Q’s Introduction in a Prince of Wales Check Suit

Q Prince of Wales Suit

Skyfall is released today in the UK, and a new quartermaster is introduced. But let’s take a look back 49 years ago. From Russia With Love introduced Desmond Llyewlyn’s famous Q character, and he went on to appear in 16 more Bond films. He’s first seen in M’s office wearing a three-piece Prince of Wales check suit and looking the best-dressed he ever was in the series. It’s his own suit—the budget didn’t allow for minor characters’ wardrobes—made in a Savile Row style and probably bespoke. The Prince of Wales check cloth is black and white with red lines framing the pattern. The jacket is a very traditional button three with padded shoulders, a full chest and a nipped waist. It has flapped pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. Q wears the jacket unbuttoned except for in a close-up shot, a continuity error. When he has it buttoned, only the middle is fastened.

Q Prince of Wales Suit

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button and the trousers have forward pleats. Q wears a cream shirt with a spread collar and a Brigade of Guards regimental tie with navy and maroon stripes. Director of From Russia With Love, Terence Young, directed Llewelyn in a 1950 film called They Were Not Divided. Lewellyn played a Guards Officer and Young himself was a former Guards Officer. The tie is surely a nod to the film they did together 13 years earlier.

Q Prince of Wales Suit

Whilst Bond’s suit is influenced by 1960s fashions with its two buttons and narrow lapels, Q’s suit doesn’t belong to any era.

8 thoughts on “Q’s Introduction in a Prince of Wales Check Suit

  1. Thank you for this article, Matt. I have been waiting for this outfit for a long time. It’s really difficult to choose who is the best dressed man in this scene, the 3 men are all very elegant. I have a few questions about it, as usual :)

    -Looking at the screenshot of the buttonned coat, doesn’t it look like a three-rolled-two button suit jacket ?
    -When you say that Q’s suit does not belong to any era… Couldn’t we say that the wide lapels date it as a probably late 50s suit ? Moreover, the trousers leg seems very tapered (or perhaps it’s jus his position).
    -about the tie, is maroon the same colour as a dark red ?

    Thanks a lot.

    • -The lapel is not rolled to the middle button. Just because he only fastens the middle button doesn’t make it a 3-roll-2. A 3-roll-2 looks like a button 2.
      -There’s nothing unusually tapered about the trouser legs. The lapels aren’t that wide, but some people wore them like this in the 1950s. Narrower lapels were predominantly worn in the 50s.
      -Maroon is a dark red

  2. In the close-up of the sleeve, is the inner-most button on the right sleeve of Llyewlyn’s suit cracked, or partially tucked into buttonhole? Or is it just the angle of the shot that’s making to appear only half-visible, at least on my monitor?

    • The Royal Welch Fusiliers tie is brighter, depending on the maker. Q’s maroon stripes could possibly be a little wider than the navy, but there is quite a noticeable difference in stripe width in the Royal Welch Fusiliers tie, so this is most likely a Brigade of Guards.

  3. Is Q wearing a short sleeved shirt here, then? I can’t see his shirt cuffs at all, so they must either be riding up or not there at all. If so, it’s interesting that he would choose short sleeves. My dad’s an engineer and always wore them because long sleeves (even rolled up) got in the way of mobility when tinkering things, so it would be a good character trait for Q to be the same way.

    Alas, we never see him wearing anything except long sleeves in the other films so maybe it was just because of the budget.

    • The shirt has long sleeves and button cuffs, I think, though because the cuffs are hidden in the sleeve it’s difficult to see them clearly. If you watch closely you can see the cuffs. The cuffs pop out when he reaches into the attache case. I believe Desmond Llewelyn wore he own clothes, so I don’t think much, if any, thought was put in by the costume designer. Not only are his shirt sleeves a little too short, but the suit jacket sleeves are too long.

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