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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In Memory of Richard Kiel

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With great sadness, on Wednesday 10 September we lost Richard Kiel, the actor who twice played the henchman Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. I’ve never heard Roger Moore speak of anyone so kindly and with so much respect as he does for Richard Kiel. When I saw Roger Moore speak at Book Revue in Huntington, NY in 2008, a child asked Moore, “What was Jaws like in real life?” Moore responded, “Well, Jaws in real life is seven-foot-two, and he’s what I call a gentle giant. He is such a nice man, so kind, and we were in Canada a few years ago. Every time he would bring up the subject of UNICEF so I could talk about it. A good man.”

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit-2Only a month ago I wrote about Jaws’ azure double-breasted blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me, but now let’s look at his more tasteful charcoal chalkstripe three-piece suit that he also wears in the film. It’s a very conservative suit for 1977, and Jaws appropriately wears it for two meetings with his boss, Karl Stromberg. In comparison to the other clothes he wears throughout the film, the three-piece suit is the only outfit that makes him look like a truly menacing character. A man of Jaws’ size must certainly have his suits made for him, and the same tailor or costumier who made the azure blazer probably made the suit as well. The single-breasted suit jacket has the same large, imposing shoulders that the double-breasted blazer has, but it has much more shape through the body for an elegant look. The jacket is a button two with a medium button stance and wide notched lapels. A slightly long jacket helps to anchor Jaws at the cost of emphasising his towering height. The jacket pulls at the button, which may be the result of Jaws’ body type being difficult to tailor. His jacket sleeves are also too long, covering the top of his hands. The jacket is detailed with slanted, flapped pockets and double vents. The suit’s waistcoat most likely has six buttons and the trousers have a slightly flared leg with plain hems.

Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit-3Jaws’ light grey shirt is an unconventional choice that flatters his cool winter complexion. It has a fashionably large point collar that has a generous amount of tie space. The shirt’s placket is stitched 1/4″ from the edge to match the collar and cuff stitching. Jaws’ tie is black with a red diamond motif that has a small black square in the centre of each diamond. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. Jaws’ shoes are black.

The Persuaders: A Sporty Striped Suit

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Though Roger Moore wears the flashiest clothes of his career playing Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders, the suits are also amongst the best-tailored and best proportioned of any of Moore’s suits. Cyril Castle, who made Moore’s suits for The Saint and for his first two Bond films, made the suits for The Persuaders. Castle experimented with fashion trends more than most Mayfair tailors did, but at the time The Persuaders was made in 1971 the narrow styles of the 60s were out and the wide styles of the 1970s hadn’t fully taken hold yet. The suits in The Persuaders instead get their flashiness from unconventional colours and patterns along with the occasional odd detail. Roger Moore himself is responsible for all the flashiness, and he is credited with designing Lord Sinclair’s clothes.

Persuaders-Cream-Stripe-Suit-3The episode of The Persuaders titled  “Nuisance Value” features a very unique striped double-breasted suit, and the cloth is what makes it most remarkable. It has a cream base with thick light brown stripes, and medium grey pinstripes are closely spaced in-between the light brown stripes. The medium grey pinstripes also border each light brown stripe. Though striped suits are ordinarily thought of as business suits, this isn’t a typical pinstripe, rope stripe or chalk stripe suit. These stripes unquestionably have a sportier look, and such a sporty suit is appropriate for the Lord Brett Sinclair character who wears suits for fun.

Persuaders-Cream-Stripe-Suit-2The suit jacket is cut in Cyril Castle’s usual double-breasted style. It has six buttons with two to button, and the jacket is cut with an extemely narrow wrap (the overlap in front). The narrow wrap makes the buttons very close together horizontally compared to their farther vertical distance to give the jacket more vertical lines and help slim the slightly heavyish Moore. The jacket has softly-padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a lot of fullness in the chest and a nipped waist. The peaked lapels are made in the Tautz style, in which the top edge of the lapel points horizontally rather than angles up. The lapels are on the wider side of classic width, and, as usual for Castle, there’s only a buttonhole in the left lapel. Double-breasted jackets traditionally have a buttonhole in each lapel since both sides of the jacket fasten. Like on the jackets that Moore wears in his first two Bond films, this suit jacket has flared link-button cuffs, slanted pockets and deep double vents. The buttons are smoked dark grey mother of pearl, which add some additional flash to the suit. The suit trousers have a dart on each side of the front, and an offset jetted frogmouth pocket cuts through the dart. The trousers legs are tapered to the knee and straight from the knee down. Moore wears the trousers with a belt.

Persuaders-Cream-Stripe-Suit-4Under the suit Moore wears a peach-coloured shirt from Frank Foster. It has a spread collar, placket and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten around the wrist with a single button. Peach isn’t a traditional colour for formal shirts, but it’s similar to the classic ecru only a little darker and with a hint of pink. The champagne-coloured tie is a couple shades darker than the shirt, and it pulls out the light brown stripes in the suit. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot. When Moore opens his jacket we can see that the tie is too short and wider than the lapels, but since most of the tie is obscured inside the jacket—and the jacket should always be kept fastened—neither of the tie’s problems actually matter.

Persuaders-BootsMoore’s zip boots are even more fashionable than the colour of his shirt or the pattern of his suit. The boots’ light brown colour fits the Spanish setting and complements the warm colours in the rest of the outfit. The height of the boots is difficult to describe, since they are taller than ankle boots but shorter than mid-calf. They have a square toe and leather soles. Like most of Moore’s shoes, these zip boots are likely Italian-made. Zip boots are ordinarily too casual to wear with a suit, but the sporty nature of this suit makes zip boots almost appropriate.

Persuaders-Grey-Stripe-SuitThis cream, brown and grey-striped suit could easily be confused for another very similar suit that Moore wears in The Persuaders. In the same episode Moore wears another suit that is in the same pattern, but it has a light grey base with thick dark grey stripes instead of a cream base with light brown stripes. Like the cream-based suit, the grey-based suit also has medium grey pinstripes. Both suits have the same cut and same details, except the grey suit has a larger wrap than the cream suit has. Moore wears the all-grey suit with an open-collar black shirt, and a black silk day cravat is tied inside the collar but hangs outside the shirt. He also wears black slip-on shoes, which echo the black shirt and go well with the greys in the suit.

Remington Steele: The Double-Breasted Power Suit

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The 1980s “power suit” look was something James Bond mostly avoided, but it became a big part of Pierce Brosnan’s look in Remington Steele. The power suit is characterised by a jacket with large shoulders, a low buttoning point and a low gorge and full-cut trousers with double or triple reverse pleats. Brosnan’s grey striped double-breasted suit in the 1985 Remington Steele episode “Springtime for Steele” fits the 1980’s power suit mould perfectly, but even though the suit looks dated now it’s still very flattering on Brosnan. This suit first appeared in Remington Steele in the 1984 episode “Woman of Steele”, and it was a much more fashionable suit than what Roger Moore was wearing as James Bond at the time. Apart from a low button stance, Roger Moore’s suits as Bond in the 1980s avoided most 80’s trends in favour of a more timeless style.

Remington-Steele-Grey-Power-Suit-2Brosnan’s suit has 3/4″ stripes alternating slightly lighter and darker greys, and those stripes are framed by alternating white pinstripes and chalk stripes. Fancy stripes like the one this suit is were very popular in the 1980s and were integral to the power suit look. The double-breasted jacket has six buttons with one to button, a style popular from the mid 80s to the early 90s. Double-breasted suits like this were occasionally made in the 1930s, but at that time the still-classic button two cut made up the majority of double-breasted suits. However, it wasn’t uncommon for people to fasten their button-two double-breasted suits only at the bottom button for an effect similar to what Brosnan wears here. A double-breasted suit that buttons only at the bottom has a longer lapel line that is very flattering to shorter men, but in Brosnan’s case the longer lapel line gives him the strong-looking V-shaped torso that he lacks. On the other hand, buttoning the jacket so low means that the jacket’s fulcrum doesn’t match with the body’s waist and natural fulcrum. The jacket moves poorly with the body, and folds radiating from the bottom buttons occur with the slightest movements because of the unnaturally low fulcrum. The folds are not an issue with the fit but instead an unavoidable issue with such a low buttoning point. Even the Duke of Windsor and his contemporary the Duke of Kent had this problem from buttoning their double-breasted suits at the bottom. Overall, Brosnan’s suit jacket fits very well. Though the low button stance makes the front look sloppy, the back has a perfectly smooth fit and the sleeves drape elegantly.

Remington-Steele-Grey-Power-Suit-3Along with the low 1980s button stance came the low gorge, which is results in low lapel peaks. The low gorge actually goes well with the low button stance since it shortens the lapel line. Otherwise, a regular, higher gorge height with such a low button stance would result in ridiculously long lapels. The low gorge makes the low button stance look less awkward, and along with the low button stance contributes to a more relaxed look. The lapels follow tradition with a buttonhole on each side to match the buttonholes and buttons on both sides of the jacket.

A power suit wouldn’t be complete without copious amounts of shoulder padding. Brosnan’s suit jacket has plenty of shoulder padding, which makes the shoulders straight and close to parallel with the ground. Brosnan’s slight build certainly benefits from shoulder padding, though nobody needs as much padding as this jacket has. Though the shoulders are built up, they are not built out. That style came later in the 80s, which is evident on the suits in Timothy Dalton’s two Bond films.

Remington-Steele-Grey-Power-Suit-4The built-up cut of power suits in the 1980s mimicked styles from the 1930s and 1940s. Many details from that era also returned, like jetted pockets and no rear vent. Jackets without vents aren’t good for Brosnan since he has the habit of keeping his hands in his pockets. Without vents in the back, the jacket rides up. If he had double vents, he could keep his hands in his pockets and the jacket would still look neat. The jacket’s cuffs have three buttons. The suit trousers have double reverse pleats and a full, straight leg with plain hems. Though braces were a common part of the power suit look, Brosnan rarely wore them in Remington Steele and instead wears a belt with this suit. This suit could possibly be Italian in origin, since the Italians were best-known for making such power suits in the 1980s, but an American tailor could also have been responsible for this suit.

Remington-Steele-Grey-Power-Suit-5Brosnan’s white shirt has a point collar, double cuffs and a placket down the front. The placket is stitched 3/8″ from the edge, which means the shirt is likely English in origin. A power suit wouldn’t be complete without a “power tie”. A power tie is any brightly-coloured tie, but red is the quintessential power tie. Brosnan’s tie is red with navy stripes in the English direction. The navy stripes are bordered by brown pinstripes, and there’s also a brown pinstripe through the centre of each navy stripe. The tie has the look of a regimental stripe, but it most likely isn’t one since the Steele character has no prior affiliations. He knots the tie in an asymmetrical, though rather chunky, four-in-hand knot. It could possibly be a double-four-in-hand knot. A stuffed red silk pocket handkerchief with a navy edge complements the tie. Because Brosnan is wearing this suit in the evening, he wears it with black shoes and a black belt. During the daytime in other episodes, Brosnan wears this suit just as successfully with brown leather.

Dream House: Double-Breasted Suit and Overcoat

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Daniel Craig wears a double-breasted suit with a double-breasted overcoat in the 2011 film Dream House. This double-breasted suit is not a suit James Bond would wear. The cloth is a fancy stripe with sections of fine brown and blue stripes between thick medium blue stripes, which are bordered by navy stripes that are half the thickness of the medium blue stripe. It’s also hard to imagine James Bond wearing a double-breasted suit again, but Daniel Craig looks good in it. This one has four buttons with two to button. Craig only buttons the top, but since the button stance is rather high it would look better with both buttons fastened or just the bottom button fastened, like how the Duke of Kent and the then Prince of Wales wore theirs. It has straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and slightly narrow lapels. There are four buttons on the cuffs, flap pockets and double vents. We don’t get a good look at the front of the the trousers, but they are probably flat front. They have a plain hem.

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Skyfall isn’t the first time Daniel Craig wears a tab collar. Craig’s white poplin shirt has a tab collar and double cuffs. The collar is is narrower than the collar in Skyfall, making it look more old-fashioned whilst also being less flattering to Daniel Craig’s face. His tie is navy with a printed pattern in medium blue, which matches the colours of the suit’s stripes. it’s tied in a four-in-hand knot, which is the only knot that will fit in such a narrow collar. The silk pocket handkerchief is medium blue with a thick navy border, also pulling from colours in the suit. His shoes are chestnut brown derbies, but he makes the mistake of wearing a black belt with his suit trousers. It’s something he’s done again in the Bond series as well, but at least when he has the jacket on the belt is hidden.

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Over his suit, Daniel Craig wears a rather unconventional Chesterfield-style coat. It’s neither as dark as the traditional Chesterfield nor does it have a velvet collar—which isn’t necessary for the coat to be a Chesterfield—but in all other ways it fits the name. It’s difficult to wear a double-breasted overcoat with a double-breasted suit since there are so many layers in front. The double-breasted closure has six buttons with two to button and the hem hits just below the knee. The overcoat has set-in sleeves, darts in the front, three-button cuffs, a breast pocket and slanted hip pockets with flaps, which are for the most part kept tucked into the pocket. The cloth is a light grey and dark grey glenstripe, which is like a Glen Urquhart check sans the crosswise overcheck. The warp alternates in sections of four light and four dark yarns with sections of two light and two dark yarns. The filling just alternates with two light and two dark yarns. With the overcoat, Daniel Craig keeps warm with red-brown leather gloves.

It’s a flashier outfit than James Bond would ever wear. Whilst it’s not particularly fashionable, it’s very stylish. The suit’s cloth, cut and style along with the tab-collar shirt gives this outfit a very 1960s look, making it one of Daniel Craig’s most interesting outfits outside of the Bond series.

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Bill Tanner: Double-Breasted Rope Stripe Suit

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In For Your Eyes Only, M’s chief of staff Bill Tanner, played by James Villiers, dresses in a manner very suitable for a man in a high position. He wears classic double-breasted suits that are cut almost exactly the same as what you’d find from an English tailor today. His suit jackets have six buttons with two to button, and their lower placement is the only thing that separates them from what’s currently fashionable. The jackets have a classic Savile Row silhouette with a clean chest and a straight shoulder on the natural shoulder line. They have flapped pockets and double vents. For this article we’ll just look at the charcoal rope stripe suit.

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The shirt Tanner wears with this suit is a fine grey and white stripe. Grey shirts aren’t nearly as popular as blue and white, or even cream, but they’re a classically-stylish option in lighter tints. It has a small spread collar and rounded button cuffs. Tanner adds colour to his outfit with the tie and pocket square. The tie is a regimental stripe in navy and alternating red and maroon. It’s very similar to the well-known Brigade of Guards tie, but the tie only has one shade of red. Can anyone identify this tie? He ties it in a four-in-hand knot, and he matches a navy silk pocket square to the navy in the tie.

Buttoned at the bottom

Buttoned at the bottom, not the same as in the photo above

There’s a continuity error in the way Tanner buttons his suit jacket. In some shots he buttons the jacket the conventional way, with only the middle row fastened. In other shots he has only the bottom row fastened. Both are legitimate ways to fasten a double-breasted jacket, but the stiffer canvas on this jacket means the lapel doesn’t roll over the middle button so well when only the bottom is fastened. There are also a couple of fit problems with this outfit. The back of the coat doesn’t fit so well over the shoulder blades and the shirt sleeves are too short—but the jacket sleeves look fine. But overall it’s a very tasteful outfit and it commands the authority necessary for his position during M’s leave.

The Olive Suit

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In The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger Moore wears a more adventurous wardrobe than he did in Live and Let Die. For one of the furthest suits from what Sean Connery had established as the classic Bond look, Moore wears a dark olive, double-breasted suit cut by Cyril Castle. The suit has very closely-spaced lighter pinstripes with wider-spaced red chalkstripes. The jacket has six buttons on the front with two to button, double vents, slightly slanted pockets with flaps, and flared link-button cuffs. The trousers have a darted front and flared leg.

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The shirt is a white and gold bengal stripe in a twill weave, made by Frank Foster. The shirt has a spread collar, placket front and and two-button cocktail cuffs. The tie is light olive shantung silk, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Even though the outfit is in all earth tones, Moore wears black shoes. But because this suit is worn after dark, black shoes are appropriate, and they don’t clash when not in daylight.

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Bond’s Rolex Submariner with a close-up of the striped suit and shirt cloths

The Persuaders: The Striped Blazer

In the last of Roger Moore’s many television programmes, The Persuaders!, Moore took an extra role in designing the wardrobe of his character Lord Brett Sinclair. Moore was, at the time, the director of cloth merchant Pearson + Foster, which made suitings for both him and Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!. As a result, Moore wore some of the most unique and interesting fabrics of his career at this time. These bold fabrics were quite appropriate for an English lord and playboy, though too over-the-top for James Bond. Moore’s tailor from The Saint, Cyril Castle, still tailored the clothing. The example here is a double-breasted blazer in a bold, original pattern of wide maroon and green stripes with dark brown/green pinstripes. The fabric is influenced by striped boating blazers, which are usually single-breasted with more contrast in the stripes. The images here are from the second episode, “The Gold Napoleon,” though Moore wore this blazer many times throughout the series in the South of France.

The 6-button blazer in the traditional 2-to-button configuration has crested silver buttons. The wrap (front overlap) is narrower than the typical double-breasted jacket, and the top vestigial buttons are also placed in closer than what is typical. It is cut with soft shoulders, a clean chest, a nipped waist and a long, flared skirt with deep double vents. The blazer has 1-button gauntlet cuffs (with a rounded turnback) and slanted pockets.

Notice Moore’s gauntlet cuffs
In “The Gold Napoleon,” Moore wears the blazer with golden beige wool trousers with plain bottoms and frogmouth pockets. The shirt by Frank Foster is made of a pale lavender poplin with a spread collar and button-down turnback cuffs, which will be discussed in more detail at a later date. The tie is green leaves on a silver ground, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Moore match his trousers with beige socks and wears light brown slip-ons.