The Man from Hong Kong: A 1970s Blazer

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

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

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

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

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

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Draco’s Suits: Navy Nailhead and Grey Chalkstripe

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Marc Ange Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti) in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of Bond’s best-dressed allies of the series. He is introduced wearing a perfectly-fitted navy nailhead three-piece suit. Nailhead is not to be confused with birdseye, but both are tiny repeating patterns. Whilst birdseye is a specific pattern of round dots with a unique weave, nailhead can be a variety of patterns. In any case, the nailhead is a pattern of squares rather than circles, or it’s a small pattern on a square grid unlike the diagonal repeat of the bridseye pattern. Draco’s nailhead suit is similar to the diagram below:

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Draco’s suit jacket is a button three suit with the lapels gently rolled over the top button. It has a structured cut with straight, padded shoulders cut on the bias, gently-roped sleeveheads, a full-cut chest and a suppressed waist. The jacket’s front darts continue straight down below the jetted hip pockets to the jacket’s hem. There are three buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. The suit’s trousers have a darted front, slanted side pockets and a tapered leg with deep two-inch turn-ups. The suit is trimmed with black horn buttons.

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The suit overall has a very timeless style with balanced proportions. Whilst Draco’s suit doesn’t look as modern as George Lazenby’s Bond’s suits do, it doesn’t look old-fashioned either. If the jacket had pocket flaps and vents it would easily look more modern.

Draco’s pale blue shirt has a moderate spread collar, front placket and mitred two-button cuffs, with the outer button left open. The navy tie has wide grey repp stripes bordered by narrower champagne-coloured stripes, with the stripes in the British direction. Draco ties it in a four-in-hand knot. He finishes the outfit with black shoes and a red carnation in his lapel.

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Later in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Draco wears a dark grey flannel chalkstripe double-breasted suit that isn’t seen much. The suit jacket has the same straight, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads that the three-piece navy nailhead suit has. The very wide peaked lapels with a considerable amount of belly, however, give the suit a distinct 1930s look. The white shirt that Draco wears with the double-breasted suit is made in the same style that he wears with the three-piece suit with a moderate spread collar and front placket. The tie has repeated sections of small mid blue, turquoise and green stripes on a navy ground, and Draco ties it in a four-in-hand knot.

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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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Drax: The Three-Piece Double-Breasted Suit

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Though the most memorable pieces of Hugo Drax’s wardrobe in Moonraker are his Mao jackets, his double-breasted, three-piece black flannel chalk stripe suit is perhaps the nicest suit that anyone wears in Moonraker. It is Drax’s only outfit that is reminiscent of what the character wears in the 1955 Moonraker novel by Ian Fleming. Drax is actually one of the few villains in the novels that dresses in good taste, and elements of literary Drax’s clothes are taken from Fleming’s own wardrobe:

Bond concluded his inspection with Drax’s clothes which were expensive and in excellent taste—a dark blue pinstripe in lightweight flannel, double-breasted with turnback cuffs, a heavy white silk shirt with a stiff collar, an unobtrusive tie with a small grey and white check, modest cuff-links, which looked like Cartier, and a plain gold Patek Philippe watch with a black leather strap. (Moonraker, Chapter 3)

The film Drax, played by Michael Lonsdale, also wears a double-breasted flannel suit, though it’s not exactly the same as what the literary Drax wears. The suit is not so lightweight and is black instead of dark blue. Though well-dressed men avoid solid black suits for all occasions other than funerals, the striped black suit isn’t treated the same way as its solid cousin. The soft, light grey chalk stripes break up the large sea of black so the suit doesn’t look too dreary. Chalkstripes on black flannel are also better than pinstripes and rope stripes on worsteds because they aren’t as bold. Strong white rope stripes on black give the suit a gangster-esque look, but Drax’s soft, grey chalk stripes make his black suit an elegant one. A black chalkstripe suit can still be difficult for most people to pull off, but Drax has a cool, high-contrast winter complexion, so the black does not overpower him.

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The literary Drax’s suit is assumed to be a two-piece suit, but in the film the suit is a three-piece. The three-piece double-breasted suit went out of fashion around the time of World War II. Few men today could actually benefit from the intense warmth of a flannel, double-breasted, three-piece suit.

Though the double-breasted three-piece suit recalls the 1930s, Drax’s suit jacket is timeless and has medium-width lapels and—unlike 1930s double-breasted suit which were made without vents—double vents. The jacket is in the classic double-breasted style of six buttons with two to button. It is cut with straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line and gently roped sleeveheads. The chest is clean but full, and the waist is slightly shaped. There is only one lapel buttonhole in the peaked lapels, in the left lapel. The jacket also has jetted pockets, double vents and four buttons on the cuffs.

Not much of Drax’s waistcoat is seen since so little of it sticks out above the suit jacket, but enough of it is seen to tell that it is single-breasted and has no lapels. Both single-breasted and double-breasted waistcoats, with or without lapels, are appropriate with a double-breasted suit, and Drax wears the leanest option since his flannel double-breasted suit jacket already has so much bulk. Drax’s suit trousers have wide, straight legs.

Drax’s white shirt is has a sheen, so it’s probably silk like the literary Drax’s shirt is. It has a point collar with a generous amount of tie space and square double cuffs with the link holes off-centre towards the fold. The cuffs are attached to the sleeve with pleats. Drax’s square cuff links are black with a gold frame, and they could possibly be from Cartier like in the Moonraker novel. Drax wears a black knitted silk tie, tied in a symmetrical half windsor knot. It’s the same tie that the literary James Bond wears but tied in a knot he would not approve of. A knitted tie may seem too informal for a double-breasted, three-piece suit, but the knitted silk texture is a good complement to flannel no matter the fastening style or the presence of a waistcoat. Pinned to his breast pocket he wears a brass Drax industries badge, which takes the place of a pocket square. Drax’s shoes are black.

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Crossplot: A Double-Breasted Pinstripe Suit from The Saint

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Roger Moore’s 1969 film Crossplot is like a cross between an episode of The Saint and a James Bond film. Moore plays talent scout Gary Fenn, who is identical in appearance to The Saint character Simon Templar except he has a more fashionable haircut that’s combed forward with longer sideburns. The Cyril Castle suits—an iridescent blue and red dinner jacket, a navy pinstripe double-breasted suit and a charcoal multi-stripe suit—and shirts in the film were taken straight out of Moore’s wardrobe for the final season of The Saint, which had just ended production.

The same suit in the episode of The Saint "The Scales of Justice"

The same suit and shirt, but with a grey tie, in the episode of The Saint “The Scales of Justice”

The navy double-breasted pinstripe suit, which this article will focus on, first appeared in The Saint‘s sixth series episode “The Time to Die” and later in “The Scales of Justice”. The suit’s cloth has very closely-spaced white pinstripes on navy, which from a short distance mixes with and mutes the navy to give the suit a semi-solid charcoal blue effect rather than a classic navy pinstripe look. Suits with closely-spaced pinstripes were something Roger Moore wears throughout The Saint and later wears in Moonraker.

Crossplot-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-2The suit jacket is four-button double-breasted with two to button. It is similar to the classic six button double-breasted jacket but lacks the two vestigial buttons at the chest. Like Cyril Castle’s usual double-breasted suits, this one has a narrow wrap—or overlap—for a slimming effect on Moore. It is cut with natural shoulders and a full chest. It has narrow peaked lapels, which aren’t quite as narrow as the notched lapels Moore wears on his single-breasted suits in Crossplot and The Saint. The narrow peaked lapels are a little more flattering than his ultra-narrow notched lapels. The suit jacket is rakishly detailed with single-button gauntlet—or turnback—cuffs, slanted hip pockets with narrow flaps, and double vents. The suit trousers have a darted front, cross pockets and a tapered narrow leg, and they are worn with a black belt.

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Moore’s cream shirt is made by Bond-series shirtmaker Frank Foster in the same style as all of the shirts that Moore wears in the final series of The Saint. The shirt’s spread collar is larger in proportion to the tie and lapel width. Fashion typically dictates that shirt collar point length and tie and lapel width should match, but it’s usually more flattering to wear a collar that matches the face rather than the jacket’s lapels. The shirt has two-button cocktail cuffs, a plain front and a darted back. The shirt length is short compared to the traditional length of a tucked shirt, but in Frank Foster’s typical manner the shirt’s hem is only slightly curved and has vents on the side.

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The secretary ties Moore’s tie in a four-in-hand knot around her own neck, loosens it and then places it around Moore’s neck. It is solid light blue, and unstylishly Moore wears a matching light blue silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. But it is placed in the pocket in an unstudied two-point fold. It look as if he just stuffed it in his breast pocket and the two points formed naturally, but that is most likely not the case. Moore wears black socks, and his shoes are black slip-ons.

Crossplot-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-BoxersSince we get to see Roger Moore dress into the suit, we get a look at parts of his outfit under the suit we don’t ordinarily get to see. Though we never get to see what James Bond wears under his trousers, Roger Moore’s underwear in Crossplot may give us a clue. When he changes his trousers we see his boxer shorts. They are light blue—perhaps purposely matching his tie—and probably a fine cotton poplin, which is one of the most comfortable types of woven cloths to wear as boxers.

Crossplot-Navy-Pinstripe-Suit-ShowerUnfortunately, the suit is ruined and shrunk in Crossplot when Moore is pushed off a boat into the water. Because of he is a gentleman, he leaves his suit, shirt and tie on when taking a shower to warm up when in the company of a lady.

For an additional James Bond connection, Bernard Lee, who plays M in the first 11 Bond films, appears in Crossplot.

Assignment K: A Double-Breasted Suit by Douglas Hayward

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Stephen Boyd stars as Philip Scott in the 1968 spy thriller Assignment K, and throughout the film he wears suits by Douglas Hayward. Douglas Hayward tailored Roger Moore’s suits for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, and he also made suits for Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Steve McQueen and many other stars. One of the four suits that Boyd wears in Assignment K is a medium grey worsted flannel double-breasted suit. Worsted flannel is can be lighter in weight than the traditional woollen flannel, but being flannel it still has a fuzzy nap. The serge weave is visible under the nap on a worsted flannel, whilst no weave is visible on a woollen flannel. Worsted flannel has a sleeker look than woollen flannel does, but the nap keeps him warm in West Germany’s winter.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-2Boyd’s double-breasted suit jacket has the traditional arrangement of six buttons with two to button, and it is tailored with natural shoulders, a clean chest and suppressed waist. The jacket’s peaked lapels are made in the Tautz style, which means they have a horizontal gorge. They look slightly less formal than standard peaked lapels that point up towards the shoulder. The jacket also has double vents, three buttons on the cuffs, flapped pockets and a royal blue lining. The suit trousers’ legs taper to the knee and are straight from the knee to the plain hem. Not much of the the trousers’ legs are seen, but if they match Boyd’s other suit trousers in the film they have frogmouth pockets and are worn with a belt. The front does not have pleats, but it is probably darted.

Assignment-K-Charcoal-OvercoatBoyd’s sky blue shirt is likely made by Frank Foster. It has a wide spread collar, square double cuffs attached to the sleeves with shirring, rear side pleats, rear darts and a placket stitched close to the centre. Boyd wears two different ties with this suit: the first is solid silver and the second is solid black. Boyd’s shoes are black. Over the suit, Boyd wears a charcoal melton wool overcoat, which he wears over every suit in the film. The coat is three-quarter length to just above the knee. It has three buttons down the front, three buttons on the cuffs, slanted flap pockets and a rear vent. Like the suit jacket, the overcoat has natural shoulders. With the overcoat, Boyd wears dark grey suede gloves.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-3Assignment K has a few connections to James Bond besides both using tailor Douglas Hayward. The director of this film Val Guest, directed parts of the Casino Royale spoof a year earlier. Assignment K also features the actor Jan Werich, who was originally cast as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. Producer Albert Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert of You Only Live Twice decided that Werich was not right for the villainous role and replaced him with Donald Pleasence.

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.

M’s Green Smoking Jacket

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In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, M (Bernard Lee) wears a modern take on the smoking jacket in dark green velvet. Traditional smoking jackets have a frog closure—a button or toggle that fastens through an ornamental braided loop—but M’s smoking jacket is updated with a conventional button and buttonhole. Smoking jackets are meant for private wear, either as an alternative to the dinner jacket or as a garment for lounging. M wears his for the latter purpose when tending to his butterfly collection.

M-Smoking-Jacket-2M’s double-breasted, shawl-collar smoking jacket has four buttons with one to button, the same style as his dinner jacket is Goldfinger. It is cut with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a draped chest. M’s smoking jacket has one button on the cuffs rather than the customary ornamental braid that would accompany a frog closure on the front, but the jacket follows tradition with jetted pockets and a non-vented skirt. The black velvet lapels contrast with the body of the smoking jacket, but the buttons are covered in the body’s green velvet. The jacket could essentially be called a velvet dinner jacket, but M wears the jacket in the manner of a smoking jacket.

M-Smoking-Jacket-3Under the jacket, M wears an ecru shirt with a spread collar, button cuffs and a plain front. Around his neck and under the shirt he wears a day cravat in an ancient madder print in brown, red and chartreuse on white. His trousers are dark grey and probably flannel. Though we don’t see M’s footwear, the natural choice for this outfit would be a pair of velvet Albert slippers with quilted linings and leather soles.