M: The Double-Breasted, Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket

23

M-Dinner-Jacket

For his dinner with Bond in Goldfinger, M wears the least dressy of all dinner jacket styles: the double-breasted, shawl collar dinner jacket. It’s the type of dinner jacket that’s most like a smoking jacket. I can’t tell for certain it’s double-breasted, but from the very wide lapels and the bunching of the breast pocket it looks like he is wearing a double-breasted dinner jacket unbuttoned. M’s black dinner jacket has natural shoulders and roped sleeve heads, and the sleeve cuffs have four buttons and a satin silk turnback that matches the lapels.

M-Dinner-Jacket-2

M’s dress shirt doesn’t have any fancy details, but it may have been made in silk to set it apart from an everyday shirt. It’s slightly off white, which could be a further indicator that it’s silk and not cotton. It has a spread collar and double cuffs with edge stitching and a plain front with mother-of-pearl buttons. The bow-tie is black satin silk in a thistle shape. He wears a puffed white handkerchief in his breast pocket.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Is a shawl collar less dressy than a notched lapel on a dinner jacket? Or is it just the just this particular combination with it being double breasted that makes it resemble a smoking jacket?

    • The combination of shawl collar and double-breasted makes it less dressy, I think. But it’s hard to say where the notch lapel dinner jacket fits in since many don’t even consider it a legitimate style. I’d say it’s about the same as the single-breasted shawl-collar dinner jacket.

      • Matt, I’m surprised that you put the shawl collar dinner jacket on the same level as the notch lapel. I would consider the notch to be less formal, but I defer to you of course!

      • I’m not sure that shawl collars are more formal to notch lapels, they are just different. A lounge suit is more formal than a dressing gown or smoking jacket, both of which have shawl collars.

  2. I thought that a single-breasted, notch-lapel dinner jacket was the least dressy style of dinner suit, but your point of view makes sense. It’s really interesting, I wonder what the blacktieguide website would say about it !
    Good point for noticing the turnback cuffs too, I never did. It really immediatly adds flair to a dinner suit, but would be out of place both on a simple lounge suit and on an evening tailcoat, I think.

    I like the cut of this suit a lot but I don’t think it flatters Lee’s figure. In the first picture, the combination of the big rounded brandy glass and wide lapels -with some belly undoubtly- makes his face appear rounder and bigger. Still, he remains the best-dressed boss Bond has ever had. Or even a sartorial rival sometimes.

    I remember George Sanders wearing a similar dinner suit (although it was a 4×2) in All about Eve, he looked great too.

    • Standard etiquette requires a dinner jacket to be either shawl collared or peak lapelled, whether double or single breasted and should also be without vents and flapped pockets. Cummerbunds should always be worn, something I have never seen on 007. Personally, I do not like notched lapel, single breasted dinner jackets but the real horror is a notched lapel double breasted jacket.

      • Bond has worn cummerbunds on a few occasions, most recently in Skyfall and Quantum of Solace. It’s debatable whether or not notch lapels are appropriate on a dinner jacket. It has been done since the early days of dinner jackets, but it also makes the dinner jacket more like a common suit, which one could say is not preferable.

      • I think a good compromise would be notched parisian lapels -a cran Smalto or a cran Necker. It would remain a notch lapel dinner jacket, but with some originality.

      • LeChiffre, it was certainly done in the ’60s, but I cannot recall where I’ve seen it. You’re right though, it would still be a step above the pedestrian notch lapel.

        As Matt pointed out, Bond actually has worn cummerbunds, sometimes even waistcoats like in Pierce Brosnan’s first two movies.

        As far as turnback cuffs go, I’m afraid Ian Fleming would disagree. He had many of his lounge suits made with them. Some of Roger Moore’s suits from “The Saint” have this detail and I believe at least one of his James Bond suits did. In his first Bond outing, there’s also link cuffs present on his suits. In general, he seemed to like interesting jacket sleeve cuffs. Other wearers include Patrick Macnee in “The Avengers” and Michael Douglas in “Wall Street”. All that said, I agree with you that it’s a bit dandyish and am less hesitant to have them on a dinner jacket than a lounge suit or sport coat.

      • Indeed notch lapel double breasted jackets are just a sartorial atrocity, whether it’s with a slim (like now) or a wide lapel (like in the 1980’s).
        Cummerbunds are not an obligation, you can also wear a waistcoat if you wear a single breasted jacket.
        Matt, is Brosnan the only Bond to have worn a 3-piece dinner suit ?

  3. I think that notched lapels on dinner jacket are accettable,but ugly.
    I don’t agree on less formality of double breasted shawl collar dinner jacket.
    The more formal dinner jacket is the peak lapels single breasted with the vest.
    Other models are all at par.

  4. Very nice, elegant look for SIS’s chief. Do we know if this is Sinclair’s handiwork, or perhaps Lee’s own tuxedo?

    As I always understood the pecking order for lapels, it was peak, then shawl, and notch lapels were unacceptable technically, but the reality is that they are probably the predominant ones (based on my observations at formal events). And I am not sure anyone really looks down on a well-tailored dinner suit, and thinks, “nope, notch lapels, how gauche.”

    Personally, I was never a fan of notch lapels on a dinner suit, but the Goldfinger/For Your Eyes Only/Octopussy examples have changed my mind. Shows what excellent tailoring can do and how important it is.

    • Agree completely Christian and I’m probably in the minority (maybe not for the first time ) when I say that I actually don’t care at all for shawl lapel dinner suits (yes, they’re probably the style with the longest lineage alright) and yes, a notch lapel double breasted dinner suit would, indeed, look atrocious.

  5. Matt, not strictly relevant to this post but isn’t it correct that as far as footwear is concerned with dinner jacket one should always wear patent leather pumps? I certainly find that wearing of normal black shoes with dinner jacket ruins the overall look.

  6. It’s a grand suit and brings out M’s conservative, old-school nature. Another example of how a full cut can be kinder to a man who no longer has a heroic figure. I’m reminded of a man who was Australia’s PM at the time – Sir Robert Menzies. He always wore DB suits, and liked brandy, whiskey, port and gin.
    Turnback cuffs are starting to appear on the Prince Of Wales’s sportscoats.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.