A Black Herringbone Suit for a Funeral in Spectre

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Spectre-Black-Herringbone-Suit

James Bond’s black herringbone three-piece suit in Spectre introduces Tom Ford’s signature “Windsor” model to the Bond series. This model is characterised by wide peaked lapels and aggressive shoulders. The look is inspired by suits from the 1940s as well as by 1960s and 1970s British designer Tommy Nutter’s suits. Though Bond is in disguise as an Italian gangster, the style of his suit is much more British than it is Italian. Bold and flashy doesn’t mean it’s Italian, but it’s also not the look a traditional English gentleman would sport either.

Bond has typically avoided wearing solid black suits because they’re neither the most traditional nor the most stylish. They have their place at funerals, which makes this black suit fitting for the situation. The only other time Bond wears a solid black suit is to Morton Slumber’s funeral home in Diamonds Are Forever. That suit is also a three-piece, and this suit is its direct successor. Though black suits usually look dull, this suiting is woven in a large herringbone weave to give it texture so it doesn’t look flat. Whilst this suit is 100% wool, the herringbone weave means it reflects more light and ends up looking livelier and shinier. Seeing it in person, it’s brighter than all of the other blacks around, even though it is still black. This is the rare example of an exciting black suiting.

The jacket has straight shoulders with a heavy amount of padding and roped sleeve heads. There is fullness and shape in the chest, which gives it a more bespoke look and feel, but the chest still fits close to the body, as does the waist. The length is a bit on the short side. The front has two buttons at a medium stance and medium-wide peaked lapels with belly. Belly is the convex curve of the outer edge that makes the lapels look wider than they actually are. Tom Ford spoke about his preference for wide lapels in a documentary that aired on 23 October 2011 as the second episode of the television programme Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind:

I like a big lapel. I’ve always hated little skinny lapels. It doesn’t mean I haven’t ever done them before, but I’ve always felt they feel a little sad, like you don’t have enough fabric.

The jacket is detailed with straight pockets with wide flaps and a ticket pocket. The breast pocket has a curved “barchetta” shape. There are five buttons on the cuffs, and the last button has a longer buttonhole and is left open. There is a single vent to the back.

The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button—the last button and buttonhole are placed on the cutaway part at the bottom and would strain if fastened. There are four curved welt pockets on the front that match the style of the jacket’s breast pocket.

The trousers have a flat front, a medium low rise and narrow, straight legs with plain hems. This is the only Tom Ford suit of all the Bond films to not have turn-ups on the trousers, and this suit may not have turn-ups because it is more formal than any other suit Daniel Craig has worn in his Bond films. The waistband has a square extension with a hidden hook-and-eye closure and slide-buckle adjusters at the sides. The side pockets are on the seam, which curves forward at the top.

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Costume designer Jany Temime was quoted about this outfit from Spectre on the James Bond 007 Facebook page:

Bond is in disguise and has to fit in with gangsters, moving in a daring way. The details in the shirt, the collar is more Italian style: it is Bond in disguise.

The white cotton poplin shirt from Tom Ford has a point collar with eyelets and metal bar, cocktail cuffs, a plain front and rear darts for a slim fit. Though Temime says the pinned collar is an Italian style, it’s not particularly Italian these days. It has some historical association with both Italians and Americans. Roger Moore wears a pinned collar in his 1976 film Street People when playing his Sicilian father in 1930s flashbacks. Pierce Brosnan almost always wears pinned collars during the first two series of Remington Steele, which reflected trends in America at the time as well as his character’s love for classic Hollywood films. Pinned collars are too fussy for James Bond to wear apart from being in disguise, and they’re not particularly appropriate for a modern British character.

Tom Ford calls the cocktail cuff on his shirts the “Dr. No cuff”, named after the first Bond film to feature Bond wearing shirts with cocktail cuffs. The cuff has a similarly rounded shape to the cocktail cuffs that Sean Connery wears in five of his Bond films, though the two buttons on this cuff are both positioned closer to the fold. The top button on this cuff is mostly hidden under the fold, whilst it’s always visible on Connery’s cuffs when has has both buttons fastened. Spectre is the ninth Bond film to feature James Bond wearing cocktail cuffs, after five films with Sean Connery and three films with Roger Moore. Turnbull & Asser made a bespoke cocktail cuff pattern for Pierce Brosnan when making shirts for Die Another Day, but no shirts cocktail cuffs were featured in that film.

The black-on-black woven check silk tie is 9.5 cm—or 3 3/4 inches—wide to go with the wide lapels on the suit jacket. The lapels are wider than the tie, though ties that are narrower than the lapels can still work. To fit his disguise as a gangster, Bond knots his tie in a windsor knot. Bond completes his outfit with a white silk handkerchief with a black border stuffed—rather than meticulously folded—into his breast pocket. The handkerchief measures 40 cm by 40 cm.

The boots that Bond wears with this suit are the flashy Crockett & Jones Camberley model in black calf. The style is best described as a double-monk boot, where the straps buckle from the inside quarter over the outside quarter. Like on monk shoes, the quarter are both over the tongue. This boot is not a Jodhpur boot, where the vamp and tongue are positioned on top of the quarters. Boots are a good match with narrow trousers because narrow trousers must be hemmed shorter, and thus boots will prevent sock from showing with shorter trousers. Whilst monk boots are not likely something the literary James Bond would wear, they satisfy his dislike for laces.

Bond wears this suit with a black double-breasted bridge coat, sunglasses and black driving gloves.

39 COMMENTS

  1. There are flashy elements in the outfit but I think the whole ensemble makes this my favourite suit of the last two Bond films.
    The collar pins are probably the most standout element, but they’ve never particularly rubbed me the wrong way. I’m neither for nor against them. The boots are mostly covered so there’s no problem there, and I like the casually stuffed pocket square. The small details in a suit is where I think personal preference and character comes in, and this suit is a good example of that.

    Too many little eccentricities and it becomes problematic and I can definitely see some people finding exactly that with this suit, but for me it’s just teetering on the edge. I like it.

  2. I think the proportions of this suit are very odd. The width of the lapels and the short coat length seem to widen the horizontal lines of this suit. And reduce the vertical lines. The addition of a ticket pocket makes this look worse as the pockets appear cramped. Like there is not enough vertical room for them. This is all made worse by Craig’s bulky physique. A shorter coat should make his legs appear longer. However, in this suit, it does not. The trouser tapering is too severe for his bulky legs. And pairing them with boots makes his legs look short.

    The suit looks much better on the Tom Ford website. It fits the tall, slim model much better. The wide lapels flatter him because he does not already have a broad chest and shoulders. The coat does not look as short on him, there is no pulling, the lapels don’t bow out. The trousers are tapered in harmony with his slimmer legs and they are also finished with a 2″ PTU. Offsetting the shorter coat and long slim legs. They sit on shoes with a slight break. Again, this suit looks like it is cut for a tall slim man and Craig has bought it off the rack and it doesn’t fit him properly.

    • It’s interesting how these snug suits pull in the front but actually fit Craig pretty well in the back. Usually a suit that pulls in the front will have horizontal creases in the back…

  3. Still haven’t yet seen SPECTRE!

    Anyway, I kind of fancy a pair of black crockett and jones derby boots, 348 last, but wonder if they’d be OK to wear with a suit or not…?

  4. If the trousers in this outfit would have had turn ups, would it still be okay to wear the boots he’s wearing? I read somewhere that trousers with turn ups shouldn’t be worn with any kind of boots, but there was no explanation as to why that was the case. Any thoughts of that?

  5. I thought that as well, because I think it looks good if the boots are discrete (like Chelsea boots). But the same guy said that short men shouldn’t have trousers with turn ups since it makes them look shorter. But I noticed you have the same opinion as I, that they actually lengthen the leg!

    • Trouser finishing is an interesting discussion. I would say that turn-ups can create the illusion of a shorter leg, especially if the turn-ups exceed 1.5″. A plain hem with a break can give the illusion of a longer leg. However all the rules of tailoring are not set in stone and depend on other factors. For instance a shorter leg can also be made to look longer with a shorter jacket or vice-versa.

      I have turn-ups on most of my trousers. I have them done at 1.5-2″. I like a taper to 15″ hem with turn-ups, minimal break. 16″ with plain hem and a full break. I think the problem with turn-ups is that they look bad with a lot of trouser break. So if the inside leg is finished to sit on shoes with minimal break, they would have a lot of break with boots and look sloppy.

      • Legs look longer without break, which matters more than turn-ups do. You want a clean, uninterrupted line, so ideally the trousers should not have turn-ups and should be slanted to get the most length with the least amount of break. With turn-ups the hem cannot be slanted to much degree. When the trouser hem width is as narrow as 15″, getting the best break and length is very difficult. With a more classic width of 17-18″, the trousers break the same whether you are wearing them with boots or shoes.

  6. Certain details – some indicators of current fashion such as the lower rise trousers and shorter length jacket – and others such as the shirt collar style (can’t Italian gangsters not wear taller, spread collars and not fit in with their fraternity?) make this suits less than ideal but, for me, these details aside it’s probably one of the nicest Ford suits Bond has worn in the series. I agree completely with Ford’s comments about wide v slim lapels. This chimes 100% with my view and bias against narrow lapels. They just look miserable and mean looking. The herringbone weave, I agree, lifts the black out of the mundane. The only alternative for civilised funeral wear would be charcoal. Once again though, the quoted comments from the costume designer show she’s far from fit for her brief and certainly not qualified to dress the silver screen’s most legendary clothing snob!

  7. Off-topic, but I’d enjoy seeing your thoughts on some of the clothing in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation. I watched it for the first time a couple of days ago and thought it might be worthy of some attention here.

  8. This whole outfit looks luxurious to me. A bit ostentatious but with a lot of interesting details. The fabric in particular looks great.
    Like Dan Ippolito above, I’m also surprised at how good the fit looks from the back. I think it’s still a little too tight but definitely looks better than the other suits in the movie.

  9. How come the suit is a 2 button and not in the 3 roll 2 style like his other suits? Is it because black suits are not meant to be worn with 3 buttons? I am investing in a black solid 3 piece suit with the same 3-roll 2 style bond wears in this film. I think the suit overall looks good but I think the suit would have actually been better had it been in the 3 roll 2 style and with narrower lapels. In the suit I am looking to buy, I am wanting to get it with peak lapels that are 2.8 inches.

    • 2 button or 3 buttons are always equally appropriate. 2.8 inches is very narrow for peaked lapels. The peaked lapels are a little inappropriate for a funeral suit and thus are best on suits that aren’t black.

    • I always thought it was the other way around. I’ve been told that because black is more formal and not worn on a regular basis, it could have peak lapels because I personally feel that black suits/tuxedos look better with peak lapels. I know that other suit colors such as navy and grey should be notched lapels.

      • Black suits are best worn for funerals, and that’s only where Bond wears black suits. Peaked lapels are too flashy for funerals. Suits for more festive social occasions are best with peaked lapels. Black could be worn socially, but it’s not a very good choice because of how somber it looks. Any shade of blue, from midnight to marine, is great with peaked lapels. Dark shades of grey are great with peaked lapels as well.

      • Yes, peaked lapels on a 3-roll-2 would be great. It’s a 1940s Hollywood look, though those had more of gentle roll over the top button like the Skyfall suits.

  10. I noticed that you spoke with less criticism saying the waist is close fitting rather than the usual too tight. Is this suit less tight than the others because of the waistcoat, or does it have the same fit?

  11. I think I have found a suit similar to this. It’s from the Netherlandish company named SuitSupply, and it’s their Washington model. It also has a wide peak lapel, however with the 3-roll-2 button configuration like the other suits that Bond wears in the movie, and with double vents. The shoulders are similar, except I believe that they are more padded than the Tom Ford shoulders, and they have told me that the shoulder is without roped sleeveheads. How similar do you think this suit is to the Washington model? The suitsupply suit only costs $500, but it has gotten overall good reviews. Do you think that Suitsupply suits are good quality?

    I have the link to their Washington suit:
    http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/suits/washington-grey-birds-eye/P4708I.html?cgid=Suits&prefn1=styleFit&prefv1=Contemporary-Washington

    • You’re right. This suit looks pretty similar to Bond’s suit except for the sleeveheads and the trouser waistband. I have no personal experience with Suitsupply, so I can’t comment on their quality.

  12. Do you think a black shirt would have worked with this outfit? He could have worn the white shirt with the tie for the funeral, but later changed into a black shirt and ditch a tie for the SPECTRE meeting. Like Jany Temime said,”Bond is in disguise as a gangster.” If Bond wanted to look like a gangster or a member of SPECTRE, I would think that a black shirt would have worked better for this occassion. I think that the all black look without a tie would work really well if Bond is in disguise as a villian.

  13. Like you said, the O’Connor and Windsor are by standard 2 buttons. But Jany Temime was able to get the O’Connor made in the 3-roll-2 button configuration. Although the Regency is my favorite Tom Ford model, I kind of like the Windsor too. Is it possible to get the Windsor made in a 3-roll-2 like the O’Connor was. Also, what are the similarities and differences between the Windsor and the Regency? Which one do you like better, the Regency or the Windsor?

  14. This is one of my favorite Bond suits of the Craig era. Mainly I just love the idea of Bond dressing up as an Italian Gangster. I love the beautiful absurdity of the fact that Bond has a bespoke/tailored three piece suit, shirt, collar bar, in case he ever had to dress as a gangster (it seems unlikely he would dress so flashy for a funeral he was attending as himself).

  15. Oh, I see. Bond twice wears black suits to funerals, and in Spectre he wants to blend in with Italian gangsters.

  16. As for me I think this is probably one of the best suits Craig wore as Bond. It has a very nice fitted silhouette that’s not very tight like other Tom Ford suits Daniel wears. I love wide peak lapels — they were always my preference in suits. However I also think they are a bit flashy for a spy in disguise and might be inappropriate for funeral.

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