Connery’s Grey Herringbone Suit in You Only Live Twice

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This is my first post regarding clothing from You Only Live Twice. James Bond wears mostly casual or Japanese clothes in the film, and since it’s all for warm weather I’ve been holding off until summer. But the first suit in the film is more of a spring suit than a summer suit. The fabric is herringbone weave in black and white, which look like solid grey with subtle stripes from a distance. Herringbone, like other twills, is a tight weave that doesn’t breath as well as a plain weave, so it’s best to avoid for the warmest of weather.

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Sean Connery’s suit from Anthony Sinclair is tailored with wide, though soft, shoulders and roped sleeve heads, but it has a cleaner chest than what Connery wears in previous films. The fashion in the late 1960s was for a closer-fitting suit. Connery’s suit, however, has some fit problems probably due to weight gain. As always with Anthony Sinclair’s suits, the suit has a button two front and four buttons on the cuffs. The pockets are straight and jetted, and there is a single vent at the rear. The trousers are typical of Connery Bond’s Sinclair suits: double forward pleats, tapered legs, button-tab side adjusters and turn-ups.

Bond’s ecru shirt is from Turnbull & Asser, made with a spread collar and two-button cocktail cuffs. Bond leaves the second button open on his cocktail cuffs. The tie is a navy grenadine and Bond’s socks are black. The shoes aren’t worn much, since Bond removes them when entering Henderson’s home. The shoes he leaves at the door are black slip-ons with elastic in the instep. Bond leaves Henderson’s home without his shoes but takes the shoes from the thug who killed Henderson. I’ll discuss those another day.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder about the YOLT suits being Sinclair, Matt and obviously you're also circumspect.

    I recall from the film that the jackets looked quite ill fitting(and as can be seen in your first and last featured pictures,)as the suits from Connery's previous movies.

    Also, were the suits in Diamonds are Forever -which fitted again fine, despite Connery's flabbier appearance in the movie – made by Sinclair or another tailor?

  2. Thanks for this excellent blog, Matt. I found it at a time when some of my suits needed to be replaced and I got a lot of inspiration from your postings for Sean Connery. Also interesting to see the rollercoaster of style in freefall in the seventies and eighties. But what goes down must come up. Greetings from Jakarta, Olaf.

  3. Matt,

    The suit was indeed by Anthony Sinclair. The suit is still in existence. I could send you some images of it if you're interested.

    David.

  4. David, Sinclair made Connery's suits for Diamonds Are Forever, so it's likely he made them here too. The problem with the fit here is most likely because Connery probably gained a little weight after the fitting. He's clearly not as fit in this movie as he was in the past. Because the fabric is lightweight, it will show more imperfections. But the problem you see in the suit is an easy fix. The suit is very well-fitted in the chest, shoulders and arms. The blue suit later in the film doesn't suffer from this problem.

    • Matt, do you still dispose of those images David Mason sent you? Would be interesting to see them. Perhaps you could integrate them in your article and add some details to your description of the suit (because I think those in your article are only based on stills)?

      Thanks + Best,
      Renard

  5. Matt,

    Thanks for a great blog. I have just two things to say.

    Although it's not an official Bond film, it would be very interesting if you in the future could take a look at Connery's suits in 'Never Say Never Again'.

    Furthermore, I would like to see a bit more of your own opinions in each post.

    Daniel S.

  6. I think my next custom shirt is going to be ecru in that same style. I already have seven white shirts after all!

  7. How about suggesting the nearest available fabric match (purchasable today), for every suit on this great site?

  8. Since I don't have access to cloth books it's not easy to list an available match for each suit. Few companies put their books online, though J. & J. Minnis and John G. Hardy do. The closest I've found there for this suit is the Hardy Riviera 7557.

  9. Yes of course. Thanks for the Minnis and Hardy tip. Not for one moment trying to look like 007. Just like some of the older cloth. Excellent site!

  10. Cloth has changed very much since the 1960s. Most cloths were heavier back then, though Bond wore mostly lighter cloths more like what is common today. But nowadays we have Super wools, which did not exist in Connery's day. Super wool is softer and finer but it does not drape as well and is more fragile. For the look, feel and durability of the older cloth, stick with English cloth that has a low Super number (or no Super at all).

      • Since the bottom falls around the same place in relation to Connery’s arms I would assume the length is about the same. It could possibly be half an inch shorter, but probably not more than that.

        As for the navy suit, it’s a light navy in exactly the same style as this one. I’ll write about it during a more fitting season when the weather is warmer.

  11. I’m a fan of this suit, and love the herringbone pattern. Interestingly, Ralph Lauren’s American Living brand produced a natural shouldered version of this suit, the only difference were reverse pleats.

  12. Watching YOLT tonight; it seems the fit issue is because of the cleaner chest the gun under Connery’s left arm is causing all the pulling. I think if we were to see the suit without the gun it would look 10 times better.

    • No, the Mason & Sons suit is sharkskin, while this suit is herringbone. This suit is not a copy of any of Connery’s suits, though if you got a special order suit Mason can do one more like Connery’s with a lower button stance, narrow lapels, straight pockets and pleated trousers. Connery wears similar sharkskin suits in From Russia with Love (on the train) and in Thunderball (to the Junkanoo). The Thunderball suit is the closest one to this.

  13. Hello Matt,
    I rewatched You Only Live Twice last night and I noticed that the suit’s pocket is a bit lower than it was in Connery’s earlier films. Does the fit of the suit have any relation to that or am I going insane?

  14. As to photos (David Mason): I would appreciate that – that would be a nice opportunity to make an analysis of an original Bond suit. I don’t think that any other blog has ever done that. BTW: Did David Mason show you any original Bond items when you were in London visiting him?

    Thanks and
    Best,
    Renard

  15. At first, I thought you were joking but I’ve just checked and it seems you are quite right. They are hideous. To make matters worse, his top button is undone and his tie is loosened. This is clearly a Connery trait, and must explain why his tie was loose during the climax of Goldfinger. There is a picture of him relaxing off-camera with a kitten on the set of Dr. No, with his grenadine tie loose, and another in the famous Goldfinger three-piece check suit, and his knitted tie is loose. Presumably Guy Hamilton missed this, just as Terence Young missed the two buttons thing in Dr. No. But this is a small thing, really. The shoes are inexcusable, and it seems that he chose to wear them. Surely he wasn’t asked to wear this outfit as a publicity thing? I suppose he may have filmed the scene that day if it was done in the UK. Maybe they were shooting interiors?

  16. Matt, what about the pictures of the actual suit worn by Connery that Mr. Mason spoke about ? Any news ? It would really be amazing if we could see actual pictures of a Sinclair suit, with all the details, etc… 🙂

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