Back to Work in a Navy Chalk Stripe Suit in The Living Daylights

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August holidays are now over and it’s time to go back to work. And nothing could be more appropriate than a classic navy chalk stripe three-piece suit like the one that Timothy Dalton wears in The Living Daylights. The cloth is either a milled worsted or a worsted flannel since it looks to be slightly fuzzy. The grey chalk stripes are spaced approximately 3/8 of an inch apart, which is narrow for chalk stripes. The suit has button three jacket with double vents, flapped pockets and four-button cuffs. The shoulders are very wide and extend over an inch beyond Dalton’s natural shoulders. Wide shoulders were popular in the late 1980s, but it’s the only element of this suit that is dated.

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The waistcoat has a seven-button front, which has one more button than the classic six-button waistcoat, but it works well since Timothy Dalton stands at a tall 6’2″. Dalton makes the mistake of fastening the bottom button on the waistcoat, which should always be left open. Leaving the bottom button open makes sitting in the waistcoat more comfortable. The trousers have double forward pleats and plain bottoms. Dalton wears a white shirt with a spread collar and one-button rounded cuffs. The dark navy tie has a small purple dotted pattern and is tied in a four-in-hand knot, which needs to be tightened up around the neck. It’s a little limp and exposes the collar above the knot. Dalton wears black shoes.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, fair is fair. A passable attempt. It’s not Dalton’s worst effort but not a patch on the Hayward suits in the previous three movies (or, for that matter Moore’s Castle suits or Connery’s Sinclair’s).

    “Dalton makes the mistake of fastening the bottom button on the waistcoat, which should always be left open”. There’s a surprise!

    “The dark indigo check tie is tied in a four-in-hand knot, which needs to be tightened up around the neck. It's a little limp and exposes the collar above the knot”. Well, well well.

    The “rapists” never fail to underwhelm!

  2. Does anyone know who made Dalton's suits? Sinclair, Castle, Hayward, Brioni, and Tom Ford all seem to be pretty common knowledge but Dalton's and for that matter Lazenby's tailors aren't really publicized.

    Still despite the sloppiness of the tie it's a pretty classic look. Seems to me that Bond prefers 3-piece suits at headquarters in a lot of films– certainly helps his cover as an ordinary English businessman.

  3. Dalton's suits always looked off-the-rack to me. They have that loose, ill-fitting look of something you'd find at the Hollywood Suit Outlet or a similar establishment, with brand names that are conspicuously Italian to make us believe they are high-priced designer merchandise.

  4. A personal favorite and inspiration for my first made-to-measure suit 10 years ago. Love the waistcoat despite the mistake…
    Regards from France

  5. Very good. Dalton never looked better than in the first half of The Living Daylights.

    I do wonder if we blame or credit the actor too much for the look. I know Dalton allegedly wanted a more dressed-down look for Bond in Licence to Kill (though he also apparently saved Bond from looking like Sonny Crockett), and Roger Moore was certainly a dandy (everyone hold their fire – I mean that in a positive sense). But on a film production, wardrobe is going to be handled by the costume designer, the director, and (on a Bond film) the producers. The actor usually doesn't get much say. Can anyone offer any insight as to how the Bond films handle(d) this? Was the actor the main driver behind Bond's "look"?

  6. Not fastening the bottom waistcoat button is by no means a mistake. It has only ever been a fashion followed after a king did it because he was too fat. It is not a "style rule" and it's not something done as a matter of course.

  7. Roger, this waistcoat wasn't designed for the bottom button to be fastened. The bottom starts to cut away above the bottom button. And look closely and you'll see a lump caused by fastening the bottom button. The English typically don't cut their waistcoats to be able to close at the bottom.

  8. Kind of sad that Timothy Dalton is admittedly uncomfortable in tailored clothing. He looks great in it, even when he or the production team make mistakes. In Hot Fuzz, Dalton looks quite debonair as well — as the owner of a grocery store no less!

    James Stewart wore a waistcoat cut just like that in his youth (and thankfully left the last button undone). If you must make a fashion statement with more buttons, this is how to do it.

    I've seen Target make the same mistake as Mr. Dalton in picturing their six button, five to close waistcoats on the website. As sore a sight as all the eBay sellers who fasten the top button on a three-roll-two coat.

  9. Matt, I know these waistcoats which are a specific design created to permanently mimic the look of the open bottom button. They are not standard waistcoats for suits. I am both English and from a tailoring family, and this is not how waistcoats are or were traditionally cut.

    I probably come across as petty making this point, but it needs to be made. The open bottom button is not traditional English style, it is a fashionable flair.

  10. Excellent, a very nice suit.

    Fits with the overall philosopy of the Dalton films: go back to the original books, and update the wardrobe for the times.

    For mine, I think a 7-button waistcoat looks a little too crowded, even if Dalton is taller than 6 foot. And, as noted, he goes against the grain by fastening the bottom button, but he didn't make this mistake with the grey herringbone suit earlier. An oversight, that's all.

    Same goes with the tie, though given how determined he was to play the literary Bond, I'm surprised Dalton didn't wear a black knitted tie with his suits, this one in particular. He wore a brown one at the Bleydon safe house with his sports coat, but after that, none. Curious…

  11. Great suit. I don't think much to the wide shoulders or the bottom button on the waistcoat, but this is still a great suit. Almost every suit worn by Dalton in TLD were great. It is a shame that he didn't maintain this look for Licence to Kill.

    • “Great suit. I don’t think much to the wide shoulders or the bottom button on the waistcoat, but this is still a great suit. Almost every suit worn by Dalton in TLD were great. It is a shame that he didn’t maintain this look for Licence to Kill.”

      Dalton says, and rightly so, that at the beginning of LTK, he’s just visiting. Bond probably came to Key West for a few days at the max, hence he wouldn’t have packet a suitcase of suits, but just a few items to wear while he was there. We only see him before the Leiter and after the Leiter attack for two days, and the second day, he’s getting set to leave. The Gray suit with the light blue shirt he wears is about the only time when you could potentially argue for his wearing a tie.

      When we see him again, after the confrontation with Krest, and before the confrontation with M, he’s basically in the field, prepping to follow after Krest’s boat. He’d look severely out of place in a full suit and tie. Same if he’d worn a suit to the Barrelhead bar to meet Pam.

      The rest of the film, he’s in “Ithsmus City”, posing as a sullied British Agent…Again, wearing a full suit just doesn’t quite fit that image for me. It would be very hot, that’s for sure. The only time he wears the suit, it seems natural without the tie. He’s prepping to destroy Sanchez once and for all, so the gray suit and white shirt seems natural to me.

      Dalton heavily concentrated on Fleming’s novels as his inspiration, and the novels made repeated mention of Bond’s meager salary. While Connery certainly looked great in Saville Row suits, they’d have been WAY out of the price range of the novel’s James Bond. Dalton’s wardrobe choices, while likely all off-the-rack, would nonetheless be what the literary bond would wear, so I, having read the books, was happy to see Dalton stick to his guns and really dress Bond the way Fleming envisioned him.

      • Because Fleming wore bespoke suits, Bond surely would have too. Though like Fleming, the literary Bond would have used an off-the-Row tailor. He surely wouldn’t be wearing Italian fashions like Dalton wears in Licence to Kill.

  12. I’m pretty sure mr.fleming himself would have looked at mr.dalton and realized his literary creation has been brought to life. Now if daniel can only leave the role then we would be in business again.

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