A Bespoke Anthony Sinclair Wedding Dinner Suit — Part 2: Cut and Details

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In the Part 1 in this series on my midnight blue wool-and-mohair wedding dinner suit I described the process that led to me to getting this dinner suit for my wedding and the fabrics I chose for it. In part two I describe the cut and details of this dinner suit, how it relates to James Bond’s dinner suits and the detail that sets it apart from most other English bespoke suits made today. This dinner suit is my idea of perfection in a dinner suit—or at least one variation on it—as far as James Bond style and classic English style are concerned.

Only in a bespoke suit can one get a cut and style so close to the Anthony Sinclair original. Bespoke suits are made with better techniques than almost all ready-to-wear and made-to-measure suits. The jacket’s shoulders are constructed like Connery’s jacket shoulders were: very light with little wadding and with roped sleeve heads. Despite this light shoulder construction, the canvas gives the shoulders a strong expression. The whole jacket feels light but firm and is true to the feel of Connery’s suits. The chest of my jacket is cut a bit leaner than Connery’s was for an updated look, and the waist is closely fitted but not tight. As I am much shorter and leaner than Sean Connery was when he was James Bond, I cannot expect to look exactly the same as Sean Connery did.

The fit of this suit will improve over time as the well-made canvas in a bespoke suit conforms to the body over the course of a few wears. This photoshoot is only my second time wearing the dinner suit.

What is most unusual about this jacket is that it is cut with the front dart extended through the hip pocket to the hem of the jacket, the same way that Anthony Sinclair cut Sean Connery’s James Bond suit jackets in the 1960s and 1970s. Dimi Major cut George Lazenby’s Bond suits this way and Cyril Castle cut Roger Moore’s Bond suits this way. Though this was common for English tailors at one time, they have since moved away from this method of cutting in favour of cutting a sidebody, though a number of tailors in Naples, Italy still cut suits using this older method.

The extended front dart achieves a slightly different shape at the skirt of the jacket than the more common sidebody method used today. Mason & Sons has started using this older method of cutting again with their Anthony Sinclair bespoke suits to stay true to look of the original Anthony Sinclair suits. Their customers have been requesting this method of cutting—an unorthodox request—to get more accurate copies of the old James Bond suits, and my dinner suit is the first that they have cut in this method after much development.

This dinner jacket is the traditional single-breasted style with one button on the front. Instead of the classic Connery shawl collar from Dr. No and other films, or the notched lapels that he wears on two dinner suits, I opted for peaked lapels covered in midnight blue satin silk on this dinner jacket. Connery only wore peaked lapels in his Bond films on his ivory dinner jackets, but I prefer the look of peaked lapels instead of a shawl collar with my rather boxy head. It’s still a Bond look on a dinner suit, but more of a Lazenby and Brosnan look than a Connery look. I also wanted peaked lapels so I could have a lapel buttonhole to wear a boutonniere for my wedding. I think that buttonholes are a bit awkward on a shawl collar, though I’m not entirely against it. I don’t like pinning boutonnieres to the outside of a lapel, so getting peaked lapels with a buttonhole was the best solution. There is a flower loop sewn behind the jacket’s lapel so a flower stem can stay in place without a pin. The lapels are 3 1/2 inches wide and are cut with a little belly, and they have a very pronounced roll up from the low-positioned single front button.

I especially like the elegantly curved shape of the jacket’s front cutaway below the button, compared to the slightly straighter way Anthony Sinclair cut his. It reminds me of the curved cutaway on George Lazenby’s dinner jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but my cutaway is slightly less curved than his was.

I chose 10-inch double vents for this dinner suit, which is a more modern option compared to the more traditional ventless style for a dinner jacket. English tailors have been making dinner jackets with double vents since the middle of the 20th Century, and Sean Connery’s dinner jacket in Dr. No has double vents, so there is a precedent for them on a dinner jacket. I prefer the way they drape compared to a ventless skirt, and I find them more comfortable. As I will be spending much time wearing this dinner suit to operas, double vents are better for sitting and help prevent wrinkling in the skirt.

The jacket is detailed in the traditional manner for an English dinner jacket, with straight double-jetted pockets, self-faced in the body’s material and not in the lapels’ silk. The buttons are covered in midnight blue satin silk to match the lapels, with one on the front and four on each cuff. The sleeves are finished with rounded gauntlet cuffs in midnight blue satin silk, a feature that Mason & Sons only do with bespoke. The gauntlet cuffs wrap completely around the jacket’s sleeves, unlike the half-gauntlet cuffs that Tom Ford and other tailors do. This is the most traditional way to make a gauntlet cuff, and it looks great from any angle.

The trousers have a high rise and double forward pleats just like Sean Connery’s had, but when wearing the jacket the high rise and pleats are hidden and the trousers have a very modern look. The legs are trim but very comfortable, with a fairly straight leg that ends in a 16-inch hem. These trousers show that double pleats, and fairly deep pleats at that, are not incongruous with trim trousers. The pleats and the crease down the legs are sharper than on any other trousers I have due to the crispness of mohair and its ability to take a good crease.

The waistband, made in the material of the body and not faced in satin silk, has a square extension and a hidden hook and bar closure. There are “Daks tops”-style button-tab side-adjusters with three buttons on each side and elastic through the back of the waistband. There is a button-through single-jetted pocket in the back on the right. The hems are angled to be much lower in back to get maximum shoe coverage with little break. The trousers are lined in front to the knee.

The only thing that didn’t turn out how I wanted was the buttons on the trousers. I wanted smoke mother-of-pearl buttons (something English tailors commonly use on trousers) and I got beautiful black horn buttons instead. Considering that the trouser buttons are never even seen in polite company, I completely forgot to bring this up to David. Changing the buttons is very easy, but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble to change them as there is nothing wrong with the buttons as they are. James Bond’s evening trousers in the 1960s had black buttons anyway and I am happy to keep them as they are.

The bespoke jacket has two labels inside the jacket. There is an “ANTHONY SINCLAIR MAYFAIR” label, which recalls Anthony Sinclair’s famous Conduit Street location rather than their current home at Mason & Sons in Marylebone. This label is sewn to the lining below the inner right breast pocket. The other label is inside the inner right breast pocket and has my name hand-written on it.

The plum-coloured lining seen here is a fun choice, especially with how different it looks depending on lighting.

What I Wore with It

For the wedding I wore this dinner suit with my pleated-bib white voile shirt from Frank Foster, which was perfect for the warm day and kept me very cool in combination with the mohair-blend suit. In these photos I am wearing a white herringbone shirt from Frank Foster that has a spread collar, a fly front and cocktail cuffs. The herringbone shirt is heavier and is better for cooler weather. Though some may find the combination of a shirt with cocktail cuffs and a jacket with gauntlet cuffs excessive, I like the symmetry of the combination. Roger Moore did the same with his dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun.

The bow tie is black satin silk with diamond-point ends from Mason & Sons. It is not a perfect match with the midnight blue lapel facings, but it doesn’t need to be. Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore all wore black bow ties when their dinner jackets had midnight blue facings. I am a fan of the pointed bow tie because it stands out from a more typical bow tie, but I also wore it at the request of my wife. The white linen pocket square is also from Mason & Sons.

I’m wearing the trousers with white moire braces from Albert Thurston. These are the same braces that Daniel Craig has worn with his dinner jackets in a few of the Bond films.

At the wedding I wore a white silk carnation boutonniere from Fort Belvedere. I wanted to wear a flower in my jacket’s buttonhole and I did not want to pin something to the outside of my lapel. I did not trust that a florist could prepare a fresh flower to wear through my buttonhole, so I thought the safest route would be to wear a silk flower. The quality of the flower is excellent and I bought others for the men in my family to wear at the wedding.

I am wearing black calf cap-toe oxfords from Brooks Brothers Peal & Co., made in England by Alfred Sargent. Though patent leather shoes are most traditional for black tie, calf leather shoes with a good shine are acceptable for black tie today. I bought these shoes over a decade ago, but since I wear them only for special occasions they were in good enough shape for my wedding. A few years ago I replaced the laces with flat laces to make the shoes look more formal. They take a good shine and look good with a dinner suit. Though plain-toe shoes are typically said to be best for black tie, patent leather cap toe oxfords were an historic option. I originally intended on wearing a new pair of plain-toe shoes, but it was a better choice to wear shoes that I knew would be comfortable.

Photos by Janna Levin Spaiser

59 COMMENTS

  1. Gentlemen, this is how we use Bond; As a foundation to be the best version of ourselves.
    We are not imitators, nor do we cosplay.

    Get it right …..

  2. Great to see the whole outfit in more detail. I have to agree with what you perceive to be a perfect dinner suit, there’s very little (if anything) I’d do differently were I to buy a bespoke suit. I particularly like the gauntlet cuffs, and I can’t wait to get some like it someday.

  3. Great outfit Matt. Wonderfully executed.

    Tell us a bit about the gold watch – was it a bit of a nod to the watch Connery wore in Dr. No in the opening casino scene? (presumably an Elgin watch, though still debated in some circles)

    • The gold watch is a Jules Jurgensen. I was indeed inspired by the gold watch that Connery wears not only in Dr. No but in most of his other Bond films. I’m not sure we’ll ever find out exactly which watch Connery wore because so many watches made in that era look the same from a distance, and sometimes even up close!

  4. A quite stunning piece of tailoring. As a regular customer of Mason & Sons I cannot recommend them highly enough.

  5. That’s a very nice looking tuxedo. I wish I could have afforded a bespoke tux for my wedding, but the closest I could come was a Ralph Lauren Blue Label tuxedo taken to a bespoke tailor for alterations. He basically recut it, so it’s fitted well to me, but it doesn’t have the little personal details or perfectly fitted and blocked canvassing that a bespoke suit does.

  6. Wonderful. Very tasteful. I particularly like the gauntlet cuffs, the roped shoulders (which seem softer than on some of Bond’s jackets?) and the gentle lapel roll. Good call on the pleats, too! I would have been very wary of them but I can see how they work well! Did Mason & Sons encourage them, or was it very much your own decision? And are button-tab side-adjusters preferable to the buckle kind?

    • The pleats were my decision, but David Mason himself also likes them. I find the buckle side-adjusters to function better than the button type, but as I am going to be wearing these trousers with braces anyway I thought it would be a nice touch to get the Connery-style adjusters.

      • Mine has forward pleats too, and I think they work very well. Given that there’s some assumption that many black tie events will involve some amount of dancing, it’s useful to have that little bit of relief around the hips. Plus, forward pleats don’t add as much bulk to the front of the pants as reverse pleats do, so you still maintain a relatively clean look.

        Do you have a waist cover for yours or do you plan to just go without at all times? I would generally go without or just wear a cummerbund, but my family has a traditional pocket watch the grooms all wear at our weddings, so I had to get a vest at least for that. I ended up going with a low 4 button vest in black wool with a full back, U-shaped neckline, and shawl revers sewn down at the back seam. It’s not a perfect match to the black barathea of the suit, but they’re both plain weaves, and the colors are virtually a dead match, so they do work together.

      • I did not get a waist covering for this suit because I realistically didn’t think I would wear it much, though a waistcoat would be fun to have.

  7. I may be a little late to the party but first, Congrats on your wedding Matt!!

    You also have two very tasteful dinner jackets. Very Bondian and very classy.

    Just out of curiosity, what made you go with the extended front dart, and how does it change the shape of the Jacket skirt? Does it flare more?

    • Thank you, Jay!

      I went with the extended front dart for the authenticity of it. I really wanted to be able to experience the same style the first three Bonds wore. It makes the skirt flare a little less.

      • Matt, good that you also find that the extended front dart made the skirt flare a little less. That was exactly what my tailor told me when I requested for it on my jackets (referring to the one I showed you).

        Interestingly also, my tailor remarked that he would usually only cut the extended front dart for his lady customers – it gives a more military inspired toughness to the silhouette, especially on the default women’s body shape.

        It definitely works with and complement my prominent posterior and muscular tighs, I attest!

  8. Amazing tailoring. How does it compare to their “off the rack” suits/dinner suits?

    Congrats on your wedding. (Nice pictures too)

  9. Very elegant Matt, was the choice of forward pleats a direct nod to Connery? Would you consider suit trousers with pleats? Also the colour looks more a dark navy then midnight blue is this just the sunlight?

    • Thanks! The forward pleats are a nod to Connery, but I also chose them because of my love for classic English tailoring. I would certainly consider suit trousers with pleats, especially if they are as well-cut as these trousers.

      There’s no fine line between midnight blue and dark navy. This is on the lighter side of what could be considered midnight blue, but the light and the way the camera is treating the light is making the colour of this suit look slightly lighter. I took these photos in the early evening. Natural light emphasises the blue of midnight blue, while artificial light makes it look black.

      • I think pleats work well if the trousers are well fitted and trim. Forward pleats have a more classic look the reverse pleats anyway.

  10. First of all, congratulations on getting married Matt! I saw the images in your previous post and both you and your wife look amazing! And thanks for these posts on getting your tuxedo, extremely interesting and informative as always. The extended front darts on the jacket and what you wrote about them changing the way the skirt flares is something I had never really thought about but indeed it does add a much cleaner and more elegant look to the lower part of the jacket front. It is something I have never really been able to put my finger on when it comes to Connery’s Sinclair suits,

  11. I’ve always been curious about hosiery for black tie. Is there anything special that must be followed? A differentiating material that sets apart from the typical business sock? And of course, what did you wear? I’d love to learn.

    • I just wore cotton-blend socks with this, but silk over-the-calf socks are ideal for black tie. I personally like a little cushioning from my socks and generally don’t care for thin socks.

  12. You look amazing Mr. Spaiser! This cut, a Connery-style conduit cut but with a little less drape than Connery wore I think is the most elegant I’ve ever seen. It reminds me of the cut Connery wore in DAF and Moore wore in LaLD and tMwtGG.

  13. One of the most interesting articles on this blog. Thank you very much for sharing your wedding outfit with us. Looks fantastic, although it is a bit surprising that you chose a lighter shade of navy, even though you’ve said many times that the only alternative to black in formalwear is the darkest shade of blue (midnight). Still, it looks amazing.

    • This is midnight blue, not a lighter shade of navy. Lighting and how cameras interpret colours plays a big role in the colours we see in photos. Under artificial light it looks practically black.

      • Interesting. But it’s certainly lighter than what Daniel Craig wears on Skyfall. Or am I wrong?

      • It’s about the same as what Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall, a very dark blue that looks almost black under artificial light. If it gives you any confidence, Holland and Sherry call it ‘midnight blue’.

    • I think that is the sunlight. Roger Moore’s dinner suit in tSWLM also looks very blue when he’s running around in the ruins, but very black in the tavern scene.

  14. Amazing suit , Matt .
    But Albert Thurson Moire braces are a nylon cotton blend . I have an email from them just from last year when l asked them if they were silk or not .

  15. I notice the cutaway on your jacket is very different from on the RtW and MtM cut. The RtW one, at least as far as I can tell from the pictures, has a very curved shape and the second button lines up, with the quarters not opening until after the second button. (Your MtM suit looks like it has this same kind of cutaway in the pictures, despite lacking a second button.)

    The cutaway on your suit looks much more like what Sean Connery wore, and also resembles the cutaway in the pictures of most of the Savile Row bespoke suits on PermanentStyle. Was this something you requested specifically?

    • I did not request the cutaway to be done a certain way. I liked how it was at the fitting, so I didn’t ask for it to be changed. Some Savile Row tailors cut the foreparts very closed, and some more open. I haven’t found there to be a standard amongst English tailors, though this jacket might be on the more cutaway end of it.

      • I am not an expert by any means, but from the pictures on PermanentStyle, where the author posts pictures of him in different tailor’s bespoke styles, most of the English tailors tend to prefer straight cutaways, while Italian tailors seem to lean slightly towards curved cutaways like the ones on the M&S RtW.

        It’s a matter of taste, but I personally love the straighter, more open cutaways like on your dinner jacket here. It looks almost identical to Sean Connery’s, but with rounded edges (the hem-cutaway edges on Connery’s jackets were much pointier).

  16. I personally really like the way Cyril Castle did the cutaway; straight down away from a button at an engle and then curving softly away as it reaches the hem. Your dinner jacket has a nearly identical cutaway. Open quarters like that emphasise the skirt flair and the waist suppression, or at least that is how it looks to me. Closed quarters with little cutaway seem to be more fashionable at the moment, because they don’t expose the shirt when wearing low-waisted trousers. I was in Vancouver recently and most of the young businessmen were wearing slim-fit suits, but with almost no cutaway and both buttons fastened to avoid exposing shirt. It looked almost like they were wearing undersized sack-suits.

  17. Matt, that could be one of the most beautiful dinner suits I’ve ever seen. The pleated trousers are beautiful and your fabric selections are perfect! Congratulations on your nuptials! I’ve heard about your cat (via Mrs. Spaiser) and wanted to say I have an all white cat similar to Blofeld’s. I hope that doesn’t make us enemies

  18. @Matt Spaiser – Sorry if this is a dumb question, but do the facings have to be silk or fake silk? Could you use sateen wool or mohair for the lapels or would that be a faux-pas, like having more than one button?

    • The facings need to look different enough not to look like a mismatch with the body. A shinier wool will look like a mismatch with a matte wool. The difference in texture isn’t enough. I see that as more of a poor design than I see it as a faux pas.

  19. The storm is upon me. I ordered a mtm dinner suit in midnight blue but the company sent me a midnight blue dinner with a feint self stripe.

    Is this Bond or the mafia?
    I didn’t notice the stripe until I looked at the fabric closely.

  20. @Matt Spaiser – Is the quality the same as what you’d get from a Saville Row tailor? How does it compare to your MtM ivory dinner jacket and MtM blue suit? Is there a significant difference in things like armhole height or other elements of the fit?

    • The bespoke is the same quality as one would get from a Savile Row tailor and is superior to the quality of the Special Order clothes. The fit is entirely different with bespoke, and much more is possible.

  21. Love the suit and details you’ve gone into regarding the fitting and tailoring decisions!

    I very recently had my first ever suit fitting, which was with Mason & Sons at their Marylebone flat for a special order dinner suit. I effectively went with their ready to wear midnight blue dinner suit but requested black silk trimmings, no vents and no back trouser pockets and also took some inspiration from your bold lining choice with a similar light purple colour. Likewise the Dr. No suit was my primary inspiration, though in reality it will probably be closer to a Conduit cut version of the Skyfall dinner suit (which I also have a lot of love for!)

    Got to take my hat off to Elliot of Mason & Sons: he could not have been more helpful and accomodating with his service and I cannot wait to see the finished product!

    • Styles, that sounds fantastic! You’ll look better than Craig did in Skyfall thanks to a lack of a centre vent and a better fit. Please do show it off to us when you get it.

  22. @Ryan Hall – Forward pleats look more formal than reverse pleats. They have a straight and clean appearance. Reverse pleats look more relaxed and casual. I personally would not order a dinner suit or other formal wear with reverse pleats, though I don’t think there is any rule against it.

    Chinos and pleated jeans usually look better with reverse pleats. I’ve seen lounge suits that look good with either, though if you want a more formal look you are better off with forward pleats.

    • Forward are not more formal than reverse pleats. It comes down to the preference (mainly the tailor’s) more than anything else. I find that forward pleats harmonise better with tailcoats, but there’s no rule that says reverse pleats are inappropriate with them. And if I am to wear pleated chinos, I still prefer forward pleats for their WWII look, and reverse-pleat chinos make me think of Dockers. But that is my opinion. Reverse pleats often look more relaxed than forward pleats, which can make them look less formal, but that depends on how a specific pair of trousers are cut more than the type of pleats.

  23. How tall are your silk cuffs?
    My tailor is asking. Apparently zegna is going to leave me a bit of room for them.
    The cuffs do make the dinner suit stand out
    I can hear Sanders complaining about them.

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