This blog previously covered the grey flannel suit in Dr. No, but not in much depth. The suit also shared the article with a suit of another cloth in the same cut. Here is a much needed closer look at the first lounge suit that James Bond wears on film.
When James Bond arrives in Kingston, Jamaica in Dr. No wearing a dark grey woollen flannel suit, he is not properly dressed for warm Jamaica but rather for cold London, where he was coming from. We usually see Bond dressed for his destination when he arrives (we even see him change his clothes on the plane in Goldfinger), but dressing Bond for London in his first few Jamaica scenes establishes how the character dresses for his daily business at home. He looks a bit out of place wearing a dark and heavy suit in Jamaica, but he soon changes into something more comfortable. The staid grey flannel suit would go on to be a staple for Connery’s Bond, wearing it in four more of his Bond films.
This dark grey flannel two-piece suit is one of three lounge suits—along with a light grey mohair suit and a grey glen check suit—that the budget of Dr. No allowed for Sean Connery. Dr. No‘s director Terence Young brought the new James Bond Sean Connery to his tailor, Anthony Sinclair of Conduit Street in London, to make his three suits, dinner suit, blazer and chesterfield coat for the film. This started a relationship that would last Connery’s run as James Bond.
The suit is tailored in style that became known as the “Conduit Cut”, named after Sinclair’s location on Conduit Street. Sinclair himself described his suits as a “Savile Row style”, and he operated only one block from Savile Row in Mayfair. The cut of Sinclair’s suits follows a middle-of-the-road English style, neither with the structure of English equestrian tailors nor with the exaggerated drape of the English drape tailors. Sinclair’s cut was unassuming but undeniably British.
This suit established Bond’s preference for the modern button two jacket rather than the more traditional button three jacket. The button stance is at a medium height, placing it at the natural waist and giving the suit at timeless look. The lapels are a medium-narrow width, which also help this suit to look timeless, even if the lapels look a little wide in comparison to today’s fashions. The jacket is cut with soft shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The chest has a bit of drape, which helps him to conceal his Walther PPK inside the jacket. The jacket is detailed with double vents, straight jetted hip pockets (no flaps), a rather low welt breast pocket and four buttons on each cuff. The buttons are dark grey plastic to match the colour of the suit.
The suit trousers have a traditional English cut with a high rise to the natural waist and double forward pleats. The trousers legs taper to a moderately narrow hem with turn-ups. The waistband has an extension with a hidden hook, and on each side there are button-tab side adjusters with three buttons. Sean Connery’s Bond never wears a belt or braces with his suits, following modern 1960s English bespoke suit trends.
With this suit, Sean Connery infamously buttons the bottom button of his suit jacket in one scene. This rookie mistake shows that Connery was not yet completely comfortable in a suit. Suit jackets that have a curved hem in front are designed so that the bottom button and buttonhole do not meet, and pulling them together distorts the lines of the jacket. A low budget likely meant that it was not worth the production’s time to re-shoot the scene because of this mistake.
Sean Connery’s shirt is a pale blue Sea Island cotton poplin from Turnbull & Asser. The shirt’s collar is a cutaway with 1/4-inch stitching that is similar to the Regent collar they make today, but Connery’s collar was bespoke. The shirt follows typical Jermyn Street style with a narrow placket stitched 3/8 inch from the edge and no front pocket. This shirt also introduces Sean Connery’s Bond’s signature cuff, the two button cocktail cuff, which is a softly constructed button cuff that has a rounded extension that turns back over the cuff. It is a decorative double cuff that fastens with buttons instead of cuff links.
With this suit Bond wears a dark navy blue grenadine tie from Turnbull & Asser, in a moderately narrow width of about 7 1/2 cm. He ties it with a Windsor knot, which Ian Fleming’s Bond despised. Since Sean Connery typically uses a Windsor knot in his personal life as well as in many other roles, it is likely the knot he prefers himself.
In his suit jacket’s breast pocket, Bond wears a square-folded white linen handkerchief with ribbed stripes. The pocket square does not, and ideally should not, match the shirt. He takes his handkerchief out of the breast pocket to wipe his hands during the fight with Mr Jones. After the fight, Bond uses his handkerchief to present Mr Jones’ cyanide-filled cigarette to Pleydell-Smith at Government House.
Bond’s shoes are black calf three-eyelet cap-toe derbys on a pointed last, possibly made by bespoke shoemaker John Lobb Ltd.
Finishing the outfit is the traditional accessory for an English businessman: a felt hat. This felt trilby from Lock & Co. Hatters of St. James’s Street—which sometimes looks dark brown and sometimes looks dark olive—has a tapered crown with a front pinch and centre dent and a narrow snap brim that is turned down in front and turned up in back. The base of the crown is trimmed with a narrow matching grosgrain ribbon. Such a hat is not meant for Jamaica’s hot weather, and Bond looks uncomfortably hot in it. He makes much better use of the hat fanning himself with it. Nevertheless, the hat is effectively used, along with the grey flannel suit, to establish James Bond as a traditional London businessman.