James Bond vs The Saint: Two 1960s Conduit Street Suits

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In the 1960s, the Sean Connery’s James Bond film series and future Bond Roger Moore’s television series The Saint had much in common. The Saint‘s first episode premiered only one day before the first James Bond film Dr. No was released. Many actors, such as Shirley Eaton, Lois Maxwell, George Pastell and Paul Stassino, appeared in both series during the 1960s. And the lead actors of the series both visited Conduit Street off of London’s Savile Row for their suits. Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair and Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle worked across the street from one another.

Rather than compare what Sean Connery wears as James Bond in the 1960s to what Roger Moore wears as James Bond in the 1970s, it would be a fairer comparison to look at what both actors wore at the same time. For this article, Sean Connery’s dark grey pick-and-pick suit from the train scenes of From Russia with Love will be compared with Roger Moore’s mottled dark grey suit from “The Saint Plays with Fire”. Both From Russia with Love and “The Saint Plays with Fire” premiered in autumn of 1963.

In the 1960s, the typical English suit felt like wearing a heavy suit of armour, both due to the rigid construction and the weight of the cloth. Both Sinclair and Castle made lighter suits than most of the tailors a block away on Savile Row did, with Sinclair making lighter clothes than Castle made. Though they used stiffer and heavier canvassing in the jackets than what is typical for today’s suits, the jackets were light and flexible for the typical English make of the time. The shoulders were soft and thin, following the natural shoulder line. The chest was flexible but full cut for a look of power as well as for an easy range of motion. The cloths used were lighter than what English tailors were known for using, though at around 12 oz for a worsted and 14 oz for a flannel they would still be heavier than what people are used to today.

Though Connery’s and Moore’s suits have much in common in the ways they differ from traditional Savile Row tailoring, their suits are cut much differently. The shoulders of Moore’s jackets are cut to curve down around the shoulder, ending with the hint of roped sleeve heads. Connery’s jackets instead have a little more support at the end of the shoulders along with more pronounced, but still gentle, roped sleeve heads. Moore’s jackets are also more shaped than Connery’s are, with much more pronounced waist suppression. Both Sinclair’s and Castle’s jackets are cut in the older method of extending the front dart to the hem, which few tailors outside of Naples, Italy do today.

The most obvious difference between the jackets Connery and Moore wore in the 1960s is the number of buttons on the front. Connery wore the more modern button two style while Moore wore the classic button three, with its lapels rolled gently over the top button. But even Connery’s lapels have a gentle roll above the top button. The button stance of both their jackets is low, with the top button of Connery’s jackets and the middle button of Moore’s jackets slightly below the waist. The low button stance gives a relaxed appearance but also emphasises the chest for a stronger look.

Both Connery’s and Moore’s jackets have narrow lapels, but Moore’s jackets take it to the extreme. Connery’s lapels are approximately 2 3/4 inches wide, while Moore’s lapels are approximately 2 1/2 inches wide. An quarter inch can make a considerable difference with narrow lapels. Connery’s chest is a few inches larger than Moore’s too.

The details on the jackets are very similar. Of the two jackets being compared, both have jetted pockets and four buttons on the cuffs. The buttons on both jackets are plastic to match the suit’s colour. On other suits of the era, some of Connery’s and Moore’s suits also have pocket flaps, but when Moore has pocket flaps his suits also typically have a ticket pocket like Sean Connery’s three-piece grey glen check suit in Goldfinger has. Connery’s suit jacket pockets are almost always straight, while Moore’s suit jacket pockets were always straight until 1966, when Moore primarily switched to slanted pockets.

Though Connery’s jacket has no vents and Moore’s jacket has a single vent, they both wear jackets with no vents, single vents and double vents throughout their works in 1960s. Connery’s single vents are typically a long hacking length of around 12 inches, whilst Moore’s single vent on the suit pictured here is much shorter at about 8 inches.

Connery’s and Moore’s suit trousers are considerably different, with Connery wearing traditional English trousers and Moore going for something more contemporary. Just about all their suit trousers have in common is a high rise to the waist and tapered legs.

Connery’s trousers are cut with double forward pleats at the top whereas Moore’s trousers are cut with subtle darts, which give the un-pleated look of a flat front while still providing a necessary fullness over the hips. Moore’s trousers legs are slightly narrower than Connery’s here, though as the 1960s progressed, both Connery’s and Moore’s trouser legs got narrower. Connery’s trouser legs are finished with turn-ups while Moore’s trouser legs are finished with plain hems.

Other trouser details are also much different. Connery’s trousers have traditional on-seam side pockets whereas Moore’s trousers have slanted top-access frogmouth pockets. Connery’s trousers are self-supporting with “Daks tops” elastic-tab side adjusters with three buttons on each side. Moore’s trousers have a less streamlined method of support: a belt.

Connery’s suit overall has a more traditional style with more traditional proportions while still hinting at 1960s fashions with narrow hems. Moore’s suit may have the more traditional button three cut, but overall it has a more fashionable 1960s look with narrower lapels on the jacket and a narrower and more fashion-forward style of trousers.

Though Connery wears a more traditional suit than Moore wears,  Connery is more experimental than Moore is with his shirt. Moore’s shirts have classic double (French) cuffs while Connery’s have unusual cocktail cuffs. Moore would later adopt cocktail cuffs on his shirts in 1968 and wear them almost exclusively in various incarnations for eight years. Both wear traditional, though different, English collar styles. Connery’s shirt has a wide spread collar while Moore’s has a more moderate spread. Both Connery’s and Moore’s collars have points approximately 2 3/4 inches long, which is a very classic size. Connery and Moore both wear pale blue poplin shirts here with their dark grey suits.

Both Connery and Moore wear folded handkerchiefs in their breast pockets. Connery always wears a white handkerchief no matter the colour of his shirt while Moore matches his shirt with a pale blue handkerchief. Connery’s handkerchief is folded flat, which is how he usually wears his handkerchiefs except for a single-point fold on one occasion in Goldfinger. Moore, on the other hand, often prefers a two-point fold, as seen here. On occasion, Moore uses a flat fold like Connery usually does.

Concerning their ties, Connery and Moore have much different approaches. Connery’s tie is his standard navy grenadine that matches the 2 3/4-inch width of his lapels, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Moore’s tie is a deep colour with a double-stripe pattern that is opposite the typical British direction, and it’s a “slim-jim” that is even narrower than his 2 1/2-inch lapels. Like Connery, Moore uses a four-in-hand knot. When Moore isn’t wearing striped ties, he prefers solid satin tie in light or bright colours. So even though he often wears solid ties like Connery, they are the complete opposite: bright and shiny instead of dark and discreet.

Both Connery’s and Moore’s shoes in 1963 are black three-eyelet cap-toe derbys. This style is more flexible than the more traditional and formal oxford style due to the derby’s open lacing, but the elongated vamp of this type of shoe lends it an elegant look.

Though Moore’s mottled grey suit features in many episodes of The Saint, I chose “The Saint Plays with Fire” because it features four actors to be in future James Bond films: Robert Brown (with toupee), who acts opposite Roger Moore as Admiral Hargreaves in The Spy Who Loved Me and as M in Octopussy and A View to a Kill, as well as in Timothy Dalton’s two Bond films; Joseph Fürst, who plays Professor Dr Metz in Diamonds Are Forever; Joe Robinson, who plays Peter Franks in Diamonds Are Forever; and John Hollis, who plays an uncredited Ernst Stavro Blofeld alongside Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only‘s pre-title sequence.

Robert Brown on the left and Joseph Fürst second from the right, next to Roger Moore.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Great post Matt! Could you do a similar article about Connery’s suit(s) in DAF and compare them to Moore’s in LALD/TMWTGG or MR/TSWLM(1970’s)? And maybe also compare Connery’s suits in NSNA and compare them to Moore’s Hayward suits (1980’s)?

    • I will compare Diamonds Are Forever with Live and Let Die since they are only two years apart. The Never Say Never Again suits could be a good comparison with the Hayward suits. They’re almost too similar!

    • DAF, plenty o toole was a great bond girl but the film was absolutely horrible. My tailor said that no man in their right mind should wear a velvet dinner suit.

  2. I bought an English-made hacking jacket on eBay that probably dates back to the 1960’s. As Matt suggested, it does indeed feel like a suit of armor (it probably wouldn’t have lasted this long otherwise), but I must say the combination of structured shoulders, nipped waist, hacking pockets and deep vent gives me an imposing, almost Connery-esque silhouette.

    • That’s the idea behind the school of heavily structured tailoring. Like a modern suit of armour. I think Dege & Skinner still does this, but a lot of Savile Row tailors that used to do it exclusively are more flexible now, given that most customers are used to softer construction off the rack.

  3. I prefer the cut of Cyril Castle but Sean Connery wears the 60s style better than Moore, who in turn wears the 70s vastly better than Connery.

  4. I third that. Side by side in the ’60s Connery looks classic and Moore looks a bit like a big kid. In the ’70s Connery looked best sans toupe in historical peices (including very period, as Robin Hood).

    • I think the cinematography has a lot to do with the look here. Connery is being staged to emphasize the heroic properties of the character ( emphasized by lower camera position, more cinematic lighting and the strong cut of the suit and shoulders). while Moore in the same period is shot to look charming and flip (the shoulders, lapels brill cream, glamor lighting and camera level don’t help). Both productions are done well enough to make it hard to imagine how we might perceive their excellently tailored suits shot with the same POV and lighting. My $.02 (or 2d ?).

  5. Mr. Spaiser,
    1.Who is your least favorite actor to protray Bond?
    2.Best dress shirt? Either bespoke or off the peg

    Kind regards,
    the wannabe

    • Young’s got it. No doubt. However, most distracting is that luscious looking lady sitting directly behind him!

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