M: Double-Breasted Chalk Stripe Suit in Spectre

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After creating masterpieces for Skyfall, Timothy Everest returned to tailor Ralph Fiennes’ wardrobe for Spectre. Fiennes plays Bond’s boss M, known as Gareth Mallory in Skyfall, and his suits follow the same styles as the suits in Spectre. When we first see M in Spectre he is wearing a similar double-breasted suit to navy chalk stripe double-breasted suit he wears in the last scene of Skyfall. But whilst the suit in Skyfall is made of a traditional heavy flannel, this suit is made from a lighter flannel. Timothy Everest’s website commented on this change in cloths:

Working closely with the 007 wardrobe team, the brief was to contemporarise M from heavy worsted wools and flannels to a more modern, medium weight Super 120’s worsted wool and baby cashmere coatings.

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Though this new suit is still a flannel, it’s a lighter weight than before. This lightweight flannel is likely 11 oz, which gives the traditional cloth an updated look. M wears a navy suit with white chalk stripes spaced about 3/4″ apart in his office when he meets with Bond. When dealing with Max Denbigh in the corridor later in the film he wears the same suit.

The suit jacket is a classic button two, show three double-breasted. M fastens both buttons on the jacket, which reflects the way a naval officer would button his double-breasted uniform. It has a classic Savile Row cut with straight shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a full chest, a nipped waist and medium-wide peaked lapels. This is the ultimate authority style and gives M an incredible presence. The jacket is detailed with straight flap pockets with a ticket pocket, double vents and four buttons on the cuffs. The edges are finished with subtle pick stitching, and the buttons are dark horn with a four-hole domed centre.

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The suit trousers have a plain front, slanted side pockets and medium-width tapered legs that likely have turn-ups. The waistband has a tab extension with a hidden clasp closure and slide-buckle side adjusters. The rear has two tabs for the braces to attach to, which raises the back of the braces like a fishtail back would do to make the braces more comfortable.

The suit is thoroughly traditional and completely timeless. It may not look as hip as Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suits, but this suit will never look outdated. The chalk stripes and powerful—but not excessive—cut give M the appearance of the important and commanding man that he is. It’s an old-money look but not a pretentious look.

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At his meeting with James Bond at the start of the film, M gives this outfit a modern look with a mid blue cotton poplin shirt rather than a more traditional lighter shirt. The shirt has a spread collar, plain front and double cuffs. M wears a navy tie with magenta squares with this shirt. When encountering Denbigh in the corridor later in the film, M wears a sky blue shirt with a spread collar, front placket, double cuffs and side pleats over the shoulders. The shirt has a traditional full cut. With this shirt he wears a navy tie with a tiny motif that may possibly be pink. The lighter sky blue shirt is more flattering to Fiennes’ pale complexion than the vivid mid blue shirt.

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M wears braces with his suit trousers, and they may be the same braces he wears in Skyfall. The Skyfall braces are navy with a navy embroidered fleur-de-lis braces motif and were made by Albert Thurston. The braces have black leather ends and trimmings and brass levers. Wearing braces rather than using the side-adjusters gives M an old-fashioned air, but with all of his problems at least he doesn’t have to worry about his trousers slipping.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    In comparison to Bond’s poorly cut suits this is outstanding. If only Timothy Everest could make all the suits for the entire male cast…

    Best, Renard

  2. I think this M suit is appropriate. It fits in with both Fiennes’ character, age and build.

    I think this is a complete contrast to the “hip” Tom Ford suits worn by Craig that are not appropriate at least for his age or build. They would rather suit a slim man in his 20s or 30s. They are probably not suited to his character either but that is another discussion.

    I think the C suit is an example of a suit that fits in with his age and build. It is a slim(ish) suit that works because Scott is slim. The suit and shirt is in keeping with contemporary fashion and fits his age. However, I think it is completely inappropriate for his character. I could never take a man in a position of power seriously who dressed like that.

    • The modern slim suit on C is part of his deception of beeing a non-authoritative manager. Remember asking Bond to call him “just Max”? I think its spot on really.

    • Agreed with Simon. I don’t think he was trying to look that way. Max’s whole shtick was gaining the trust of everyone by being as down to earth and non-establishment as possible. And he very nearly succeeded, he was good at it.

    • Agreed, but I’d also rank them with the best of Moore’s tailoring. He had some fantastic DB suits that, while inappropriate for a field agent like Bond, work well for someone his superior like M (who also has worn some DBs before Fiennes took the role).

  3. Hopefully next time we see him he’ll have broadened his wardrobe beyond mainly-blue double-breasted chalk stripe suits…

  4. I think that “moderns” British tailors as Timothy Everest or David Reeves could create a great wardrobe for James Bond.
    Better than luxury fashion firms as Brioni or Tom Ford.

    • They would, I agree. But it’s all about having the quantity available for the action scenes at the lowest cost while still looking luxurious enough for the character. Connery and Moore’s wardrobes didn’t take as much abuse.

  5. To be fair to Craig (who gets a lot of flak on the fit of his suits), there’s quite a bit of unnecessary pulling and tugging in this suit as well. Some of it comes from the faux pas of Fiennes buttoning both buttons instead of just the top one, but also the suit does not hug the back of the neck like it should. That being said, I love the look of the suit and Ralph Fiennes is a fantastic actor that looks superb in double breasted suits

  6. Yes, it’s a very nice effort…but imagine how much nicer it would look with a pale blue shirt or a white shirt…I understand that the English often wear “louder” shirts and ties than do Americans (e.g., the websites of T&A, H&K, H&H, N&L, etc.), but a character like M should fit the image of a Whitehall Mandarin / top SIS/MI6 leader. Walk around London…suits like this are common…french blue shirts are not. C’mon, when was the last time you saw a gentleman who wears braces who ALSO wears a shirt like that?
    I guess my point is that if you’re going to go to such lengths to produce a *really* beautiful and character-appropriate suit, why not also get the shirt right?!

    • I think it’s a bit of an overreaction here. Blue and white are the most classic colors for business shirts. French cuffs and spread collars are also the more formal and classic option. Plain front isn’t typically English, but it’s the most simple -and according to some shirtmakers, the most formal one too- option for a shirt. It’s not even a ‘dark’ shirt, it’s a medium colored shirt, as Bond has worn many before with a suit… not a navy or black silk shirt !

      And the tie is fairly classic and minimalist, a miles away from the some flashy ‘exclusive’ ties T&A offer ! I would definitely sport this look.

    • oh I agree that the necktie is tasteful…I’m just having trouble reconciling the uber-traditional and tasteful suit with that shirt…if you’re playing in the double breasted striped suit part of the sandbox, why bring a sub-optimal shirt? And I agree with your point that it’s more of a medium blue than a dark blue, though my argument wasn’t “it could be worse” so much as “it could be better!” ha, cheers, Felix

  7. Very nice summary. It would be interesting to see what Timothy Everest would do dressing Bond. Based on his website, Everest’s suits are more modern than M’s suits let on, but more traditional and subtle than the Tom Ford experiments. His casual ware is nice and more modern than M’s image also lets on, if the Ralph Fiennes section on the website is any guide.

  8. Hi Matt. The jacket doesn’t seem to fit properly…I see a collar gap in most of the photos, perhaps off the rack? For me the best fitting double breasted jacket that I have seen in recent times has been Colin Firth in The Kingsman. The collar sticks like glue to his neck and all of his suits are beautifully cut. Would be great to have a review!!!

  9. Hi Matt,

    Which suits and accessories do you prefer in terms of style, details, and fit: Fiennes in Spectre or Firth in Kingsmen?

  10. Matt
    I guess you’ve already spotted this but on the bluray extras of Spectre in the video blogs section, there’s a behind the scenes clip of Fiennes and Harris in M’s office in what must be a delete scene where he is wearing a single breasted jacket (his only one in the film I believe). Is this worth covering at some point?

  11. I have rather a big problem with Ralph Fiennes’ posture, which is underlined by the fit of the trousers and the braces: The man looks like Donald Duck. His arse sticks out in a ridiculous way. It was the first thing I noticed about him when he made his debut as Mallory in SF. Someone please tell him either to work on his posture or not to take his jacket off.

  12. Hullo Matt!
    Your article is really detailed and in-depth.
    I do have one question, however.
    You mentioned that Mr. Fiennes wore a Navy blue tie with his French poplin blue shirt. Does it not appear as ‘Purple’? Like a really deep purple? Or is it the effect of lighting?
    I really like this combination of shirt and tie. Do you think you could throw more light on it?

    Thanks,
    Regards,
    Anuj

  13. Matt , l do believe that Gareth Mallory’s shirts are made by Budd shirtmakers in Jermyn Street. I was in London for 4 days recently and l had visited Budd to purchase a Plain Cream Silk Dress shirt. I had an interesting conversation with an employee there. He told me that Budd had ” Provided the shirts worn by Ralph Fiennes in the latest 007 films ” . I asked what material they are . He replied ” Two fold 100s Cotton Poplin “.
    I am no stranger to cotton Poplin , but l don’t understand what ” Two Fold 100s ” mean though.
    It was a very interesting conversation. He also showed me a cornflower blue French cuff shirt , saying that it was the exact same kind worn by Fiennes in one of the films.

    • Thanks for the information. Budd makes excellent shirts. Two-fold means that the yarn is a 2-ply yarn, made up of two yarns twisted together. This makes for a stronger cotton that a single yarn. 100s is the thread count. 100s is a good thread count because it isn’t too coarse, but it’s not too fine and delicate either.

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