Count Lippe’s Casual Brown Tweed Suit

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Count Lippe (Guy Doleman) is a SPECTRE agent Bond encounters at the Shrublands health farm in the English countryside in Thunderball. The basis for Lippe’s clothes in the film was taken from Ian Fleming’s description of Lippe in the Thunderball novel:

He was an athletic-looking six foot, dressed in the sort of casually well-cut beige herring-bone tweed that suggests Anderson and Sheppard. He wore a white silk shirt and a dark red polka-dot tie, and the soft dark brown V-necked sweater looked like vicuna. Bond summed him up as a good-looking bastard who got all the women he wanted and probably lived on them—and lived well.

Like in the novel, Count Lippe’s suit in the film is tweed, though it is not herringbone. The mottled appearance makes it very difficult to tell what pattern the cloth is, though if I had to guess I think I see a fine check. It is not beige, however, but a darker taupe-brown overall that looks great in England’s countryside. The tweed is made up of brown yarns likely mixed with cream and green, and possibly other colours too.

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Though the suit in the film is casual in style, the button two jacket with slightly narrow lapels does not have the uniquely relaxed Anderson and Sheppard drape cut that the literary Bond identified Lippe’s suit by. The chest does not have much drape, and the shoulders have too much padding. Anderson & Sheppard’s cut, by contrast, is known for its soft look in both the shoulders and the chest, and sometimes foregoes the front darts on the jacket. Lippe’s suit jacket has the casual details of two open patch pockets at the hips and a matching breast pocket. The cuffs have three buttons, placed very close to the end of the cuff. Based on the way the jacket pull at the skirt, it likely does not have any vents, though the rear is not seen. The jacket’s buttons are light and dark brown horn, and the buttonholes are a bold medium brown that stands out. Judging by the suit jacket’s oversized shoulders and buttons being vey close to the ends of the sleeves, this suit was likely made for another actor for another production and altered to fit Doleman for Thunderball. The suit trousers have gently tapered legs. Though the top of the trousers is not seen, they likely have double forward pleats.

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Notice Lippe’s elegant chestnut brown shoes

Under the suit jacket Lippe wears a light brown doeskin wool waistcoat, which has a felt-like appearance. Its inclusion was likely inspired by the “soft dark brown V-necked sweater” that Fleming writes about, but the waistcoat is not quite a casual as a sweater. Lippe’s tattersall shirt has a cream ground with a large check in a number of colours, which are difficult to decipher. It may include navy, green, purple, red and orange. Country tattersall shirts are typically woven in a twill weave to have a softer and more casual look than crisp poplin. Lippe’s shirt has a spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is medium brown wool and tied in a half-windsor knot. Just peaking out of Lippe’s breast pocket is a puffed green silk pocket handkerchief with purple dots, which would suggest that those two colours are very likely in the tattersall shirt. Silk handkerchiefs go well with wool ties because of the contrasting textures. Lippe’s shoes are elegant chestnut brown plain-toe slip-ons. Though they are beautiful shoes, such a heavy suit would look better with sturdier brogues.

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Over his suit, Lippe wears a car coat that is designed to resemble a shearling coat, particularly with its lambswool-faced shawl collar. Whilst the body of a shearling coat is sheepskin suede, this coat is brown wool melton. The heavy, firm, dull, felted melton has a fine nap that can look almost like suede, especially in the drab brown colour, but it is a traditional cloth for overcoats as well as blankets. The double-breasted coat has four brown leather buttons on the front with two to button. The hem and sleeves are finished with four bands of stitching, like one would find on a covert coat. There are slanted pockets on the front with flaps, and the flaps also have the same four rows of stitching to match the hem and sleeves. The sleeves have buttoned straps, and the back has short double vents.

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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.

Navy Silk Dressing Gown

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James Bond briefly wears a navy silk dressing gown in Thunderball that he likely found in his large, luxurious room at the Shrublands health clinic. It has a shawl collar, turnback cuffs and a belt around the waist. The dressing gown is clearly sized for the average shorter man, since the sleeves end at the middle of Sean Connery’s forearm, and the length reaches the middle of his thighs. At 6’2″, Connery needs a longer dressing gown than what most men need. Though it’s too short, the gown’s shoulders are also much too large. Dressing gowns are often made as one size to fit all, but they don’t always have to fit poorly. Compare this dressing gown to the much better-fitting example in Goldfinger.

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Felix Leiter: The Seersucker Suit

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Rik Van Nutter’s Felix Leiter in Thunderball wears a blue and white striped suit made of a thin, puckered cotton cloth called seersucker. The blue and white seersucker suit is an American warm-weather staple and an fitting suit for a CIA agent in the tropics. The stripes on Leiter’s suit are narrower than usual for seersucker, but they aren’t nearly as narrow as the stripes on the related pincord suit are.

Leiter-Seersucker-2Whilst Cec Linder—Van Nutter’s predecessor as Felix Leiter in Goldfinger—dresses all out in the American Ivy League style in a suit with natural shoulders and an undarted front, Van Nutter wears his American classic in an updated cut. His button three suit jacket has straight shoulders, a full chest and a darted, suppressed waist. The lapels are a classic width and reach halfway from the collar to the edge of the shoulder. The jacket also has flapped hip pockets, double vents and three buttons on the cuffs. The suit’s buttons are made of mother of pearl. The suit trousers have reverse pleats, tapered legs and plain bottoms. The suit is more of a 1950s style than a 1960s style, but Leiter still looks cool and confident in it.

Leiter-Seersucker-3Under the suit Leiter wears a white shirt with a spread collar—another break from the traditional American style—and button cuffs. His black silk knitted tie is tied in a four-in-hand knot. He wears black shoes and a narrow black belt. The black accessories may be unimaginative, but they provide a needed gravitas to his otherwise casual outfit. Leiter carries with him a fedora-style straw Panama hat that has a tall C-crown and a black ribbon. Leiter’s black sunglasses look like they’re by Ray-Ban, but if anyone knows better than I do feel free to comment below.

Largo: The White Camp Shirt

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Emilio Largo, dare I say the best-dressed villain in the Bond series, looks just as smart in casual attire as he does in tailored clothing. Largo’s white camp shirt in Thunderball is likely a linen and cotton blend. It has a camp collar and long sleeves with rounded single-button cuffs. The body has a straight cut with a straight hem and side vents. There are six buttons down the front, including the collar, and the last two buttons are increasingly spaced farther apart going down than front. The collar, cuffs and front edge are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge. There is a crease down the middle of each side of the shirt, which means that Largo stores his shirts folded. Clearly his valet did not iron the shirt before he wore it. Some people like creases in their shirts, but they properly should be ironed out.

Largo-Camp-Shirt-2Compared to Connery’s camp shirts, Largo’s camp shirt is much longer, more like the length of a dress shirt to be tucked. Perhaps he had it made that way so it could transition from a casual daytime shirt to a dressier evening shirt that he can wear tucked under a blazer. Frank Foster makes his formal shirt hems exactly the same as this shirt’s hem, so there is no reason why this shirt couldn’t be worn both tucked and untucked. And seeing that Frank Foster constructs his shirt hems and vents exactly like this shirt’s hem and vent, this could possibly be one of his shirts.

Pierce Brosnan wears a very similar shirt almost 40 years later in Die Another Day, except his shirt has a pocket and he wears the sleeves rolled up. The lack of a pocket on Largo’s shirt—as well as wearing his sleeves down with the cuffs fastened—makes his look a bit dressier.

Largo-Camp-Shirt-3Largo’s trousers are charcoal blue linen and are ironed with a sharp crease down the leg. The have a plain hem and most likely a flat front. Though Largo is amongst the more tastefully-dressed Bond villains, his choice of shoes is rather flashy. They’re blue suede derbies with a tassels on the laces and crepe soles. I’m not saying that the shoes aren’t tasteful—they’re actually quite stylish—but they’re unlikely to be an item Bond would wear. Largo’s choice of black socks, on the other hand, is rather unstylish unless he was matching his socks to his eyepatch. Blue-grey socks to match the trousers, though difficult to find, would be the natural colour of socks to wear. Blue or grey socks of any shade would look better than black.

The Blue Gingham Shirt

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As the weather gets warmer it’s time to look at summer clothes again. In Thunderball, Sean Connery briefly wears a camp shirt in blue and white gingham, a check that is great for summer in any type of shirt. The shirt has a camp collar, an open breast pocket, a straight hem with side vents and shoulder pleats at the back. Other than the colour, the shirt is the same as the pink and white gingham shirt Connery also wears in Thunderball.

Blue-Gingham-Camp-Shirt-2The light blue swimming trunks from Jantzen are the same as what Connery wears with the rose-coloured camp shirt earlier in the film. They sit just below the waist and have a short inseam. The trunks have button-down belt loops that hold a built-in black belt.

Largo’s Charcoal Suit and Camel Coat

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The always well-tailored Emilio Largo, played by Adolfo Celi, is introduced in Thunderball wearing a charcoal three-piece suit. The suit is probably made of worsted flannel since it has a fuzzy nap but doesn’t look as heavy as the typical flannel. The button three jacket is tailored with very strong, straight shoulders and a clean chest. The narrow lapels gently roll over the top button. The jacket also has jetted pockets, three-button cuffs and no vent. The overall cut as well as the stylistic details are all very characteristic of a continental suit. Since the jacket has little fullness in the chest or flare at the shirt, it doesn’t look like an English suit. And neither the Italian character Largo nor the Italian actor Adolfo Celi would have likely used an English tailor. An Italian tailor would most likely have made this suit.

Largo-Charcoal-Suit-2Little is seen of the waistcoat and trousers. Since the top button of the waistcoat isn’t particularly high, I would guess that the waistcoat has five buttons. The trousers have a tapered leg with turn-ups. They are probably pleated, and I would guess they have reverse pleats since the suit is likely of Italian origin. The Italian tailors almost always make their trousers with reverse pleats.

Largo’s cream shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. He uses a four-in-hand knot to tie his black tie with white polka dots. His socks and shoes are black.

Largo-Charcoal-Suit-3Over the suit Largo wears a three-quarter-length camelhair coat. The button three coat has notched lapels, swelled edges, turnback cuffs and a single vent. He wears the coat draped over his shoulders as if it were a cape, and I wouldn’t recommend wearing a coat in such a manner since that seems like something only a flamboyant villain would do. He also wears his charcoal trilby like a dandy: tilted and with the brim turned up all the way around. The hat’s crown has a centre dent and a front pinch, and the roughly 2 1/4″ brim has a sewn overwelt. His cream leather gloves take his outerwear yet another step further into flamboyance.

Suede Derby Shoes

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The brown suede shoes that Sean Connery wears with his hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball are something people often ask me about. Thy are 2-eyelet derby shoes in what essentially looks like a short chukka. The soles are dark brown rubber. The suede uppers, rubber soles and thicker laces make these more casual—but also more versatile—shoes. They work well with informal country wear like in Bond’s case, but they could just as easily be at home with a pair of jeans. They have a slight edge of formality over chukka boots, which allows them to be dressed up a little more whilst at the same time they can still be relatively casual shoes.

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My best approximation of the style of this shoe.

Daniel Craig wears very similar shoes with his grey linen suit in Casino Royale.