The sports coat is more relevant than ever in today’s dressed-down world. A suit is often too formal for much of what we do, but the sports coat is useful to throw on when we want to look more presentable without dressing up too much. Following the (00)7 Essential James Bond Suits, here is a list of essential Bondian sports coats that one should have.
1. Single-Breasted Navy Doeskin Blazer
The navy blazer is the backbone of James Bond’s odd jacket wardrobe. It can be dressed up more than any other type of sports coat, but it’s still sporty at heart and can be worn in more casual environments too. It’s the perfect sports coat to wear from the day into night.
The blazer that Sean Connery wears in three of his Bond films is doeskin, a densely napped woollen flannel with a sheen (not the skin from a female deer). This is a more useful blazer in cooler places, not in Jamaica where Connery first wears it. It’s better-suited to Britain and Amsterdam, where Connery wears it in later films.
Connery’s button two doeskin blazer is detailed with three open patch pockets, double vents and metal buttons, and the dark gunmetal buttons on the blazer in Dr. No are more modern than the more traditional brass buttons on Connery’s later blazers. The doeskin blazer could be further updated today with brown horn or wood buttons, though it may no longer qualify as a blazer without metal buttons. Even without metal buttons, a navy doeskin jacket with the proper sporty details can make a fine sports coat. Connery wears his doeskin blazer with a blue shirt, navy grenadine tie and dark grey trousers.
2. Single-Breasted Navy Hopsack Blazer
Because the navy blazer is the essential Bond sports coat, one is not enough. For warmer places, Bond has the hopsack blazer, which Roger Moore preferred. Hopsack is made of worsted wool in a basket weave, which makes for a more breathable garment.
Moore’s button two navy hopsack blazers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker have slanted flap pockets and double vents. A different pocket style is a great way besides the fabric to differentiate two different single-breasted blazers in one’s wardrobe. The buttons on these blazers are shiny sew-through nickel rather than the more traditional shanked buttons, giving this blazer a more modern look while still keeping the buttons metal.
Mother-of-pearl buttons are a great alternative for this warmer-weather blazer, whether the mother of pearl is white, smoke or blue. Mother of pearl has a shine that recalls traditional metal buttons, but they don’t have the connotations that come with metal buttons. Moore wears his hopsack blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me with cream trousers, a blue striped shirt and a blue shantung silk tie.
3. Double-Breasted Serge Blazer
How about a third blazer? Not only is the blazer an essential Bond sports coat, it is also the most versatile sports coat. The double-breasted blazer isn’t quite as versatile as the single-breasted blazer, but the late Sir Roger Moore did an excellent job during his last decade showing how useful the double-breasted blazer is too, wearing it for just about any occasion. The double-breasted blazer is dressier than its single-breasted counterpart, and sometimes we want to dress up without wearing a suit. Because it is more formal than single-breasted blazers, serge—a hard-finished worsted twill—is the perfect cloth for it. Serge is also what the naval uniforms the double-breasted blazer is derived from are made of as well. Either of the cloths prescribed for single-breasted blazers above can also work for double-breasted blazers, and serge can make up a great single-breasted blazer.
Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in For Your Eyes Only is made in the classic button two, show three (6×2) style of double-breasted jacket and has traditional brass buttons. The double-breasted blazer’s naval heritage almost requires metal buttons (in which case dull or silver-toned buttons can modernise it), but pearl buttons can be almost as effective. Moore shows in For Your Eyes Only that a double-breasted blazer can be dressed down too by wearing it with stone-coloured trousers and a blue open-neck shirt.
4. Brown Tweed Hacking Jacket
The brown tweed hacking jacket has a country equestrian heritage, but it is a stylish garment off horseback as well. Sean Connery wears it in Goldfinger in the British countryside and in the Swiss Alps, and he again wears it in the British countryside in Thunderball. Though brown tweed is best worn in the country, it can be worn in the city for casual use too. Connery’s brown tweed jacket is in a barleycorn weave, which shows a subtle pattern of tiny triangles. This subtle type of pattern is more useful than large and louder patterns because it can be dressed up more easily while still being a sporty garment. Because it’s tweed, this is a heavier jacket best worn in cool places.
Connery’s button two jacket has the defining aspects of a hacking jacket: slanted hacking pockets and a deep single vent. Connery wears the hacking jacket with fawn cavalry twill trousers, a faintly striped ecru shirt and a light brown knitted tie.
5. Lightweight Tan Jacket
The odd jacket made its long-awaited return to James Bond series in Spectre in the the form of Daniel Craig’s lightweight wool, linen and silk-blended light brown jacket. But this isn’t the first time that Bond has worn a jacket of this sort. That was with Roger Moore’s tan hopsack jacket in Live and Let Die. The tan family is the ideal colour for warm-weather jackets because of how it reflects the sun’s heat. But it’s also less formal than darker colours, making it a useful piece for today’s more casual man.
Daniel Craig’s jacket in Spectre has three buttons with the lapels rolled over the top button, slanted pockets and double vents. It is also an unstructured jacket, which not only makes it lightweight but very informal and thus very useful for many people. Craig wears the jacket with tan cotton trousers, a white shirt and a brown knitted tie. Despite what Craig wears with it, such a jacket can actually be dressed down more easily than it can be dressed up.
6. Grey Tweed Jacket
Grey is an underrated colour for sports coats. Though it’s often said that a sports coat is useless if it can’t pair with mid-grey trousers, it would be boring if all of our trousers were mid grey. There is something that can go with the rest of our trousers. Grey sports coats pair well with charcoal trousers and can also work with cream, tan or blue trousers. Though the grey sports coat that Roger Moore wears in A View to a Kill is tweed, cashmere and camel hair are other great choices for cool weather, and grey linen and silk can work instead for warm weather. Grey is also a colour that is equally at home in the city as it is in the country.
Moore’s grey tweed button two jacket has three open patch pockets and a single vent. He wears it with charcoal flannel trousers, a light blue oxford shirt and a checked tie.
7. Checked Jacket
Have a little fun with your jackets! Though James Bond generally prefers to wear solids and simple patterns, he wears a number of checked sports coats throughout the series, starting with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and wearing more in Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights. Checks are fun to wear, and even large checks can be tasteful.
George Lazenby’s button three hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a black, brown and cream houndstooth check with a red windowpane overcheck. It has the traditional hacking jacket details of slanted pockets and a deep single vent. He wears it with traditional riding gear: a silk shirt with a stock collar, a stock tie, beige jodhpurs and tall black riding boots. Such a jacket could just as easily be more conventionally accessorised.
I always heard it said that a grey jacket couldn’t be paired with blue trousers (blue jeans notwithstanding). Indeed whenever I’ve tried it just doesn’t look good. Can you offer any advice on how to pull it off, Matt?
A grey jacket often looks unbalanced with blue trousers because the blue is stronger and draws the eye down to the trousers. To solve this problem, a large pattern on the jacket (like on Roger Moore’s checked jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun) could work with blue trousers. A more muted navy can work better than a brighter blue.
I’ve currently got three odd jackets that I use primarily. Two of them are warm weather jackets, so I’ll need to invest in some tweeds at some point for winter in Cleveland.
The first is an unstructured 3/2 blazer in a lapis blue cashmere/silk/linen fresco (a gauzy basket weave somewhere between hopsack and grenadine in openness) that originally had wood grain corozo buttons. I replaced them with smoked MOP buttons. I’m not a fan of the preppy look, but since it’s not navy or serge and doesn’t have metal buttons, could I get away with cream silk slacks?
The second is an olive tan hopsack 3 button hacking coat with a blue, green, and red gun club check with cognac colored horn buttons that are almost translucent. I don’t have any issues with this jacket, except I can’t seem to find a pair of tan or warm brown slacks to round out my options on it.
The third is a cashmere 3/2 in what has the flecks and marls of a Donegal tweed, but is in a much softer, almost felted hand. As I said, I need to find some real tweeds. I’d love to find something like that black, white, and red Texas check jacket Bond wears to lunch with Scaramanga as well.
It sounds like cream silk trousers would go perfectly with your blue jacket. Tan or light grey could go nicely too.
Thanks. I usually wear it with a pair of light gray linen slacks or the trousers from my charcoal suit. I’m worried that wearing it with something as light as cream will come off as an affectation. As I said, I’m not a fan of the preppy look, so I don’t want to look like I just stepped off a boat either.
That combination will go well together, but it has a rather Mediterranean look. If you don’t like the look, that’s another thing, but you will have a great outfit if you like it.
I have a camel colored odd jacket that I really like. Its made out of a soft, cozy material that is great for fall and winter, however I’m having trouble finding pants to match it with. I have some nicely colored stone pants, but they are slim, where as the jacket is more of a full cut, so its unbalanced. Any thoughts?
Navy, stone, cream and light to dark grey can go well with such a jacket.
Light and dark grey? Really? I would have thought warm colors more preferable over cool ones. But I could try that…
Thanks for responding Matt. :)
Camel and even vicuña are considered neutral enough to work with warm or cool tones as long as they don’t directly interfere with each other. Black trousers would be too jarring, but any gray up to a medium charcoal would work. You might want to go with softer textures for darker or cooler grays, to promote harmony.
Hey Matt and all others
I’d like the article to take some inspirations: I have a couple of suits and odd jackets and blazers in different colors and grade of formality. Now I am looking for a blue blazer to fill a gap in the wardrobe: A blue blazer to go with jeans or dark blue chinos. Wearing casually, wearing when going out with my young kids (so the garment cannot be to light / sensitive), wearing in summer (not too hot), wearing in the office instead of a suit but not necessarily restricted to casual Friday and of course it should be a proper (gentleman’s style / Bond style) blazer.
What you need is a hopsack blazer. But don’t wear a navy blazer with dark blue chinos!
i have two structured cotton odd jackets, one is marine blue herringbone and the other is air force blue poplin. i only use cotton trousers with them, but more social ones like gabardine. what would be another option?
i have never seen bond with an odd jacket and blue trousers. is there an exemple?
Bond has not worn blue trousers with an odd jacket.
Apart from Connery’s iconic navy blazers I like The lightweight large-checked sports coat that Roger Moore wore in The Man with the Golden Gun. I wouldnt dare to wear it myself, but nobody does it better than Sir Roger in Golden Gun. Lazenby’s addition of a cravate takes -for me- the whole outfit across the line where I wouldnt like to wear it personally.
I live on mainland Europe and the hacking jacket is not present als far als I can see, which is a shame if you see how elegantly Connery sports it in different settings.
Are you going to do a (00)7 Essential James Bond Odd Trousers to Own?
An excellent work once again Matt! Enjoyed reading it. May I ask a question because I have a light blue colored odd jacket and I don’t know what color of the trousers I should pair with it that has less contrast with the odd jacket
Cream, tan or light grey trousers are the easiest pairings. If you want more contrast, you can wear navy trousers. The subtle tone-on-tone look works best with neutrals, so it won’t work well with blues.
Thank you very much Matt. Hope to see more wonderful posts like this!
Between black or dark grey, which color could work as odd trousers with a cool grey odd jacket? Or are both ok as substitutes for charcoal trousers?
I would choose dark grey, as long as there’s enough contrast in the colour and texture so they don’t clash.
I heard one personn say that large patterns on sports coats or odd jackets are not too flattering on shorter menot because it emphasizes the height. Is this true Matt, because I plan to have a tropical odd jacket based on Roger Moore’s odd jacket in TMWTGG, and if the saying is true what could be an alternative solution?
I think large patterns are more of a problem on heavy people than they are on short people.
So it is alright for large checks on slim short people?
I think it is fine.
Blazers are not often seen worn with a waistcoat underneath. Bond do not pair them either, but I am wondering whether there’s a general rule or reason not to do so ? I would say a waistcoat can always look good with other sports coat, sleeveless cardigan can also, provided they are smooth enough in consideration of the coat material, however is there an exception concerning “classic” blue blazers ?
Bond never pairs odd jackets with waistcoats, but there’s no reason why it can’t work as an absolute. I think a sleeveless cardigan can work very well with a doeskin blazer, since it’s a heavy blazer in a relaxed material. Blazers in lighter weights and more formal materials like serge won’t pair as well with a cardigan because of clashing weights and formalities. A heavy serge blazer can pair nicely with a doeskin waistcoat.
What kind of sports coat would go well with simple solid navy blue trousers (nothing special about them, styled like suit trousers) ?
I’d pair a larger blue and grey or blue and brown check or herringbone jacket. Navy trousers are difficult to pair with jackets because the colour is very strong and draws the eye down, so the jacket has to be able to compete with the trousers. I usually save navy trousers to pair with jumpers. They’re not a traditional colour for odd trousers because they are not neutral.
Hi Matt. Which is more versatile as a single-breasted navy blazer: hopsack or serge? Mason & Sons describe their hopsack as a four-season cloth, but I assumed it was more for spring and summer.
What’s a good color and fabric for a warm weather unstructured sport coat that can go with beige and khaki linen and gabardine pants and grey tropical wool pants? I thought something like an oatmeal colors but it would be too light for the beige and khaki pants.
A light navy or marine blue looks plenty summery and will pair nicely.
I also really like the look of dark blue/charcoal blue tweed sport coats. How do they compare to something like a navy doeskin blazer or an oatmeal tweed sport coat and does it have any usefulness?
They can be very useful. See Roger Moore’s blue tweed jacket from The Saint: https://www.bondsuits.com/saint-blue-tweed-jacket/