You know that strip of fabric down the front of your shirt that you button through? That’s called a placket and can be found on almost all traditional English shirts. Traditional American shirts have them too. A placket might look a little rustic in comparison to the cleaner plain (French) front, but it adds stability to the front of the shirt. Aesthetically a placket makes the front of the shirt symmetrical. Bond’s formal and dress shirts almost always have a placket, the most notable exception being dress shirts (Tuxedo shirts) with a pique bib worn with studs. But not all plackets are the same, and the English have their own way of doing it.
Traditional shirts, from England or elsewhere, have stitching on the collar and cuffs 1/4-inch from the edge, and often that follows on the placket. But it’s common for Jermyn Street shirtmakers and other high-end shirtmakers in London to stitch their plackets closer to the centre than how they stitch their collars and cuffs. Turnbull & Asser stitches their placket 3/8 inches from the edge. And since the placket is only 1 3/16 inches wide, the stitching almost divides the placket into 3 equal sections. It is around the typical width for Jermyn Street plackets, though some are wider. Turnbull & Asser’s plackets on Pierce Brosnan’s shirts are the same as they were over 30 years earlier on Connery’s shirts.
Frank Foster—Roger Moore’s and George Lazenby’s shirtmaker—stitches his plackets in a unique style closer to the centre and just a little wider than the buttonholes. This allows the edges of the placket to flare out, which may or may not be desirable according to your taste. For On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the plackets are about 3 1/2 cm wide and stitched about 1 cm from the edge. In Live and Let Die the buttons are hidden under the placket, and the placket has one line of stitching down the centre. Starting in The Man with the Golden Gun, Foster’s plackets are 3 1/2 cm wide and stitched 1 1/2 cm from the edge.
Brioni’s plackets are the most common style. Their placket is wider than what English shirts typically have, closer to 1 1/2 inches like most American shirts. And like most American, Italian and French plackets, these follow the collar and cuffs with stitching 1/4-inch from the edge. Tom Ford’s plackets also have 1/4-inch stitching, though the overal width is closer to Turnbull & Asser’s.