OSS 117’s Light Grey Suit

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The French film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is one of the past decade’s best spy spoofs. Though set in 1955, the film takes inspiration from Sean Connery’s 1960s Bond films, both in the filmmaking style and in the clothing style. Jean Dujardin stars as the fashionable Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117, and he wears a Connery-inspired lightweight grey suit. This blog previously covered the alpaca dinner suit from this film.

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The suits for OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies were beautifully made for Jean Dujardin by Parisian tailor Joseph Kergoat. This light grey semi-solid suit is made from a very lightweight wool or wool and mohair blend. Connery’s Bond is known for his lightweight suits, and this is certainly inspired by Connery’s many examples. Lightweight, open-weave suits are necessary in the hot desert of Cairo, so Bonisseur de La Bath is well-prepared. Light colours such as light grey reflect the sun’s heat rather than absorbs it, but light grey has a more professional look than cream or beige. Light grey is also flattering to Dujardin’s very cool complexion.

The suit jacket has a button three front and narrow lapels that give the suit more of a late 1950s look than when the film was set in 1955. Bonisseur de La Bath fastens either the top two buttons or just the middle button, and the suit is cut in a way that it looks good fastened in both manners. The jacket is cut with soft shoulders, gently roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and little waist suppression. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three buttons on each cuff and a slightly short single vent. The jacket’s buttons are grey plastic to match the suit. The cut of the suit jacket is considerably different from what Connery wore, with three buttons instead of two and less shape through the body. The shoulders, on the other hand, are similar to Connery’s.

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This suit resembles Connery’s Bond suits from the rear

The suit trousers have a darted front, a medium rise and tapered legs with plain hems. By contrast, Sean Connery’s Bond trousers are much different with forward pleats, a longer rise and turn-ups. Though these trousers failed to copy Connery’s trouser style, they also failed to copy what was popular in the mid 1950s, which would have been in line with what Connery wears in his Bond films. Bonisseur de La Bath also wears a belt with his suit trousers, whilst Connery’s trousers always had “Daks tops” button-tab side-adjusters.

Bonisseur de La Bath’s white cotton shirt is made in an entirely classic style, with a spread collar that has a generous half-inch of tie space, double cuffs and a front placket. Such a shirt could easily belong to any decade of the past 70 years. His narrow tie is an elegant brown and white check tied in a windsor knot, though the tie is quite un-Bond-like and looks dated now. But like Connery in his early Bond films, Bonisseur de La Bath wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket.

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The black sunglasses are a modern pair from Dior Homme. I am no eyewear expert, and I do not know if Christian Dior himself designed glasses in this style in the 1950s. At least the sunglasses are from a designer brand that was around in the 1950s.

The black shoes are the Crockett & Jones “Selborne” model, which is a a semi-brogue oxford. Semi-brogue oxfords are ornate shoes with closed lacing, a toe cap and heel counter. Every seam is double-stitched with perforations, and the toe cap has a medallion. The bottoms of the soles were dyed black.

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Mr Hinx’s Brown Suit in Spectre

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Sometimes the henchman in James Bond films are dressed better than their bosses, and Mr Hinx in Spectre, played by Dave Bautista, is one of these henchman. Bautista’s suits are tailored in an English style by London tailor Timothy Everest, who also tailored Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz for Spectre. Bautista said about Hinx in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “I really fought hard to not get typecast as your big, dumb muscle-head … But I wasn’t expecting the elegant wardrobe, the very manicured look.”

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Hinx’s final scene in the film is an intense fight on a train travelling through Morocco, and for this scene he wears a three-piece suit that Everest says is made of beige Capri wool. I could not find much information on what capri wool is, but Versace sells clothes made from a blend of wool, cotton and polyester in an open weave that they call “Capri wool”. Though I can’t imagine a great tailor such as Timothy Everest would care to work with a cloth blended with polyester, polyester’s wrinkle resistance looks great on camera. Hinx’s suit looks very crisp for a lightweight suit, so perhaps it does have a small amount of polyester. And though Everest calls the suit beige, it’s darker and richer, more of a light brown. The light brown colour helps Bautista’s dark, warm complexion shine whilst also fitting in with sandy Morocco.

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Bautista is a huge, muscular man, and this type of body is very difficult to fit. Since he is always in motion, the fit of his suit cannot be judged from what we see in the film. The button two jacket is tailored in an English fashion with straight shoulders and roped sleeveheads. Padding in the shoulders of Hinx’s suit jacket is used to straighten the shoulders rather than to build them up. The padding helps the cloth to drape over his shoulders neatly and elegantly. The jacket is detailed with double vents, slanted flap pockets and four buttons on each cuff.

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The suit’s waistcoat has five buttons, spaced apart to cover Bautista’s large frame. Six buttons with closer spacing would have looked more elegant. Hinx fastens the bottom button, which lines up with its corresponding buttonhole. However, the bottom of the waistcoat pulls in, and the waistcoat does not have the cleanest lines as a result. Though the armholes of the waistcoat are cut in an ordinary manner, they accentuate Bautista’s broad and muscular shoulders that burst out of the armholes when we see him without the jacket. Removing the singed jacket removes the sophisticated menace from Hinx’s appearance and replaces it one of pure menace. Without the jacket on, the shiny copper satin back of the waistcoat is revealed, flashiness that identifies him as a villain. The jacket is also lined in the same copper satin material.

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Hinx’s suit trousers are cut with a flat front and tapered legs that have plain bottoms. The trousers have slide-buckle side-adjusters, slanted side pockets, one rear button-through pocket on the right.

Hinx’s shirt is a microcheck, probably in grey and white. It has a wide but short spread collar and rounded single-button cuffs. The shirt’s buttons contrast the shirt in brown. Hinx’s tie is grey with black lines and white dashed lines horizontally across it. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. Hinx’s socks are light brown and his shoes are chestnut brown that fasten with monk straps and have Dainite studded rubber soles. The shoes have a sleek, modern English last with a chiselled toe that make Bautista’s large UK size 12 feet look elegant. Though Crockett & Jones only takes credit for supplying Daniel Craig’s shoes for Spectre, these shoes resemble their Monkton model. The Monkton does not come with Dainite soles, but it’s entirely possible that Crockett & Jones made the shoes especially for Bautista with Dainite soles.

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Kronsteen’s Mod-Inspired Tonik Suit

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SPECTRE agent Number 5 Kronsteen, played by Polish actor Vladek Sheybal in From Russia with Love, is a natty dresser who is very comfortable in his own sense of style. When he is first seen at a chess tournament, he is wearing a Mod-inpsired dark blue Tonik suit. Tonik is a two-tone cloth in a lightweight blend of mohair and wool that has a vibrant sheen, and it is most famously made by Dormeuil, who owns the name Tonik. This cloth was very popular with Mods. The tone-tone look of Kronsteen’s suit is likely from a blend of medium blue and black yarns. Though his suit resembles what many younger people were wearing in 1963, the suit does not look inappropriate on 40-year-old Kronsteen. This is because the suit has a mainstream look overall with a few Mod inspirations.

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The suit jacket has three covered buttons—a popular Mod detail—down the front, and Kronsteen buttons the top two. The shoulders are padded and follow the natural shoulder line, and the jacket is cut with narrow lapels, a lean chest and very little waist suppression. The hip pockets are jetted and there is a single covered button on each cuff. The rear is not clearly seen, but the jacket likely has a short single vent or possibly no vents. The suit trousers have pleats, tapered legs and plain hems.

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Kronsteen’s cream shirt is likely silk and has a plain front without a placket. The shirt’s short point collar and double cuffs are stitched on the edge. Though black bow ties are best worn only with black tie, Kronsteen wears one as his signature look. It’s a narrow batwing diamond shape, possibly in a barathea weave. Kronsteen wears a black silk handkerchief in his breast pocket that is folded with the corners up and then rolled over. His shoes are black lace-ups.

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James Bond’s Uniform: The Grey Suit

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James Bond may be most associated with wearing black tie, but he wears more grey suits than anything else in the film series. The grey suit could easily be called the film Bond’s uniform. Because grey suits are so common, they are not particularly memorable. After all, spy whose cover is a businessman does not want to dress memorably. Grey suits, however, do not have to be bland or boring, and even a wardrobe of all grey suits can be a very exciting thing when there are light greys and dark greys, and solids, semi-solids, checks and stripes. James Bond wears five different grey suits in From Russia with Love alone, and four out of the five are very different from each other. The right shade of grey can fit into any season or any location, and any shade of grey can work in any pattern. Bond wears some form of the grey suit in every film except in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Because grey is neutral and does not stand out, a grey suit can be worn almost anywhere. For this reason, a charcoal grey suit is the best first suit to have in one’s wardrobe. Its neutrality gives it a slight edge above navy for one’s first suit, though navy also makes for an excellent first suit.

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Solid Grey Suits

Grey suits should never be a flat, completely solid grey. Though most of James Bond’s grey suits are without a pattern, they all have some form of texture to prevent them from being flat and boring. The most common texture on Bond’s solid grey suits is woolen flannel, which is a warm, fuzzy cloth without a visible weave. Bond wears charcoal or dark grey examples in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and Diamond Are Forever and a medium grey flannel suit in For Your Eyes Only. Grey flannel cloths are typically woven from yarns spun in multiple shades of grey to give the cloth a livelier look than a single flat grey would. The grey flannel suit was once known as the uniform of the average, conforming businessman, and it helps Bond blend in with other businessman as part of his cover. But Bond’s grey flannel suits are all far from the average man’s suit. In a sharp cut and rich cloth, the grey flannel suit is a valuable piece in any stylish man’s wardrobe.

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For warm weather, Bond wears light grey plain-weave topical worsted wool or worsted and mohair blend suits in Dr. No, Diamond Are Forever and Live and Let Die. These have a stylish business look for warm weather. Like with the flannel suits, these tropical worsted suits are woven in from yarns spun of multiple shades of grey to breathe life into what would otherwise be a very plain cloth. In Bond’s darker charcoal worsted suits, the cloths are also woven in multiple shades of grey. Bond’s charcoal suit at the beginning of The World Is Not Enough has brown and blue mixed in with the grey yarns for an even more interesting cloth that still looks charcoal overall.

Bond has worn solid grey suits in non-wool cloths that use texture to bring life to the grey suit. The charcoal dupioni silk suit in From Russia with Love, the dark grey dupioni silk suit in Live and Let Die and the elephant grey dupioni silk suit in Moonraker have textured slubs for interest. The light grey linen suit in Casino Royale has interest from both a textured open weave and the worn rumples of linen. In The Man with the Golden Gun, Moore wears two charcoal mohair-blend suits that have sheen to prevent the charcoal suits from looking flat.

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Semi-Solid Grey Suits

Along with his solid grey suits, Bond wears many patterned grey suits, either woven in black and white or woven in different shades of grey. The most subtle of these patterns is the pick-and-pick, which is also known as sharkskin. Rather than rely on mottled yarns for a varied grey, the semi-solid pick-and-pick uses two different yarns to subtly give the cloth a more interesting appearance without a noticeable pattern. In From Russia with Love Bond wears a subtle pick-and-pick in black and grey, and in Skyfall he brings back the pick-and-pick suit in black and white. Bond also wears semi-solid grey herringbone suits woven in black and white, for a similar effect to pick-and-pick. These can be seen in You Only Live Twice and The Living Daylights. Semi-solid suits are appropriate for business, but they stand out more than solid grey suits.

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Checked Grey Suits

The glen check is the next step up from pick-and-pick and herringbone in moving away from solid. The glen hopsack check that Bond wears in grey and white in his famous three-piece suit in Goldfinger as well as in less memorable black-and-white two-piece suit in Diamonds Are Forever is a very subtle check and still a semi-solid like pick-and-pick. Larger than the glen hopsack check is the plain weave glen check that Bond wears in black and cream in Dr. No and in black and grey in From Russia with Love. These are amongst the first patterned grey suits that Bond wears, and from a distance the pattern is hardly noticeable. In From Russia with Love, Bond also wears a black and white Glen Urquhart check suit, which is a larger check woven in a twill weave. The Glen Urquhart check suit comes back in Skyfall in black and grey. A suit with a larger check has more limited use in business than a smaller check does. Checks in a larger scale with more contrast are less formal than checks in a smaller scale with less contrast. In From Russia with Love, the black and grey plain-weave glen check suit is more formal than the black and white Glen Urquhart check suit. The former could more easily be worn in a business context whilst the latter would be a better choice to wear to a daytime social event.

Bond also wears grey suits with windowpanes, for something sportier than his usual business-like suits. The first grey windowpane suit he wears comes in the form of a blue overcheck on a black and white Glen Urquhart check suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The second in GoldenEye is a more businesslike iridescent charcoal suit with a subtle blue windowpane. The last in The World Is Not Enough is a black and grey cheviot tweed suit with a blue windowpane.

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Striped Grey Suits

For the ultimate business look, Bond wears grey suits with stripes. They are all variations on the grey suits mentioned above, just with stripes added. These include a medium grey flannel suit with white chalk stripes in The Man with the Golden Gun, dark grey worsted rope stripe suits in Octopussy and Skyfall, and a medium grey and charcoal herringbone suit with white track stripes in Spectre.

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One reason why Bond wears so many grey suits is that so much can easily be done with grey. Not all of the variations in grey suits can easily be done in blue or brown. Light shades of blue have a decidedly less serious look than light grey and can be hard to pull off. Stripes traditionally don’t mesh with brown suits, since brown is a country colour and stripes are for the city. Grey suits are versatile, adaptable and timeless, and it’s easy to see why grey is Bond’s favorite colour for his suits.

Suitings for the Setting

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There are two ways to choose the colour suits we wear. One way is to wear what best flatters our complexion. The other way is to dress according to our surroundings, which considers the physical location, its climate and the season. This is the most traditional way men pick the colours they wear, particularly their suits. Just as there are four general types of complexions, the same four types each correspond to a location and a season.

Winter and the City

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Suits for the city reflect the cold-looking grey stone and metal and the blue asphalt of the city, hence grey and blue are the suit colours worn there. Because it is where business is conducted, the city is a formal place, and blue and grey suits may have become the most formal colours for suits due to their association with the city. And since the city is a formal place, the blues and greys of the city are dark, serious shades like navy and charcoal. City greys can be in lighter shades than city blues since medium grey retains an austere look whilst medium blue looks more festive. Black is traditionally reserved for more formal clothes than lounge suits, and because of this it will not be discussed along with blue and grey suits. City suits are typically in smooth, dressy cloths such as serge, herringbone and plain-weave worsteds as well as in woolen and worsted flannels. For more luxurious city suits, mohair, cashmere and silk may be blended in with the wool. City suitings are, for the most part, the only suitings that appropriate with pinstripes and chalk stripes.

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These dark, cool colours of city suits belong to the winter season, which feels as dark and cold as the stone and metal of the city. The colours of the city fit in well anywhere that is dark and cold. These colours can be worn quite appropriately outside of the city in the winter, and grey tweed is an example of this for winter in the country.

Timothy Dalton wears a navy suit with grey chalk stripes in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton wears a navy suit with grey chalk stripes in The Living Daylights

Dark, cool city colours best flatter people with a “winter” complexion, which is a cool complexion with a high contrast between the skin tone and hair. James Bond classically has this sort of complexion, and it is exemplified by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Bond usually wears classic city suits when at the office and around London. Sean Connery’s navy worsted suit in From Russia with Love, George Lazenby’s navy herringbone suit and flannel chalkstripe suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Roger Moore’s charcoal rope stripe worsted suit in Octopussy and Daniel Craig’s grey herringbone track stripe worsted, silk and mohair suit in Spectre are all solid examples of suits to wear in the city.

Autumn and the Country

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The colours of country suits are earth tones from nature, and the trees tell us what colours to wear when surrounded by nature. Tree trunks are brown, and brown is at the core of country suits. We generally think of leaves as green, hence another country colour. In autumn, leaves turn red, orange and gold, and these in turn are also country colours. The most traditional country suits are in shades of brown, olive and rust, which reflect the colours of the country but aren’t as bold as the colours of autumnal foliage. Country suits have more texture than city suits to reflect the textures found in nature, and they also need to be in harder wearing cloths to withstand country pursuits such as riding and shooting. Because the British countryside is a cool place, country suits are traditionally heavier suits. Often they are made in hearty tweed, cavalry twill, covert twill and whipcord wools. Cotton corduroy in a great choice for more casual suits in the country.

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Though autumn is a cool season, autumn and country colours are warm and best flatter people with a warm complexion, particularly one with a high contrast. Auric Goldfinger has the classic complexion that looks best in country colours.

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George Lazenby’s brown tic-pattern tweed suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Roger Moore’s brown donegal tweed suit in Moonraker are classic country suits. Pierce Brosnan exchanges browns for something cooler and wears a charcoal windowpane tweed suit in the Scottish countryside in The World Is Not Enough. Charcoal is more flattering to his cool skin tone than earth tones are, and because it is wintertime, Brosnan’s wintry charcoal is appropriate in a country tweed. James Bond wears very few country suits throughout the series, partly because the classic Bond’s cool complexion doesn’t look good in country colours and partly because heavy country suits tend to look old-fashioned.

Summer and the Tropics and Desert

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Though the tropics are wet whilst the desert is dry, both are hot places where light-coloured suits are worn so they reflect the heat of the sun rather than absorb it. The suits worn in the tropics and desert are in light, neutral colours such as light grey, tan, beige and cream. Lighter muted blues such as air force blue are also excellent in the tropics, though they may look too colourful in the desert.

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Suits for the tropics and desert foremost need to breathe. Warm-weather wool should be high-twist in an open plain weave, such as tropical wool or, ideally, fresco. Twills should generally be avoided, though gabardine has the right look in the tropics for those who can bear the heat. Mohair and linen are the fibres that are best-known for their cool-wearing properties. The former is perfect for dressier suits whilst the latter is better for the most informal of suits because it wrinkles the moment it is donned. Cotton poplin is also popular for warm-weather suits, but its only advantage is that it is inexpensive. Though it feels light, it doesn’t breathe as well as open-weave wool, mohair or linen, and at the end of the day it only looks marginally less wrinkled than linen looks. It also wears out more quickly than other warm-weather suitings and isn’t worth being made as a bespoke suit.

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The colours of summer suits best flatter someone with a light, low-contrast and muted complexion. Grey is best for people with a cool complexion like Sean Connery, whilst tan, beige and cream are best for people with a warm complexion like Roger Moore. Sean Connery wears a light semi-solid grey mohair suit in the tropical Bahamas in Thunderball, and he wears a light grey tropical wool suit in the Las Vegas desert in Diamonds Are Forever. Also in Diamonds Are Forever, Connery wears a classic summer cream linen suit in Las Vegas. Roger Moore continues with a light grey tropical wool suit in Live and Let Die when visiting the tropical island of San Monique, but he switches to a more flattering (colour-wise) cream polyester suit in Moonraker that looks appropriate in sunny Rio de Janeiro but surely must wear warm. Pierce Brosnan darkens Bond’s tropical suit with tan linen suits in GoldenEye and Die Another Day. Daniel Craig brings back the light grey suit in linen in Casino Royale when arriving in the Bahamas.

Spring and the Mediterranean

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The Mediterranean is a colourful region with beautiful weather, and the suits to wear in the Mediterranean and regions with a moderate mediterranean climate reflect this. Blue suits in medium shades like marine blue and air force blue recall the sea and the sky. Brown, tan and cream suits recall the sand of the Mediterranean beaches. These warm colours fit the sunny yet moderate weather of the region.

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The rich, warm and bright colours of mediterranean suits follow the essence of spring and best flatter people with a low-contrast warm complexion. For those with cooler complexions, medium grey—particularly in checks—fits in with the moderate weather. Mediterranean and spring suits are typically in medium weight worsteds, from lighter serge to gabardine to fresco. Cloths with a sheen, such a mohair and silk, are also excellent for mediterranean areas since they take full advantage of the sunny weather.

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Sean Connery wore many medium-grey-toned glen checks throughout his Bond films, including two in the mediterranean Istanbul in From Russia with Love. He also wears a grey pick-and-pick suit in Istanbul in From Russia with Love, which Daniel Craig wears in a lighter tone when Bond returns to Istanbul in Skyfall. Roger Moore wears classic warm-toned mediterranean suits, not only because he spends a lot of time in the Mediterranean in his Bond films but also because these mediterranean colours best flatter his warm complexion. His suits include a marine blue mohair suit in Beirut in The Man with the Golden Gun, a light brown dupioni silk suit in Sardinia in The Spy Who Loved Me, a grey dupioni silk suit in Venice in Moonraker and a light brown gabardine suit in Corfu in For Your Eyes Only. In A View to a Kill, Moore wears a tan gabardine suit in San Francisco, where there is a mediterranean climate. In Spectre, Daniel Craig wears a medium blue Prince of Wales suit in Spectre in Mexico City that reflects the region’s moderate weather.

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These are all only guidelines as to the best cloths to wear in different locations during the different seasons. All four of the categories presented have some overlap with every other category. The best-dressed man looks both in to himself and out at his surroundings when choosing his clothes. The ideal colours for us to wear need to be a compromise between what flatters our own complexions whilst fitting out with our surroundings. For example, someone with a light complexion should avoid the dark colours that dominate the city suits in favour of medium shades of blue and grey. Someone with a cool complexion should wear greys instead of tans in mediterranean regions and mute the browns of the country with taupe and grey.

Since dark city colours are the most formal, they can be made up in non-city suiting for formal occasions in other types of locations and climates. Daniel Craig’s dark and breathable midnight blue mohair tonic suit in Quantum of Solace is an example of this. Country colours can be made up into more formal city worsteds for suburban business. An example of this is the dark brown mohair suit that Sean Connery wears to the office in London in Thunderball. Because it is brown, this suit should have ideally been worn further from Whitehall. But this particular brown is very dark and mixed with black for a serious look that doesn’t stand out amongst the standard navy and charcoal. This would be a flattering choice in the city for someone with a warm complexion who doesn’t look good in the usual city colours. There are many ways to bend the guidelines presented here, and with a bit of thought one can always be well-dressed to suit both his surroundings and himself.

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The Persuaders: A High-Buttoning Green Suit

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For his character Lord Brett Sinclair to wear in The Persuaders, Roger Moore designed some very unique and innovative pieces of tailoring that went beyond the fashion of the day. One of these pieces is a high-buttoning green suit tailored by Cyril Castle with an equestrian and military heritage, featured only in the 1971 episode “Take Seven”. Rather than try to be creative with an unflattering fit or awkward proportions, like most fashion designers have done over the past half century, this suit is creative through its unconventional colour, historical cut and unusual details. Though these elements altogether make this suit look like a piece of costume, it’s a fascinating study in creative tailoring.

The unusual colour of this suit can be described as rifle green, which comes from the uniform of rifle regiments. Rifle green is a statelier and richer colour than a lighter and warmer army green, but still it has a long military heritage. The suit’s medium-heavy cloth is woven in a herringbone weave and has wide but subtle rust-coloured stripes. Though Moore wears this suit in the heart of London, being green automatically labels this a country suit. At least Moore visits Hyde Park wearing this suit, where it harmoniously blends with the greenery. Anywhere, rifle green has the benefit of being one of the most flattering colours to Moore’s warm spring complexion.

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This suit is hanging onto the “New Edwardian” from the 1960s and has taken nothing from the trends that had emerged by the start of the 1970s. Rather than take on the flamboyance of the 1970s, this suit has a flamboyance all of its own. The lapels are a balanced width and wider than lapels on a 1960s suit would have been. Though it’s inspirations are clear, this suit is ultimately too peculiar to look dated to any time. The suit jacket takes its high buttoning from the Edwardian era, when lounge coats usually had three or four buttons down the front in a higher stance than in more modern times. This button three suit jacket places the bottom button just below the natural waist, and the foreparts are cut away below that button. Because the foreparts are only cutaway below the high bottom button, and because the bottom button is up near the waist, all three buttons can be fastened. One a typical button three jacket, the middle button is near the waist and the bottom button is on a cutaway portion of the jacket so it not designed to fasten. Fastening the bottom button on an ordinary button three jacket (or button two jacket, for that matter) pulls the jacket out of shape and restricts the legs. The cut of this jacket has much in common with the button two “paddock” style jackets that the Duke of Windsor was known for wearing, where either both buttons or only the bottom button would be fastened.

Moore’s suit jacket is almost like a short version of the high-buttoning Edwardian morning coat—a garment that was originally designed for riding a horse—and the cutaway in the front of this jacket would spread apart nicely on horseback. If the colour of this suit didn’t already place it in the country, the equestrian cut would. The structure follows the traditional British equestrian and military cut. The jacket has straight shoulders, a clean and full chest for a strong polished-marble look, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. This cut has a sporty look, but the structure gives it a rather formal and martial look too.

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This jacket also has many sporty and equestrian details, such as swelled edges, steeply slanted hacking pockets and a flapped breast pocket, which is slanted down towards the side of the jacket instead of up towards the shoulder. The jacket’s most important equestrian detail is the long single vent, which balances the cutaway in front. This is Moore’s second jacket in The Persuaders, and in any of his appearances, with the flared link-button cuffs he would go on to wear on his jackets throughout his first two James Bond films. This detail was supposedly his idea that he pitched to tailor Cyril Castle. The jacket’s buttons are smoke mother of pearl, which give a more urbane look to this country suit. The excellent fit gives credence to this unusual suit, though the sleeves are noticeably an inch too short.

The suit trousers, cut by Cyril Castle’s and Anthony Sinclair’s apprentice Richard W. Paine, have jetted cross pocket on the front, and a dart centred on either side of the front cuts through each front pocket. The trousers have narrow straight legs, an elegant look from later 1960s fashion.

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This suit’s fancy details and unusual equestrian cut are reminiscent of and in the spirit of suits that Patrick Macnee’s character John Steed in The Avengers wore. Some of his high-buttoning Pierre Cardin suits in the first colour series were very similar in style, and a navy high button two suit made by Hammond & Boyle from the same series came close as well. It’s certainly not the kind of suit James Bond would wear, and it’s not the kind of suit the the average man could wear either. The suit’s jacket would work as a fancy riding jacket, but few people need that. It’s too structured and buttoned-up to work as a casual piece today, but even in navy it would also be too unusual to work as a dressy suit, neither for business nor for social use. Though few people would have use for anything like this suit, there’s much to be learned from and admired about this distinctive piece.

With this suit, Moore wears a pale yellow shirt made by Frank Foster that has a spread collar and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten with a single button. The jacket’s too-short sleeves show off the shirt’s special cuffs. The tie has wide dark blue and dark green stripes and is tied in a four-in-hand knot. This is the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps regimental tie, and the tie signifies that former army officer Lord Brett Sinclair was a part of this regiment. Moore’s shoes are black calf monk shoes with a square apron toe. He wears black socks to match his shoes.

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In later episodes of The Persuaders “The Old, the New & the Deadly” and “Read & Destroy”, Roger Moore wears an almost identical suit in a much lighter and more olive shade of green.

Marnie: Sean Connery’s Taupe Herringbone Suit

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For Alfred Hitchcock’s 1964 film Marnie, costume designer James Linn came up with varied wardrobe or suits and sports coats for Sean Connery to wear. For a large portion of the film, Connery wears a taupe suit quite unlike anything he wears as James Bond. Though Connery wears a few brown suits as James Bond, Bond’s are all in dark shades of brown. This suit is in a medium shade of taupe, which is a grey-brown. The name for the colour comes from the French taupe, a noun for the mole animal. A mole is dark grey-brown, and the colour is named after it.

Connery’s taupe suit is a heavy worsted wool woven in a herringbone weave with a white pinstripe bordering each repeat of the herringbone. This suit is what might be called a “town and country” suit, being neither completely a town suit nor a country suit. It is made in a worsted cloth, which is typically worn in town, and it has the details of a town suit, such as a vent-less rear and straight pockets. But taupe’s marginally warm tone brings it into the country. Since taupe is between grey and brown, it makes the transition nicely. Formality-wise, a taupe suit also fits between grey and brown.

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Taupe can be considered a neutral colour, but it has a slight warmth that is most flattering on people with a warm complexion. Sean Connery has a cool complexion and looks better in cooler greys than he does in a warmer taupe. However, Connery looks much better in taupe than he does in warmer and richer country browns. Taupe’s warmth reflects the country’s surroundings but is neutral enough to still look good on someone with a cool complexion. It is therefore an excellent compromise in the country for someone with a cool complexion. Likewise, it can also be a good compromise in the city for someone with a warm complexion because it is neutral enough to fit in amongst the greys of the city.

This suit is made in the same style as all of Connery’s other suits in Marnie, and the cuts of both the jacket and the trousers suggests an English tailor. The jacket is cut with a full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The shoulders are on the natural shoulder line with more padding than his suits in the Bond films have, and the shoulders have roped sleeveheads. The jacket buttons three with the lapels gently rolled over the top button, and it is detailed with flap pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and no vent. Connery briefly rides a horse in this suit, and the lack of vent does not make the task impossible. A vent, however, would likely have made Connery more comfortable on the horse.

Connery is bent forward, causing rumples at the waist

Connery is bent forward, causing rumples at the waist

The suit’s trousers have double forward pleats, a tapered leg with turn-ups, an extended waistband closure and button side tabs to adjust the waist. Instead of the tabs extending forward as they ordinarily do (like on Connery’s Bond suit trousers), these tabs extend rearward.

The cream shirt has a spread collar, front placket and single-button rounded barrel cuffs. The shirts resemble Frank Foster’s shirts, with a familiar collar shape and a placket stitched close to the center. Connery’s narrow tie is solid dark brown in a shiny satin weave, and it is tied in a windsor knot. The tie is held to his placket with a tie bar at the height of the jacket’s top button so it is just barely seen when the jacket is closed at the middle button. Connery’s shoes are medium brown derbys with an elongated and slightly squared toe. The shoes likely have double leather soles for extra durability in the country.

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Jim Fanning: Navy Worsted Flannel Suit and Bow Tie

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Douglas Wilmer, who played Jim Fanning in Octopussy, died Thursday at the age of 96. Wilmer was best known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 television series, but he made a lasting impression to James Bond fans in his brief role alongside Roger Moore in Octopussy. Wilmer also appeared with Roger Moore in an episode of The Saint titled “The Rough Diamonds” and filmed a scene for—but was cut from—Sean Connery’s film Woman of Straw.

Wilmer’s character Fanning in Octopussy is an art expert employed by MI6 who is excited about the auction he attends with Bond, but he’s quickly frustrated by Bond’s antics. His old-fashioned and relaxed outfit is stylish and detail-focused, and it perfectly suits the character.

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Fanning’s light navy lightweight worsted flannel suit is made in a soft drape cut that suggests an Anderson & Shepard inspiration. It’s certainly a bespoke suit, and it’s likely Douglas Wilmer’s own suit from his personal tailor. It’s unlikely the film would budget for a bespoke suit for such a minor character. The suit has a worn-in look, which would be appropriate for an older gentleman who has likely had this suit for two decades.

This suit jacket’s drape cut is characterized by soft and slightly extended shoulders with light wadding and by a full chest with vertical folds at the side. The waist is suppressed, but how much so cannot be determined from an unbuttoned jacket. The jacket’s soft construction allows the narrow fishmouth lapels to roll gently over the top of the jacket’s three buttons, but the actual lapels start at the top button. The fishmouth shape of the lapels suggests that this jacket is likely not from Anderson & Sheppard, despite the rest of it resembling their style. Still, Anderson & Sheppard could be a possibility. The jacket is detailed with straight flap pockets and two buttons spaced apart on the cuffs, and there is no vent in the rear.

The details of the suit trousers cannot be seen clearly, but the trousers likely have double forward pleats and are worn with braces. They have a medium-long rise to the waist.

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Fanning’s light grey and white narrow-striped shirt follows the traditional English design. Whilst solid grey shirts can look very dull and bland, the fine stripes on this shirt give it a livelier appearance. The collar is a wide spread with a little tie space and stitched a 1/4-inch from the edge. The front has a narrow placket identical to Turnbull & Asser’s and is stitched 3/8-inch from the edge. The cuffs are double cuffs.

The bow tie is navy with a woven pattern of large tics, each made up of a green tic, a yellow tic and a red tic. Unlike James Bond’s perfectly tied black bow ties, Fanning’s bow tie is left askew. The back and front don’t perfectly line up, giving the bow tie some character. He accessorises his suit with a white linen handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket with the corners sticking up. Reading glasses hang from Fanning’s neck on a thin red lanyard whilst a magnifying glass hangs from a thicker black lanyard.

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