Roger Moore’s Infamous Flared Trousers

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Moonraker-Black-Flared-Trousers

Roger Moore’s trousers in his 1970s James Bond films are notorious for their flared or bell-bottom legs. Though the flares were most exaggerated in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Roger Moore will forever be remembered for these trousers. That is unfortunate because Moore’s trousers have some interesting details beyond the rather pitiful flares. Moore’s suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers in the 1970s were all very similar, though in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun they were made by Mayfair tailor Cyril Castle, and in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker they were made by Roman tailor Angelo Roma. Though most today would say the trousers are ruined by the flared legs, there are many interesting details at the top of the trousers.

Along with the flared legs, some may also say that the trouser waist sits too high. A higher waist gives Moore the illusion of being taller, and it gives his actual waist the definition it needs. When the trousers are worn with a jacket, the higher waist keeps the shirt from being visible beneath the fastened jacket button and creates an overall sleeker silhouette.

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Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

Cyril Castle’s Trousers

Cyril Castle’s trousers have subtly flared legs, which would now be called “boot-cut.” They taped gently to the knee and gently flare out below the knee. If there could be an elegant example of flared mens trousers, this would be it. Castle took the fashion trend and did the best he could with it. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

In Live and Let Die the suit trousers are made with “DAKS top” button-tab side adjusters with three buttons, whilst the odd trousers and casual trousers are worn with belts. The suit trousers also have an extended waistband with a hidden clasp closure. Both the waistband extension and the side tabs have a rectangular shape with rounded corners. In The Man with the Golden Gun, all of Roger Moore’s trousers that can be seen are worn with belts. Some of the casual trousers may have been made by someone other than Castle, but they are all made without side pockets.

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Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die

The tops of Castle’s trousers have a unique style. The front has long darts of approximately four to five inches sewn down the middle of either side. It’s effectively like having small pleats, but since they’re sewn down the trousers have the cleaner look of flat fronts. Castle obviously believed that trousers without pleats still needed to have shape in the front.

There are neither pockets on the sides of the trousers nor frogmouth pockets on the front of the trousers. This gives the trousers a very clean look, and when Moore moves about there are no pockets to gape open. Instead, the trousers have top-entry pockets on each side at the waistband seam. They’re like coin pockets that would be placed on the right side, but these pockets are larger. These top-entry can be found on Moore’s suit trousers in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, and on many of his casual trousers as well.

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Roger Moore reaching into the left top pocket of his Cyril Castle suit trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun

The back of the Cyril Castle trousers has a button through pocket and a pair of darts on either side. Ordinarily, darts on the back of trousers go from the bottom of the waistband down to the top of the pockets, but on Castle’s trousers the inner darts extend further through the pockets to give more fullness to the seat. Castle offsets those darts slightly to the outside of the centre of the pocket so not to interfere with the buttons. The second dart on either side goes from the bottom of the waistband to the outer corner of the pocket. Placing the darts to the side of the pockets rather than spacing them over the middle of the pockets—where pairs of rear are typically placed—throws the fullness toward the hips where it may be more useful for Moore’s body. Through his unique method of using darts, Cyril Castle is able to give Moore the fullness through the seat, hips and thighs that he needs without using pleats.

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Cyril Castle linen trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun. Look closely for the two darts above and through the rear right pocket.

Angelo Roma’s Trousers

The tops of Angelo Roma trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker aren’t seen very much since they are usually hidden under jackets and jumpers. Like Cyril Castle, Angelo made suit trousers, odd trousers and casual trousers for the Bond films he worked on. They’re cut with wider flared legs than the Castle trousers are, though from the knee up they still have a very classic look. The hems are angled to cover most of the shoes.

Like the Castle trousers, the Angelo trousers are also made without side pockets. However, they have nothing to make up for the lack of pockets. Some of the trousers, like the black casual trousers in Moonraker, have no rear pockets at all. The trousers chose clean lines over utility, which is an approach women’s clothes often follow. The lack of rear pockets highlights the shape of the buttocks instead of camouflaging it with pockets. The trousers on the dinner suit for The Spy Who Loved Me go the traditional route of having a rear jetted pocket only on the right.

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Angelo Roma dinner suit trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me

The front of the Angelo trousers is plain without darts. Like most better flat front trousers, these trousers are made with a pair of darts on either side in the rear. The darts extend from the bottom of the waistband to where the top of the rear pockets would be, and the darts would be spaced equidistant from the centre of each pocket. This is how two darts on each side of the rear of men’s trousers are typically done. The suit trousers and odd trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me are made with an squared extended waistband. They are neither worn without a belt nor have an adjustable waistband. They are made to exactly the right size so no assistance is needed. Such a waistband is not practical since almost everybody’s waist fluctuates a little. The casual trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me and most of the trousers in Moonraker are worn with belts.

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Pocket-less Angelo Roma black trousers in Moonraker

27 COMMENTS

  1. I’d never really noticed the flares before during the films but they are very obvious during the ’77-’85 gun barrel sequence where his flares practically precede him.
    I really like the idea of pocketless trousers. It seems perverse, coins have to go somewhere. Also the high trousers have a cummerbund effect which is oddly flattering.

    Man, I’d dress so differently if I could go back to school again. I hated the regimented tie and shirt look. I’d rather enjoy it now. Mind you, it was 1989, so the shirts were baggy with button down collars, Paisley ties, or nasty thin leather strip ties, black trousers with hideous white speckles and slip on shoes. No wonder I rejected it until recently.

  2. Though flared trousers are not really my cup of tea, I really admire the other details like the darts and clean look without the side pockets. I would wear trousers like that without the flared legs. However, I wouldn’t go so far to wear trousers with no pockets at all, like the black casual trousers.

  3. Ah yes, Roger’s flares!

    The Moore Bonds always have a place in my heart from my childhood. Although I have to accept how ridiculous some of them look today.

    I agree with the waist looking too high, at least by today’s standards. After re-watching the Moore films recently, I couldn’t help but noticing how fat Moore looked in all the films. He is even more tubby in The Persuaders! He would never cut it as an “A-list actor” in today’s six pack obsessed world.

    So I wonder if the very hight waist was to flatter Moore’s waistline. A higher waist tends to flatter a more “rounded” shape, reducing the risk of an “overhang”. Lower waist flatters a much slimmer athletic form. Which is maybe the main reason why they are on trend today. As society has moved towards an over muscled, low body fat ideal image.

    • As far as I could tell, Moore only looked a little paunchy in Octopussy. I suspect most men in their forties wouldn’t mind looking like he did in his first three Bond outings. I do agree with the high waist hiding “muffin top” as a general principle, however, and I actually think Castle’s LALD trousers look snug and uncomfortable across the hips.

    • Yes I agree totally, most men in their 40s wouldn’t mind looking like Moore. Perhaps using the word fat was a bit extreme. I was however comparing Moore’s body fat percentage with modern day actors. Most men in their 40s wouldn’t mind looking like Daniel Craig either. But they would have to put in a lot more work to look like Craig!

      I think it is interesting to compare Moore’s clothing with Curtis in The Persuaders!

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-I0Z4kJsCdfA/Ua8zw-YJq9I/AAAAAAAAU1Y/ptcerDOll5k/s1600/PDVD_009-1.jpg

      Moore’s Persuaders trousers are similar to his Bond ones. I think his trousers are too high rise for him. He is tall so would benefit from a high rise, but not to the caricatured extent on the Persuaders and Bond.

      The shorter Curtis on the other hand has lower rise trousers. I would also argue that Curtis is in better shape than Moore (a greater percentage of his mass is lean mass). There is less excess material around his thighs. So his trousers are more flatting for both his build and height. Also, these trousers (at least above the knee) don’t look so dated today.

  4. That’s a most informative post, Matt.

    I have had my tailor make trousers with no front pockets like this, just a small cash pocket below the waist for coins etc. and the fit is great. Streamlined. And very comfortable. Purely from looking at the current low rise trousers with tight legs I cannot understand how these could ever fit comfortably but I guess fashion followers don’t question this.

    Just one thing; I seem to recall that the first trousers of the 1980’s which we witness Moore wearing in the cemetery scene at the opening of FYEO, the Hayward tailored ones, also had a wide leg. I’m not sure if a slight flare carried over in to the 1980’s or if they were wide all the way down?

    • The legs on the trousers in For Your Eyes Only are straight and wide all the way down. I have some trousers from that era with the same cut (though mine have forward pleats). They look like they flare out due to being tighter above the knee than below the knee.

    • That style of trouser is great for soft denim jeans or casual chinos (especially in winter), but lousy for suits.

      Even then, it depends on the trousers. I have a pair of Skyfall-esque suit trousers that are uncomfortable everywhere except below the knee, but the trousers on my dinner suit are slim QoS style, and they’re pretty good.

  5. I had never noticed the lining on the Live and Let Die tropical grey suit! That makes 3 light grey suits with a similar lining in 3 films in a row with the Diamonds are Forever suit and the TMWTGG suit you also show. Will there be a post on suit linings?

  6. Thanks, Matt. The trouser style in “For Your Eyes Only” is, for me, unsurpassable particularly when it’s courtesy of a master tailor like Hayward. This cut, combined with the flat, pocket less front, (save for the small cash pocket below the waist) and standard rise is my ideal in trousers . I can’t see the point in having no pocket whatsoever at the back or front as in the “Moonraker” trousers but then the point of pockets or no pockets is individual. (I also never appreciated pleats at all or their function but that’s another point.) There is no doubt that this streamlined look is surely flattering to most men.

    Dan Gale, I agree about the gunbarrel sequence. This should’ve, ideally, been reshot for “For Your Eyes Only” however, after “Moonraker” Moore was being considered on a one movie basis and you get the sense that they didn’t consider it worthwhile when the actor could, conceivably, be out of the picture at any time. The problem is that, by 1983 and certainly 1985, the clothes worn for the gunbarrel sequence contributed to the view that Moore was “old hat”, his clothes “outdated” etc. when in reality he was in his last three movies wearing the most classic and (relatively) timesless clothes he ever wore on screen.

    • I personally do not like pleats on my trousers. None of my trouseres have them. I do however have most of my trousers cuffed (1.5 inch PTU).

      Some would say that you should only have cuffs on pleated trousers. Does anyone have any opinions on this?

      • Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bond are fine with wearing turn-ups on trousers without pleats. Flat front trousers with turn-ups is the traditional American way. There is no correlation between pleats and turn-ups, and any way you like it is fine. Some people find a visual balance when pleated trousers have turn-ups and flat front trousers have plain hems. Practically, turn-ups have the same benefits on any style of trousers.

  7. Trousers without pockets (particularly rear pockets) is not all that unusual outside of RTW. Having rear pockets was never standard, especially on a suit where the jacket (and waistcoat if worn ) provided enough pockets. The dart where a pleat would be was also a feature of trousers cutting in the 1970s, particularly among German makers. You see them in the 70s Tailor and Cutter too.

    It is only since the move to slimmer trousers again, coinciding with the rise of the internet, that people have a distaste for flared trousers. People need to try and think themselves back into the 70s, where it was the height of fashion. It can’t be that flares are necessarily bad or a style icon like Bond just wouldn’t have worn them, but they were cool and fashion forward, so he did.

  8. Saved the art of Cyril Castle (indeed a great tailor) we must say that…..top-entry pockets or even nothing pockets… flared trousers….my goodness,the 70s were PURE SARTORIAL EVIL !

    • I disagree. Take a look at the 2011 film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and in particular Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, Peter Guillam, whose style is very much influenced by the trends of the 1970’s and still looks very smart.

  9. “It closes to a convenient pocket size.”
    “Assuming one has a convenient pocket!”

    Looks like Bond was able to predict a predicament he’d later face– the inconvenience of pocketless trousers!

  10. I have to say that the flares on these trousers don’t look too excessive in any of these photos and I rather like the Cyril Castle ones. I’m not wholly convinced about the practicality of trousers without (or with limited) pockets, though.

  11. If I ever got a truly bespoke suit, I’d have to consider pocketless trousers. I already dislike rear pockets, and honestly when I’m wearing a suit jacket I have more than enough pockets.

    Only problem would be finding a place to put my hands.

    • Bond’s solution was to put his hands on Solitaire.
      “Sorry, darling, but I’ve got no pockets.”

  12. Mosely, Hard to say. It’s just down to aesthetics and how they look to my eye, I suppose. I prefer the streamlined appearance of flat trousers. I don’t see how pleats serve any useful function except that they may be of benefit to some men with a particular body shape and I think that’s over stated too. Cuffs/turns ups I also don’t see any particular use for either. But, all purely personal.

  13. I love Cyril Castle’s suit trousers in LALD, I think they are the best for Moore.
    I think considering his physique, this very high waistline combined with a belt makes him look rather heavy around the stomach, which isn’t particulary flattering. And I think flat front trousers add to this bulk too.
    For once I think a slight lower waist could have worked better on him, with side adjusters.
    And I agree that these pictures in the article of flared trousers don’t look so terrible, they could be a lot worse. Thanks to a nice tailoring !
    Not mad about the idea of no front pockets, I don’t see the practicality. And I’ve had some trousers with a coin pocket, it’s really ackward to reach it for some change or a ticket, especially when your jacket is buttoned. It looks nice but I ended not putting anything there, in the end, considering its unpracticality !
    The idea of no pockets at all immediatly makes me think of a woman’s jean or trousers, so it is not my cup of tea.

  14. Matt , where can l get dress trousers made with the large coin pockets , like Roger Moore wears with his Cyril castle suits ? Also , can these pockets be used for keeping things like cell phones or wallets ?
    Also , can this type of trouser be worn with Braces ?

    • A good bespoke tailor can make such trousers. I don’t think these pockets are large enough or in the correct position for a wallet or phone, but they can certainly be worn with braces.

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