Bond Wardrobe Review 8: Live and Let Die (1973)


James Bond Teaches Us to Not Forget the Double Vents

Roger Moore as James Bond
Director: Guy Hamilton
Costume designer: Julie Harris
Wardrobe supervisor: Laurel Staffell
Tailoring: Cyril Castle
Shirts: Frank Foster and others


Drinking bourbon instead of a vodka martini and smoking cigars instead of cigarettes famously differentiated Roger Moore’s first appearance as James Bond in Live and Let Die from his that of his two predecessors, but his sartorial style was different from the previous Bonds’ styles as well. Compared with Sean Connery’s wardrobe in Diamonds Are Forever, Moore’s wardrobe handled the 1970s in a much different way. It is prepared to take on the fashions of the decade.

Formal Wear

While the first two Bond actors were introduced wearing black tie, Moore’s Bond is instead introduced to audiences in a dressing gown and pyjamas. He dares to not wear black tie at all in Live and Let Die. Even though Bond had previously gone without his dinner jacket in You Only Live Twice, the lack of black tie—Bond’s most famous look—is the most significant way Moore’s Bond dresses differently from his predecessors.

However, there is no need for black tie in this story. It’s not shoehorned into the story like it was multiple times in Diamonds Are Forever, but forcing black tie into a Bond film had become a series trope. Black tie is not entirely missed while watching Live and Let Die, but its absence is still felt. Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale showed us that putting on a dinner jacket is an essential part of becoming James Bond. Roger Moore would have to wait until his next Bond film to have that moment.

There was a black double-breasted dinner suit made for promotional stills, worn with a ruffled-front shirt like George Lazenby wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But this dinner suit does not find its way into the film, and Moore only wears the outfit for the Live and Let Die premiere.

Lounge Suits and Jackets

A new Bond once again means a new tailor. Roger Moore brought in his longtime tailor Cyril Castle, who made his suits for The Saint, The Persuaders! and the films he made between those two series, to make his suits, coats, jackets and trousers for Bond. Castle had a more adventurous style than Bond’s former tailors Anthony Sinclair and Dimi Major, but his style is not without the essential British flair.

Legacy for the Saint Suit Cocktail Cuffs
Roger Moore’s style wasn’t so different from James Bond’s in The Saint

Roger Moore’s personal style was developed through the trendy 1960s suits he wore in The Saint and the flamboyant tailoring he wore in The Persuaders!. Some of the styles he wears in those two series carried over to Bond, especially since his tailor remained the same, but his style as Bond had to be toned down to better match the character’s needs. As a result we see a fresh style for Bond, albeit one that is mostly appropriate for the character.

The button-two suits that Connery wore remain the staple of Moore’s tailored look, but Castle introduced the double-breasted suit to Bond as well. The jackets have soft shoulders, subtly roped sleeveheads and full-cut chest. The style has a modern edge but is still mostly traditional. Despite the clothes being tailored in 1972, the lapel width is tastefully balanced. The lapels and pocket flaps are narrower than they were in Diamonds Are Forever, and as a result the jackets look much more timeless. The jackets are all cut with double vents, and most of them have slanted and flapped hip pockets without ticket pockets for a fashionably sleek look.

Flared link cuffs on a Cyril Castle suit jacket

One of my favourite details on the jackets is the flared link cuffs, where the cuffs are flared out and close in a kissing manner like a shirt cuff with cufflinks. There is one button on either side of the kissing cuff so it looks like a cufflink. The flare of the cuff mirrors the flare on the trousers, but I don’t think the flare on the cuff looks dated like it does on the trousers.

The trousers have the quintessential 1970s flare, and it was a necessity for Bond to adopt this fashion so he wouldn’t look too old-fashioned. While the flare looks dated today, I think it was handled well. The legs have an elegant shape with a subtle bootcut flare, balancing trends and good tailoring.

The first tailored look in Live and Let Die is a navy worsted flannel suit, as seen in the gun barrel sequence. It is the most traditionally Bondian suit in the film. A navy suit is the perfect look to start a new Bond, as it’s the suit Ian Fleming most frequently dressed Bond in. This suit is the most somber and serious suit in the film, and perhaps that is why it’s the only one detailed with straight pockets instead of slanted pockets.

This is also the first suit that Bond wears in the proper film, but it’s mostly hidden under the best tailored piece of the film: a navy double-breasted chesterfield coat. While Connery’s Bond was more frequently pictured holding his coats than wearing them, Moore’s Bond makes a statement in his coat. No coat in the Bond series is more iconic than this one. It has the style and it has the screen time. Being double-breasted makes enough of a statement, but details like the velvet collar and gauntlet cuffs set it above the rest. The wide peaked lapels are more dramatic than they are a dated fashion.

The shirt and tie are brilliant choices as well. A light blue poplin shirt recalls Bond’s typical shirt from before, especially thanks to the return of the cocktail cuff. Frank Foster, who previously made Bond’s shirts for Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, returns to make Roger Moore’s shirts. They had already made Roger Moore’s shirts—with cocktail cuffs, no less—since the late 1960s, so in a way this is Roger Moore’s style continued as much as it is James Bond’s. The higher semi-spread collar looks perfect on Moore as well without looking too much like a 1970s style. The front has a concealed placket, with a single line of stitching down the middle of the placket for an unusual but sophisticated look. The shirt has an excellent close fit, with darts in the back.

For Moore’s first shirt as James Bond, there couldn’t have been a better choice. This is the only blue shirt in the film, but all of the other Frank Foster long-sleeve shirts follow this same style.

The tie is new to Bond but another perfect pick. He’s wearing a Royal Navy regimental striped tie, which recalls Bond’s naval heritage in a more subtle way than his naval uniform in You Only Live Twice does. This is the only time Bond wears this tie, and it’s a shame it hasn’t returned.

Moore’s second suit is another Bondian choice: a light grey tropical wool suit that isn’t all that different from the one that Connery wears in Diamonds Are Forever. The shirt is cream like Connery’s, but a solid red tie changes things up. Lazenby had previously introduced the red tie to Bond, so there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this outfit and it eases Moore into the Bond look. The combination looks superb on Moore.

Moore’s safari style is semi-introduced in this film in the form of a black silk four-pocket leisure suit and scarf for nighttime hang gliding. The look is certainly a product of the 1970s, but it’s a stylish look. It’s a new kind of tactical look for Bond, but it’s hardly visible on screen because the scene is so dark. The coolest thing about it is how the trousers break away and the jacket reverses (unrealistically) into another jacket.

The result is a beige tropical wool suit, a new look for Bond. It’s a shade or two darker than the ecru suits from the previous two films, but in beige it looks better suited to Bond’s jungle adventure than the resort look of a cream suit. The jacket and red-brown silk satin get little screen time as he only wears the suit trousers and brown-and-white-striped cotton voile shirt for his adventure the next morning. The clothes are stylish and appropriate for the tropical climate, but perhaps too dressed-up for Bond’s purposes. A more casual look would have been more appropriate for the circumstances but less Bondian. Overall it’s a good outfit, but a cotton or linen suit instead of crisp tropical wool could have transitioned from the dressy evening look to the morning adventure more successfully.

The brown striped shirt that Moore wears with the beige suit is the only one in the film not made by Frank Foster. It has a stylish two-button spread collar and a perfect fit, and even though the shirt is voile the stripes prevent it from being translucent.

Bond finds himself at a suit fitting at his New Orleans. It’s an odd moment for Bond to have outside of London, but it’s nevertheless a fun character moment. He’s fitted for a dark brown suit jacket, but the brown suit trousers are complete and Bond wears them with a tan warm-weather sports coat in what is possibly a blend of silk and linen. He wears it with a beige shirt that has a fine jacquard four-point star pattern and picks up a new brown tie with a funky pattern at the fitting. The outfit is completed with red-brown crocodile slip-ons, Moore’s own clever choice for the scene where Bond jumps over crocodiles.

The earth-toned colour scheme is deeply rooted in 1970s fashions, but Moore’s colours blend in perfectly when he arrives at the crocodile farm. The earth tones also flatter Moore’s complexion. Though the earth tones may be difficult to wear today, it’s difficult to be negative about this outfit because it suits Moore and the setting flawlessly.

The film’s final suit is a dark grey silk dupioni double-breasted suit, which is much more Roger Moore than it is James Bond. Moore started wearing double-breasted suits in the colour episodes of The Saint and they became a signature look for him. Cyril Castle’s double-breasted style is an unusual one, with a narrow wrap (overlap between the two columns of buttons). I like it, but it’s a divisive look.

Double-breasted suits don’t make sense for Bond, a man who always needs to be ready for action, particularly as they make it difficult for him to draw his PPK from his shoulder holster. He wears this suit with a classic cream shirt, but the tie’s bold pattern does not hold up well. The tie is the biggest blunder in Live and Let Die‘s smarter clothes.

Casual Attire

The casual attire starts out on a poor note with a powder blue leisure suit made up of matching trucker jacket and flared patch-pocket jeans. The leisure suit, however, is not made of denim but of a lightweight cotton twill. The outfit is made worse with a visible white vest worn underneath.

The workwear look is not appropriate for Bond, especially not Roger Moore’s portrayal of the character. The outfit would have been better in cream, tan or brown instead of light blue, but even in a better colour it would still be a poor choice for Bond.

The black short-sleeve shirt worn with tan flared trousers is a far more stylish and appropriate casual look for Bond. The black belt and Gucci bit loafers are a little flashy for Bond, but they set off the black shirt very well.

The final casual look is one of the most iconic and successful. It’s comprised of a lightweight black roll neck, black trousers, black leather belt and black suede trainers. The large shoulder holster to hold a large revolver is the standout part of this outfit more than any of the clothes. This memorable combination of a roll neck and holster was originally made iconic in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in 1965, first by Robert Vaughn’s character Napoleon Solo and then more famously by David McCallum’s character Illya Kuryakin. Steve McQueen then wore the roll neck and holster in Bullitt in 1968. By the time Bond copied the look in 1973, it surprisingly still looked fresh.

The Bathrobe Bond

Moore wears three different dressing gowns in Live and Let Die, and it would be a signature look for his Bond alongside the ivory dinner jacket, the blue blazer and the safari suit. Moore is introduced as Bond in a yellow floral dressing gown with red piping and a burgundy ‘J.B.’ chest monogram, and he wears it matching pyjama trousers and purple monogrammed Albert slippers.

A yellow dressing gown and pyjamas follows the warm 1970s trends, but it still looks good on Moore. However, it’s an odd choice to be Moore’s first look as James Bond. A blue dressing gown instead of yellow would have been a more Bondian choice and might have better fit this introductory scene, but it may have looked out of place in Bond’s warm-toned 1970s home.

The dark blue dressing gown in the San Monique hotel is a more Bondian choice based on its colour alone. It has embroidered paisley shapes, recalling the peacock trends of the era, but it’s a tasteful dressing gown. However, it’s not quite as special as monogrammed dressing gown and could not have replaced what Bond wears at home.

Moore concludes the film in a third dressing gown, in white-on-red towelling with navy and red windowpanes. It again looks dated to the 1970s due to the large pattern, and despite being from the venerable Sulka it doesn’t look as luxurious as it must feel.

Other Characters

Yaphet Kotto’s Kananga wears double-breasted suits made by Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle, but his are in flashier fabrics and include more nods to the current fashion trends. They’re interesting but with a level of sophistication that makes them perfect for a Bond villain. While the villains’ fashions are all undoubtedly products of the 1970s, they are all costumed in a fun and creative way.

Well Done, James

The tailored clothes are all beautifully crafted. The full-cut chest and suppressed waist on all the jackets create a dramatic but elegant silhouette. The nods to 1970s trends are subtle and never overdone. The suiting choices are all similar to ones that Sean Connery wore previously as Bond.

The shirts are also beautifully done, thanks to a superb fit, the deep cocktail cuffs, well-proportioned collars and a unique fly front.

The black short-sleeve shirt and black roll neck outfits are perfect casual looks for Bond because they work for the character and perfectly befit their respective settings.

Not Perfected Yet

The tailored clothes in the film are almost perfectly fitted, but the collar sits too low and shows too much of the shirt collar, and it tends to ride up. Roger Moore noticed this issue with Castle’s tailoring and it was a factor in his decision to find a new tailor a few years later. The flared trousers also detract from the tailored looks, but it was a necessity for the era, and the flares are done as tastefully as possible.

The double-breasted suit isn’t the right choice for James Bond, even if it is an otherwise beautiful suit. The tie that Bond wears with it is a poorer choice.

The dressing gown selections aren’t quite right for Bond either, and introducing a new Bond in a dressing gown that doesn’t look ideal for the character is a sub-optimal choice.


Live and Let Die has a few iconic Bond looks such as the navy chesterfield coat and the black polo neck, and the grey and beige tropical wool suits, the tan sports coat, the black roll neck and the black short-sleeve shirt are also fantastic choices. On the other hand, the powder blue leisure suit and some of the dressing gowns miss the mark.

The lack of a dinner jacket in Moore’s first Bond film, particularly when Moore wore them so well in his premiere episodes of The Saint and The Persuaders!, removes some of the Bondian feel from both the film and his version of the character. Only in a Bond film can the wardrobe be judged for not including a dinner jacket.

There is more to love and appreciate about this film’s wardrobe than there is to dislike. The items that are done well are amongst the best in the series.

Rating: 7/10

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Leave your comments below.


  1. Pretty fair assessment Matt, I think MWTGG has more of a Bondian feel in the costumes with the ivory double breasted dinner jacket and navy double breasted blazer.

  2. Moore’s Bond was a trend too familiar with the intel community at the time. If you look up CIA agents, office nerds or field ops, you’ll see how they’re trying too hard and being torn between their traditional dress code and trying to “blend in”. The way Moore’s Bond was dressed and styled reflected that almost too uncannily. I mean, we have the full chest, sizeable lapels, and appropriate trouser lengths, but at the same time, rakish touches, and the idiotic bell-bottoms speaks in and of themselves. They also tried to make Bond humorous, which tragically made him rather comical, and whenever I watch his movies, I can’t help but think a Churchill is not enough to delude myself.

    Also, having his tailor fit him elsewhere other than London might have been a move to entice customers across the Pond that tailors do go overseas for fittings and appointments? Eh, there’s always some kind of marketing going on in any and every movies, to be honest.

    • There are some pretty amusing stories about how J Edgar Hoover would insist that his undercover agents have crew cuts and perfectly shined shoes. That was well and good for most of his tenure, but by the 60’s, when he was sending them to infiltrate hippie communes and Black Power movements, they stuck out as much as Moore Bond does in Harlem.

      • And then, by the 80s, the CIA (pretty much all agencies) struggled *again* to reinstate traditional dress code, which took a while, and ended up with button down collars and wide lapels. The trope never fails to entertain.

        Glad someone else also see this duality happened. I mean, we all are hard on Moore for appropriate reasons, but at the same time, it was also rather comically reflected in history.

  3. My vote is 6/10 (6 only for the overcoat).

    The main problem in my opinion is Castle that (yes i’m harsh) is a mediocre tailor,and in a certain preference of Roger Moore ,in that period, to wear fashion trends and showy details.

    I think that Sinclair or Major could be a better choice,especially Sinclair (and considered that was the production to buy the wardrobe for the movie, i don’t see because shouldn’t be the production to choose the better tailor for Bond).

    Much better the clothes for the next movie,”the Man with the golden gun”,
    but with two with two criticisms:
    Castle stay a mediocre tailor, and despite the suits are interesting,well, is not James Bond,but only Roger Moore.
    But we will see this in the next episode.

    • I’m honestly shocked at your appraisal of Castle’s tailoring. The single negative point I can see about him is the bunching at the scruff of the neck, and even then I had never noticed it before Matt’s article on it. I find these suits to be some of the finest in the series, preferable even to Douglass Haywards. I understand this is all subjective, but I’m curious, what makes you use “mediocre” as a description?

      • Castle tried too hard and it shows. Even in tailoring pieces for others (Matt has an article with pictures) he always had his work with the “try-hard” ethos all over. Drape is supposed to be done just right so that it shows elegance through fullness, and he messed that up big time. Supposedly, he’s only famous because A. his suits are good for those inexperienced, and B. he knew big wigs. I would go out at great length to say Haywards’ cut is more graceful than Castle’s.

        Conclusively, of course, Sinclair remains the greatest. Even better than the Row.

      • The neck of his jackets is terrible.
        The collar often not sit well (see for exemple the gray chalk stripe double breasted in “The man with the golden gun”,with the collar that detach back from the shirt ).
        In his double breasteds the very narrow overlapping in my opinion is not a fashion trend but a trick for to obtain a sufficient opening of the coat on shirt and tie;
        more skilled tailors can do without put the buttons so close.
        Frank Sinatra that had admired the blue chesterfield worn by Moore ordered some suits to Castle,remaining dissatisfied for the horrible cut of the collar.
        Anyhow Cyril Castle was not a cutter,but the tailor of the firm was his brother.

      • Again I’m shocked to hear that. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I never considered the shape of Castle’s work to be anything but stellar. The drape and proportions on his jackets look pretty much perfect to my eyes, the perfect basic canvas on which to add his experimental designs. Now if someone said they didn’t like those fashionable little idiosyncrasies (flared link cuffs, narrow wrapped double-breasted jackets, coin-pockets on trousers, etc.) I’d fully understand. But again, to me, the construction itself looks almost flawless. I can see nothing wrong at all with how they drape.

    • I can see absolutely no issue with the drape or cut either, just the collar riding, otherwise the cut of the jackets is beautiful in my opinion. I prefer the Douglas Hayward cut overall but Cyril Castle did just fine.

  4. Fair appraisal Matt. The clothes do lean a bit too much into the fashion of the times for me and with the tailored clothing the worst offenders are the flared trousers. I do agree with you though that it is still done very tastefully in comparison with what others were wearing at the time. The suits all fit Roger very well, the collar riding aside. I do loathe the blue leisure suit but that navy chesterfield overcoat is for me the best coat in the entire series by some margin and is worth the 7 points on it’s own.

  5. (00)7 out of 10 is a reasonable and not such a bad rating for this early 70’s movie. This must have been the very first time in the franchise that Bond arrives in New York, and what an entrance! The navy Chesterfield coat with the very pale light blue cocktail cuffed poplin shirt and Royal Navy regimental striped tie is such a an iconic signature look, one of my all time high favorites. Of course, I also like Brosnans coat in Hamburg and Craigs Crombie at National Gallery in Skyfall (I have exactly the same, and it is very nice) but that DB Chesterfield is something else… It’s a pity Bond never wore a Covert Coat as well. I also think Felix Leitner did sartorially OK in LALD. I’m a big fan of The Saint and one of my favorite episodes is Luella from 1964. The interplay between Roger, David Hedison and Suzanne Lloyd is hilarious! I’m glad Rog recommended David for the Leitner part and that he later returned in LTK.

    Looking forward to Bond Wardrobe Review Number 9!

  6. Great post. I have to say I think a 7 is harsh. I think Roger’s seventies suits are among the most swish and interesting in the series, with beautiful flow. OK they had flared trousers, but in the seventies all trousers were flared. That was the style. It’s true that a yellow dressing gown is not very Bondian but I think this is trying to establish a more lighthearted version of the character, sadly now lost with Mr Craig. As for the pale blue work wear suit, it answers the question: “what kind of suit should you wear for a fishing trip in the 1970s?” rather well!

  7. Let us also remember that Hamilton and Moore did everything they could to differentiate Moore’s Bond from Connery’s. A little as Hamilton did in Goldfinger to differentiate his Connery Bond from Terence Young’s. No blazer, grenadine, blue shirts or turnback cuffs in GF which were Young’s Bond staples. More earth tones too, even if it is in majority due to the recycling of the Woman of Straw wardrobe. In DAF, Hamilton went back to those Terence Young gimmicks because it was in fact Connery’s Bond’s return. But in LALD, they had to distance themselves. Two-button were kept as well as cocktail cuffs but those were Foster’s and Moore. No grenadine tie, loafers, double-breasted suit…in fact also more of Roger Moore’s personal style. In Young’s and Hunt’s episodes, the style was that of the director, they shared the same tailor. Here for the first time, it is the style of the actor. With Lindy Hemming, it will the style of the costume designer.

    • Well said and it was, here, now, the style of the actor because this particular actor had bags more style in his little finger than any director or costume designer. The criticisms of Castle’s tailoring is unwarranted. I have a Castle sports coat which fits beautifully and way beyond what would be achieved by most modern tailors. I saw the collar issue when Matt pointed it out and I’d expect that was the case with 90% of untrained eyes too. EVERY tailor Moore used was different but ALL had quality and workmanship behind them. Many may point out criticisms of aspects of Hayward or Angelo Roma tailoring style but there’s no denying the artistry involved.

    • I believe that the collar issue is a significant one, but I do believe the narrow wrap of the double-breasted suits was chosen for style. Others did it in the 1960s.

  8. I think 7/10 is a fair score for the film’s wardrobe as there are many pieces that look wonderful in the film while others look badly dated or aren’t to my personal taste. Overall the powder blue leisure suit is the easily the most dated item in the film and is probably Moore’s sartorial low throughout his tenure as Bond. I also don’t care much for some of Moore’s robes (with the blue one being the nicest) and the poor collar fit of Castle’s jackets is the biggest detriment to his otherwise perfect jackets.

    Other than these quibbles, I am honestly a fan of many of the items in this film. The navy flannel suit and overcoat is iconic, the light grey and beige tropical suit are attractive and perfect for the climate (as a person living in a tropical country myself), the tan sport coat combination is amongst my favorite sport coats in the series and is one I have emulated myself (though modernizing and cooling it with a blue shirt and navy tie to better flatter my winter complexion), the black short sleeve shirt and tan trousers is a timeless classic (similar to Connery’s casual apparel), and the black polo neck shows Moore’s athletic and cooler side.

    Even though I am a fan of the style of Sean Connery’s Bond (as we share a similar complexion) and his Sinclair suits in the 60’s suited his muscular frame well, I must admit that I am slightly more partial to the silhouette and design of Castle’s jackets for Bond (and in this film in particular, the lapels are as timeless in width as Connery’s in Dr. No) and the slightly wider lapels give presence to Moore’s barrel chested body without taking it to the extreme width as his Angelo jackets did (I myself like a timeless medium to slightly medium-wide (but still classic) width not too dissimilar to Moore’s lapels here). And even though the flared trouser legs don’t hold up so well today, they were a necessity back in the day so as to keep Bond relevant and at least Castle’s flared legs look as tasteful as they can be in a boot-cut fashion. While I don’t have anything against double breasted suits (and they do look good on Moore and his Bond), I’ll have to agree with Matt in that they aren’t quite right for Bond in his normal civilian life even though it recalls his military heritage (though this is purely a matter of taste as I have a preference for single breasted jackets).

    Overall, while the film’s wardrobe I think isn’t quite to the level of Goldfinger or Thunderball (or even Majesty’s wardrobe), there is plenty to love in the film if one can look past the slightly 70s aesthetic (the powder blue outfit excepted and not that there is nothing necessarily wrong with the 70’s apart from the excesses) and the films boasts some of the most iconic and attractive clothing that Bond has ever worn.

  9. Apart from early publicity Stills Moore makes little attempt to dress like Bond. This wardrobe is nowhere near as bad as TSWLM and Moore is still comparatively youthful but a few of the outfits are far too trendy for Bond. Not as bad as the awful outfits in the Persuaders
    No doubt the usual suspects will be here to talk about “innate sense of style”. Sigh.

    • Well, he did an attempt to slim down a bit to look more like Bond and wore his trousers in size 34 (instead of 36). A condition for signing the contract.

  10. I don’t think Moore’s looks were a problem l just can’t see Bond wearing some of the clothes in the film


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