The Blue Prince of Wales Suit in Spectre

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In Spectre‘s pre-title sequence in Mexico City, James Bond wears a blue Prince of Wales check wool suit from Tom Ford. A Prince of Wales check in this usage of the term is a glen check with an overcheck, which may also be called a windowpane. The glen check is medium blue and black whilst the overcheck is light blue in a more vivid tone in the warp than in the weft. A black and blue check makes this unusual compared to the more typical black and white and black and grey variations that Bond has worn in the past. The overcheck is a bold six yarns wide, which makes it the dominant pattern on the suit. Ordinarily, overchecks on a Prince of Wales check are thinner and stand out less. Because the overcheck on this suit is so dominant, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to call this a windowpane suit, but that oversimplifies what the suit’s pattern truly is.

Since the base of the suit’s cloth is medium blue and black, the colours blend together into an air force blue. The colour of the suit is still lighter and more vivid than an ordinary blue suit, but the colour looks perfect for Mexico City’s warm weather and helps Bond to stand out from the crowd during the Day of the Dead festival. The lighter blues in the suit are flattering to Daniel Craig’s warm complexion and bring out his blue eyes.

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The jacket is the O’Connor model designed by costume designer Jany Temime in collaboration with Tom Ford for Spectre, with straight, padded shoulders that have roped sleeve heads, a close-fitting chest, a too-tight waist and a fashionably short length. The front has three buttons with narrow lapels rolled to the middle button for a button two look. This is known as “button two, show one” or “three-roll-two”. The lower foreparts are cutaway and reveal a triangle of shirt below the jacket’s fastened button. The jacket is detailed with a single vent, slanted hip pockets, a curved “barchetta” breast pocket and four buttons on the cuffs. The last buttonhole on the cuffs is longer than the rest, and Bond wears the last button open.

The suit trousers have a wide extended waistband, slide-buckle side-adjusters, side seams curved forward at the top with on-seam pockets, narrow straight legs and turn-ups. They have a low rise and are hemmed with no break, which means they are very short and cover little of the shoes.

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With the suit, Bond wears a white shirt from Tom Ford with a point collar, double cuffs, a front placket and back darts, which give the shirt a close fit. A light blue shirt would make this outfit more flattering to Daniel Craig’s complexion, but it would have to be a very pale blue so there is contrast between the suit and shirt. The stark white shirt overpowers Craig’s complexion. The tie is a silk repp in medium blue, which Tom Ford call their “blue” shade. It is 7.5 cm/3 inches wide. The blue is a close match with the hue of the suit, which makes it a good match in the classic Connery Bond mode. Bond ties it in a narrow four-in-hand knot. Bond also wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket.

The shoes are the Crockett & Jones Norwich model. They are black calf five-eyelet, cap-toe derby shoes with Dainite studded rubber soles. The socks are a rather boring and unstylish black. Dark blue would have been a better choice, since it would extend the line of the too-short trouser legs.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed that the white shirt against the blue suit cloth causes problems with Craig’s hair and complexion.

    Looks like they are using a pale sky blue shirt on the Tom Ford website with this suit. Tom Ford makes this suit work on his models. The only thing I am not so keen on are the Windsor knots. Wrong collar type and tie for a windsor in my opinion. However, I suppose it kind of matches the open cuff mentality. How would Flemming’s Bond put it? A nouveau riche cad perhaps?

    Anyway, on Craig the suit looks a bit odd. The only thing that they got right was the four-in-hand knot. They should replace Jany Temime . . .

  2. One of my favourite suits from the film, plan on having a copy made for my birthday this year. The suiting is beautiful but my cut will be a bit less tight, more like the fit of Craig’s suits in Quantum Of Solace.

  3. Nice write-up. I thought this suit looked more interesting on Tom Ford’s website than it did in the movie, probably due to the color filter used in the film. Aside from the fit problems (do I even need to mention that at this point?), I don’t take issue with any of the other choices here.

  4. Nice write up Matt, as usual. I’m no fan of Tom Ford but I’ve been looking for a blue PoW cloth just like this to have made up. Those I’ve found so far are too subtle and the pattern resolves from two feet away. If you or any of your readers know where I can source a length of this or similar cloth please let me know – thanks!

  5. I’m old enough to remember Pee Wee Herman in suits that were too short and too tight for comedic effect.

    And the unbuttoned cuff. So utterly naff.

  6. really don’t see the problem with an unbuttoned cuff. If it’s there, why not? It’s hardly noticeable and it can give a subtle flair to the cuff, unlike those garish link button cuffs Moore used to wear. 99% of people would never notice you’d left the last button undone, I just think it’s a nice little feature. You can get working buttons off the rack very easily these days so it’s not like you’re showing off.

  7. I’ve gone on record countless times with my distaste for the too tight, too short suit jackets (Though SPECTRE is a marked improvement over Skyfall in this regard– and in many others!) so I won’t beat a dead horse here.
    I have to give credit where it is due because there are a number of things that Jany Temime has brought to the franchise that I do think are excellent. The suitings in Skyfall and SPECTRE are beautiful and this one here is one of my favorites. Personally I probably would’ve gone with a burgundy or purple tie for a little contrast, but I understand the limited color palette is a callback to the Connery tradition. The Norwich shoes are beautiful but I think the Tetbury boots from Skyfall would’ve been a better choice with such narrow trousers. Temime’s choices in a lot of the accessories, the Omega watches, Crockett & Jones shoes, Dents gloves, for example, are great too, as are the casual jackets and jumpers.
    Lastly, though it’s beyond the scope of this blog, I think she’s done an amazing job dressing the leading ladies. I wonder if it would be possible to keep her on as costume designer but retain the services of someone, such as Tom Ford himself, to act as an advisor on how Bond’s suits might look their best. She seems to get it in concept but not execution.
    There’s my 2 cents, Happy New Year to all!

  8. ‘…Unbuttoned cuff. So utterly naff’ or ‘nouveau riche cad’

    Perfect. I would have not expressed it better. That is the very point.

    Until Craig, James Bond had working buttons, but did not leave them undone.
    Contrarily to what some may think, the practice is visible, and it is tacky. At least in my opinion, and I am glad to have found some echo. Bernhard Roetzel even dedicated a few lines to the subject in his book ‘Gentleman, a timeless fashion’.
    Talking about nouveau riche, Danny Wilde in the Persuaders even has 2 buttons undone. Epitome of tackiness 😉
    But that sticks to his character.
    Be they on bespoke suits or off the rack, undoing a button IS showing off.
    As for the practicality, I have fly buttons instead of a zipper, but I never thought of leaving one blatantly undone (!)

    • Yes, but Danny Wilde was a nouveau riche cad which was in stark contrast to Lord Brett Sinclair. It was this contrast which made the chemistry between these characters so good.

      I really liked Danny Wilde’s wardrobe in the Persuaders! I think the unbuttoned cuff was probably done here to make the outfits more relaxed, along with the open collars and scarfs. Rather than to give the subtle signal to those in the know that his suits are bespoke.

      I’m not sure when mass produced suits with sham cuffs became the norm, but I suppose the unbuttoned cuff is a reaction to it. The worse thing is off-the-rack suits with working cuffs. Unbuttoning a plastic button to reveal a contrasting machined buttonhole is surely the lowest form of this behaviour.

      Great discussion . . . . .

    • You’re comparing leaving a fly button undone to leaving a cuff button undone. That’s like calling a visible triangle of white crewneck t-shirt “exposed underwear”.

  9. Agree completely with your summation, Matt. This is a great colour and the material looks very classy. Shame it’s used to produce the suit in this model. If it were in the Windsor model like the Rome suit it would be up there with the best suits in the entire series. Sadly, another missed opportunity thanks to those responsible for Bond’s wardrobe. Your observation re: the shirt is also apt. A sky blue would have worked far, far better. Even pale cream as opposed to stark white. All of this clearly illustrates that a certain Mr. Spaiser should be called upon to contribute directly to Bond’s onscreen wardrobe. More knowledge in his right hand than the lady responsible’s entire body!

      • I would dress him in cuts and styles like he wore in Quantum of Solace. The suits fit him and had double vents, and the shirts had spread collars. The suits would be marine blue, air force blue, navy, light grey and medium grey. Then I’d try to avoid white shirts. I’d put him mostly in light blue shirts and maybe cream if the outfit called for it.

    • ‘Maybe cream if the outfit called for it’. Could you please develop, Matt ? And Craig’s like-complexions aside, what is your opinion about the cream shirt in general ? Any particular suit colour or skin complexion this colour could be particulary appropriate with ?

      Anyway, joke aside, I am too in favour of Matt’s input to a future Bond movie . Perhaps writing a petition and seeking signatures from this blog’s followers could be a start !

      • Cream shirts really work with anything and would suit Craig’s complexion better than white, but they’re currently unfashionable and that’s something that needs to be considered. We haven’t seen Bond in a cream shirt since Tomorrow Never Dies, I believe.

    • Matt, I have recently discovered the versatility of cream shirts and didn’t realize they were “unfashionable” – as if I cared! Should Bond care about fashion to such a “nitpicky” level? I can see his ties and lapels changing width with the times, but cream vs. white shirt? That seems a little excessive…

    • The cream/ecru shirt being unfashionable is inexplicable, esp as Matt points out, they are so versatile and because they are less harsh than full white, a light cream fulfils the same function while flattering the wearer’s skin tone at the same time. Then again, those who get caught up about what is or isn’t fashionable often know the least about subtleties. As far as I know, every Bond up to and including Brosnan wore cream shirts (for Sean and Roger they were wardrobe staples) so if they claim to want to remain faithful to Bond’s sartorial heritage this should be considered. Finally, with this particular suit, cream would be less successful than sky blue which would be the best all round.

    • I think we are often unnecessarily harsh to Temime. This is after all the same woman who dressed “M” and did a pretty excellent job in the Harry Potter films. The fit and style details for Bond may be a bit off, but the fabrics and Connery-esque colour scheme are pretty well chosen.

  10. I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of working button cuffs. The development of one’s personal style is taking ownership of the suit – whether it’s bespoke, MTM, or RTW – and wearing it in accordance to one’s sense of style and functionality of the suit. Basically, it’s my suit, and I’ll wear it as I please. If my tailor went through all the work of creating beautiful handsewn buttonholes on the cuff, I’d take great pleasure in utilizing those cuffs. Style is a by-product of function.

    • I have a confession to make! Once-upon-a-time I used to leave the last button of my cuff open.

      Now I think I am above that – such snobbery!

      That being said, here is a pic of Andrew Ramroop (Maurice Sedwell) with 2 buttons undone! I have also seen him with 5 button coats.

      https://dzx2.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/dsc00846.jpg?w=667

      Style is a by-product of function yes, but he both wears a coat while working and rolls up his sleeves.

    • To be fair, Maurice Sedwell would never claim to be conservative in a zillion years. They are one of the most experimental tailoring houses on the Row. Not that they refuse to create something conservative if the client wants it, but are much more flexible. Just look at the pocket flaps on his jacket and boutonniere matching the fabric’s overcheck.

      I wouldn’t leave two or more buttons undone myself, but I have seen a few people who pull it off. Seems to work best with casual suits and sturdy looking tweed sport coats.

  11. Matt that sounds perfect, you should have some input into Craig’s suits for the next Bond film. It would bring Bond style up a notch.

  12. Danny Wilde character was indeed a nouveau riche, so the 2 undone buttons suit perfectly in this case.
    Everyone is free to wear things they want, and how they want it. Everyone is free to have an opinion too. One just has to assume responsibility for his actions, and for the tacit or implicit messages being sent as a consequence.
    I am thus exercising my right to have an opinion, and claim that I find unbottoning the sleeve buttons cheap, loud, and overstating.
    I let others determine whether these adjectives help to depict a nouveau riche, but in any case, no one has the monopoly of taste. Good or bad.

    Jut as “drinking Dom Pérignon 53 above 38 degrees Fahrenheit could have been as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs”, leaving the buttons undone is probably just as bad as smoking a cigar with the band on.

    A recently re-published interview of Connery seems to concur:

    “.. And he laughed and pulled out a cigar and asked for a cigar-cutter, but smoked it with the band still on it, which is something Bond would never have done.”

    https://www.mi6-hq.com/sections/articles/history-connery-1971-back-in-bondage?t=&s=&id=04035

    Just an opinion. And too bad for the Beatles and Danny Wilde, of whom I am great fan, nevetheless.

  13. Jovan,
    I am not comparing fly & cuff buttons undone, but rather stressing out their inherent uselessness, and deliberate ostentation.
    And now that you mention it, yes, a triangle of white crewneck T-shirt would not only be ‘exposed underwear’, but a sheer monstrosity.
    As for Temine, you are absolutely right, she did a great job for Ralph Fiennes, so why not with Craig ? What’s wrong with the being ?
    I was not aware of her job on Harry Potter. Admittedly even Rubeus Hagrid is better dressed than Bond (!)

  14. According to Merriam Webster, a cad is “a man who acts with deliberate disregard for another’s feelings or rights.” I’m not sure leaving a button undone on his jacket qualifies Bond as a cad, although every iteration of the character has certainly done some other things that might put him in that category.

    I personally don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s a bit flashy for Bond perhaps, but no worse than Brosnan’s occasionally garish ties or Moore’s flared trousers (I don’t take particular issue with those things either). Perhaps it even rises to the level of snobbish. Then again, Bond has always been a snob.

  15. According to one of Wikipedia’s definitions, he would seem to qualify:

    “2. A low-bred, presuming person; a mean, vulgar fellow.”

    Garish ties and/or flares are a phenomenon of fashion, and are timely.
    Whereas the habit we are debating about seems to transcend fashions, and time.

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