On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Style: Are George Lazenby’s Clothes Relevant Today?

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Happy 78th birthday to George Lazenby today! Though Lazenby wore a few items as Bond or as Bond masquerading as Sir Hilary Bray that have given him a bad name sartorially, he deserves more recognition and praise for wearing one of the best Bond wardrobes in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sean Connery was not the only stylish James Bond of the 1960s.

By Sean Connery’s fifth James Bond film You Only Live Twice, his style had changed very little from what it was five years earlier in Dr. No. Connery’s clothes were by no means outdated, but they weren’t so modern and hip either. When Lazenby came along two years later in 1969 for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, we saw a fresh style for Bond.

For George Lazenby, this style was still too stodgy for his hippie sensibilities, but for James Bond it was a step towards keeping with the times and would open the door for more fashion-forward changes to come. While Lazenby’s ruffled dress shirts and brown golf outfit haven’t exactly stood the test of time, most of his other clothes still look stylish and relevant today, yet with a timeless British flair.

1969 was a period of transition from the 1960s to the 1970s. The 1960s flashy peacock style was in full-swing, but while hippies and the younger generation were wearing bell-bottomed trousers, they had not caught on with mainstream fashion yet. Some fashion designers like Tommy Nutter had already debuted wide-lapelled suits in reaction to the narrow lapels from earlier in the 1960s, but wide lapels would also not get widespread attention until a few years later. Lazenby would likely have preferred to wear these more dramatic styles that Roger Moore would adopt as James Bond by the mid 1970s, but he would have been even less happy wearing what Sean Connery was wearing as Bond just two years earlier.

In You Only Live Twice, Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits had a full cut though the chest—but the waist had become trimmer than it was in Connery’s earlier Bond films like From Russia with Love—with narrow lapels on the jackets and double-pleated trousers, and his ties were very narrow. For Lazenby, that was a style of the past. Currently, the narrow lapels and narrow ties are in fashion—but could also be on their way out like they were in 1969—though the full cut of Connery’s suits certainly looks just as old-fashioned today as it did to Lazenby in 1969. Connery’s suits still look excellent because they are well-cut and Connery wore them well, but they are quite far from the way people like to wear their suits today.

Sean Connery’s suits in From Russia With Love are cut full in the chest and waist, a far cry from the suits that even more conservative dressers wear today.

Lazenby’s Dimi Major suits look more aligned with many aspects of today’s fashions than they do with Connery’s 1960s suits, but Connery’s suits will always get more attention no matter the fashion trends because Connery is the more popular Bond. There’s no question who the public thinks is the cooler and overall better Bond, and people often have difficulty separating the clothes from the man wearing them. Despite Lazenby’s distaste for wearing suits, he wore them just as well as Connery did, if not better. He wore them with confidence and ease, and he always buttoned them properly. This is not to say that Lazenby can be compared with Connery, but the way he wore his suits can.

Today’s trends in suits, as seen in Skyfall and Spectre, are all about a trim fit and softer construction. These trendy jackets have natural shoulders, a very close fit and a shorter length. The trousers have a very close fit without pleats and a low rise. Lazenby’s suits are more in line with much of the qualities that are popular in a suit today than Connery’s suits are. A comparison of Lazenby’s suits to both Connery’s and Craig’s shows this.

Lazenby’s suit jackets have a closer fit than Connery’s suits have, with soft shoulders with natural sleeve heads in comparison to Connery’s soft shoulders with roped sleeve heads. The length of Lazenby’s jackets is slightly shorter than the length of Connery’s jackets, but his buttocks are still properly covered. Today’s jackets have a high button stance, and while Lazenby’s button stance is in a lower, more natural place like on Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits, it’s higher than Connery’s jackets’ extremely low button stance. While softness in a suit’s construction is popular today, Lazenby’s suits still have a fair amount of traditional British structure. However, Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits, as trendy as they are, also have this structure. Craig’s personal Brunello Cucinelli suits are more aligned with current trends overall.

As narrow lapels have been falling out of favour, Lazenby’s suits’ well-balanced lapels are looking even better. Not that they ever looked bad; they’re neither too narrow for the traditionalists nor too wide to ever look ridiculous.

Lazenby’s suit jackets in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are divided between the button two style that Sean Connery previously wore and the button three style, which was then new to James Bond. The button two style is what is in fashion today, despite Daniel Craig rarely wearing the style. The button three style that Lazenby introduced to Bond has been the most popular style in the Bond films since the 1990s, with it most recently seen in Skyfall despite being out of fashion at the time.

Despite all these details, there’s something more to Lazenby’s suits that give them such a striking look that transcends fashion trends. The curves of the jacket’s foreparts, the steep angle of the hacking pockets, the striking waist suppression and the gentle and clean line of the shoulder were creative elements from Dimi Major’s mind and hand that could fit into any era.

Lazenby’s suit trousers are more like Craig’s trousers and today’s currently fashionable trousers than Connery’s suit trousers are. Lazenby’s trousers are very similar to Craig’s Tom Ford trousers, but more along the lines of the well-proportioned and well-fitted trousers in Quantum of Solace rather than the shrunken trousers of Skyfall and Spectre. They have no pleats, side-adjusters, a medium rise—lower than what was traditional and what would come back in the 1970s—and straight and narrow legs. These trousers fit in with today’s trends but still have a balanced look and practical fit.

Despite Lazenby wearing an updated suit cut for James Bond, he continued to wear many of the classic colours and patterns that James Bond wore before and still wears today. His midnight blue dinner suit continued Connery’s tradition of midnight blue for black tie, and it’s something Daniel Craig has worn twice. Lazenby’s blue and grey suitings in herringbone, glen check and chalk stripe are timeless suitings, though his light blue suit that he briefly wears in Portugal hasn’t held up so well, though the colour would stick around for the 1970s.

George Lazenby Dinner Suit

Lazenby wears some excellent tailored items beyond his suits. Like Connery, Lazenby after him wears a navy blazer with metal buttons. Lazenby’s example, however, is double-breasted and in a classic naval style, which opened the door for Roger Moore’s numerous double-breasted blazers. Lazenby also wears a beautiful navy double-breasted car coat that takes inspiration from the pea coat and the British warm. Considering the current popularity of pea coats and shorter overcoats, this one fits in well with coats that are trendy today.

Lazenby’s Frank Foster shirts in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are white, light blue or pink, and the first two are colours that we still see James Bond wearing today. These will never go out of fashion, and pink has always been a popular choice for more confident men. Lazenby’s collars on the shirts that he wears with his suits and blazer are either point or semi-spread, and despite point collars not being so popular at the moment, Daniel Craig wore them throughout Spectre just two years ago. Craig’s shirt collar in Spectre actually looks somewhere between the two different collars that Lazenby wore.

Ruffled-Front Shirt

Lazenby’s shirts are most relevant today because of their close fit. Close-fitting shirts came back into style in the 1960s, but until recently they were uncommon outside of bespoke. Though the frilly ruffled dress shirts look silly today, even they could make a man jealous for such a perfectly fitted shirt.

Knitted silk ties are something that Connery and Lazenby shared, and Craig finally brought them back to Bond in Spectre to show that the classic Bond tie since 1955—its first appearance in Fleming’s Moonraker—is still relevant. In navy and red and tied in a modestly sized Windsor knot, Lazenby never has to worry that his classic neck ties will date him.

From his suits and coats to his shirts and ties, George Lazenby, for the most part, had one of the most elegant and timelessly stylish wardrobes of all of the James Bonds. What better time than his birthday to celebrate how excellent his clothes still look today.

39 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt – overall a very well-written appraisal!

    The only thing that bothers me a bit is that is goes at the expense of Connery’s suits – one has to consider that in YOLT his suits are not looking as flattering as usual due to his (noticable) weight gain. Therefore the cut is fuller than in the previous films (as it is later in DAF). I don’t know what happened – perhaps Connery put on some weight after having been measured by Sinclair and thus the suits show some slight fit problems (around his waist mostly). It may be true that they might not have been “hip” by late 60s / 70s fashion trends any more but IMO that is not (and by no means should be!) a criterion Bond style would be to judge by. Connery’s Bond suits will be remaining well-tailored and timeless classic suits by any standard.

    But it’s true that Dimi Major’s work is equally outstanding – his suits for Lazenby have also withstood the test of time as well as Sinclair’s for Connery. And you are right about that “special fresh touch” they have.

    “…for James Bond it […] would open the door for more fashion-forward changes to come.”
    -I wish it had not! 😉

    • The cut of Connery’s suits in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever is actually not as full as it is in his earlier Bond films. He’s swimming in some of his suits in From Russia with Love! The measurements may be a bit larger in Connery’s later Bond films to fit a larger Connery, but the cut of the suit in relation to his body is not as full, though it’s still more full than Lazenby’s suits.

    • “He’s swimming in some of his suits in From Russia with Love!”

      That’s not what I conceive – his suits have a little drape around the chest but he is by no means swimming in them. Especially in FRWL his suits are overall very well fitted and flatter his body. Of course by today’s fashion trends (“bum-freezers”) “swimming” indeed could be the right word. But today’s fashion trends cannot be considered any serious standard.

    • The suits are indeed well-fitted and flattering, but nevertheless the waist on the jacket is very full. This was the intention so not to make Connery look too much like the body builder that he once was and to soften his silhouette. But the fullness of Connery’s cut isn’t just against what is in high fashion either. No tailors on Savile Row would cut a suit like Connery’s unless specifically requested either.

      • I have the feeling that he is more swimming in his suits of Dr No. Especially the solid light grey one. It seems very wide at the chest and waist when Connery is being ‘arrested’ and searched for his gun. On the other hand, his Dr No blazer seems to be much closer fitting in the chest. And it’s clearly more flattering.
        Only the striped flannel suit in FRWL seems very wide to me, but perhaps it’s because we only see the jacket opened.
        On another hand, the suits and blazers in Thunderball seem cut with less room in the chest and waist than Dr No and FRWL.
        Or maybe I mix up roominess / ease in the chest and draped/clean chest. Matt, have you any thoughts on this ?

    • “No tailors on Savile Row would cut a suit like Connery’s unless specifically requested either.”

      I myself would not vouch for that. Of course it always depends on the customer but also on the tailor’s house style and some of the more traditional firms actually like a little bit of drape on their coats (f.i. Poole and of course A&S). I can’t say if it comes close to Connery’s Bond suits but still to me the amount of drape on his coats doesn’t seem to be excessive.

    • Henry Poole’s house cut was never a drape cut (but they like fullness in the chest with a suppressed waist), and Anderson & Sheppard has moved away from the full drape cuts. Stephen Hitchcock is one of the tailors who still does the drape cut, but their house cut still has more waist suppression than Connery’s suits have.

    • “Henry Poole’s house cut was never a drape cut”

      -No, indeed it wasn’t and I did not state that. A&S still sell theirs as drape cut suits – that it’s less full than in WWI times is obvious but to my eye Charles’ A&S suits are full-cut to such an amount that it easily matches Connery’s.

    • But you stated that Poole uses a bit of drape on their coats, and they do not. They cut with fullness, which is not the same as drape. Their coats “drape” as any well-tailored coat should, but they do not use the folds that Anderson & Sheppard calls “drape”. Anderson & Sheppard mostly no longer cuts with drape like they used to, though I’m sure if a client requested it they would still do it if the client had the right cutter for the job. Look at the examples on their website, and there’s almost no drape to be found. Prince Charles is wearing suits that he has had for many years, so you cannot compare what he wears to what Anderson & Sheppard is making today.

    • I agree that Connery’s suits seem to fit very well and are timeless. The only personal preference I have against them, in general, is the narrow lapels (but they seem to work for him very well). Lazenby’s also look extremely good, although perhaps those with less flashy tastes would do best to emulate Connery’s suitings over the Sir Hillary pieces.
      I see a lot of people wearing the shrunken, skinny-fit, high button stance, low trouser-rise style of Craig’s era and they look uncomfortable and bizarre. They might as well be wearing women’s leggings. I suspect this is why many have been increasingly opting out of suits nowadays.
      If they went with a Lazenby-like wardrobe in Bond’s next incarnation I don’t think they can go too wrong. Although how the clothes fit was hardly the most severe problem with the last couple of Bond films, in my opinion…

  2. See youtube.com/…

    Cundey clearly uses the word “drape” – then he must be mistaken. And with relation to Connery I talked about nothing else but a little drape around the chest (not a drape cut).

    Seems that I have to give in to make an end to this… 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing that. I have seen that before and forgot about it. I generally consider “drape” to be the folds at the sides of the chest that Anderson & Sheppard traditionally used, but if Poole use the term to describe their different way of giving fullness to the chest, then I am wrong. But back to Connery, both the chest and waist on his early suits are full, while Poole does more of a wasp waist today.

  3. Excellent article Matt. I always did like Lazenby’s wardrobe. One thing I certainly glad of is that thin lapels (and hopefully thin ties soon) seem to be on the way out. Lazenby’s lapels look far better to me than Connerys’ to me.

    But that’s because I like a fuller cut suits with wider lapels (similar to the 30s) and wider ties (bar my knitted ties). Cuts like that look more flattering and powerful to me.

    What is your opinion on cuts Matt and which do you prefer personally?

  4. Great article , Matt! Speaking of Lazenby, do you have any information on the sunglasses that he uses in the beginning of OHMSS? I know you really only see them for a split second, when he puts them down next to the book, and I don’t believe they reappear later in the film.

    • They were identified as Nighthawk Driving Glasses. The “book” is a Guide Michelin, companion to any gourmet gentleman driver.
      As for GL’s look, I started my “collaboration” with my local MTM store with a 2-button Prince of Wales mid grey suit and blue windowpane with slanted pockets, a ticket pocket and double vents inspired by…you can guess!

  5. Back in 1968-69 was a good strategy create a new look for the new Bond?
    When Lazenby came to London for try to have the role,he procured himself a hair trim to the same barber of Connery and a suit from Anthony Sinclair.
    Lazenby that was a young Connery type seems fantastic in that look…from a 1960s perspective IS 007.
    s26.postimg.org/oi…
    So,why not continue in this direction?
    You have (for the first time) a new Bond,you have new movie with a different type of story that can disorient the fans,why not keep a more strong continuity with the Connery era?

    • It’s because by 1967 Connery’s style was already a bit passé to people Lazenby’s age. Reasonable to assume they wanted to draw in younger audiences with a younger Bond and younger wardrobe! People in their 20s and under had already been wearing things like flat front trousers, brighter colours, and more fitted clothing styles for years. I think they made the right call to update the Bond wardrobe while still keeping it fairly timeless — ruffled shirt and golfing attire notwithstanding!

  6. Good article! It’s striking how many different suits are worn in just the one movie. I actually find Lazenby’s 3 roll 2 with waistcoat to be fashion-forward, perhaps a testament to the cyclicity of fashion. I could see the look becoming a la mode in 5 years as people are turning away from the slim tight look and the waistcoat adds that extra sartorial touch that aficionados are looking for.

    Matt, you said the 3 roll 2 is the most popular Bond suit which makes how striking Lazenby looks even more surprising to me. Do other Bonds wear the 3 roll 2 with a waistcoat often? Off the top of my head, maybe Brosnan and Daniel Craig did. I think the added aggressiveness of the shirt collar is crucial here as it focuses attention to the face and lapel region, avoiding the tendency for a 3 roll 2 to look heavy in the midsection (for me, at least).

    • The button three is the most popular Bond suit of the last three decades, not the three-roll-two, which has only appeared in Quantum of Solace and Spectre. Lazenby’s suit is not a three-roll-two since the top button is still on full display and can be buttoned. The lapels roll down past the top button when the jacket is unbuttoned, but they don’t go down to the second button. This is often called a 3-roll-2.5.

  7. “…and he always buttoned them properly. ”

    -I always found that criticism a bit nit-picky – even Cary Grant (as a mature man) was not perfect in that regard,
    see

    bamfstyle.com/…
    and
    bamfstyle.com/…

    Does that mean that he also lacked that devine gift of “innate style”? I don’t know… 🙂

  8. Great article! Lazenby’s wardrobe sits alongside Quantum of Solace as my favorite in the series. Even the brown “Hillary Bray” suit is excellent. The morning suit is also a favorite of mine.

    The details were also wonderful. Very Bondian knit ties, two great Rolex watches, and some interesting – albeit mostly difficult to discern – footwear.

  9. Matt,

    I like this article, Dimi Major’s OHMSS suits are my favorites of the series, and Lazenby does wear them well. I do have a couple of questions about the suits. First, I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but it seems that Major’s shoulders have an elegant curve from the collar to the sleeve (as opposed to being straight). Do you think that is just an artifact of the angle of the various pictures, or are they actually cut to curve that way? My other question is: In the picture of Lazenby’s dinner jacket, the fronts seem to be more open than on his suits (and they really seem to be cutaway in the picture that FS linked to in the James Bond Dinner Jackets by Colour post), but the replica dinner jacket in the Madame Tussaud’s post seem to have a more closed front despite it being based off of the original jacket’s pattern. Do you think that is an artifact of the original being in motion in it’s pictures, or is the cut significantly different? As someone who prefers one-button jackets with more open fronts, I’m interested in what Major would have done with the style considering his already more rakish cut. Since you have done some posts on other films that the various Bond tailors have done – and you mentioned that he did George Segal’s suits in A Touch of Class, maybe you might do a post on them in the future.

  10. Lazenby’s Bond brought a welcome flair to his wardrobe after a movie where Connery’s suits were especially limited and uninspiring. To be fair, having established the change, (at a time when peacock fashions had come to the fore for men) Connery’s next outing featured perhaps his most varied and interesting wardrobe; a variety which continued when Roger took on the role. A kind of evolving process.

    It’s interesting that Lazenby is the only Bond to date to have worn a pink shirt with a tie though, in this case, the cream suit wasn’t the best ensemble to pair this with. A pink shirt is better with a dark suit or some variety of grey. Major’s tailoring was excellent and this can be seen in the glen plaid suit which is one of the nicest suits of the series and streets ahead of the constrictive crap of recent years!

  11. There’s only some slight downside about the tighter cut: Is it still comfortable? It quite pulls in the back:
    bondsuits.com/…

    The same can be said about the shirts – especially the white ones worn with the tuxedo (ruffles) and later with the highland dress. To me it looks like Foster having gotten a little over the top because they constrain movement. A bit more generosity in the cut would have been better…

    • For once I find myself agreeing with BOTH David and Renard. I love Lazenby’s OHMSS clothes; the combination of Major’s rakish cut and Lazenby’s slim, athletic figure combine for a very distinctive look: elegant but youthful and athletic (yes, even the tweedy “Sir Hillary” suit). Renard has a point, however. The shirts do look tight and constricting – perhaps they were intended to emphasize Lazenby’s V-shaped torso?

      • Dan in agreement with David AND Renard? Those hope for peace in this world yet! For what’s it’s worth, I also agree!

    • Well guys, I seem to recall something Matt wrote a few articles ago, “a full-fitting suit and a close-fitting suit can both be equally well-fitting if they have clean lines and are comfortable to wear” I think Lazenbys suits fit the latter category, and they still look well fitting. Matt, you agree?

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