The Persuaders: The Tweed Norfolk Suit

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Persuaders-Norfolk-Suit

In the 1971 episode of The Persuaders titled “A Home of One’s Own”, Roger Moore wears an old-fashioned Norfolk suit. The brown herringbone tweed sporting suit is made up of a Norfolk jacket and matching tweed trousers. The tweed in a light brown and dark brown herringbone is a classic cloth for the country, whilst also flattering Moore’s warm complexion. Though elements of the Norfolk jacket were popular in 1970s fashion, Moore’s is a very traditional model apart from the late 1960’s trouser cut. For background on the Norfolk jacket, I refer to some of the best menswear writers:

Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that the Norfolk jacket is “considered the first sport jacket.”

Riccardo Villarosa and Giuliano Angeli describe the Norfolk jacket in The Elegant Man as “one of the first garments created especially for sporting activities”. They write about the origins of the jackets name: “It appears as if its name derives from the fact that it was cut for some of the guests at the Duke of Nofolk’s hunting party”.

Bernhard Roetzel writes about the Norfolk jacket in Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion: “It was especially made for shooting, and was therefore a real ‘designer jacket’ in the sense of being designed for a particular purpose, according to the principle that ‘form follows function'”.

Roger Moore’s character Lord Brett Sinclair appropriately wears his norfolk suit in the English country, and it is practical at keeping him warm. However, he does not wear the Norfolk jacket for it’s intended hunting purposes.

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Cyril Castle made Roger Moore’s Norfolk suit jacket in the same cut as the other suits in The Persuaders, with straight shoulders on the natural shoulder line, roped sleeve heads and full, but clean chest. This jacket follows the traditional button four front of the Norfolk jacket, as opposed to the standard three buttons on a regular tweed jacket, and all four buttons are meant to fasten. Though Norfolk jackets most often have a straight front, it’s an acceptable variation for the quarters to the slightly cutaway and curved like on Moore’s jacket. Moore usually has all the buttons fastened on his Norfolk jacket, but sometimes the top or the bottom button is left open in a continuity error. Whilst traditionally the Norfolk jacket has a deep single vent to the belt, Moore’s has deep double vents. It is detailed with swelled edges and two buttons on the cuffs, and the jacket’s buttons are made of dark brown horn.

Though bellows pockets are the most traditional style of hip pocket on a Norfolk jacket, Moore’s jacket has the less sporting but equally casual style of flapped, rounded patch pockets. Compared to standard patch pockets, these have a little extra fullness sewn into bottom of the pocket to make it more useful if Moore wanted to use them.

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The Norfolk jacket ultimately has two defining features: the belt and the sewn-down braces. The belt buttons through the jacket’s middle button and secures to the right of it with another button. Traditionally the belt is removable, but on Moore’s jacket the belt is sewn down to the back and sides. The braces-like straps are attached from the top of the front hip pockets, up over the shoulder and down to the belt at the waist in the rear. According to Villarosa and Angeli in The Elegant Man, the stitched braces are “designed to support the weight of cartridges in the pockets”. Since the braces go over the chest, the Norfolk jacket does not take a breast pocket.

The suit trousers with the Norfolk jacket match the style of the other trousers in The Persuaders and are made by Cyril Castle’s trouser maker at the time, Richard Paine. They have a dart on each side of the front, and an offset jetted frogmouth pocket cuts through the dart. The trousers legs are tapered to the knee and straight from the knee down in the style popular in the late 1960s. Fashions had already moved to wider and flared legs by the time of this show.

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With the Norfolk suit, Moore wears a beige poplin shirt made by Frank Foster with a spread collar, a front placket and button-down one-button cocktail cuffs. He first wears the collar open with a yellow, gold and brown floral silk day cravat, which keeps the outfit looking casual whilst guarding his neck from the cold. Later in the afternoon for drinks and cards at a local Inn where he is staying, Moore switches the day cravat for a buttoned collar with a gold tie that has a faint self-stripe pattern. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. His shoes are brown side-zip boots with a square toe.

Moore also wears this Norfolk suit in the episodes “Greensleeves” and “The Time and the Place”.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Matt,

    Can you confirm what swelled edges are? I think they are when the seam is reinforced with edge stitching, would that be right?

    I love all of Sinclair’s outfits, with me being a similar colouring to Moore wish I moved in an environment where I could get away with his clothing style!!

  2. Nice suit (in context), but the cravat and the gold tie are over the top even for the Brett Sinclair character; a solid knit tie with a plain or gingham shirt would have been much better!

  3. A hint at what Bond could have worn in Scotland ?
    As old-fashioned and/or flamboyant it may be, Moore wears it so naturally, though.
    I cannot imagine Craig getting close to anything like this without looking out of place and/or ‘ruining’ it..

  4. Another excellent post. The jacket looks quite well-fitted through the shoulders and back. However, Whether it is classic or, to my eye, very much evocative of its era, Roger’s Persuaders’ style is not to my taste. It is fun and informative, however, to see how the Bond actors, so identified with their iconic role, appeared in other roles.

    For everyone traveling this weekend, have a safe trip home!

  5. It’s interesting how, from a 2014 viewpoint, that this outfit looks “costume”ish and probably the most anachronistic of Moore’s outfits in that series. It is, however, entirely appropriate for the character and the context.

    From a 1971 viewpoint, I would suspect it would have been viewed as very, very traditional and generally worn by an older member of the gentry. Moore’s Lord Sinclair character may have seemed a little young for such an outfit however appropriate.

    Dan, I wouldn’t have a problem with the tie, to be honest, although, I agree that the cravat makes it even more OTT and “costume”ish but then it was The Persuaders!

    Matt, the outfit reminds me that Moore starred in the mid 1970’s as Sherlock Holmes in a movie titled “Sherlock Holmes in New York”, with Patrick McNee playing Watson. I have never seen the movie but, for fun, an examination of his clothing in this movie might be worthwhile. Although, it would stretch the remit of this blog somewhat!

    • Sherlock Holmes in New York is a very enjoyable film, since Roger Moore and Patrick Macnee work so well together. I’ll have to look closer at the clothes, but those clothes are surely more costume-like than The Persuaders’ clothes.

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