When Q visits Japan in You Only Live Twice, he wears the classic British military warm-weather outfit of a bush shirt tucked into Bermuda shorts. Q’s military-issued, khaki cotton bush shirt has a two-piece point collar, front placket, shoulder straps and two breast pockets, each with a box pleat and button flap. The shirt’s buttons are light brown horn. Q wears the collar button and first two buttons open. He also wears the shirt’s long sleeves rolled up above the elbow.
Q’s linen bermuda shorts are british tan—darker than the khaki shirt—and have single forward pleats and slanted side pockets. The shorts’ waistband is wide and has an extended button closure and slide-buckle side tabs. In the rear, there are two darts on either side in the rear and no pockets. The hem is knee-length, though more traditionally for Bermuda shorts it’s an inch or two above the knee. Though Bermuda shorts can be tailor-made, Q’s certainly are not. They are too large in the seat and bunch up, and the legs are a little baggier than they should be. Bermuda shorts are cut like dress trousers, and in Bermuda they are treated as such when made of dressy materials. With this outfit, Q wears the requisite light brown suede, 2-eyelet, crepe-soled desert boots with tan over-the-calf socks.
Q’s two assistants who set up Little Nellie wear similar clothes to Q’s clothes, all surely provided by the military. They both wear bush shirts; one wears a khaki shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the other wears a british tan shirt with the sleeves down and cuffs buttoned. His shirt’s cuffs are rounded with a single button. Both assistants wear khaki cotton Bermuda shorts, light brown desert boots and long light brown socks, all in the same style as what Q wears.
I’d be curious how this outfit looked to people in 1967. I always assumed that Q was made to look stodgy compared to Bond, but I may have always been looking at the films through modern eyes (for as long as I can remember high-waisted pants that were too large for someone connotated “old man”).
I’d like to read more about Tiger’s outfits. The jacket looks far too large on him in the top photo (it looks like he borrowed his father’s jacket!) which makes him look even shorter. I don’t remember him as having unusually broad shoulders when wearing his more casual outfits.
Contrasted to those two, it’s amazing how effortlessly elegant both Bond and Aki (?) look in their respective outfits. It’s amazing how sometimes simple can be best. A shame that their isn’t a woman who could give us insight into some of the female costuming in the films – not only is there a wealth of material in the series but I would indeed like to learn more about them so I can appreciate the “why” behind some outfits looking so glamorous.
Looking at behind the scenes footage of the making of the film, all the crew seemed to dressed in shorts, shirt-sleeve shirts, over-sized hats, etc. I would imagine it was very hot at the time of filming, or it was just how a typical Brit (like myself), unused to hot weather, would dress abroad. I must admit to dressing similar when it’s really hot, and I have to hope that people accept that my slightly slovenly appearance to entirely due to the need for comfort.
The shorts and overall outfit are bad enough but what is totally inexplicable are the socks and shoes! Only the English can dress this badly!
” Only the English can dress this badly!”
-That’s not right and fairly unjust: Please keep in mind that Bond himself is English and he does not dress badly at all. I think that TheLordFlasheart is indeed right: Q’s outfits were supposed to look bad in comparison to Bond’s – in the end he’s an engineer entirely devoted to his work (“I never joke about my work, 007”) who simply hasn’t any interest in dressing up. I can’t think of any Q outfit that would merit to be considered as stylish (remember his Hawaiian shirt in TB – this is another of those “style accidents”).
Q looks very stylish in From Russia With Love: Q’s Introduction
Undoubtedly some English can dress well but only some English can dress this badly. It usually applies to casual dress as in this particular case.
“It usually applies to casual dress as in this particular case.”
-The thing is that this isn’t really casual dress – it is military dress and therefore rather a kind of uniform. And as such it is neither designer work nor bespoke but something you get from your gear/equipment officer in your size. That’s the reason why it looks so bad. Have you ever joined the force? Then you should know… ;-)
Renard, that is a valid point about it being more military than casual but take a look at how an Italian carabiniere dresses and you will understand the difference.
“Only some English can dress this badly.”
Not a fan of this look. The oversized, overlong shorts look silly as do the high socks. That said, it is a military uniform so we can’t judge the people wearing them, just the aesthetics. All those digital camouflage BDUs will probably look just as silly in a few decades’ time as well.
In 1967, it also probably looked silly to a lot of younger, non-military people. But the counter-culture had already started and Bond himself was starting to look stodgy, like “The Man”, and passé in his country club sensibilities. This is why they reinvented him with George Lazenby and Roger Moore to be more hip and happening. Guys no longer wanted to be a Don Draper, they wanted to be a fashionable man about town.
While we are so busy criticising the get up of Q and his assistants we have overlooked that Connery’s ensemble (the shirt and trousers are fine) is let down by leather sandals. He certainly wore them with this ensemble https://www.bondsuits.com/the-pink-linen-shirt/ and with this outfit too and these didn’t seem to attract any negative comment??
I think this fits Major Boothroyd just fine. Not all costumes in the James Bond Films are perfectly tailored, expensive suits – they are costumes, hopefully thought through so that they further both character and story. To me, this conveys Q’s army background and curmudgeon personality.
Also,Jovan, I am not sure that at anytime after 1965, Bond, no matter who played him, was hip or happening. Bond’s essential conservatism in appearance and outlook was one reason Lazenby left the role (according to Lazenby himself, this was the age of Easy Rider). Even Moore’s dress (and patriotism) was on the conservative side for the 1970s, and since 1981, Bond has been a symbol of old fashioned English values (a point made repeatedly, from Haywood’s suits in the For Your Eyes Only, to the entire theme of Skyfall).
The series did start following popular movie trends in 1971, and has continued to follow the popular culture, rather than set it as it once did, ever since, with only a few exceptions.
You are right. By his own admission, Lazenby wanted to wear bell-bottoms like “everybody cool he knew” (I am paraphrasing for the sake of politeness) rather than “stovepipe pants” (his words). Youth really is wasted on the young!
I think we’re all missing one important point here: Though the British military-assigned warm weather garb shown here may be less than flattering, there is a relatively accepted standard of fit for it, which the good Major is NOT a proper example of.
Granted, it fits the scene – Q’s been rushed on site and really couldn’t care how sloppy he’s dressed at the moment – but even then, I’d expect him to have at least one pair of properly fitting shorts. As Matt pointed out, they’re supposed to be cut like dress trousers. If you tried to continue the lines of these shorts as they are for trousers, you’d have clown pants.
Fact is, his pants are about 2 sizes too long and large at everything but the waist – they look like a pair made for a man of extra height and stockiness with the same waist size.
Note the same attire on the assistants. Had they been standing, they wouldn’t look as foolish as Q.
My grandfathers and Great uncles would all have been about Qs age at the same time, all very practical, “hands on” men. This is almost exactly how I remember them dressing through summers in New Zealand through most of the 70’s.
The comments about Q’s appearance are interesting…
It should be remembered that British Army officers at this time were expected to buy (that is, have made by a recognised regimental tailor) their uniforms, and that the colour of the service-dress shirt has always been a lighter shade, being a more sand colour than the olive colour of the other ranks. The film-makers seem to have dressed Q so badly to accentuate his oddishness as a contrast of his character to the others.
Virtually the same tropical issue uniform, including the long socks and desert boots, can be seen in the earlier film ‘Ice-cold in Alex’ which is set in the north African desert campaign of the second world war. The dress is not meant to be one of style, but for suitability during active service.
As for quality and cut, I have my father’s tropical uniforms which were made by a military tailor in Cairo in 1940. The tunic is very neatly cut and shaped, while the trousers and shorts, although wide-legged by current standards, are not at all clownish and quite in keeping with the styles of the period.
Am a great fan of military/camouflage kit so I own many garments of this type, but please don’t think I’ve ever worn shorts like this! My friends who have been in the forces tell me you get lumbered with ill-fitting kit if you cheese off the QM staff. Maybe that’s the back-story here… In any event, they look like WWII surplus – not like the issue shorts of the ’60’s. M appears in naval white shorts on the M1 submarine in Hong Kong harbour, and his shorts did not look comical.
There’s a few things to say about this.
Q may have been an army officer, whose uniforms would have been purchased from a tailor – but this would mean in his case that any uniform he’d be able to lay his hands on would be likely to be VERY old indeed. I doubt he would have any ‘tropical kit’, either – so as someone else has surmised, he has been issued it at short notice. ‘Fit’ of such items would be an entirely practical consideration – as in “Does it fit?”
I doubt, even in the mid-60s that the army would have many stocks of tropical gear hanging around that weren’t at least 20 years old.
Plus – there was, and still is, a class of Englishman for whom any notion of being well dressed is an anathema. Wilful scruffiness is a sine qua non: think Overgrown Schoolboy.
I find the term “shoulder straps” intriguing.
Shoulder straps are commonly and incorrectly called “epaulettes”. Epaulettes are ornamental pieces that attach to the shoulder straps.
Also – on the subject of ‘Badly’ Dressed English officers, can I refer people to the ‘Two Types’ cartoons by Jon – representing British army officers in the desert campaign of WW2?