George Lazenby is the only Bond to have the distinction of wearing a ruffled-front dress shirt. And he wears not one but two in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Roger Moore can be seen in a ruffled-front dress shirt in The Persuaders, and he wore one in some production stills for Live and Let Die under a very nice double-breasted dinner suit, but Moore never actually wore one in a Bond film. Moore and Lazenby used the same shirtmaker, Frank Foster, and he made their ruffled-front shirts.
Though ruffles have a long history in menswear prior to the invention of black tie, they didn’t start appearing on dress shirts for black tie until the 1960s. Ruffles on the front of a shirt take the place of the more traditional pleats that had been one of the standard styles for dress shirts since the 1930s. Pleats started out as a soft alternative to the stiff, starched marcella front, and ruffles continue in the traditional of the soft pleated front. By the mid 1970s, the ruffled shirt had fallen out of favour.
Lazenby’s ruffled dress shirts are made of white cotton voile, a high-twist sheer fabric that is very breathable in the heat of Portugal where Lazenby wears these shirts. Both shirts have a point collar, square double cuffs and mother-of-pearl buttons down the front placket, which is stitched 1 cm from the edge. The backs are darted so the shirts fit very close around the waist. Apart from his brown casual outfit, the ruffles are the only part of George Lazenby’s wardrobe that looks dated today.
The first ruffled shirt in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that Bond wears when he rescues Tracy on the beach is the more tasteful of the two ruffled shirts. The front of this shirt is an inventive take on the traditional pleated front, with three ruffled strips on each side inserted between the pleats. This shirt is flashier than traditional shirts for black tie, but it would stand out as more unusual than outdated for a confident fashion-forward dresser today.
The second ruffled shirt, which Bond wears to the casino at the Hotel Palácio Estoril and later for walking around the gardens at the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira, outdoes the ruffles of his first shirt. This is the infamous relic of the late 1960s and early 1970s that makes people cringe when they hear the word “ruffles”, and on either side of the placket are two layers of densely ruffled cotton voile. Other shirts from the era had only one layer of ruffled fabric on each size rather than two, either to slightly tone down the look or because it was cheaper to make.