The Saint: A Black-and-White Hopsack Suit with a Double-Breasted Waistcoat

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Roger Moore in "Simon and Delilah", with Lois Maxwell who plays Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 Bond films
Roger Moore in “Simon and Delilah”, with Lois Maxwell who plays Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 Bond films

In a number of fifth series episodes of The Saint—including “The Helpful Pirate”, “The Convenient Monster”, “The Angel’s Eye”, “The Persistent Patriots”, “Simon and Delilah” and “A Double in Diamonds”—Roger Moore wears a black and white hopsack three-piece suit. The overall look of the cloth is a medium-dark grey with a lot of sheen. The sheen suggests a wool and mohair blend, which was very popular in the 1960s. Mohair often came in these tone-tone hopsack weaves in the 1960s because the iridescent two-tone look accentuates the natural sheen of mohair. Hopsack—a basketweave—is also a popular weave for mohair because the open weave takes advantage of mohair’s cool-wearing properties.

Saint-Black-and-White-Mohair-Suit-2
With a tie-clip microphone in “Simon and Delilah”

Cyril Castle, who tailored Moore for The Saint, The Persuaders, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, cut this suit. Like all of Roger Moore’s suits in The Saint‘s fifth series, this suit’s jacket has a button three front. The jacket is cut with softly padded shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a draped chest and a suppressed waist. A low button stance serves, along with the drape, to make Roger Moore’s chest look more masculine and imposing. The considerably narrow lapels add to this effect and make the entire look overdone.

For a dressier look, this suit jacket has the minimalist touches of jetted pockets and no rear vent. Like on most of the jackets in the fifth series, the cuffs are gauntlet cuffs with a single button. The suits’s trousers have a darted front, no belt, frogmouth pockets and narrow, tapered legs with plain hems.

Moore reaches into the pockets of his double-breasted in "The Angels Eye"
Moore reaches into the pockets of his double-breasted in “The Angels Eye”

The double-breasted waistcoat has six buttons in a keystone formation with three to button. A double-breasted waistcoat is an unusual piece and is more formal than a single-breasted waistcoat. It’s perfect for evening formal dress and morning dress, but it’s equally appropriate on a dressier lounge suit such as this shiny mohair suit. It’s certainly a dandyish piece and serves as a way to stand out from the crowd, but it doesn’t draw much more attention than a single-breasted waistcoat would, especially if the jacket is kept buttoned. It lends a rather old-world look to this suit, but since the suit is very modern with narrow lapels and narrow trousers it doesn’t have enough weight to make the suit look old-fashioned.

Notice the gauntlet cuffs, in "SImon and Delilah"
Notice the gauntlet cuffs, in “SImon and Delilah”

A suit like this is too bold for standard business dress. Mohair is too shiny and thus flashy, and the double-breasted waistcoat is too unconventional. These elements also make the suit too formal for the office. However, it is perfect for a fancy evening out or to wear to a day or night wedding, either as a guest or as the groom. Though mohair is a cool-wearing cloth and good for warm weather, the extra layer of a waistcoat gives this suit a wider temperature range.

Moore coordinates this suit with two different tie and shoe combinations. The shirts are always ecru, and many or all have white hairlines stripes. The shirts have a moderate spread collar, plain front and double cuffs. The collar has a tall stand but short points. In “The Helpful Pirate”, “The Convenient Monster” and “The Angel’s Eye” Moore wears a narrow medium grey satin tie and black slip-on shoes with elastic. In “The Persistent Patriots”, “Simon and Delilah” and “A Double in Diamonds” he wears an narrow olive satin tie and medium brown slip-on shoes with elastic. Moore knots his ties with a small four-in-hand knot.

The suit jacket buttoned in "The Convenient Monster"
The suit jacket buttoned in “The Convenient Monster”. With the jacket buttoned the double-breasted waistcoat doesn’t look so unusual.

In “Simon and Delilah” Moore wears a tie clip with a microphone built in (pictured second from top). A tie clip is typically unnecessary with a waistcoat because the waistcoat keeps the tie in place. Sometimes the waistcoat doesn’t do this job as well as it should and a man may still want a tie clip to keep his tie perfectly in place. In that case, the tie clip should be worn under the waistcoat. It belongs approximately three-quarters of the way down the tie and away from the face. Of course, a microphone would be less effective under the waistcoat. Ideally a two-piece suit should have been chosen for this scene. On the other hand, the waistcoat means that the tine clip is higher and thus in better sight for the viewers of the show.

Though he usually wears dark grey socks with this suit, in “The Persistent Patriots” Moore wears this suit with beige socks—which coordinate with the shirt more than they do with the suit. Though they by no means clash with the outfit, light-coloured socks can draw attention to the feet when attention should be drawn to the face.

Beige socks with this suit in "The Persistent Patriots"
Beige socks with this suit in “The Persistent Patriots”

15 COMMENTS

  1. Great stuff. It’s interesting to see how are the cut of a suit can change the shape of a man’s body so much. I have seen so little of Roger Moore as The Saint that it is quite a revelation to see how well dressed he was as Templar. I can honestly say I have heard more Vincent Price radio Saint episodes then I have seen Roger Moore TV episodes, and I love them both. On the subject of The Saint’s clothes, sort of, Vinnie’s daughter says in her biography of him that he often dressed very badly at home for a man with such an urbane public image; Bermuda shorts, baggy shirts, straw hats etc, she felt a bit embarrassed whenever guests came over.
    Ps I like how you say he was wearing “an olive saint tie” instead of a satin tie. Very appropriate and possibly not even a typo! Keep it in I say.

  2. The double-breasted waistcoat is a wardrobe item that I particularly miss in today’s menswear. It is most likely to be seen at “peacock events” like Pitti Uomo etc.

    The thing that bothers me about Moore’s DB waistcoat is that it doesn’t have a collar which is standard for a DB waistcoat. Which IMO makes an “incomplete” look. As the peaked lapel is obligatory on a DB waistcoat a collar should be on a DB waistcoat (either the shawl or peaked version).

    As already quoted several times one of the best movie versions is that one worn by James Mason as Philip Vandamn in Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”. There it is not a flashy item because of being included in a rather understated composition of suit, shirt and tie. Not flashy at all – quite different from the DB waistcoats Robert Redford is wearing in “The Great Gatsby”.
    Steve McQueen’s DB waistcoat in “The Thomas Crown Affair” (art auction) is on the whole fine, too – but as Moore’s it also lacks a lapel.

  3. I can not not think that in only few year (3-4) this suit would have been irremediably “out” because his tiny lapels.
    What a waste of good bespoke!

  4. Bit off topic: I saw an interview with Moore from about 5 years ago in which he said he thought Lois Maxwell was rather badly treated by Eon towards the end of her run because he felt she should have been offered the role of M when Bernard Lee retired.

    Not sure if that would work dramatically, but interesting comment.

    They both studied at drama school together and worked on many productions together.

    • I’m not sure that would have worked. As soon as they replaced Moore with a younger actor, there would be a weird dynamic between a 40-ish year old Bond and a now 60 year old Moneypenny who would now be his boss but still have romantic feelings for him despite a 20 year age gap – it’s still supposed to be the same character, after all.

      • If she was M for Moore’s last 3 films it would have worked. That would have been an interesting dynamic. But while I can picture Lois Maxwell as M, I can’t picture her Moneypenny as M.

  5. I really cannot get on board here. The cut of a suit really can change the shape of a body, and likewise the shape of your body can really make or break a specific style of suit.

    The narrow lapels makes his already broad chest look ludicrously large, and that coupled with the narrow trousers makes him look somewhat like Mr. Incredible.
    Look it up and tell me I’m wrong!

    Say what you will about Moore’s concessions to the style of the ’70s, but I think we can all agree that the warm tones and larger proportions characteristics suited Moore down to the ground. That decade of style was made specifically for his exact body type!

    Now all that aside, I do actually like this suit. The fabric, the weave, the colour, all really nice. It’d just look better on a different body.

    • “The narrow lapels makes his already broad chest look ludicrously large, and that coupled with the narrow trousers makes him look somewhat like Mr. Incredible.” I agree – I remember watching The Saint when I was in middle school, and then when I heard Moore was to be the new Bond I thought he would be taller and bulkier than Connery, while the two are roughly the same size (if anything, Connery might be a shade taller and definitely had more defined muscularity in his prime). Suits like this one made Moore look enormous.

    • I couldn’t agree more. While Connery -I mean in his early Bond period, when he had that athletic look- could have worn 3-button suit jackets as easily as 2-button ones,
      Moore’s physique here clearly would have looked way better in a 2-button jacket with medium width lapels. The 2-button would have created the illusion of a more v-shaped torso. I wonder while Cyril Castle make him wear mostly 3-button jackets.
      The waistcoat looks great but on Moore (see the picture with the jacket unbuttoned) I think it’s perhaps too much of a layer, making him looking very heavy.
      Very nice suit though to wear in the evening !

  6. Excellent post, Matt. An interesting suit indeed. In fact, the tailoring from the colour “Saint” series was interesting, much more so than what was produced for the black and white series which always seemed more nondescript, although the lack of colour didn’t help. Not all of the tailoring in the colour episodes did I find impressive – some outfits such as this https://www.bondsuits.com/the-saint-pleated-back-sports-coat/, didn’t have a cut which flattered Moore at all and so fell a little flat – however, the majority showed great flair and the 3 piece suits were most welcome after exclusively 2 pieces. Anyway, this is not really a suit I could imagine Bond wearing bar in the context of some special occasion like the Rome/funeral scenes in SPECTRE.

    It’s a shame too that this double breasted waistcoat would make the suit something that would be deemed “overdressed” for regular day wear as opposed to in the 1960’s. Indeeed, sadly, because of our current complete lack of formality in men’s dress we’ve reached the point that a 3 piece suit with a regular, single breasted waistcoat may be deemed “overdressed” in the eyes of many!

    As regards this suit specifically, the jetted pockets and lack of vents is unusual for both Moore and Castle’s suits and I would prefer to have seen at least a single vent and regular flapped pockets but I expect they wanted a streamlined, minimalist look to the jacket to balance things. I have a bit of a prejudice against narrow lapels so Castle’s later, “Persuaders” and “Bond” era suits always gelled better to my eye.

    Finally, Simon, this is true. Maxwell even made the same comments herself at the time Dench was cast as M and she’d left the series.

  7. For those who may be interested in off-the-peg double-breasted waistcoats, Pakeman Catto & Carter has a nice selection in linen. They have collars, which is just as they should be.

    Whilst we are on the subject of blow-dried hair, I would just like to say “God bless Sir Roger Moore”.

    I remember when Christmas Day wasn’t complete without the television premier of a James Bond film….

  8. I recently saw a light grey semi-solid suit with a double breasted waist coat here in Geelong, Australia . Very elegant, really too dressy for business but a great event suit. Roger Moore and Sean Connery wore three piece suits like no others.

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