Comparison: Grey Suits in Dr. No and Diamonds Are Forever

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Dr. No, left, and Diamonds Are Forever, right
Dr. No, left, and Diamonds Are Forever, right

Anthony Sinclair tailored almost all of Sean Connery’s suits in the James Bond series, from Dr. No in 1962 to Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The overall cut of Connery’s suits didn’t change much throughout the 1960s, but by 1971 there was a noticeable change in style. We will take a closer look at this change using the light grey suit from Dr. No and a similar light grey suit from Diamonds Are Forever, to at least keep the cloth constant. The shoulders—the foundation of a suit’s silhouette—are the same in both 1962 and 1971: natural with roped sleeve heads. The chest, however, is different. The Dr. No suit has a draped chest whilst the Diamonds suit has a much cleaner chest.

Dr-No-Grey-Suit-3

The most obvious difference between the Dr. No and Diamonds suits is the lapel width. The lapel width isn’t exaggerated in either case, but it is noticeably wider in Diamonds than it is in Dr. No. The lapels were narrower in Connery’s other 1960s Bond films, but they were also a different shape. The gorge—the seam where the collar meets the lapel—is much steeper in Dr. No than it is in any of Connery’s other Bond films.

Hip pocket flaps also follow the lapel width. Though none of the suit jackets in Dr. No have pocket flaps, many of the suits in Connery’s subsequent Bond films throughout the 1960s have narrow pocket flaps that reflect the decade’s narrow lapel width. Wide pocket flaps in Diamonds reflect the new decade’s wide lapels, and the suits in Diamonds Are Forever feature the widest pocket flaps of the entire Bond series. In addition to have fashionably wide flaps, the pockets are also slanted, following a popular trend that had been around since the mid 60s. The pockets in Dr. No are placed unusually low, and pockets that low would look even more odd if they had flaps. The pockets are below the jacket’s bottom button, whilst ordinarily they are at the level of or just a little higher than the bottom button. The pockets in subsequent Bond films are higher.

The jacket’s button stance is lower in Diamonds than it is in Dr. No. For From Russia with Love, the button stance was lowered, and it stayed lower in all of Connery’s Bond films through Diamonds Are Forever. The button stance in Dr. No is both more in line with today’s trends and more classically proportioned, but the lower button stance certainly lends a stronger appearance by emphasising the chest and Connery’s V-shaped torso. Because the lapels and tie are wider in Diamonds Are Forever, the button stance doesn’t really look so low. The low button stance in From Russia With Love through Thunderball emphasised Connery’s athletic build, whilst in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever it helped make his no-longer-athletic body look more athletic.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Grey-Suit-2

The length of Connery’s double vents increased over time. The vents in Dr. No are roughly 8 inches, which followed the trend towards short vents. They are still a practical length compared to the ultra-short double vents on Jack Lord’s suit in Dr. No. Connery’s vents increased to about 10 inches two years later in Goldfinger, and they are around 12 inches deep in Diamonds. The trend towards deeper vents started in the late 1960s and continued to the early 1980s. Deep double vents are both slimming and heightening because they create vertical lines that extend the line of the leg. Connery needed as much help as he could get in Diamonds, and the deeper double vents are indeed flattering.

Another detail that could easily go unnoticed is that the colour of the buttons has changed. The grey plastic buttons in Dr. No match the suit whereas the dark grey horn buttons in Diamonds contrast with the suit. The darker buttons in Diamonds look nice but they draw attention to Connery’s waist, which isn’t one of his better areas.

Dr-No-Grey-Suit-2

The change in trouser style is one of the biggest changes from Dr. No to Diamonds. In the 1960s, all of Connery’s suit trousers have double forward pleats, whilst in Diamonds they have a small dart on in front of the side pocket on either side. The rise is a little shorter in Diamonds than in Dr. No. The rise was lowered after Dr. No when the jacket’s button stance was also lowered. The legs in both Dr. No and Diamonds both have a trim and tapered cut, though the leg in Diamonds is tapered a little less. The bottoms in Dr. No were finished with turn-ups whilst the bottoms in Diamonds are finished with a plain hem. Only before in Goldfinger did Connery wears his suit trousers with plain hems.

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Grey-Suit-3

The Turnbull & Asser shirts didn’t change much between Dr. No and Diamonds. The collar got a little taller, it narrowed a little and the collar points got a little longer, but not by much. The shirts still have the same cocktail cuffs, though Connery only fastens the first button in Diamonds to allow the cuff to roll over the second button. The ties follow the lapel width, and the tie in Dr. No is navy grenadine whilst the tie in Diamonds is black with varying ribs.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Matt.

    What colour tie do you feel looks most aesthetic on a light grey suit ?
    Big thanks. John.

  2. Matt, how wide would you say Connery’s ties were throughout his tenure? I understand they got thinner after Dr No then ballooned for DAF, but do you have any rough estimates as to the widths?

    • They’re about 3″ in Dr. No. The grenadines are around 2.75″ throughout the rest of the 60s, whilst the knits are about 2.5″. In Diamonds Are Forever they are about 4″. I have the same tie as in this scene in Diamonds, and mine measures 4″.

  3. Great and detailed article Matt, as always.
    I have some questions about button stance : how would you “rank” (lowest-highest) the button stance of the suits of Dr no vs the ones of FRWL and after vs the button stance of the Moore’s Hayward suits ? Are these the ones which have the lowest button stance for Bond, if we decide to ignore the suits of Dalton ?

    And would you say that the rise of the suits of Dr No is similar to the Brioni suits in Casino Royale and, to an extent, to the current trend of today, which seems to place the working button in the middle of the jacket ?

    As some might see, I highly regret the presence of suits in RTW with a rather low button stance today…

    • Moore’s Hayward suits have a slightly lower button stance than Connery’s suits post-Dr. No have. The Licence to Kill suits are roughly the same. The button stance of the suits in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies is also about the same, but it doesn’t look as low because the jackets are about an inch longer than they ideally should be.

      What do you mean by rise? Rise is the measurement of the trouser’s outseam minus inseam, and Connery’s trousers can’t compare to anything today. If you’re still talking about button stance, the Dr. No suits and all of the suits since Die Another Day have a similar button stance. When comparing the button stance of a button two jacket to a button three, it’s only fair to measure them by the button that fastens and not the top button.

  4. No doubt in my mind that both Connery and the suit are better in Dr No. You’re right, Matt, that the working button is relatively high in Dr No compared to FRWL and GF but the rise of the trousers is also higher in Dr No to avoid the unsightly gap between button and trouser tops which is the horror of today’s suits. Personally, I prefer a lower working button and proportionately a lower trouser rise.

  5. Very nice and detailed comparison Matt. It is interesting to see how suit styles change in 9 years. Personally, I like the Dr No suits better, I prefer the slimmer tie and lapel width. On the other hand, that may just be because Connery himself looks much better in 1962. He was only 41 in DAF but I think he looks much older. It’s weird to think that Brosnan was actually older in Goldeneye.
    Do you think some of the detailing of the DAF suits were chosen to help disguise Connery’s expanding size?
    Some questions if you don’t mind Matt, you mentioned in the comments above that the tie width for many of Connery’s films are 2.75″. What do you think about wearing a tie like this nowadays? I saw a tie in a shop yesterday that I like but the width is definitely less than the 3″ tie I was wearing (which thetiebar already classifies as ‘slim’). Will this tie look dated in a few years?
    Another thing is the button stance, I prefer a lower button stance because I think it looks good on my figure (I’m 5’7″). Would you say a lower button stance looks better on most people? How about someone shorter, around 5’3″ and 130 lbs?
    Thanks!

    • I think ties under 3″ wide look unbalanced. They certainly won’t look fashionable for very long.

      I think a lower button stance suits most people except the very short. It depends on the proportions of your body. A lower button stance makes the legs look shorter, and that’s not helpful for shorter people.

      • Matt,

        Thanks for your answers. I admit your site has been my primary source of information (and inspiration) for suits and formal dress. It’s very informative and always good fun to read.

  6. I feel that that Dr No suits’ cut are fitting to the shape that Connery is in physically. It all goes hand in hand. Because his waist is very hard and flat it takes the higher rise trousers better (and look great). He’d look silly if he had that kind of rise on the trousers 7 or 8 years later. And obviously the button stance and trouser rise are nice and flush as previously commented. All in all it gives his legs the appearance of being longer and because he’s in great shape he still looks relaxed and comfortable with the higher button stance.
    That said, I myself prefer the slightly lower button stance of the succeeding films, probably because at 29 years old I see them as classic and not the “norm” of what we see today in RTW.
    I myself prefer the Goldfinger suits – Especially the 3 piece charcoal flannel woolen in the end sequence (though I do prefer Connery wearing turn-ups :))
    Great article Matt!

    Thanks
    Ryan

  7. “I highly regret the presence of suits in RTW with a rather low button stance today…” I couldn’t agree more.

    I know Matt himself expressed this view some time ago and I agreee 100% with it that a lower button stance (be it a la the suits in “From Russia With Love”, “Diamonds are Forever”, “The Man With The Golden Gun” “For Your Eyes Only” or “Goldeneye”) coupled with a higher rise trouser than is currently fashionable is infinitely preferable and far more aesthetically pleasing (although I grant that “aesthetics” is a subjective matter) than a higher positioned button coupled with a lower rise trouser etc. (The worst of all possible combinations which will show several inches of tie and perhaps a few more of belly depending on the wearer’s personal fitness!) on account of the fact that it allows for no break between jacket and trouser. Connery did ok with the higher button stance in the “Dr. No” suits on account of the fact that the trousers had a corresponding higher rise. I completely fail to understand hiow this current fashion became embraced by so many but then again one should never undersestimate the fact that many people would rather be dead than be viewed as passé fashion wise (a human tribal instinct).

    Having said all that, I much prefer everything about the suits on Connery in “Diamonds” even though he obviously certainly didn’t look his best in this film (As Matt points out Sinclair did a great job – as any competent tailor should – of covering up Connery’s out of shape physique) but that wasn’t the question posed.

    Finally, I wouldn’t rule out the low button stance coming back in to vogue in the next years. If one views the shape of suits in the last decades it’s definitely due a return.

  8. Matt,
    This is really a GREAT,great post!
    I premise some considerations:
    1-I like more the Dr No suit because is more clean and slender.
    2-The aging of Sean Connery in only 9 years is frightening; he seems twenty year more old that in Dr No!

    Said this i think that here we have James Bond 007 that dress as should dress
    through the years: clean single breasted suits in gray or blue,white shirts with cocktail cuffs,grenadine or knitted ties in black or blue.
    This is the way in which directors should dress actors that play James Bond.
    This is THE ICONIC Bond attire.

    Exist also a iconic type of Bond?
    For me yes,and is a (call it) “Conneryesque type.
    Connery,Lazemby and the early Dalton (from “The living daylight”) have a iconic 007 apparence; Moore none (is only “The Saint” that play Bond),Brosnan very few (is only a more serious Roger Moore).
    Craig is in the middle (but more close to Connery type,also if not physically).

  9. Great post. It is remarkable how quickly fashion can change. From a gradual slimming throughout the 1960’s that resulted in some 2014-like extreme, fashion veered completely in the opposite direction in only 2 years. Something similar happened in 1980-81. Hopefully, another swing will happen soon, but not overcompensate for the 2012-2014 shrunken look. But it will likely overcompensate and we will end up with long coats and wide lapels.

  10. RRL Ralph Lauren maybe anticipates this trend.
    Anyway i hope that do not go back to 70s,but to the best 50s.

  11. Another great detailed post Matt! Both suits demonstrate great style in my view. What’s most interesting is the difference in Connery’s appearance in each film in spite of the somewhat subtle style differences between the two suits. Personally though, I’m a fan of the Sixties style and the Dr. No suit which became the defacto standard.

  12. Matt, I really enjoy these compare/contrast articles that you have created, it shows us readers how the character has to adapt to new fashion trends depending on the decade.

    On a different note, I think it would be neat if you compare/contrast Cary Grant’s three piece dinner jacket from Notorious and Pierce Brosnan’s three piece dinner jacket from either Goldeneye or Tomorrow Never Dies.

    Your blog is truly the best!

  13. I think that the most helpful tip that we can all take away from this post is to not let ourselves go. Other than male pattern baldness, nothing ages a man more than weight gain.

    Having said that, I find a tough call between these two suits. The one from Dr. No has more pleasing proportions in its construction to my eye, but the coat looks too loose on Connery – almost as if he borrowed his dad’s or big brother’s suit. By contrast, the fit of the Diamonds are Forever suit is fantastic, but the overall style is not quite as good. Fit aside, I find that the DN suit looks elegant; the DAF suit looks more sporty.

  14. Re: Connery in Diamonds are Forever… he looks older than he was partly from the weight gain and partly because, well, he seems BORED throughout the entire thing! His performance lacks the same kind of energy he brought to other movies as the character. From what I can gather, he reluctantly took up the mantle one last time when George Lazenby declined to appear in another film.

    Fast forward 12 years later and he stars in an unofficial remake of Thunderball titled Never Say Never Again. His confidence is renewed and he isn’t bogged down by constantly playing the same character year after year. He’s in better shape than he was in Diamonds are Forever. Despite showing obvious signs of being in middle age, such as more wrinkles and grey hair, we /perceive/ him as looking more youthful because of the better attitude towards the role.

    • Their ready-to-wear suits are not remakes of any of the Bond suits. Of all of Connery’s Bond suits, they are most similar in cut and style to the Diamonds Are Forever suits, just with more balanced lapels. I’ve heard great things about the quality.

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