Classic City Suit: The Grey Rope Stripe in Octopussy

Octopussy Grey Rope Stripe

In Octopussy, James Bond comes to the office wearing a three-piece suit by Douglas Hayward in dark grey serge with a white rope stripe. Because the grey isn’t very dark, the rope stripe isn’t as overbearing as it could be on a dark navy or charcoal suit. And a white rope stripe on a black suit makes one look like a gangster The timelessness of the grey rope stripe is proven by it’s recent appearance in Skyfall, but now it is with a light blue stripe that coordinates with Daniel Craig’s shirt. The suit in Octopussy is a classic button three, cut with a clean chest and has natural shoulders with roped sleeve heads. The lapels are a little on the narrow side, in comparison with the classically-balanced lapels on the beige gabardine suit we see following this one. The jacket has double vents, three buttons on the cuffs and flapped pockets. The trousers have a flat front and medium-width straight legs with plain hems.

The waistcoat has six buttons, with the bottom left open. The waistcoat’s cutaway at the bottom is cut at an angle starting at the bottom buttonhole.

M and the Minister of Defense are also wearing three-piece striped suits, in navy worsted and brown flannel, respectively.

The ice blue cotton voile—a high-twist airy and semi-sheer fabric—shirt is made by Frank Foster and has a large spread collar, a front placket and large rounded single-button cuffs with oversized buttons. The brick red tie has the sheen of a satin tie, and it is neatly tied in a four-in-hand knot. The shoes are black leather apron-toe slip-ons. Bond enters the office carrying a medium grey trilby with a black ribbon. Even though none of the elements of this outfit match each other, everything goes well together in a most classic way.

Notice the extra-large button on the cuff.
Notice the extra-large button on the cuff.


  1. This is (in my most humble opinion!) a faultless example of both Douglas Hayward’s skill as a master tailor and Roger Moore’s excellent sartorial taste.

    Just one question, Matt; what sets a rope stripe apart from a chalk stripe? The construction of the stripe I assume, which doesn’t appear to be as uniform in the way of a pin or chalk stripe? Also, and this may be the quality of the medium I always viewed the movie on – but I would have thought the tie colour was wine red/burgundy. Isn’t brick more of a red with a brown hue?

  2. Perfect example of flawless English tailoring. I love it. Tough to imagine a more timeless, classic ensemble than this.
    I do have one small favor to ask, please don’t write about the clown outfit! That’s really the only thing I don’t like about Octopussy, it detracts from what is otherwise a spot-on Bond film, even if the leading man is really starting to show his age.

  3. I have been looking forward to this one. It always struck me as the most classic and English (while avoiding affectation or foppishness) of the post-1980 Moore looks, perfect for the aging, English-version of Bond as he goes to Whitehall and Sotheby’s.

  4. I must admit the cut is beautiful. The very low button stance of the jacket and the lapel roll first made me think it was a two-button suit, like the chalkstriped in FRWL. A much more elegant outfit than the one he wears in AVTAK when meeting M & Co.
    By the way, Matt, has Moore’s Bond ever worn a (light) grey 2-piece glen plaid suit ? To me, it could be added to the Bond essentials, but I wonder if he has.

      • The shirt & tie combination, a little too matchy but especially the shirt. Looks like Moore is trying to imitate Gordon Gekko. And the suit itself is great but grey flannel don’t mesh with that kind of shirt at all, as far as I am concerned.

      • Le Chiffre, the Gordon Gekko character appeared on screen 2 years after Moore’s swan song as Bond. These type of shirts have been long popular with City types (Moore wears examples in The Man Who Haunted Himself in 1970, in The Persuaders in 1971, Street People in 1975 and first as Bond in For Your Eyes Only in 1981) so I think with the two cinematic characters concerned it’s a “chicken and egg” question. Personally, I always liked these shirts and Moore’s Foster versions are particularly nice examples (and as Matt pointed out the AVTAK shirt and tie colour scheme flatters Moore) but, fair enough, everyone to their own.

  5. Thanks, I was looking forward to your coverage of this suit, Matt. One of my favorites! Are you sure about the shirt color, though? It certainly looks light blue in the screeshots here, but I had always thought it was white.

  6. Matt, would this tie which I’ve just bought on E Bay be akin to brick red? The seller calls it “copper” but isn’t copper more brown with a red cast whereas I would describe brick red as red with a brown cast. Thanks.

  7. Is this Roger Moore’s lone 3 button suit during his tenure as Bond? When I say “suit” I mean when he wears it with a shirt and tie. I know that Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig’s suits are 95% 3 button. The 3 piece suits that George Lazenby wears to the office are 3 button. Timothy Dalton also wore a 3 piece suit with a 3 button jacket. I know that Connery wore 3 button tweed jackets in Diamonds are Forever, but then again, he wears them with casual shirts and no tie. It’s pretty much impossible to find a suit other than this one that has 3 buttons for either Connery or Moore. Is this the lone 3 button suit according to my terms for both Connery and Moore combined, or are there suits that they wear with 3 buttons? Why is it that both Connery and Moore wore very few 3 button suits?

    • Roger Moore wears three suits with three buttons in his three films in the 1980s. He wears them only in London for a more formal and traditional look. Anthony Sinclair preferred button two suits, even though button three suits were more popular in the 1960s in England. Sinclair may have felt that button two jackets looked better on Connery’s athletic physique, and they did indeed emphasise it. Fashion trends are why Bond wore button two suits in the 1970s.

  8. Interesting detail about the shirt cuff. It looks fine and isn’t really drawing the attention. Definitely an improvement over the Lapidus cuffs.

  9. This grey is confusing. I have medium gray, charcoal gray, and medium gray and I still can’t match that color. I think it’s important to match the gray because I think this shirt and tie color combination match it perfectly.

  10. Interesting to see how Moore gradually moves onto a simpler and simpler shirt cuff design. Are the shirt cuffs in Octopussy and A View to a Kill the same?

  11. I adore three piece suits. My favorite out of the three is M’s blue striped suit. I personally prefer blue stripe suits and this one looks great. I have two questions.

    1. Is M’s suit the same suit at the end of the film, and what pair of shoes do believe is paired with the suit?

    2. Do you think he wears braces or side adjusters?

    • I think Robert Brown’s M wears a similar three piece suit on Licence to Kill, once he notices Moneypenny’s concerns for Bond. I know you mentioned that the grey suit was not special enough to cover, so perhaps this could be an alternative. Considering I do noy believe that you ever covered any of his business suits, this example would be a good one to write on.

  12. Just wondering with a 3 piece suit; the suit jacket is not buttoned in this photo, but would it be a faux pass if it was buttoned? In Goldfinger, The country suit in M’s office was buttoned while wearing the waistcoat, but in the famous Goldfinger suit it remained unbuttoned. Would this rule about buttoning when wearing vest still be followed today?

    • In Goldfinger, Connery wears the grey glen check suit jacket both open and buttoned. There’s no rule that the jacket of a three-piece suit should be worn open. You can wear it either way. As a personal preference, I think that when wearing a three-piece suit, a button-two jacket looks better closed while a button-three jacket looks better open.

  13. I was wondering Matt with this 3 piece suit do you think Bond is wearing a belt with it? I know that in the previous film the 3 piece suit is worn with a belt and all of the 2 piece suits in this film are as well. However, do you think that this is the same for this suit in this film? Still a great example of Roger Moore dressing well as James Bond!


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