Equestrian Pursuits: A Houndstooth Tweed Jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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James Bond’s second hacking jacket of the series is a bit more bold than the first one, but it is just as traditional. Goldfinger features Bond’s first hacking jacket, a subtle barleycorn tweed. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features Bond’s second hacking jacket, a bolder houndstooth check in a tweed-like worsted. But it’s a rather simple check, in black, brown and cream with a red overcheck. The jacket is made by Dimi Major, with lightly padded shoulders, a swelled chest, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. It’s a button three with one button on the cuffs and the hacking jacket features of slanted pockets and a deep single vent. Slanted pockets are easier to access on horseback whilst the deep vent helps the jacket to split in back over the horse.

Click the image for a close-up of the weave.
Click the image for a close-up of the weave.

Bond almost never fastens the top button on his button three jackets. On most of Bond’s button three jackets the lapels gently roll at the top button. Here, Lazenby interrupts the roll by fastening the top button. Dimi Major cuts his button three jackets to look great either with both to the top and middle buttons closed or just the middle button closed. Unlike ordinary sports coats, riding jackets are longer and have three buttons placed higher on the chest, with all three meant to fasten. Lazenby’s hacking jacket is cut like a typical sports coat, meaning the bottom button isn’t meant to fasten. Closing the top button puts this jacket more in the spirit of riding jackets. But fastening the top button is also necessary to hold in the stock tie.

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The beige silk shirt has a stock collar, which is a tall stand-up collar meant to be worn with a stock tie. Both the stock collar and stock tie are traditional equestrian garments. Bond’s stock tie matches the shirt in beige silk and is held together at the upper chest with a stockpin.

The beige trousers are jodhpurs, which are riding trousers that are tight through the calf and ankle to fit inside riding boots. The jodhpurs are likely made of cavalry twill wool due to its elastic properties and are worn with a belt. The trousers, as intended, fit into Bond’s tall, black riding boots.

The only part of this outfit that may be worn outside of equestrian activity is the hacking jacket, and the rest of the outfit should be limited to equestrian pursuits.

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In A View to a Kill, Roger Moore wears another equestrian outfit, but with a conventional shirt and knitted tie.

19 COMMENTS

  1. This is one of the flashiest and most unconventional outfits (outside of outright costume) that we’ve ever seen Bond wear, and yet laz pulls it off quite well.

    • Agreed.

      Matt, I actually conducted my annual holiday viewing of OHMSS over the weekend and was hoping you would do a more complete post about Bond’s outfit. Great stuff.

      • Thank you so much for all the wonderful articles.

        Here in Denmark you would not see this outfit in competitions, hunting or just riding.

        For competitions you would need a white waistcoat, black jacket with tails and a top hat . The trousers should be white or off white. For lower competitions you only need a hacking jacket like this one in black and a helmet like the one you see in Bond’s hand.

        For hunting a fake “fox” you would be in a red riding jacket and a black or brown helmet.

        For hacking or riding you could use Bond’s attire but I doubt you will ever see it in Scandinavia or Germany.

        I am a huge fan of this outfit even though it belongs to an other time or universe.

      • I see now that Bond does not hold a helmet but the helmet for that outfit would be the same as the one Roger will wear later . The day cravat will be in white or off white and the jacket with tails would be different from white tie . It would be a double breasted but with a very high closure that look more elegant on a rider . I guess you could have seen Bond’s outfit 40 years ago if you went for a ride but never for formal competitions or hunting . I mentioned the “fake” fox. It is a rider with the tail of a fox attached to his jacket. He is the “fox”. At the end there is a race.

  2. The red overcheck aside, the jacket is very true to the literary Bond. In the novels, Bond’s favourite country attire attire is his black and white houndstooth tweed suit that has “yellowed” with age.

  3. I cannot seem to put my finger on it, but something about the cut of this jacket puts me off, as does the creme suit.

    I’m a big proponent of flared jacket skirting myself, but it doesn’t seem to work here – perhaps the nipping of the jacket panels begin too high up the waist for my tastes.

    Come to think of it, Draco’s casual ensemble in the first photo looks better in that screenshot.

    -Kurt

    Off-topic postscript: These shots prove much of Peter Hunt’s ineptness as a director VS. his position as an editor on the previous films. OHMSS is shot in extremely hard light – often relying almost entirely on natural sources – and looks like a cheaply-shot 1970’s network detective show.

    Note the ugly over-the-shoulder lighting of the gent at the right in the first photo, and the general overexposure of the background for lack of lighting the foreground properly. True, it could be viewed as a stylistic effort (especially considering Diana Rigg’s bright yellow outfit searing through the shot at left), but it falls flat.

    More objectionable is the last screenshot here, where all the black trousers in the frame have lost dynamic range – they show up as pure, solid black. It looks like the dynamic range of video, not 35mm film, and it is not suiting to a Bond film – not even one from 1969. Heck, that shot could have been lifted straight from It Takes a Thief. The dreamlike lighting of the 1960’s.

    Even the grainy and serialesque (as per the period) Live and Let Die doesn’t look as blatantly poorly-lit as this. Like the film’s fashions, the cinematography of LALD follows the period trends (as does any other Bond film – consider Skyfall’s HDR look), but was executed by a competent director (Guy Hamilton) who knew what to ask of his gaffers.

    Note that Hamilton was quite cautious with his approach too – Diamonds are Forever was shot with the bright and more diffuse lighting of the previous decade, despite the “unlit” look and minimalistic color grading having found mainstream approval around ’68/9 as a backlash to the bright-and-beautiful appearance of many late-1950’s-mid 1960’s films.

    Not really sartorial, I know, but worth knowing – if only to be aware of how the film stock and treatment may affect the colors of the clothing.

    • I think a lot of these issues are to do with the contrast boost on the blu-ray, the original film probably looked a lot better.

      • Yeah, I think you’re in the minority Kurt. OHMSS is easily one of the best bond films. And for the record, I think it looks great in BluRay.

      • Except for some of the outfits on Blofeld’s “Angels of Death”, OHMSS is by far the handsomest Bond film overall – in the director’s comments, Peter Hunt discusses his color choices – nothing was left to chance. I, too, have to disagree with Kurt

      • If this is the case, the broadcast copies that I’ve seen must have been from poor masters and the BluRay color grading adjusted poorly for this sequence.

        Case in point, the main screenshot from today’s posts about the plaid ski jacket is beautifully shot, though the closeup is quite sharp and a bit harsh by comparison. Granted, this was the norm at the time.

        I cannot fault the artful framing of most shots (and the successes of quick-cut editing in OHMSS without the loss of continuity, as referenced by Soderbergh), but I fail to see where Hunt has achieved an overwhelming artistic peak of filmmaking in doing so. Using soft-focus filters during Bond and Tracy’s dialogue in the barn isn’t enough to warrant the award either.

        By comparison, Hamilton’s Goldfinger looked no better or worse by comparison – the poorest shots being the Thunderbird/Lincoln shots filmed in Miami (substituting for Kentucky) under our bright Florida sun, the single Kentucky shot of the Ford Ranchero returning with the crushed Lincoln down the highway, and a majority of the nighttime lighting during the chase around Auric Enterprises factory (undercranking aside).

        But I’ve rattled enough about cinematography – the fact remains that I still must rewatch a copy of OHMSS that is as authentic as possible in order to properly re-assess the film.

        Is there any particular release (whether DVD or BluRay) that one can suggest to fill the bill?

        -Kurt

      • I have read that the colours in the Blu-ray version of OHMSS have been changed considerably from those of the DVD. For example, the beautiful orange colours from the sunrise-lit fight on the beach in the pre-credit sequence are now blue.

  4. Does anyone know if that tweed is still available? I’d love to know who wove the fabric.

    Also, where does the excellent fabric “drawing” come from?

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