As many of you know, today is the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No as well as Global James Bond Day. The first outfit I wrote about when I started this blog two years ago was Bond’s first dinner suit in Dr. No, but I merely touched on the outerwear comprised of a navy melton chesterfield coat and a black homburg. The chesterfield, made by Anthony Sinclair, is a rather dressy coat, appropriate with black tie, black lounge (stroller) and dressier lounge suits (dark worsteds). It tends to look out of place even over a sports coat. Chesterfield coats are typically made in dark colours like navy, charcoal and black, in a milled melton cloth or a herringbone weave. It’s a longer coat that hits below the knee, and it’s a fitted coat that is darted and shaped through the waist. The length and heavy weight make it a very warm coat. Single-breasted models, like what Sean Connery wears, have a fly front with three hidden buttons.
This coat has notch lapels, a long vent down the back, flapped hip pockets and a welt breast pocket. Connery’s coat has a black velvet collar, a formal as well as a practical element; the collar will wear out before most other parts of the coat, and replacing black velvet is easy compared to finding matching wool. However, a chesterfield coat does not need to have a velvet collar nor does a velvet make a coat a chesterfield.
The first hat of the series Bond throws on the coat tree at the office is a black homburg, a hat which occupies the same formality spectrum as the chesterfield coat. A homburg is best worn with black tie, black lounge and dressier lounge suits. The homburg is identified by its dented crown (without a pinch) and a stiff, bound brim turned up all the way around. Bond’s hat has a thicker black grosgrain ribbon than his trilby. With black tie less worn today, formal outerwear is even less commonly worn. However, as suits and dinner suits are being made of increasingly lightweight cloths, the chesterfield coat is even more relevant for cold weather today. Die Another Day saw a missed opportunity for another chesterfield. Whilst everyone else was wearing some sort of overcoat, Pierce Brosnan seemed unusually comfortable in snow-covered Iceland without one.