October 2022 is not only the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film series, it is also the 60th anniversary of Roger Moore’s television series The Saint. The Saint’s first episode, ‘The Talented Husband’, premiered on Thursday the 4th of October 1962, only one day before Dr. No‘s premiere. Just like Sean Connery’s James Bond, Roger Moore’s incarnation of Simon Templar is introduced wearing a dinner suit.
It’s no coincidence that both Connery’s James Bond and Moore’s Simon Templar were both introduced in dinner suits. The intention was likely for these men to be seen as sophisticated and worldly straight from the beginning. The dinner jacket portrays that better than any other garment, particularly in 1962. A lounge suit or blazer was would have been too ordinary, while full evening dress would have been too out of touch or old fashioned, though Moore would wear full evening dress later in The Saint‘s first series. Black tie was the symbol of the elegant man in 1962, and it still is 60 years later.
Moore’s wardrobe in ‘The Talented Husband’ shares a few other similarities with Connery’s in Dr. No. Both men wear glen check suits and brass-buttoned blue blazers, basic staples of the elegant British man’s wardrobe in the 1960s. The styles of both actors’ clothes are contemporary takes on the classic Savile Row look, and both of their tailors were located in streets just off of Savile Row. Connery’s tailor Anthony Sinclair was in Conduit Street while Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle was in Sackville Street. Castle would later move to Conduit Street across from Sinclair.
In ‘The Talented Husband’, Roger Moore only wears his dinner suit in the short opening scene. He briefly wears the same outfit in The Saint‘s second episode ‘The Latin Touch’, but the dinner suit does not reappear until the second series in episodes such as ‘The Bunco Artists’, ‘The Noble Sportsman’, ‘The Lawless Ladies’ and ‘The Good Medicine’. Moore wouldn’t again wear a dinner suit in The Saint until ‘The Better Mousetrap’ in Series 5, when he premieres a new three-piece dinner suit. The ivory dinner jacket was more of a signature look for Moore throughout most of The Saint than the black or midnight blue dinner suit was, and it’s a signature look he would later continue in his Bond films.
The basics of Roger Moore’s outfit in The Saint are not so different from Sean Connery’s in Dr. No. They both wear a shawl-collar dinner suit with a white pleated-front shirt and a slim bow tie, following tradition with nods to the fashions of the time. Moore’s look is more ordinary than Connery’s was, and the dinner suit is not as refined in either the style or the fit. It is likely in ordinary black instead of midnight blue, and it lacks gauntlet cuffs. But Moore’s clothes still have the hallmarks of classic English style.
Moore’s tailor at the time was Cyril Castle, but this dinner suit looks like it is either from a different tailor or a ready-to-wear suit. The budget for Series 1 may not have allowed for a bespoke dinner suit in addition to a blazer and a few suits. The ivory dinner jacket that Moore wears in the first series is also unlikely to be from Castle Castle, but it was replaced with Cyril Castle dinner jackets for the third series and again for the fifth series. Based on the fit of this black dinner suit, it does not look to have been made for Moore. The collar doesn’t fit Moore all that well on his right side, and it’s an issue that is visible in multiple episodes. The fit of this dinner jacket does not have the finesse of Moore’s glen check suit from the first episode.
The dinner jacket is full cut with soft, extended shoulders, natural sleeve heads and a very low button stance. The cut looks reminiscent of the 1950s silhouettes that were on their way out of fashion at this time. The jacket has the traditional details: one button on the front, four buttons on the cuffs, a medium-width satin shawl collar, jetted hip pockets and no vent at the rear. The trousers are difficult to see, but the legs have a full, tapered cut. They may even have a pleated front, which Moore rarely wears. They are trimmed with a black satin braid down the outseams.
Only the jacket’s shawl collar is trimmed in silk satin. The buttons are shiny domed black plastic with four holes and no rim. They do not have a rim. It is possible that the buttons could be ordinary rimmed buttons but sewn on backwards to look more like classic covered buttons, but domed plastic buttons were not uncommon at the time this dinner suit was made.
Moore’s dress shirt has a short spread collar, double cuffs and a pleated front with white buttons. The front pleats are about 1/2 inch wide, and the front placket is stitched about the same distance from the edge to mirror the pleats. While this kind of placket is a signature of Roger Moore’s later shirtmaker Frank Foster, Foster told me he did not start making shirts for Roger Moore until 1968, which would have been for The Saint‘s sixth and final series. Other English shirtmakers have done the same kind of placket for their pleated-front dress shirts for purposes of balance.
The bow tie has a narrow batwing shape with straight sides, which was typical for the era. He wears a black cummerbund around his waist, a tradition James Bond flouted throughout the 1960s.
In some episodes, Moore wears a white pocket square with the corners sticking out. In the episode ‘The Good Medicine’, Moore wears three-eyelet plain-toe derby shoes in black calf. The budget did not likely have room for special shoes for black tie.
Though not as well tailored as other suits he wears, it is definitely within good classic taste. You say, “It is likely in ordinary black instead of midnight blue.” Interestingly, it looks like the guest stars to his right in the fourth image could be wearing shades of blue. Possibly a velvet smoking jacket on the gentleman second from left. One of the stated advantages of midnight blue was that it would show the tailored details of one’s dinner suit better than black in monochrome photography. Even with modern colour and digital photography, I think midnight blue still looks an excellent choice because of how it transitions from sundown to night time. Not required like some seem to imply it is, but equally valid as black. All a matter of perspective.
Hey Matt I’m sure you have the boxed sets of The Saint, I used to catch re-run episodes on the WeTV channel several months back. They don’t appear to show them any more. Do you (or any readers) know if they’re currently being televised or else available on demand?
Hi Rod, I’m afraid I have no idea where they are available now. Maybe someone else knows.
You can find a handful of episodes available for free on YouTube. I know YouTube recently made series 5 and 6 free to watch on there.
The whole series is available on Tubi.
Here’s a link to the episode mentioned above.
IMHO the single most elegant piece to his black-tie suit is actually his ‘black bow tie’! It is slim and unobtrusive and aristocratic as opposed to modern day butterfly bow ties and God forbid the huge propeller like bow ties of the 1970s. Though difficult to source these days, one can be made by trimming down a current sized diamond point or butterfly one by a tailor or seamstress as I have, works like a charm and instantly produces a classic vintage Bond look. Otherwise, Moore in his younger and leaner days (especially his face) always presented an elegant look in my book.
Yeah I like narrow bow ties – a la early Bond and Templar – with my evening rig. I got one at a very reasonable price from The Tie Bar.
I’ve actually been pretty impressed by the Tie Bar! Luxury they are not, but for the price it’s fantastic. Just a few weeks ago I bought a diamond tip black satin bow tie for my new dinner suit, because they were pretty much the only option I could find who would sell them. If they didn’t save the day I was going to go with a Sam Hober custom tie, which I still want eventually, but I saved an extraordinary amount of money. I also have a blue knitted silk tie and you can call me impressed.
Agreed. I have a few ties and socks from them and a couple of pairs of their wool trousers in medium grey and Air Force blue. They’re not exactly heavy duty – very lightweight which is fine for my environment – and fit me about as good as any off the rack wool strides I’ve ever had!
Rod+The+Mod, does The Tie Bar still offer narrow bow ties? I had a look at their site and the bow ties I saw didn’t look as narrow as Sir Roger’s tie in this article. I like the look of narrow bow ties, but I’ve had trouble finding them online.
Timothy, in case you’re still looking, Gentleman’s Gazette offers a satin silk diamond point bow tie:
Thank you, Xaxier! When I decide to upgrade I’ll definitely consider this when weighing up my options, Sam Hober might still end up too much for me.
As for the Tie Bar (if you don’t mind me answering, Rod) the slim bow tie is hidden in the options of this page:
It’s 1.5 inches tall so hopefully it is indeed what you’re searching for.
I took a look at The Tie Bar website and they don’t seem to have the one I got on sale currently. I (of course) admire the early sixties slim tie and slim lapel trend and the Thunderball midnight blue dinner suit is my favourite of the Bond canon so I got ‘batwing’ style bow ties from The Tie Bar in both black and midnight blue. Batwings are square ended and don’t have the built-in curves that more common thistle-shaped bow ties have. Scroll down here for a pic.
@Timothy, Thank you for the link to TheTieBar’s slim bowties. I see what you mean about how they’re hidden in the options on their site!
@Rod+The+Mod, ah yes, I forgot that they’re called batwing bowties. That’s probably why I couldn’t find what I was looking for online. I’ll search for batwing bowties and see if that yields better results.
In interviews from the period when he was Bond, Moore often complained about The Saint’s small budget. And chances are it was smallest in season 1 when it was an untested property with the public. So I’m sure that the dinner suit was indeed off the rack or already owned by the production company. It sure doesn’t look even made to measure.
BTW Matt, I always love your posts about the TV spies! Moore’s final acting appearance was a cameo in the 2017 Saint TV movie as a Blofeld-style head of an international criminal empire. Seeing as this was his first appearance in The Saint, it might be fun to bookend it with his final. From what I recall, he was wearing a smashing suit as well.
I think Ian Ogilvy also put in a cameo appearance. Matt, any interest in covering Ogilvy’s tailoring in Return of the Saint?
I don’t plan on covering Return of the Saint. I only write about Roger Moore’s Saint because Roger Moore was James Bond, and this website is focused on James Bond.
It’s also interesting to compare Roger Moore’s Saint wardrobe with Connery’s Bond since they were contemporaries.
Nice write up Matt it is very interesting to see how much this compares to what Sean Connery was wearing when he made his debut as James Bond.
Very elegant ensemble! The tuxedo jacket gives a great Bondian arrangement. This jacket maybe off the rack but Moore makes it look great. I have only watched a few episodes of The Saint and I enjoyed what few episodes I watched. This outfit makes a great foreshadow that Moore would wear a tuxedo as Bond.
I understand Cubby was a big fan of The Saint. The series is a must for Bond fans, with appearances from actors like Shirley Eaton, Eunice Gayson, Lois Maxwell, Robert Brown, Julian Glover, David Hedison, George Murcell, Paul Stassino and more…
I would often have reruns of The Saint on in the background while I was working from home last year when they were in TV. It’s fun to play ‘spot the Bond connection’ especially with the earlier serieses which were in many ways a sort of low budget TV parallel to Bond. In almost every episode there is at least one fairly violent tumultuous fight scene and Rog appears to be more than game for mixing it up, which makes it all the more puzzling how poorly staged his fight scenes were as Bond, even in his earlier tenure before age caught up with him.