11 Checks and Patterns James Bond Has Worn

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Glen-Urquhart-Check-Suit-3

I’ve compiled diagrams of many of the checks and other small patterns that James Bond has worn in his suits, sports coat and other garments over the series into one list for easy reference. Stripes have not been included and will be the subject of a future article.

Houndstooth1. Houndstooth

The houndstooth (or dogtooth) check is one of the most basic checks and the basis for many other checks. It is woven in an even twill weave with alternating four dark and four light yarns in each the weft (lengthwise yarns) and weft (crosswise yarns). The result is a tessellation of dark and light four-pointed shapes. James Bond wears a houndstooth check suit in Goldfinger and a houndstooth check sports coat in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Pick-and-Pick2. Pick-and-Pick

Pick-and-pick (also known as sharkskin) is a simple pattern woven with alternating dark and light yarns in both the warp and weft of an even twill weave. This results in alternating dark and light diagonal lines, which up close look like tiny zig-zags or steps. This pattern is only used for suits. James Bond wears pick-and-pick suits in From Russian with Love, The World Is Not Enough and Skyfall.

From-Russia-With-Love-Glen-Urqhuart3. Glen Urquhart Check

The Glen Urquhart check is made up of large and small checks and woven in an even twill weave. The large check is the houndstooth check (as seen above) and the small check is a two-and-two check woven with alternating two dark and two light yarns in both the warp and weft. Stripes resulting from having four dark and four light in one direction with two dark and two light in the other direction connect the houndstooth check sections with each other. The true Glen Urquhart is woven with black and white or cream yarns. In smaller scales, this check works best for suits, whilst in larger scales it works better for sports coats. James Bond wears suits with this check—with slight variation—in From Russia with Love, Skyfall and a number of other films. This check often comes with an overcheck in red or blue (with the resulting check often and incorrectly called a Prince of Wales check), and James Bond wears the latter in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond wears a tweed sports coat with a larger, multi-coloured variation on the Glen Urquhart check. Read more on the Glen Urquhart check.

Glen-Check-(Plain-Weave)-FRWL4. Plain Weave Glen Check

This variation on the Glen Urquhart check is woven in a plain weave. The four-and-four sections become two-and-two (a puppytooth check), and the two-and-two sections become one-and-one. The check that results looks very similar to the proper Glen Urquhart check but with simpler shapes and at half the scale. This check is used only for suits. James Bond wears suits with this check in Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Read more on the plain weave glen check.

Glen-Hopsack-Check5. Hopsack Glen Check

This is another variation on the Glen Urquhart check, but it is woven in a two-by-two hopsack weave (basket weave). The two-and-two sections have the same puppytooth check found on the plain weave glen check, whilst the one-and-one sections form a pick-and-pick pattern. The stripes connecting the puppytooth sections also look different than on the plain weave glen check. This check is used only on suits. James Bond wears suits with this check in Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. Read more on the hopsack glen check.

TLD-Gun-Club-Check6. Gun Club Check

The gun club check is a check made up of intersecting bands of colours and ordinarily woven in a twill weave. The bands are at least four yarns wide. A gun club check can have as little as two colours, but more colours are more common. James Bond wears a gun club check sports coat in The Living Daylights that is made up of five colours, and interesting combinations appear when these five colours intersect.

Barleycorn7. Barleycorn

The barleycorn pattern (also known as crow’s feet) is a tessellation of small pointed chevrons and has its own weave. Bond wears a brown tweed hacking jacket with this pattern in Goldfinger and Thunderball.

Broken-Twill-Barleycorn8. Broken Twill/Barleycorn

The barleycorn pattern has a simpler variation which is essentially a broken twill weave that changes direction every two yarns. It’s like a herringbone weave at its most basic. The result are upward and downward ticks. James Bond wears a sports coat in brown barleycorn in A View to a Kill.

Tick-Pattern9. Tick Pattern

The tick pattern is simple check woven in an even twill weave where the cloth varies between two dark and two light yarns in the warp and a single colour in the weft. The result is a pattern of small tick marks. This pattern is typically best used for suits. James Bond wears a tick-patterned tweed suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Herringbone10. Herringbone

Herringbone is a variation on the twill weave weave where the diagonal rib alternates direction to form a broken zig-zag pattern (when the zig-zag isn’t broken it’s called a chevron weave). When two colours are used instead of one, the herringbone weave becomes a pattern. Ordinarily the warp is light yarns whilst the weft is dark yarns. James Bond wears herringbone suits in black and white in You Only Live Twice and The Living Daylights, a black-and-white herringbone topcoat in From Russia with Love and a brown-and-beige herringbone topcoat in Thunderball. In Diamonds Are Forever Bond wears a tweed sports coat in brown-and-black herringbone.

GoldenEye-Birdseye11. Birdseye

Birdseye is a pattern of round dots on a diagonal grid. It has its own very unique weave. The pattern alternates two dark yarns and two light yarns in both the warp and the weft. In a larger scale the pattern looks like large circles with a dot in the centre. In smaller scales it looks like a simple pattern on dots on a diagonal grid. For example, on the pattern pictured here the smaller light blue dots would hardly show up in a finer scale since the dark blue yarns are woven over those four light blue yarns. If the dark and light colours are reversed it can significantly change the way the pattern is perceived. The navy birdseye suit is a favourite of Pierce Brosnan Bond, and he wears examples of it in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day.

There are many more unique and interesting checks James Bond has not worn, and there will be an article on those as well.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    I like the Hopsack Glen Check – a very fine and subtle pattern. I think Pick-and-Pick must be what in Europe is usually called Fil-à-Fil (?)

    Best,
    Renard

  2. Patterns of the 1960s Bond were much clean and subtles.
    Maybe for some big patterns fetish of today this is “boring”,but i like this style over the clownesques garish things that we see today at Pitti Uomo.

  3. I’m watching Thinderball right now and it reminds me that I always liked the look of the silver grey (pick and pick?) suit Bond wears for the Junkanoo after doing the deed with Fiona Volpe. I don’t see this suit mentioned here nor in a quick search, but I know you’ve said you’ve covered all the formal suits in the series. Did I miss this one?

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