I don’t know who started this, but the following quote ended up in Casino Royale‘s trivia section on IMDB: “The three-piece suit worn by James Bond at the end of the film is a navy version of the gray suit worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger.” Others have repeated this.
Like the iconic grey glen check suit made by Anthony Sinclair that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger, the Brioni navy pinstripe suit that Daniel Craig wears in the final scene of Casino Royale is also a three-piece suit. And that’s where the similarities end. Both suits are excellent suits, but the basic styles of the suit are different, the silhouettes are different and the small details that make the Goldfinger suit so unique are absent from the Casino Royale suit.
The Goldfinger suit jacket has two buttons on the front whilst the Casino Royale suit jacket has three buttons. The Goldfinger suit jacket is cut with soft shoulders and a full chest whilst the Casino Royale suit jacket is cut with stronger straight shoulders and a lean chest. The Goldfinger suit jacket has a ticket pocket whilst the Casino Royale suit jacket does not. The Goldfinger suit jacket has double vents while the Casino Royale suit jacket has a single vent. The Casino Royale jacket has wider lapels. Both jackets have straight pockets with flaps and four buttons on the cuffs, but those details aren’t all that special since that’s what the average suit has.
The waistcoat in Goldfinger has six buttons with only five to button, whilst the waistcoat in Casino Royale is cut with all buttons able to fasten. The waistcoat in Goldfinger has four welt pockets whilst the waistcoat in Casino Royale has only two. The trousers in Goldfinger have double forward pleats, plain hems and side adjusters whilst the trousers in Casino Royale have darts and turn-ups and are worn with a belt. The Goldfinger suit’s trouser legs are narrow and tapered whilst the Casino Royale suit’s trouser legs are wide and straight.
What makes the glen check suit in Goldfinger special? Apart from it being the first three-piece suit of the Bond series, it’s Sean Connery’s only three-piece suit that has lapels on the waistcoat. Pierce Brosnan brought back the lapelled waistcoat with his pinstripe suit in The World Is Not Enough. This key detail, however, is absent from the three-piece suit in Casino Royale. The absence of lapels on the waistcoat is the most significant detail that shows the Casino Royale suit was hardly inspired by the Goldfinger suit.
Magnoli Clothiers, who makes clothes inspired by the clothes James Bond wears, also says the Casino Royale suit “was based loosely on Sean Connery’s classic Goldfinger Suit.” Magnoli adds a ticket pocket and side adjusters to his version of the suit to make it resemble Connery’s suit more, but those details are not present on the actual Casino Royale suit.
Even when people attempt to truly copy the grey three-piece Goldfinger suit, they get it wrong. An attempt at copying the Goldfinger suit was done in Catch Me if You Can, but the suit in that film was made in the wrong pattern, and the style was either Americanised or modernised with squarer shoulders, wider lapels, shorter vents and medium-rise flat front trousers. At least they got two of the Goldfinger suit’s key details: a ticket pocket and lapels on the waistcoat.
James Bond has so far worn 20 three-piece suits in the series, with more coming in Spectre, and the three-piece suit in Casino Royale is no more a copy of the Goldfinger suit than it is of most of the other 18 three-piece suits. Costume designer Lindy Hemming may have wanted to put James Bond in a three-piece suit that could be iconic on the level of the Goldfinger suit, but the significance of the suit doesn’t mean the actual suits have much in common. The Goldfinger suit is iconic because it is not only a very unusual suit, but it also has a significant reveal with James Bond exiting the aeroplane lavatory. The reveal of the Casino Royale suit comes along with the introduction of a more confident and mature 007, and the suit has significance in the character development.
If Daniel Craig’s navy pinstripe three-piece suit could be compared to another suit in the Bond series, it has most in common with George Lazenby’s three-piece navy chalkstripe suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Though the Italian cut of Craig’s Brioni suit is considerably different from Lazenby’s thoroughly British Dimi Major suit, the details and overall styles are very similar. The most obvious thing is that both suits are navy with stripes. Both suit jackets button three down the front, and neither jacket has a ticket pocket. Both suits’ trousers have a darted front and a straight leg, though Lazenby’s trouser legs are considerably narrower than Craig’s trouser legs. Sean Connery’s navy three-piece suit in Diamonds Are Forever also has a few things in common with the Casino Royale suit, such as the lack of a ticket pocket, a full six-button waistcoat and darted-front trousers, though Connery’s jacket only has two buttons and his trouser legs are tapered.
To give a definitive answer to the question posed in the title of this article, no, the Casino Royale three-piece suit is by no means a copy of the Goldfinger suit. If someone was trying to copy any suit from Goldfinger, they did a very poor job. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the Casino Royale suit, it is just a very different three-piece suit.