The Ticket Pocket

The ticket pocket, sometimes called a cash pocket, is the small pocket that is occasionally found above the right hip pocket on a jacket or coat. It follows the angle and style of the pocket below it. Ordinarily it is aligned with the front edge of the larger hip pocket below it, but some makers centre the ticket pocket above the hip pocket. The ticket pocket’s flap is shorter than the hip pocket’s flap is. The ticket pocket can be found on suit jackets, sports jackets and overcoats. It was originally only found on country suits and sports coats but, like slanted pockets, made its way to city clothes during the second half of the twentieth century. The position of the ticket pocket has made its way lower over the years. It is considerably higher on Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair jackets in Goldfinger than it is on Daniel Craig’s jackets in Quantum of Solace. The standard is for the top of the ticket pocket to be three inches above the top of the hip pocket.

Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that the ticket pocket was “introduced in the late 1850s for a railroad ticket and used at intervals ever since.” Riccardo Villarosa and Guiliano Angeli have a more modern idea about the ticket pocket’s name that they write in The Elegant Man: “[It] is called a ticket pocket because it often holds bus tickets.” The ticket pocket is meant are for travelling tickets and not opera or theatre tickets. It is too informal to wear on suits that would be worn to the opera or the theatre. Other than travelling tickets, the pocket can be useful for any small item such coins, banknotes, receipts, papers, etc.

Ticket pockets are best avoided on shorter men since they break up the length of the jacket. They should also be avoided on heavier men since they add bulk to the waist.

Slanted pockets with a ticket pocket on Sean Connery's hacking jacket in Goldfinger. Notice that the ticket pocket has a smaller flap than the hip pocket and is placed high above it.

Slanted pockets with a ticket pocket on Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair hacking jacket in Goldfinger. Notice that the ticket pocket has a smaller flap than the hip pocket and is placed high above it.

James Bond has ticket pockets on a number of his suits and sports coats. Until Pierce Brosnan became Bond in the 1990s, Bond’s suits with ticket pockets were almost all sportier suits. The majority of Bond’s tweeds have ticket pockets, like the tweed hacking jackets in Goldfinger, Thunderball and A View to a Kill, the “reversible” tweed jacket in Octopussy and the tweed suits in Moonraker and The World Is Not Enough. The blazers in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (double-breasted) and The Spy Who Loved Me (single-breasted) also have ticket pockets. Apart from the tweed suits, many of Bond’s other sportier suits have ticket pockets, like the glen check suits in Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret ServiceDiamonds Are Forever and GoldenEye, the brown houndstooth check suit in Goldfinger and the grey flannel suit in Diamonds Are Forever.

Starting in GoldenEye, many of James Bond’s worsted city suits have ticket pockets. Many of Pierce Brosnan’s worsted suits—three in GoldenEye, two in Tomorrow Never Dies, two in The World Is Not Enough and one in Die Another Day—have slanted pockets with a ticket pocket. Though this pocket style gives the Italian Brioni suits a decidedly more English look, it is really too sporty for business suits. Straight pockets with a ticket pocket or slanted pockets without a ticket are okay for a slight dandyish look on a business suit, but the combination of slanted pockets with a ticket pocket is too sporty for the city. Brosnan’s navy single-breasted overcoat in Die Another Day, like many of his suits, has slanted pockets and a ticket pocket.  Daniel Craig brought back ticket pockets—albeit straight—on all of his dark city Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace. Even the navy Tom Ford overcoat in Quantum of Solace has a ticket pocket, but it’s also straight.

The November Man: The Grey Silk Suit

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Pierce Brosnan returned to the spy/action genre earlier this year in Roger Donaldson’s The November Man. Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA officer who has no reservations about killing or torturing people. The character would certainly not be mistaken for an older James Bond as he is certainly not a gentleman by any means. However, Olga Kurylenko, who played Camille in Quantum of Solace, plays a similar character to what she plays in her Bond film. Brioni, Pierce Brosnan’s suit supplier for his Bond films, provided some of the clothes for The November Man, according to a Brioni press release.

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One of Peter Devereaux’s nicest outfits in the film is his slubby grey and white pick-and-pick silk suit that he wears with a black shirt. The outfit is not Devereaux’s own but one that Olga Kurylenko’s character Alice Fournier picked out for him from the closet in an apartment they broke into. The grey suit flatters Brosnan’s very cool complexion, though it brings out the grey in his partially-dyed hair. The suit jacket is updated from the boxy, built-up jackets that Brosnan wore in his Bond films to one with more shape and straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line. It fits well, has balanced proportions and has a classic length that covers his rear. Like Brosnan’s Bond suit jackets, this jacket has roped sleeveheads, double vents and slanted hip pockets with a ticket pocket. There are four buttons on the sleeves, and the buttons are sewn in an overlapping “waterfall” style, a common method for tailors in Naples, Italy. The jacket has contrasting button in black plastic, which dress down the suit.

Unlike the darted Brioni suit trousers with a medium-high rise that Pierce Brosnan wore in his last two James Bond films, Devereaux’s suit trousers have a flat front and a lower rise. The lower rise does not flatter Brosnan, who is now almost beyond a middle-aged man and has a paunch. It also doesn’t help that he lets the trousers sag below his stomach. He keeps them loose so he can stick a gun in his trouser waistband, a bad habit that Brosnan’s Bond had as well. Brosnan wears the trousers with a black belt.

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Though black shirts (and other dark shirts) should not usually be worn with suits, Devereaux’s silk suit is not a business suit but rather one that can be dressed up or down for social occasions. Devereaux dresses the suit down with a dark shirt sans tie. The black shirt nicely contrasts with the suit in the same way a black necktie would, but without a tie a light-coloured shirt wouldn’t provide enough contrast with the light-coloured suit to balance Pierce Brosnan’s high-contrast winter complexion. The shirt has black buttons, a spread collar, a plain front and two-button scalloped cuffs, which Devereaux wears unbuttoned.

Devereaux’s shoes are the Nike Free Run 2 in all black. Though trainers such as these are inappropriate with a suit, the filmmakers—no doubt on purpose—show very little of the shoes. They are really only noticeable if one pauses the film during the three split-second shots when the shoes are visible. Since Pierce Brosnan is 61 years old, and The Novmeber Man requires him to do many action scenes, trainers are unfortunately necessary. When he was James Bond he was in much better shape and able to do the same kind of action in proper shoes.

The Nike trainers

Nike Free Run 2 black trainers

The Skyfall Press Conference: A Dark Grey Herringbone Suit

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Though Daniel Craig didn’t wear a suit to the Spectre announcement last week, he wore suits to the press conferences announcing his first three Bond films. At the Quantum of Solace press conference we got a preview of the suits to come in the upcoming film. At the Skyfall press conference on 3 November 2011, Craig wore a Tom Ford suit that was a like a mix of the Quantum of Solace suits and Skyfall suits that were to come. It was a dark grey herringbone two-piece suit, and the jacket was a button three with the lapels rolled to the middle button like on the suit jackets in Quantum of Solace. Also like on the Quantum of Solace suit jackets the flapped pockets are straight and include a ticket pocket, there are double vents, there are five buttons on the cuffs with the last one left open, and the lapels are a medium, balanced width. The trousers are have a flat front, turn-ups and slie-buckle side adjusters.

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The fit of this suit, however, is more like the suits in Skyfall. The jacket’s shoulders are narrow and straight, the length is a little short and the fit is very close overall. But the fit is not quite as tight as the Skyfall suits are. There is a little pulling at the sleeves and waist but not nearly to the extent that the jackets in film pull. The jacket fits very closely, but Daniel Craig doesn’t look as if he is about to burst out of it like the Hulk. The trousers have a low rise and narrow, straight legs like on the Skyfall suits. Whilst they pull a little around the thighs, they still hang straight. The suit still doesn’t fit as well as the suits in Quantum of Solace fit, but it shows how a fashionable “slim-fit” suit doesn’t necessarily have to fit so poorly like the suits Skyfall do. Slight adjustments to this suit could kept the “slim-fit” look whilst keeping Bond well-tailored in Skyfall. Perhaps the suits in Skyfall were intended to fit more like this suit does and Daniel Craig bulked up more after being fitted.

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To complement Daniel Craig’s low-contrast complexion he went for a low-contrast outfit overall, with a mid-blue and white end-on-end shirt and a grey tie. The shirt has a moderate spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. The tie is grey with a white tick pattern, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Though the shirt and tie of equal values is a rather bland combination—in black-and-white the shirt and tie look the same—it allows his face to pop more than his outfit does. Flattering the face should always be the number one goal, and this outfit mostly achieves that. The shirt’s blue, however, is a very cool and dull blue, and a warmer and more saturated blue—like the sky blue shirts in Skyfall—would have been more flattering to Craig’s warm complexion. There is a complete lack of contrast in the dark grey pocket handkerchief, where a little contrast would certainly improve the look.

The Crockett & Jones Highbury Three-Eyelet Derby

The Crockett & Jones Highbury Three-Eyelet Derby

One part of this press conference outfit previewed something Daniel Craig would later wear in Skyfall: Craig wore the same black Crockett & Jones Highbury model three-eyelet derby shoes that he would wear with most of his suits in the upcoming film.

Daniel Craig, as well as the others at the press conference, wore a Royal British Legion poppy pin with two red paper petals and a green paper leaf on his lapel to commemorate those who were killed in war and to support those currently serving. The Royal British Legion is a charity that provides support to veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families. Though the pin resembles a flower, it does not act as a boutonniere.

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Announcing Spectre—Daniel Craig in a Blue Jumper

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At a press conference yesterday morning, Bond 24 was christened Spectre, and Skyfall’s costume designer Jany Temime was confirmed to be returning. So what did Daniel Craig wear to this press conference? He dressed down elegantly in a jumper, grey wool trousers and a shirt and tie. Thanks to James Bond Lifestyle, the round-neck jumper is identified as the “Oxford” model from N.Peal, the same one that he wears in Skyfall. But it’s in a different colour: a deep royal blue that flatters Daniel Craig’s warm spring complexion. Under the jumper, Craig wore a white shirt with a narrow collar—presumably a point collar but it could possibly be a tab collar—and a navy tie. V-neck jumpers typically work better with a tie than round-neck jumpers do since the V-neck leaves a space for the tie. The round neck jumper awkwardly sits over the tie knot. On the other hand, a crew-neck jumper over a tie looks like something one would wear when removing a jacket after returning home from work. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it shows an unstudied elegance. Craig allowed shirt cuff to show beyond the jumper’s sleeves.

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Craig wore grey wool flat-front trousers with turn-ups and Crockett & Jones Molton chukka boots (again, identified by James Bond Lifestyle) with the jumper. The Molton is a three-eyelet chukka with rubber soles sold at Barneys New York. Craig’s boots were black suede, an unusual combination of colour and material. Black is the dressiest colour for footwear whilst suede is a rather informal material. Black looks good when it’s well-shined leather, and in suede it looses that characteristic whilst lacking the interest that the brown colour can give suede. Black suede looks very dull and flat. However, the black goes with the grey and blue in the outfit whilst suede chukka boots match the casual look of outfit. Black suede is very difficult to pull off due to its unorthodox nature, yet Craig makes it work.

Daniel Craig’s outfit certainly looked elegant, but was it appropriate for a grand announcement of a new Bond film? Does it give insight to what he will wear in Spectre? Perhaps not. Craig wore a suit and tie at the press conferences announcing his first three Bond films, though only at the Quantum of Solace press conference did Craig wear an outfit from the upcoming film (the charcoal suit he wears in the London scenes). The Spectre press conference certainly looks like a more spontaneous affair than the previous press conferences, not only in the way Daniel Craig is dressed but also in the way the other actors are dressed. Nobody appears to be wearing costume.

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Ralph Fiennes, who plays M in Spectre, wore a beautiful charcoal birdseye suit with an azure blue shirt. The suit jacket is a button two with jetted pockets and no vents, and the trousers have forward pleats and turn-ups and are held up with braces that button on the outside of the waistband. However, Fiennes made the mistake of fastening the bottom button of the jacket instead of the top. The suit jacket has a fairly soft construction for what is most likely a bespoke English suit, judging by the full chest, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and the lapel had rolled over the top button down to the bottom button. This was most likely the result of a poor pressing because no English tailor would design a suit to button so low as to show the trouser waistband above the jacket’s button. Fiennes’ wore shoes with plain toe and were likely chelsea boots, though they were mostly hidden by the trousers. Fiennes’ suit is also not one that should be worn without a tie. That suit and the occasion warranted a tie.

Spectre‘s Director Sam Mendes wore a sloppy-looking suit with both the sleeves and the trousers too long. It was as if he borrowed a suit for the event. The jacket has three buttons and he fastened the bottom two buttons.

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Ben Whishaw, who plays Q in Spectre, wore one of the least attractive outfits of the men at the event. He wore a black, button four unstructured jacket, baggy black trousers that bunch at the waist, black derby shoes and white shirt with the collar buttoned but no tie. He was probably inspired by the Twelfth Doctor to button his collar without a tie, but it is nevertheless an unattractive look. Rory Kinnear, who plays Tanner, dressed similarly to Daniel Craig in a jumper, though his outfit isn’t quite as refined.

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Christoph Waltz, who plays Franz Oberhauser, was perhaps the best-dressed man at the Spectre press conference in a outfit of a well-fitting suit and tie that’s appropriate for the grand occasion. The suit is a tone-on-tone brown Glen Urquhart check and has a button two jacket with flapped pockets and a single vent with flat front and plain-hemmed trousers. He unfortunately had the right pocket flap tucked whilst he left pocket flap out. He wore it with a white shirt that had an edge-stitched point collar and a burgundy tie with a brown grid and white dots. He knotted the tie in a windsor knot. His shoes are light brown cap-toe oxfords, a flashy and fashionable, yet stylish, choice.

Gareth Mallory: Grey Suit Trousers with Braces

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To contrast Daniel Craig’s fashionably-cut suits in Skyfall, Ralph Fiennes’s character Gareth Mallory wears four timeless suits made by modern tailor Timothy Everest. They have a trim, modern cut, but overall the suits have classic proportions with a jacket length that covers the rear and medium-width lapels. In a brief scene where M visits Mallory in his office, he is seen in dark grey suit trousers without his suit jacket. We know the trousers are part of a suit because the suit jacket can be seen draped over a chair.

The suit jacket is single-breasted and cut with straight, padded shoulders in the Savile Row tradition. Unlike on the blue chalk stripe suit that Mallory wears later in the film, this suit jacket has straight, flapped pockets and no ticket pocket. It has a single vent that is roughly 10 inches deep. It’s a shame that this suit jacket plays an extra in the scene instead of getting the leading role it deserves. Since Mallory has a high government position and is in his own office, he can appropriately leave his jacket off whilst meeting with M. However, the suit jacket would be better cared for on a hanger in the closet. Mallory must have a better place to keep his jacket. Hanging the jacket on the back of a chair is not a healthy way to take care of a meticulously-shaped bespoke suit jacket. However, if the suit jacket was stuck in a closet we wouldn’t even get a glimpse of it. Part of the film’s budget went to Mallory’s bespoke suits, after all, and by keeping the suit jacket in the back of the shot they make use of it. The same is done with his charcoal pinstripe suit jacket later in the film.

Notice the suit jacket on the chair behind M

Notice the dark grey suit jacket on the chair behind M

The trousers, for once, have the starring role of all the clothes in this scene. They have a flat front and single rear darts on either side. The trousers sit high at the waist, and they don’t need pleats to do so, though they look a little tight around the hips. The waistband has a long extension—to keep the front straight—and slide-buckle side adjusters. The trousers have slanted side pockets and a button-through jetted pocket on the right in the rear. The legs have a trim and tapered cut, but they aren’t tight like on Daniel Craig’s suits.

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Mallory uses braces—known as suspenders to some Americans—to hold up his trousers, though he also uses the trousers’ side adjusters to keep the waistband close to the waist. The braces attach inside the waistband at the front and on extended tabs in the rear. The extension tabs allow the braces to sit higher like they would on the old-fasioned fishtail braces back, making the braces more comfortable. The tabs can be tucked inside the trousers if Mallory only wanted to use the side adjusters to hold up his trousers. Braces, however, are by far the most secure method of holding up the trousers. Mallory’s braces are navy with a navy embroidered fleur-de-lis braces motif and were made by Albert Thurston. The braces have black leather ends and trimmings—which most likely match Mallory’s unseen shoes—and brass levers. Braces set Mallory apart as an old-fashioned man, but they also mean that he is a man who wants to get the job done the right way and doesn’t settle for nonsense—or belts.

Mallory’s cotton poplin shirt is a deep sky blue, which slightly overpowers his light, cool, low-contrast summer complexion. The shirt has a moderate spread collar, double cuffs attached to the sleeve with pleats, and a narrow English-style placket that is stitched 3/8 inch from the edge. Mallory’s tie is navy with a raised woven purple lattice diagonally across the tie. Mallory ties it in a four-in-hand knot.

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Brioni and a Disciple, Angelo Roma

Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni pinstripe suit in The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni three-piece suit in The World Is Not Enough

Brioni is very well-associated with making James Bond’s suits in the five films from GoldenEye to Casino Royale, tailoring both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig under supervision of costume designer Lindy Hemming. But years before Pierce Brosnan took over the James Bond role in 1995, Brioni’s style came to the Bond series in 1977 when Angelo Roma provided Roger Moore’s suits for The Spy Who Loved Me, and then again two years later in Moonraker. Angelo Vitucci, a former manager of Brioni Coutoure and Brioni model, started Angelo Roma. Angelo Roma is not to be confused with the more famous and adventurous Roman fashion house Angelo Litrico, You can read more about Angleo Vitucci’s time with Brioni in this article and this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Angelo Vitucci brought Brioni’s Roman silhouette to his own suits. The Roman silhouette is based closely on the English military and equestrian cut popularised by tailors like H. Huntsman, Henry Poole and Dege & Skinner, and it is defined by powerful, straight and padded shoulders, often with roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. Though the style of Roger Moore’s suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker is eclipsed by wide lapels and flared trouser legs, the cut of the suit jacket is classic and not far removed from classic examples of Brioni’s tailoring. In the image below on the right, I’ve narrowed Moore’s lapels to a balanced width—as well as narrowed the tie and shortened and widened the collar—to demonstrate what a classic cut the suit has. Compare it to the original suit on the left below.

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Roger Moore wearing a grey dupioni silk suit Angelo Roma suit in Moonraker

The suit in the altered image essentially has the same look as a classic Brioni suit. If the gorge (the seam where the collar meets the lapels) wasn’t so curved, it almost looks like it could be from Savile Row! English tailors typically cut their gorges straighter than the Italians, though some Italians also cut their gorges very straight. It’s amazing what a difference just the width of the lapels makes to the perception of the chest size and shoulder width. The balanced lapel width gives Moore a more masculine chest without making him look barrel-chested like in his suits in The Saint do. Angelo Vitucci is quoted in a 1954 article in the Panama City News-Herald about Brioni tailoring:

“‘Mainly,’ comments Signor Vitucci, ‘our suits are designed to camouflage figure faults, like bow legs or other unfortunate handicaps.’ No cuffs on Brioni’s trousers. It’s not a matter of saving cloth but saving appearance. Uncuffed trousers, explains Angelo, give a clean, uncluttered look and are more hygienic besides, since they do not catch dust.”

Brioni appears to have changed their mind about trouser turn-ups when they made Pierce Brosnan’s trousers. Though James Bond’s relationship with Italian tailoring started with a disciple of Brioni, Brioni finally came to the James Bond series sixteen years after Moonraker in GoldenEye.

Charcoal Windowpane-Cream Shirt

Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal windowpane Brioni suit in GoldenEye

The excellent book Dressed to Kill: James Bond, The Suited Hero names Checchino Fonticoli as Brioni’s master tailor who fits Pierce Brosnan in his suits for GoldenEye. He was capable of altering Brioni’s house style to make just the right look for James Bond in the 1990s. Lindy Hemming’s is quoted in the book saying, “I wanted a company which was capable of tailoring in the Savile Row manner”. Brioni’s Roman style is certainly reminiscent of military Savile Row tailoring as I mentioned above, though, as stated in the book, Hemming also wanted the suits to look current just as Anthony Sinclair’s suit did in the 1960’s:

“We discussed style and proportion and came up with a very modern jacket shape; although classic, it is slightly longer and looks good with three buttons as well as two. I also wanted to incorporate traditional details such as ticket pockets which would suggest that the clothing might have come from Savile Row.”

Whilst Savile Row tailors, especially those in the military tradition, would probably not make their suit jackets as loose as Pierce Brosnan’s were in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Hemming’s choice of Brioni was more for their ability to produce a large number of suits quickly than it was for their Italian style. As well as ticket pockets, Brosnan’s Brioni suits mostly have double vents and slanted pockets to carry on the illusion of an English suit. Hemming is also quoted in Dressed to Kill saying, “This man [Bond] must look immaculate, not strange or foppish or too fashionable.”

At the time, Brosnan’s suits could have been more fashionable if the trousers had triple pleats (like the trousers with his navy blazer in GoldenEye) or quadruple pleats instead of classic double pleats. But Lindy Hemming failed in not making Brosnan’s suits too fashionable since they have very full cut in his first two Bond films. The tight-fitting suit trend now as Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall makes the loose cut of Brosnan’s suit jackets even more apparent.

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Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal flannel Brioni suit in Tomorrow Never Dies

Though Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits are cut trimmer like an English suit, they lack the English details that costume designer Lindy Hemming put on Brosnan’s suits, like the ticket pockets, slanted pockets and, usually, double vents. Craig’s Brioni suits have straight pockets and, on all but one, single vents, which are still classic styles and ultimately have no bearing on a suit’s style. Whilst Brosnan’s Brioni suits are characterised by their long, loose cut and low button stance, Craig’s Brioni suits have a trimmer cut and classic button stance like Moore’s Angelo suits, and a very high gorge. It’s difficult to draw direct comparisons between Moore’s, Brosnan’s and Craig’s Italian suits since they all reflect their contemporary fashions, but they all are tied together with the straight, padded shoulders and clean chest that define the Roman tailoring that Brioni made popular.

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Daniel Craig wears a charcoal blue Brioni suit in Casino Royale

Q’s Glen Urquhart Check Suit in The Living Daylights

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Q has a long tradition of wearing glen check suits, starting with Desmond Llewelyn’s first appearance as Q in From Russia with Love. Most of the time the suits have a button three jacket, and the suits are often three-piece suits. The suit Q wears in his lab in The Living Daylights is very similar to the suit he wears in From Russia with Love in that it’s a three-piece black-and-white glen check suit with a button-three jacket, cut in a very classic and very English style.

This suit is a black-and-white Glen Urquhart check with a light blue overcheck. The suit jacket has natural shoulders with slightly roped sleeveheads, and it is cut with a little drape in the chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket’s natural shoulders go against the trend in the late 1980s for large, extended, padded shoulders, yet Q has very large shoulders himself and more than a little padding would look completely unnatural on him. His natural shoulder line is almost horizontal! The jacket has slanted flap pockets with a ticket pocket, but Q wears the flaps tucked in. However, in a continuity error sometimes the left pocket flap is untucked. Like most classic English tailoring in the 1980s, the suit jacket has double vents. The jacket is detailed with four buttons on the cuffs, and the suit’s buttons are black plastic.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons, and Q follows tradition by leaving the bottom button open. The suit trousers are full-cut without pleats or turn-ups. Non-pleated trousers were not very popular in the late 1980s and make Q look outdated to those who followed fashion trends at the time. It’s quite the opposite of what most people think today about trouser pleats, however, the full cut of Q’s trousers through the thigh would still make him look old-fashioned today. Q’s trousers don’t necessarily look outdated so much as they look sloppy.

Q-Glen-Urquhart-Check-Suit-The-Living-Daylights-Tie-2With the suit, Q wears a sky blue shirt with a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. His regimental tie is black with a double gold stripe. The tie has a motif of silver Prince of Wales’s feathers badges. The Prince of Wales’s feathers is a symbol of Wales that consists of three ostrich feathers emerging from a coronet. The tie also has a motif of red and green roses. Though I don’t know exactly what this tie represents, I suspect it represents a Welsh regiment of the British Army, going by the badge and welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn’s service in the British Army during World War II. If anyone knows what this tie represents, please leave a comment below. Q also wears an identification tag pinned to his lapel.

Q-Glen-Urquhart-Check-Suit-The-Living-Daylights-3Q’s tobacco suede two-eyelet derbys are an interesting choice of footwear for a Glen Urquhart check suit worn in London. The English are known for wearing black shoes with their suits in town, so wearing light-coloured suede shoes with his suit is a dandyish, but stylish, choice. The contrast between the shoes and the suit is unfortunately accentuated by Q’s unstylish choice of black socks. Grey or coloured socks would be a better choice to link the shoes with the rest of the outfit. Q is not intended to be a fashionable or particularly stylish character, though he is well aware of the way he is dressed and there is always plenty of charm in his outfits.

Classic Style and the Suit’s Ideal Proportions

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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.

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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.

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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.