Comparing Daniel Craig’s Navy Pinstripe Suits

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The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

Quantum of Solace begins moments after Casino Royale ends with James Bond wearing a two-piece navy pinstripe suit. Bond is supposed to be wearing the same three-piece suit from at the end of Casino Royale, but the change from a three-piece suit to a two-piece suit is not because we’re meant to think that James Bond removed his waistcoat. Naturally if a man wants to shed a layer of his three-piece suit, he’s going to take off his suit jacket and not the waistcoat. The reason why James Bond is no longer wearing a waistcoat in Quantum of Solace is because a change in costume designer meant a reinterpretation of the Casino Royale outfit. These two suits are the only two in the series that can be fairly judged by comparison since story-wise they are supposed to be the same suit.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

For the final scene of Casino Royale, costume designer Lindy Hemming dressed James Bond in a three-piece Brioni suit to signify that Daniel Craig’s new Bond had become the more sophisticated James Bond we knew from previous Bond films who takes pride in dressing up. This was a large step from being a man who didn’t have a proper dinner jacket earlier in the film. Lousie Frogley assumed the costume designer position for Quantum of Solace and abandoned Brioni for Tom Ford. Perhaps she decided to put Bond in a two-piece suit rather than a three-piece suit because he hadn’t matured into the classic Bond character yet, because a three-piece suit didn’t fit the Lake Garda setting or because a two-piece suit worked more effectively for the intense action stunts. A three-piece suit also would not have looked so great if Frogley was intent on Bond removing his tie. She at least kept the suit a navy pinstripe to maintain a modicum of continuity between the films. But even though the suits are both navy with pinstripes, the pinstripes are white in Casino Royale whilst the pinstripes are light blue in Quantum of Solace. The stripes on both suits are spaced no more than a half-inch apart.

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The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

The cuts of the Brioni and Tom Ford suits are very different. The Brioni suit jacket has straight shoulders with a healthy amount of shoulder padding whereas the Tom Ford suit jacket has much softer pagoda shoulders, which have a slight concave shape. Both suits have roped sleeveheads. The Tom Ford jacket has a more shaped silhouette than the Brioni jacket has, with a more defined waist. Though both suit jackets fit closely, the Brioni has a boxier silhouette. Wearing the suit jacket open adds to the boxy look. Both suit jackets have three buttons with the middle button placed at the middle of body’s waist. The Brioni jacket’s lapels roll gently at the top button, whilst the Tom Ford jacket’s lapels have a harder roll down to the middle button for a button two silhouette. The Brioni sleeves are cut full at the upper arm and taper down to the cuffs. By contrast, the Tom Ford sleeves are narrower through the upper arm and have a slight flare at the end for a dash of English style. Both suit jackets’ sleeves are slightly too long, but it is hardly noticeable in Quantum of Solace since Bond’s arms are hardly ever at his side. The Tom Ford suit also has a little skirt flare, which is lacking in the Brioni suit’s more Italian cut.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The two suit jackets’ details vary too. Both jackets have straight pockets with flaps, but the Tom Ford jacket adds a ticket pocket. Whilst the Brioni suit jacket has a typical angled breast pocket, the Tom Ford jacket has a curved “barchetta” breast pocket, which is a Neapolitan-inspired detail. The Brioni jacket has four buttons on the cuff whilst the Tom Ford jacket has five buttons on the cuffs, worn with the last button open. The Tom Ford suit has double vents, but the vent style on the Brioni suit is difficult to tell. It may also have double vents, but considering that Bond’s other worsted suits in Casino Royale have single vents it could be a likely possibility here too.

The suit trousers between the Brioni and Tom Ford suits have different cuts. Both trousers have straight legs with little tapering, but the Brioni trousers have much wider legs. The Tom Ford trousers have a flat front whilst the Brioni trousers have a small dart on either side of the front placed beside the side pockets. The side pockets on the Brioni suit trousers are slightly slanted off-seam, but the pockets on the Tom Ford trousers are on the seam, which curves forward at the top. The Brioni trousers are worn with a belt and the Tom Ford trousers have slide-buckle side-adjusters placed on the waistband seam. Both suits’ trousers have turn-ups.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The part of the outfit that is the least changed between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace is the shirt: both are light blue cotton poplin. The Casino Royale shirt is made by Brioni and the Quantum of Solace shirt is made by Tom Ford. The shirt in Quantum of Solace, however, is a paler blue than the shirt in Casino Royale. Both have moderate spread collars, front plackets and double cuffs, though the collar in Casino Royale sits a little higher and closer to the face.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The ties are both blue neat patterns, but they have different patterns and colours. The Casino Royale tie (maker unknown) is a honeycomb pattern in blue and white, and the Quantum of Solace tie (made by Tom Ford) is roughly a pattern of blue and black squares. In Casino Royale Bond ties the tie with a four-in-hand knot whilst in Quantum of Solace he ties it with a windsor knot. The tie in Casino Royale has a very heavy interlining, which makes the knot quite large. Though Bond wears a folded white pocket handkerchief with his other suits in Quantum of Solace, he foregoes the handkerchief with this outfit so it more closely matches the Casino Royale outfit.

Bond, of course, wears black shoes with both suits, but the styles and makers, again, are different. In Casino Royale he wears the John Lobb Luffield, which is a two-eyelet derby. In Quantum of Solace he switches to the Church’s Philip perforated cap-toe oxford. This is one of the least noticeable differences between the two outfits since the shoes are hardly seen.

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The John Lobb Luffield two-eyelet derby in Casino Royale

Through comparing the suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, I have described some of the essential differences between Brioni’s and Tom Ford’s silhouettes and styles, though both makers offer a numbers different styles.

Do you prefer the three-piece suit in Casino Royale or the two-piece Tom Ford suit in Quantum of Solace?

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To save you the trouble of asking, yes, I will be posting a comparison of Mr. White’s two similar outfits from these same scenes.

Shirt Collar Width, Height and Point Length—and Poll!

Turnbull & Asser Spread

Sean Connery wearing a spread collar in From Russia with Love

The shirt’s collar is one of the most important parts of a man’s outfit because it frames the face. Whilst fit ranks paramount for all parts of a man’s outfit, the collar’s shape and proportions rank equal to its fit. The width of the spread between the collar points is often mentioned, but collar height and point length are equally important. The three most basic collar styles are the spread collar, the semi-spread collar and the point collar. A wider collar is slightly dressier than a narrow collar, but James Bond has worn collars of all widths for different purposes throughout the series.

Collars

The Spread Collar

The spread collar is the wide, classic English collar. It may also be known as an English spread collar or a semi-cutaway collar. The English may call this a classic collar since it’s the standard collar for shirtmakers there. A wider collar such as the spread collar best flatters and balances people who have an angular jaw like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig. On the other hand, the wide spread collar emphasises a wide face and should be avoided by people with a very round face or square jaw.

Sean Connery wears a spread collar, usually made by Turnbull & Asser, in all of his James Bond films except Dr. No (which is discussed below), and the collar flatters his angular jaw. George Lazenby wears a spread collar on his Frank Foster shirt for the wedding outfit due to the more formal nature of the black lounge coat, and it returns to the series in Roger Moore’s on his Frank Foster shirts in his three Bond films in the 1980s: For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill. Pierce Brosnan brings them back again on his Turnbull & Asser shirts in Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough. The spread collar is Bond’s favourite collar to wear with black tie, even when he wears other collars with his regular suits.

George Lazenby wears a point collar in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

George Lazenby wears a point collar in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The Point Collar

The point collar has the narrowest spread of the three basic collar. It is sometimes also called a forward point collar or a straight collar. Americans may call this a classic collar. The button-down collar is usually a variation on the point collar with a softer or no interfacing and buttons that hold down the collar points. The point collar best flatters men with a round face or square jaw, whilst it would extended a long face or an angular jaw.

Bond has worn very few point collars in the series. Many of George Lazenby’s Frank Foster shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have point collars, but a large amount of tie space prevents the collars from looking too narrow. It isn’t the ideal collar for Lazenby, but it doesn’t look bad on him either. Roger Moore’s Frank Foster shirts in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker also have point collars, and even without the oversized they collars are too narrow for Moore’s angular jaw.

Daniel Craig wearing a semi-spread collar in Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig wearing a semi-spread collar in Quantum of Solace

The Semi-Spread Collar

The collar that almost any man can look good in is the semi-spread collar. It is a moderate spread collar that is narrower than classic spread collar but wider than a point collar. Some call this the Kent collar, after Prince George, Duke of Kent. Some in England also call this the classic collar, proving that there is no consensus on that term. When the collar spread is around a 45º angle is can be described as neither narrow nor wide, which makes the semi-spread collar a rather neutral collar. It’s the safest collar for any situation and won’t offend conservative dressers on either side of the pond.

The semi-spread collar is the collar James Bond wears most often throughout the series. However, it works best for people with an oval face like George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. George Lazenby wears semi-spread collars on some of his Frank Foster shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore wears them on his Frank Foster shirts in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, Timothy Dalton wears them on his shirts in The Living Daylights, Pierce Brosnan wears them on his Sulka shirts in GoldenEye and Daniel Craig wears them on his Brioni shirts in Casino Royale and his Tom Ford shirts in Quantum of Solace.

Collar-Height

Height and Point Length

The height of the collar and the length of the collar points should always be considered, especially since there is a considerable variety available. Today, collars with a short height and shorts points are trendy because they complement the narrow lapels that are also popular. However, most men are not flattered by such skimpy collars. A short collar with short points flatters a man with a short neck and an overall smaller head. On most men, however, a short collar will make their neck look awkwardly long and their head look too large in proportion to the rest of their body. Timothy Dalton’s undersized spread collars in Licence to Kill are not a good choice for him. Whilst his neck looks fine with a short collar height—a slightly taller collar would still be better—his head looks large against the short collar points. Apart from in Licence to Kill, Bond has avoided wearing short collars.

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Roger Moore wearing a tall spread collar with long points in Octopussy

On the other hand, a collar that is too tall with points too long will overwhelm the face. A short neck will disappear under a tall collar, and a long points shrink the head. Roger Moore is known for wearing tall collars with long points, especially in his films from The Spy Who Loved Me and later. These large collars work for Roger Moore, and not just in the context of his wide lapels. His neck is long and his head is fairly large. In Live and Let Die, Moore wears a spread collar that is so tall it fastens with two stacked buttons. Few men have such a long neck that they truly need a two-button collar, but the second button provides a necessary rigidity so it can withstand the pressure from a tie. Daniel Craig’s tall Brioni collars in Casino Royale shorten his neck, though the point length is a good medium. The long Tom Ford collar points in Quantum of Solace make Craig’s head look a little small.

Extreme-Collars

Extreme Collars: Cutaway, Narrow Point and Beyond

The extreme collars, such as the cutaway collar and narrow point collar, are for those who want to make fashion statements. The spread collar is sometimes called a cutaway collar, but the cutaway collar term is ordinarily reserved for the especially wide examples. Some may call the wide cutaway collar a Windsor collar. Like the spread collar, the cutaway can only look good on someone with a very angular face. But even the most angular faces will still look best in a regular spread collar. Rather than widen a narrow, angular jaw, the contrast from a cutaway collar may start to emphasise it. Likewise, the roundest faces will not be flattered more by a very narrow point collar than by a classic point collar. A very narrow collar cannot balance the weight of a large head and will end up looking like a balloon on a string.

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Sean Connery wearing a cutaway collar in Dr. No

These extreme collars have only been worn occasionally in the Bond films. Sean Connery wears cutaway collars on his Turnbull & Asser shirts throughout Dr. No, Roger Moore wears a cutaway collar on his Frank Foster shirt with morning dress in A View to a Kill and Pierce Brosnan wears Brioni shirts with cutaway collars in Die Another Day. Pierce Brosnan’s collars get wider with every Bond film he does, though the cutaway collar is certainly too wide for his oval face. The extreme cutaway collars that are trendy today are more severe than James Bond’s examples, whilst Bond’s cutaway collars are more like the collar originally made popular by the Duke of Windsor.

The tab collar that Daniel Craig wears on his Tom Ford shirts in Skyfall is like a variation on the narrow point collar. A narrow point collar would not flatter Daniel Craig’s angular face, but the his tab collar is a little different. The curve around the tie softens Craig’s angular jawline, and the collar points flare out below the tab to give the collar some needed breadth. If the collar just went straight down without the curves and flare it would not be the least bit flattering to Daniel Craig’s face. Still, a spread collar is a better choice for Daniel Craig’s angular jaw.

Daniel Craig wearing a tab collar in Skyfall

Daniel Craig wearing a tab collar in Skyfall

What collars do you wear?

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The Ticket Pocket

The ticket pocket, sometimes called a cash pocket, is the small pocket that is occasionally found above the right hip pocket on a jacket or coat. It follows the angle and style of the pocket below it. Ordinarily it is aligned with the front edge of the larger hip pocket below it, but some makers centre the ticket pocket above the hip pocket. The ticket pocket’s flap is shorter than the hip pocket’s flap is. The ticket pocket can be found on suit jackets, sports jackets and overcoats. It was originally only found on country suits and sports coats but, like slanted pockets, made its way to city clothes during the second half of the twentieth century. The position of the ticket pocket has made its way lower over the years. It is considerably higher on Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair jackets in Goldfinger than it is on Daniel Craig’s jackets in Quantum of Solace. The standard is for the top of the ticket pocket to be three inches above the top of the hip pocket.

Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that the ticket pocket was “introduced in the late 1850s for a railroad ticket and used at intervals ever since.” Riccardo Villarosa and Guiliano Angeli have a more modern idea about the ticket pocket’s name that they write in The Elegant Man: “[It] is called a ticket pocket because it often holds bus tickets.” The ticket pocket is meant are for travelling tickets and not opera or theatre tickets. It is too informal to wear on suits that would be worn to the opera or the theatre. Other than travelling tickets, the pocket can be useful for any small item such coins, banknotes, receipts, papers, etc.

Ticket pockets are best avoided on shorter men since they break up the length of the jacket. They should also be avoided on heavier men since they add bulk to the waist.

Slanted pockets with a ticket pocket on Sean Connery's hacking jacket in Goldfinger. Notice that the ticket pocket has a smaller flap than the hip pocket and is placed high above it.

Slanted pockets with a ticket pocket on Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair hacking jacket in Goldfinger. Notice that the ticket pocket has a smaller flap than the hip pocket and is placed high above it.

James Bond has ticket pockets on a number of his suits and sports coats. Until Pierce Brosnan became Bond in the 1990s, Bond’s suits with ticket pockets were almost all sportier suits. The majority of Bond’s tweeds have ticket pockets, like the tweed hacking jackets in Goldfinger, Thunderball and A View to a Kill, the “reversible” tweed jacket in Octopussy and the tweed suits in Moonraker and The World Is Not Enough. The blazers in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (double-breasted) and The Spy Who Loved Me (single-breasted) also have ticket pockets. Apart from the tweed suits, many of Bond’s other sportier suits have ticket pockets, like the glen check suits in Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret ServiceDiamonds Are Forever and GoldenEye, the brown houndstooth check suit in Goldfinger and the grey flannel suit in Diamonds Are Forever.

Starting in GoldenEye, many of James Bond’s worsted city suits have ticket pockets. Many of Pierce Brosnan’s worsted suits—three in GoldenEye, two in Tomorrow Never Dies, two in The World Is Not Enough and one in Die Another Day—have slanted pockets with a ticket pocket. Though this pocket style gives the Italian Brioni suits a decidedly more English look, it is really too sporty for business suits. Straight pockets with a ticket pocket or slanted pockets without a ticket are okay for a slight dandyish look on a business suit, but the combination of slanted pockets with a ticket pocket is too sporty for the city. Brosnan’s navy single-breasted overcoat in Die Another Day, like many of his suits, has slanted pockets and a ticket pocket.  Daniel Craig brought back ticket pockets—albeit straight—on all of his dark city Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace. Even the navy Tom Ford overcoat in Quantum of Solace has a ticket pocket, but it’s also straight.

The November Man: The Grey Silk Suit

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Pierce Brosnan returned to the spy/action genre earlier this year in Roger Donaldson’s The November Man. Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA officer who has no reservations about killing or torturing people. The character would certainly not be mistaken for an older James Bond as he is certainly not a gentleman by any means. However, Olga Kurylenko, who played Camille in Quantum of Solace, plays a similar character to what she plays in her Bond film. Brioni, Pierce Brosnan’s suit supplier for his Bond films, provided some of the clothes for The November Man, according to a Brioni press release.

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One of Peter Devereaux’s nicest outfits in the film is his slubby grey and white pick-and-pick silk suit that he wears with a black shirt. The outfit is not Devereaux’s own but one that Olga Kurylenko’s character Alice Fournier picked out for him from the closet in an apartment they broke into. The grey suit flatters Brosnan’s very cool complexion, though it brings out the grey in his partially-dyed hair. The suit jacket is updated from the boxy, built-up jackets that Brosnan wore in his Bond films to one with more shape and straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line. It fits well, has balanced proportions and has a classic length that covers his rear. Like Brosnan’s Bond suit jackets, this jacket has roped sleeveheads, double vents and slanted hip pockets with a ticket pocket. There are four buttons on the sleeves, and the buttons are sewn in an overlapping “waterfall” style, a common method for tailors in Naples, Italy. The jacket has contrasting button in black plastic, which dress down the suit.

Unlike the darted Brioni suit trousers with a medium-high rise that Pierce Brosnan wore in his last two James Bond films, Devereaux’s suit trousers have a flat front and a lower rise. The lower rise does not flatter Brosnan, who is now almost beyond a middle-aged man and has a paunch. It also doesn’t help that he lets the trousers sag below his stomach. He keeps them loose so he can stick a gun in his trouser waistband, a bad habit that Brosnan’s Bond had as well. Brosnan wears the trousers with a black belt.

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Though black shirts (and other dark shirts) should not usually be worn with suits, Devereaux’s silk suit is not a business suit but rather one that can be dressed up or down for social occasions. Devereaux dresses the suit down with a dark shirt sans tie. The black shirt nicely contrasts with the suit in the same way a black necktie would, but without a tie a light-coloured shirt wouldn’t provide enough contrast with the light-coloured suit to balance Pierce Brosnan’s high-contrast winter complexion. The shirt has black buttons, a spread collar, a plain front and two-button scalloped cuffs, which Devereaux wears unbuttoned.

Devereaux’s shoes are the Nike Free Run 2 in all black. Though trainers such as these are inappropriate with a suit, the filmmakers—no doubt on purpose—show very little of the shoes. They are really only noticeable if one pauses the film during the three split-second shots when the shoes are visible. Since Pierce Brosnan is 61 years old, and The Novmeber Man requires him to do many action scenes, trainers are unfortunately necessary. When he was James Bond he was in much better shape and able to do the same kind of action in proper shoes.

The Nike trainers

Nike Free Run 2 black trainers

Brosnan’s Navy Cashmere Double-Breasted Guards Coat

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Pierce Brosnan’s navy cashmere double-breasted overcoat that he wears over his grey pinstripe suit in Die Another Day is the last tailored piece of James Bond’s wardrobe this blog has left to cover before the clothing in Spectre is revealed. Pierce Brosnan wears at least one overcoat in every one of his Bond films, and this is his third double-breasted overcoat after the vicuna-coloured overcoat in Tomorrow Never Dies and the funereal black overcoat in The World Is Not Enough. The navy Brioni overcoat is full-length to just below the knee and has six buttons with two to close. The lapels are peaked with a buttonhole on both sides. The overcoat has a half belt in back attached only at the ends, a long single vent, four buttons on the cuffs and straight, flapped pockets. Bond wears the collar up, which keeps the wind off his neck and reveals the navy velvet undercollar.

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Though full-length overcoats are not very popular right now—shorter coats are trendy and are almost all that’s available currently—they look the most elegant of all overcoats and keep the body the warmest. Double-breasted overcoats are warmer than single-breasted overcoats due to the extra layer in front. Bond, however, doesn’t benefit from the warmth of his overcoat since he wears it open. It must not be that cold. Or, perhaps like his grey suit underneath, the overcoat has become too tight to button. London, where Bond wears this coat, ocassions has very cold winters, and the warmth of a double-breasted coat is very beneficial whether the winter is severe or mild.

With the overcoat, Bond wears dark brown leather gloves with three points sewn on the back of the hand. The gloves are sewn with the seams on the outside, which are more comfortable than seams on the inside but are also more prone to wear. The gloves have a V-shaped palm vent to ease the glove onto the hand.

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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.

Angelo-Comparison

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.

Charcoal Windowpane-Cream Shirt

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

Classic Style and the Suit’s Ideal Proportions

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What is the standard to which we compare all suits? What makes lapels narrow or wide, a jacket long or short, or a button stance low or high? Style theorists—and I use this term loosely—talk about timeless suits that we should only be wearing, but what makes a suit timeless? Does this timeless suit even exist? Every decade of the past one hundred years has had its mark on the suit, though people will often cite the 1940s as the golden age of the suit. But most suits from the 1940s would now look outdated. James Bond was not yet around in the 1940s, so it’s not really a decade relevant to this blog.

Throughout every decade there have been tailors and clothing shops that did their best make and sell clothes that are ignorant of trends. From the 1980s to the end of the last decade, the American institution Brooks Brothers hardly took fashion trends into consideration. English shops like Pakeman, Catto & Carter and Purdey haven’t bowed to current fashion trends. But even many Savile Row bespoke tailors have considered and still consider fashion trends. They made narrower lapels in the 1960s and wider lapels in the 1970s, but never went to the extremes of fashion houses. Now, many of them are making trousers with a lower rise than they ever did before, and the drape cut is practically gone. The former Conduit Street tailors like Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair and Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle certainly kept up with fashion trends—especially the latter—but they kept classic proportions in the back of their minds and did not let fashion make their suits unflattering to the wearers.

Bilbao-SuitA suit with balanced, classic proportions is generally the most flattering suit, since it considers the wearer’s body first and foremost. Alan Flusser writes about this in considerable depth in his book Dressing the Man. Pierce Brosnan’s suits in The World Is Not Enough excellently illustrate the principles of a timeless suit with balanced proportions, and I will be using the suits from that film to illustrate what makes the suits look so timeless. This timeless look is what I compare all other suits to. The suits in Die Another Day and Casino Royale have similarly timeless proportions, and the suits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Octopussy and A View to a Kill come close.

Pierce Brosnan’s suits in The World Is Not Enough are all classically cut and styled in the Roman cut, which is derived from the English military cut. The charcoal suit in Bilbao and the pick-and-pick suit in Azerbaijan are the most basic of all the suits in the film, and thus they are the best to demonstrate what makes a classic suit. The suit jackets are made in the most classic of all jacket styles, the button three. They are cut for the lapel to gently roll over the top button, but they can still button at the top. The jackets have double vents at a medium length of around 10 inches. Double vents, single vents and no vents are all classic styles, though single vent is the sportiest style and no vent is the dressiest style. A vent length of 8 to 10 inches is the most classic since it is long enough to be useful but not too long as to cause unnecessary flapping about. The exception to vent length is for a longer 12-inch single vent on a hacking jacket since it splits open better on horseback. Besides the double vents, Pierce Brosnan’s charcoal and pick-and-pick suit jacket also have straight pockets with flaps and four buttons on the cuffs, which are the standards for suit jackets.

Pick-and-Pick-Suit-9What is the classic length of a jacket that we compare all other lengths to? The jacket length is ideally one half the distance from the base of the neck to the floor. For people with a longer torso than their legs, the jacket length should be long enough to cover the bum. For most people, the bottom of the jacket lines up with the thumb knuckle. This length keeps the body looking balanced and neither top-heavy nor bottom-heavy. A longer jacket can make a man look shorter, whilst a shorter jacket can give the man leggier, more feminine proportions.

The part of the jacket that changes most with fashion is the width of the lapels. Ideally, the lapel width should be roughly half the distance from the collar to the edge of the shoulder, which ordinarily ends up being between 3 and 3 1/2 inches. This lapel width splits up the chest evenly. Though wide lapels have the effect of making the shoulders look wider, they can make the chest look smaller. Narrow lapels do the opposite. Extremes of either lapel width throw off the balance of the body. Pocket flap depth ordinarily follows lapel width and is around three quarters of the width of the lapel. The best lapel gorge height—where the notch is—is just as important to balance as the width of the lapels.  A gorge that is too low shortens the lapel lines and brings the eye away from the face, but it has the benefit of giving the chest more presence. On the other hand, a gorge that is too high makes the chest look weak, so the right placement is key.

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The button stance has a big effect on the look of a jacket and a man’s perceived height and strength. The button stance is at the button that fastens, which is the middle button on a jacket with three buttons and the top button on a jacket with two buttons. A button stance that is too high makes a man look taller by extending the perceived leg length at the expense of a smaller-looking chest. A low button stance does the opposite. Pierce Brosnan’s button stance in The World Is Not Enough has the perfect balance and is about an inch lower than midway from the top of the jacket to its hem. The button stance should also correspond to the natural waist, which is typically about an inch above the navel. The body bends at the waist and placing the button stance there helps the jacket move better with the body.

A jacket’s shoulder width and amount of padding should be balanced to the person and not be too wide or narrow, or too built-up. But this is one thing that can vary within the realm of classic style. Pierce Brosnan’s shoulders on his Brioni suits in The World Is Not Enough are straight, built up with a lot of padding and slightly extended past his natural shoulders. But the shoulders are not overdone and actually balance his build. Something less dramatic could work just as well and look equally classic. The fullness of the chest and amount of waist suppression have the most allowance to vary within classic style, as long as they aren’t so tight that they put stress on the jacket or so loose that the jacket looks sloppy. Brosnan’s suit jackets in The World Is Not Enough have a clean chest with a gently suppressed waist.

Pick-and-Pick-Suit-8Just as the amount of fullness or tightness in the body of the jacket can vary within the realm of classic proportions, the amount of fullness and tightness in the trouser legs can vary too. Naturally, the fullness of the trouser legs should be in proportion of the fullness of the jacket. A jacket with a full chest needs to be balanced by trousers with a full thigh. If the jacket tapers a lot at the waist, the trousers shouldn’t be baggy. Just like a jacket should not be so tight that is pulls, the same goes for trousers. Other than that, anything goes for the width of trouser legs. Pierce Brosnan’s suit trousers in The World Is Not Enough fit neatly through the thigh and taper gently to the turned-up hem, which mimics the clean but not dramatic cut of the jacket. The front of the classic suit trousers can have pleats or darts (like most of Pierce Brosnan’s suit trousers in The World Is Not Enough), or be plain.

There is, however, a proportionate standard for the trouser rise. Like the jacket’s button stance, the trouser rise needs to work with the shape and movement of the body. There is a reason why classic suit trousers rise to the natural waist, like Pierce Brosnan’s suit trousers do. The waist is the narrowest part of the body and should be emphasised. Placing the trouser waist there does just that. The trousers have nowhere to fall down when they are at the narrowest part of the body. And by wearing trousers at the waist instead of at the hips, the legs look longer. The trouser rise should also correspond to the jacket’s button stance so that the shirt and tie don’t show below that jacket’s fastened button. It makes the suit look more fluid and the whole body look taller and slimmer.

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There is still plenty of room for creativity in a suit with balanced proportions. Just because a suit follows this classic formula doesn’t mean it has to be boring. The silhouette, the most defining aspect of a suit’s design, can vary considerably and still be balanced. Though Pierce Brosnan’s suits in The World Is Not Enough have straight, padded shoulders, the shoulders are just as proportionate and as classic as the natural shoulders on Roger Moore’s Douglas Hayward suits. Smaller stylistic details can also make a big difference. Sleeveheads can be roped or flat. The shape of the gorge can curve in different ways or not curve at all. The amount of belly in the lapels can vary. The quarters and pocket flaps can be more rounded or more squared for much different looks.

Though fashion notoriously messes with the suit’s classic proportions, tailors may also alter these proportions to better suit people with extreme body types. For instance, a very tall man may benefit from a lower gorge (lapel notch) so he looks more grounded, and a short man can benefit from a higher gorge that lengthens the lapel lines. A man with a large head can benefit from extended shoulders so his head looks more balanced with the rest of his body. A short man can benefit from a shorter jacket length that will make his legs look longer. But any of these taken to the extreme like fashion has often done over the years is ultimately not flattering.

Pick-and-Pick-Suit-4Classic proportions aren’t just about the suit. We all know that the width of one’s tie should match the width of a jacket’s lapels. However, the shirt collar also needs to be in proportion with the lapel and tie width. The shirt collar point length can match the width of the lapels, though in practice the collar points are typically a little shorter than lapel width. It is more important that the collar match the shape and size of one’s head rather than the jacket’s lapels. Pierce Brosnan’s collar has roughly 2 3/4 inch points, but his lapels are around 3 1/2 inches wide. The size of the cuffs should correspond to the size of the collar. Brosnan’s cuffs are around the same 2 3/4 inches deep as his collar points.

It’s not just the point length of a shirt collar that can match the jacket’s lapels. The angle of a shirt collar’s spread should roughly correspond to the jacket’s gorge height and angle. A narrower point collar points to a lower notch whilst a wider spread collar points to a higher notch. Pierce Brosnan’s moderately wide spread collars in The World Is Not Enough roughly follow the angle of the lapel gorge and end at around the same height of the lapel notches. But more important than matching the gorge angle, the collar spread should inversely match the width of the face. Pierce Brosnan’s face, however, is neither wide nor narrow, so he can look good in almost any collar. The height of a collar is determined by the length of one’s neck and has no relation to the proportions of other parts of the outfit.

When some of the suit jacket’s proportions are tailored to best suit the person wearing the suit, and the suit, shirt and tie are well-designed to be in proportion with each other like Pierce Brosnan’s are in The World Is Not Enough, the entire of the outfit will be classically proportioned and most flattering. The clothes in The World Is Not Enough escape the clutches of fashion trends and look just as great today as they did fifteen years ago.

For more about the classic proportions of a suit, read Alan Flusser’s book Dressing the Man.

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.