Do you know how Christmas trees are grown? Bond’s Highland Dress Does!



They need sunshine! James Bond celebrated Christmas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service masquerading as Sir Hilary Bray of the College of Arms. For Christmas dinner he wears Scottish Highland dress, an alternative for black tie. Bond’s outfit consists of a Prince Charlie Coatee, 3-button waistcoat, kilt in black watch tartan, lace jabot, kilt hose and a dress sporran. The white shirt has a banded collar that closes at the back, front placket, darted back and single-button cuffs. The argyle socks match the kilt’s tartan, and the shoes are black buckle brogues. From what I understand the jacket and waistcoat are typically black, though Bond’s look like they may be midnight blue. I am no expert on Scottish Highland dress, so whatever insight the readers here can provide would be appreciated. Happy Christmas to all of my readers and thank you for visiting.



  1. Bond’s Highland dress is fundmentally flawed, in tht it draws from two styles that considered correct when worn together. The Prince Charlie coatee and waistcoat, despite it’s silver lozenge-shape buttons, is the equivalent of the English dinner jacket and, to be correct, should we word with a black bow tie. The Prince Charlie has close cousin in the Regulation doublet, worn in military style by Highland regiments and civilians as evening wear, which may be worn with both white and black tie.

    The lace jabot should only be worn with a true doublet, such as the Montrose, Sheriffmuir or Kenmore, which have a particular collar fastening to accommodate the jabot. The doublet is the most formal of the Highland dress styles, and is generally worn when the English would wear white tie and tails or Court Dress.

    The kilt, sporran and brogues are quite correct, although the hose ought really to be diced in the two main colours of the kilt, or full tartan to match the kilt. At least Bond hs not been put in (the all too often seen, especilly when Highland dress is hired) white hose, which is akin to wearing trainers with a suit and is generally held as an insult to both the wearer and Scots.

    That said, the jabot does lend Bond’s apperance a certain amount of dash, and it would be churlish to deny him that.

  2. The first line of my comment should read that the Prince Charlie coatee and lace jabot are INCORRECT when worn together.

    However, there are number of films made during the 1960s in which charcters appear in Highland dress and match a Prince Charlie with a lace jabot, so it may have been fashionably acceptable at the time.

    It may be interesting to note that, despite his smart appearance, Bond dressed thus would be refused entry to certain annual balls in Scotland, where strict dress codes are maintained, for being too casual! However, even Scots themselves often disregard the sartorial codes and appear in daytime in the kilt and Prince Charlie, despite it being obvious evening-wear, and will team it with a scarf-like neck-tie.

  3. The PC, when introduced and referred to as coatee, was presented in the catalogs of the time as being worn with a white jabot…

  4. I’ve never fully understood why Bond is even wearing this outfit. Bond is Scottish, sure, the books and films established that, but it was a minor detail based purely on the actor playing him at the time and this is a different actor… with a distinctively Australian accent. Besides, he’s in disguise as an English heraldry expert. And he’s in Switzerland. It seems like a step too far from the filmmakers to reassure us that “this guy could also be a Sean Connery, look he’s in a kilt!”. That’s another thing – a kilt, in the Alps! Good thing he has so many bezants.

    • He doesn’t have an Austrialian accent while wearing this, since George Baker is voicing him while in this outfit. We’re to assume that Sir Hilary is of Scottish ancestry in the film, which is the case in the novel. Bond says about him in the novel:

      ‘Er – well, sir, it seems there’s a chap called Sir Hilary Bray. Friend of Sable Basilisk’s. About my age and not unlike me to look at. His family came from some place in Normandy. Family tree as long as your arm. William the Conqueror and all that. And a coat of arms that looks like a mixture between a jigsaw puzzle and Piccadilly Circus at night. Well, Sable Basilisk says he can fix it with him. This man’s got a good war record and sounds a reliable sort of chap. He lives in some remote glen in the Highlands, watching birds and climbing the hills with bare feet. Never sees a soul. No reason why anyone in Switzerland should have heard of him.’

      We are to gather from this that he is a descendant of William the Conqueror, who came to Britain from Normandy nine centuries earlier. It doesn’t say if he is Scottish or if he is English living in Scotland, but the film takes this to mean he is Scottish.

    • Ah, there we are then. There’s no mention of that in the film. My excuse is I haven’t read the book in 20 years


Do the arithmetic * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.