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

James Bond’s Many Brown Suits

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Roger Moore is often criticised for succumbing to 1970s fashion and causing him to wear uncharacteristic brown suits in his James Bond films. However, Bond has worn brown suits spanning five decades, from Goldfinger in 1964 to Quantum of Solace in 2008. Brown suits have a very long history that is independent of 1970s fashion. Brown suits are traditionally worn in the country made of rustic cloths like tweed and flannel. Brown worsted suits also have a long history, though they were never a conservative choice in London.

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The first brown suit in the series is Sean Connery’s brown and black houndstooth check country suit (pictured above) that he wears to the office in Goldfinger. No fashion trends influenced the colour of this suit, though it’s not the most appropriate choice for conducting business in the city. This is the perfect suit for country pursuits—and it was cut for that purpose for Connery to first use in the film Woman of Straw—and the dark colour and subtle pattern fit the James Bond character. Later in Goldfinger for the scene at Fort Knox, Bond wears a worsted brown striped suit (pictured top). This suit likely has black mixed with the brown, since the suit’s colour is very dark and muted. It’s certainly not a country suit, though it’s not a conservative choice to wear in town either. It works best for business and dressy occasions outside of the city, and it’s certainly appropriate to wear when foiling a villain’s plans at Fort Knox. A brown worsted suit is a great choice for when a proper city suit is too dressy but a traditional country suit is too relaxed. This kind of dark, muted brown also suits Connery’s complexion better than light, rich browns. Connery dresses it up with a white shirt, black tie and black shoes. Conservative accessories can make a brown worsted suit passable for business in the city, depending on the setting.

Connery Anthony Sinclair Brown Suit

In Thunderball Sean Connery again wears a muted brown suit, but this time it’s a three-piece brown suit at the office (pictured above). Like the striped suit, this suit is brown mixed with black, and Connery dresses it up conservatively with a simple cream shirt, a solid brown grenadine tie and black shoes. Being a three-piece makes the suit dressier, and that tries to make up for the less conservative colour. Keep in mind that James Bond was never one to follow all the rules.

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In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service George Lazenby wears a bolder brown suit for the swiss mountains; it is brown tweed with a cream tick pattern and a rust windowpane (pictured above). This might seem a bit too bold for Bond, but it actually belongs to the man Bond is impersonating: Sir Hilary Bray. Bray himself wears this suit to work at the College of Arms in London. Like Connery’s brown suits, it’s a muted brown but much lighter. It’s a very traditional country suit with hardly any influence from the era’s fashions.

Roger Moore is the Bond known for wearing brown suits, but since he’s not the first—or the last—Bond to have worn brown, most criticisms toward him for wearing brown aren’t quite fair. There’s never anything inappropriate about the colour of his brown suits, especially since he never wears them in London and only where they fit the—usually warm—location. The first brown suit he wears in Live and Let Die is only a basted brown worsted suit for a fitting with his tailor. Though the brown is dark like Connery’s brown suits, it’s not as muted. This is the first of Bond’s brown suits that is a result the fashions of its time. However, the colour is very flattering to Roger Moore’s warm complexion. Moore has a much different complexion than the two Bonds the came before him, and to dress him the same would not have been the best look for him.

The brown worsted suit returns in The Man with the Golden Gun, though this time it takes the form of olive. It’s still a classic suit colour, though it should be worn in the same settings that brown is worn in. Like brown, olive is very flattering to Moore’s warm complexion, and it suits the Hong Kong setting very well.

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The most notorious of Moore’s brown suits in the silk suit in The Spy Who Loved Me because it’s a light brown (pictured above). Though it’s the furthest from being a conservative business suit, it’s the perfect colour to wear in the Mediterranean. Sure, marine blue and light grey would also have been excellent choices, but there’s nothing wrong with light brown for an informal suit. It’s not just 1970s fashions that dictated Moore’s preference for this colour; it’s actually one of the best colours to flatter Moore’s warm complexion. Roger Moore wears a three-piece suit in a very similar brown—also in the Mediterranean—over ten years earlier in The Saint. And Moore wears this kind of light brown suit as Bond—again in the Mediterranean—in For Your Eyes Only. 1970s fashion was gone by this time, but light brown still looked fantastic on Moore.

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One of Moore’s brown suits is of the very traditional, country-type of brown suit: the brown donegal tweed suit in Moonraker (pictured above). Though the style of the suit is influenced by 70s fashions, the colour and cloth are certainly not. Though the wide lapels and flared trouser legs are poor fashion choices, brown tweed could not more perfectly fit the setting of a hunt in the country.

Though many of Pierce Brosnan’s suits have some brown in them, the only suit of his that is noticeably brown is his Prince of Wales check suit in GoldenEye. It recalls Sean Connery’s houndstooth check suit in Goldfinger, and like that suit, this one is not a good choice for the office in London either. Most recently, Daniel Craig wears a muted brown hopsack suit in Quantum of Solace (pictured below). Like Connery’s brown suits, this one is a very muted brown. Craig looks no less like James Bond in this suit than he does in his blue and grey suits. In fact, the warmer tones of this suit compared to his dark blues and greys is very flattering to Craig’s warm complexion. Though Bond is best known for his blue and grey suits, the brown suit is so not against the established Bond look as many believe.

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I’ve left out the beige and tan suits from this article since those are in a different category: warm-weather suits.

Brioni and a Disciple, Angelo Roma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal windowpane Brioni suit in GoldenEye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daniel Craig wears a charcoal blue Brioni suit in Casino Royale

In Memory of Richard Kiel

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With great sadness, on Wednesday 10 September we lost Richard Kiel, the actor who twice played the henchman Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. I’ve never heard Roger Moore speak of anyone so kindly and with so much respect as he does for Richard Kiel. When I saw Roger Moore speak at Book Revue in Huntington, NY in 2008, a child asked Moore, “What was Jaws like in real life?” Moore responded, “Well, Jaws in real life is seven-foot-two, and he’s what I call a gentle giant. He is such a nice man, so kind, and we were in Canada a few years ago. Every time he would bring up the subject of UNICEF so I could talk about it. A good man.”

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit-2Only a month ago I wrote about Jaws’ azure double-breasted blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me, but now let’s look at his more tasteful charcoal chalkstripe three-piece suit that he also wears in the film. It’s a very conservative suit for 1977, and Jaws appropriately wears it for two meetings with his boss, Karl Stromberg. In comparison to the other clothes he wears throughout the film, the three-piece suit is the only outfit that makes him look like a truly menacing character. A man of Jaws’ size must certainly have his suits made for him, and the same tailor or costumier who made the azure blazer probably made the suit as well. The single-breasted suit jacket has the same large, imposing shoulders that the double-breasted blazer has, but it has much more shape through the body for an elegant look. The jacket is a button two with a medium button stance and wide notched lapels. A slightly long jacket helps to anchor Jaws at the cost of emphasising his towering height. The jacket pulls at the button, which may be the result of Jaws’ body type being difficult to tailor. His jacket sleeves are also too long, covering the top of his hands. The jacket is detailed with slanted, flapped pockets and double vents. The suit’s waistcoat most likely has six buttons and the trousers have a slightly flared leg with plain hems.

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit-3Jaws’ light grey shirt is an unconventional choice that flatters his cool winter complexion. It has a fashionably large point collar that has a generous amount of tie space. The shirt’s placket is stitched 1/4″ from the edge to match the collar and cuff stitching. Jaws’ tie is black with a red diamond motif that has a small black square in the centre of each diamond. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. Jaws’ shoes are black.

Jaws: The Azure Double-Breasted Blazer

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Jaws, played by the 7’2″ Richard Kiel, should be one of the scariest Bond villains, considering his imposing size and fierce metal teeth. However, his clumsiness and sometimes unfashionable clothing choices contribute to the comic relief side of the character. Jaws’ azure blue double-breasted blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me takes away some of Jaws’ ferociousness. Though light blue blazers were common in the 1970s, they weren’t then and aren’t now particularly fashionable. The light colour makes Jaws look less threatening than dark colour would. The blazer is probably made of polyester, though it holds up well though a car crash off a cliff and being literally kicked off a train. Jaws simply brushes the dirt off himself after these incidents and walks away undamaged and unwrinkled.

Jaws-Blazer-2The double-breasted blazer is a good choice for a tall man like Jaws because the rows of buttons help break up his height, and the longer length of Jaws’ blazer shortens the perceived leg length to ground him. The ideal length of a blazer or suit jacket should be half the distance from the base of the neck to the ground, but Jaws’ blazer is longer than that. Though Jaws is already a bulky man, the shoulders of his blazer are built up and out to make him look even more imposing. The blazer has polished solid brass buttons; there are four with two to button on the front and three on each cuff. The blazer also has three open patch pockets, wide peaked lapels without buttonholes, and double vents. Apart from the too long sleeves, the blazer fits quite well. And considering Richard Kiel’s size, the blazer is probably made bespoke for Jaws by a costumier.

Jaws-Ecru-ShirtJaws’ trousers are dark grey and have a dart on each side in the front and two darts on each side in the rear. They have a slightly flared leg, slanted side pockets, no rear pockets and zip-style side-adjusters. Under the blazer, Jaws wears an ecru shirt with a fashionably large point collar that has a generous amount of tie space. The shirt’s rounded single-button cuffs are attached to the sleeves with gathers. The shirt’s placket is stitched 1/4″ from the edge to match the collar and cuff stitching. The back of the shirt is tailored with darts. Jaws’ tie is cream with a light blue, black and beige crescent pattern. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot, and Jaws takes a moment to fix his tie after he is kicked off a train. Jaws’ shoes are black derbies.

The Lapidus Cuff

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For The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Frank Foster made Roger Moore’s shirts with a special kind of cuff: the tab cuff. Foster calls it the Lapidus cuff, after the French fashion designer Ted Lapidus who invented this cuff. The Lapidus cuff is a square barrel cuff with an extended tab to fasten the cuff. Though there doesn’t appear to be any special benefit to the cuff design, the Lapidus cuff pivots in a unique way compared to typical single-button cuffs.

Roger Moore wears his Lapidus cuff shirts with his suits and sports coats in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, as well as with his dinner suit in the former film. Moore’s Lapidus cuffs are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge all around, but on my own lilac pinpoint example from Frank Foster (see below) the tab portion is stitched on the edge whilst the rest of the cuff has regular 1/4 inch stitching. Foster puts a 25 ligne button on the cuff instead of the typical 16 ligne button, which makes the cuff stand out more than it already would. However, an unconventional shirt cuff is a rather subtle—but also unique—way to make a fashion statement.

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Which of Bond’s most fashionable suits do you find least attractive?

As suggested by The Suits of James Bond reader “Le Chiffre,” I am giving you the opportunity to vote on which of Bond’s attempts to be sartorially fashionable you find to be least successful. Choose the one you think is most inappropriate for Bond, the one you think is most dated, or the one you just don’t like. Here are your three options:

1977-Brown-Silk-Suit1. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): A silk suit in a light brown colour commonly associated with the 1970s, with wide lapels, swelled edges and flared trousers. Read more.

1989-Dalton-Suit2. Licence to Kill (1989): An oversized suit with wide shoulders, low notch lapels, a low button stance and triple-reverse-pleat trousers. Read more.

2012-Glen-Urquhart-Suit3. Skyfall (2012): An overly-tight suit that unnecessarily pulls and creases, with narrow lapels, a short jacket length and low-rise skinny trousers. Read more.

Which of Bond's most fashionable suits is the worst?

  • The Spy Who Loved Me (37%, 1,067 Votes)
  • Licence to Kill (35%, 1,015 Votes)
  • Skyfall (29%, 840 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,922

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If there’s another Bond film that you think has worse clothing, please feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Navy Battle Dress

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The Spy Who Loved Me has Bond wearing the most naval clothing of any film in the series. Not only does Bond wear a dress uniform and greatcoat, he also wears battle dress, a style that dates to World War II. The dark navy serge jacket is waist-length and buttons three down the front with notch lapels. The bottom of the jacket has an extended tab for a tighter fit at the waist. There is a patch breast pocket with button flap and box pleat on each side of the chest. The cuffs close around the wrist with one button. The jacket has epaulettes that mark the rank of commander. The buttons are shanked brass.

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Underneath the jacket Bond wears a light navy polo neck shirt. The trousers match the jacket and have a long rise, darted front and straight leg. They are worn with a belt, which is hidden under the jacket. The shoes are black polished leather derbies.

A few examples of the pieces in this outfit sold across a few auctions at Bonham’s in Knightsbridge. The jacket sold for £9,600 on 16 November 2005 and another for £11,760 on 6 March 2007. A false front for the jacket to wear under a wetsuit was sold for £720 on 16 June 2009 after failing to sell at three previous auctions. A pair of trousers was sold for £384 on 16 June 2009. All of these pieces are made by Bermans & Nathans.

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