Shirt Pockets

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Pockets are a common feature on shirts, but what shirts should have pockets? A true dress shirt—a shirt for black tie, white tie or morning dress—should never have a pocket, but on the other hand, pockets are always appropriate on sports shirts and work shirts. What about formal shirts (called dress shirts in the US) with pockets? Pockets generally make a shirt less dressy, so should the shirts you wear with your suits and sports coats have pockets? Most formal shirts in the US have a left breast pocket whilst most formal shirts in the UK do not. Formal shirts in the UK are typically dressier than their American counterparts in many other ways: poplin versus pinpoint, double cuffs versus button cuffs, spread and cutaway collars versus point and button-down collars. In the UK, a shirt with double cuffs never has a pocket, though some makers put pockets on their button-cuff shirts.

An unsightly pocket peaking out from under Timothy Dalton's suit in Licence to Kill

An unsightly pocket peaking out from under Timothy Dalton’s suit jacket in Licence to Kill

James Bond almost never wears pockets on his formal shirts, with the exception being two of the worst shirts Bond has ever worn in Licence to Kill. These shirts have the standard single American oversized, open patch pocket with a pointed bottom. Since the film was made in Mexico and Florida, the shirts were more than likely sourced in America. Most Americans are used to pockets on all formal shirts, so much that I witnessed a man returning a shirt he thought was defective because it did not have a pocket. If a man is wearing a suit or a jacket, the pockets in the jacket are there to be used. If a man is not wearing a suit or jacket, a sports shirt is usually appropriate. Formal shirts with pockets are most useful for the man who does not wear a jacket in the office, though there are more elegant ways to carry things away from one’s desk. Unlike a structured jacket, a shirt has no support for anything in the pocket. Anything heavier than a couple pieces of paper in a shirt pocket ruins the lines of the shirt.

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A single pocket on Roger Moore’s Frank Foster sport shirt in For Your Eyes Only

Pockets are at home on sport shirts, and James Bond has worn many sports shirts with pockets. Sean Connery’s many short-sleeve camp shirts in Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, Pierce Brosnan’s two camp shirts in Die Another Day and Daniel Craig’s floral shirt in Casino Royale all have on the left side of the chest a small open breast pocket with rounded bottom corners. Roger Moore’s short-sleeve shirts in For Your Eyes Only made by Frank Foster similarly have open patch pockets on the left, but his have mitred bottom corners. These pockets are all correctly sized to the proportions of the body and drape neatly on the chest. Roger Moore also wears a blue long-sleeve Frank Foster sports shirt (auctioned at Prop Store) under his gilet in For Your Eyes Only that has a mitred patch pocket that matches the mitred shirt cuffs. In Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig’s polo shirts each have a small patch pocket on the left.

A pocket on Daniel Craig's Sunspel polo in Casino Royale

A pocket on Daniel Craig’s Sunspel polo in Casino Royale

The sportiest of sports shirts—as well as work shirts and military shirts—have a patch pocket on both sides with a flap and button, and often a box pleat. Many of Bond shirts have this pocket style, like the terrycloth shirt in Diamonds Are Forever, a number of the shirts in Licence to Kill and the printed shirt in Skyfall (pictured top) have two breast pockets.

A Poncho and Sombrero on Horseback

Moonraker-Poncho

Roger Moore’s James Bond wears more disguises—and more outlandish disguises—than all of the other Bond actors. Just as he rides a camel wearing a keffiyeh with agel, a tunic and a cloak in the desert in The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond rides a horse wearing a poncho in South America in Moonraker. This is one of Bond’s most pointless disguises; it looks like he’s just wearing a poncho for fun. It helps him fit in with his surroundings, but Bond may have gone too far this time.

The poncho is a simple garment, which is essentially a blanket draped over the body with a hole for the head. Bond’s long poncho reaches the knees and has a boat neck opening for the head. Traditionally, ponchos are made of wool, and Bond’s likely is. Bond’s poncho is woven in beige, tan, medium brown and dark brown stripes, varying in sizes. The bottom ends of the poncho have a short beige fringe.

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Under the Poncho Bond wears a brown and white plaid shirt. The clear white in the shirt looks a little jarring against the warm, muted colours in the poncho, but this outfit isn’t meant to be a perfectly-coordinated fashion piece. The shirt still goes decently well with the poncho over it. The shirt has a medium-sized point collar and button cuffs. Inside the shirt’s collar Bond wears a dark brown silk neckerchief.

Bond’s dark brown trousers are bombachas, which are similar to breeches since they fasten around the leg below the knee. Bombachas are longer and fuller-cut than breeches; they are actually really baggy. Bond’s bombachas end around the top of his black leather riding boots. At one point, the bombachas ride up a little to reveal Bond’s tall brown socks.

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Bond’s black hat is a sombrero cordobés, also known as an Andalusian sombrero. The hat originated in Córdoba, Spain, and the character Zorro is known for wearing this hat. The black felt sombrero cordobés has a wide, flat brim and a flat crown. It also has a black triple-rope band at the base of the crown and a leather chin cord. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Tracy wears a similar hat to the bullfight.

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Since I am not an expert on South American clothing, most of my research on these clothes came from Wikipedia and websites of the makers of this style of clothing. Feel free to correct me on anything wrong!

The Zorin Industries Blouson

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To blend in at Max Zorin’s mine in A View to a Kill, James Bond discards his brown leather blouson for a Zorin Industries blouson that he steals. The waist-length, zip-front, lightly padded Zorin Industries blouse jacket is essentially a bomber jacket. It looks teal-grey in the film, though in most promotional stills the jacket looks blue-grey, in a cool shade similar to air force blue. It is either made of cotton or a cotton blend with nylon or polyester. The zip fastening is brass.

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Except for a small portion in front, the jacket’s hem is ribbed and elasticised to fit closely around the top of the hips. The cuffs are also ribbed and elasticised. The ribbed stand-up collar has a tab sewn on the left side, which can extend across the neck and button on the opposite side. Bond leaves the collar open with the tab folded back and held in place with a button. The front of the jacket has four patch pockets with pointed flaps secured with poppers. The top edge of the pockets slopes downward to the outside. The bottom two pockets take up the entire bottom half of the jacket, as seams just below the flaps across the waist in front would indicate.

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The back of the blouson has the Zorin Industries logo on a large patch. The logo is a large “Z” with a white outline, and it has a diagonal lowercase “i” inside it. The “Z” sits on a green circle that has an inset white border. Bond steals a grey hard hat, which also has the Zorin Industries logo on the front.

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Under the Zorin blouson, Bond wears the same outfit that he wears under his brown leather blouson in the preceding scenes. His sky blue shirt, which is probably made of oxford cloth, is made by Frank Foster and has a button-down collar, front placket with the stitching close to the centre and rounded, single-button cuffs.

The dark, cool brown flannel trousers are without pleats and have wide legs with plain bottoms. The socks are dark brown to match the trousers. The trousers are worn with a black leather belt, and the shoes are black slip-ons with leather soles, Moore’s usual shoes. Brown shoes would have been a better match for the brown trousers and casual nature of the outfit, but the black shoes don’t clash since the trousers are a very cool brown.

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Announcing Spectre—Daniel Craig in a Blue Jumper

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At a press conference yesterday morning, Bond 24 was christened Spectre, and Skyfall’s costume designer Jany Temime was confirmed to be returning. So what did Daniel Craig wear to this press conference? He dressed down elegantly in a jumper, grey wool trousers and a shirt and tie. Thanks to James Bond Lifestyle, the round-neck jumper is identified as the “Oxford” model from N.Peal, the same one that he wears in Skyfall. But it’s in a different colour: a deep royal blue that flatters Daniel Craig’s warm spring complexion. Under the jumper, Craig wore a white shirt with a narrow collar—presumably a point collar but it could possibly be a tab collar—and a navy tie. V-neck jumpers typically work better with a tie than round-neck jumpers do since the V-neck leaves a space for the tie. The round neck jumper awkwardly sits over the tie knot. On the other hand, a crew-neck jumper over a tie looks like something one would wear when removing a jacket after returning home from work. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it shows an unstudied elegance. Craig allowed shirt cuff to show beyond the jumper’s sleeves.

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Craig wore grey wool flat-front trousers with turn-ups and Crockett & Jones Molton chukka boots (again, identified by James Bond Lifestyle) with the jumper. The Molton is a three-eyelet chukka with rubber soles sold at Barneys New York. Craig’s boots were black suede, an unusual combination of colour and material. Black is the dressiest colour for footwear whilst suede is a rather informal material. Black looks good when it’s well-shined leather, and in suede it looses that characteristic whilst lacking the interest that the brown colour can give suede. Black suede looks very dull and flat. However, the black goes with the grey and blue in the outfit whilst suede chukka boots match the casual look of outfit. Black suede is very difficult to pull off due to its unorthodox nature, yet Craig makes it work.

Daniel Craig’s outfit certainly looked elegant, but was it appropriate for a grand announcement of a new Bond film? Does it give insight to what he will wear in Spectre? Perhaps not. Craig wore a suit and tie at the press conferences announcing his first three Bond films, though only at the Quantum of Solace press conference did Craig wear an outfit from the upcoming film (the charcoal suit he wears in the London scenes). The Spectre press conference certainly looks like a more spontaneous affair than the previous press conferences, not only in the way Daniel Craig is dressed but also in the way the other actors are dressed. Nobody appears to be wearing costume.

SPECTRE-Press-Conference-Ralph-Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes, who plays M in Spectre, wore a beautiful charcoal birdseye suit with an azure blue shirt. The suit jacket is a button two with jetted pockets and no vents, and the trousers have forward pleats and turn-ups and are held up with braces that button on the outside of the waistband. However, Fiennes made the mistake of fastening the bottom button of the jacket instead of the top. The suit jacket has a fairly soft construction for what is most likely a bespoke English suit, judging by the full chest, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and the lapel had rolled over the top button down to the bottom button. This was most likely the result of a poor pressing because no English tailor would design a suit to button so low as to show the trouser waistband above the jacket’s button. Fiennes’ wore shoes with plain toe and were likely chelsea boots, though they were mostly hidden by the trousers. Fiennes’ suit is also not one that should be worn without a tie. That suit and the occasion warranted a tie.

Spectre‘s Director Sam Mendes wore a sloppy-looking suit with both the sleeves and the trousers too long. It was as if he borrowed a suit for the event. The jacket has three buttons and he fastened the bottom two buttons.

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Ben Whishaw, who plays Q in Spectre, wore one of the least attractive outfits of the men at the event. He wore a black, button four unstructured jacket, baggy black trousers that bunch at the waist, black derby shoes and white shirt with the collar buttoned but no tie. He was probably inspired by the Twelfth Doctor to button his collar without a tie, but it is nevertheless an unattractive look. Rory Kinnear, who plays Tanner, dressed similarly to Daniel Craig in a jumper, though his outfit isn’t quite as refined.

SPECTRE-Press-Conference-Christoph-Waltz

Christoph Waltz, who plays Franz Oberhauser, was perhaps the best-dressed man at the Spectre press conference in a outfit of a well-fitting suit and tie that’s appropriate for the grand occasion. The suit is a tone-on-tone brown Glen Urquhart check and has a button two jacket with flapped pockets and a single vent with flat front and plain-hemmed trousers. He unfortunately had the right pocket flap tucked whilst he left pocket flap out. He wore it with a white shirt that had an edge-stitched point collar and a burgundy tie with a brown grid and white dots. He knotted the tie in a windsor knot. His shoes are light brown cap-toe oxfords, a flashy and fashionable, yet stylish, choice.

Poll: Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall’s climax?

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Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall's climax?

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Skyfall gives a few nods to past James Bond films to commemorate the series’ 50th anniversary, and the most notable of these nods is the return once again of the Aston Martin DB5 that Bond first drives in Goldfinger. In Goldfinger, Bond is first seen with the Aston Martin at the Stoke Park golf club in the English countryside and soon after in the Swiss mountains wearing a brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket. The hills of Scotland where Bond takes the Aston Martin in Skyfall could have provided a great opportunity to bring back the tweed sports jacket. Instead, Bond wears a Barbour waxed cotton sports jacket.

Skyfall-Barbour-Jacket

The Barbour jacket in Skyfall is the limited edition by To Ki To, designed by Tokihito Yoshida. It is made in Barbour’s classic olive waxed cotton with three buttons down the front, flapped bellows pockets on the hips. It’s not the traditional Barbour with a zip front but rather a sports jacket like Bond’s tweed jacket in Goldfinger is, so it’s not as practical as the traditional Barbour jacket. Barbour calls the current version of the model the “Beacon Sports Jacket” and describes it as such:

The three-pocket waxed Beacon Sports jacket is an iconic blazer-style button through, inspired by the limited edition Barbour Sports Jacket worn by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film, Skyfall in 2012.

It’s an excellent choice Bond considering Barbour’s English heritage and the damp, cool Scotland location, and it’s about time Bond wore a Barbour. But at the same time, Bond has a long history of wearing tweed and it’s a shame Bond didn’t use this opportunity to wear it. Apart from the brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger and Thunderball, Bond wears a houndstooth tweed hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a herringbone tweed jacket and a plaid tweed jacket in Diamonds Are Forever, a tweed-inspired lightweight plaid jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun, a donegal tweed suit in Moonraker, a brown tweed jacket in Octopussy, a grey tweed jacket and a brown barleycorn tweed jacket in A View to a Kill, a tweed-esque gun club check jacket in The Living Daylights and a charcoal windowpane cheviot tweed suit in The World Is Not Enough.

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The tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger

Scotland would have been a great place for Bond to wear a tweed jacket again, since Scotland is known for tweed, namely Harris Tweed. The cool, damp weather is perfect. Bond finds the Barbour jacket in the Skyfall Lodge, so he wears it for his showdown with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). But would a tweed jacket have been appropriate considering the context? Of course! A tweed jacket is harder-wearing than a waxed cotton Barbour jacket and just as great for action. If Bond could wear a sports jacket made of waxed cotton he could just as effectively have worn a sports jacket made of tweed. The cut of Bond’s Barbour jacket gives it no advantage over a tweed jacket either. Since tweed jackets are designed for country sports like shooting, they are very practical for a scene full gunfire. Tweed jackets are especially practical for shooting if they have bi-swing shoulder pleats and bellows pockets to store extra rounds. And a tweed jacket had the same details as Bond’s Barbour sports jacket, like the bellows pockets, it wouldn’t be any dressier. There’s nothing that Bond’s Barbour jacket did that tweed could not have done just as well, if not better.

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Tweed is once again popular and not just for old men. Trendy shops like Topman (which provided Daniel Craig chinos’s in Skyfall) and H&M sell tweed or tweed-esque sports jackets. Other shops that provided clothes for Skyfall sell tweed sports jackets, like Acne Studios, Billy Reid and, of course, Tom Ford. Tweed is hardly a thing of the past, and if Bond wore a tweed jacket unfortunately-cut like his suit jackets in Skyfall he would look trendier than he does in his Barbour sports jacket. And we know from The Golden Compass that Daniel Craig looks brilliant in brown tweed. For a fashionable look, Bond could wear the collar of a tweed jacket turned up like he does with his Barbour. Many traditional tweed jackets have a throat latch that connects either side of the collar across the front when it is turned up, so turning up the collar of a tweed jacket would not be inappropriate.

For Bond to wear a tweed jacket instead of the Barbour sports jacket, he would need to wear something underneath it other than the Henley shirt and round neck jumper that he wears with the Barbour sports jacket. He could keep the jumper and wear a collared sports shirt under it instead of the Henley, or he could keep the Henley and wear a polo jumper over it instead of the round neck jumper. Either way, a shirt collar is necessary under a tweed jacket, both to prevent the tweed from irritating the neck and to prevent the oils on the neck from soiling the tweed. The rest of the outfit, however, would go perfectly with a tweed jacket in olive—like the Barbour—or in medium brown like Connery’s jacket in Goldfinger. The corduroy trousers, the pebble grain leather boots and the scarf would still go perfectly with a tweed jacket.

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Overall, the Barbour sports jacket is a fantastic choice for Skyfall‘s climax, and it is certainly much classier than Pierce Brosnan’s tactical gear for battle. But a tweed jacket would have been just as appropriate for the character, the story and the location. Not using a tweed is a missed opportunity to further connect Goldfinger‘s Aston Martin scenes to the Skyfall‘s Aston Martin scenes, a well as connecting Bond’s country wardrobe from the past to the present.


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Mischka’s Circus Outfit

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James Bond’s wardrobe in Octopussy is full of disguises, from the Colonel Toro uniform to the “Octopussy’s Circus” jacket to the gorilla suit to the clown suit. The disguise he spends the most time wearing in Octopussy is the outfit he takes from knife-throwing assassin Mischka (played by David Meyer) after he kills him. Like the clown suit, the outfit Bond takes from Mischka is also a circus costume. It would be quite a silly-looking outfit if it weren’t for the circus, but it’s tame compared to the clown suit.

Mischka-Circus-Uniform-2The main piece of the outfit is a crimson red polyester or nylon tunic that is long enough to almost cover the bum. It has a high collar that closes at the left side, and there is a roughly 9-inch placket that extends down the front of the shirt from the collar fastening to allow a head to fit through the collar. The sleeves are full cut, and the square single-button cuff is attached to the sleeve with shirring. A wide black belt with two rows of flat brass studs and a large two-prong brass buckle worn over the tunic around it gives shape to the outfit.

Mischka-Circus-Uniform-3Over the tunic, Bond wears an open black leather waistcoat that Mischka used to keep his knives. The open design provides easy access to the knives. Below the tunic, Bond wears his own navy straight-leg suit trousers from earlier rather than Mischka’s tighter black trousers worn inside tall black boots. Bond wears his own black slip-on shoes, though the stuntman who plays Bond on top of the train wears black side-zip boots.

Q’s Bush Shirt and Bermuda Shorts

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Q, on the left, in a bush shirt and bermuda shorts.

When Q visits Japan in You Only Live Twice, he wears the classic British military warm-weather outfit of a bush shirt tucked into Bermuda shorts. Q’s military-issued, khaki cotton bush shirt has a two-piece point collar, front placket, shoulder straps and two breast pockets, each with a box pleat and button flap. The shirt’s buttons are light brown horn. Q wears the collar button and first two buttons open. He also wears the shirt’s long sleeves rolled up above the elbow.

Q-Bush-Outfit-2Q’s linen bermuda shorts are british tan—darker than the khaki shirt—and have single forward pleats and slanted side pockets. The shorts’ waistband is wide and has an extended button closure and slide-buckle side tabs. In the rear, there are two darts on either side in the rear and no pockets. The hem is knee-length, though more traditionally for Bermuda shorts it’s an inch or two above the knee. Though Bermuda shorts can be tailor-made, Q’s certainly are not. They are too large in the seat and bunch up, and the legs are a little baggier than they should be. Bermuda shorts are cut like dress trousers, and in Bermuda they are treated as such when made of dressy materials. With this outfit, Q wears the requisite light brown suede, 2-eyelet, crepe-soled desert boots with tan over-the-calf socks.

Q-AssistantsQ’s two assistants who set up Little Nellie wear similar clothes to Q’s clothes, all surely provided by the military. They both wear bush shirts; one wears a khaki shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the other wears a british tan shirt with the sleeves down and cuffs buttoned. His shirt’s cuffs are rounded with a single button. Both assistants wear khaki cotton Bermuda shorts, light brown desert boots and long light brown socks, all in the same style as what Q wears.

René Mathis: Draping Knitwear

Mathis-Villa

Along with Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter, Giancarlo Giannini’s René Mathis is one of Daniel Craig’s Bond’s best-dressed allies. When Bond visits Mathis at his new Tuscany Villa in Quantum of Solace, Mathis is stylishly dressed in an open-collar button-down shirt with a jumper tied around his neck. The pale blue button-down shirt is most likely made of a linen and cotton blend, since it’s lightweight and slightly rumpled. The button-down collar has an stylish roll for a casual look, and the inside of the collar band contrasts in ecru. The shirt has a placket, button cuffs and a mitre-cut breast pocket. The mitre-cut breast pocket is a rectangle, open at the top, with the bottom corners angled off.

Mathis-Villa-2Mathis wears a light blue-grey cashmere jumper like a scarf around his neck with the arms tied in front and the body draped over his back. It may be worn for a little warmth, but it’s probably worn primarily for style. He may have tied the jumper around his neck so he can conveniently don it if the weather becomes too cold, but since he’s at home he could just as easily leave it anywhere he wants to. Mathis wears flat-front navy linen trousers with a light brown suede belt and light brown leather slip-on shoes. The belt and shoes nicely complement the navy trousers, and the contrast is stylish for a casual outfit. This type of contrast, however, would not be appropriate for a suit. Mathis’ metal sunglasses are the Ray Ban Caravan model.

There’s more of Mathis’ clothing to come later.