The Saint: A Black-and-White Hopsack Suit with a Double-Breasted Waistcoat

Roger Moore in "Simon and Delilah", with Lois Maxwell who plays Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 Bond films

Roger Moore in “Simon and Delilah”, with Lois Maxwell who plays Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 Bond films

In a number of fifth series episodes of The Saint—including “The Helpful Pirate”, “The Convenient Monster”, “The Angel’s Eye”, “The Persistent Patriots”, “Simon and Delilah” and “A Double in Diamonds”—Roger Moore wears a black and white hopsack three-piece suit. The overall look of the cloth is a medium-dark grey with a lot of sheen. The sheen suggests a wool and mohair blend, which was very popular in the 1960s. Mohair often came in these tone-tone hopsack weaves in the 1960s because the iridescent two-tone look accentuates the natural sheen of mohair. Hopsack—a basketweave—is also a popular weave for mohair because the open weave takes advantage of mohair’s cool-wearing properties.

Saint-Black-and-White-Mohair-Suit-2

With a tie-clip microphone in “Simon and Delilah”

Cyril Castle, who tailored Moore for The Saint, The Persuaders, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, cut this suit. Like all of Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint‘s fifth series, this suit’s jacket has a button three front. The jacket is cut with softly padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a draped chest and a suppressed waist. A low button stance serves, along with the drape, to make Roger Moore’s chest look more masculine and imposing. The considerably narrow lapels add to this effect and make the entire look overdone.

For a dressier look, this suit jacket has the minimalist touches of jetted pockets and no rear vent. Like on most of the jackets in the fifth series, the cuffs are gauntlet cuffs with a single button. The suits’s trousers have a darted front, no belt, frogmouth pockets and narrow, tapered legs with plain hems.

Moore reaches into the pockets of his double-breasted in "The Angels Eye"

Moore reaches into the pockets of his double-breasted in “The Angels Eye”

The double-breasted waistcoat has six buttons in a keystone formation with three to button. A double-breasted waistcoat is an unusual piece and is more formal than a single-breasted waistcoat. It’s perfect for evening formal dress and morning dress, but it’s equally appropriate on a dressier lounge suit such as this shiny mohair suit. It’s certainly a dandyish piece and serves as a way to stand out from the crowd, but it doesn’t draw much more attention than a single-breasted waistcoat would, especially if the jacket is kept buttoned. It lends a rather old-world look to this suit, but since the suit is very modern with narrow lapels and narrow trousers it doesn’t have enough weight to make the suit look old-fashioned.

Notice the gauntlet cuffs, in "SImon and Delilah"

Notice the gauntlet cuffs, in “SImon and Delilah”

A suit like this is too bold for standard business dress. Mohair is too shiny and thus flashy, and the double-breasted waistcoat is too unconventional. These elements also make the suit too formal for the office. However, it is perfect for a fancy evening out or to wear to a day or night wedding, either as a guest or as the groom. Though mohair is a cool-wearing cloth and good for warm weather, the extra layer of a waistcoat gives this suit a wider temperature range.

Moore coordinates this suit with two different tie and shoe combinations. The shirts are always ecru, and many or all have white hairlines stripes. The shirts have a moderate spread collar, plain front and double cuffs. The collar has a tall stand but short points. In “The Helpful Pirate”, “The Convenient Monster” and “The Angel’s Eye” Moore wears a narrow medium grey satin tie and black slip-on shoes with elastic. In “The Persistent Patriots”, “Simon and Delilah” and “A Double in Diamonds” he wears an narrow olive satin tie and medium brown slip-on shoes with elastic. Moore knots his ties with a small four-in-hand knot.

The suit jacket buttoned in "The Convenient Monster"

The suit jacket buttoned in “The Convenient Monster”. With the jacket buttoned the double-breasted waistcoat doesn’t look so unusual.

In “Simon and Delilah” Moore wears a tie clip with a microphone built in (pictured second from top). A tie clip is typically unnecessary with a waistcoat because the waistcoat keeps the tie in place. Sometimes the waistcoat doesn’t do this job as well as it should and a man may still want a tie clip to keep his tie perfectly in place. In that case, the tie clip should be worn under the waistcoat. It belongs approximately three-quarters of the way down the tie and away from the face. Of course, a microphone would be less effective under the waistcoat. Ideally a two-piece suit should have been chosen for this scene. On the other hand, the waistcoat means that the tine clip is higher and thus in better sight for the viewers of the show.

Though he usually wears dark grey socks with this suit, in “The Persistent Patriots” Moore wears this suit with beige socks—which coordinate with the shirt more than they do with the suit. Though they by no means clash with the outfit, light-coloured socks can draw attention to the feet when attention should be drawn to the face.

Beige socks with this suit in "The Persistent Patriots"

Beige socks with this suit in “The Persistent Patriots”

The Persuaders: A More Conservative Charcoal Three-Piece Suit

Persuaders-Charcoal-Three-Piece-Suit-2

Though Roger Moore often dresses flamboyantly as Lord Brett Sinclair in his early 1970s television show The Persuaders, not all of his clothes are entirely adventurous or fashion-forward. One of Moore’s more conservative pieces of clothing in The Persuaders is a charcoal track-stripe three-piece suit, which he wears in eight episodes. The track stripes are pairs of white or light grey pinstripes, spaced close together. Roger Moore designed his clothes for The Persuaders, and for this one he kept the cloth more conservative. Cyril Castle, Moore’s tailor for The Saint and his first two James Bond films, made the suit.

Persuaders-Charcoal-Three-Piece-Suit

This cut of this suit is similar to Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint, but the jacket has been updated from the 1960s with wider, more balanced lapels and a higher button stance that gives the suit jacket a timeless look. The jacket has a very British cut with softly padded shoulders, a full chest and a nipped waist. The front buttons three with a medium low stance that has a balanced and flattering look on Roger Moore’s figure. The jacket is detailed with three buttons on the cuffs, slanted pockets and a single vent.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. The bottom of the front edge starts to curve away above the bottom button, thus the bottom button and buttonhole do not line up. The waistcoat also has notched lapels and two welt pockets.

Persuaders-Charcoal-Three-Piece-Suit-Waistcoat

Moore wears a gold chain from one waistcoat pocket to the other. This should mean that Moore has a pocket watch in one waistcoat pocket and a fob in the other, but Moore is wearing a gold wristwatch. Either Moore has both a wristwatch and a pocket watch, or the waistcoat’s chain is purely decorative.

The suit’s trousers are made by Cyril Castle’s trouser maker at the time, Richard Paine. They have jetted cross pocket on the front, and a dart centred on the front of each side cuts through the pocket. There is a button-through pocket on either side in the back. The trousers have a narrow straight leg, following 1960s fashion. Though Moore often dresses flamboyantly in The Persuaders, he wouldn’t adopt the flared looks that became popular in the late 60s until Live and Let Die. The trousers also have belt loops, but Moore doesn’t wear a belt, and the waistcoat keeps the belt loops covered. The trouser waist fits well enough that a belt is not needed.

Persuaders-Charcoal-Three-Piece-Suit-3

Moore’s lilac poplin shirt, made by Frank Foster, has a spread collar, a plain front and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten with a single button. Lilac shirts are very versatile, and the colour flatters Moore’s warm complexion. The tie is navy with sets of wide cream, champagne and gold stripes, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. The shoes are black monk shoes with an apron front.

Roger Moore’s Infamous Flared Trousers

Moonraker-Black-Flared-Trousers

Roger Moore’s trousers in his 1970s James Bond films are notorious for their flared or bell-bottom legs. Though the flares were most exaggerated in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Roger Moore will forever be remembered for these trousers. That is unfortunate because Moore’s trousers have some interesting details beyond the rather pitiful flares. Moore’s suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers in the 1970s were all very similar, though in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun they were made by Mayfair tailor Cyril Castle, and in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker they were made by Roman tailor Angelo Roma. Though most today would say the trousers are ruined by the flared legs, there are many interesting details at the top of the trousers.

Along with the flared legs, some may also say that the trouser waist sits too high. A higher waist gives Moore the illusion of being taller, and it gives his actual waist the definition it needs. When the trousers are worn with a jacket, the higher waist keeps the shirt from being visible beneath the fastened jacket button and creates an overall sleeker silhouette.

Cyril-Castle-Beige-Suit-Trousers

Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

Cyril Castle’s Trousers

Cyril Castle’s trousers have subtly flared legs, which would now be called “boot-cut.” They taped gently to the knee and gently flare out below the knee. If there could be an elegant example of flared mens trousers, this would be it. Castle took the fashion trend and did the best he could with it. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

In Live and Let Die the suit trousers are made with “DAKS top” button-tab side adjusters with three buttons, whilst the odd trousers and casual trousers are worn with belts. The suit trousers also have an extended waistband with a hidden clasp closure. Both the waistband extension and the side tabs have a rectangular shape with rounded corners. In The Man with the Golden Gun, all of Roger Moore’s trousers that can be seen are worn with belts. Some of the casual trousers may have been made by someone other than Castle, but they are all made without side pockets.

Cyril-Castle-Grey-Suit-Trousers

Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

The tops of Castle’s trousers have a unique style. The front has long darts of approximately four to five inches sewn down the middle of either side. It’s effectively like having small pleats, but since they’re sewn down the trousers have the cleaner look of flat fronts. Castle obviously believed that trousers without pleats still needed to have shape in the front.

There are neither pockets on the sides of the trousers nor frogmouth pockets on the front of the trousers. This gives the trousers a very clean look, and when Moore moves about there are no pockets to gape open. Instead, the trousers have top-entry pockets on each side at the waistband seam. They’re like coin pockets that would be placed on the right side, but these pockets are larger. These top-entry can be found on Moore’s suit trousers in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, and on many of his casual trousers as well.

Cyril-Castle-Suit-Trousers-Coin-Pocket

Roger Moore reaching into the left top pocket of his Cyril Castle suit trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun

The back of the Cyril Castle trousers has a button through pocket and a pair of darts on either side. Ordinarily, darts on the back of trousers go from the bottom of the waistband down to the top of the pockets, but on Castle’s trousers the inner darts extend further through the pockets to give more fullness to the seat. Castle offsets those darts slightly to the outside of the centre of the pocket so not to interfere with the buttons. The second dart on either side goes from the bottom of the waistband to the outer corner of the pocket. Placing the darts to the side of the pockets rather than spacing them over the middle of the pockets—where pairs of rear are typically placed—throws the fullness toward the hips where it may be more useful for Moore’s body. Through his unique method of using darts, Cyril Castle is able to give Moore the fullness through the seat, hips and thighs that he needs without using pleats.

Cyril-Castle-Linen-Trousers-Rear

Cyril Castle linen trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun. Look closely for the two darts above and through the rear right pocket.

Angelo Roma’s Trousers

The tops of Angelo Roma trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker aren’t seen very much since they are usually hidden under jackets and jumpers. Like Cyril Castle, Angelo made suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers for the Bond films he worked on. They’re cut with wider flared legs than the Castle trousers are, though from the knee up they still have a very classic look. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

Like the Castle trousers, the Angelo trousers are also made without side pockets. However, they have nothing to make up for the lack of pockets. Some of the trousers, like the black casual trousers in Moonraker, have no rear pockets at all. The trousers chose clean lines over utility, which is an approach women’s clothes often follow. The lack of rear pockets highlights the shape of the buttocks instead of camouflaging it with pockets. The trousers on the dinner suit for The Spy Who Loved Me go the traditional route of having a rear jetted pocket only on the right.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Dinner-Suit-Trousers

Angelo Roma dinner suit trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me

The front of the Angelo trousers is plain without darts. Like most better flat front trousers, these trousers are made with a pair of darts on either side in the rear. The darts extend from the bottom of the waistband to where the top of the rear pockets would be, and the darts would be spaced equidistant from the centre of each pocket. This is how two darts on each side of the rear of men’s trousers are typically done. The suit trousers and odd trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me are made with an squared extended waistband. They are neither worn without a belt nor have an adjustable waistband. They are made to exactly the right size so no assistance is needed. Such a waistband is not practical since almost everybody’s waist fluctuates a little. The casual trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and most of the trousers in Moonraker are worn with belts.

Moonraker-Black-Pocket-less-Trousers

Pocket-less Angelo Roma black trousers in Moonraker

Kananga in Black Lounge

Kananga-Black-Lounge

When representing his island nation of San Monique at the United Nations, Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) wears black lounge in Live and Let Die. Black lounge is made up of a black lounge coat, a black or contrasting waistcoat and grey checked or striped trousers. It’s like morning dress but with a lounge coat instead of a morning coat. Black lounge sits in formality between the lounge suit and morning dress, and some consider it to be the daytime equivalent of black tie. Whilst black tie is worn for festive occasions, black lounge can either be worn for not only festive occasions but also in certain professional settings and to funerals.

The black lounge coat that Kananga wears as part of the black lounge outfit is also known a the stroller or Stresemann, named after German chancellor Gustav Stresemann. It fastens with a single button and has peaked lapels, jetted pockets and no vent to mimic the details of the morning coat.

Kananga-Black-Lounge-2

Roger Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle likely made this outfit. Though Kananga’s two double-breasted suits have narrow wrap and flared link cuffs that clearly identify those suits as Castle’s work, this suit has less to go on. Still, it is most likely Castle’s work. It has a very similar silhouette to Kananga’s double-breasted suits, with the jacket’s full chest, closely shaped waist and low button stance. It also has the same narrow, strongly-padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads that Kananga’s double-breasted suits have. Castle padded the shoulders of Kananga’s suit jackets much more than he did for James Bond’s suit jackets to make Kananga look more like the powerful leader of an island nation.

Kananga-Black-Lounge-3

The shirt collar should always be worn under the waistcoat, but sometimes clothes fall out of place.

Kananga’s waistcoat matches the lounge coat in black, and the black waistcoat is appropriate for the serious occasion of attending United Nations meeting. A light-coloured waistcoat, like the light grey waistcoat James Bond wears with black lounge to his own wedding in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is a better alternative for festive occasions. The waistcoat fastens with six buttons and has a regular notched bottom. The trousers are medium grey with black stripes and have a darted front. The trousers’ front dares are fairly long and placed above the crease, just like on Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle trousers, so this gives another hint that these clothes were tailored by Castle.

Under the black lounge jacket, Kananga wears a white shirt with a long point collar and mitred two-button cuffs. Such a dressy outfit should require double cuffs, but in this more business-like setting the button cuffs aren’t entirely inappropriate. The tie is silver with a fancy self jacquard-woven pattern that is difficult to make out. Kananga ties it in a four-in-hand knot. He also has a white linen handkerchief folded in his breast pocket with two corners pointing out and a red carnation in his lapel.

Kananga-Black-Lounge-4

Mainly Millicent: Roger Moore’s First Appearance as James Bond

Mainly-Millicent-Roger-Moore-Bond

In an episode of the BBC sketch comedy show Mainly Millicent from July 1964, Roger Moore played James Bond nine years before he officially played the role in Live and Let Die. Mainly Millicent starred English actress Millicent Martin, and in this sketch she plays Russian spy Sonia Sekova on holiday. James Bond is also on holiday and is dressed down in a light grey tweed sports coat with a small, subtle check. The sketch can be found on the Live and Let Die DVD and Blu-ray disc as well as on YouTube.

Mainly-Millicent-Roger-Moore-Bond-2

In this sketch Roger Moore’s James Bond outfit is almost identical to his Simon Templar outfits. Access to Moore’s wardrobe for The Saint wouldn’t have been difficult since both The Saint and Mainly Millicent were filmed at ATV’s Elstree studios (http://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk/studio%20history.htm), which are in Hertfordshire just outside of London. Moore actually first wears this sports coat in The Saint’s second series episode “The Work of Art” in 1963. In a January 1964 episode titled “Luella”, Simon Templar convinces a woman that he is James Bond, and he is wearing this sports coat. That episode also features Moore’s Live and Let Die co-star David Hedison. This grey tweed jacket made it into the colour episodes five years later, and I previously wrote about how Moore dresses it down in the episode “The Death Game”. See it in colour!

The same grey tweed jacket in "The Death Game"

The same grey tweed jacket in “The Death Game”

Cyril Castle made this jacket in the usual button three single-breasted style he made for Moore throughout the 1960s. The cuts of the suit jackets and sports coats vary a little in the shoulders and chest, depending on how dressy they are. This is one of the least dressy sports coats and thus has natural shoulders without roping and has more drape in the chest. The waist is cut closely in the back, though from the front it looks a little shapeless. Interestingly, the quarters are cut more square and not as rounded as they ordinarily are on Cyril Castle’s jackets. This jacket is detailed with swelled edges, single-button cuffs, open square patch pockets with rounded corners, a welt breast pocket and short, six-inch double vents.

Like most of Moore’s jackets from The Saint, this jacket has very narrow lapels that aren’t all that flattering to Moore, especially due to the drape in the chest. The drape cut was developed in the 1930s when wide lapels were trendy and complemented the wide chest, so ultra-narrow lapels don’t go well with most of Moore’s jackets in The Saint. Despite the narrow lapels, Cyril Castle’s jackets are cut very well.

Mainly-Millicent-Roger-Moore-Bond-3

In Mainly Milicent, Moore wears this jacket with dark trousers that are probably charcoal. They actually look black, but it is unlikely that they would be. They are cut with narrow, tapered legs. If they are like Moore’s other trousers from this era they have a darted front and frogmouth pockets. He wears his usual shirt from The Saint: ecru with a classic spread collar and double cuffs. The tie, however, is where Moore dresses more like James Bond than Simon Templar. Whilst Templar’s solid ties are satin silk and brightly-coloured, for his first appearance as James Bond he wears the classic Bond tie: a black knitted silk tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. During a fight, Moore’s tie becomes dislodged from inside his jacket and hangs outside of it for the rest of the sketch, revealing the square bottom. Moore’s shoes are black and have very tall, two-inch “cuban” heels, which were made popular at the time by The Beatles. They’re the trendiest part of the outfit and certainly not something James Bond would wear, but they’re hardly seen.

Mainly-Millicent-Roger-Moore-Bond-4

It’s not surprising that Moore wears his Saint wardrobe in this sketch, but the black knitted tie is the perfect touch. Someone on the staff for Mainly Millicent must have read Ian Fleming’s novels and knew that James Bond wears a black knitted tie. It was a simple way to dress Simon Templar more like Bond. Since this episode is from the summer of 1964, Goldfinger had not yet been released and that would be the first time the film Bond wears a knitted tie.

The grey tweed jacket in Luella in the scene where Bond whispers to a woman that he is James Bond

The same grey tweed jacket in the Saint episode “Luella” This is from the scene where Templar whispers to a woman that he is James Bond

The Saint: A Glen Urquhart Check Suit

The-Saint-Glen-Check-Suit

The Saint’s first episode “The Talented Husband”, which premiered a day before Dr. No on Thursday the 4th of October 1962, briefly introduces Roger Moore’s incarnation of Simon Templar quite similarly-dressed to Bond in a black shawl-collar dinner jacket. However, the first lounge suit Moore wears in this episode is a Glen Urquhart check suit, most likely in grey and cream but possibly in brown and cream. It has a light-coloured overcheck that is probably light blue, which would go well with either a grey or a brown check. The first lounge suit of the series established the generally pared-down look for Roger Moore’s tailored wardrobe in the show’s first four black-and-white series. All of Moore’s suits for The Saint were made by Cyril Castle of Conduit Street in London. Moore later wears this Glen Urquhart check suit in the first series episodes “The Loaded Tourist”, “The Element of Doubt”, “The Man Who Was Lucky” and “The Charitable Countess”, and in second series episodes as well.

The-Saint-Glen-Check-Suit-4

The suit jacket is cut with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a full-cut—but clean—chest and a suppressed waist. A low button stance makes Roger Moore’s chest look more masculine and imposing, and narrow lapels add to this effect. The lapels are roughly the same width as Sean Connery’s lapels in his mid-1960s Bond films, but these lapels are the widest of all the suits’ lapels in The Saint. Most of Moore’s other suits’ lapels are a bit narrower and less flattering to Moore’s build.

The jacket is detailed with straight, flapped hip pockets, a flapped ticket pocket and three buttons on the cuffs. This jacket has one major difference from all of Moore’s other suit jackets in the black-and-white episodes of The Saint; whilst most of them have a single vent, this suit jacket has roughly 8-inch double vents. The buttons match the overall colour of the suit—either light grey or light brown—but the buttonholes contrast in a much darker colour. The suit’s trousers have a darted front and frogmouth pockets. The legs are full-cut through the thigh and tapered neatly to much narrower plain hems.

The-Saint-Glen-Check-Suit-3

With this suit Moore wears what is most likely a pale blue shirt, which would match the suit’s blue overcheck. If the shirt isn’t blue it would have to be ecru. It has a spread collar and rounded double cuffs. His narrow, medium-dark satin tie—which I guess is red—is tied in a small, asymmetrical four-in-hand knot. His shoes are light brown slip-ons, which are an appropriate match for this sporty suit. Moore wears a straight-folded white linen handkerchief in his suit jacket’s breast pocket.

The-Saint-Glen-Check-Suit-2

This episode features the Bond girl actress Shirley Eaton, who, two years later, would go on to play her most famous role: the gold-painted Jill Masterson in Goldfinger. She gives a solid performance with Moore for a great start to the seven years of The Saint.

What is your favourite style of jacket vent?

Dr-No-Double-Vents

What is your favourite style of jacket vent?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Whilst the front of a jacket is defined by the number of buttons it has, the back is defined by the number of vents. The front of the jacket has different kinds of lapels and pockets to break it up and give it interest whilst the back has only vents. The vents are a very important part of the jacket since they add functionality as well as distinguish the look of the back.

Single Vent

Daniel Craig's suits have single vents in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits have single vents in Skyfall.

Single vents (also called centre vents) are when the centre back seam of the jacket is opened at the bottom. Single vents are most associated with American clothing, but like most origins in tailoring they come from England. Single vents were developed for riding, and the single vent splits the jacket’s skirt evenly on either side of the horse. Naturally, the hacking jacket, like what Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger and George Lazenby wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, has a single vent, and it’s quite a long single vent (12 to 13 inches) so it has enough room to split neatly over the back of a horse. Many of Sean Connery’s and Daniel Craig’s suit jackets also have single vents, which is the most tradition vent style on a single-breasted jacket. Single vents have the disadvantage of exposing the buttocks in action scenes or when a man reaches his hands into his trouser pockets. It’s a bit less of a disadvantage with a body like Daniel Craig’s, though double vents would still look neater.

On suit jackets, the length of a single vents typically range from 8 to 10 inches.1960s fashions sometimes resulted in shorter vents around six inches long, though James Bond never succumbed to this fashion. Longer vents of around 12 to 13 inches were popular in the 1970s and early 1980s, though the only long single vents Bond wears at that time are on his safari-esque sports coats in The Man with the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Goldfinger-Hacking-Jacket-Vent

Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair hacking jacket in Goldfinger has a long single vent to the waist.

Double Vents

Double vents (also called side vents) are when the rear side seams are opened at the bottom, and they are typically associated with English tailoring. Double vents didn’t become standard for English tailors until the late 1960s. At that time it was more of a trend, but the trend stuck. Before the late 1960s, English tailors generally would put single vents on single-breasted jackets and double vents on double-breasted jackets. This system creates a symmetry between the front and back of the jacket. Double-breasted jackets should never have single vents, only double vents if it has vents. Double-breasted jackets take double vents on the back to balance the double columns of buttons in front.

Roger Moore's Cyril Castle suit jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun has deep double vents

Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suit jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun has deep double vents

For the past decade, double vents have been very popular and can be found on Italian clothing and American clothing. Currently, double vents are most popular on English, American and Italian tailoring. They haven’t been this popular in America since the 1960s and in Italy since the 1970s. Double vents are dressier than single vents, though they still have their origins in riding like single vents have. They allow more waist suppression than single vents do, and they allow a man to reach into his side trouser pockets with the least disruption to the lines of the jacket. They also extend the line of the leg for a slimmer and taller appearance. Like with single vents, double vents are typically 8 to 10 inches in length but varied with fashion trends. 6-inch double vents weren’t uncommon in the 1960s, and double vents up to 13 inches deep weren’t uncommon in the 1970s to the early 1980s. When over 10 inches, double vents can be a bit unruly, but that’s part of the charm.

Marine-Blue-Suit-Double-Vents

Even when the Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suit jacket flaps in the wind, the double vents keep his rear covered.

Double vents sometimes continue the line of the side seams straight down, which can cause the vents to stick out over the rear. The double vents on Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits are made like this and emphasise his large rear. The double vents on Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle suits and Pierce Brosnan’s Brioni suits are also made like this, but their rears aren’t as large so the style work better on them.

George Lazenby’s Dimi Major suits, Roger Moore’s Angelo and Douglas Hayward suits and Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace have double vents that flare outward. By flaring out, the vents actually hang straighter down the sides of the body. This keeps the vents looking neat no matter their length. Whilst the flare is noticeable from the back, the flare gives added shape to the waist whilst masking a large rear. The flared double vents have a more English look than straighter double vents have.

Flared double vents on George Lazenby's Dimi Major suit jacket

Flared double vents on George Lazenby’s Dimi Major glen check suit jacket

No Vents

Jackets without any vent are most associated with Italian clothing, and the Italians did indeed make jackets without vents in the 1950s and later in the 1980s through the early 2000s when vents were commonly found on English and American tailoring. A non-vented skirt is not an Italian style, as often stated. It’s a traditional style for all tailoring, and before vents became popular in the 1950s most jackets were made without a vent. When the non-vented style was popular in the 1980s, many sports coats were made without vents, but sports coats usually have vents due to their sporting heritage. Sean Connery wears many suit jackets without vents in his Bond films, especially in Goldfinger and Thunderball. Timothy Dalton also wears jackets without vents in Licence to Kill, a result of the trends at the time for non-vented jackets.

Sean Connery's dinner jacket in Thunderball follows tradition with no vents

Sean Connery’s dinner jacket in Thunderball follows tradition with no vents

All of the Bond actors, except George Lazenby, have at times worn dinner jackets without vents. Roger Moore’s double-breasted dinner jackets in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are his only jackets of the series without vents. Vents are still considered by many to be a faux pas on a dinner jacket, since vents have sporting origins and the dinner jacket is never worn for sports. When Bond has vents on his dinner jackets they are double vents. The exception to this is the single vent on his dinner jacket in Skyfall, though single vents are too sporty and not dressy enough for dinner jackets.

Some people recommend different style jacket skirts for different types of builds. I’ve heard people say that single vents are better for a large rear than double vents are. I’ve also heard people say the opposite. Others say that no vent is best for a large rear. Poor-fitting jacket skirts can cause any kind of vents to split open or stick out. Poor-fitting double vents can have a “shelf” effect where the back flap sticks out. A tight skirt or waist with a single vent will cause the vent to open, revealing the buttocks. A tight skirt without any vents will pull the front of the jacket open at the hips and cause creasing at the back. These are all ready-to-wear issues. When the skirt of a ready-to-wear jacket is too tight, it can be difficult to fix, though letting out the waist helps in some cases. A bespoke tailor can create a well-fitting and flattering jacket skirt for any build in any vent style.

Sean Connery's naval uniform in You Only Live Twice has short double vents

Sean Connery’s naval uniform in You Only Live Twice has short double vents