Today we celebrate what would have been Sir Roger Moore’s 90th birthday by looking back at twelve of the outfits that made his James Bond style special. Twelve outfits mark the twelve years between Moore’s first and last Bond films. This is not a list of Moore’s best outfits but rather a list of the outfits that best define his Bond’s unique style that has divided Bond fans for over four decades.
Live and Let Die: Double-Breasted Chesterfield Coat
The first time Roger Moore gets properly dressed as Bond in his first Bond film Live and Let Die, he’s wearing a navy double-breasted chesterfield coat made by his tailor, Cyril Castle. Moore was a new Bond not to be confused with the two Bond that came before him. He distanced himself in many ways from how Sean Connery established the film Bond, but he did not turn his Bond into a different character.
Moore’s double-breasted coat approaches the character through clothes in a way that Connery’s Bond never did. Though Connery’s Bond dresses as a naval commander in uniform in You Only Live Twice, his civilian dress never shows this. Moore’s navy chesterfield, on the other hand, recalls greatcoats that naval officers wear, and his Royal Navy regimental tie solidifies Moore’s Bond’s status as a naval officer.
In addition to the naval connection, the low-buttoning double-breasted coat with wide peaked lapels gives Moore a commanding presence. But the style of coat, with its velvet collar and turned-back gauntlet cuffs, portrays Moore as a refined Bond who cares about the details of his clothes. This coat has stood the test of time. Despite having wide lapels, wide peaked lapels on a double-breasted coat haven’t dated poorly like their wide single-breasted counterparts have.
How this coat become such an iconic piece for Moore’s Bond is helped by the fact that Moore only wears one other overcoat as Bond—a Royal Navy greatcoat—which is hardly seen. It would be difficult to top this overcoat, and it remains one of the most iconic coats of the series.
Live and Let Die: Black Polo Neck
For the climax of Live and Let Die, Moore wears an outfit first popularised by The Man from U.N.C.L.E., later by Steve McQueen in Bullitt and revived by Daniel Craig for the Spectre teaser poster. This garment is known by many names: turtleneck, roll neck, polo neck and, as Archer fans call it, tactleneck. The all-black outfit of polo neck and trousers along with the large holster over the shoulders give Moore a menacing look. Though Moore did not originate this look, he brought it into Bond and into the 1970s, and he owns it.
The polo neck would return in a number of Moore’s other Bond films, but never would any other achieve the iconic status of the Live and Let Die polo neck.
The Man with the Golden Gun: Marine Blue Suit
Though Roger Moore may be known for wearing brown suits, he wore suits in many other colours too. His marine blue suit in The Man with the Golden Gun made by Cyril Castle is one of the best examples of that. Though this suit only features in one scene—and Bond doesn’t do anything particularly special while wearing the suit—it’s one of the most memorable Moore Bond suits thanks to its sheen—which can only be the result of a high mohair content—and rich blue colour that perfectly balances Moore’s deep, warm complexion. Not to mention, the colour is currently very trendy.
This suit is a prime example of the single-breasted suits that Castle made for Moore. The button two jackets have narrow shoulders, slightly wide lapels, slanted pockets and flared link-fastening cuff and the trousers have a darted front with small slit pockets across the front hidden just beneath the waistband. Castle was a very creative tailor, though perhaps influenced just a little too much by fashions of the day. Nevertheless, he gave Moore’s Bond a distinctive look that had his own unique interpretations of early 1970s fashion.
Not only have Bond fans long admired this suit, Moore also lusted after it and wanted to keep it when the production finished. To his dismay, producer Cubby Broccoli pranked Moore by dumping a bucket of paste on him while wearing this suit so he wouldn’t have the pleasure of keeping it. Alas, Moore was able to keep plenty other suits from the Bond films.
The Man with the Golden Gun: Double-Breasted Blazer
Roger Moore’s signature outfit, particularly in his later life, was the blue blazer. The blue blazer was already a Bond staple by the time Moore became Bond, worn in four films by Sean Connery and George Lazenby. Moore wears six blue blazers throughout his tenure as Bond. Moore’s blazer in The Man with the Golden Gun, made by Cyril Castle, revived the naval button three, show three style that Lazenby wore. By The Man with the Golden Gun, Moore had established that he was a double-breasted man, from his overcoats to his suits to his dinner jackets to his blazers.
Moore wears this blazer in two different ways in The Man with the Golden Gun: first with a blue striped shirt, blue satin tie and grey trousers (like Bond had done before) and second with a cream shirt, striped tie and cream trousers. The cream trousers and blazer look is something that Moore introduced to Bond, and this outfit once again gives Moore’s Bond a classic naval look.
The Spy Who Loved Me: Yellow Ski Suit
Starting with the the yellow ski suit in The Spy Who Loved Me, Moore’s Bond became known for his unbelievable skiing skills. No skiwear stands out on screen as much as Moore’s yellow jumpsuit and bright red hat, parachute pack and boots. Bogner made the ski suit, and it has the iconic “B” zip pull that can be seen not only on Bond’s ski suit but also on the Russians’ ski suits.
The incredible stunt that ends the scene with the union jacket parachute helps to solidify Moore’s first ski suit in the Bond series and on the most important pieces of Moore’s Bond wardrobe.
The Spy Who Loved Me: Dinner Suit
Moore’s most famous dinner suit hails from his most popular and personal favourite Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. This midnight blue dinner suit from Angelo Roma checks off all the boxes for the quintessential 1970s Moore style: Double-breasted. Wide lapels. Flared trousers. Large shirt collar. Unusual shirt cuffs. Slip-on shoes.
Despite being dated, this dinner suit features Moore’s Bond at his best, and Moore looks perfect in the suit. The jacket itself could still fit in today without alteration amongst the Tom Ford dinner suits at the big award ceremonies. Everything else does 1970s fashion as well it ever was done; everything looks to be in proportion with Moore’s face and body, and the styles are all tastefully executed.
This dinner suit is not only iconic for appearing in the Egypt scenes of The Spy Who Loved Me but also in that film’s gun barrel sequence. The gun barrel sequence filmed for The Spy Who Loved Me was reused for Moore’s next four Bond films, more films than any other gun barrel sequence was featured in. It also started the tradition of Bond wearing black tie instead of a suit for the gun barrel sequence.
The Spy Who Loved Me: Brown Silk Suit
Moore’s suits are famous for being two things: brown and silk. The suit that Moore wears for his famous first drive in the Lotus Esprit submarine is both brown and silk. Moore wears more grey suits than any other colour, but despite that he remains known for wearing earth toned suits. And why shouldn’t he? His warm complexion looked its best in earth tones, and because of that he wore brown suits before and after the 1970s’ trend.
The brown silk suit in The Spy Who Loved Me made by Angelo Roma is the perfect garment for Bond to wear in the Mediterranean climate of Sardinia. It’s a bit difficult to miss the wide lapels and wide flared trouser legs, but this is what Moore’s wardrobe was all about in the late 1970s. It may no longer look fashionable 40 years later, but in the 1970s nobody wore it better than Roger Moore.
Moonraker: Single-Breasted Blazer
As the “blazer and slacks” Bond, the blue blazer needs more than one mention in a list of Moore’s most quintessential Bond looks. The single-breasted blazer made by Angelo Roma is first seen in The Spy Who Loved Me with white trousers, but in Moonraker Moore wears a very similar blazer on two occasions, with either khaki or tan cavalry twill trousers. Angelo has modernised Moore’s metal-buttoned blazer by giving it sew-through silver-toned buttons instead of the traditional shanked brass. Large shirt collars by Frank Foster and wide, striped ties here were a standard part of Moore’s ’70s wardrobe.
For Your Eyes Only: Sage Green Blouson
In the 1980s, Moore became known for his leather blousons, short jackets that fit closely at the waist and blouse over. The primary purpose of these jackets is so Bond has a way of concealing his Walther PPK. The first of these blousons in the 1980s is sage green suede, which Moore wears for sneaking around a villa in Spain. An ecru cotton jersey short-sleeve shirt and brown worsted trousers complete Moore’s new elegant and sophisticated casual look for the 1980s.
Octopussy: Ivory Dinner Jacket
Amongst many other garments, Roger Moore was known for his white dinner jackets, which he first wears in a double-breasted silk variant in The Man with the Golden Gun. The ivory linen dinner jacket in Octopussy takes cues from the first ivory dinner jacket of the Bond series that Connery wears in Goldfinger. Douglas Hayward tailored Moore’s dinner jacket, but he did it even better than Anthony Sinclair did for Goldfinger. Moore’s jacket has most of the same details that Connery’s has: narrow peaked lapels, a single mother-of-pearl button on the front and soft shoulders. Moore’s adds double vents to the back for a more practical jacket better suited for action scenes.
Moore’s dinner jacket wins over Connery’s for a cleaner overall fit. Connery’s jacket is wide in the shoulders and has little waist suppression. Though it’s meant to have a lot of drape, it looks like its hanging off him. Moore’s jacket has a cleaner and trimmer fit that makes both him and the dinner jacket look better.
What’s even more amazing is how Q-Branch is able to quickly mend a knife hole in the front of the jacket during Bond’s brief stopover.
Octopussy: Tan Safari Suit
Moore’s Bond is infamous for his safari suits, shirts and jackets. For those who hate safari jackets for being a product of 1970s fashion, they originated at the start of the 20th century. They became a fashion piece in the late 1960s, but Moore wears his safari suits not only because they were fashionable but because they were appropriate for the locales where he wore them. Others may dislike the safari suit for its colonial implications, and Moore’s Bond would likely have been involved with colonial Britain if he were a bit older.
The best of Moore’s safari suits is his last one, featured in Octopussy. Frank Foster made this suit out of worsted wool, which is breathable and looks fantastic on screen. The tan colour both looks great on Moore’s warm complexion and amongst the Indian jungle. The Indian jungle is so perfect a location for the safari suit, it’s almost as if the film makers sought out the location for the sole purpose of getting Moore back into his iconic safari suit one last time.
A View to a Kill: Tan Gabardine Suit
Each of Roger Moore’s Bond films in the 1980s features him in a tan gabardine wool suit made by Douglas Hayward. For Your Eyes Only has Moore in the darkest, which is more of a light brown than it is tan. Octopussy has Moore in the lightest, on the lighter side of tan. A View to a Kill‘s tan gabardine suit is between the two in a British tan.
The tan suit in A View to a Kill sees the most wear of the three tan gabardine suits, and it takes Bond through San Francisco. Moore continued his tradition of wearing suits in the brown family to his final film, and it’s a good thing he did because they still looked great on him.
A few honourable mentions go to the white silk double-breasted dinner jacket and the black suit in The Man with the Golden Gun, the safari sports coat in The Spy Who Loved Me, the grey silk suit and yellow spacesuit in Moonraker and any number of the Douglas Hayward suits and sports coats in For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill.