Navy Blazers: More Than Navy Suit Jackets with Metal Buttons

Dr-No-Blazer

What is or isn’t a blazer? By one definition, a blazer is a tailored jacket in navy—or less traditionally in other solid colours—with metal buttons. By another definition it’s a tailored jacket with thick, bright stripes, and it may or may not have metal buttons. Only the first type of blazer is relevant to James Bond. “Blazer” is neither another term for a tailored odd jacket nor a suit jacket, though the term has increasingly been used as such since traditional blazers have because less popular. Bond’s blazers are always blue, from the almost black Royal Navy uniform shade to a bright marine blue.

Single-breasted or double-breasted

Blazers can be either single-breasted or double-breasted. All of James Bond’s single-breasted blazers have two buttons and double vents. Sean Connery wears three similar single-breasted blazers in Dr. No, Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever. Roger Moore wears two similar single-breasted blazers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and another in single-breasted blazer in A View to a Kill.

Lazenby-Blazer

Bond’s double-breasted blazers all have six buttons. Some of Bond’s double-breasted blazers have two to button in the traditional configuration with the top row placed further apart. Other blazers have three to button like a naval reefer jacket, which makes the jacket look rather columnar and give it a higher buttoning point. However, this style looks appropriate for a naval commander. The double-breasted blazers all have double vents like the single-breasted blazers have. George Lazenby wears a double-breasted blazer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore wears double-breasted blazers in The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only and Pierce Brosnan wears a double-breasted blazer in GoldenEye, which has the last appearance of the blazer in the Bond series.

The cloth

Blazers can be made in a variety of different cloths. The most common cloth for a blazer is wool serge. Serge is worsted wool in an even twill weave with a 45° wale. Heavier serge with more defined twill wales looks better as a blazer. Serge is one of the most common materials for a suit, but in navy it can be a great choice for a jacket on it’s own. Serge blazers are the most formal type of blazers due to the cloth being the same as what is often used for a business suits and military uniforms. Plain-weave worsteds are not as good of a choice for a blazer. George Lazenby’s blazer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore’s blazer in For Your Eyes Only, and Pierce Brosnan’s blazer in GoldenEye are likely made of serge.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Navy-Blazer

Hopsack wool is a worsted commonly used for warm-weather blazers. Hopsack is a basketweave and is open and very breathable. Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in The Man with the Golden Gun and single-breasted blazers in The Spy Who Loved MeMoonraker and A View to a Kill are hopsack.

Doeskin makes for the ideal cool-weather blazer. It’s a densely napped flannel woolen with a sheen, not the skin from a deer. It is woven in an even twill weave like serge, but the weave is traditionally not visible through the nap. Sean Connery’s three blazers in Dr. No, Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever appear to be doeskin, even though he wears two of them in tropical locales. Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in Moonraker also appears to be doeskin.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Blazer

Other cloths can make excellent blazers. A soft, thick cashmere is excellent in cold weather whilst silk and linen are exceptional in warmer weather.

The buttons

Some follow the definition that a blazer must have metal buttons to be a blazer. Metal buttons reflect the maritime heritage of the garment. All of James Bond’s blazers have metal buttons, whether brass (polished or unpolished), polished nickel or gunmetal. Pewter buttons are a subtler alternative to brighter metals. At the moment, blazers with metal buttons are unfashionable. Some think they are for old men, some think they are for preps, and others think they are for security guards. The classic metal buttons have solid blank with a shank (metal loop) that sews onto the jacket. Crests should only be worn on the buttons if the crest has a personal significance. Naval motifs on the buttons are common, and Bond wears shanked buttons with such a motif in GoldenEye. Many of Bond’s shanked buttons are simply plain metal.

GoldenEye-Blazer-Buttons

In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, the buttons are metal (nickel on the single-breasted blazers and brass on the double-breasted blazer) with four holes, and the buttons are sewn on with a contrasting navy thread. These buttons have a more modern look than shanked buttons, but they keep the blazer tradition by sticking with metal. Enamel buttons in a metal case are another classic choice for a blazer, but Bond has not worn these.

I believe that buttons other than metal buttons can be used on navy jackets, though whether or not the jackets still qualify as “blazers” is debatable. These buttons need to be different from suit jacket buttons, so that excludes navy or black buttons in plastic or corozo. Horn buttons in any medium to light shades of brown work. Unpolished horn gives the jacket a less assuming look whilst polished horn whilst polished horn, particularly in light shades, can give a shiny gold effect closer to traditional blazer buttons. Smoke mother-of-pearl buttons are great on navy odd jackets and give a blazer look without the metal buttons. Smoke mother-of-pearl buttons are silvery, shiny and almost look like metal, but their variegation makes them more interesting. For lighter-weight jackets in hopsack or linen, blue or white mother-of-pearl buttons are an excellent choice as well, whilst darker horn buttons may look too heavy. For doeskin and cashmere jackets, wood buttons can give the jackets are more rustic look.

Whether or not a navy jacket with non-metal buttons is technically a “blazer”, it can still be a wonderful odd jacket. If the navy odd jacket were to return to the Bond series, this is the form I could see it returning in rather than as a traditional blazer.

The details

Blazers are cut and fit the same as suit jackets. Some people prefer a looser fit for their blazers, sometimes so they can wear a jumper underneath, but there’s no rule that says a blazer should but cut differently than a suit jacket should. All of James Bond’s blazers are structured, cut and fit exactly the same as the suit jackets he wears within the same films as the respective blazers. Most of James Bond’s blazers have details that make them more than ordinary suit jackets with metal buttons. The blazers in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker have swelled edges for a sportier look. All of Bond’s blazers have double vents to follow British tradition, though blazers in the American have single vents. The double vents are key to wearing a blazer like Bond.

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

The pockets on Bond’s blazers are rarely ordinary straight, flapped pockets, though that is what the single-breasted blazer in A View to a Kill and the double-breasted blazers in For Your Eyes Only and GoldenEye have. All three of Sean Connery’s blazers have open patch pockets for not only the hip pockets but for the breast pocket as well. Patch pockets are the most casual type of jacket pocket and are never found on business suits. Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in Moonraker has patch pockets on the hips with flaps. The breast pocket on these blazers is an ordinary welt breast pocket since an open patch breast pocket wouldn’t match the flapped hip pockets, and a flapped patch breast pocket would look rather heavy on the chest.

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Many of Bond’s blazers have slanted “hacking” pockets, which are taken from the double-breasted military greatcoat rather than from the hacking jacket in the case of the blazer. Some of Bond’s blazers with slanted pockets also have ticket pockets.

When and where to wear a blazer

The navy blazer has proven to be one of the most versatile garments. In some parts of America, blazers are appropriate business dress, but they are essentially a type of sports coat and are best worn socially. Bond mostly wears his blazers socially, and he only wears a blazer to the office in Thunderball because he’s hurrying in from the country. Blazers are the most formal of all sports coats due to being a solid, dark colour. A blazer isn’t all that far off from being a navy suit jacket, which is what allows it to be worn in dressier settings. Like a navy suit, the navy blazer is great both during the day and in the evening.

For-Your-Eyes-Only-Blazer

Blazers have a maritime heritage and are always appropriate by the water. Bond wears blazers on tropical islands in Dr. No and Thunderball, aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth sunken in Victoria Harbour in The Man with the Golden Gun, and in the Mediterranean in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and GoldenEye.

Blazers do not need to be worn near water. For social occasions in the city they don’t stick out too much amongst the suits. In the country they’re perfect for drinks at the country club.

What to wear with a blazer

James Bond has worn many different colours in his trouser with his blazers. The trousers worn with a blazer need to contrast the blazer to avoid looking like a mismatched suit, and thus navy, black and charcoal trousers do not pair well. Sean Connery pairs his blazers with dark grey trousers—a shade lighter than charcoal—to dress up the outfit as much as he can. The less contrast there is between the jacket and trousers the more formal the outfit is.

James Bond has worn medium grey, light grey, tan, beige, stone (light taupe) and white trousers with his blazers. Any shade of grey is a great choice for the city or a dressier look, particularly in the evening. Tan, beige and stone give the blazer a sportier and more casual look, and these colours are best worn in the daytime. White trousers, give the blazer a nautical look and should only be worn with a blazer on the water, where Bond wears his blazer with white trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me. Even when worn by the water, white trousers with a blazer can come off a costume-like. Cream and British tan are other great choices to wear that Bond has not worn with his blazers.

Navy hopsack blazer with beige cavalry twill trousers in Moonraker

Navy hopsack blazer with beige cavalry twill trousers in Moonraker

The trousers Bond wears with his blazers are always wool, in woolen flannel for greys and cavalry twill or gabardine for earth tones and white. Tropical and fresco wool, silk, linen and cotton gabardine are other great trouser materials to pair with a blazer, particularly hopsack and lighter serge blazers. Cotton chinos are acceptable with a hopsack blazer, but they should be pressed.

The options for shirts are ties to wear with a navy blazer are limitless. Bond usually wears similar shirts and ties that he would wear with a navy suit. Bond occasionally wears his blazers without a tie for a more casual look. The colour of the shoes should complement the trousers. Oxfords can dress up the outfit whilst slip-ons can dress down the outfit. The many different items that can be worn with a navy blazer to dress it up or down contribute to the incredible versatility of the garment.

How James Bond Wears a Suit for Evenings Out

Quantum-Midnight-Suit

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

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

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

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

Marine Blue Suit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bond wears a navy blazer on his date with Miss Taro

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

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

James Bond’s Warm-Weather Black Tie Etiquette

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Daniel Craig’s ivory dinner jacket in Spectre

After 30 years, James Bond will once again be wearing an ivory dinner jacket in Spectre. Bond started a tradition of often wearing an ivory dinner jacket in warm climates 51 years ago in Goldfinger. In the six appearances of the ivory dinner jacket throughout the series, Bond has demonstrated how to properly wear warm weather black tie.

Bond’s warm-weather dinner jackets are ivory and not pure white because many natural fibres—particularly wool—have oils that prevent them from being bleached pure white. Calling it a “white” dinner jacket is not incorrect since white is the intended colour. Though Sean Connery’s ivory dinner jackets are made of wool, Roger Moore wears ivory dinner jackets in silk and linen. Daniel Craig’s ivory dinner jacket in Spectre is made of 56% silk and 44% viscose, a cool-wearing semi-synthetic fibre derived from cellulose.

Bond's first ivory dinner jacket in Goldfinger

Bond’s first ivory dinner jacket in Goldfinger

The ivory dinner jacket is part of the black tie dress code, which means it should only be worn after 6 pm. A light jacket does not mean it is for daytime. The jacket follows the conventions of its black and midnight blue counterparts, and the only exception is that the ivory dinner jacket traditionally does not have silk facings. Silk facings on an ivory dinner jacket are typically the mark of the cheap rental, though Daniel Craig’s considerably expensive ivory Tom Ford dinner jacket in Spectre has grosgrain silk facings. It lacks the refined taste of Bond’s previous ivory dinner jackets. Whilst black and midnight blue dinner jackets have silk facings to primarily differentiate them from ordinary lounge jackets, the ivory dinner jacket does not need such a distinctive mark. White dinner jackets are always worn with black or midnight blue trousers that match.

The ivory dinner jacket is strictly worn in warm weather. There’s no absolute consensus as to where the ivory dinner jacket should appropriately be worn, except it should never be worn in the British Isles, never in large cities and only in warm weather. Bernhard Roetzel states in his book Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion, “The white tuxedo is worn at open-air evening parties and on cruises.” Roetzel’s statement suggests that if the weather is warm enough to be comfortable outdoors, the ivory dinner jacket is appropriate.

Sean Connery's ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery’s ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever

The tropics are the most appropriate place for an ivory dinner jacket. Sean Connery wears his ivory dinner jacket in the Goldfinger pre-title sequence in an unknown country in Latin American, a tropical region. Connery again wears the ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever in Las Vegas. Las Vegas in not in the tropics, but the ivory dinner jacket is well-suited for its hot desert climate. The ivory dinner jacket is generally considered appropriate anywhere in the United States during the summer months, though some consider the northern states’ climate to not be right at any time of year for it.

In Thunderball, Bond visits the Bahamas, which is an appropriate location for an ivory dinner jacket. In the casino scene there, Adolfo Celi’s villain Largo is dressed in an elegant double-breasted ivory dinner jacket, whilst Bond contrasts him in an equally suitable midnight blue mohair dinner suit. However, Bond opts for the white dinner jacket in Ian Fleming’s novel Thunderball.

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Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in The Man with Golden Gun

Roger Moore first wears an ivory dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun for a 9 pm dinner with Hai Fat in Thailand, which is within the tropics. Moore later wears an ivory dinner jacket in Octopussy in Udaipur, India, which lies one degree of latitude north of the Tropic of Cancer. Though technically not in the tropics, the weather is certainly hot enough to justify wearing an ivory dinner jacket. When Bond arrives at Kamal Khan’s club in his dinner jacket, the sky is still light. If it is June or July, it could be 6 pm. Only a few scenes later, Bond is having dinner in the same dinner jacket under a night sky.

Roger Moore’s last ivory dinner jacket is worn in daylight in A View to a Kill at Château de Chantilly in France, just north of Paris. Though it is daylight, the reception Bond attends starts at 6 pm, and because this scene takes place not long after the Royal Ascot at the beginning of summer, the sunset in the part of France would have been close to 10 pm. However, the location for wearing an ivory dinner jacket is questionable as it is very far north of the tropics and has the same climate as England. But since the weather is warm and the reception is outdoors, the ivory dinner jacket doesn’t look out of place. The ivory dinner jacket is more appropriate down south in the sub-tropical Mediterranean region, where Roger Moore occasionally wears a white silk dinner jacket in The Saint.

Roger Moore's ivory dinner jacket in A View to a Kill

Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in A View to a Kill

Daniel Craig wears an ivory dinner jacket in Spectre in Morocco, a country with a largely Mediterranean climate. Humphrey Bogart established a precedent for wearing an ivory dinner jacket in Morocco in the 1942 film Casablanca. Based on the trailer, Bond appropriately wears his dinner jacket in the evening whilst having dinner on a train.

Despite the ivory dinner jacket being just as classic as black and midnight blue, they go in and out of fashion, and some people don’t care for them. Hardy Amies writes in his 1994 book The Englishman’s Suit:

One has to say firmly that a white dinner coat is effortlessly ‘naff’. It was derided by those who knew what was what in Venice ten years ago. I don’t suppose it matters what you wear in the Caribbean. But it looks seriously awful in Europe. It is also very impractical. A dinner suit should be made in a cloth of the lightest weight available, in midnight blue, of course. You can then wear it all the year round. The cloth used in white coats is not lighter and, if not wool, creases unattractively.

Also in the 1990s, Bond shared Amies’ opinion and did not wear any ivory dinner jackets. He could have in the Monte Carlo casino in GoldenEye, but every man in the casino is dressed in black. In The World is Not Enough, some men in the Azerbaijan casino are dressed in ivory dinner jackets, but Bond wears midnight blue. It’s a less appropriate location for an ivory dinner jacket, especially considering that it’s wintertime. Bond’s ally Valentin Zukovsky wears a flashy light taupe dinner jacket, which, like the ivory dinner jacket, is better suited for a warmer place.

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Roger Moore’s ivory dinner jacket in Octopussy

Scaramanga’s Light Blue Shirt and Trousers

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The brilliant actor Christopher Lee died Sunday at the age of 93. He will always be remembered to James Bond fans for playing the villain Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. Apart from Roger Moore’s stylish Cyril Castle suits and Frank Foster shirts, Christopher Lee is the best reason to watch The Man with the Golden Gun. His performance alone made the assassin Scaramanga one of the most memorable Bond villains. For the final duel on Scaramanga’s Island, Lee wears a light blue tropical outfit that takes from both tradition and fashion. Though he looks very much a product of the 1970s dressed head-to-feet in light blue, the colour perfectly suits the tropical marine climate of Scaramanga’s Island.

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Scaramanga’s pale blue lightweight cotton poplin shirt has a unique and practical design. It’s inspired by the bush shirt, but in pale blue it has a looks more tropical than it looks safari. The shirt was made by Thai tailor Harry, on location where The Man with the Golden Gun was partially made. The short-sleeve shirt is mid-hip-length and has many jacket-like details, though it’s not designed to be worn as a jacket. The shape is more jacket-like than shirt-like, as it’s tapered at the waist and flared at the hips. Scaramanga wears this casual shirt untucked, and like a proper untucked shirt it has a straight hem. The collar is a tall and long two-piece point collar.

There are five buttons down the shirt’s plain front, The front of the shirt has three patch pockets—one on the left side of the chest and two at the hips. The pockets are rounded at the bottom corners, have a box pleat in the middle and have pointed, buttoned-down flaps. The top pocket has a separate pen pocket accessed from above the flap, which Scaramanga uses for a gold pen that makes up part of his golden gun. He wears the bottom left pocket flap tucked in to the pocket. The back of the shirt has a one-piece yoke, a sewn-on half belt, an inverted box pleat between the yoke and belt, and a centre vent below the belt. The shirt also has pointed shoulder straps.

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Multiple shirts were made for these scenes, but there are a few differences between them. The shirt Scaramanga wears when walking with Bond to the door of his dwelling has shirring at the yoke and belt, whilst the other shirts have flat seams on the back. Some of the shirts have clear plastic buttons whilst a shirt that Scaramanga wears when first seen in the funhouse has off-white plastic buttons. Both sets of buttons are around 24 linge, which is the button size typically found on suit jacket sleeves. This shirt also does not have a hole in the top of the breast pocket for a pen (which at this point in the film had been made into the golden gun).

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The version of the shirt with off-white buttons rather than clear

This shirt has similarities to casual shirts Bond creator Ian Fleming—who was also Christopher Lee’s cousin—would wear in Jamaica. Fleming has been photographed wearing similar white and navy shirts, but Fleming’s shirts had full belts rather than a half belt in back, and they did not have shoulder straps. The shoulder straps on Lee’s shirt are clearly inspired by the safari jacket’s popularity at the time.

Scaramanga’s trousers are sky blue and slightly darker than the pale blue shirt. The trousers are made of a heavier cotton—most likely in a twill weave—than the shirt since trousers need to be sturdier than shirts do. The trousers have a flat front and flared legs, with a more pronounced flare than James Bond’s Cyril Castle trousers have. Though the shirt and trousers don’t contrast much in colour, the contrast in weight and texture help.

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The shoes are white horsebit slip-ons with a black sole and heel. Like James Bond’s horsebit slip-ons in The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga’s are also likely from Gucci, but they contrast Bond’s black and brown shoes. Gucci was prominently featured in this film; Bond wears Gucci shoes and belts, and his suitcase is from Gucci. Goodnight’s handbag is also from Gucci.

One example of Scaramanga’s shirt—the one with off-white buttons—was auctioned at Prop Store on 16 October 2014 for £5,000.

A Guide to Bond’s Pinstripes and Chalk Stripes

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Since From Russia with Love, striped suits have been a staple of James Bond’s wardrobe. There are many different kinds of stripes for suits, including pinstripes, chalk stripes and variations on those stripes, such as bead stripes, rope stripes, track stripes, multi-stripes, shadow stripes, self stripes and more. There are not universally accepted definitions for all of these different stripes, but suiting stripes are defined purely on the appearance of the stripe and not how far they are spaced apart. James Bond has worn all of these different types of stripes, with the chalk stripes being the most common.

Pinstripes

A pinstripe is a stripe that is very fine but usually well-defined. Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that pinstripes are “fine stripes the width of a pin scratch resulting from the use of white, gray, or other yarns in a series in the warp of a worsted fabric.” Hardy Amies writes in ABC of Men’s Fashion that pinstripes “are really a series of dots”. These two definitions aren’t exactly the same, but they aren’t at odds with each other either.

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Pierce Brosnan wears a dark charcoal suit with grey pinstripes in The World Is Not Enough

Pinstripes are often woven into the cloth separately from the background weave on a Dobby loom rather than as simply part of the background weave. In those cases the pinstripe isn’t one or two of every twenty to forty or so yarns in the weave, but it’s added to the cloth in on top of the base colour. This helps makes the pinstripe more defined and keeps it from blurring into the cloth. These kinds of pinstripes are often made of silk or mercerised cotton instead of wool so they stand out even more. A variation on the pinstripe is the bead stripe, also called a beaded pinstripe or a rain pinstripe, which looks like a line of tiny beads spaced apart. These can be either one or two yarns wide. On some pinstripes, two yarns of beads alternate above and below to create a more continuous pinstripe. This kind of stripe is what tailor Richard Anderson calls a “true” pinstripe in his book Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smoothed.

A single-yarn pinstripe woven as part of the warp in a twill weave can also have a bead effect since the twill wales break the stripe. These single-yarn pinstripes that are part of the background weave don’t stand out as much as the kind described above and often can’t be seen clearly from a distance. When woven into the cloth, a stripe that is two yarns wide can look either like a pinstripe or a chalk stripe depending on the weave and type of cloth. In these cases the stripe could fairly be called either a pinstripe or a chalk stripe.

The track stripe is a variation where the pinstripes come in groupings of two or three, with the stripes in each grouping spaced one or two yarn’s width apart.

Chalk Stripes

A chalk stripe is woven two to five yarns wide and resembles the lines of a tailor’s chalk, hence the name. Chalk stripes are woven as part of the warp of the weave, which makes the stripes less defined than typical pinstripes. Amies describes the difference, “‘pin’ stripes … look very ‘set’ when compared to ‘chalk’ stripes, the outlines of which are blurred and thus blend with the background.”

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Sean Connery wears a navy flannel suit with grey chalk stripes in From Russia with Love

Chalkstripes, especially in wider spacings, are less formal than pinstripes. Chalk stripes are woven as two to four yarns of every forty or so yarns. A true chalk stripe is a stripe on a flannel cloth, which gives it a blurry appearance that resembles chalk. Wider stripes on worsted suitings can also be called chalk stripes. On a plain weave a chalk stripe has a pebbled effect and may be called a pearl chalk stripe. On a twill weave the diagonal wales make diagonal breaks in the stripe. This kind of chalk stripe mimics the look of twisted rope, and consequently this stripe is called a rope stripe or a cable stripe.

Worsted suits with stripes are best worn in a business setting, especially in the darkest of charcoal and navy worsteds. Riccardo Villarosa and Giuliano Angeli write in The Elegant Man, “It seems as if the design on the fabric of a pinstriped suit was inspired by the lines in accounting books. In reality, continuous or dotted lines be traced to the lines of the trousers worn with a morning coat, which was very popular in London during the first half of the century.” Pinstripes, however, do resemble the lines in ledger books more than they resemble the much bolder stripes of trousers worn with a morning coat, and thus they look most appropriate in a business setting. Flannel chalk stripes, on the other hand, can work well in social settings, especially when in lighter shades of charcoal and navy. Pinstripes and chalk stripe cloths are best made up as suits and not as odd jackets or trousers. Pinstripes and chalk stripes look too serious enough to wear outside of a suit, and they look best when they can continue from the shoulders down to feet.

James Bond’s Striped Suits

James Bond’s first striped suit is in From Russia with Love, and it is navy flannel with wide-spaced grey chalk stripes (pictured above under the “Chalk Stripes” header). The grey stripes don’t stand out as much as white chalk stripes would, but it is overall a very classic chalk stripe suit. This suit works well in Venice in a non-office setting because the flannel cloth and wider stripe spacing make this suit less formal than the typical striped suit.

This dark brown suit in Goldfinger has subtle shadow stripes

This dark brown suit in Goldfinger has subtle shadow stripes

Bond’s second striped suit is a brown shadow stripe suit worn in the Fort Knox scene in Goldfinger. Shadow stripes are created in two ways, either by a variation in the weave—woven on a dobby loom—in the same colour as the background of the suit or by using darker yarns. When the stripe is the same colour as the background of the suit it can also be called a self stripe. Shadow stripes can be any thickness, from one yarn to many more than a chalkstripe. Bond’s suit in Goldfinger has a stripe most likely two yarns wide.

Bond wears a navy chalk stripe suit to the office in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Bond wears a navy chalk stripe suit to the office in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond starts a long tradition of wearing striped suits in London along with a tradition of three-piece suits. The suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is navy flannel with white chalk stripes in a narrower spacing than on the suit in From Russia with Love. The narrower spacing gives the traditional chalkstripe a more modern and slightly more formal look. Narrower spacing between stripes became more popular in the 1960s, and Roger Moore wore suits with stripes spaced much closer than this throughout The Saint.

Sean Connery wear a navy suit with blue chalk stripes in Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery wear a navy suit with blue chalk stripes in Diamonds Are Forever

In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond visits Blofeld’s oil rig dressed for business in a navy suit with blue chalk stripes. Chalk stripes on worsted suitings are fairly bold when in white, but since these stripes are medium blue they don’t have so much contrast with the suit’s background. Blue stripes are an effective way to wear stripes without the fear of making too bold of a statement in stripes. However, in some settings blue stripes may be seen as too fashionable compared to the bolder, yet more traditional, white stripes.

Roger Moore's first chalk stripe suit is grey with white stripes

Roger Moore’s first chalk stripe suit in The Man with the Golden Gun is grey with white stripes

In The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger Moore continues the tradition started in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service of wearing stripes in London. Moore’s suit is a double-breasted medium grey flannel with white chalk stripes. Medium and lighter greys are not as popular in London as dark greys are, and consequently this suit has a less business-like appearance. This suit could just as easily be worn for a daytime social occasion, but the colour is too light to wear in the evening. Later in The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond wears an olive multi-stripe double-breasted suit out at night in Hong Kong. A multi-stripe pattern has a series of stripes in different weights or colours. The olive suit in The Man with the Golden Gun has both different weights and different colours, with a series of very closely-spaced tan pinstripes between wider-spaced red chalk stripes. Multi-stripes are the least serious of all suit stripes and function better for social occasions than for business.

The pinstripes on Roger Moore's office suit in Moonraker are so close together that they can only be seen clearly in this close-up shot

The pinstripes on Roger Moore’s office suit in Moonraker are so close together that they can only be seen clearly in this close-up shot

The next time Bond visits the office is in Moonraker, and once again he wears a striped suit. This time it’s a navy pinstripe suit, and the pinstripes are spaced so close together that they dull and lighten the navy from a distance and thus make the suit look blue-grey. The suit has about six pinstripes per inch.

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Roger Moore wears a navy chalk stripe suit in For Your Eyes Only

Bond returns to more traditional styles of clothing in For Your Eyes Only, and in his visit to the office he once again wears a striped three-piece suit. And just as Sean Connery and George Lazenby wore before, Roger Moore wears a navy chalk stripe suit. This suit is worsted flannel, so the stripe is more defined than it is on Connery’s and Lazenby’s fuzzier woollen flannel suits. Moore continues wearing a striped three-piece suit to office in Octopussy, but this time it’s a worsted dark grey twill rope stripe, a more defined variant of the chalk stripe. A View to a Kill is Roger Moore’s only Bond film in which he does not wear a striped suit to the office.

Timothy Dalton wears a navy suit with grey chalk stripes in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton wears a navy suit with grey chalk stripes in The Living Daylights

TImothy Dalton’s Bond continues the tradition of wearing a striped three-piece suit to the office in The Living Daylights with a navy suit with narrow-spaced grey chalk stripes. Though the grey stripes are thick and spaced close together, being grey prevents them from looking overbearing. After The Living Daylights Bond does not wear a striped suit again for twelve years. The next striped suit comes in The World Is Not Enough, when Bond wears a dark charcoal three-piece suit with subtle grey pinstripes to the office (pictured above under the “Pinstirpes” header). The grey stripes on this suit are of the “bead stripe” variety.

Daniel Craig wears a navy suit with track stripes in Casino Royale

Daniel Craig wears a navy suit with track stripes in Casino Royale

Every Bond film that follows The World Is Not Enough has Bond wearing a striped suit. Die Another Day sees Bond wearing a suit in dark grey with light grey pinstripes. Bond even wears two navy pinstripe suits in Casino Royale: a suit on the train with narrow-spaced, hardly seen grey pinstripes and a three-piece suit with slightly wider-spaced light grey double track stripes in Italy. This is the first film since Sean Connery’s Bond films that Bond wears striped suits outside of London, but he wears them to show he is in a business mindset. In Quantum of Solace, Bond wears a navy suit with blue pinstripes. These stripes are three yarns wide, with the three yarns creating horizontally arranged series of dots. I consider the stripes on this suit pinstripes rather than chalk stripes because the yarns are very fine and make up narrow stripes of pin dots. These stripes are spaced a half-inch apart.

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

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

Bond’s latest striped suit in a fancy charcoal rope stripe suit in Skyfall. The charcoal suiting is in a twill weave, as is necessary for a rope stripe, except on either side of each grey rope stripe there is a plain-woven section framing the stripe, hence the “fancy” part. With the exception of Skyfall, Bond’s striped suits in recent years have tended more towards pinstripes than chalk stripes.

Daniel Craig wears a charcoal suit with grey rope stripes in Skyfall

Daniel Craig wears a charcoal suit with grey rope stripes in Skyfall

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.

Cyril-Castle-Suit-Trousers-Coin-Pocket

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.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Dinner-Suit-Trousers

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

Two Lapel Buttonholes on a Double-Breasted Jacket

For-Your-Eyes-Only-Blazer-3

A buttonhole in each lapel on Roger Moore’s Douglas Hayward blazer in For Your Eyes Only

Why do double-breasted jackets and coats often have a buttonhole at the top of each lapel whilst single-breasted jackets and coats only have a buttonhole at the top of the left lapel? It is because double-breasted jackets and coats symmetrically have both buttons and buttonholes down the left and right sides whilst a single-breasted jacket or coat only has buttons down the right side and buttonholes down the left side. The buttonholes at the top of the lapels reflect what’s below. Though peaked lapels on a double-breasted jacket never fold over and close like single-breasted notch lapels sometimes do on sports coats, pea coats and some double-breasted overcoats—like the greatcoat—are able to fasten up to the top. These coats do have a button on each side either under the collar or at the top of the chest for the lapels to fold over and fasten to. The two buttonholes on a double-breasted coat are carried over from these more functional garments.

A buttonhole in each lapel on Pierce Brosnan's double-breasted overcoat

A buttonhole in each lapel on Pierce Brosnan’s double-breasted Brioni overcoat in Tomorrow Never Dies

Dimi Major put a buttonhole in each lapel of George Lazenby’s double-breasted car coat and blazer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Douglas Hayward made Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in For Your Eyes Only, his double-breasted suit jacket in Octopussy and his double-breasted dinner jacket in A View to a Kill with a buttonhole in each lapel. Brioni put a buttonhole in each lapel in Pierce Brosnan’s double-breasted blazer in GoldenEye and in his double-breasted overcoats in Tomorrow Never DiesThe World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Sean Connery’s, Roger Moore’s and Pierce Brosnan’s naval uniform jackets and Roger Moore’s naval greatcoat all have a buttonhole on each lapel, and the greatcoat’s lapels can close to the top. Daniel Craig’s greatcoat in Quantum of Solace also has a buttonhole in each lapel, and like Roger Moore’s greatcoat it can close to the top.

Double-Breasted-Chalkstripe-Suit

A buttonhole only in the left lapel in Roger Moore’s double-breasted Cyril Castle suit jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun

Cyril Castle, however, only put a single buttonhole in the left lapel in Roger Moore’s double-breasted chesterfield and silk suit jacket in Live and Let Die and Roger Moore’s double-breasted suits, blazer and white dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun. A single lapel buttonhole on a suit jacket discards the ancestry and symmetry of having two lapel buttonholes for instead considering only the actual usage of a suit jacket’s lapel buttonhole: the boutonnière. Even when there is a buttonhole in both lapels, only the left buttonhole should be used for a boutonnière if you are so inclined to wear a boutonnière.

Daniel Craig’s Billy Reid pea coat in Skyfall also only has a lapel buttonhole on the left, which takes into account the reality that even if the lapels were closed, only the left side would actually fasten over to a button on the right. There wouldn’t be a jigger button at the top of the coat like there is at the waist. Since the Billy Reid pea coat has peaked lapels and no buttons at the top, it actually can’t close at the top like a traditional pea coat could anyway.

No lapel buttonholes

No buttonholes in the lapels of Roger Moore’s double-breasted Angelo Roma dinner jacket in Moonraker

Angelo Vitucci didn’t put any lapel buttonholes in the two double-breasted dinner jackets in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and the double-breasted blazer in Moonraker. This is the coward’s solution for those who can’t decide if a double-breasted jacket should have a lapel buttonhole in the left lapel or both lapels. Though history and symmetry says there should be a buttonhole in each lapel of a double-breasted jacket, it’s not a faux pas to have one buttonhole only in the left lapel. No lapel buttonholes at all ends up looking cheap and leaves no place to wear a flower.

Comparison: The Button Three Double-Breasted Blazer

Lazenby-Blazer

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 are very narrow with a straight leg, 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?