Commander of the Cloth, Part 2: Roger Moore

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Continuing from where Sean Connery left off, Roger Moore’s suits are made of many of the same types of fabrics that Connery’s are. Like Connery, Moore wears a lot of lightweight worsteds and medium-weight flannels. And like Connery, even Moore’s suitings can be traced back to Ian Fleming. Moore’s first suit in 1973’s Live and Let Die is the “dark blue light-weight worsted” that Fleming dressed his James Bond in. However, throughout the 1970s, Moore placed more emphasis on wearing the more luxurious fabrics that Connery wore only occasionally.

The 1970s Suits

Connery wears one dupioni silk suit in From Russia with Love, but Moore wears a silk suit in each of his four Bond films of the 1970s. Mostly in greys except for a bold light brown suit in The Spy Who Loved Me, these dupioni silk suits are ideal for the warm locales that Moore’s Bond visits. Dupioni silk is a fabric full of slubs—nubs and irregularities—like shantung silk but with a dull sheen instead of a shiny finish.

Roger Moore wearing a dupioni silk suit in Moonraker

Alan Flusser describes dupioni in his book Dressing the Man as “a luxurious shantung-type silk made from a double silk fiber from two cocoons nested together.” Flusser also describes it as a mark of prestige, saying, “Since its debut on the Riviera in the late twenties, the pure silk dupioni suit has always been the last word in summer chic. From its well-bred beginnings, the silk suit with its natural glossy beauty and superior draping quality was a status symbol, an aristocratic garment made only by the prestigious custom tailors and top manufacturers.”

These silk suits portrays Moore’s Bond as someone who has the best tastes. Moore Bond’s fascination with silk even influences his evening wear, and he wears an ivory dinner jacket in dupioni silk in The Man with the Golden Gun.

A marine blue mohair and wool blend suit in The Man with the Golden Gun

Like Connery’s Bond, Moore’s Bond also was a fan of mohair and wool blend suits, wearing a few of them in The Man with the Golden Gun when they were still highly fashionable. In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Bond returns to the wool-and-mohair dinner suit.

Throughout the 1970s, there are no limits to the colours of Moore’s suits. The many greys that he wears range from light to charcoal, following the grey-suit standard that Connery set at the beginning of the Bond film series. Moore also wears a few suits in blue, from navy to marine.

A medium brown Donegal tweed suit in Moonraker

Then there are the earth tones that Moore is infamous for wearing in the 1970s. These include beige, light brown, medium brown and olive. Moore’s beige suit is linen and entirely appropriate for the hot weather of the fictitious Caribbean island of San Monique in Live and Let Die. Moore’s medium brown suit is Donegal tweed to make up a classic hunting suit in Moonraker. Roger Moore had a warm complexion, and despite the earth tones seeming dated to the 1970s, they were the best colours on him.

The 1980s Suits

Times changed considerably from the 1970s to the 1980s. In the 1980s, Moore’s suits became not only more traditional but were also made of more traditional cloths. For London the suits are grey and blue woollen flannels and heavier worsteds, sometimes with chalk stripes. In warmer locations abroad, the suits are various shades of tan in gabardine wool, a warm-weather classic. He wears evening wear in classic wool barrathea for black and midnight blue and linen for his ivory warm-weather dinner jackets.

Roger Moore wearing a grey woollen flannel suit in For Your Eyes Only

While the suitings that Roger Moore wore in the 1970s had many similarities to the suitings that Sean Connery wore in the 1960s, Roger Moore’s 1980s suitings were more similar to what men in the 1940s were wearing. There’s no doubt that Moore’s 1980s suits are more conservative than his 1970s suits, and in many ways this reminds us of the pared-down suits that Connery’s Bond wore before him. On the other hand, Moore’s 70s silk and mohair suits have at least as much basis in Connery’s Bond suits, despite often having bolder colours and more raffish cuts.

Odd Jackets and Blazers

For odd jackets, Moore’s have ranged from cotton to silk blends to tweed, in earth tones or grey. His quintessential blue blazers are made of worsted wool in hopsack or serge weaves. While Connery often wears cool-weather blazers made of doeskin in warm places, Moore’s worsted blazers are much more appropriate for many of the warmer places he wears them.

A hopsack blazer in The Man with the Golden Gun

7 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t tell if I prefer Moore’s suitings over Connery’s due to personal taste or because of better quality film.

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