James Bond and Double Cuffs


Rounded double cuffs in Goldfinger

The double cuff, also known as the French cuff, is a type of shirt cuff that folds back on itself and fastens with cufflinks. The double cuff is the most formal type of cuff after the single-link cuff, which also fastens with cufflinks but only has a stiff single layer. For the double cuff to fold over neatly, it needs to have a light and soft interfacing, either fused or sewn. A heavy or stiff interfacing won’t fold over as nicely, and the reason for the cuff folding is to give the cuff stability without the stiffness of the single cuff. Double cuffs should always be fastened in the kissing position and never overlapping like a button cuff.

Double cuffs on a Tom Ford shirt in Quantum of Solace

Square double cuffs on a Tom Ford shirt in Quantum of Solace

The formality of the double cuff makes it the standard cuff on shirts for black tie, though cocktail cuffs are also appropriate with black tie. Double cuffs are a minimum requirement for morning dress, but single-link cuffs are a dressier option. Double cuffs are also appropriate with any suit for any occasion. They pair nicely with blazers and most sports coats as well. The formality of double cuffs, however, demands a tie. They should not be worn in a casual environment.

Double cuffs vary primarily in two ways: the corner style and the placement of the link-holes. Most double cuffs have a square corner. They may also have rounded corners or mitred (angle-cut) corners, and typically this describes the corner at the back edge of the cuff and not the folded edge. Rounded cuffs have the benefit of sliding through jacket cuffs more smoothly. Double cuffs may be styled in other ways, such as with a mitred corner at the fold or with a contoured back edge, but these are fussier and less traditional designs.

Rounded double cuffs in For Your Eyes Only

Rounded double cuffs on a Frank Foster shirt in For Your Eyes Only

Though double cuffs with square corners are technically the most formal, practically there is no difference. Any style of double cuff can be worn the same way. Bond has worn square, mitred and rounded double cuffs with black tie, and he has worn square and rounded double cuffs with his suits. The mitred cuffs on his dress shirts in Goldfinger have unusually large mitred corners.

Notice the large mitred corner on the double cuff

Notice the large mitred corner on the double cuff in Goldfinger

The placement of the link-holes has varied on Bond’s double cuffs. On Bond’s British shirts from Turnbull & Asser and Frank Foster, the link-holes are placed close to the fold, which shows off the cufflinks and gives the cuff both flare and flair. On Bond’s Sulka, Brioni and Tom Ford shirts, the link-holes are centred on the cuffs. This prevents the cuffs from flaring out, meaning they’re less likely to get stuck inside a jacket sleeve. This link-hole placement has the downside of hiding the cufflinks further inside the jacket sleeves.

From Dr. No through Licence to Kill, James Bond almost exclusively wears double cuffs with black tie and other formal wear. Goldfinger is the exception, where Bond also wears double cuffs with his suits and sports coats. Starting with GoldenEye, Bond almost always has worn double cuff shirts with his suits as well.

James Bond breaks the rules in Quantum of Solace when he wears a shirt with double cuffs with his shawl-collar cardigan, but the results are less than favourable. Not only do formal double cuffs clash with this casual ensemble, they bind under a snug knitted cuff.


A double cuff shirt from Tom Ford under a shawl-collar cardigan in Quantum of Solace

Cocktail Cuffs on the Jonathan Ross Special


In the ITV special “James Bond’s Spectre with Jonathan Ross”, Daniel Craig dresses down for an interview in what may or may not be clothes that he wears in Spectre. Craig’ s shirt is from Tom Ford in purple blue cotton poplin. Though this shirt has not been seen in any stills or trailers from Spectre, it is part of Tom Ford’s collection of Spectre clothing. The shirting has an iridescent look, which may be the result of weaving blue in one direction and purple in the other direction. This iridescent look, however, almost makes the shirt look like it had a bleach accident. The collar is the same “classic” point collar that Craig’s double cuff shirts in Spectre have. The shirt has a narrow front placket and darts in the back for a slim fit.


Tom Ford calls the shirt’s cuffs “‘Dr. No’ cuffs” because they are based on the cocktail cuffs that Sean Connery first wears as James Bond in Dr. No, though Connery also wears the same cuffs in four other Bond films. The cuffs have two buttons and the same scalloped shape that Connery’s cuffs have, though the top button on Craig’s cuffs is more obscured than on Connery’s cuffs. Overall, the cuffs have the elegant, flowing design that cocktail cuffs should have. The cuffs are attached to the sleeve with pleats, and the sleeves have gauntlet buttons.

Daniel Craig dresses down the lower half of his body with dark indigo wash jeans and Nike training shoes. British GQ wrote about some of the clothes that Bond wears in Spectre, including a pair of selvedge jeans by Rag & Bone. These could be those Rag & Bone jeans. We have not yet seen Craig wearing these jeans in any footage or stills from the film, so these may just be part of his personal wardrobe. The jeans have a slim, straight leg, and Craig wears the bottoms of the jeans turned up. Craig’s Nike training shoes are the Air Max 90 SneakerBoot in “bamboo” tan suede with “newsprint” grey trim at the base, red trim at the top, white soles, blue laces and a black swoosh logo.

Anatomy of a Sulka Shirt


Only in GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan wears shirts from the famous luxury clothier Sulka. Though I’ve written about Sulka’s shirts before, these wonderful shirts deserve a closer look. I own a Sulka shirt of roughly of the same vintage as the shirts in GoldenEye. Whilst my shirt is ready-to-wear (and purchased second-hand), Pierce Brosnan’s shirts are likely bespoke. Though Pierce Brosnan didn’t start using Sean Connery’s shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser until Tomorrow Never Dies, costume designer Lindy Hemming appropriately chose Sulka to make James Bond’s shirts in GoldenEye. Sulka was originally a New York company but also had other shops in the United States as well as in London and Paris. The shirt I will be examining is made in Italy and is the closest of my Sulka shirts in style to Pierce Brosnan’s shirts based on the placket design. I have other Sulka shirts made in France, but those have a different style of placket, as well as different collar and cuff construction. Does anyone know where Pierce Brosnan’s bespoke shirts from Sulka would have been made if purchased through the London shop?


The collar is a moderate spread collar, wider than a point collar but narrower than the traditional spread collar. The points measure 2 7/8, the back height measures 1 3/4 and the collar band measures 1 1/8 in front. There is 1/2 tie space and the collar points sit 4 1/2 apart. This Sulka collar has the same measurements as the Classic Turnbull & Asser collar. The collar is stitched 1/4 from the edge and has removable collar stays. The collar has a fused interfacing, which is how most Italian shirtmakers do their collars. Fusible interfacings are affixed to the outer piece of the collar with a heat-activated adhesive, and by stiffening the outer layer of the collar they make the collar very easy to iron. The shape of the collar on my shirt is similar to Pierce Brosnan’s collar, but the collar on my shirt has twice as much tie space to give it a wider spread.


The double cuff measures 5 1/4″ when unfolded, and the link holes are roughly in the middle of the folded cuff, but slightly off-centre away from the fold. Italian shirtmakers usually place their link holes in the middle of the cuffs whilst English shirtmakers place their link holes closer to the fold. Placing the link holes further from the fold keeps the cuff from flaring out and getting caught inside the jacket sleeve, but it has the downside of keeping the cufflinks more hidden. The cuffs have a slightly rounded corner, but the stitching is squared. Like the collar, the cuffs are stitched 1/4″ from the edge and have a fused interfacing. The sleeve has two outward-facing pleats opposite the cuff’s opening to fit the larger sleeve into a smaller cuff. The sleeve’s gauntlet has a button.

The placket is similar to an English-style placket; it is just under 1 3/8″ wide and stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The stitching on the placket matches the stitching at the sleeve attachment and at the base of the cuff. The placket has a fused interfacing to keep it crisp. There are six buttons down the front of the shirt, not including the collar, and the shirt’s buttons are mother of pearl.


The shirt’s tails are made in the the typical manner for a shirt meant to be tucked: contoured to be higher at the sides than in the front and back. The back of the shirt has a split yoke, but the sides of the yoke are not angled and the stripes go straight across the shoulders as it the yoke were one piece. Under the yoke the shirt has a pleat on either side to give ease over the shoulder blades.


Unlike Pierce Brosnan’s shirts, my shirt has a breast pocket. The pocket has rounded corners and a straight bottom. Like on most ready-to-wear shirts the pocket is a little too large and looks out of proportion on the chest. The pocket is placed very close to the sleeve, which may be placed as such so it stays hidden under an open jacket.


Shirt Pockets


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

Octopussy Grey Rope Stripe

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: 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.


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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Classic Style and the Suit’s Ideal Proportions


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.


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.


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.

Sean Connery’s Unique Shirts in Goldfinger


Anthony Sinclair’s release of a Goldfinger-inspired shirt with rounded double cuffs motivated me to take a closer look at the actual shirts that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. Terence Young, the director of the first two Bond films Dr. No and From Russia with Love, established the look of Bond’s wardrobe. Goldfinger, however, had a new director, Guy Hamilton, and some of the wardrobe choices were different. Knitted silk ties replaced grenadine ties, the tailored clothes were more country than city since most of them came from Connery’s previous film Woman of Straw, and the shirts were different. Turnbull & Asser most likely did not make the shirts for Goldfinger like they did for all of Sean Connery’s other Bond films. Shirtmaker Frank Foster is a possibility, though Dr. No is Connery’s only Bond film he says he made shirts for.

Click on the photo to enlarge. Notice the faint broken stripe on the cuff.

Click on the photo to enlarge and see the faint broken stripe on the cuff.

Instead of just solid white, light blue and cream shirts like Connery wears in his other Bond films, Connery wears mostly striped shirts in Goldfinger. The dress shirts with both the off-white and black dinner jackets have a fancy white-on-white satin stripe pattern. With his suits, Connery’s shirts are all white with a faint broken grey stripe. The stripe almost disappears in most shots, but it’s visible in close-ups. And yes, the shirt with the famous light grey glen check suit is not solid white. It too has the faint broken stripe. The shirt that Sean Connery wears with his brown hacking jacket has the same broken stripe, but on ecru instead of on white.

The shirts in Goldfinger have a classic English spread collar with approximately a 2 3/4″ point length and 3/8″ of tie space. The spread is around 5″ wide. The collar is made with a stiff sewn interfacing but isn’t worn with collar stays.

Goldfinger-Shirt-Rounded-Double-CuffGoldfinger is Sean Connery’s only Bond film that he does not wear cocktail cuffs in. Instead, he wears double cuffs (French cuffs) throughout the film. The double cuffs on the shirt he wears with his suits and hacking jacket have a rounded corner whilst the double cuffs on the shirts he wears with black tie have a large mitred corner, cut about halfway to the fold of the roughly 2 3/4″ deep cuff. Both the rounded corner and the mitred corner have the benefit of sliding more smoothly though the jacket sleeve than a square double cuff, which can snag on the inside of a jacket sleeve. Different style double cuff corners may possibly indicate different shirtmakers, though the cuffs appear to both be the same size and the link holes are in the same position. The link holes on all the double cuffs are around a 1/4″ off centre towards the fold, making them about 1 1/4″ from the fold. The cuffs are attached to the sleeve with shirring.

Notice the mitred corner on the double cuff

Notice the mitred corner on the double cuff of Sean Connery’s dress shirt in Goldfinger‘s pre-title sequence

The plackets on the shirts in Goldfinger are slightly different than the plackets on the shirts in Connery’s other Bond films. See the image at the top. The placket is a little wider and stitched further from the edge than on the Turnbull & Asser placket. It isn’t identical, however, to the plackets that Roger Moore wears on his Frank Foster shirts in his James Bond films, which are stitched very close to the centre. The placket on the Goldfinger shirts is identical to the placket that Roger Moore wears on his shirts in the two-part episode of The Saint titled “Vendetta for the Saint”, and that shirt was most likely made by Frank Foster.

Goldfinger-Dress-ShirtThere’s more to the Goldfinger shirts than meets the eye. It’s too bad that only the dress shirt with the off-white dinner jacket in the pre-title sequence is the only shirt in the film we see without a jacket or waistcoat over it. The shirt has a much trimmer and cleaner fit through the body and the sleeves than the Turnbull & Asser shirts Sean Connery previously wore in Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Whilst the shirts in From Russia with Love have darts to shape the shirt through the waist, this shirt has a cleaner fit without darts.

Sea Island Cotton


Sean Connery wears a pale blue Turnbull & Asser shirt in From Russia with Love that is probably made of Sea Island cotton.

James Bond has a long history of wearing Sea Island cotton. Ian Fleming wrote in his novels that Bond wears a “dark blue Sea Island cotton shirt” in Moonraker, “dark blue Sea Island cotton shirts with collars attached and short sleeves” in Diamonds Are Forever, a “white sea-island cotton shirt” in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and “sea island cotton underpants” in The Man with the Golden Gun. Sean Connery’s Turnbull & Asser shirts were likely made of Sea Island cotton poplin, and some of Pierce Brosnan’s Turnbull & Asser shirts auctioned with his suits at Bonhams were made of “Sea Island Cotton Quality” royal oxford.

Sea Island cotton is an extra-long staple cotton, and due to the fibre’s fine diameter and long length it has a silky look and feel. Sea Island cotton is also a very strong fibre, which is what allows it to be made into finer shirtings. It is typically spun in a 140 yarn count. Originally it was grown on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia in the United States, but now it is grown in the British West Indies. Turnbull & Asser has not sold genuine Sea Island cotton shirts for some time and now sells “Sea Island Quality”, which is extra-long staple cotton grown in Egypt. Turnbull & Asser’s”Sea Island Quality” shirts are at the top of their ready-to-wear range.

Though Sea Island cotton is both durable and has the silkiest feel of all cottons, there are downsides. It doesn’t have much body, and in a poplin weave it can be somewhat translucent in white. Because Sea Island cotton is so fine, it is very difficult to iron and wrinkles easily. Underpants, like what Bond wears in The Man with the Golden Gun novel, may be the best usage for Sea Island cotton since they touch one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and it doesn’t matter if they wrinkle.