Last week, Daniel Craig celebrated his 50th birthday. With production of his fifth James Bond film approaching in less than a year, it is fun to speculate what his fifth dinner jacket may be. The last time James Bond did not don his iconic dinner jacket in a film was in the 8th Bond film Live and Let Die, so it is almost certain he will attend a black tie function in the 25th James Bond film. Fashion goes in cycles, especially for James Bond, so this may help us predict what Bond will wear next.
Skyfall and Spectre costume designer Jany Temime mentioned to The Bond Experience that after giving it her all for the midnight blue dinner suit in Skyfall, she couldn’t top that and had to go a different route in Spectre:
After the dark blue Tuxedo, I said to Sam [Mendes], ‘forget it, I cannot design another Tuxedo because that Tuxedo was so perfect.’ So the idea of having to design another Tuxedo better than that one, I just didn’t know how. So I said, let’s go in a complete different chapter. Let’s go into a white one.
If Temime returns as costume designer for the next Bond film (which is likely considering he continued relationship with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli on her non-Bond film last year Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool), she will likely want to take yet a another approach for Bond’s black tie her third time around. It likely will not be a midnight blue shawl collar dinner jacket or an ivory peaked lapel dinner jacket like she did before. It is unlikely the ivory dinner jacket will reappear anytime soon regardless.
Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Piece Brosnan often wear similar dinner jackets between their films. Of Connery’s eight different dinner jackets, there are three repeating styles: midnight blue shawl collar, black notched lapel or ivory peaked lapel. Moore’s dinner jackets are mostly variations on a theme as well, double-breasted peaked lapel or single-breasted notched lapel. Pierce Brosnan wears a single-breasted peaked lapel dinner jacket in each of his four Bond films, with the first in black and the rest in midnight blue. Daniel Craig has repeated the midnight blue shawl collar dinner jacket in two films, but he has worn three very different styles in four films.
No notched-lapel dinner jacket again
One style we are unlikely to see on Bond again is the notched-lapel dinner jacket. Despite this being the most popular style of dinner jacket, it is generally considered to be at best pedestrian and at worst an inappropriate and unsophisticated style of dinner jacket. Popular wisdom today states that notched lapels are incorrect on a dinner jacket and are a cost-saving measure so that a dinner jacket can use the same pattern as an ordinary suit jacket. And because dinner jackets hold a more formal place in society than they formerly did, they need fancier lapels to set them apart from ordinary suits.
Notched-lapel dinner jackets, however, have been around since the early days of the dinner jacket. James Bond started wearing the style in Goldfinger, and it was a staple of Roger Moore’s and Timothy Dalton’s Bond wardrobes in the 1980s. But because of the notched-lapel dinner jacket’s current status with menswear experts, it is unlikely we will see Bond in it again soon.
The case for the double-breasted dinner jacket
It is possible we could see the double-breasted dinner jacket return, especially if the costume designer is set on making another unique and iconic piece. Roger Moore brought the style to James Bond in his 1970s Bond films and brought it back for his last Bond film, A View to a Kill, in 1985. Timothy Dalton briefly wears it at the end of The Living Daylights, but Bond has not donned it since. With double-breasted jackets making more and more appearances in current fashions, it may be time for them to return to the Bond series. Daniel Craig himself is a fan of the double-breasted cut, and he wore a navy chalk stripe double-breasted suit from Brunello Cucinelli for a photocall in Rome during the filming of Spectre. If Tom Ford is still the clothier for Bond 25, the double-breasted dinner jacket could very well return because it has long been a speciality of theirs and is the preferred dinner jacket of Tom Ford himself.
At the Academy Awards in 2007, Daniel Craig wore a double-breasted dinner jacket from Dunhill, and it looked perfect on him. It is a common misconception that double-breasted jackets are not flattering on shorter men, and it’s a misconception that should not get in the way of the style’s return. If Daniel Craig looks short, it’s only because he is standing next to taller people. Proportions and execution, rather than the overall style, are key to a flattering look.
Some may bring up the shoulder holster as a reason against the double-breasted dinner jacket. Though James Bond usually carries his Walter PPK in a shoulder holster, shoulder holsters do not provide as easy access with a double-breasted jacket as they do with a single-breasted jacket. But Bond also wears inside the waistband holsters in the recent films, which work just as well with a double-breasted jacket as they do with a single-breasted jacket, so long as the jacket has vents.
Now that Craig is the first actor since Roger Moore to be playing James Bond at over 50 years old, the more mature double-breasted dinner jacket is a fitting look for someone his age. But with younger people wearing double-breasted suits again, there should not be fear that Craig will look like a dinosaur in a double-breasted dinner jacket. And with Bond 25 being the first Bond film since Roger Moore’s passing, it would be a fitting tribute to Moore. A double-breasted dinner jacket for Bond 25 would likely come in black or midnight blue with a button two, show three cut with peaked lapels.
The likely return of another single-breasted dinner jacket
If the single-breasted dinner jacket returns, we will likely see peaked lapels on a black or midnight blue suit. The basic peaked-lapel dinner jacket that was a staple of the Brosnan years and made waves in Casino Royale has not returned since, so it is about time for its return. Jany Temime has not done this basic style yet, and if she returns as costume designer she may want to give her own take on this modern Bond staple. Daniel Craig wore a black mohair and wool blend single-breasted peaked-lapel dinner jacket for the Spectre premiere, and perhaps a suit similar to this one will appear in Bond 25.
Bond has always worn more dinner jackets in midnight blue than black, but maybe black will return for a change. On the other hand, Jany Temime loves blue on Craig because it brings out his blue eyes, so midnight blue is likely to return in a different form than it appeared in Skyfall.
If a single-breasted dinner jacket returns along with Tom Ford, the cummerbund will likely return as well. The traditional butterfly bow tie will also likely make an appearance again after the less common diamond-point and batwing bow ties featured in the last three films.
The classic Bond dress shirt (Tuxedo shirt) with pleats and exposed buttons returned in Spectre, and perhaps that model will return again. Spectre was the first time since The Living Daylights that Bond wears a dress shirt with exposed buttons, which is the traditional fastening for the soft, pleated shirt and what Bond wears throughout the first 15 films. As black tie has increased in formality, black tie experts have considered studs and fly fronts the most proper styles for dress shirts, whilst buttons are too functional or ordinary. The fly front dress shirt is still trendy, and because it hasn’t been seen on Bond since Casino Royale it may be time for its return.
What kind of dinner jacket do you think we will see or want to see in Bond 25? Could we see multiple dinner jackets in a Bond film again? Leave a comment below.