Front Darts on a Jacket

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Extended-Front-Dart
The darts on Sean Connery’s suit jacket, highlighted in red

All of James Bond’s lounge coats—suit jackets, sports coats and dinner jacket—have a front dart. Darts are folds sewn into the cloth to help provide a three-dimensional shape. The front dart gives fullness to the chest and is used by almost all British and Italian tailors. Almost all suits today have it. Tailoring in the American Ivy League style, like what Cec Linder wears as Felix Leiter in Goldfinger, dispenses with the front dart for a cleaner and straighter look, but it relies on an underarm dart for a little shape. A GQ article from April 1966 says that Sean Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair doesn’t use a front dart in patterned cloths, only a side dart. The dart noticeably disrupts a large pattern. Sinclair darted all of Connery’s lounge coats, but Sean Connery’s athletic drop would be difficult to tailor well without a front dart.

Extended-Front-Dart-2
The extended darts, highlighted in cyan, disrupt the large pattern on Roger Moore’s jacket.

All of Bond’s lounge coats from Dr. No through The Man with the Golden Gun feature a front dart that extends from the chest down to the hem. The dart needs to extend to the hem to prevent too much skirt flare. This method of darting isn’t used very much today since the long dart is more disrupting, especially when a pattern is involved. Some tailors only extend the dart to the hem when cutting a jacket with patch pockets since the dart is partially hidden. Anthony Sinclair, Dimi Major and Cyril Castle all cut their lounge coats this way. One tailor that still uses the extended front dart is Napolisumisura in Naples, Italy, but very few others still do. The extended front dart is used in conjunction with an underarm dart.

Displaced-Front-Dart
The displaced front dart, highlighted in red. This is how most lounge coats are cut now.

From The Spy Who Loved Me to now, all of Bond’s front darts extend to only the pocket, where the rest of the dart is displaced horizontally across the pocket and continued down from the bottom of the underarm dart. The effect is still the same as if the dart continued straight down. This creates a separate piece called the side body. There are other methods of cutting coats, but this is the most common. On patch pockets coats you can look inside the pocket to see how the front dart is cut horizontally to be displaced in the side body seam. Displacing the lower part of the dart hides it under the sleeve and makes pattern mismatching less noticeable. Angelo Roma, Douglas Hayward, Brioni and Tom Ford lounge coats are all cut like this. The new Anthony Sinclair suits are also cut in this manner.

For more on the front dart, whether extended straight to the hem or displaced to the side, see The Cutter and Tailor.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Learned something new today. Thanks! I’m guessing the extended darts are part of what give older coats their distinctive look? I believe one of my vintage suits had it.

    • I don’t think the extended dart is much different from displacing it to the side body like it is on most modern coats. The older look, I think, is more due to neither an extended dart nor a side body. I have a tweed jacket from the 60s that has a dart in the chest and a dart under the sleeve, and both end at the pocket.

  2. Extended dart is a signature of Neapolitan tailors (school of Attolini/Rubinacci) since 30s.
    All Neapolitan tailors make coats with extended dart.
    Some Florentine tailors (Liverano&Liverano) use slanted darts.
    The other Italian tailors cut darts only until the pockets line.

    • Not all Neapolitan tailors use the extended dart, but many do.

      The other Italian tailors displace the bottom of the dart to the side body. Most Italian tailoring uses a side body.

      • Today barely all Neapolitan tailors use extended darts.
        In past the school of Blasi used sometimes front darts to the pockets,today i don’t know none neapolitan tailor that not cut extended darts (with the exception possible of Pirozzi is a customer ask for this).
        For side darts you mean slanted darts?
        This is typical of some Florentine schools,today a tailor that work in this way is Liverano.
        The most of Italian tailors cut front darts (some times very slighty moved to the side but yet well frontal) to the pockets.

      • Most of the bespoke tailors do. I’ve seen a number of examples of Rubinacci without an extended dart, though I know he uses it too. The most well-known “brands” in Neapolitan tailoring do not use the extended dart: Isaia, Kiton, Borrelli and Attolini do not use the extended dart.

        I am not familiar with Liverano’s method of cutting. The side dart is the dart under the arm. You are far more knowledgable than I am in Italian tailoring. I focus mostly on English tailoring.

      • Isaia,Kiton,Borrelli and the today Attolini are not Bespoke tailors,but expensive houses of international ready to wear and MTM.
        The extended darts is a trademark of Rubinacci/Vincenzo Attolini school.
        Obviously if a customer ask for darts to pocket,is satisfied.
        But the Rubinacci “real mccoy” have extended darts.

  3. Off topic, but the photos of the grey windowpane and club check jacket in the Cutter and Tailor link shows very nice shoulder and sleeve-head tailoring. I wish i could find that kind of tailoring.

  4. Could you do a post on Mathis’s clothes in the movies particularly the outfit when he is in Bolivia with Bond in Quantum Of Solace
    Thanks

  5. Although I loved Connery’s tailoring and am remiss that it is so difficult to find many of its classic features anymore, this is definitely one of the (very few) ways that I think that modern tailoring is superior. Having the front darts end at the hip pockets just looks so much cleaner and beautifully accentuates the waist suppression and flared skirt of the traditional English jacket cut. Extended darts, in contrast, look unfinished to me.

    • Exactly. That’s why most English tailors now use the latter method of displacing the bottom half of the dart to the side. The Neapolitan tailors who still use the extended dart very often use patch pockets to hide it, which isn’t as common in English tailoring.

  6. Is it just me or is Connery’s tie a bit short in that first photo? Don’t think it should be dangling over the button fastening like that.

  7. Wow, I have never noticed this kind of stuff before. This blog has been my main source of tailoring knowledge for a while now. Thanks Matt.
    I went and checked my suit jacket for the front darts, and even though it is solid colored, they are all the displaced kind. I guess my tailor thought it was more clean looking.

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