The Double-Breasted Dinner Jacket

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Dinner-Suit

As tonight is New Year’s Eve I thought it would be appropriate to look at another dinner suit. In The Spy Who Loved Me it was a midnight blue six button with two to close and has peaked lapel and no vents. This is the most traditional and timeless version of the double-breasted jacket, though some may prefer four buttons with one to close on a dinner jacket. James Bond’s dinner jacket was probably made in midnight blue because it looks better in daylight than black (which usually looks slightly green) and is more flattering to Roger Moore’s warm, low-contrast spring complexion.

Angelo Roma tailored this suit in the classic Roman Style, inspired by British military and equestrian tailoring. In both the Roman and English military tradition, the dinner jacket has straight shoulders with roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. Though the dinner jacket’s wide peaked lapels are a result of 1977 fashion, wide peaked lapels on a double-breasted jacket have a more classic look than wide notched lapels on a single-breasted jacket. Bond’s dinner jacket also has straight jetted pockets and three-button cuffs. Angelo Roma was founded by former Brioni Couture manager Angelo Vitucci. Read more about Angelo Vitucci in articles in The Sydney Morning Herald and the Panama City News-Herald.

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The flat front trousers do not have side pockets, but they do have a rear pocket on the right (maybe on the left too, it’s hard to tell) and flared legs with plain hems. The trousers have a long rise and sit at the waist. A nice thing about the double-breasted dinner jacket compared to the single-breasted dinner jacket is that, because it stays buttoned, no additional waist covering is needed. The lapels, buttons, trouser stripe and waistband are trimmed in black satin silk, which has a slight contrast in the daylight. The wide bow tie is also black satin silk. Bond wears black patent leather slip-ons.

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The white dress shirt made by Frank Foster has a plain front with a placket, large point collar and fancy buttons. The fabric is likely a cotton voile. At first glance the buttons looks like studs, but I they are not studs since there are matching buttons on the tab cuffs, which wouldn’t take cuff links anyway. The tab cuff is an interesting cuff, which is like a barrel cuff with an extend tab that fastens. The buttons are black, shiny, and sewn with white thread, and they may be black mother of pearl. Roger Moore wears this cuff throughout most of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, but I don’t see the appeal of the cuff. Does anyone have an idea to the purpose the tab cuff might serve?

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Despite the oversized collar, wide lapels, and slightly flared trousers, this is a classic dinner suit. Editor (and director of later Bond films) John Glen auctioned this dinner suit at Christie’s in South Kensington on 14 February 2001. According to the listing, Roger Moore gave this to Glen during the filming of Moonraker two years later. This suit was made by Angelo, Roma. The image in the listing shows that the top two buttons are missing, but the rest of the suit looks identical to the one worn in the movie. The auction lists the suit as black, though it looks like midnight blue in the film’s well-lit scenes. The untrained eye in poor lighting has a very difficult time differentiating midnight blue from black, which is the point of midnight blue. The auction listing could be incorrect, or it could be the wrong dinner suit.

In a continuity error, this shirt has different buttons in white.

In a continuity error, this shirt has different buttons in white.

9 thoughts on “The Double-Breasted Dinner Jacket

  1. My internet access is so slow I can only read your text without seeing the photographs. Inspired by earlier articles you wrote, I viewed two films with Pierce Brosnan: The World is not enough and Live and Let die. In the Hamburg newspaper building many of the security persons wear double breasted blazers?!

  2. Good question about that peculiar shirt cuff design which I unfortunately cannot answer. What about the cloth of which the dinner jacket is made besides the silk trimming? Am I crazy to suggest it's cotton?

  3. Anon 2, I don't see anything that would suggest the dinner jacket is cotton. If it were cotton it would probably be wrinkled and wouldn't have such a smooth shine. I would most likely assume that it's wool barathea from it's dull shine, though in a fairly light weight.

  4. The dress shirt he wears with the ivory dinner jacket for the Indian part of Octopussy also appears to be a cotton voile material.

  5. Hello Matt, I hope you aren’t becoming mad because of my posts :)

    You said that it’s “the most traditional and timeless version of the double-breasted jacket”. But for a double-breasted dinner jacket, wouldn’t a four button with one to button dinner jacket be the most traditional double breasted dinner jacket ? They were very popular in the 30s, 40s and even 50s.
    Perhaps it’s just me, but the six button with two to button double breasted dinner jacket looks a little “cheap” : it’s not very different from a simple traditional double breasted “business suit” (6 on 2 are more common than 4 on 1 for daywear) ; it’s a little like the notch-lapel dinner jackets problem, which often look too much like ordinary city suits with satin lapels.

    • I prefer the 4 on 1 myself for the reasons you mention, but the 6 on 2 is still classic for dinner suits and there’s plenty of history for it. I’ve seen examples of it from the 1930s. Cary Grant even wore it. It is just as proper as the 1-button examples and has long been the standard for all double-breasted suits and dinner suits on Savile Row.

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