Once again, let’s take a look at a suit worn by a man who has a lot in common with James Bond: John Steed. This three-piece suit made in a light navy tone-on-tone plaid is featured in The Avengers fifth series opening titles. It first appears in “Escape in Time” and is used in a number of subsequent episodes. The suit was made by Hammond & Boyle, located at 22 New Quebec St. in Marylebone.
The suit jacket is unusual on two levels. The first part that makes the jacket different is that is is single-breasted with peaked lapels. Peaked lapels on a single-breasted suit jacket were common in the 1930s and 40s, and they have recently seen a resurgence. The lapels are a little narrower than halfway across the chest, a marginal concession to 1960s fashions. The other thing that sets this jacket apart is the high stance of the two buttons on the front. It’s cut like a button three jacket but without the bottom button. This is an older style that was popular earlier in the twentieth century and pre-dates the modern button two style. This jacket is to a button three as a button one is to a button two. In “Escape in Time” Steed does up both buttons, but in some other episodes he only fastens the bottom button, which is placed at the waist. The jacket is tailored with straight shoulders, a clean chest, a very shaped waist and a flared skirt for a very British silhouette. It has a welt breast pocket, slanted flap pockets and a single-vented skirt. The cuffs have an open vent with no overlap and no buttons. The suit trousers have a flat front and narrow leg. The waistcoat is a button six with lapels, a straight hem, two upper welt pockets and two lower flap pockets.
Steed’s shirt is a fine white on white stripe with a cutaway collar and double cuffs. His tie is an ancient madder print of magenta on a dark indigo ground with mustard yellow accents, and he ties it in a windsor knot. Steed’s shoes are black chelsea boots and his hat is a black bowler. He carries an umbrella with a Whangee handle and black canopy.
This suit was auctioned at Profiles in History in Calabasas Hills, CA on 11 June 2010 for $6,000. You can see it here. In episodes after “Escape in Time” that feature this suit—if it is actually the same suit—a linked button is added to close the cuff and the vent is closed. It’s difficult to tell if the suit in the auction has the linked button on the cuffs. It’s not uncommon for a production to have multiples of each wardrobe item, though it’s less likely for a television show.
You can see my previous article about another one of John Steed’s suits here.