Ian Fleming: Moonraker (1955)


In Moonraker, Ian Fleming writes about two of Bond’s favourite suits and how he wears them:

“Ten minutes later, in a heavy white silk shirt, dark blue trousers of Navy serge, dark blue socks, and well-polished black moccasin shoes, he was sitting at his desk with a pack of cards in one hand and Scarne’s wonderful guide to cheating open in front of him…He went into his bedroom, filled the wide black case with cigarettes and slipped it into his hip pocket, put on a black knitted silk tie and his coat and verified that his cheque book was in his notecase. He stood for a moment, thinking. Then he selected two white silk handkerchiefs, carefully rumpled them, and put one into each side-pocket of his coat.” (Chapter 3)

“He had shaved, gargled with a sharp mouth-wash, and now, in a battered black and white dogtooth suit, dark blue Sea Island cotton shirt and black silk knitted tie, he was walking softly, but not surreptitiously, along the corridor to the head of the stairs, the, square leather case in his left hand.” (Chapter 13)

Fleming also gives a more detailed description of Hugo Drax’s attire:

“Bond concluded his inspection with Drax’s clothes which were expensive and in excellent taste-a dark blue pinstripe in lightweight flannel, double-breasted with turnback cuffs, a heavy white silk shirt with a stiff collar, an unobtrusive tie with a small grey and white check, modest cuff-links, which looked like Cartier, and a plain gold Patek Philippe watch with a black leather strap.” (Chapter 3)

Drax’s double-breasted suit with turnback cuffs came from Fleming’s own wardrobe (though Fleming’s suit is solid) and can be seen in the picture above.


  1. From nylon shirts and underwear to heavy silk shirts? None of these sound particularly practical for someone like Bond.

  2. Fleming's Bond often wore silk shirts with both lounge suits and evening wear. Silk sounds much better than nylon. According to wikipedia "poplin traditionally consisted of a silk warp with a weft of worsted yarn." We usually think of poplin shirts as all cotton, but perhaps Bond's silk shirts were actually a silk/cotton blend. Were silk shirts popular with the wealthy in the 1950s?

  3. Silk is a pretty good fabric to wear if you regularly run the risk of getting shot.

    Historically – I'm especially thinking of around the Napoleonic Wars – officers often wore silk shirts in preference to the linen/cotton of the rank & file because the silk fibres are less likely to get shredded by the bullet (they just tear apart) and so are less likely to get embedded in the wound.

    Cotton tends to shred when hit by a bullet, and then fibres get stuck in the wound & can't be removed. Infection can then set in if the wound can't be cleaned promptly.

    Perhaps Bond is just being unusually cautious/superstitious in his preference for silk? :)

  4. i agree i think this wouldnt be how connery or moore bond would wear their clothes. now i have a question, why would bond wear a black knit tie with navy trousers, wouldnt that kind of contradict the whole wearing black with navy rule? ( there is a rule) even though its separated because he is wearing navy trousers and a black tie? in the movies, they never adopted this style. and bond always wore derby shoes or cap-toed oxfords. why the difference?

    • The rule is really for true navy blue, which is almost black, and my guess is that Bond’s navy is just a dark blue that shows a contrast with black. As long as there’s a contrast it’s fine. The exception is black shoes can be worn with any shade of navy, especially the darker shades. Sometimes it’s better than wearing a navy tie with a navy suit because unless the two blues are very close, it will surely clash. Connery always found the right navy tie to wear with his navy suits and blazers. Connery didn’t wear moccasin shoes with his suits because in some circles there is a rule against wearing casual shoes with suits. Derby shoes and especially oxfords are more appropriate with a suit. Connery also wore elastic sided boots and high-vamp slip ons with his suits, which still work better with a suit than moccasin shoes.

      • how do you find the right shades of navy ties? especially with connery bc his Navy grenadines look to be the same tie he uses throughout his bond films.

      • Connery’s ties were in a few different shades of navy. Turnbull & Asser used to sell multiple navy grenadines, but I believe they only have one now. I have 3 different navy grenadine garza grossa ties from various makers, lighter and darker, warmer and cooler, and they pretty much cover all the different navy suits and blazers I have.

      • My navy grenadine ties are from Sam Hober, Paul & Shark and Domenico Spano (I think made by Drakes). I have other garza grossa grenadine from Harvie & Hudson, Robert Talbott, Turnbull & Asser, Anthony Sinclair, Grenada, and Marshall Field. More than half of those brands don’t have grenadine ties any more. But you can go into almost any high-end clothes shop in London and find them. I would recommend Sam Hober online. You can get swatches, and they have three dark blues and a few lighter blues as well.

  5. Nice, thanks matt. i check ebay from time to time to find some grenadines. sometimes Drakes will be listed. i really want to purchase some of the new Sinclair-Mayfair grenadines, but ill have to save my money for that investment ;-) thanks again ill be sure to check out Sam Hober’s website.

  6. Excellent, anyway how you can make a post on how to obtain the bond style mind set? Sooner or later everyone will run out of visual examples.


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