Vijay’s Double-Breasted Navy Blazer

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Easily one of the most likeable characters of the Bond series, Octopussy‘s Vijay, played by tennis player Vijay Amritraj, is a British agent undercover at Kamal Khan’s sports club as a tennis pro. He dresses appropriately for a man at a country club in a navy worsted double-breasted blazer, beige trousers and a day cravat.

Notice the tennis racquets on the blazer's button

Notice the tennis rackets on the blazer’s buttons

Vijay’s blazer has six buttons in the traditional configuration of two to button. The buttons have a low stance. The shanked buttons are brass, each engraved with a pair of tennis rackets fitting for the character. The blazer is likely English ready-to-wear, cut with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a suppressed waist. It has long double vents, three buttons on the cuffs and flapped pockets.

The beige wool gabardine trousers are cut with a straight leg and likely a flat front. Vijay’s white poplin shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a placket stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The placket identifies this as an English shirt. Under the shirt, Vijay wears a textured silk day cravat in grey with 1/4″ red stripes widely spaced.

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Vijay’s shoes are black leather horse-bit slips, which Roger Moore wears in his 1970s Bond films but not in Octopussy. The stunt driver of the Tuk Tuk taxi, however, wears light brown trainers that fasten with two velcro straps.

The Cannonball Run: A Bond-like Navy Blazer

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The Cannonball Run is almost like an eighth film to feature Roger Moore playing James Bond. Moore plays Seymour Goldfarb, Jr., who identifies as “some goy movie star named Roger Moore,” as his Jewish mother says. In pretending to be Roger Moore, Goldfarb naturally acts and dresses like James Bond. Moore’s performance in The Cannonball Run (essentially as James Bond) is even more tongue-in-cheek than in his Bond films, but here that kind of performance is welcome. Like James Bond, Goldfarb also drives a Aston Martin DB5 in Silver Birch. This exact car was one of the four Aston Martins used as Bond’s car in Goldfinger and originally was registered BMT 216 A (it is registered 6633 PP in The Cannonball Run). This same car was originally featured in an episode of The Saint titled “The Noble Sportsman” made in 1963 and painted Dubonet Red. Also like James Bond, Goldfarb sleeps with a gun under his pillow. His gun is a Walther PP, the same as what James Bond uses in the film Dr. No.

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As for dressing like James Bond, Moore’s character has the right idea but doesn’t get everything quite right in his execution, especially not with the three black tie outfits. The best outfit he wears is the navy blazer and beige trousers when the character is introduced. The outfit overall is similar to the blazer Moore later wears as James Bond when selecting a horse with Max Zorin (Christopher Walkin) in A View to a Kill, minus the day cravat. Since the film was made in America, the clothes would have been sourced in America, and it shows in the details.

The button two navy blazer’s silhouette, however, is still English-inspired with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. The details are common for American blazers: patch pockets (at least the hip pockets; I can’t tell if the breast pocket is) and a single vent. The blazer has three buttons on the cuffs, and the blazer’s buttons are shanked brass. The notched lapels are a little wide, but overall they don’t look particularly dated.

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The beige trousers that Roger Moore wears with the blazer are cut with a flat front and straight legs. The waistband has side adjusters and a hidden clasp closure. The side pockets are slanted. Moore’s pale blue shirt has a long point collar worn open, rounded single-button cuffs and a wide front placket. The shirt was most likely American-sourced and probably has a breast pocket. The collar and cuffs are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge, and the placket is stitched about 3/8 inch from the edge. As Seymour Goldfarb, Moore wears an accessory he rarely wears as James Bond: a pocket square. Moore’s is a light blue silk handkerchief rolled in his breast pocket. Moore wears dark brown socks and dark brown lace-up shoes, contrasting with the slip-on shoes he ordinarily wears.

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The Man from Hong Kong: A 1970s Blazer

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I have previously written about all of the James Bond actors in roles other than James Bond except George Lazenby. Lazenby hasn’t had many other starring roles, but it wouldn’t be fair to not have representation of Lazenby outside the Bond series on this blog. Whilst Lazenby is very well-dressed as Bond, he unfortunately doesn’t dress so well in other roles. By leaving James Bond, George Lazenby made not only a bad career choice but also a bad fashion choice. His poor wardrobe is quite evident in the 1975 Australian/Hong Kong co-production The Man from Hong Kong. The film, released in the United State as The Dragon Flies, stars Jimmy Wang-Yu as Inspector Fan Sing-Ling with George Lazenby as gangster Jack Wilton.

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Lazenby wears a dark navy double-breasted blazer in The Man from Hong Kong. It is fashionable along the lines of Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in Moonraker, but this blazer has different problems, both due to 1970s fashion and due to fit. The blazer has six buttons in the traditional arrangement with two to button. It is detailed with patch pockets, single-button cuffs, swelled edges and silver-toned buttons. One of the best parts of this blazer is its elegant English-inspired silhouette. It has straight shoulders that are just the right width, a clean chest and a tightly—but neatly—suppressed waist. However, it has the serious fit problem of the jacket’s collar standing away from the neck.

More obvious than the fit problem are the fashion problems. Peaked lapels can be wider than notched lapels, but Lazenby’s fashionably wide lapels almost reach all the way across his chest to his sleeves. And a bigger problem with the blazer than the lapels is its very long single vent. Single vents are designed to split across the back of a horse whilst a straight double-breasted front is not, so the styles are incongruous. A single vent also doesn’t balance with the double-breasted front.

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Lazenby wears this blazer as a part of two outfits. The first outfit is a sporty one with an open-neck shirt and white trousers. The dark blue and white chambray shirt has a long point collar, worn outside of the blazer’s collar. Lazenby wears the collar and two buttons down the placket open. The two-button cuffs have rounded corners. The white trousers are probably polyester and have a pronounced flare to the leg, more pronounced than on any of Roger Moore’s 1970s James Bond trousers. The socks and venetian slip-ons are also white.

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The second outfit with the blazer includes a pale blue shirt, tie and mid grey trousers. The shirt has an eyelet collar worn with the kind of collar bar where the balls unscrew at the ends. Some consider this the most elegant kind of collar bar since everything fits together, though it can also be considered the most affected. A pin, clip or a slide-bar on a regular point collar looks more naturally stylish since the collar doesn’t have holes. The tie is a black, blue and red plaid, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Not much of the grey trousers can be seen, though they don’t appear to be as flared as the white trousers.

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Two Lapel Buttonholes on a Double-Breasted Jacket

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Russia House: Blazer and Duffle Coat

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In the 1990 film The Russia House, Sean Connery plays Bartholomew “Barley” Scott Blair, the head of a British publishing film turned spy. Though the character is a spy, he’s nothing like James Bond. Connery dresses how an older man in Britain would traditionally dress, and he wears layers to withstand Moscow’s cold weather. Connery’s wardrobe in the film consists of V-neck jumpers, knitted ties, informal outercoats, a navy suit, a checked jacket and a navy blazer.

Connery-Russia-House-Blazer-2Connery’s button two navy blazer has natural shoulders that go against the trendy large shoulder of 1990, but slightly wide lapels and the moderately low gorge and button stance reflect the fashions of the time. Though blazers ordinarily have vents in the rear due to their sporty nature, this one reflects the fashions of 1990 and has no vent. Like Connery’s navy blazer in Dr. No, this blazer also has an open patch breast pocket and open patch hip pockets, swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs. This blazer’s buttons are brass. Bonhams in Knightsbridge auctioned the blazer on 16 June 2009 for £120. The blazer was made for Sean Connery by the costumiers Angels.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-Coat-2Under the blazer, Connery wears a medium grey sleeveless, V-neck jumper, which both keeps Connery warm and makes the outfit more casual. Connery’s dark green corduroy trousers have double forward pleats and are worn with a brown alligator-texture belt. The ecru shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs, a front placket and rear shoulder pleats. Connery wears a knitted tie with red and navy horizontal stripes, and it’s most likely tied in a half windsor knot. Connery’s shoes are dark brown.

Connery-Russia-House-Duffle-CoatOver the blazer, Connery wears a camel-coloured, heavy woollen duffle coat. The duffle coat is a casual coat characterised by its toggle closure. Connery’s coat has four wooden toggles that fasten with rope, and they go down the front from the collar to the waist. The coat is knee-length without a vent in the rear, but no vent is needed when the coat is free to spread apart in front below the waist. The coat has shoulder patches, two open patch pockets, buttoned straps on the sleeves and a hood. There are straps to button around the neck that connect with elastic around the back of the neck. Connery also keeps warm with an olive wool or cashmere scarf and a brown felt fedora with a centre dent, front pinch and brown ribbon.

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 Saint: Dressing Down the Navy Blazer

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Compared to most sports coats, which are at home in the country, the navy blazer is better suited at seaside and resort towns. However, the single-breasted navy blazer is one of the most versatile sports coats, and due to its solid navy colour it can just as effectively be dressed up in the city as it can be dressed down at a resort. Roger Moore playing Simon Templar shows a great example of the latter when he wears his blazer in the 1965 episode of The Saint titled “The Spanish Cow”.

Casual-Navy-Blazer-2In the first through fourth series of The Saint from 1962 to 1965, Moore often wears a button three, wool navy blazer with straight flapped pockets, a ticket pocket, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. Tailor Cyril Castle made no less than two examples of such a blazer made since it saw more wear than any other item of clothing in the show. The blazer in “The Spanish Cow” isn’t much different than the blazer that Moore wears in the first episode of The Saint three years earlier in 1962, except the cloth is lighter, the shoulders are softer and the lapels are just a little narrower. The fashionably narrow lapels, however, look disproportionately narrow and are somewhat unflattering on Moore.

Casual-Navy-Blazer-3So how does Moore dress down his navy blazer? Underneath the blazer he wears a light-coloured camp shirt with a straight, untucked hem. The shirt has a one-piece camp collar that stands up nicely inside the blazer’s collar, which is the key to successfully wearing any shirt other than a formal shirt under a jacket (unless you like to wear t-shirts under your jackets). And because the shirt has a camp collar and not a more formal collar, Moore doesn’t have to worry about people thinking he forgot his tie. In the 1960s, wearing a formal shirt without a tie wasn’t done. It wasn’t something that James Bond ever did in the 60s, unless you count Sean Connery’s pink shirt in You Only Live Twice. Simon Templar rarely did it. Moore’s trousers are stone-coloured cotton and have either a flat front or darted front and a plain hem. He wears canvas slip-on shoes with white rubber soles, and he matches his white socks to the soles of his shoes. Essentially, Moore put his tailored blazer on top of a very casual outfit, and it works successfully. The blazer’s soft, natural shoulders help it to work better when worn casually.

Simon Templar mentions the name of his shirtmaker in a conversation with the “South of France” police chief Colonel Latignant—a recurring character played by Arnold Diamond—when Latignant comments on the shirts in Templar’s suitcase:

Templar: And how is the most efficient chief of police in the South of France?

Latignant: That depends.

Templar: Oh—on what?

Latignant: On your behaviour in the South of France.

Templar: My behaviour everywhere is impeccable.

Latignant: So is your taste in shirts. These are magnificent.

Templar: Sulka makes them for me in London.

Colonel Latignant (Arnold Diamond) holding one of Moore's Sulka shirts

Colonel Latignant (Arnold Diamond) holding one of Simon Templar’s Sulka shirts

Comparison: The Button Three Double-Breasted Blazer

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

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

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

Trouser leg width changed more than anything else between 1969 and 1974. We don’t see much of the trousers that Moore wears with his blazer, but it’s assumed he wears trousers with a slightly flared leg. Lazenby’s trousers 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?