For Felix Leiter’s wedding in Licence to Kill, the wedding party wears morning dress in a manner that was popular for America weddings in the 1980s. Because David Hedison’s Leiter, Timothy Dalton’s James Bond and other men in the wedding party are dressed in almost identical morning dress, it was likely to have been hired. Presumably Felix hired the morning dress because it does not follow the conventions of contemporary British morning dress; something more British would have been expected of Bond if he chose it. For comparison, Bond wore an excellent example of contemporary British morning dress in A View to a Kill only four years earlier. However, Felix’s wedding was in America, and this morning dress was the fashion at the time.
The mid-grey morning coat, or cutaway as an American like Felix would have been called it, is traditionally cut with a single-button front that cuts away to the tails in the back. It includes a waist seam, proper of body coats. Other details include peak lapels, roped sleeve heads, a breast pocket—which not all morning coats have—and three buttons on each cuff. The buttons are grey plastic.
This morning coat has a more classic cut than the suits in the film, which have the more fashion-forward full cuts of the time. However, there are a few problems with fit. The collar stands away from the neck and the back looks sloppy overall, but this is to be expected from a hired garment and adds a touch of realism to the wardrobe. But it contrasts with Bond almost always looking perfectly tailored in the past.
Per British tradition, a mid-grey morning coat would be worn with matching trousers and a waistcoat as part of a matching morning suit. Here Bond pairs the grey morning coat with the striped trousers and light grey waistcoat that would more traditionally be paired with a more formal black or dark grey morning coat. The choice of a mid-grey coat may have to do with the sunny locale of Key West, but in that case a morning suit would have been a better choice from a British perspective. The mid-grey morning coat being worn with different trousers and waistcoat fits the fashions of the time.
The trousers are in the traditional ‘cashmere stripes’ pattern in black and grey. They have double reverse pleats, which were popular on American trousers at the time. British morning dress trousers traditionally have forward pleats, though examples from the early 20th century and earlier would have had a flat front.
The dove grey waistcoat has five buttons down the front, with all buttons fastened, and the shanked buttons are stainless steel. The waistcoat has two single-jetted pockets. Because a darker morning coat is traditionally worn with such trousers and waistcoat, the mid-grey morning coat clashes with the slightly lighter and cooler-toned waistcoat because there is little contrast. Though the pairing of the coat and trousers is not traditional, they do not clash.
The shirt and dress cravat are even less traditional and are the mark of 1980s hired morning dress. The shirt has an attached wing collar, a fine-pleated bib and double cuffs. This type of shirt is slightly more appropriate with evening wear, but hire companies package them with morning dress as well. The wing collar fell out of favour in America by the middle of the 20th century to be replaced by the spread collar, though an attached wing collar almost always gives the look of a hired outfit. The shirt collar for morning dress is traditionally detachable, especially a wing collar.
Bond’s dress cravat has grey, black and white stripes. The cravat is a clip-on, with a clasp in plain sight in the back, and not self-tied. These fell out of favour with the wing collar but came back in the 1980s with it. Bond’s shoes are black cap-toe lace-ups. The outfit is completed with a light grey top hat and white carnation worn in the left lapel buttonhole.