Comparing Daniel Craig’s Navy Pinstripe Suits

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The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

Quantum of Solace begins moments after Casino Royale ends with James Bond wearing a two-piece navy pinstripe suit. Bond is supposed to be wearing the same three-piece suit from at the end of Casino Royale, but the change from a three-piece suit to a two-piece suit is not because we’re meant to think that James Bond removed his waistcoat. Naturally if a man wants to shed a layer of his three-piece suit, he’s going to take off his suit jacket and not the waistcoat. The reason why James Bond is no longer wearing a waistcoat in Quantum of Solace is because a change in costume designer meant a reinterpretation of the Casino Royale outfit. These two suits are the only two in the series that can be fairly judged by comparison since story-wise they are supposed to be the same suit.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

For the final scene of Casino Royale, costume designer Lindy Hemming dressed James Bond in a three-piece Brioni suit to signify that Daniel Craig’s new Bond had become the more sophisticated James Bond we knew from previous Bond films who takes pride in dressing up. This was a large step from being a man who didn’t have a proper dinner jacket earlier in the film. Lousie Frogley assumed the costume designer position for Quantum of Solace and abandoned Brioni for Tom Ford. Perhaps she decided to put Bond in a two-piece suit rather than a three-piece suit because he hadn’t matured into the classic Bond character yet, because a three-piece suit didn’t fit the Lake Garda setting or because a two-piece suit worked more effectively for the intense action stunts. A three-piece suit also would not have looked so great if Frogley was intent on Bond removing his tie. She at least kept the suit a navy pinstripe to maintain a modicum of continuity between the films. But even though the suits are both navy with pinstripes, the pinstripes are white in Casino Royale whilst the pinstripes are light blue in Quantum of Solace. The stripes on both suits are spaced no more than a half-inch apart.

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The three-piece suit in Casino Royale

The cuts of the Brioni and Tom Ford suits are very different. The Brioni suit jacket has straight shoulders with a healthy amount of shoulder padding whereas the Tom Ford suit jacket has much softer pagoda shoulders, which have a slight concave shape. Both suits have roped sleeveheads. The Tom Ford jacket has a more shaped silhouette than the Brioni jacket has, with a more defined waist. Though both suit jackets fit closely, the Brioni has a boxier silhouette. Wearing the suit jacket open adds to the boxy look. Both suit jackets have three buttons with the middle button placed at the middle of body’s waist. The Brioni jacket’s lapels roll gently at the top button, whilst the Tom Ford jacket’s lapels have a harder roll down to the middle button for a button two silhouette. The Brioni sleeves are cut full at the upper arm and taper down to the cuffs. By contrast, the Tom Ford sleeves are narrower through the upper arm and have a slight flare at the end for a dash of English style. Both suit jackets’ sleeves are slightly too long, but it is hardly noticeable in Quantum of Solace since Bond’s arms are hardly ever at his side. The Tom Ford suit also has a little skirt flare, which is lacking in the Brioni suit’s more Italian cut.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The two suit jackets’ details vary too. Both jackets have straight pockets with flaps, but the Tom Ford jacket adds a ticket pocket. Whilst the Brioni suit jacket has a typical angled breast pocket, the Tom Ford jacket has a curved “barchetta” breast pocket, which is a Neapolitan-inspired detail. The Brioni jacket has four buttons on the cuff whilst the Tom Ford jacket has five buttons on the cuffs, worn with the last button open. The Tom Ford suit has double vents, but the vent style on the Brioni suit is difficult to tell. It may also have double vents, but considering that Bond’s other worsted suits in Casino Royale have single vents it could be a likely possibility here too.

The suit trousers between the Brioni and Tom Ford suits have different cuts. Both trousers have straight legs with little tapering, but the Brioni trousers have much wider legs. The Tom Ford trousers have a flat front whilst the Brioni trousers have a small dart on either side of the front placed beside the side pockets. The side pockets on the Brioni suit trousers are slightly slanted off-seam, but the pockets on the Tom Ford trousers are on the seam, which curves forward at the top. The Brioni trousers are worn with a belt and the Tom Ford trousers have slide-buckle side-adjusters placed on the waistband seam. Both suits’ trousers have turn-ups.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The part of the outfit that is the least changed between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace is the shirt: both are light blue cotton poplin. The Casino Royale shirt is made by Brioni and the Quantum of Solace shirt is made by Tom Ford. The shirt in Quantum of Solace, however, is a paler blue than the shirt in Casino Royale. Both have moderate spread collars, front plackets and double cuffs, though the collar in Casino Royale sits a little higher and closer to the face.

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The two-piece suit in Quantum of Solace

The ties are both blue neat patterns, but they have different patterns and colours. The Casino Royale tie (maker unknown) is a honeycomb pattern in blue and white, and the Quantum of Solace tie (made by Tom Ford) is roughly a pattern of blue and black squares. In Casino Royale Bond ties the tie with a four-in-hand knot whilst in Quantum of Solace he ties it with a windsor knot. The tie in Casino Royale has a very heavy interlining, which makes the knot quite large. Though Bond wears a folded white pocket handkerchief with his other suits in Quantum of Solace, he foregoes the handkerchief with this outfit so it more closely matches the Casino Royale outfit.

Bond, of course, wears black shoes with both suits, but the styles and makers, again, are different. In Casino Royale he wears the John Lobb Luffield, which is a two-eyelet derby. In Quantum of Solace he switches to the Church’s Philip perforated cap-toe oxford. This is one of the least noticeable differences between the two outfits since the shoes are hardly seen.

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The John Lobb Luffield two-eyelet derby in Casino Royale

Through comparing the suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, I have described some of the essential differences between Brioni’s and Tom Ford’s silhouettes and styles, though both makers offer a numbers different styles.

Do you prefer the three-piece suit in Casino Royale or the two-piece Tom Ford suit in Quantum of Solace?

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To save you the trouble of asking, yes, I will be posting a comparison of Mr. White’s two similar outfits from these same scenes.

James Bond’s Three Piece Suits

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Three-piece suits have been an iconic part of James Bond’s look since he exited the lavatory on Goldfinger’s private jet wearing a grey glen check suit in Goldfinger. Since Daniel Craig will be wearing a three-piece suit again in Spectre, I thought it would be helpful to look back at James Bond’s past three-piece suits.

The waistcoat

The inclusion of a matching waistcoat (vest) along with the jacket and trousers is what makes a suit a three-piece suit. Bond usually wears a traditional waistcoat that has six buttons and a small cutaway at the bottom. Sometimes the bottom button is on the cutaway, but even if it is not, Bond does not fasten the bottom button. The bottom button on a waistcoat is never fastened out of tradition, but it is also never fastened to allow the bottom of the waistcoat needs to spread apart when seated. In Thunderball (pictured top) the waistcoats are cut straight across the bottom, and all buttons are meant to fasten. The straight-bottomed waistcoats look a little like sleeveless cardigans and are thus slightly less formal. Bond has occasionally worn waistcoats with five buttons or seven buttons, and in Goldfinger and The World Is Not Enough, the waistcoats have notched lapels. Bond’s waistcoats typically have four welt pocked on the front, and the back of the waistcoat is made in the same material as the jacket’s lining.

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Bond showing off the waistcoat to his three-piece suit in Goldfinger

How James Bond wears his three-piece suits

Most of Bond’s three-piece suits are made of dark worsteds or flannels and worn in London. Sean Connery wears a dark brown three-piece suit to the office in Thunderball, and George Lazenby wears two navy three-piece suits (herringbone and chalk stripe) to the office and the College of Arms in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. From Moonraker in 1979 to The World Is Not Enough twenty years later in 1999, Bond all but twice wears three-piece suits to the office and in other London scenes.

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Bond at the office in a navy herringbone three-piece suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

A dark three piece suit gives Bond a traditional, confident and powerful look that is appropriate for his formal office setting. Bond’s dark three-piece suits are most often navy with pinstripes or chalk stripes, but charcoal flannel is another favourite colour for Bond’s three-piece suits. Bond has also worn three piece suits in a business setting in navy herringbone, navy birdseye, grey herringbone, grey windowpane, grey rope stripe and black pinstripe suitings.

For mourning the death of his “brother” in Diamonds Are Forever, Bond wears a black three-piece suit. Today people may consider a three-piece suit too flashy for a funeral, even in somber solid black. Bond also wears two sporty three-piece suits outside of London for non-business occasions: the grey glen check suit in Goldfinger and the brown tweed suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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Bond in a three-piece suit in Lake Como in Casino Royale

The last time Bond wore a three-piece suit was at Lake Como in Casino Royale. Considering the location, the navy pinstripe suit that Bond wears is out of place. A solid navy or grey two-piece suit would have been better since the three-piece is too serious and pinstripes suggest the office. Though Bond is often overdressed, he is overdressed more than usual in this scene. However, the three-piece suit in Casino Royale signifies that Bond has completed his first mission and is now the more suave and mature James Bond we know from the previous twenty films.

Though the three-piece suit is a little out of place at Lake Como, it is even more out of place on the oil rig during during the climax of Diamonds Are Forever. Bond looks absolutely ridiculous wearing his navy pinstripe three-piece suit there, though it conceals Connery’s heavier figure better than practical tactical gear would have. In fact, a well-fitting three-piece suit is one of the most flattering things a man can wear.

How to wear a three-piece suit

Wearing a three-piece suit has a few difference to wearing a two-piece suit. It allows the jacket to be worn open and still look just as presentable as it does with it closed. If you remove your suit jacket at your desk like Bond does in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you will look more dressed with a waistcoat. The waistcoat, however, cannot replace the suit jacket for any occasions a suit is required.

Bond at his desk in just his waistcoat

Bond at his desk in just his waistcoat in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The correct proportions and fit are more important with three-piece suits than they are with two-piece suits because they have a waistcoat to tie the pieces all together. It is important that the waistcoat and trousers work together to prevent the shirt from showing between the bottom of the waistcoat and the top of the trousers. The waistcoat needs to cover the the trousers’ waistband. The problem with wearing a waistcoat with modern low-rise trousers is that the waistcoat has to be very long. When the waistcoat is too long it cannot conform to the body as well, which makes the body look heavier when the jacket is removed. A long waistcoat also makes the torso look larger overall, which is not flattering. A waistcoat that is too long will also be uncomfortable to sit in. Wearing trousers with a traditional rise is the only proper way to wear a three-piece suit so the suit as a whole can fit and move with the body in the best way possible.

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M, the Minister of Defence and Bond, all in three-piece suits in Octopussy

Three-piece suits should never be worn with belts since they leave a lump under the waistcoat. Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig wear three-piece suits with belts in their Bond films, as opposed to Sean Connery and George Lazenby who wear suit trousers with side adjusters. Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory in Skyfall wears his three-piece suits with braces, which are the best option for trouser support when wearing a waistcoat. Braces are the only sure way to prevent the trousers from sagging and revealing the shirt below the waistcoat. And if you don’t want anyone to know you are wearing braces, the waistcoat keeps them perfectly hidden. I am surprised that the films have not—or at least not from what can be seen—put Bond in braces when wearing a three-piece suit. The trousers often slip down in action to reveal a sliver of the shirt. This could have been avoided with braces, and nobody would ever know or think that Bond is wearing braces when they are hidden under a waistcoat.

A First Look at Spectre’s Suits

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Daily Mail has given us a good look at what Daniel Craig is wearing in Spectre. For those who want to read about the suit without spoilers, my write-up of this new suit is free of context. There are many more photos posted at imgur (where the photo above is from), but no more photos will follow in this article.

Daniel Craig’s first suit from Spectre that we get to see is a three-piece dark navy herringbone made by Tom Ford. It’s likely a mohair blend due to the suit’s strong sheen. It’s made in Ford’s well-known style: a button two jacket with wide peaked lapels and strong pagoda shoulders with roped sleeveheads. The shoulders are similar to the Quantum of Solace suits’ shoulders. The dramatic silhouette is inspired by British designer/Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter’s designs that his former tailors Edward SextonRoy Chittleborough and Joe Morgan still make today. I recommend checking out their work at the links above. Though Spectre is the third Bond film to feature Tom Ford’s suits, this is the first time Bond is wearing Ford’s signature style full-on. Craig’s suit jacket is still too tight and too short like the Skyfall suits, but it’s not as short and not quite as tight. Also, the jacket’s larger shoulders combined with a not-as-short length make Craig’s Bond look like the commanding man he should be. This is where Spectre‘s suits have greatly succeeded over Skyfall‘s. The narrow shoulders and shrunken cut of the Skyfall suits manage to make the muscular Daniel Craig look rather wimpy. The Skyfall suits look like they are a full chest size and length too small whereas this suit from Spectre looks only just a little too tight.

The suit jacket has wide pocket flaps with a ticket pocket, a single vent and five-button cuffs with the last button left open. The jacket’s lapels—being both very wide and peaked—make this suit rather flashy for a secret agent. Peaked lapels on a single-breasted jacket were popular in the 1930s and 40s and are popular again now, but they are not a conservative choice. James Bond previously wears peaked lapels on single-breasted suit jackets in Diamonds Are Forever and Casino Royale. The single vent—like in Skyfall—isn’t particularly British for a dressy worsted suit, but there’s technically nothing wrong with it. Sean Connery’s Bond wears single-vented suits fairly often. This is the style of suit jacket Tom Ford favours on himself, so he may have had more personal input this time around. Roger Moore even wears a suit in a very similar style in his film Street People.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons with the bottom button left open. Like the jacket, it looks a little too tight, but Craig doesn’t look like he is going to burst the buttons off it like the Hulk. The trousers have a flat front, somewhat low rise, slide-buckle side adjusters, narrow tapered legs—which are, again, just a little too snug—and plain hems. Yes, that’s right, Bond does not wear turn-ups (cuffs) this time. Only once or twice over the past twenty years has Bond worn suit trousers without turn-ups. The trousers have slipped down, revealing the shirt below the waistcoat. Braces would have helped the shirt to not show, and since Bond is wearing a waistcoat they would be completely hidden.

Daniel Craig not only wears Tom Ford’s preferred suit style but also Ford’s preferred shirt collar. Craig’s white shirt has a point collar with eyelets for a collar pin to stick through it. The silver collar pin is the kind with balls on the end that unscrew to slide through the holes in the collar. It’s the cleanest-looking type of collar pin, but it’s the most affected kind of collar pin as well. Ford himself prefers a collar without eyelets and a gold safety pin that sticks through the collar. Nevertheless, any collar pin is too fussy for the literary Bond’s simple tastes, and it’s a step beyond Skyfall’s tab collars. Pierce Brosnan was a big fan of the collar pin in Remington Steele since it was a popular style in the 1980s. One thing this shirt might actually get right is the cuff style. Click on the image at the top to enlarge and you might see a cocktail cuff! James Bond has not worn cocktail cuffs since Moonraker (not counting Never Say Never Again), but unless my eyes are deceiving me, it looks like he is wearing cocktail cuffs again. A win for the cocktail cuff fans! Costume designer Jany Temime deserves credit for this brilliant homage to the early Bond films. For those who aren’t fans of the cocktail cuffs they add yet another level of flashiness to the outfit.

Craig’s tie is a black-on-black pattern and tied in a windsor knot, another uncharacteristic style for Bond, but it certainly wouldn’t be Bond’s first windsor knot. The white pocket square with a navy border is stuffed in the pocket, though it’s not stuffed in deep enough. It looks like he’s trying to hard to show it off, whereas just a little of it showing from behind the wide peaked lapels would have been more effective.

The black double-monk ankle boots are the Crockett & Jones Camberley. They have a cap toe and Dainite studded rubber sole. Monk boots are not to be confused with Jodhpur boots; monk boots have the quarters over the vamp whilst jodhpur boots have the vamp over the quaters. Though atypical, the boots are actually very Bond-like, recalling a mix of Sean Connery’s and Pierce Brosnan’s Bonds’ footwear. Connery wears black ankle boots with some of his suits in Goldfinger and Thunderball. Pierce Brosnan wears black monk shoes with some of his suits in The World Is Not Enough. The closest shoes to these previously worn by Bond are Sean Connery’s brown monk boots in Diamonds Are Forever that he wears with his light grey suitcream suit and brown checked sports coat. Boots work well with the narrow suit trousers since narrow trousers cover less and are more likely to show sock with regular shoes. Monk boots also respect the literary Bond, who “abhorred shoe-laces,” as Ian Fleming wrote in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. On the other hand, these monk boots are amongst Bond’s flashiest footwear. They might be even flashier than Roger Moore’s Gucci and Ferragamo horse-bit slip-ons!

Over the suit Daniel Craig wears a black greatcoat-inspired topcoat that has many similarities to the greatcoat he wears in Quantum of Solace. It is probably made by Tom Ford. The double-breasted coat is knee-length and has eight buttons on the front with four to button. The coat also has an ulster collar, meaning the coat has revers than can fold over button up at the neck. The ulster collar is more practical but less dressy than peaked lapels. The back of the coat has a half belt with buttons. The style of coat recalls James Bond’s military origins. Craig only buttons the coat’s second button from the top, which causes the rather lightweight topcoat to fall out of shape and rumple a bit. On top of that, the coat is a little too tight around the waist. It’s difficult to tell if the fit, the belt’s setting or the way Craig buttons the coat is the main cause of the rumpling. Both with and without the topcoat, Craig wears black perforated leather gloves that have a strap on top of the wrist. They go well with the black topcoat, but without the topcoat they look villainous. Craig wears sunglasses again in Spectre, and they’re probably made by Tom Ford.

Overall this first clear look of the style in Spectre is very interesting, and costume designer Jany Temime has done a better job with this suit in her second Bond film than she did with any of the suits in Skyfall. Though we see a fit problem again, it’s not as bad as it was in Skyfall. The clothing styles respect James Bond tradition in some areas—like the colours of the clothes, the cocktail cuffs, the boots (in some ways) and the topcoat—and ignore it in others—like the peaked lapels, the boots (in other ways) and the collar pin. The clothes are certainly too flashy for Bond, but at the same time they are very stylish and interesting.

Remington Steele: Opting Out of Black Tie

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Black tie events these days are mostly “black tie optional”. The best-dressed men would only wear a dinner jacket to such events, but a dark solid suit is a stylish choice for those who opt out of the dinner jacket. Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele, in the first series episode of Remington Steele titled “Etched in Steele”, wears a charcoal three-piece suit to a black tie party. Considering the way Mr. Steele looks over the people at the event when he arrives, he probably didn’t expect the party to be black tie. Steele is rarely underdressed, and he is actually known to overdress. Nevertheless, Steele would be appropriately dressed in his dark charcoal suit for an event where black tie is optional. Anyone who comes dressed like Steele to a black tie optional event would be a very well-dressed—though still not the best-dressed—gentleman.

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The charcoal of Steele’s suit is so dark that it looks black in dim lighting and only shows its true colour when up against true black. A dark navy suit would serve the same purpose at a black tie optional event, and may even be preferable due to its richer colour. Though Steele wears a three-piece suit, a two-piece suit would have been just as appropriate for a black tie optional event.

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Steele’s button two suit jacket has narrow pagoda shoulders with roped sleeveheads and a clean chest with a suppressed waist. It has slanted flap pockets, three-button cuffs and double vents. The notched lapels have a steep gorge, a characteristic of 1980s suit jackets, but both the gorge and button stance are at classic heights. Overall, the suit jacket has a classic cut with timeless and balanced proportions. The waistcoat has five buttons, and Steele leaves the bottom button open to follow tradition. The trousers have a flat front and straight legs with plain hems. Steele unfortunately wears the trousers with a belt, which leaves a lump under the waistcoat. Due to the suit’s dark colour and quality of the DVD, the lump is hardly noticeable.

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Steele wears the only colour shirt that would be appropriate at a black tie optional event: solid white. It’s really the best colour shirt for any dressy evening occasion, though cream works slightly better for those with a warmer complexion. The shirt has a point collar worn with a gold collar pin, a front placket and double cuffs. Steele’s tie is red with small tan polka dots. Red is a great accent colour for the evening, and it’s the only bold colour that can be traditionally worn along with the black and white of black tie. Red is a classic colour for cummerbunds, and James Bond twice wears a red carnation with his dinner jackets. The only colour that would have been better for Steele’s tie is silver. Black can look rather funereal with a dark three-piece suit, but it’s not an inappropriate choice either for black tie optional. The small tan polka dots in Steele’s red tie coordinate with Steele’s gold collar pin and cuff links. The red silk pocket square coordinates with the tie but lacks the tie’s polka dots to avoid the dreaded matching tie and pocket square. It is folded in sort of a winged puff, but it looks more circular, rather like the red carnations that Bond wears.

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Steele’s usual choice of black slip-on shoes is very Bond-like, though it’s not the most appropriate choice for a three-piece suit, especially not in the evening. Though Steele wears his slip-ons well, black cap-toe or plain-toe oxfords would be the ideal choice.

Charles Robinson: A Navy Three-Piece Suit with Red Stripes

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Colin Salmon plays M’s aide and Deputy Chief of Staff Charles Robinson in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, but it’s not until his third and last Bond film that he is dressed almost to a level of elegance equal to James Bond’s. That is not to say that he is dressed like Bond. Robinson is dressed in Die Another Day in a much flashier manner in a navy three-piece suit with red chalk stripes. The suit is most likely from an English brand, judging both by the jacket’s cut and the presence of a ticket pocket.

The button two suit jacket has padded shoulders with a slight pagoda effect that is emphasised by roped sleeveheads. The jacket has a clean chest and a gently suppressed waist. The pockets are straight with a ticket pocket. The waistcoat has five buttons down the front, and Robinson leaves the bottom button open. The waistcoat, however, is too long and reaches far below the waist. The length is a common problem with ready-to-wear waistcoats. Waistcoats are made too long to make up for people wearing their trousers too low, but waistcoats weren’t originally designed to be so long and thus are unable to fit the body well below the waist. The waistcoat’s buttons are also too far apart. Robinson’s suit trousers have a straight leg and probably a flat front. Apart from the waistcoat, the suit fits very well. The waistcoat gives this suit away as ready-to-wear.

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Robinson’s pink poplin shirt appears to be from Turnbull & Asser. The shape of the collar—mostly the inward curve of the outer edge—matches the shape of the Classic Turnbull & Asser collar and the double cuffs have the link holes very close to the fold, just as Turnbull & Asser makes theirs. The shirt also has a narrow front placket. The pink in the shirt pulls out the suit’s red stripes.

The red tie also coordinates with the suit’s red stripes. The tie has horizontal ribs, which means the tie is woven with a 45-degree twill weave. Since good ties are cut on the bias (cut on a 45-degree angle to the cloth’s warp and weft threads), a 45-degree twill wale will either become horizontal or vertical. Robinson’s tie has a fine yellow windowpane pattern. The tie is tied in a windsor knot with a dimple. Robinson’s black shoes have too heavy a sole to be worn with this elegant suit, a problem that is hardly noticeable when the shoes only have a couple seconds on screen.

Whilst Robinson isn’t perfectly dressed, he is one of the best-dressed men in Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films.

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Draco’s Suits: Navy Nailhead and Grey Chalkstripe

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

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

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

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

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

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Dinner Suit and Backless Waistcoat

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Napoleon Solo, Ian Fleming’s creation for the American television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E played by Robert Vaughn, wears black tie just as well as James Bond does. Solo’s black tie style is not as pared-down as Bond’s is, and his clothes incorporate a little more 1960s fashions than Bond’s do. In the 1965 episode “The Virtue Affair”, Solo wears a midnight blue dinner suit with midnight blue satin silk trimmings and a double-breasted backless waistcoat.

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The dinner jacket is a button one with gently-rolled, narrow midnight-blue satin silk peaked lapels. The jetted pockets and single-button gauntlet cuffs are also trimmed in midnight blue satin silk. Silk-trimmed pocket jettings are not as traditional as body-trimmed jettings, which is the way James Bond’s dinner jackets typically are. Napoleon Solo’s dinner jacket has no vent. The shoulders are straight and narrow with a little padding, the chest is clean and the waist is gently shaped, though the jacket probably follows the American tradition and does not have front darts. The flat front trousers have a midnight blue satin stripe down the side of the leg and braces buttons on the outside of the waistband, which are not used.

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Solo’s backless waistcoat is made of midnight blue silk. The waistcoat’s shawl lapels are made in satin silk to match the jacket’s lapels but the waistcoat’s body is made in a fancier watered silk. Backless waistcoats are wear cooler than full-back waistcoats, so they’re often used as a warm-weather alternative to the cummerbund. Still, they can also be worn year-round. With the dinner jacket on—and it should always stay on when in the company of others—the backless waistcoat looks just the same as regular waistcoat. It looks rather unattractive when the jacket is off, as Solo demonstrates in his jail cell. It has an adjustable strap across the back of the waist like on a cummerbund, and it has an adjustable strap that curves around the back of the neck. This allows the off-the-peg waistcoat to fit a large variety of figures. Whilst Solo’s waistcoat appears to be ready-to-wear, bespoke tailors can make backless waistcoats as well. Solo’s waistcoat is double-breasted and has six buttons with three to button in a keystone arrangement. The waistcoat is in the low-cut evening style so the buttons have little vertical space between them.

With the dinner suit Solo wears an ivory dress shirt. It has a spread collar and double cuffs fastened with large round silver cuff links. The front has small pleats, which are also known as “swiss” pleats or “pin tucks”. The front placket has interesting scalloped edges and is fastened with three black studs. The back of the shirt has shoulder pleats. The bow tie is black and does not match the rest of the silk trimmings in the outfit, but it is not a significant faux pas considering it can be difficult to find proper midnight blue bow ties. Solo’s shoes are black patent leather plain-toe slip-ons.

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For more on Napoleon Solo, see the post I did on his black and white glen check suit.

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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