This is a mission, not a fancy dress ball: Shawl Collar Dinner Suit in The Living Daylights


Agent Saunders rudely greets James Bond, first telling him that he’s late and then saying that he’s overdressed. “This is a mission, not a fancy dress ball”, says Saunders. For our first look at Timothy Dalton as James Bond in tailored clothes, he proves that he looks the part. To a classical music concert in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in The Living Daylights, Bond wears a traditionally detailed black shawl-collar dinner jacket with a button one front, no vent, jetted pockets and four-button cuffs. Though the shoulders are a little wide as per late 1980s styles, the dinner jacket fits well through the body. The shawl collar is noticeably wider than the more familiar shawl-collar dinner jackets Bond wore in the 1960s.

The dinner suit’s trousers have double reverse pleats and a black silk stripe down the sides, and they are held up by white clip-on braces. Proper braces button into the waistband—most typically the inside of the waistband, but sometimes onto the outside of the waistband in front—and do not clip-on. In the traditional James Bond fashion, he is not wearing a cummerbund or waistcoat, which at least would hide the clips.

Bond shows Saunders that he is properly dressed for both a fancy dress ball and his mission when he turns up the dinner jacket’s shawl collar and closes it with a Velcro strap, better to hide himself in the dark without a bright white shirt over the chest.

Underneath the dinner jacket he wears a white dress shirt from an English brand with narrow pleats, mother of pearl buttons down the placket, a spread collar and double cuffs. The shirt proves to be from an English brand with a placket stitched 3/8 inch from the edge and double cuffs with link holes close to the fold. He wears a well-tied black satin silk thistle-shaped bow tie.

This dinner jacket was sold at auction by Prop Store on £11,250 on 9 November 2021. The auction listing indicates that it was originally made for Brenda Starr but went unused in that film, so it found its way into The Living Daylights. It has a label from costumer Bermans & Nathans, indicating that they either made the dinner jacket or procured it for Brenda Starr.


  1. By far and away Dalton's best look. Is this the same dinner suit he wears in Vienna with Kara at the place where they filmed The Third Man?

    • I agree this is Timothy Dalton looking his best, I think he gets a lot of flack from Bond aficionados for being the worst dressed Bond however the wardrobe in this film wasn’t at all’s a shame that licence to kill ruined all that.

  2. Very nice blend of classic Bond (1960s) style with the 1980s. And the Velcro closure to help hide him in his assassination perch reminds us this is a serious agent.

  3. Aren't you suppose to skip the cummerbund when wearing braces? I thought the cummerbund kind of symbolizes a belt, and you don't wear both a belt and braces right? Is this wrong?

  4. No, a cummerbund is a waist covering and is worn in place of a waistcoat (vest). A waistcoat does not hold up your trousers either. The cummerbund is a sash and is mostly decorative. It wouldn't do anything to hold up your trousers, and belts have no place in formal wear.

  5. aha, so it is ok to wear both cummerbund and braces! Would you recomend it? The only time I've seen it is in License, but Dalton later takes off his cummerbund since it has rope hidden in it.

  6. Johannes, I would highly recommend you wear both. A cummerbund or waistcoat is necessary to complete the black tie ensemble (with a single-breasted dinner jacket), whilst braces are the most effective way of keeping your trousers up.

  7. Here he wears a shawl collar lapel, and as mentioned above he later wears a notch lapel dinner jacket at the opera. Then, at the end of the picture, he romances Kara in what appears to be a peak lapel dinner jacket.

    Is there a precedent for Bond wearing the 3 different lapel styles of dinner jacket in the one film, Matt?

  8. The only reason I can think of for having showcased 3-different lapel styles in The Living Daylights is just to show variety. Before this whenever Bond wore multiple dinner jackets in the same film the lapel styles were varied. The peak-lapel dinner jacket at the end is double-breasted, showing far more variety of dinner jackets in The Living Daylights than in any other Bond film.

  9. Thanks, Matt.

    Just out of curiosity, how do you know that the peak-lapel dinner jacket was double-breasted? Is there a behind-the-scenes photo showing it? We only see the top half of it in the fifteen seconds or so that it is on screen?

  10. I know the peak-lapel dinner jacket was double-breasted because one was auctioned at Christie's as a dinner suit Timothy Dalton wore in The Living Daylights. While it doesn't prove it, it's very likely it's the same dinner jacket.

  11. We don't know who made the suits in The Living Daylight, but it is probably off the pegs from a British company.

    I don't understand the last request.

  12. Sorry for my grammar. I meant to request that you make an article on the dinner jacket seen later in the film at the place where they filmed Third Man. (The Notched Lapel Jacket as seen in the first comment)

  13. The clothes in The Living Daylights were most likely not from a bespoke tailor. Some were bought off the pegs (the gun club check sports coat) and altered to fit Dalton. Some were made by a costumier in Vienna.

  14. > I meant to request that you make an article on the dinner jacket seen later in the film at the place where they filmed Third Man. (The Notched Lapel Jacket as seen in the first comment)

    I agree with annonymous. Could you make an article on this?

  15. Love this tuxedo, and Dalton never looked better than he did here! His store-sourced suits looked pretty good in this film. Perhaps the suits were a bit boxy, but it helped lend a youthful, more athletic edge to the character.

    Matt, you’ve mentioned this Benjamin Simon name a few times…Curious, is this designer still in business? Is this brand still around? Just curious if this is something similar to Lauren’s brand(s)?

  16. Hi Matt,

    Great article! You mention that the shirt is from an English brand. Turnbull and Asser have been known to say they dressed Bond in films featuring Connery, Craig and Dalton – could this be what they mean? If so, how could they be so sure?

    Best wishes and happy holidays,


      • Is the placket a little wide, perhaps? And the pleats a little narrow?

        I wonder what makes them confident enough to write about it (in at least one blog post, if not official marketing material, if I recall rightly).

        I’ll see if I can glean any more details – I’ve got a bespoke fitting of my own in January!

      • You’re correct. Placket and pleats are not standard styles for T&A, and this is not a bespoke shirt. The collar isn’t a Classic T&A, and I don’t think it’s any of their standard collars. They’ve said they’ve made shirts for all the Bonds, but they don’t know if they’ve made shirts for all of them as Bond. In the shops they have photos of Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore wearing Frank Foster shirts, and of the many people I’ve spoken to there, none can confirm which shirts are theirs.

  17. Hello, Mr. Spaiser an interesting and very informative article as usual. I find it interesting that there was 3 dinner jackets used in this film. I know with the dinner jacket with the notched lapels Bond wears dress shoes that are patent leather that are slip ons. Does he wear these shoes with this dinner jacket?

    Also, are slip on dress shoes appropriate for black tie even if they are patent leather? What do you think?

  18. Matt what is the point of clip on braces, does it do the job of normal braces or belts? I keep seeing department stores selling these clip on suspenders. I wore it once for my school musical Hello dolly and this bully unclipped it. What is the point of it?

  19. Watching the Living Daylights again on TV tonight. Dalton is very cool in the sniper scene. If Orlebar Brown or N Peal or whoever are looking for inspiration for their next Bond inspired collection, they could do a lot worse than do a take on this iconic jacket. Perhaps a black blazer with the ability to strap it closed at the top, just the way Dalton does it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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