Bond’s second hacking jacket, a bolder houndstooth tweed. But it’s a rather simple check, in black, brown and cream with a red overcheck. The jacket is made by Dimi Major, with lightly padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s a button three with one button on the cuffs and the hacking jacket features of slanted pockets and a deep single vent. Slanted pockets are easier to access on horseback whilst the deep vent helps the jacket to split in back over the horse.

Click the image for a close-up of the weave.

Click the image for a close-up of the weave.

Bond almost never fastens the top button on his button three jackets. On most of Bond’s button three jackets the lapels gently roll at the top button. Here, Lazenby interrupts the roll by fastening the top button. Dimi Major cuts his button three jackets to look great either with both to the top and middle buttons closed or just the middle button closed. Unlike ordinary sports coats, riding jackets are longer and have three buttons placed higher on the chest, with all three meant to fasten. Lazenby’s hacking jacket is cut like a typical sports coat, meaning the bottom button isn’t meant to fasten. Closing the top button puts this jacket more in the spirit of riding jackets. But fastening the top button is also necessary to hold in the day cravat.

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The beige shirt has a stock collar, which extends around to close at the left side of the neck instead of the front. It looks unbroken across the front and is meant to be worn with a stock tie or a day cravat, of which Bond wears the latter. Bond’s cravat is also beige and is worn with a pin. The beige jodhpurs—likely made of cavalry twill wool due to its elastic properties—are worn with a belt and fit into Bond’s tall, black riding boots. Since I’m not involved in the equestrian world, I cannot judge the appropriateness of the outfit. The only part of this outfit that may be worn outside of equestrian activity is the hacking jacket, and the rest of the outfit should be limited to equestrian pursuits.

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In A View to a Kill, Roger Moore wears another equestrian outfit, but with a conventional shirt and knitted tie.

George Lazenby in Anthony Sinclair

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The most well-known photos of George Lazenby as Bond come from a shoot of him leaning against a lamppost in front of the clock tower—now called the Elizabeth Tower—at the Palace of Westminster. This photo shoot took place at Lazenby’s casting, and he’s wearing what’s supposedly an Anthony Sinclair suit. Lazenby claimed to have gone to Sean Connery’s tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to look more like Connery for a better at the role. If the story is true than this is the Anthony Sinclair suit.

This suit has the same natural shoulders with roped sleeveheads as Sinclair’s suits. It has a full chest and gently suppressed waist, which also resembles Sinclair’s cut. Like the suits Connery wears as Bond, this suit has two buttons on the front and four buttons on the cuffs. The pockets are slanted with flaps. The suit trousers have a tapered leg and plain bottoms. The cloth is a large, but faint, plaid. The suit isn’t as rakish as Lazenby’s suits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are, but it certainly makes Lazenby look the part of Bond. The only problem with the suit is that the collar doesn’t hug the neck as it should, but that’s most likely due to the poses causing the suit to not sit evenly across the shoulders.

The shirt has a small spread collar with no tie space, and it definitely doesn’t resemble a shirt from Frank Foster, who made Lazenby’s shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Serivce. The double cuffs have the link holes close to the fold, a characteristic of English double cuffs. In the traditional Bond manner, Lazenby wears a dark knitted tie. His shoes are an elegant style of low-vamp slip-on, with the inner quarter extending as strap over the vamp like a monk shoe would.

The Navy Car Coat

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George Lazenby’s car coat in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a hybrid of different overcoat styles. It’s a navy three-quarter length, double-breasted coat with elements from the British Warm and the pea coat. Like a British Warm it has six buttons on the front with three to button and suit-like pockets. Like a pea coat it has a large Ulster collar and broad lapels, which allow the coat to button at the top. It has a deeper single vent than most overcoats, one button on the cuffs and slanted hacking pockets with flaps. The mix of styles on this coat works well together. Though Lazenby wears the coat in a city setting over a chalkstripe suit and, later, a navy blazer, the coat can also be worn almost as casually as a pea coat can be. Lazenby wears the coat with a navy trilby and black leather driving gloves.

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