Comparison: Suit Trousers in the First Two Bond Films

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Connery-Trousers
Connery’s suit trousers in Dr. No

Throughout the 1960s, Anthony Sinclair tailored all of Sean Connery’s suit trousers in the same style. They have double forward pleats, the traditional English-style pleats that opens towards the fly. The leg is tapered and has approximately 1 3/4″ turn-ups. The trousers’ waistband has an approximately 2 1/2″ square extension that keeps the front of the waistband straight, and it closes with a hidden clasp so there are no buttons visible on the front. Inside, the trousers are secured with two buttons and a zip fly. The sides of the waistband have button-tab “Daks tops” side adjusters with three buttons—usually made of smoke mother-of-pearl—on each side. The side pockets are on the side seams, and there is one button-through jetted pocket in the rear on the right side.

Connery's updated suit trousers in From Russia with Love
Connery’s updated suit trousers in From Russia with Love

Though all of Sean Connery’s suit trousers in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice are made with the same features, the trousers’ cut was updated after the first Bond film, Dr. No. The change can be seen in the second Bond film, From Russia with Love. The rise in Dr. No is extremely high by today’s standards, and it was even high for 1962. A year later for From Russia with Love, Sinclair lowered the rise slightly to correspond with the new lower button stance on his suit jackets. The rise is still high for today’s fashions, but it doesn’t look quite as old-fashioned. The cut was also trimmed down overall. The deep pleats seen on the Dr. No trousers were made shallower for From Russia with Love, and as a result the trousers fit closer around the hips and thighs. Though this updated fit continued through the 1960s, by You Only Live Twice Connery’s pleated trousers were markedly unfashionable and old-fashioned.

25 COMMENTS

  1. The trousers in Dr No make Connery look three quarters legs and one quarter body. It looks a little ridiculous by any standard. as you say, the button stance was higher and in order not to leave the unsightly gap between trouser top and top button this was necessary. In From Russia with Love the lower top button allows the trouser top to be lower and has a much more aesthetically pleasing look, in my opinion. On the subject of pleats, I believe the forward pointing ones also give a slimmer look and anyway help to avoid creasing in the trousers which is always an issue with flat fronts.

    • They do look more comfortable, but I can’t say the appearance is better. I find them to look a bit absurd–much like I find low-rise trousers to look absurd when taken to the extreme.

  2. Note that his shirts also look a bit trimmer by comparison. Overall, I think FRWL’s tailored clothing looks a little better than Dr No’s. It is in step with the times, yet not to the extent of silly looking — kind of what I go for in my personal fashion. The style details on the suit jackets were fine tuned from the first “run through” — pockets are at a more normal level and flapped, lapels a bit more refined in shape. The slightly trimmer fit (in the jackets too — they seem to have given up on the reality of needing more fullness to conceal a pistol by then) also better suits Connery’s physique.

    Curious, why use smoked mother of pearl unless the suit jacket’s buttons were also made of that?

    • jovan, completely agree with you. The style and cut of the suits in FRWL are my favourites and what I would term as timeless. Elegant, complimentary to the figure and comfortable.

  3. I love the trousers of Dr No; my tailor i Sicily cut the trousers very similiar,and the fact that are unfashionable in RTW delight me..
    Of course have not “Daks tabs” that are never popular in Italy.
    By the way…how fit trousers with daks tabs?
    Really take well on the trousers like a belt?

    • I didn’t think any tailor in Italy would cut trousers with forward pleats! I prefer side adjusters with a slide buckle over the button-tab kind. The button-tab adjusters don’t tighten the trousers so much because of the elastic, and fine adjustments cannot be made. I like how the slide buckle kind can be adjusted to any size, and they really hold well. D-rings don’t hold at all, in my experience. I don’t like belts because they can leave a lump under a jacket in back.

  4. “I didn’t think any tailor in Italy would cut trousers with forward pleats”!

    On demand,yes,
    And i have ask for forward pleats after that i have read about in this forum..
    And yes flattering very well.
    Unfortunately my tailor have not experience with daks tabs or adjusers,so i prefer not to risk.

  5. Matt,

    IIRC, the rule about tie lengths is that they shouldn’t go below the top of your pants while standing. Does that only apply when your pants are relatively high-waisted, as in the Dr. No pic?

    • The ideal tie length is for the front blade reach the trousers’ waistband and not extend below the bottom of the waistband. It doesn’t matter where the trousers sit, the tie should reach the waistband.

    • Sean Connery is extra tall! You’re right that the tie is short, at least by today’s standards, but ties were generally shorter back then. Connery’s tie is also tied in a Windsor knot, which takes up more length. Currently ties are longer than they’ve ever been due to people wearing their trousers lower.

    • I thought Connery used the four in hand knot? He wouldn’t trust someone who used a Windsor knot….or have I got it mixed up?

      Also re trouser rise. In terms of inches what would you say the difference is? Because in that scene in FRWL, when he takes the shirt off, his trousers sit on his naval, so would the trousers be higher in Dr. No i.e. above the naval?

      Additionally, having watched both back to back, Connery’s physique is (however slightly) better in Dr.No, so not sure if this has an effect on the look of the suits. (Or that the Dr. No suits are probably much lighter in weight).

      Matt, how long would you say the pleats are between Dr. No and FRWL? It seems the pleat length in FRWL would allow for a slimmer fit in the hip and thigh areas. (Particularly if I asked my tailor to have the pleats at the same length as FRWL in order to maintain the slimmer fit).

      • Fleming’s Bond is the one who never uses a windsor knot. Connery uses a windsor knot in Dr. No and From Russia with Love.

        I’d say the difference of the rise is about an inch.

        I really can’t determine how long the pleats are. The longer and deeper pleats in Dr. No are a necessity for the higher trouser rise.

  6. My new suit has a rise whereby the waistband covers my belly button and the jacket’s fastening button is level to the belly button as well.
    The whole idea of unfashionable style for me is absolutely irrelevant. I can however, quite easily see this style of trousers coming back into fashion whereby I can explain to those who were mocking me last week at a wedding “I told you so”
    Cheers
    Ryan

    • Ryan,
      I couldn’t agree more! When Dr. No was rereleased in Italy in 1974, at the height of the fashion for tight, hip-hugging pants, I was young and foolish and thought Connery’s pants were odd to say the least. Now that I am older and wiser, I actually brought the very picture Matt used in this post to my tailor to have a pair of gray flannel trousers made along those lines.

  7. I cast my vote for the Dr. No trousers. Yes, they look old-fashioned in light of today’s style. But so what? They hang beautifully, and would be much more comfortable than anything in style today. I should think one of the pleasures of custom ordering would be thumbing your nose at current trends.

    • Walter, even though I don’t personally care for pleated trousers at all ( I much prefer the “streamlined” look of a flat front trouser with a decent rise) I salute you for the attitude displayed in your last sentence!

  8. The timing of this post is rather ironic. I recently started getting bespoke clothing from a local tailor and I got my first suit last month, a black and white pick and pick in the style of the beloved Goldfinger three-piece. The cut of the pants are very much like those in Dr. No. It was a great, first attempt, but for the next one, a dark blue suit inspired by the mottled blue suit in Goldfinger, I have asked for revisions to the pants, very much in line with the changes made between Dr. No and FRWL, such as a slightly lower rise and narrower pleats/slimmer thighs.

  9. For sure the Dr. No suit trousers have a very high rise by today’s standards because Sinclair cut to the true waist, if not slightly above it, and was, one assumes, mainly concerned with the line of the suit when it was worn with a fastened jacket. Anyway, if you look at the suit trousers of tall actors like Gregory Peck or James Stewart in the late ’50’s or early ’60’s you won’t see much difference. I actually find the lack of a break over the shoe more of a surprise.
    If I didn’t say so when we were comparing the Dr. No and DAF s suits, this is an utterly righteous suit

  10. I only found this blog recently, and am enjoying it immensely.
    I didn’t realise Connery’s trousers had turn-ups; thanks for pointing this out. I remember my father’s straight legged 1960’s trousers having side-adjusters, English pleats, a medium height rise, and turn-ups. I always admired their style.

  11. Where do you think the From Russia With Love trousers sat on his waist? Slightly below the waist, around the height of navel roughly?

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