M’s Topcoat for a Showdown in Spectre


Ralph Fiennes’ M is arguably the best-dressed male character of Skyfall and Spectre. He’s at his most dressed-down during the climactic final scenes of Spectre, where he gets a piece of the action and gets to take out his own villain, Max Denbigh.

For these scenes he would have looked too dressed-up in one of his usual double-breasted or three-piece suits, but he still needs to dress with the maturity we’ve come to expect from James Bond’s boss and someone in his position as head of MI6. Despite only being only a few years old than Bond—going by the ages of the actors playing them—M dresses more traditionally and maturely. Here he dresses in a realistic manner for the character, combining a topcoat, sports coat and jeans in a practical but stylish way. Costume designer Jany Temime made intelligent choices here.

The dark grey herringbone topcoat was exquisitely tailored by Timothy Everest. M wears it open the whole time, but the bespoke construction means that it holds its shape when left unbuttoned. The coat is likely made of cashmere or a cashmere blend and has a nap. The hem of the coat hits the top of the knee for a versatile length.

While most single-breasted coats have three buttons, M’s coat has four buttons and a fly front. When wearing the coat unbuttoned, the extra button gives it a more regal look. The middle two buttons line up elegantly with the top of the ticket pocket and the bottom of the hip pockets’ flaps. The coat has a welt breast pocket and straight set-in hip pockets with flaps and a ticket pocket.

The coat buttons high in front, which both helps it to wear warmer than a low-buttoning coat and helps it look better when worn more casually. It has narrow notched lapels, a centre back vent and four buttons on each cuff.

This coat does not make a statement; it has neither a dramatic cut nor flashy details. However, it has a perfect fit and could not look better on Ralph Fiennes. It also has all the hallmarks of a versatile coat that can be dressed up or dress down successfully.

Though he mainly wears this topcoat at the end of the film in a relaxed manner, he dresses it up over a suit and tie earlier in the film in a brief scene when he enters the office carrying a stick umbrella and briefcase.

Under the topcoat, M wears an unbuttoned tailored jacket, but it practically stays hidden under the coat. Sometimes glimpses of the jacket can be had when the front of the jacket sticks out past the front of the coat, when M is walking, or at the sleeve. The roll of its lapel can be seen in some shots, which suggests it’s a button-two jacket. It’s a dark-coloured jacket, and it may be a navy blazer or some other navy sports coat, which would be an appropriate choice for the character.

A sports coat under the topcoat gives context to the topcoat. While one can wear a top coat over a jumper, it’s unusual to wear it just over a shirt as it would typically be fitted to wear over a jacket. Thanks to the topcoat and it’s longer length, M is able to look more regal than Bond, Q and Tanner, who wear shorter coats or jackets for the film’s climax.

M dresses his outfit down by wearing jeans. Instead of trousers, jeans give M a tougher and more down-to-earth look. The dark-wash jeans have a straight leg and a mid-rise, and they are likely selvedge denim. If M is going to wear jeans, he’s probably going to wear the best he can. The more relaxed fit of his jeans gives M an age-appropriate look compared to the skin-tight jeans that were trendy for men at the time. The jeans are held up with a dark—probably black—leather belt that has a large buckle.

M’s light-blue shirt has a spread collar, a plain front and double cuffs. Despite the formality of the shirt’s design, it looks dressed-down enough with the outfit. The shirt may be from Budd Shirtmakers, who made at least some of Ralph Fiennes’ shirts. His shoes are brown with thick soles, and they look comfortable and durable for his sedate action scenes.


  1. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for posting this-it’s one of my favourite outfits from the recent films and I suggested it to you on here a while ago. There’s just one thing that I think could be elaborated on-the shoes. As far as I can tell, he is wearing brown Chelsea boots. If I remember correctly, you can just about make out the side elastic in certain shots, including when he is struggling with Denbigh and as he is approaching Blofeld on the bridge.

  2. An interesting combination quite in line with the climax of the flick. The coat and sport jacket combined with a jeans provide a sense he’s been rushing to the premises on short notice after being rid of Max which prompted him to take action.

    • I always find it interesting and fun the way we Bond geeks try to ascribe the context which informs the clothing choices of Bond and other characters. Sometimes I wish the filmmakers would show equal geekiness rather than choosing certain outfits just because they “look cool”! Bond en route from The Americain hotel to Tangier manages to rustle up a white dinner jacket from somewhere – to wear on a train!!

      In this context they got it more or less right and I agree with your proposed scenario DP, but the formal double cuff shirt sticks out as the one item that’s hard to integrate contextually. A less formal shirt or a knitted long sleeve polo would have been more congruent. My Dad like Mallory was an ex military officer but from the earlier generation who never wore jeans. After work he would change into a royal blue work shirt and v neck jumper.

  3. Nice post Matt. I agree that Ms. Temime chosen wisely with this outfit. I always enjoy this climax because it provides the MI6 staff of duty clothing. It is a shame that we cannot properly see the tailored jacket underneath the overcoat, especially if the jacket is a blazer underneath. Correct me if I am wrong, but was the last blazer used in the series was the double breast blazar on Goldeneye. I enjoy reading Bond’s Allies and Villians to see the contrast of what Bond would wear.
    Keep the great articles coming Matt.


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