The sports coat is more relevant than ever in today’s dressed-down world. A suit is often too formal for much of what we do, but the sports coat is useful to throw on when we want to look more presentable without dressing up too much. Following the (00)7 Essential James Bond Suits, here is a list of essential Bondian sports coats that one should have.
1. Single-Breasted Navy Doeskin Blazer
The navy blazer is the backbone of James Bond’s odd jacket wardrobe. It can be dressed up more than any other type of sports coat, but it’s still sporty at heart and can be worn in more casual environments too. It’s the perfect sports coat to wear from the day into night.
The blazer that Sean Connery wears in three of his Bond films is doeskin, a densely napped woollen flannel with a sheen (not the skin from a female deer). This is a more useful blazer in cooler places, not in Jamaica where Connery first wears it. It’s better-suited to Britain and Amsterdam, where Connery wears it in later films.
Connery’s button two doeskin blazer is detailed with three open patch pockets, double vents and metal buttons, and the dark gunmetal buttons on the blazer in Dr. No are more modern than the more traditional brass buttons on Connery’s later blazers. The doeskin blazer could be further updated today with brown horn or wood buttons, though it may no longer qualify as a blazer without metal buttons. Even without metal buttons, a navy doeskin jacket with the proper sporty details can make a fine sports coat. Connery wears his doeskin blazer with a blue shirt, navy grenadine tie and dark grey trousers.
2. Single-Breasted Navy Hopsack Blazer
Because the navy blazer is the essential Bond sports coat, one is not enough. For warmer places, Bond has the hopsack blazer, which Roger Moore preferred. Hopsack is made of worsted wool in a basket weave, which makes for a more breathable garment.
Moore’s button two navy hopsack blazers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker have slanted flap pockets and double vents. A different pocket style is a great way besides the fabric to differentiate two different single-breasted blazers in one’s wardrobe. The buttons on these blazers are shiny sew-through nickel rather than the more traditional shanked buttons, giving this blazer a more modern look while still keeping the buttons metal.
Mother-of-pearl buttons are a great alternative for this warmer-weather blazer, whether the mother of pearl is white, smoke or blue. Mother of pearl has a shine that recalls traditional metal buttons, but they don’t have the connotations that come with metal buttons. Moore wears his hopsack blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me with cream trousers, a blue striped shirt and a blue shantung silk tie.
3. Double-Breasted Serge Blazer
How about a third blazer? Not only is the blazer an essential Bond sports coat, it is also the most versatile sports coat. The double-breasted blazer isn’t quite as versatile as the single-breasted blazer, but the late Sir Roger Moore did an excellent job during his last decade showing how useful the double-breasted blazer is too, wearing it for just about any occasion. The double-breasted blazer is dressier than its single-breasted counterpart, and sometimes we want to dress up without wearing a suit. Because it is more formal than single-breasted blazers, serge—a hard-finished worsted twill—is the perfect cloth for it. Serge is also what the naval uniforms the double-breasted blazer is derived from are made of as well. Either of the cloths prescribed for single-breasted blazers above can also work for double-breasted blazers, and serge can make up a great single-breasted blazer.
Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in For Your Eyes Only is made in the classic button two, show three (6×2) style of double-breasted jacket and has traditional brass buttons. The double-breasted blazer’s naval heritage almost requires metal buttons (in which case dull or silver-toned buttons can modernise it), but pearl buttons can be almost as effective. Moore shows in For Your Eyes Only that a double-breasted blazer can be dressed down too by wearing it with stone-coloured trousers and a blue open-neck shirt.
4. Brown Tweed Hacking Jacket
The brown tweed hacking jacket has a country equestrian heritage, but it is a stylish garment off horseback as well. Sean Connery wears it in Goldfinger in the British countryside and in the Swiss Alps, and he again wears it in the British countryside in Thunderball. Though brown tweed is best worn in the country, it can be worn in the city for casual use too. Connery’s brown tweed jacket is in a barleycorn weave, which shows a subtle pattern of tiny triangles. This subtle type of pattern is more useful than large and louder patterns because it can be dressed up more easily while still being a sporty garment. Because it’s tweed, this is a heavier jacket best worn in cool places.
Connery’s button two jacket has the defining aspects of a hacking jacket: slanted hacking pockets and a deep single vent. Connery wears the hacking jacket with fawn cavalry twill trousers, a faintly striped ecru shirt and a light brown knitted tie.
5. Lightweight Tan Jacket
The odd jacket made its long-awaited return to James Bond series in Spectre in the the form of Daniel Craig’s lightweight wool, linen and silk-blended light brown jacket. But this isn’t the first time that Bond has worn a jacket of this sort. That was with Roger Moore’s tan hopsack jacket in Live and Let Die. The tan family is the ideal colour for warm-weather jackets because of how it reflects the sun’s heat. But it’s also less formal than darker colours, making it a useful piece for today’s more casual man.
Daniel Craig’s jacket in Spectre has three buttons with the lapels rolled over the top button, slanted pockets and double vents. It is also an unstructured jacket, which not only makes it lightweight but very informal and thus very useful for many people. Craig wears the jacket with tan cotton trousers, a white shirt and a brown knitted tie. Despite what Craig wears with it, such a jacket can actually be dressed down more easily than it can be dressed up.
6. Grey Tweed Jacket
Grey is an underrated colour for sports coats. Though it’s often said that a sports coat is useless if it can’t pair with mid-grey trousers, it would be boring if all of our trousers were mid grey. There is something that can go with the rest of our trousers. Grey sports coats pair well with charcoal trousers and can also work with cream, tan or blue trousers. Though the grey sports coat that Roger Moore wears in A View to a Kill is tweed, cashmere and camel hair are other great choices for cool weather, and grey linen and silk can work instead for warm weather. Grey is also a colour that is equally at home in the city as it is in the country.
Moore’s grey tweed button two jacket has three open patch pockets and a single vent. He wears it with charcoal flannel trousers, a light blue oxford shirt and a checked tie.
7. Checked Jacket
Have a little fun with your jackets! Though James Bond generally prefers to wear solids and simple patterns, he wears a number of checked sports coats throughout the series, starting with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and wearing more in Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights. Checks are fun to wear, and even large checks can be tasteful.
George Lazenby’s button three hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a black, brown and cream houndstooth check with a red windowpane overcheck. It has the traditional hacking jacket details of slanted pockets and a deep single vent. He wears it with traditional riding gear: a silk shirt with a stock collar, a stock tie, beige jodhpurs and tall black riding boots. Such a jacket could just as easily be more conventionally accessorised.