The Naked Face: A Tweed Balmacaan

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For the final scene of Roger Moore’s 1984 film The Naked Face, Moore wears a tweed balmacaan for a visit to a cemetery. Menswear author Alan Flusser defines the balmacaan in his book Dressing the Man:

A loose-fitting coat based on the original military version worn by the Prussian Army. Named for Balmacaan, an estate near Inverness, Scotland, it features raglan sleeves and a narrow, turned-down collar; both collar and coat are called “bal” for short.

Moore’s balmacaan is of the traditional length that reaches below the knee. Though long coats are typically more formal than shorter coats, the balmacaan is not a dressy coat. Thanks to the balmacaan, the warmth of a long coat need not be limited to dressing up. The relaxed raglan sleeves and loose A-line shape make this one of the least formal of long coat styles. Raglan sleeves extend to the collar without a structured shoulder and have a seam running along the top of the shoulder and down the outside of the arm. They offer more freedom of movement and comfort than set-in sleeves in exchange for their more relaxed look. The full A-line shape means that the balmacaan usually has a belt. The coat is excellent for casual use as Moore wears his in The Naked Face, though the full length means that it can also be worn over a suit, making the balmacaan one of the most versatile of coat designs.

Balmacaans are typically either cotton gabardine—functioning as a single-breasted alternative to the trench coat—or an informal tweed. Moore’s is a dark brown and light brown herringbone tweed with red and yellow flecks. The coat’s collar is one of its defining features, which Flusser describes in Dressing the Man as “a high military collar that may be worn flat or turned up and buttoned. The collar is a band of material about three and a half inches wide, on a raincoat or topcoat.”

The coat buttons all the way to the neck for functionality over style. It has a fly front, though the top button fastens through to the outside. The raglan sleeves have straps at the cuffs. As mentioned before, the coat has a belt. Moore fastens the belt through the buckle and tucks the excess belt into the belt around his waist. There are slash pockets below the belt for hand-warming.

Though it may not be as stylish or as flattering as shaped coat like the chesterfield, the balmacaan prioritises comfort and functionality above all else. These aspects of the coat make is less formal but more practical.

Moore’s coat is detailed with black plastic buttons that have subtle “B” engraved on them. I do not recognise what brand the “B” stands for.

Under the coat, Moore wears a rifle green cashmere polo neck jumper, beige trousers—possibly of wool gabardine or cavalry twill—and chestnut brown shoes—likely the loafers he wears elsewhere in the film. His scarlet red scarf draped inside the coat picks up the red flecks in the coat. The combination of a brown coat, green jumper and red scarf complement each other and flatter Moore’s warm complexion, but nevertheless at the expense of looking as if he has dressed for Christmas. At this time of year, it would be quite appropriate.

Moore’s outerwear accessories include tan gloves, possibly of deerskin or peccary, and a tan bucket hat that he carries.

Though this outfit fits Moore’s character of psychoanalyst Dr Judd Stevens in The Naked Face, it is hardly something James Bond would wear. A balmacaan isn’t streamlined enough for Bond, though its full cut could be useful for concealing a firearm. The colour combination is not something we would see Bond wearing. Not even on Christmas!

10 COMMENTS

  1. Moore is probably wearing his dark brown three button corduroy sports coat underneath he wears earlier in the film. But we never see what’s under it. It would make sense with the poloneck. Will we see a write up on the brown corduroy sports coat Matt in the future.

  2. You don’t often see a Norfork jacket in films, it was an interesting piece. Roger Moore looks great in the warm dark brown colour.

  3. Could the “B” on the buttons stand for the same brand as the “B” on zipper of the blue ski jacket he wears in FYEO?

    Great website!

    • Thank you! The “B” on the ski jackets in For Your Eyes Only and a number of other Bond films is for Bogner. The “B” on these buttons is a different “B”, and I haven’t been able to find any examples from Bogner of anything like this.

  4. Your knowledge and eye for menswear never crease to amaze me Matt. I hope for many more great posts in 2017 as I’m sure there will be.

  5. A great, classic coat, Matt, which, like many other classics such as the trench coat, have diminished in recent times. Shame. Because the replacements aren’t a patch on the classics. No wonder one has to go vintage so much of the time. The colour scheme of the entire outfit suits Moore very well and, as you say, makes it timely for this season.

    I hadn’t recalled the belt on the coat and neither had I heard of the term balmacaan. It reminds me a little of the loden coat which I have for many years now but, because it’s not worn so often, still looks immaculate. I saw a lot of loden’s in the 1990’s and early 00’s. Again, not so many in the last decade or so. It often seems to me that, about the mid 00’s was the time that tasteful dressing started to die…

    • I have to agree with David, the mid 2000’s things started to go a bit strange with men’s wear, casual wear started to be worn in formal situations. You see people wearing a blouson jacket, white formal shirt and jeans to a dressy event, which I can’t understand. A blazer and sports coat is now viewed on the same level as a suit, when they are much less formal. I think things will probably start to come back in a few years, maybe 10 years. things run in cycles.

  6. I’m wondering if the “B” stands for Balmain- I’ve seen some of their things with logos like that from this time period

  7. I love this Balmacaan coat. You don’t see too many Balmacaans walking around these days, which is a pity.

    Basil Rathbone famously wore a Balmacaan throughout the entirety of the Universal Sherlock Holmes series. Since the Universal series was set in contemporary times (the 40s) it was intended as an update to his Inverness.

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