The Persuaders: The Tweed Norfolk Suit

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In the 1971 episode of The Persuaders titled “A Home of One’s Own”, Roger Moore wears an old-fashioned Norfolk suit. The brown herringbone tweed sporting suit is made up of a Norfolk jacket and matching tweed trousers. The tweed in a light brown and dark brown herringbone is a classic cloth for the country, whilst also flattering Moore’s warm complexion. Though elements of the Norfolk jacket were popular in 1970s fashion, Moore’s is a very traditional model apart from the late 1960’s trouser cut. For background on the Norfolk jacket, I refer to some of the best menswear writers:

Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that the Norfolk jacket is “considered the first sport jacket.”

Riccardo Villarosa and Giuliano Angeli describe the Norfolk jacket in The Elegant Man as “one of the first garments created especially for sporting activities”. They write about the origins of the jackets name: “It appears as if its name derives from the fact that it was cut for some of the guests at the Duke of Nofolk’s hunting party”.

Bernhard Roetzel writes about the Norfolk jacket in Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion: “It was especially made for shooting, and was therefore a real ‘designer jacket’ in the sense of being designed for a particular purpose, according to the principle that ‘form follows function'”.

Roger Moore’s character Lord Brett Sinclair appropriately wears his norfolk suit in the English country, and it is practical at keeping him warm. However, he does not wear the Norfolk jacket for it’s intended hunting purposes.

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Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s Norfolk suit jacket in the same cut as the other suits in The Persuaders, with straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line, roped sleeveheads and full, but clean chest. This jacket follows the traditional button four front of the Norfolk jacket, as opposed to the standard three buttons on a regular tweed jacket, and all four buttons are meant to fasten. Though Norfolk jackets most often have a straight front, it’s an acceptable variation for the quarters to the slightly cutaway and curved like on Moore’s jacket. Moore usually has all the buttons fastened on his Norfolk jacket, but sometimes the top or the bottom button is left open in a continuity error. Whilst traditionally the Norfolk jacket has a deep single vent to the belt, Moore’s has deep double vents. It is detailed with swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs, and the jacket’s buttons are made of dark brown horn.

Though bellows pockets are the most traditional style of hip pocket on a Norfolk jacket, Moore’s jacket has the less sporting but equally casual style of flapped, rounded patch pockets. Compared to standard patch pockets, these have a little extra fullness sewn into bottom of the pocket to make it more useful if Moore wanted to use them.

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The Norfolk jacket ultimately has two defining features: the belt and the sewn-down braces. The belt buttons through the jacket’s middle button and secures to the right of it with another button. Traditionally the belt is removable, but on Moore’s jacket the belt is sewn down to the back and sides. The braces-like straps are attached from the top of the front hip pockets, up over the shoulder and down to the belt at the waist in the rear. According to Villarosa and Angeli in The Elegant Man, the stitched braces are “designed to support the weight of cartridges in the pockets”. Since the braces go over the chest, the Norfolk jacket does not take a breast pocket.

The suit trousers with the Norfolk jacket match the style of the other trousers in The Persuaders and are made by Cyril Castle’s trouser maker at the time, Richard Paine. They have a dart on each side of the front, and an offset jetted frogmouth pocket cuts through the dart. The trousers legs are tapered to the knee and straight from the knee down in the style popular in the late 1960s. Fashions had already moved to wider and flared legs by the time of this show.

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With the Norfolk suit, Moore wears a beige poplin shirt made by Frank Foster with a spread collar, a front placket and button-down one-button cocktail cuffs. He first wears the collar open with a yellow, gold and brown floral silk day cravat, which keeps the outfit looking casual whilst guarding his neck from the cold. Later in the afternoon for drinks and cards at a local Inn where he is staying, Moore switches the day cravat for a buttoned collar with a gold tie that has a faint self-stripe pattern. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. His shoes are brown side-zip boots with a square toe.

Moore also wears this Norfolk suit in the episodes “Greensleeves” and “The Time and the Place”.

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Poll: Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall’s climax?

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Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall's climax?

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Skyfall gives a few nods to past James Bond films to commemorate the series’ 50th anniversary, and the most notable of these nods is the return once again of the Aston Martin DB5 that Bond first drives in Goldfinger. In Goldfinger, Bond is first seen with the Aston Martin at the Stoke Park golf club in the English countryside and soon after in the Swiss mountains wearing a brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket. The hills of Scotland where Bond takes the Aston Martin in Skyfall could have provided a great opportunity to bring back the tweed sports jacket. Instead, Bond wears a Barbour waxed cotton sports jacket.

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The Barbour jacket in Skyfall is the limited edition by To Ki To, designed by Tokihito Yoshida. It is made in Barbour’s classic olive waxed cotton with three buttons down the front, flapped bellows pockets on the hips. It’s not the traditional Barbour with a zip front but rather a sports jacket like Bond’s tweed jacket in Goldfinger is, so it’s not as practical as the traditional Barbour jacket. Barbour calls the current version of the model the “Beacon Sports Jacket” and describes it as such:

The three-pocket waxed Beacon Sports jacket is an iconic blazer-style button through, inspired by the limited edition Barbour Sports Jacket worn by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film, Skyfall in 2012.

It’s an excellent choice Bond considering Barbour’s English heritage and the damp, cool Scotland location, and it’s about time Bond wore a Barbour. But at the same time, Bond has a long history of wearing tweed and it’s a shame Bond didn’t use this opportunity to wear it. Apart from the brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger and Thunderball, Bond wears a houndstooth tweed hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a herringbone tweed jacket and a plaid tweed jacket in Diamonds Are Forever, a tweed-inspired lightweight plaid jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun, a donegal tweed suit in Moonraker, a brown tweed jacket in Octopussy, a grey tweed jacket and a brown barleycorn tweed jacket in A View to a Kill, a tweed-esque gun club check jacket in The Living Daylights and a charcoal windowpane cheviot tweed suit in The World Is Not Enough.

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The tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger

Scotland would have been a great place for Bond to wear a tweed jacket again, since Scotland is known for tweed, namely Harris Tweed. The cool, damp weather is perfect. Bond finds the Barbour jacket in the Skyfall Lodge, so he wears it for his showdown with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). But would a tweed jacket have been appropriate considering the context? Of course! A tweed jacket is harder-wearing than a waxed cotton Barbour jacket and just as great for action. If Bond could wear a sports jacket made of waxed cotton he could just as effectively have worn a sports jacket made of tweed. The cut of Bond’s Barbour jacket gives it no advantage over a tweed jacket either. Since tweed jackets are designed for country sports like shooting, they are very practical for a scene full gunfire. Tweed jackets are especially practical for shooting if they have bi-swing shoulder pleats and bellows pockets to store extra rounds. And a tweed jacket had the same details as Bond’s Barbour sports jacket, like the bellows pockets, it wouldn’t be any dressier. There’s nothing that Bond’s Barbour jacket did that tweed could not have done just as well, if not better.

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Tweed is once again popular and not just for old men. Trendy shops like Topman (which provided Daniel Craig chinos’s in Skyfall) and H&M sell tweed or tweed-esque sports jackets. Other shops that provided clothes for Skyfall sell tweed sports jackets, like Acne Studios, Billy Reid and, of course, Tom Ford. Tweed is hardly a thing of the past, and if Bond wore a tweed jacket unfortunately-cut like his suit jackets in Skyfall he would look trendier than he does in his Barbour sports jacket. And we know from The Golden Compass that Daniel Craig looks brilliant in brown tweed. For a fashionable look, Bond could wear the collar of a tweed jacket turned up like he does with his Barbour. Many traditional tweed jackets have a throat latch that connects either side of the collar across the front when it is turned up, so turning up the collar of a tweed jacket would not be inappropriate.

For Bond to wear a tweed jacket instead of the Barbour sports jacket, he would need to wear something underneath it other than the Henley shirt and round neck jumper that he wears with the Barbour sports jacket. He could keep the jumper and wear a collared sports shirt under it instead of the Henley, or he could keep the Henley and wear a polo jumper over it instead of the round neck jumper. Either way, a shirt collar is necessary under a tweed jacket, both to prevent the tweed from irritating the neck and to prevent the oils on the neck from soiling the tweed. The rest of the outfit, however, would go perfectly with a tweed jacket in olive—like the Barbour—or in medium brown like Connery’s jacket in Goldfinger. The corduroy trousers, the pebble grain leather boots and the scarf would still go perfectly with a tweed jacket.

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Overall, the Barbour sports jacket is a fantastic choice for Skyfall‘s climax, and it is certainly much classier than Pierce Brosnan’s tactical gear for battle. But a tweed jacket would have been just as appropriate for the character, the story and the location. Not using a tweed is a missed opportunity to further connect Goldfinger‘s Aston Martin scenes to the Skyfall‘s Aston Martin scenes, a well as connecting Bond’s country wardrobe from the past to the present.


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The Golden Compass: Atomic Fleck Suit

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In the 2007 fantasy film The Golden Compass, Daniel Craig’s character Lord Asriel dresses in a 1940s-style brown atomic fleck tweed suit. Atomic fleck is similar to donegal tweed but has larger, more pronounced contrasting flecks and slubs. Craig’s tweed is a basketweave in brown and white with large white and yellow flecks. The flecks almost make the suit look like it is sparkling, which reflects the magical aspects of the movie. The flecks also symbolise the spots on Lord Asreil’s “dæmon”, the snow leopard. The “dæmon” is one’s soul that takes the form of an animal.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-4The button three suit jacket is cut with a draped chest and straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads. It has jetted pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and no vent. The suit trousers have single forward pleats, slanted side pockets and wide straight legs with turn-ups. The cut of the suit has a slight 1940s look partially due to a full-cut chest, slightly high button stance and wide trouser legs, but the heavy tweed cloth plays a bigger part in making the suit look old. The Golden Compass, however, does not take place during the 1940s or any other time in our world’s history. It’s a fantasy film that takes place in an alternate world.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-3The contrasting grey waistcoat is one of the most interesting parts of the outfit. The waistcoat’s cloth is a fancy jacquard wear of rose-like diamonds. Though fancy waistcoats are typically silk, this one is not. It is most likely flannel wool. The waistcoat has six buttons, and Daniel Craig leaves the bottom button open. The buttons are shanked pewter and half of the edge is scalloped. There are four welt pockets on the front, and the edge of the waistcoat is finished like a buttonhole and stitched with brown thread. The waistcoat’s back is made in a grey lining material. Whilst the waistcoat is a very elegant and well-cut piece, its cool grey somewhat clashes with the warmth of the rest of the outfit, and it’s a missed opportunity to add more colour to the outfit. A forest green or burgundy waistcoat would add colour and better complement the brown suit

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-2Daniel Craig’s cream shirt has a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. The collar, placket and cuffs are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge. Craig wears a finely knitted dark brown silk tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. He also wears a white linen handkerchief casually folded in his breast pocket with two corners pointing up, which is infinitely more stylish than if he meticulously folded and ironed the handkerchief to have two defined points sticking out.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-ShoesWith the suit, Craig wears brown, 5-eyelet, cap-toe derbys. The vamp on these derbys extends to the back of the shoe, and the eyelets are on flaps that are sewn on top of the vamp in the “blucher” style. The shoes’ wide last and rounded toe gives them a casual look beyond the metal-reinforced eyelets and thick rubber soles. They are laced in an over-under method, where the laces alternate crossing over and under the eyelet flaps. This lacing method reduces friction and is easier to tighten than typical lacing methods.

Besides Daniel Craig, The Golden Compass also features James Bond series alumni Eva Green and Christopher Lee.

The Ipcress File: Grey Tweed Jacket

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Michael Caine stars as the unsophisticated spy Harry Palmer in 1965 film The Ipcress File, produced by James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman. Palmer is quite the opposite of James Bond and lives a very unglamourous life. Unlike Bond, Palmer never looks perfect, he wears glasses, he does desk work, he wakes up alone and he shops at the supermarket. Palmer’s clothes, however, aren’t completely unlike Bond’s, but they still leave something to be desired. 1980s Bond tailor Douglas Hayward was famously Michael Caine’s tailor, but it is unknown if he made the clothes for The Ipcress File.

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Broken Twill

Palmer is introduced wearing a tweed jacket in black and grey broken twill. Broken twill has a similar look to barleycorn but is also like a very small herringbone weave. Herringbone is actually a type of broken twill. A grey broken twill tweed jacket actually isn’t so far from the type of jacket Bond would wear. Palmer’s jacket is a button two with natural shoulders. It has narrow lapels with a very gradual roll, making the button two jacket look almost like a button three jacket.

Ipcress-File-Tweed-Jacket-2The jacket also has double vents, a single button on each sleeve—the jacket’s buttons are black plastic—and hip pockets with narrow flaps. Palmer sometimes wears the pocket flaps tucked in, like when he carries a folded newspaper in his hip pocket (see image at the end of the article). Keeping small items in outer pockets does enough to disturb the jacket’s lines without having items sticking out from the pockets. Palmer demonstrates the way no gentleman should carry his newspaper.

Palmer wears medium grey worsted wool trousers under the jacket. They have a darted front, slanted side pockets, an extended waistband, buckle side adjusters and a tapered leg with turn-ups. There ought to be a little more contrast between the jacket and trousers, and a shade lighter in grey would be enough to give the two pieces more separation. The trousers most likely come from the suit Palmer wears later in the film. Palmer’s black shoes keep within the city tones of the outfit.

Ipcress-File-Blue-Shirt-FlannelsPalmer’s pale blue shirt is the least refined part of his outfit. Though the spread collar has a good width, the length of the collar points is rather puny. The collar is stitched 1/8 inch from the edge rather than the traditional 1/4 inch. The shirt has square single cuffs for cufflinks. These are not the stiff single cuffs that one wears for full evening dress but instead cheap, flimsy cuffs similar to the modern convertible cuffs that can be worn either with a button or with cufflinks. Palmer’s shirt has a breast pocket, which further brings the origin of Palmer’s shirt into question.

There is one item that Palmer takes from Bond’s wardrobe: a navy knitted tie. Bond wears a navy knitted tie in Goldfinger, made just a year earlier, and he wears it again in You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Palmer ties his knitted tie—most likely—in a half windsor knot like George Lazenby ties his knitted ties as Bond. But unlike Bond, Palmer wears a tie bar, and it suspiciously does not keep Palmer’s tie in place.

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Tie askew and newspaper in the outside hip pocket

Q’s Town and Country Style

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Who is wearing the trendier suit in Goldfinger, James Bond or Q? Except for narrow lapels and covered buttons, Bond’s blue suit is classic in every way. Q’s (Desmond Llewelyn) solid brown tweed suit, however, has many features that date it to the 1960s. Like Bond’s suit jacket, Q’s suit jacket has narrow lapels, but it also has narrow pocket flaps that are placed rather low. The short double vents are another 1960s detail. But perhaps the most outdated part of the suit is the way the quarters are cut. The front of the jacket cuts away below the waist as it ordinarily would, but the curve of the front edge into the hem has a very small radius that’s almost—but not quite—a sharp corner.

Q-Goldfinger-2The suit’s overall silhouette, however, is a classic button two jacket with natural shoulders and just a little drape in the chest. The jacket also has swelled edges and 2-button cuffs. The trousers likely have single or double forward pleats, which were the common suit trouser styles in England at the time. They are finished with turn-ups. Q’s suits almost always have fit problems, and on this suit the collar stands away from the neck and the sleeves are too long. This is because actor Desmond Llewelyn has round shoulders and needs his jackets to be cut longer in back to be balanced. He’s not an easy man to fit.

Q’s cream shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. His tie is black with narrow burgundy stripes and a narrower white pencil stripes below each burgundy stripe. If it is a regimental tie, can anyone identify it? His shoes are brown, which match the overall town-and-country look of the outfit.

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Kamal Khan: Grey Jacket

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When Kamal Khan, played by Louis Jourdan, dresses in western clothing in Octopussy, the outfits are similar to outfits Bond wears. His dinner suit is just as classic and his navy suit is just as minimal. His jacket in a broken twill weave of dark and light grey wool is equally simplistic, but it’s also not boring. There’s a continuity error, however, since there were at least two of these jackets used in filming. One of the jackets buttons one and the other buttons two. Other than this discrepancy, the jackets are the same. They have straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads, and they are cut with a clean chest and are shaped through the waist. The jackets have 1-button cuffs, no vent and jetted pockets with a ticket pocket. The jacket’s vent-less skirt signifies that this jacket is not for sporting use, and the straight jetted pockets follow the vent-less rear’s clean look and non-sporting purpose. The buttons are all black leather, something that sets this jacket apart from all of Bond’s jackets. Bond instead prefers slightly less rustic horn buttons for his jackets.

This sports coat buttons one.

This jacket buttons one.

Khan’s jacket sleeves are flamboyantly a little short to show off more shirt cuff. It’s usually recommended to show between 1/4″ and 1/2″ of shirt cuff when the arms are at rest, though, like Roger Moore’s character Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders, Kamal Khan also shows too much shirt cuff. Shorter jacket sleeves visually shortens the arm length, and it’s possible that Louis Jourdan thinks his arms are too long. But over an inch of shirt cuff simply looks disruptive and like a mistake.

This sports coat buttons two. Notice its short sleeves.

This jacket buttons two. Notice its short sleeves.

Charcoal trousers complement and provide the necessary contrast to the lighter grey jacket. We can’t see if they have pleats or not, but they have a sharp crease. Khan’s light blue shirt has a spread collar and 2-button cuffs. The tie is navy with raised rectangles, woven in a checker pattern. Khan ties it in what is probably a half windsor knot. Overall, the outfit is timeless in both the colour palate and its proportions. The only thing that doesn’t fit in well today is the jacket’s vent-less skirt, but like everything else it comes in and out of fashion.

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Evelyn Tremble: Too Many Patch Pockets

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Evelyn Tremble, played by Peter Sellers, is one of the many characters who become James Bond in the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale. He wears a very interesting tweed jacket on his visit to MI6. The button three jacket is made in a check with wide stripes of brown and a mix of brown and blue, separated with a grid of dark brown and a red overcheck. The jacket has softly-padded shoulders, a clean chest, narrow lapels, double vents and three-button cuffs. Though it must have been on purpose, the jacket’s collar noticeably stands away from the neck. This could be due to a poor fit, or the jacket could just deliberately be placed hanging off one side to make the character look sloppy. Tremble’s character is nothing like the James Bond he is recruited to be, and one of the things that sets him apart from Bond is his occasionally careless manner of dress.

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The pockets are a very unique part of this jacket. In addition to the usual breast pocket and two hip pockets there is also a ticket pocket. All of the pockets are patch pockets with slanted flaps. Patch pockets with flaps creates a very casual—but also bulky—look. Ordinary welt breast pockets are typical on jackets with flapped patch pockets to avoid having an awkward flapped patch breast pocket, but this jacket has the flapped patch breast pocket. When a jacket has a patch breast pocket, most often all the pockets are all open pockets. Most unusual is the inclusion of a patch ticket pocket. Because it’s a patch pocket, the pockets cannot overlap and the flap ends up above the waist because of the extra height needed for the patch. An ordinary welt and flap ticket pocket would have been best so the flap wouldn’t be so high up. Such a high ticket pocket visually shortens the torso considerably, and Peter Sellers was a slightly shorter-than-average man at 5’8″. Thus the extra patch pocket makes the jacket look very crowded. Ticket pockets in general can look crowded on a shorter man, but in any case there’s far too much going on with the pockets on this jacket.

Evelyn-Tremble-Tweed-Jacket-3Tremble’s cream shirt fits much better than the suit does and may have been made by Frank Foster, who often made shirts for Peter Sellers. The shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. Tremble wears a red knitted tie. The taupe trousers have a flat front and, most likely, cross pockets like his other trousers in the film have.

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Woman of Straw: The Blue Suit from Goldfinger

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The cloth of Sean Connery’s blue suit in Q’s lab in Goldfinger is somewhat mysterious. It is a heavy weight, has a mottled colouring and has a woollen texture. That means it’s either tweed or flannel. Most likely it is a herringbone flannel. We get another look at the same Anthony Sinclair suit in Woman of Straw, and in this film—the suit’s original appearance—the suit is a three-piece. There’s no question it’s the same suit. The cut is the same button two with natural shoulders and a draped chest. It has swelled edges, cloth-covered buttons and jetted pockets. The vents are still a mystery. The poor lighting in this film makes the vent style difficult to make out, but I believe I see double vents. See the enhanced screenshot below.

Click image to enlarge

The trousers have double forward pleats. The waistcoat is the same style as the waistcoats in Goldfinger: six buttons with five to button. Connery, however, fastens the bottom button, which is meant to be left open. This disrupts the otherwise clean lines of the waistcoat. The covered buttons down the waistcoat make a big impact, since without the waistcoat the covered buttons almost go unnoticed. Covered buttons aren’t ordinarily seen outside of formalwear, but they were popular in the 1960s on lounge suits as well. The Avengers’ John Steed also wore suits with covered buttons.

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This is a town and country suit, meaning it can effectively transition between relaxed country wear and business. The cloth has a country texture in a city colour, and the jetted pockets are a more formal city touch. Even though this suit is appropriate in both the city and country, it fits in better here than it does in Q’s lab. The houndstooth suit that Bond wears in M’s office also seems more appropriate in this film.

Connery wears this suit a few times throughout Women of Straw. Early in the film he wears a solid light blue tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot just like he does in Goldfinger. The white or off-white shirt has a moderate spread collar, a placket and double cuffs. Later in the film he wears a solid black tie, also tied in a four-in-hand knot, and the white or off-white shirt has a wider spread collar like in Goldfinger. He wears a white pocket handkerchief with both outfits.

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